Google Summer of Code 2007

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This year Inkscape is going to participate, yet again, in Google's Summer of Code 2007. Help us come up with some solid places to innovate and push forward.

Student Applications

Project Ideas

3D capability

Inkscape is a 2D drawing tool. However, very often it is used to draw 3D objects. It would be very cool to have more support from the program for doing that, instead of just drawing everything manually. Nothing too fancy - we're not going to compete with Blender; but even simple things can go a long way. What's listed below is just basic ideas; feel free to develop upon them or offer something entirely different in your proposal.

  • A 3D box tool would be able to:
  • draw a 3D box;
  • adjust any of its 3 dimensions by handles and numerically;
  • freely move the perspective vanishing point for each dimension;
  • switch any dimension from a vanishing point to direction (point in infinity, lines are parallel) and back;
  • Allow subdivision of each face to create perspective grids;
  • when more than one 3D box is selected and their perspective is compatible, drag their common vanishing points/directions updating all selected boxes;
  • 3D-rotate the entire selected 3D box (or several selected 3D boxes if they have a compatible perspective), thus moving all 3 directions/vanishing points in a natural way;
  • remember the last-set directions/vanishing points and create new objects in the same perspective, so you can quickly and easily draw an entire 3D scene with many boxes.
In SVG, a 3D box will be represented as a group with a special extension attribute; the group would contain the 6 quadrilateral paths representing the sides of the box. Only the 3D box tool would treat this object as a whole; for all other tools it will be just a group, so you can select any of the paths, apply any style to it, delete it, etc. At the same time, the 3D tool would still be able to 3D-rotate and 3D-tweak the box while preserving any changed style and not restoring deleted sides (e.g. if you don't want to see the hidden sides, delete them from the group).
  • 3D guides can be a helpful addition to the 3D box tool. You would be able to create a new set of 3D guides from any 3D box and then use these guides for drawing with any tool that can snap to guides (e.g. the Pen tool). The guides would use different colors for the three dimensions. Ideally the guides should remember which object they were created from and update when that object's perspective (the set of 3 vanishing points or directions) is edited in the 3D tool.
  • Other primitives: Sphere, Cylinder, Cone, Pyramid ...
  • Perspective transform tool like in the GIMP
  • Perspective grid tiling: cloning an object to each field of a grid.

This is a big and infinitely expandable area. We do not expect any single student to cover all of this in a single summer. You can propose a reasonably useful subset of this functionality as your 2007 GSoC project.

Mentor: bbyak

Native EPS and/or PDF Import

While SVG is becoming a common format for exchanging data between graphics programs, EPS and PDF are still much more common. Inkscape's current EPS import is flakey, based on 3rd party software, and poorly maintained. The goal is to give Inkscape native EPS and/or PDF import capability.

Where the code can be borrowed from:

  • For EPS: Scribus' EPS Import Library
  • For PDF: poppler library
  • For both: Ghostscript (though it may be too heavy for us)

The student needs to evaluate these (or other) possibilities, lay out a plan, and implement a native importer in Inkscape, either using an external lib to link to, or just importing the necessary code directly into Inkscape tree (as we did for Potrace). The end result will be Inkscape being able to correctly import a reasonable majority of EPS and/or PDF files in the wild (we can agree on a more formal conformance test if this idea interests anyone).

Mentor: ???


A common staple of technical drawing is edge rounding, or filleting. While this is a fairly basic drafting task, it's currently not particularly easy to do in Inkscape except for certain cases such as round cornered rectangles. This tool would allow selection of two line segments and creation of a curve of a given radius connecting them. It should also permit creation of chamfers, which are flattened edges at suitable angles.

Mentor: Bryce

Fractal Line

One of the applications for SVG is mapmaking. Maps involve lots of irregular shapes - coastlines, forest boundaries, rivers, etc. Unfortunately, lines with many segments make for large files and slow renders. An idea is to allow for creation of line segments with randomized irregularity. A path could be composed of multiple segments, some of which are fractals, while others are smooth or straight. Controls for this kind of line would include the frequency and amplitude of randomness. Some care would need to be taken in how this is represented in the file output since fractal lines are not directly provided for in the SVG spec, so mechanisms to approximate the fractal in plain line segments would be needed. For instance, see Adaptive Level of Detail in SVG.

Mentor: Bryce

Inkboard Portability

Last year we had a successful project to integrate the SVG online whiteboard capability, called Inkboard, into Inkscape. Unfortunately, it does not work on Windows, so many users are missing out on this capability.

This work may involve formalizing and extending the Inkboard communication protocol and working on the INKBOARD_PEDRO branch)

Mentor: Ted

New Grids

Inkscape currently has square grids that can be snapped to. Extend this to allow other kinds of grids: Perspective, hex, iso, etc.

