Friday, 15 December 2017

The Diamond Shaped Gradient

In this tutorial im gonna show you how to make a gradient made of diamond shapes in Inkscape with the power of tiled clones.

Get the latest version of Inkscape (0.92.2) to make sure you have all the bugfixes !

I will use this effect to create a wallpaper for my desktop, so before we can start, i have to find out the resolution of my screen. In Windows you can do that by right clicking on the Desktop.

In my case the resolution is 1920x1080px.

Open the Document Properties (Ctrl + Shift + D).
Type in the correct pixelvalues for the canvas.
Remove the border shadow.
We will be working with white objects, so to make sure they will be visible, i change the backgroundcolor to something other than transparent and white, in my case: #d2e2e200.

Draw a rectangle and with the help of snapping make sure it fits exactly into the canvas borders.
Go to Object → Objects to Guides (Shift + G).

Draw a perfect square with the help of Ctrl and Shift.
Convert it into a path (Ctrl + Shift + C), select all four nodes with the Node Tool and hit the plus so that we end up with 8 nodes.

Make sure the aspect ratio is locked.

Now open the Transform Dialogue (Ctrl + Shift + M) and rotate by 45° to get a diamond shape.

Next we need to perform a bit of math.
I want my canvas filled with eight rows of diamonds on top of each other, so we have to divide the height by 8.

1080 / 8 = 135

Type this number into the sizecontrols of the Select Tool.

Open the Fill & Stroke Dialogue (Ctrl + Shift + L) and change the Fill of the diamond to 'Unset'.
It will turn the diamond black.

Now go to Edit → Clone – Create Tiled Clones and click the Reset button to make sure we start with a „blank“ Dialogue.

I want eight rows.
No pure black or white shapes and double that number of Rows because our gradient has an offset.

8 Rows + 1,5 for the Extra Colours x 2 for the Offset.

That means 19 Rows.

For the Offset we need a stair effect, which means for each column it has to go down by one square.
Thats 100% for the Shift Y Value per Column.

In the Colour Tab, click on the coloured rectangle and set it to pure black (#000000ff).

We want this black diamond to be white at the end of the Row, that means the 100% for the Lightness must be divided by 18 steps to go from black to white at 19 Rows.
So for Lightness type 100/18 = 5,556.

The amount of Columns we have to find out by trial and error - i go with 24 for now.

Before we can click 'Create', we have rotate the diamond back into its square form.
So Rotate the diamond by 45° again, then hit Create in the Tiled Clones Dialogue.

This is what you will get:

Remove the clone that sits on top of our original path and delete it.
Hit Ctrl + A to select everything, then Group.

Rotate this Group by 45°

Now we can align the Group on the canvas area.

Thats the basic effect, but before we can export, we need to do one more thing.
If you zoom in real closely you will see the background shining through the diamond edges.

We will have to perform a little trick that Lazur teached me.

Zoom in on the original diamond and select it inside the group by clicking on the shape while holding down Ctrl (or enter the group through the right-click menu).
Put guides around it and make sure 'Snap to Guides' is active.

Now with the Node Tool drag the middle node to the guides intersection.
Because all our other diamond shapes are still clones, they will follow whatever happens to the parent tile and close the gaps. But because of the z-order, it happens under the „hood“, only visible at the edges.

Leave the group by double clicking on a free space on the canvas.

Make your final adjustments of the group on the canvas, then open the Export Dialogue.
Make sure 'Page' is selected, choose your destination and export.

This is the final result.

Now we import our Diamond Shape Gradient into Gimp and make it better.

Use Colours → Colourise to give it your favorite tint.

A High Pass Filter sharpens the image and enhances the edges.
I used RobA's High Pass Filter, with a Gaussian Blur of 14px, set to 'Grain Merge'.

You can also set up a second Diamond Gradient in Inkscape but this time with a gradient from white to black, instead of the Unset Fill (reset the value in the Tiled Clones Colour Tab to 100%).
Make sure the button 'Move gradient along with the objects' in the Tool Bar is on.
Otherwise your gradient will seem to vanish when you do the Rotation.

Imported into Gimp and put on top of our basic Diamond Gradient and set to Multiply to get rid of the white, it serves as a shading effect.

You can reverse the gradient by inverting the colours if you like.
Dont forget to play with the Opacity !

You can also customise the white to black ratio of the gradient with the Curves Tool.

