Monday, 18 December 2017

Into the darkness a shining tutorial

In todays tutorial, im gonna show you how to make a decorative ornament in the spirit of december.

We will be using Inkscape and Gimp, combination style.
Thanks to a simple trick, the Inkscape part will be suitable for beginners and contain no complicated boolean operations or clipping.
Just layering shapes, a simple Live Path Effect and one Extension effect.

Im using Inkscape Version 0.92.

1. Open your 'Document Properties' by pressing 'Shift + Ctrl + D'.
Make sure the measurement units are set to pixels.
Im using a 800x800px canvas.

Click the X to close the 'Document Properties' (Inkscape remembers the settings automatically), then hit 5 to fit the canvas boundaries into the workarea.

Make sure the 'Align & Distribute' dialogue (Shift + Ctrl + A) is open and set to 'Page'.
Save the project→ 'File → Save as…' with a suitable name and a filepath you can easily remember.

2. Draw a black star with 24 corners and a 'Spoke Ratio' of 0,857.
Make sure you hold down Ctrl while you drag up, to make the top corner perfectly straight.

Your final star should be 697x697px.

Align the object to the canvas area.

3. Draw a white 575x575px circle on top of the star and align to the page.

4. Duplicate the black star, and scale it down, so its inside the white circle, but a bit smaller.
(in my case 560x560px)

5. Select both stars, give them a 4px black Stroke and remove the Fill. Then perform a 'Combine'.

6. Add the Live Path Effect: 'Stitch Sub-Paths'.
The stars will transform into some sort of crosshair.
Change the 'Number of paths' to 256.

Put the star-rays we just created to the bottom of the drawing.

7. Duplicate the white circle, give it a black Stroke of 8px and scale it down to 564x564px.

8. Duplicate the circle. Remove the Fill and change the Stroke width to 3px. Scale it down to 541x541px.

9. Draw a square. Give it a white Fill and a black 8px Stroke.
Rotate by 45° and align to the canvas. Give it a size of 630x630px.

10. Duplicate the square. Remove the Fill, change the Strokewidth to 3px.
Give it a size of 602x602px.

11. Duplicate one of the circles, give it a Stroke of 4px and make it 415x415px in size.
Also convert into a path (Ctrl + Shift + C).

12. Draw a small black circle (8x8px) and convert into a path.
Select the 415px circle from step 11, then the small 8px with the Shift key pressed down and call up the 'Scatter Extension'.
Apply with the values you see in the screenshot.

13. Now its time to add some text.
Im using the font 'Liberation Serif' 70px with a Stroke of 1px to make it a bit fatter.

Spacing is currently broken in Inkscape Version 0.92. 
I used a 'Spacing between Baseline' of 66, but to get the words 'a' and 'Light' to sit nicely, you have to use manual kerning. Put the cursor in front of the word you want to change and use the up/down arrow keys on your keyboard, while holding down Alt.

14. Add another rotated square with a 3px Stroke and no Fill. Make it 372x372px.

15. Duplicate the text and give it a green 13px Stroke. This is gonna help to decide where we want the square to be broken.

16. Next zoom in and draw little shapes with the 'Bezier Tool' that will be used as overlays.
Theoretically we could also break the path with the Node Tool, but that would be destructive and hard to undo. (I gave my shapes a red Stroke so you can better see them in the screenshot.)

When happy, delete the helper text-copy with the green Stroke and put the original black text on top of the drawing.

17. Almost ready !
If you want to use the ornament as it is, you must add a white background to the image.
Otherwise you will have a transparent background.
Just draw a white 800px square, align it and put it at the bottom of the image.

18. To export go to 'File – Export PNG Image…' and make sure the 'Page' button is highlighted.


In the second part of the tutorial we will add colour and shine with the help of Gimp.

01. Open the image in Gimp.

02. To get rid of the white, apply 'Colour To Alpha' (thats under 'Colours')

03. Add a background layer #121212 and put it behind the ornament.

04. With the ornament layer selected, lock the alpha channel and drag and drop #fad130 over it.

05. Apply LayerFX – Satin to the ornament layer.

06. To smooth the Satin out, alpha select the ornament and apply a Gaussian Blur of 2px to the Satin layer.

07. For a texture effect, add a new 50ies grey (#808080) layer on top of all and remove the alpha channel.
Apply G'MIC – Degredations – Scanlines.

08. Next apply G'MIC – Deformations – Water.

09. Alpha select the original ornament and apply a 'Layermask From Selection' to the 'Texture Layer'

10. Change the Blendmode to 'Hard Light' at ca. 35%.

11. To make the text more stand out, we will edit the texture mask.
Use the Fuzzy Select Tool in Add Mode on the ornament layer and with the texture layermask selected, fill the selection with a very dark grey (or even black) #262626.
This will filter out almost all of the texture on the text.

And that was the final step. Congratulations you made it !
Happy Holidays !

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