Difference between revisions of "User talk:Davidhewitt"

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== Auto-Scroll that happens automatically... ==
+
== Auto-Scroll whilst creating paths ... ==
Its curious that inkscape already has functionality called autoscroll, but nothing that causes scrolling to happen automatically...
+
* New type of auto scroll useful whilst creating paths/objects.
 
+
* Triggered when the mouse pointer gets with-in a set margin from the edge of the screen. (X pixels).  
Whist not for everyone what i call "proper autoscroll" I.E scrolling that happens automatically when you get to the edge of the screen (whilst creating a path).
 
(Different from the kind of scrolling that happens when you drag an object off the edge of the screen.)
 
 
 
This type of auto scroll aids users when they are creating objects and they hit the edge of the screen... this does exist in some other applications and is loved by many....(hated by others)...
 
  
 
[[Image:autoscroll.png]]
 
[[Image:autoscroll.png]]
 +
(Image is a dialogue from a program with a similar fuction)
  
Here is a dialogue from an application that does have a genuine autoscroll function.
+
=== Parameters ... ===
 
+
*1) trigger margin...(ie the width of the virtual boarder (in pixels) around the edge of the screen that triggers the auto-scroll function.)
A similar autoscroll function that kicks in automatically when the cursor gets close to the edge of the screen whilst creating a path(centering the cursor and scrolling the screen automatically) would be a welcome addition to the fine scrolling options already present in inkscape....
+
*2) Pan Incrament... how far the screen moves in relation to the position of the mouse pointer...I.E pan to center on pointer, pan half way to pointer, or pan past the pointer etc....
 +
*3) weather to reposition the mouse pointer relative to the screen (so as to maintain its position relative to the design....)
  
Generally this autoscroll would have parameters in settings to control various things:
+
This option is to accommodate pen tablets that map the screen directly to the tablet itself...
1) trigger margin...(ie the width of the virtual boarder (in pixels) around the edge of the screen that triggers the auto-scroll function.)
 
2) adjustment... where to move the screen to in relation to the position of the cursor...I.E center new screen position on the position of the cursor when the auto scroll was triggered ETC...half way between center ETC...
 
3) weather to move the mouse pointer so that it remains over the top of the same position relative to the design....or to leave it in the same position relative to the screen itself (this second option is for pen tablets that map the screen directly to the tablet itself)...
 
  
== The Ultimate New Inkscape input tool and the editing architecture necessary to complement it... ==
+
Anyway the effect of this autoscroll is that when the user gets to the edge of the screen, it is usually set to, automatically re-position the scren to center the area where you were when you hit the edge of the screen so you can continue your path....
  
''This new input tool for inkscape is designed to complement the existing tools inkscape already has by providing an new and versatile way of inputting paths, similar to xara,s "shape editor tool".''
+
It can be a little jarring for some people but you quickly get used to this...
 +
I would recommend that an additional option for this function would be a second margin should be able to be defined inside the active area that would be a warning margin..I.E that when you got say between 20-10 pixels from the edge of the screen a warning would happen by way of flashing the cursor once ETC.. and then when you got to with in say 10 pixels (the active area) the autoscroll (re-center) would be executed...
  
''(for those familar with xara).''
+
=== Issues ===
  
''N.B. This is actually stated as being the main input tool for Xara and it is my opinion that once most users try this they will seldom if ever return to using the bezier tool. Simply put this is a must for inkscape.''
+
One main problem with this is that even though the canvas jumps to a new center, the pointer can not because the tablet will keep it at an absolute position. The best that can be done is a standard autoscroll where the motion vector is recorded as the cursor hits the edge/margin of the canvas and the canvas starts to move the opposite of that vector while the cursor stays motionless (or adds slightly to it). [[User:JonCruz|JonCruz]]
  
''This new input method is ideal for use with Spiro as it does not require the user to "click and drag" (to create Beizier handles)in order to produce a "curve node" and in the process shape the resultant curved line segment on the fly ETC......''
+
== New Inkscape input tool... ==
  
''This new method simply employs "Corner Nodes" & "Curve Nodes" only.''
+
* A new input tool for inkscape, similar to xara,s "shape editor tool", the main input tool for xara extreme.
  
