Libre Graphics Club #3

Claudia Jones poster

LGC workshop screenshot Open file > Files to download here.

LGC workshop screenshot Select file to open

LGC workshop screenshot Embed image into Inkscape

LGC workshop screenshot Here we are, pic is imported and automatically placed in the middle of the page

LGC workshop screenshot Now, to change document properties: File >Document Properties

LGC workshop screenshot Change dimensions, background transparency, guides, grid, etc.

LGC workshop screenshot We’ll now trace the bitmap image we imported in the previous steps. Go to Path>Trace Bitmap in the main menu on the top of Inkscape.

LGC workshop screenshot And then try as many options you like. Please note, you need to select the bitmap image to be able to apply changes. Investigate the pop up options and see whether single or multiple scans work better for you, as well as Brightness threshold – just change numbers and click on Update (Windows) or Preview (Linux) – the interface is wee bit different between operating systems – so feel free to click around until you work out which is which.

LGC workshop screenshot Here we are, Simone played around with a few different options and had a wee think about which traced image works best for her design.

LGC workshop screenshot Et viola, here’s the one which passed Simone's cut. On to more background work and preparation if the image which will soon be edited in Gimp.

LGC workshop screenshot Simone chose to experiment with ellipsis tool. The tools is located on the left-hand side toolbox – just hover over the icons and description will show up.

LGC workshop screenshot Simone started with ellipsis and then moved to add a couple rectangles too. She then experimented with colour through Fill & Stroke panel. This is accessed by right clicking on the bottom-left corner of Inkscape, then chose either edit Fill, or edit Stroke – in either case the panel will open on the right-hand side with which you can change colour to block, gradient, pattern, and change style and width of strokes of any object you make.

LGC workshop screenshot In this case Simone used gradient, blur and opacity to create this effect in colour and when she was happy with the outcome she moved the traced image on top of the colourful background.

LGC workshop screenshot She saved the finished file > SVG is native Inkscape file, a vector graphics suitable for all things print, but also useful for web-based publishing.

LGC workshop screenshot Now we move to Gimp.

LGC workshop screenshot Inkscape by default has transparent background – unless you’ve modified it through document properties. This is SVG file opened in Gimp.

LGC workshop screenshot Adding a new layer can be done in a few ways: either by clicking on Layer>Add new from the main menu, or by clicking on the new layer icon at the bottom right corner of Gimp interface (little rectangular icon with a plus sign). On the New layer panel you can name the layer, change background colour (Fill with > at the bottom), chose size, Blend mode, etc.

LGC workshop screenshot Simone chose white background for her colourful flowery background image and clicked to the layer to drag it to the bottom of the stack > see the layer info box on the bottom-right side of this image. You can also move your layers up & down by clicking little arrows at the bottom of layer box.

LGC workshop screenshot The main reason Simone mover from Inkscape to Gimp is to add a filter to the image. Click on Filters on the main menu to access default selection in Gimp. Please note, there are filters you can download/install to Gimp separately. Check here.

LGC workshop screenshot To access Waterpixels filter, go to Filters>Artistic>Waterpixels. A pop-up panel will appear with a number of options to modify and change – please try them all to see what effects you can produce. This goes for all filters, if you like them, click OK, if not, cancel or ctrl+z (Undo) and move on to the one which suits your work better.

LGC workshop screenshot Once the desired result is achieved, we export image for further editing in Inkscape. Gimp’s default export file format is PNG but you can chose File>Export as to select form a long list of file types and then click Export. Some file types will offer additional step to modify parameters before you save the file. For example GIF can be saved as an image as well as an animation...

LGC workshop screenshot Back in Inkscape we open the file just exported from Gimp. As with all bitmap images Inkscape will ask you if you’d like to embed or link the image – both have their advantages, but for this time, we’ll use embed method.

LGC workshop screenshot Create a new image: File>New, then import Claudia Jones’ portrait. The portrait is in the folder with all materials for this session you downloaded at the begining.

LGC workshop screenshot Trace bitmap encore: Select the bitmap image you’re tracing, then go to Path>Trace bitmap to access the panel with options. In this picture, Simone experimented with multiple traces of the same image by selecting the image and then applying different parameters for scanning, etc, until she found the one that works best for the poster.

LGC workshop screenshot Check how it looks when added on top of flowery background we just made in Gimp. When done with tracing portrait bitmap image, you can select the trace and copy/paste it to the background image. You can paste it directly to the page, or add a layer and then paste as a separate layer element.

LGC workshop screenshot Back in Gimp, Simone is exploring Oilify effect to see whether the traced image of Claudia Jones may look better that way. Export as a transparent png and moving back to Inkscape.

LGC workshop screenshot Back in Inkscape, checking which traced portrait works best.

LGC workshop screenshot Time to add text. Add text in Inkscape by clicking ‘A’ icon in the toolbox on the left and clicking or clicking and dragging to make text box on the page. To fine tune your text you can go to Text> text and Font option which will open a panel on the right-hand side of Inkscape which will allow for changes in font type, size, style, alignment and direction of text. Spacing between lines (linespace), spacing between letters, character position, rotation, etc can be accessed whilst ‘in’ type tool in the horizontal toolbar just below the main menu.

LGC workshop screenshot Here we see the right-side panel described above after Simone added title text.

LGC workshop screenshot Last step here is to add the remaining text for office document describing Claudia Jones. The procedure is the same: first select and copy prepared text, paste in Inkscape (either directly into image, or adding layer first and then pasting), lastly, align the text so it forms a harmonious composition – which you can play with before you save the file. Native Inkscape files are SVGs, but you can export them as PNG or ‘save as a copy’ which gives a wide range of file formats to chose from.