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Paint Bucket Tool
ryan lerch, ryanlerch at gmail dot com
This tutorial covers the use of the Paint Bucket tool and it's options. The paint bucket tool was an addition to Inkscape in release 0.46.
The paint bucket tool allows a fully bounded area to be quickly traced and generates a path that "fills in" that area. This tool is especially useful when "inking" line drawings; On the following example (it is one path that was traced from a bitmap) try using the paint bucket tool to fill in his hair and his face:
After using the paint bucket tool to "fill" the hair and the face, the result should look something like this:
The drawing now has 3 paths (the original, the path of the hair color and the path of the face color.) It is important to note that the paint bucket does not change the fill property of any object in the document, it merely creates a new path to represent the "fill".
How the paint bucket tool works
the majority of this text was taken from the release notes...
The paint bucket tool works by performing a bitmap-based flood fill on a rendered version of the visible canvas it then traces the resulting fill and places the traced path into the document.
It is important to note that the tool is perceptual, not geometric. That is, when looking for the boundaries around the point you clicked, it takes for such boundaries any visible color changes. This means that filling will stop at gradients, blurs, and even the color boundaries in imported bitmaps, but will ignore any paths or other objects that are fully (or almost) transparent or for any other reason do not stand out from the background.
Using the paint bucket tool
this text was taken from the release notes...
- Single click performs filling from the click point.
- Shift+click performs filling from the click point and then unions the resulting path with the selected path. This way, if your first attempt did not fill in all of the desired area, you can Shift+click the remaining corner to fill it in separately and combine the result with the result of the previous fill.
- Ctrl+click on an object simply changes that object's fill to the current fill color of the tool, and Shift+Ctrl+click changes the stroke to the current stroke color.
- Click and drag performs filling from all of the points that you pass while dragging (you will see your path visualized by a red line). From each point, the fill spreads to the neighbors with the colors similar to that point - in other words, it's like clicking with this tool at each point of the drag path and unioning the results. This lets you easily fill an area occupied by a gradient or blur - just drag from the darkest to the lightest points in the area you want to fill.
- Alt+click and drag works similarly to simple drag, except from each point of the drag path, the fill spreads to the neighbors (if any) with the colors similar to the initial point (the point where you started the drag). This lets you fill a series of similarly-colored yet separated areas (for example, multiple cells in a cartoon) by starting the drag in one of those areas, and alt+dragging the tool through all the other areas.
Paint Bucket's controls bar options
There are several options that allow the use of the paint bucket to be refined. Below is a screen shot of the tool's options that are displayed in the control bar.
- Color Channels
- Grow/Shrink amount
- Grow/Shrink units
- Auto Gap setting
- Reset to defaults
- Style swatch