Hello, I wrote most of this into Kedit shortly after doing a project a few weeks ago; I wanted to capture things while fresh in my mind. I found this wiki much later and so I resolved to post what I had written, somehow. I am not sure where to put it, so I have used this user page for the job. I will advertise this somewhere, just not sure where yet.
- I found your page by chance - hope you don't mind if I add some answers here :) --bb
- No worries, glad to have some input!
Please forgive any missteps on my part, this is my first post to an online wiki.
My intention with this is to express my thoughts as I was working and then to express my wishes about what the software could do. It's not about flames. I really like Inkscape, it's already better than the last time I tried Corel (version 8, I think) and it's just about at Freehand 7 level which is amazing considering the price!
I also know the whole "If you want it, code it yourself" argument, and this is not about shifting the burden to someone else. Employ these suggestions or don't, I will help where I can. If this list starts some discussion then that will be more than I expected.
I also appreciate that the stuff I experience may be due to the way that Inkscape has been compiled for my Distro. I still have not managed to compile it myself due to the large number of deps. I tried, but Cairo kinda killed my enthusiasm - it's just not gonna happen on Fedora 3.
One last disclaimer - I don't propose to be an expert. I am sure there is loads of stuff that I simply don't know about and by knowing could solve some of these problems!
My working setup
I use Linux - Fedora Core 3 at the moment. My machine is 10 years old by now, an old AMD 1Ghz and I have 1 gig of RAM and various IDE drives poking out of a very old case. Money is tight, no Apples in sight and never have been ;)
Inkscape (4.3), Gimp and Quanta are my main tools. I will delve into Blender now and again and use sundry tools to get other stuff done.
Mixed suggestions and hopeful ideas
Here is the big mixture of observations and ideas:-
- I would love a way to place guides on the four edges of a page automatically. Those page borders are too bold sometimes, I like to hide them but then I must manually drag guides and place them - a drag (literally)!
- good idea, could you please file a RFE?
- I will. It could also be a python script in "Effects" I suppose.
- I worked with a trace from a bitmap that had ~700 nodes. Inkscape simply stopped. The cpu was at 99% everytime I clicked something and it stayed like that for minutes at a time. I suspect that there is some slow code involved with nodes and the like. The rule is keep your nodes below 100 and that means: do not actually use trace. Do not actually create complex images. C'mon.
- current svn is slightly better for this, but the real improvement will come from a new renderer (Xara or Cairo)
- Ah, right.
- Strokes - I needed a way for the stroke to be created underneath or above the shape. I had to convert strokes to shapes (nice that it can do that) and muck about with scaling etc to handle some tweaking on the logo.
- SVG has no other options for stroke placement, so this is indeed the only way.
- A pity that.
- The eye-dropper. I would like it to pick-up the colour optionally including the alphaness of the colour. Sometimes I actually want to know that exact rgba colour, not the rgb approx that assumes the alpha is ff. (If that makes any sense.)
- that's exactly how it works, did you notice the toggle button in the toolbar?
- Brilliant! I missed that. Thanks :D
- Fills. I love the gradient fills. I love the powerful way that alpha is used (in normal fills as well). I wish there was a better way to edit those fills. The current method is too pokey. Why not lay-out the gradient and have little markers that allow direct control of the fill. Check out how Blender does it. Oh yeah, let me name my blends or - better - just show me a picture of the blend. I can't groove to names like: LinearGradient2182. Ouch.
- looks like you have a very old inkscape - the on-screen editing of gradients as you describe it is there since 0.42
- Well, I have version 0.43 and when you click "edit" you get another dialog which has pulldowns for the gradient stops. It's hard to use that dialog. A simple image of the gradient with little triangles to allow direct manipulation of the colours and stop would be better, this is what I meant.
- that dialog is needed only for gradients with >2 stops, which are not often needed. for commonly used 2-stop gradients everything is doable on canvas: drag handles, or assign color/opacity to them as you would to an object.
- Stamping. I like that it's there. The way it's done is too sensitive. I click and start a drag, I press SPACE and continue the drag, suddenly I have dozens of copies of the shape.