[[Image:Spiro input.png]]
+
* Input is with "curve nodes" and "corner nodes"
  
It goes with out saying here that this tool is ideal for accommodating spiro but that different "Maths" could be offered as options...
+
  Input with both types of nodes would be exactly the same as if you were to
(Picture from another app)
+
  laying down a bunch of corner nodes using the pen tool.
 +
  However the "curve nodes" although created like corner nodes would be like
 +
  corner nodes that had been converted to smooth nodes.  
  
 +
* This tool would have a 2Button mode where Left mouse would be for "curve points" and "Right mouse" for "corner points"
  
 +
* Ideal host tool for Spiro: as it is not a Beizier input method.
  
=== How to use it ===
+
[[Image:Spiro input.png]]
Let me explain in a nut shell, how it could work....(not necessarily how it would be implemented but just to illustrate the concept.)
 
  
Think of it as:
 
  
  1) curve points And
+
* An alternative input tool more accurate than sketching with the pencil tool and twice as fast as the beizier tool.
  2) corner points...
 
  
That is all....No bezier handles on input....So you dont need to click and drag to make curved line segments (beizier)...
 
  
It could be as simple as:
+
* Very intuitive: Anyone can use it with virtually no learning curve...
  
  1)Left click= curve points
+
* Excellent tool for tracing accurately if you work off raster art...
  2)Right click= corner points....
 
  
So to use this tool you simply click on it (like any other tool/icon) then:
+
  (Allot of artists like to sketch on paper then scan it in and import the art
 +
  and use this as the basis/framework for their vector design....)
 +
  This tool is very good for this type of work....
  
(L  L L L L L L L L R L L L L L L L R L L L L L R L L L L L R L L L L L R L L L L L L L L R)done....
+
=== Tool synthsis ===
 
+
This new input method would allow the user to incorporate sketch, beizier and Curve/corner input modes for different segments of the same path with out changing tools...
Its the "join the dots" input method....you put down the "dots" (curve or corner points) and the path is the result. No messing around with click and drag... you just click the left mouse (curve points) to place down your nodes.....
+
And the way this would be executed could be tailored in options to suit the user.
Just like a machine gun.... rapid fire....Then to do a corner you don't need to hold any key, down (although this could be an option), convert any nodes, edit any nodes.......you just right click.... one press of a button (what could be easier)
 
 
 
More accurate than sketching with the pencil tool....And twice as fast as the beizier tool....This is a digitizing tool optimised for speed...
 
 
 
I.E it is especially excellent for tracing for anyone who uses raster images for art....But it is so easy to use allot of people will prefer it generally also....
 
 
 
And even though twice as many nodes (or more) are require with this method than would be the case with the bezier method... these can be pumped out as fast as the user can click...and do not require any fussing about with bezier handles or finicky tweaking....
 
 
 
however some node reduction would be required if these paths are to be edited as easily as ones created with the native beizier input.....
 
 
 
So if you really want to understand this tool you must understand that you can not "edit" curve nodes...you can just move them....and to make a more complex curves you don't edit any nodes you just place more down.....
 
 
 
But my proposal takes this into account and has "the best of both worlds"...
 
It has the advantage of this method (ie it is fast) but could easily be reduced down to an optimized beizier path for editing with inkscapes current node reduction functionality....
 
 
 
But for those of you that are familiar with xara their Shape Editor Tool is not perfect and could be improved upon....
 
 
 
(There is no point emulating xara's shortcomings along with their strengths).
 
For example the way corner points are executed in xara nearly always requires some editing to get a sharp corner...
 
 
 
I.E these do not work as they intuitively enough.....
 
 
 
The graphic i included shows how these corner points should work....
 
 
 
iE instantly creating one click corners....
 
 
 
=== Important Points ===
 
It is worth noting here that in order to reproduce complex curves with this method that more curve points have to be employed for complex curves. I.E instead of using beizier to adjust one node more exactly here simply more curve nodes are employed to define the complex curve path with a higher "node density"....
 
 
 
The whole idea behind this tool is different to bezier:
 
With beizier the ethos is: a minimum of nodes each exacting great control over a repetitively large line segment...
 
 
 
Here the ethos is: Many more nodes placed down rapid fire each having a much less impact and overall allot quicker.
 
 
 
 
 
=== Node Reduction ===
 
This type of Curve/Corner node input method is many times faster than beizier as nodes can be placed down as fast as the user can click and no dragging is required to tweak nodes as each node here has a much smaller and localized effect...
 