This will involve modifying the grid code to support the ability to have multiple kinds of grids, implementing at least 3 new grids, and adding the UI elements to allow users to make use of them.

Requests in tracker:

Mentor: TBD

SVG Filters UI

Filters are a very important SVG capability.

Inkscape has basic support for filters in general thanks to a couple GSoC students' work last year, and more or less complete support for Gaussian Blur. What is needed: (1) adding support for more filters and making sure they work well in combination; (2) designing a UI that will be able to create, view, and modify arbitrarily complex filter stacks.

Mentor: Bulia

Adding bitmap capabilities to Inkscape

While the purpose of Inkscape is to be a vector editor, design in the real world requires dealing with bitmaps too. Inkscape can import the bitmaps, and have them as full canvas objects, but there is no significant bitmap operations in Inkscape. While there is no reason for Inkscape to replicate the functionality of The GIMP, it would be desirable to have a few simple operations available from Inkscape.

This project will use the Inkscape extensions system to add a series of bitmap effects. The majority of the effects will be achieved through the integration of the ImageMagick bitmap handling libraries. GIMP may be another source. These effects can then be run on bitmap graphics within Inkscape.

The work should be encapsulated in such a way that in theory, other vector graphics applications (such as Xara), could also use the work. However, for the scope of this project we only require demonstration of the capabilities in Inkscape.

Project Timeline:

  • Implement first effect. This involves building Inkscape, linking in ImageMagick and getting one effect written (6 weeks)
  • Implement remaining effects within ImageMagick (3 weeks)
  • Build a test suite for operations and complete all Doxygen documentation of code (3 weeks)

Mentor: Ted

Inkscape / GIMP Bitmap Editing Integration

Currently, you can embed raster/bitmap images into Inkscape drawings, but editing them is a bit of a hassle because Inkscape isn't really "aware" of external bitmap editing tools.

This project would seek to correct this by modifying inkscape's image embedding code to interoperate more directly with external bitmap programs. For instance, there would be an "open external editor" command that could be used when one or more bitmap images are selected. Another idea would be to include some common bitmap modification commands from the external program, that can be run entirely within Inkscape. A third idea is drag and drop of selections from the bitmap editor to Inkscape, and SVG selections from Inkscape to the bitmap tool.

As a proof of concept, the result should demonstrate this interoperability with GIMP and/or GeGL. Note that the code should be developed such that in theory it should work with any bitmap editor, but we would only require demonstration of working with GIMP.

Also see:

Mentor: TBD

Text Tool Improvements

Inkscape's text tool is handy, but still lacks many of the niceties that users would like. This project would seek to address this by implementing various improvements that users have requested.

Some ideas for improvements:

  • Make flowed text respect the default style of the text tool (a simple bugfix)
  • When flowing a text which already contains line breaks, provide a way for the line breaks to be conserved
  • When the style selected in the the Text and Font dialog is applied it erases any other style applied to some part of the text (like italics on some words, bold on others...), it would also be better to keep them where appropriate.
  • Support text-decoration (underline, overline, line-through)
  • Better respect different faces of fonts (Light, Book, Normal, Black etc.)
  • Support justified text - might be some subset of those proposed at; see also as a possible starting point.
  • Search through the Inkscape RFE list for other text and font improvement ideas

See also:

Mentor: TBD

Color Adjustment Dialog

Currently, it is possible to select, say, 12 objects in the drawing and set them to the same color/gradient/pattern. This project would go a step further, allowing multiple objects of differing color to have aspects of their color (such as brightness/contrast, HSL, etc.) altered, and to operate on vector objects with different fill styles (flat, gradient, or pattern fills), and to bitmaps.

Note: in 0.45, we have a set of extension effects that do this. But they are clumsy and slow. We need this to be in the core of the program with a good interactive UI.

Mentor: Bulia

SVG fonts support

We need SVG font support in order to be able to claim SVG Tiny support. While the occurrence of SVG fonts in the wild seems to be pretty low, we will benefit from this by being able to embed fonts and thus ensure rendering of text without converting it to paths.

Mentor: ???

External CSS Support

Inkscape currently has good support for inline CSS, and limited read-only support for an internal stylesheet in a <style> element, and no support for external stylesheets. Support for editing non-inline CSS would allow better expressiveness and adaptation, and smaller SVG files, and better support for SVG generated by other programs that use non-inline CSS.

Mentor: Peter Moulder

Multi-page Support

An oft-requested feature is for Inkscape to support multi-page editing. Currently, an Inkscape document is set to correspond to 1 printed page. However, the SVG specification includes support for multi-page documents, and lots of people would like to have this capability in Inkscape as well.

This project would involve several steps: 1) Add internal support for reading and writing SVG's <pageSet> and <page> elements. 2) When editing a pageSet, create the visual page frames for each <page>. 3) When exporting to Postscript, have it export each <page> as a separate page in the Postscript file.

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