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  1. Software

    Graphics software provide an opportunity for scrollers to create their own scroll saw patterns. Graphics programs can be classified as either vector based or raster based graphics. Most graphics software will focus on one form or the other. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Price will vary among software developers from free community programed software to professional graphics suites.

    If you know of any other software that would benefit scrollers, please post it in the comments section and we'll update the list. Also, please post corrections if you see any misinformation.

    Graphics Software

    Adobe IllustratorMac/PCvectoryes$599
    Adobe PhotoshopMac/PCrasteryes$699
    Adobe Photoshop ElementsMac/PCrasteryes$99
    Affinity DesignerMacvectorna$49.99
    Connected Pattern MakerPCvectoryes$25
    Corel Draw Graphics SuitePCvectoryes$399
    Corel PainterMac/PC rasteryes$99
    Corel Paintshop ProMac/PCvector/rasteryes$39.99
    Coyote Stencil ShopPCrasterno$89
    MS PaintPCrasternaFree
    Photo To Sketch (Standard)PCrasternaFree
    Photo To Sketch (Professional)PCrasterno$29.50
    Photo Plus SEPCrasternaFree
    Photo PlusPCrasterna$89.99

    Other Software
    SketchUpPC/Mac3DnaFree/$495 Pro
    Microsoft WordPC/MacWord Processoryes$229
    Poste RazorPCresizingnaFree
    Rapid ResizerPC/Macresizingyes$39.95

    • Aug 29, 2015 12:10 AM
    • by Travis
  2. Fonts

    There are many font resources on the internet. Although many fonts may be free to download, licensing terms for use of these fonts vary from site to site. Be sure to read the licensing terms before using their fonts.

    Do you have a favorite font site? Post it in the comments and we'll update this list.

    Free Fonts

    Commercial Fonts

    • Apr 03, 2013 02:35 PM
    • by Travis
  3. Clipart & Photos

    Clipart and photographs are often used by pattern designers to create unique patterns for the scroll saw. Be sure to read their Terms Of Use agreement carefully before using any of their images. There may be restrictions that may prohibit you from distributing your patterns. Remember, just because they're free, doesn't mean they don't have a copyright

    Do you have a favorite clipart source? Post it in the comments and we'll update this list.

    Free Clip Art Graphics

    Free Stencil Graphics

    Stencil graphics are clip art that is practically ready to cut. However, they may need a little modification to make them cuttable on the scroll saw. Since these items require very little modification, you may not add those modifications and claim the work your own as derivative work. However, they can be used to make your own cutting and finished projects.Free PhotographsCommercial Clip Art & PhotographsSee Also:

    • Mar 13, 2014 04:17 PM
    • by Travis
  4. Scroll Saw Patterns With Inkscape - L6

    Welcome to Lesson 6 of our Inkscape class. This time we're working with text. Working with text is relatively easy and I'll show you the basics. We won't get into the advanced topics of working with text in this class. But you'll certainly be armed enough to tackle some of your basic word art.

    There will be many times when you work with text. You may want to create some word art or write instructions on your pattern. At the very least, you should be signing your patterns with you name and date so other scrollers can give you credit for the design. Inkscape doesn't have many options regarding text, however. Its a little disappointing because text is a major part of graphic arts. I'd imagine in future updates, you'll have many more options. Regardless, we're still able to do a lot with text in our patterns.

    Text is easy to add to any document. Simply click the Text Tool from the Tool Bar and click in your document. A cursor will show up, and you can begin typing. When you are done, select another tool, and your text will now become an object. You can edit your text the same way as with any other object. You can scale, rotate and skew. Later, you can change the words in your text by simply clicking the Text Tool and clicking your text. A cursor will show up, and you can edit your text accordingly.


    Text Box
    Another option for adding text is by creating a Text Box. Simply choose your Text Tool from the Tool Bar, then click and drag a box. This box becomes a container for your text. Try adding several sentences to your Text Box. You'll notice when you get to the edge of the Text Box, your words will wrap around onto a new line. If the sentences go beyond the bottom of the Text Box, the overflowing words will be hidden. Now try resizing your text box by dragging the small diamond in the lower right corner of the Text Box. You'll notice as you change the size of the box, the word-wrap changes.

