Monday, 26 May 2014

Text along a circle

There are several ways how to put text on a curved path.

One is using the build in Gimp feature of 'Text along path'.
For a description look here: Gimp Manual

An alternative is ofnuts' excellent 'Text-Along-Path' python plug-in, 
which has a ton more options.

You can find the description here: Plug-in Manual

and download it here: Download

on Windows, put it in your:
C → User → gimp-2.8 → plug-ins folder


Another good way of putting text on a path is using Inkscape.
You can edit and scale the text a lot easier than in Gimp !

PhotoAdvanced2 on Youtube has a good tutorial on that topic:

and this one, by VscorpianC is even better:

01. I start with a canvas of 400x400px and guides at 50% horizontally and vertically.

EDIT 2016: choosing a 400x400px canvas was a huge mistake. 
Never, i repeat, never work with such small dimensions !

I used this canvas size because it looks good for the tutorial format but it can also easily give you jaggy edges on the finer details of your text.

So be warned and use a canvas of at least 800px or bigger for your work.

02. Create a circular selection, starting at the crossing of your guides.
Make sure you have  'Expand From Centre' and 'Fixed' ticked in the Tool Options.

02. Convert the selection to a path, then deselect.

03. In your paths tab, left click on your circle-path, go to Tools and then 'Text Along Path'.

Type your text and make sure you have the right options activated.

04. Call up the Rotate-Tool and make sure its set to path.

05. Create a new transparent layer, call up a selection from the text-path and fill it with a colour of your choice. Then deselect !
Also turn off the text-path

06. Call up the Flip Tool, make sure its set to path and flip the circular path horizontally.
It may seem nothing has changed, but the effect will be clear in the next step.

07. Call up the 'Text Along Path' plug-in and type something else.

08. Fill the selected path with colour, then deselect and turn off all paths.

09. Make a circular selection from the center of the page, fill it on a new transparent layer with a colour of your choice, then shrink the circular selection and cut.

10. I added a dropshadow to the text and a bevel.

11. Applied a 'New from visible' to the text and bevel-layers (or choose merge down in the bevel dialogue before you click okay), then made the text more shiny with a curve.
Also filled the background with a slate pattern.

12. To finish this project, i added Noise (G'MIC -> Degradations -> Noise [additive]) and a stroke to the red ring, plus a subtle dropshadow.

That concludes this tutorial.
Thank you !

Monday, 12 May 2014

Meander, an Inkscape Tutorial

Meander were common decorative elements in ancient greek and roman art.
In this tutorial i will show you how to build your own meander pattern in Inkscape.

I also posted the tutorial on InkscapeForum, so if you are interested in reading what people thought of it, and came up with different approaches, click the red link.

1. Set up your document properties: im using the default A4 page size.
For this tutorial we will need a grid with a spacing of 10 x10 px.

2. Start with a circle 500x500px, with no Fill and a Stroke of 1px.
Align this object to the center of your page.

3. Next we will create the pattern for our meander.
Turn on your Grid and zoom in.
Make sure Snapping is enabled. We will also need 'Snap bounding box corners', 'Snap nodes or handles' and 'Snap to grids'.
Start with a rectangle 70x10px, convert it to a path and from there, duplicate, rotate and adjust the length of this base-rectangle to construct the meander-pattern, as you see in the diagram.

4. When you are done, select all rectangles except for the bottom and the top one, and then do a Union (CTRL and +).

5. Next, remove the fill of the two rectangles in red, so they sort of become invisible. These objects act as placeholders.

6. Group the pattern. Then turn off the grid.

7. Select the pattern and the circle, then go to:
'Extensions → Generate from path → Pattern along path'.
(make sure the pattern is on top in the z-order)

Adjust the 'Normal Offset' until the pattern sits on top of the circle.

8. Duplicate your path and scale it, so it touches the top of our pattern along the circle.

9. And finally adjust the Stroke size of your circles to finish your meander pattern.

The increase of the stroke size will make the circle cut into the pattern. So you will have to adjust the circlesize afterwards.
When you hold down CTRL and Shift, the circle will stay perfectly round and shrink/grow from the center.

It took me quite a bit of experimentation till i got the meander the way i wanted it.
I tried tiled clones and a different pattern.
One that had no invisible placeholders. Here you can see what it looks like:

Here is another example with a different pattern:

Friday, 9 May 2014

Nineties Kung-Fu Buzzsawblade

Made the shapes in Inkscape by live editing tiled clones until i got this result.
Bevelled and chromed with Gimp.