- but when you type text, you don't have problems leaving just one space between words, right? this is no different.
- Well, I am not holding the mouse button down when I type! I find the act of keeping the mouse dead-still while quickly hitting space to be too hard to do. It's too sensitive.
- sorry i still fail to see the problem :) i think it's just a matter of getting used.
- Stamping. It should be one copy per press of space.
- and it is.
- Not when you hold space down for a millisecond too long and move the mouse some...
- Another important thing: When I drag and then stamp, the original object should be left where the drag began.
- no. it leaves is where you pressed space. sounds logical to me.
- Think about it this way: You have a flower-petal, in the correct position. Now you want to make a copy of it. So you select the petal, you drag it to the new position and hit stamp. The way it is now, the original petal is being dragged, there is a copy at the new position, but the petal is no longer at it's first position. You are forced to go back and drop the dragged petal back where it came from. There already is the concept of "cancelling" a move. This leaves the original object where it started (because this could have been a very careful positioning) when you hit ESC. Likewise, when you hit stamp it should 'know' that you are now stamping and so leave a copy at the original location.
- just press ctrl+d or alt+d before starting to drag :)
- A way to duplicate objects along a path. Perhaps a way to morph them to another shape at the same time. I know there is a plugin for morphing, but not along a path.
- we have an rfe on that, so in due course this will be added.
- A way to restore a bitmap (or any imported shape) to it's original dimensions after successive rotations and deformations.
- open Transform, go to Matrix, "edit current", Clear.
- Okay, thanks. Might I suggest that those are not intuitive steps and normal joes (like me) get scared by words like "Matrix"! What about an option in context menu (and/or Edit menu) called "Reset Transformations"?
- i think it's too a specialized need to deserve a command of its own. besides it does not always work as the user would expect, because some transforms are embedded and not cancellable - this depends on transform type, object type, and a user setting. so, the matrix clearing at least does exactly what it says it does, not pretending to be something more generic than it is.
- Import - Why can't I drop-in a Gimp XCF file? I have to go and make a special PNG (or jpg) of it (file clutter) just so I can get it into Inkscape. The Gimp can handle SVG...
- i think Aaron Spike recently worked on something related to XCF, like an import extension. you may want to ask on the dev list.
General speed. I use the same machine that I used to use for Freehand 8, 9 and 10. Freehand flies. Zap, zap, zap. This machine now has 1 gig of RAM and runs Linux. Inkscape acts like a snail on superglue, well, okay, it's a turn of phrase. I appreciate that this may be due to my distro's (Fedora 3) way of compiling GTK and Inkscape. Slow things:
- Dragging objects around.
- Dragging the canvas around.
- Toolboxes: Opening them and when you drag them over the canvas - there is a black flash of redraw.
- Using toolboxes: The colour sliders are terrible - they redraw visibly while you are dragging!
- Lots of nodes: The superglue hardens and the snail dies. Eek.
- try current svn, it's a bit speedier
- I am forced to wait for RPM's on my distro. This sucks a little. Perhaps I will try climbing Mount Compilation once again, although with Inkscape I never get past the base-camp!
- A way to "paste inside". This is a "biggy". It's essential to be able to quickly clip shapes into other shapes.
- added in svn.
- Dance Of Joy :-D
- On the subject of "patterns" - it's hard to make a pattern fill "sit" inside a shape properly. It would be great if we could set the spacing between the repeated pattern; sort-of like css padding.
- planned to add.
- And here I thought I was being pushy! :)
- I had trouble converting vector shapes to patterns. Weird stuff, hard to explain. Large vectors (large scale, not complexity) would simply corrupt as a pattern.
- please file a bug with that file attached
- I will try to find the original file.
- When you have a PNG with an alpha channel and you convert it to a pattern, there is a visible outline where the alpha ends; a kind of ragged edge.
- known problem, maybe a new renderer will be better in this respect
- Inkscape really needs an "outline view". Things like paths that I put text onto usually have no stroke, after some hours of work I cannot recall where those paths are.