    This is a handy tool when creating brochures or any document that requires columns. It is much easier to size the text box to the size you need, rather than formatting the text by hand. You can also use this option if you have assembly instructions for your patterns.


    Font Properties
    When you have your Text Tool selected, you'll notice a bunch of Font Properties that appear in the Options Bar. This works much the same as a word processor. Simply select your text and choose your options. You can choose your font from the pulldown menu, change your size, change justification (left, center, right, or justified), as well as bold and italics. You'll also notice you can make the text vertical or horizontal.


    One quirk I've noticed with Inkscape is that the Font Selection pulldown doesn't always work. More often than not, I have to use the Font Properties popup window. You can find this at the top of your screen in the Tool Bar. The icon looks like the letter 'T.' Clicking this will pop up a window with the exact same options you had in the Options Bar. Make your selection, then click Apply, then close the window.


    Every once in awhile, certain letter pairs look a bit odd when placed next to eachother. There appears to be much more white space than is needed, despite the fact they are properly spaced. Letter pairs such as TA or VA. You can reduce the amount of space between letter pairs by Kerning. Simply place your cursor between a letter pair, hold down your Alt key and use your left or right arrow key. You'll notice the letters begin to nudge closer or further away depending on which arrow key you press. You can also raise (superscript) or lower (subscript) your letters by pressing the arrow key up or down. Kerning gives you creative control over your text without altering the text functions.

    Text To Path
    When creating word art, sometimes you want to have complete control over the letters. Unfortunately, the text tool is rather limited. However, you can take the text you created and turn it into a path. When this happens, you no longer have text that you can change, but rather a shape. But this also affords the luxury of editing the nodes and moving individual elements wherever you want them.

    To turn text into a path, simply select your text with your Selector Tool. Then go to Path>Object To Path. Now you have full control over the nodes and you can edit your new shape any way you want.

    There may be times when you want each individual letter to be separate. To do that, go to Path>Break Apart. This will break apart your object into individual objects. You may notice that some closed letters such as 'a' 'o' 'e' 'd' etc, lose the hole in the center. This didn't really disappear. Remember that Break Apart breaks a complex shape into multiple simple shapes. So the hole in the center is also a shape. To bring those back to what they were before, simply select the letter and the hole and go to Path>Combine. This will combine the two objects into one object. The smaller object will become the hole for the larger object. So now your closed letters are back to their former glory. Now that your word is broken into individual letters, you can now manipulate them any way you want.

    text-to-path.jpg break-apart.jpg

    Text On Path
    This is a fun option you may want to play with. You can make text flow along a path. Using your Bezier Tool in your Tool Box, create a straight line. Then turn that straight line into an 'S' curve with your Node Editing Tool. Select your text (it has to be editable text, not an path like we created in the previous section), then select your path. Choose Text>Put On Path. You'll notice the text now follows the line you just created. If you edit the line, the text will follow suit. If you wish to hide your path, simply choose the path and remove the stroke and fill colors. The path is still there, you just can't see it. If you need to select your path again, use your Tab key to select objects until you find your path.

    One note. When creating a path for your text to follow, it will always place the beginning of the text at the first node of the path. So if you created a path that started on the right side of the screen and ended at the left side of the screen, when you place your text on the path your text will be upside down.

    To fine tune the location of your text on the path, use a combination of spaces and Kerning.


    Play around with the text tool.
    Create some text, turn it into a path, break it apart, combine any closed letters, and start manipulating individual letters to create some word art.

    • Jan 14, 2014 06:32 PM
    • by Travis
  5. Scroll Saw Patterns With Inkscape - L5

    Welcome to Lesson 5 as we learn to use Inkscape to make scroll saw patterns. This time, we’ll be talking about nodes and how to edit them. This could be the most important lesson in the series. We’ll really start to see the power of vector graphics to create scroll saw patterns. If you can get a good feel for node editing, there’s no stopping you!