 
 
In short its a much simpler process and one that can be done allot faster.
 
 
 
It is obvious however that the result is line paths with many more nodes...
 
But with node reduction there is no reason why these paths should be any harder to edit with the beizier method which although much slower to input with is allot better suited to editing....
 
 
 
 
 
=== Input Options ===
 
Normally i would say you could use the Left Mouse to put down curve nodes and you could hold shift to insert a corner nodes...
 
 
 
But I would strongly urge that this tool should have an OPTION (option only as allot of people will hate this otherwise)to allow the Right Mouse to be used to input corner nodes for this tool only...
 
 
 
This way you could use left and right mouse exclusively to enter curve and corner nodes respectively and input paths with-out requiring the keyboard.
 
 
   
 
   
 
 
=== Customization ===
 
=== Customization ===
This new tool should be versatile and very customizable so that it can be tailored to the requirements of the user and to their hardware.
+
* Totally configurable.
 +
All the input options for this tool would available in options and could be configured individually in its options page...so that it could be taylored to a specific input device of to suit personal taste...
 +
For example:
  
And that any of the other input modes currently used in inkscape...
+
  1) Curve node ------> [left mouse].
(Sketch and Beizier) can also be mixed and matched with-in the same tool with-out the need to change from one tool to another....
+
  2) corner node -----> [Hold Shift]+[Left Mouse]
 +
  3) Sketch Segment --> [middle Mouse]-(Click & Drag to sketch)
 +
  4) bezier segment --> [alt] - (active whilst held)
 +
  5) finalize --------> [Right mouse] or [Enter]
 +
  6) node reduce -----> [Hold Shift]-[mouse wheel]
  
The ways in which these other input modes can be accessed should be customizable so that if one has a mouse with many buttons these can be configured to input sketch and beizier segments...
+
OR you could configure any way you wanted I.E another example
This way the user can chop and change the input method as required to suit the circumstances....
 
  
All the input options for this tool would available in options and could be configured individually...
+
  1) Curve node ------> [right mouse]
1) Curve node ----> [left mouse].
+
  2) corner node -----> [Left Mouse]
 
+
  3) Sketch Segment --> [Left Mouse]-[Hold shift]-(Click & Drag to sketch)
2) corner node ----> [Combination]---> [Hold Shift]-[Left Mouse]
+
  4) bezier segment --> [alt] - (active whilst held)
 
+
  5) finalize --------> [Middle mouse]
3) Sketch Segment ----> [middle Mouse]-[Click & Drag to sketch]
+
  6) node reduce -----> [Middle mouse and hold down]-(move mouse to control)
 +
ETC...
  
4) bezier segment ----> [alt] - [active whilst held]
+
This would allow great flexibility to accommodate a wide range of input hardware and also personal preferences.
  
5) finalize -----> Right mouse or Enter.....
 
  
6) node reduce ---) [Combination]---> [Hold Shift]-[mouse wheel]
+
== New Inkscape "Contour FX" Icon & tool bar... ==
 +
=== General description/about this article... ===
  
 +
* A new Tool bar icon for inkscape that brings up tools for various contour effects on the top info bar...
  
OR you could configure any way you wanted I.E
+
  This new icon would activate the active content bar and serve up all contour
 +
  related functionality in one area up on the top tool space.
 +
  This would house some existing inkscape contour functions, introduce new
 +
  functionality and also be the future stage for future contour tools yet to be
 +
  developed.
  
1) Curve node ----> [right mouse].
+
The top row of icons (colored) shows what functions would appear (If this proposal was fully realized) up on the top tool bar when this "Contour FX icon" was activated and the bottom row shows what additional tool options that would appear along with each contour function (colored button) when it was selected.
  
2) corner node ----> [Left Mouse]
+
[[Image:Contour_fx2.png]]
 +
* This article '''does not''' deal with the "standard" contour and Blend tools '''(Shown in PINK)'''as they exist in "Xara Extreme" and "Corel Draw" ETC... As a peek at either one of these apps could give you more and better ideas RE: these functions than i could...(although space for these functions has been reserved: I.E. the two pink icons)
  
3) Sketch Segment ----> [Left Mouse-[Hold shift]-[Click & Drag to sketch]
 
  
4) bezier segment ----> [alt] - [active whilst held]
+
''This article is related more specifically to:'' (the GREEN Buttons)
 +
And also specifically to what additional on screen UI functionality would be introduced to properly operate each function. (More detail later).
  