With these b/w gradient diamonds you dont even have to make new ones in other colours, because you can always use the grayscale image as a layermask to get any colour you like !

Monday, 11 December 2017

Season's Greetings

Starborder made with Pattern along Path in Inkscape, then painted with a soft brush in Gimp.
Diamondpattern background made with tiled clones in Inkscape, processed and filtered in Gimp.
The golden text is a simple gradient with another gradient on repeat for the stroke to make it look shiny.
Made in Inkscape because its more convenient.
Font is called 'Beacon'.

Friday, 8 December 2017

The Need For Gold

December is always the time of year when you are suddenly in need of gold.
Goldtext and golden gradients for christmas and new years eve.
I find gold a lot harder to make than chrome, and there arent many good tutorials online.

Luckily we are in the age of flat design which makes things a bit easier, because we dont have to struggle with complicated texteffects. So no bevels, shadows and glows, just a basic golden texteffect.

With this in mind, it all comes down to gradients once again and we all know Gimp's gradient editor is a bit intimidating.

But fear not, here is an easy tutorial.

Before we can start we have to decide on what kind of gold we want.
Fire up your searchengine of choice and find a goldimage with colours that you like, then open in Gimp.

01. Click on 'Create New Gradient' in the Gradients Dialogue.
The 'Gradient Editor'will pop-up in a new window .
Give your gradient a name and save.

02. Now here's a cool trick not many people know of (although its documented in the manual):
you can drag and drop colours on the little black triangles with your mouse, and add new triangles (called stops) by dragging and dropping a colour into the field where the gradient is displayed.

Theres one thing we have to be a bit careful about: the gradient editor has no Undo function.
So one mistake can mean that you will have to start all over again, if you cant fix it.
This tutorial is so simple that it shouldnt be a problem.

03. Find a base goldcolour and a shadowcolour with the Colourpicker Tool from the goldimage you downloaded from the internet. Drag them on to the left and right triangle stop in the gradient editor.

04. Call up the menu with a right click and replicate the segment by two.

05. Select one segment (Shift will add segments to the selection) and flip it, so that the gradient will be darker at the ends.

06. Adjust the gradient's colours by moving the white triangles. Most of the times its good to have more light than dark.

07. You can also make use of the 'Blending Function For Segments' and change the way the colours blend into each other.

08. Click the save button again and exit the Gradient Editor by clicking the X.
You can go back at any time to your custom gradient and change it with the 'Edit Gradient' button.

Now lets apply our new gradient to a text layer.
Im using the font Yokawerad Medium 150px.

Make sure you have your text in the position you want and before you apply 'Layer To Image Size', create a path by clicking 'Text To Path' with the right click menu.
This will give you a better quality path than converting alpha selected text into a path.
An important detail when we want to add a stroke to our text.

Here you can see the difference: left side (blue) 'Text To Path' is accurate, while on the right side (red) 'Selection To Path' is sligthly rounded and inaccurate.

After you converted the text into a path, apply 'Layer To Imagesize' and lock the Alpha Channel.

Now you can drag the gold gradient on to your text. Make sure you have 'Adaptive Supersampling' ticked, for the best quality gradient.

To add a stroke, we simply stroke the path on a new transparent layer that is behind the text. Dont forget to check the 'Line Style' in the dropdown menu. Some strokes look better with rounded corners.

To make this stroke look shiny, lock the alpha channel on your stroke layer, and drag the same gradient (or a different one) over on Repeat Mode.
The most straightforward is using the 'Sawtooth Wave' for the 'Repeat'.

Of course you can also use a simple FG to BG gradient for the stroke, without making a custom one.

Its important to not make the gradient stroke look too stripey. What you want is a bit of random looking highlights.

So use about half a letter width at 45° angle (hold down Ctrl to restrict angle while dragging the Gradient Tool).

That concludes this tutorial.

As a bonus im adding eight examples of gold gradients i made for you to use as a reference.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

The Wobble

A little something i made after discovering the work of Florian Schommer.

Dotted background made with tiled Clones (a random Shift).
Wobbly outline made with Pattern along Path and some strategic splits of the textpath.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

From The Abyss

Flexing another Lazur technique.

The Navigators from Dune solved the problem of travelling without moving....

Meanwhile Lazur has solved the problem of "moving without distorting". 
You see, 'Pattern Along Path' and 'Bend' unfortunately distort the pattern. But with Markers, you can interpolate the bubbles and 'Bend' the pattern without any distortion. 

No pricey spice was used in this project !