    What Are Nodes?
    If you remember back to the very first lesson, we discussed the difference between vector graphics and bitmap/raster graphics. I basically said that vector graphics are mathematical representation of an image. This is where nodes come in. An easy way to think of a vector graphic is to think of it as if it was a dot-to-dot puzzle we did as kids. To get to the hidden image in a dot-to-dot puzzle, we’d connect the dots with straight lines in a certain order. In a vector graphic, nodes are those dots. There is a mathematical formula between those two dots which will tell the program where the lines are positioned and whether that line is curved or straight.

    Object To Path
    When working with shapes with special edit options (square, circle, star, text, etc), you’ll have to turn these shapes into a path. This will strip away your special editing options (such as rounding corners, or editing text), but will allow you the freedom to edit the nodes instead. To do this, select your Node Editing tool in the Tool Bar and select your shape. You can click the Convert Selected Object To Path button in the Options Bar and that will convert your shape into a path. You can also convert the object to a path by choosing Path>Object To Path from the menu or by using the keyboard shortcut Shift+Ctrl+C. Now you’re ready to edit nodes.

    Another option that you may want on occasion is to turn the outline or line into a shape you can edit. To do this, you can choose the button Convert Selected Object’s Stroke To Path from the Options Bar. This will change the stroke (outline) into and editable shape. You can also choose Path>Stroke To Path from the menu or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+C.


    Selecting Nodes
    When you have your object selected with your Node Editing tool, you’ll see small diamond shapes at the intersections. These are the nodes. You can select a node by clicking it, and the node will become bold. You can select as many nodes as you want. You can hold down the Shift key and select another node to add to your selection. You can also use your marquee to select multiple nodes. The line between two nodes is called a Segment. By clicking the segment, the two nodes attached to the segment will automatically be selected.

    Moving Nodes
    You can move your selected nodes by dragging the node into the proper place. You can also use the arrow keys to nudge them with a bit more control. If you wish to constrain the movement to the X or Y axis, hold down your Ctrl key while dragging the nodes. Nodes do not have to be next to each other to select and move You can select outside nodes, leaving the nodes in the middle selected. When you move those nodes, the center nodes will remain, but the selected nodes will move to where you want them.


    Adding Nodes
    You can add additional nodes to any segment by simply double-clicking on the segment. If you want to add a node exactly in the center a segment, select the nodes that make up the segment. Then click the Insert New Nodes In The Selected Segments button (looks like a plus sign above a square) from the Options Bar. This will place a node exactly in the center of the chosen segments. You can do this as often as you’d like, and nodes will continue be added to the center of the selected segments.

    Subtracting Nodes
    Removing nodes are about as easy as can be. Select the nodes you wish to remove and hit the Delete key or the Backspace key. You can also click the Delete Selected Nodes button from the Options Bar (looks like a minus above a square).


    Creating A Curve
    Having straight lines between nodes is fine when roughing in the general shape. But you'll soon want to finesse those lines to make them a bit more graceful and flow. You'll be needing to make these straight lines into curved lines. Creating a curve between nodes is simple. Click and drag a segment and you'll notice that the segment begins to curve. You'll also notice two blue lines with circles at the end appear at each of the nodes on either side of the curved segment. These are called Bezier Handles. (If you don't see the Bezier Handles, click the Show Bezier Handles On Selected Nodes button from the Options Bar.) These handles are what control the depth and sharpness of the curve. By clicking and dragging the circle on the Bezier Handle, you can control how the curve behaves on that node. It will take a little playing to get use to using the Bezier controls to get the curve you want. But once you get a feel for it, you'll be able to get the curve to do exactly what you want it to do. Often, I'll drag the segment out to make a curve and try to get the curve to match as close as possible. I'll then use the Bezier Handles to fine tune the curve to get it exactly where I want it.

    curves.jpg bezier-visibility.jpg

    Types Curved Nodes
    When working with curves, you'll be wanting to accomplish different effects. You may want two curves to come together at a point. Other times, you want to be sure that the incoming curve and outgoing curve on a node is smooth. And other times, you'll want the curves to be symmetrical. You can control how a node behaves by clicking one of the node behavior buttons in the Options Bar.