5) finalize -----> [Middle mouse].....
+
These functions are:
  
6) node reduce ---) [Middle mouse and hold down]-[move mouse to control]
 
  
 +
=== 1) '''Expand/Conract''' ===
 +
This is an Expand or Contract function similar (in capability) to what already exists in inkscape via the "[Ctrl] [(]" & "[Ctrl] [)]" Functions...
  
ETC...
+
  N.B. However a certain "bug" in the way this existing functionality
This is not mandatory but would allow great flexibility to accommodate a wide range of input hardware and also personal preferences....  
+
  currently works would have to be addressed (illustrated below):
 +
  [[Image:ECon.png]]
 +
  Notice how when a shape is reduced and then re-expanded that that
 +
  calculations do not refer back to the original shape.
 +
  The reason why this will need to be fixed will become apparent as this
 +
  article progresses and more elaborate functionality is shown...
  
In addition to this all the settings for this tool could be saved as a txt file that would reside somewhere convienient and users could swap or change the setups ETC......and try different set-ups and compare.... perhaps you would save these as options and then switch between them...
+
This Expand/Contact function would be simply achieved by clicking the appropriate button [Green 1] when an object was selected
  
 +
This would activate the "Special" object handles which would be used to drag in or out to expand or contract the shape as shown...
 +
(In the same way that the xara contour tool is operated.)
 +
Objects could be expanded or contracted in the same way by click dragging any of these special object handles outward or inward respectively.
  
 +
[[Image:Ex_1.png]]
  
=== Tool synthsis ===
+
*'''This expand/contract function would have an "as copy" option...'''
As already touched on in the last point this new input method would allow the user to incorporate sketch, beizier and Curve/corner input modes for different segments of the same path with out changing tools...
+
  Checking this option (a tick box would be sufficient) would create a
And this could be set up and customized to suit the user.
+
  new copy of the source object (in the same position) with the transformation
 +
  applied (when the mouse button was released).
 +
  This copy would be placed on top of the source object for reduction...
 +
  Or just underneath the source object for expansion actions.
  
The main reason for this is that different input methods have different advantages which are best suited to various conditions which can exist with-in the same path....
+
[[Image:Ex_2.png]]
  
for example certain parts of a path might need great precision whilst others may be able to be done super fast with sketch where less precision is required....
+
This image shows how an expansion action with the "as copy" option creates another copy of the source object placed underneath the source (based on the expansion of the source object itself).
  
 +
With this option the copy would be a "free agent" and would not be automatically grouped to the source object.
  
=== Existing Inkscape Tools compared ===
 
LET ME COMPARE the existing inkscape tools with this new one....(my ideas)
 
  
 +
=== 2) '''Contour Exclusion''' ===
 +
*'''This is an exciting new tool for Inkscape!...'''
 +
  This tool operates exactly like a normal expansion or contraction except that
 +
  the Expansion/Contraction action produces a "donut" effect.
 +
  (In the same way as if a new object had been created with the Expansion/Contraction
 +
  and this was then combined with the source object with Exclude function.
  
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
+
[[Image:Ex_3.png]]
  
'Lets take a look at Beizier inputs (Inkscape's existing "Pen" tool)
+
This next image shows the same object with a reduction action applied with this tool.
  
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
+
[[Image:Ex_4.png]]
  
*Beizier can define any line very accurately but inputting this line in the first place both quickly and accurately can be difficult especially for beginners...
+
And a powerful option associated with this tool:
 +
'''"Radial Limit"'''
  
*placing down too many nodes has a stippled effect and sometimes too few can be fiddly to get right...
 
  
*With Beizier (especially for complex lines) it can be very hard to achieve perfect results first time without edits.
+
=== 3) '''Selecting and Resizing Contour Exclusion objects (Externally)''' ===
  
*Beizier takes allot of experience to do well in all circumstances.
+
These objects when clicked on with the normal select tool in inkscape (outside of its own edit mode) these objects have 2 seperate active regions...
  
*Bezier has been reported by many to be notoriously hard to master.
+
1) The Outer-most outline. &
  
*You can get very accurate results with Bezier but not without taking some time to be careful and precise and not always without edits.
+
2) The Inner-most outline.
  
 +
*Clicking on the object normally with the select tool and then resizing will resize it as normal.
  