- added in svn
- Oh yeah, when you select many objects and move them (or scale them), the paths that you had text put onto sort of move in a strange relative way, not like you would expect. They sort-of lag behind and depending how far you drag, they can be waaaaay off the page after a bit.
- don't see that, again, please file a bug with example file and detailed steps to reproduce
- I have three bugs to file so far. It will take me some time to reproduce them and then describe it all. I will get onto it as soon as I can.
- ideally you should test with current svn before submitting, but we will also accept bugs against 0.43
- Putting text onto paths is great. Getting text onto a path in the way you want it to, is hell. I needed a phrase along the top of a circle and then another few words at the bottom, but those had to be wrapped on the inside of the bottom of the circle, so that they read correctly (not upside-down). The only way I could solve my problem was to cut a curve out of a duplicate of the path and wrap the text to that and then move it around with ALT and F2 (node tool). It was messy.
- None so far.
- The first thing is that I would love to see previews of the fonts in that list. Not the preview at the bottom which is no good if you happen to have small-sized text, but a pre-rendered, fixed-size (legible) preview in the actual list (like Gimp does it.).
- just no one coded it yet
- Is there a place on this wiki (or elsewhere) that users can go and add little tweaks wished-for?
- The other thing is kerning. I would love to kern my entire text from the dialog. I love the ALT+arrow keys for tweaking, but en-mass is handy.
- "kern entire text" is called letterspacing, use the alt+<> keys in text tool for that
- Would be cool : Is there a way to get Inkscape to re-scan the various system font-folders without restarting? This way I can install new fonts and have Inkscape pick them up sans closing the whole thing down and re-starting it! That would kick bottom since (last I used them) neither Corel nor Freehand could do it.
- it's pango/freetype area, we just use what they give us
- Okay, brain shutting down now. I can't see why the buffers cannot be flushed, variables reset and pango told to kindly goto line 1, but I don't code C at the best of times!
- A way to "reset" fonts to remove all their distortions, scalings etc.
- see above on removing transform matrix, and for removing kerning there's a special command
- Cool. Please refer to last comments about making a simpler menu entry for this.
- I was sure that I was able to do this in earlier versions, but: When I select an object (or a group of them, whatever - a "selection") and I go to export as a PNG and choose the "selection" type, then I expect it to only export what I have selected.Inkscape is exporting my selection (good) along with a clipped collection of whatever is in the background (bad) - stuff that I have not selected. So - when I have a logo that I want to get into Gimp, I cannot simply select the various bits in-place and export them, I am forced to explode the whole thing into seperate clusters on white-space before I export them. Urgh.
- this was never in the UI. it's only available through the command line currently. we plan to add this option to the UI as well.
- Right. I don't see how the command-line is going to help me export a 'selection since that implies I am in the UI and have selected something....
- you can select an object to export via its id, using --export-id, see man page
- this is the standard behavior of most vector editors, fwiw
- I can't recall, so I'll take your word for it.
- I thought an example would help:
- Scenario: You have a blue square and above it you have a red circle.
- When you select ONLY the circle and choose to export it, you get a PNG that has the red circle, but it has a blue background (the square). It should have a transparent background because you only selected the circle. Ne pas?
- When I try to export (save as) to PDF or PS I have found that it only works when the page is a portrait layout. Anything else exports a clipped portrait version of the document. Most irksome.
- i think there's a bug on that, search the bug database and add your comments and use cases
- I would love to export to JPG/XCF. Also any other supported format like PDF, EPS etc. Even SVG. Why this fixation with Save As?
- because no one coded it yet :)
- Why no way to set PNG compression and other meta info?
- because no one coded it yet :)
- Supersampling option? Some small images are way chunky.
- export uses the exact same renderer as the screen display, and it should remain so. it's the principle of minimum surprise aka wysiwyg.
- Yeah, but it's a nasty surprise when you open the png in gimp and discover that it's illegible... Surely there is room for wywiwyg - what you WANT is what you get? :)
- no, instead we just need an export preview where you can see what you're getting, and just increase resolution if it's not enough
- A way to export each shape in a selection as its own file. A kind of export-explode if you like.