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
+
'''HOWEVER.'''
  
'Lets take a look at Sketch inputs (Inkscape's existing "Pencil" tool)
+
*Clicking on the object in the middle will actually select the innermost outline...in the same way it would if this inner outline was a separate object.
 +
However this would not be the case....
 +
Then re-sizing the whole object from this inner set of object handles would still re-size the whole object but in such a way that maintained the "thickness" of the "donut".
  
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
+
[[Image:Ex_5.png]]
*The Pencil tool (that sketches) is the fastest tool for creating a path but lacks the accuracy in the process that placing down nodes does...'
 
  
*I.E. You have ample speed with the pencil tool but at the expense of accuracy.''
+
=== 4) '''Tool Specific Resizing of "Contour Exclusion object"''' ===
 +
This image shows how this these objects can be edited in its native environment.
  
*Sketch is blindingly fast and has a great loose free hand feel.
+
  I.E. When the "Contour Exclusion Tool" is active with this object selected...
 
+
  Again There are two sets of object handles but in this case these resize each
*Sketch although fast and easy is not suitable for exacting/accurate work.
+
  outline independantly.
 
+
*Anyone can use the sketch tool but it only has a niche application.
+
[[Image:Ex_6.png]]
 
 
*It would be almost impossible to define a complex line quickly or effectively with a sketch action.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
 
 
 
'Lets take a look at THE NEW PROPOSED INPUT TOOL
 
  
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
 
*Excellent tool for tracing accurately if you work off raster art...
 
(Allot of artists like to sketch on paper then scan it in and import the art and use this as the basis/framework for their vector design....)
 
This tool is very good for this type of work....
 
  
* great for newbies...very very easy to use......and some expert users will even find them selves preferring it...
+
=== 5) '''Radial Limit''' ===
 +
This tool designed to be used with "contour exclusion objects", allows the user to mask out any part of these objects radially.
  
*Anyone can use it with virtually no learning curve...
+
The user simply grabs the large "clock like" handle that appears when this tool is selected and drags this around to mask out an area of the "donut" shape produced whe a "contour excluded object" is created.
  
Its not a replacement for beizier but it has big advantages...
+
This mask can be rotated around in a circle with-out effecting its "arc" thickness by using the little round handles midway down each "clock arm".
  
(i.e. its as easy to use as the pencil tool..... it is just (for a curved path) (....LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL done)
+
Picture (3) in the diagram above shows how the '''"Auto Smooth Ends"''' function works.
  
inserting "R" right clicks for corners.
+
And picture (4)shows how an adjusted arc can be rotated to mask a different part of the shape.
  
*Its allot faster than beizier (no click and drag to slow you down.)
+
N.B ITs worth noting here that even though this tool does behave like it is masking out the object below... it would actually be as if the masked section was a trimmed!
 +
This is VERY VERY VERY important as the real power of this tool lies in is ability to combine with the other tools here...
  
This input method is on average a good deal faster than beizier...
+
So that even though it would appear like masking the result would be like the trimmed section was an object in itself (outside of this tools editing mode).
  
When you get experienced with it is very much like sketching with the pencil tool...
+
This would allow feathering or expansions to be applied to this segment.
  
When you first use it you will find your self deliberately placing down points but as you improve you will find that your actually doing a slow pencil action (like tracing without stopping) moving the mouse whist clicking quickly on the mouse button...
+
[[Image:Ex_7b.png]]
  
(I have found separating these actions out mentally is the best way for beginners to get the gist of this tool and get up to speed on it....)
+
=== 6) '''Feather''' ===
 +
The feather tool would work in much the same way as all the other tools in this series do.
 +
Inside and outside extents of the feather zone are independently adjustable and the extent of the feather can even be expanded beyond the object outline to create a larger object whose UNFEATHERED "inner region is exactly the original outline with the expanded outline being the extent of the blurr.
  
* Its almost like its tailor made for Spiro... as spiro does not use the click and drag action (that beizier does) this type of input tool is required anyway.........
+
[[Image:Ex_8.png]]

Latest revision as of 16:50, 31 March 2009

Auto-Scroll whilst creating paths ...

  • New type of auto scroll useful whilst creating paths/objects.
  • Triggered when the mouse pointer gets with-in a set margin from the edge of the screen. (X pixels).

Autoscroll.png (Image is a dialogue from a program with a similar fuction)

Parameters ...

  • 1) trigger margin...(ie the width of the virtual boarder (in pixels) around the edge of the screen that triggers the auto-scroll function.)
  • 2) Pan Incrament... how far the screen moves in relation to the position of the mouse pointer...I.E pan to center on pointer, pan half way to pointer, or pan past the pointer etc....
  • 3) weather to reposition the mouse pointer relative to the screen (so as to maintain its position relative to the design....)

This option is to accommodate pen tablets that map the screen directly to the tablet itself...

Anyway the effect of this autoscroll is that when the user gets to the edge of the screen, it is usually set to, automatically re-position the scren to center the area where you were when you hit the edge of the screen so you can continue your path....

It can be a little jarring for some people but you quickly get used to this... I would recommend that an additional option for this function would be a second margin should be able to be defined inside the active area that would be a warning margin..I.E that when you got say between 20-10 pixels from the edge of the screen a warning would happen by way of flashing the cursor once ETC.. and then when you got to with in say 10 pixels (the active area) the autoscroll (re-center) would be executed...

Issues

One main problem with this is that even though the canvas jumps to a new center, the pointer can not because the tablet will keep it at an absolute position. The best that can be done is a standard autoscroll where the motion vector is recorded as the cursor hits the edge/margin of the canvas and the canvas starts to move the opposite of that vector while the cursor stays motionless (or adds slightly to it). JonCruz

New Inkscape input tool...

  • A new input tool for inkscape, similar to xara,s "shape editor tool", the main input tool for xara extreme.
  • Input is with "curve nodes" and "corner nodes"
 Input with both types of nodes would be exactly the same as if you were to
 laying down a bunch of corner nodes using the pen tool.
 However the "curve nodes" although created like corner nodes would be like
 corner nodes that had been converted to smooth nodes. 
  • This tool would have a 2Button mode where Left mouse would be for "curve points" and "Right mouse" for "corner points"
  • Ideal host tool for Spiro: as it is not a Beizier input method.

Spiro input.png


  • An alternative input tool more accurate than sketching with the pencil tool and twice as fast as the beizier tool.


  • Very intuitive: Anyone can use it with virtually no learning curve...
  • Excellent tool for tracing accurately if you work off raster art...
 (Allot of artists like to sketch on paper then scan it in and import the art
 and use this as the basis/framework for their vector design....)
 This tool is very good for this type of work....

Tool synthsis

This new input method would allow the user to incorporate sketch, beizier and Curve/corner input modes for different segments of the same path with out changing tools... And the way this would be executed could be tailored in options to suit the user.

Customization

  • Totally configurable.

All the input options for this tool would available in options and could be configured individually in its options page...so that it could be taylored to a specific input device of to suit personal taste... For example:

 1) Curve node ------> [left mouse].
 2) corner node -----> [Hold Shift]+[Left Mouse]
 3) Sketch Segment --> [middle Mouse]-(Click & Drag to sketch)
 4) bezier segment --> [alt] - (active whilst held)
 5) finalize --------> [Right mouse] or [Enter]
 6) node reduce -----> [Hold Shift]-[mouse wheel]

OR you could configure any way you wanted I.E another example

 1) Curve node ------> [right mouse]
 2) corner node -----> [Left Mouse]
 3) Sketch Segment --> [Left Mouse]-[Hold shift]-(Click & Drag to sketch)
 4) bezier segment --> [alt] - (active whilst held)
 5) finalize --------> [Middle mouse]
 6) node reduce -----> [Middle mouse and hold down]-(move mouse to control)

ETC...

This would allow great flexibility to accommodate a wide range of input hardware and also personal preferences.


New Inkscape "Contour FX" Icon & tool bar...

General description/about this article...

  • A new Tool bar icon for inkscape that brings up tools for various contour effects on the top info bar...
 This new icon would activate the active content bar and serve up all contour
 related functionality in one area up on the top tool space.
 This would house some existing inkscape contour functions, introduce new
 functionality and also be the future stage for future contour tools yet to be
 developed.

The top row of icons (colored) shows what functions would appear (If this proposal was fully realized) up on the top tool bar when this "Contour FX icon" was activated and the bottom row shows what additional tool options that would appear along with each contour function (colored button) when it was selected.