- easy to code by a script via command line export
- Again, how to set a selection of shapes from the command line? Not to mention a command-line being non-intuitive for a task like designing graphics.
- it's very powerful and truly unique among vector editors, a major inkscape advantage :)
- Add an export Only Current Layer option. (With a transparent background please!)
- why not hide all other layers and export that?
- It was a suggestion. Sure your idea would work, but it's slow and gets in the way of the flow. Plus, using the current layer panel - that's a horrible idea!
- again, this might be added to the layer dialog when it's done
- I would really like to see a way to export slices like Fireworks does. Draw stuff, any combination of layers, groups, images, vectors, text. Then drag guides around and have a way to select "slices", name them and export them.
- easy to do via transparent rects on a layer of their own. Or, we even have an extension for that, try it out.
- I see what you mean about the recs. Cool. I did not see the extension - I will go and look. Thanks.
- I am really happy that they are now there. Really. Could we work on that horrible layer control? I would not mind a layer toolbar at the bottom where I then click around and hide/show/drag to arrange etc. and it goes away when I mouse-out (or re-click the button, or hit esc).
- sure, just join us and help us code a real layer dialog!
- Again, a suggestion. Perhaps harshly worded.I do not intend to disparage the efforts of the coders - not at all. I would not be useful as a coder, it would take me years to catch-up to your level of knowledge!
- Have a little "export this layer" thingum. (Same as mentioned in Export section. Another way to do the same thing. A shortcut.)
- None as yet.
- Mega-wish: Drop-shadows and other Fireworksification. Why should Inkscape not blur the line between pixel and vector? I really hate working with the Gimp. It's true. It just plain gets in my way all the time. Inkscape has a freedom of movement, a zoom-in zoom-out pan-around rotate-this scale-that paridigm that places foot upon bottom. Why not go all the way and let me shade edges and glow logos and fill with cool textures?
- because no one coded it yet. but we may have it relatively soon.
- that's the plan, eventually :)
- Wow - that will be a great day!
- Super-crazy-OSS-thought: Transfer Inkscape 100% to Open-GL
- if we switch to cairo, it has a hardware accelerated backend.
- I can't wait.
- Interact with Blender. I can now have 3D layers with full scenes from a Blender file in them. I can rotate, scale the 3D stuff and then over/underlay that with normal Inkscape stuff. Cmon! Do it! Okay, </dream>
- i think blender can import svg now
- Last I tried it kinda munged it, but it was a while back.
- On the Blender thought-trail: I love the way nodes work in Blender. It's weird, but dig this: You can select two nodes and hit "s" (for scale) and then when you move the mouse (not even a drag) it "scales" the two nodes.
- same in inkscape, just select nodes and press alt+><, or alt+ to rotate
- Ah man! I'm in love! Wow. Thanks again :D
- Flame idea: Please start a QT version of Inkscape. I understand that the QT licence has really loosened-up and you can distribute to Windows etc now too. QT is (in my experience of about 4 distros) much snappier than GTK. Whoa! Put down that club. Drop that brick! You know it's so. Deep inside your heart, at midnight, you mutter the secret words; "Damn I wish GTK was as fast as QT." :) <-- smiley to demonstrate peace and humour. Now let me get back to my KDE desktop! :D :D
- no, not at all. the toolkit is irrelevant. its effect on speed is negligible. 99% of inkscape slowness is in the renderer, not toolkit.
- I will accept your word. My own experience (on mainly Red-Hat/Fedora) is that Gnome (in my mind that = GTK) is very very very slow. I always switch to KDE and then all is fine and snappy. This has kind-of burned into my head the idea that QT is somehow faster than GTK. This is a mere impression of a user, please ignore.
I hope this is a good list of suggestions and observations.
I really love the idea of combining Inkscape, Gimp and Scribus and having a mega-design-app that will do anything and everything you can imagine. Heck, let's toss 3D in there too!
Well, the dreams aside, I hope there is some chance of small fixes to an already highly useable and useful application. Way to go Inkscape!