Contour fx2.png

  • This article does not deal with the "standard" contour and Blend tools (Shown in PINK)as they exist in "Xara Extreme" and "Corel Draw" ETC... As a peek at either one of these apps could give you more and better ideas RE: these functions than i could...(although space for these functions has been reserved: I.E. the two pink icons)


This article is related more specifically to: (the GREEN Buttons) And also specifically to what additional on screen UI functionality would be introduced to properly operate each function. (More detail later).

These functions are:


1) Expand/Conract

This is an Expand or Contract function similar (in capability) to what already exists in inkscape via the "[Ctrl] [(]" & "[Ctrl] [)]" Functions...

 N.B. However a certain "bug" in the way this existing functionality
 currently works would have to be addressed (illustrated below):
 ECon.png
 Notice how when a shape is reduced and then re-expanded that that
 calculations do not refer back to the original shape.
 The reason why this will need to be fixed will become apparent as this
 article progresses and more elaborate functionality is shown...

This Expand/Contact function would be simply achieved by clicking the appropriate button [Green 1] when an object was selected

This would activate the "Special" object handles which would be used to drag in or out to expand or contract the shape as shown... (In the same way that the xara contour tool is operated.) Objects could be expanded or contracted in the same way by click dragging any of these special object handles outward or inward respectively.

Ex 1.png

  • This expand/contract function would have an "as copy" option...
 Checking this option (a tick box would be sufficient) would create a
 new copy of the source object (in the same position) with the transformation
 applied (when the mouse button was released).
 This copy would be placed on top of the source object for reduction...
 Or just underneath the source object for expansion actions.

Ex 2.png

This image shows how an expansion action with the "as copy" option creates another copy of the source object placed underneath the source (based on the expansion of the source object itself).

With this option the copy would be a "free agent" and would not be automatically grouped to the source object.


2) Contour Exclusion

  • This is an exciting new tool for Inkscape!...
 This tool operates exactly like a normal expansion or contraction except that
 the Expansion/Contraction action produces a "donut" effect.
 (In the same way as if a new object had been created with the Expansion/Contraction
 and this was then combined with the source object with Exclude function.

Ex 3.png

This next image shows the same object with a reduction action applied with this tool.

Ex 4.png

And a powerful option associated with this tool: "Radial Limit"


3) Selecting and Resizing Contour Exclusion objects (Externally)

These objects when clicked on with the normal select tool in inkscape (outside of its own edit mode) these objects have 2 seperate active regions...

1) The Outer-most outline. &

2) The Inner-most outline.

  • Clicking on the object normally with the select tool and then resizing will resize it as normal.

HOWEVER.

  • Clicking on the object in the middle will actually select the innermost outline...in the same way it would if this inner outline was a separate object.

However this would not be the case.... Then re-sizing the whole object from this inner set of object handles would still re-size the whole object but in such a way that maintained the "thickness" of the "donut".

Ex 5.png

4) Tool Specific Resizing of "Contour Exclusion object"

This image shows how this these objects can be edited in its native environment.

 I.E. When the "Contour Exclusion Tool" is active with this object selected...
 Again There are two sets of object handles but in this case these resize each
 outline independantly.

Ex 6.png


5) Radial Limit

This tool designed to be used with "contour exclusion objects", allows the user to mask out any part of these objects radially.

The user simply grabs the large "clock like" handle that appears when this tool is selected and drags this around to mask out an area of the "donut" shape produced whe a "contour excluded object" is created.

This mask can be rotated around in a circle with-out effecting its "arc" thickness by using the little round handles midway down each "clock arm".

Picture (3) in the diagram above shows how the "Auto Smooth Ends" function works.

And picture (4)shows how an adjusted arc can be rotated to mask a different part of the shape.

N.B ITs worth noting here that even though this tool does behave like it is masking out the object below... it would actually be as if the masked section was a trimmed! This is VERY VERY VERY important as the real power of this tool lies in is ability to combine with the other tools here...

So that even though it would appear like masking the result would be like the trimmed section was an object in itself (outside of this tools editing mode).

This would allow feathering or expansions to be applied to this segment.

Ex 7b.png

6) Feather

The feather tool would work in much the same way as all the other tools in this series do. Inside and outside extents of the feather zone are independently adjustable and the extent of the feather can even be expanded beyond the object outline to create a larger object whose UNFEATHERED "inner region is exactly the original outline with the expanded outline being the extent of the blurr.

Ex 8.png