    Make Selected Nodes Corner - This option is intended to allow you to create a sharp corner. While this is absolutely true, the reality is that this option removes all restrictions on that node. You have full control over the Bezier Handles. So you can have each Bezier Handle come in at different angles to create a sharp corner, or you can keep them parallel and have the curve smooth out. This option has the most freedom. However, if you want to insure a smooth transition, one of your other options are better suited.

    Make Selected Nodes Smooth - This option smooths out the transition between the incoming segment and the outgoing segment. You'll notice that when you move one Bezier Handle, the other Bezier Handle is parallel and moves with it. This eliminates a nub where the two segments meet. You'll also notice that the length of the Bezier Handles are independent of each other. One handle can be longer than the other, which allows the depth of the curve to be different from one segment to the adjoining segment.

    Make Selected Nodes Symmetric - This option works much the same way as the previous option. However, this time, the length of the Bezier Handles are the same on both sides of the node. This will create a symmetrical incoming and outgoing curve.

    Adding And Removing Segments
    There are times when an open shape (line drawing) needs to become a closed shape or a closed shape needs to open up to a open shape. We can do that with our segment tools from the Options Bar.

    Break Path At Selected Nodes - This tool will split the path (outline) so that you can separate the paths. It will create two nodes out of one. These nodes will become the beginning/end nodes. You'll notice when you move the nodes apart, there isn't a line connecting these two nodes. Basically you have an open shape (line drawing).


    Split Path Between Two Non-Endpoint Nodes - This is similar to the previous tool. But instead of creating a new node, it will remove the segment between the two nodes. Again, you're left with an open shape (line drawing).


    Join Selected Endnodes with A New Segment - This will add a new segment between two endnodes. If you have an open shape, select the two nodes where there's only one incoming segment (endnode). When you click this button, a straight line will connect these two nodes. You can also use this option to add a segment between two open shapes (line drawings) to create a new open shape.


    Join Selected Endnodes - This works much the same way as the previous tool, however this does not add a new segment. Rather, it moves each endnode equally to meet in the center to become one node. You can use this option to close an open shape, or to join two open shapes into one open shape.


    Find a few pictures or clip art from the internet that are copyright safe. Pick images that you may someday use for your own scroll saw patterns and start building your own personal clip art library. Using your node editing tools, trace your picture. Be sure to use the Bezier Tool in the Tool Box to create simple lines for interior details

    • Jan 14, 2014 06:30 PM
    • by Travis
  6. Scroll Saw Patterns With Inkscape - L4

    Welcome to Lesson 4 as we learn to use Inkscape to create scroll saw patterns. This lesson, we’re going to learn to create complex shapes by using additive and subtractive tools. With these tools, we can take any number of simple shapes to create unique shapes. These tools are found under Path menu. We’ll be discussing Union, Difference, Intersection, Exclusion, Division and Cut Path. We’ll also touch briefly on Combine and Break Apart.


    These tools will play a vital role in creating our scroll saw patterns, so take some time and play with them. On the plus side, using these tools are very easy to understand and explain, so this lesson should go fairly quickly.

    Begin by creating two shapes (square and circle) and place them so they’re overlapping a bit. Make sure they have a fill and stroke color assigned. We’ll use these two shapes to demonstrate how our Path tools work. After testing each of the tools, you may want to undo (Ctrl+Z) the transformation to get back to your original square and circle.


    Union will merge (weld/melt) two objects together to create a single object. Try selecting your square and circle, the choose Path>Union. You’ll now notice the two objects merged into one object. The stroke now goes around the perimeter of the new shape. This is the easiest way to make complex shapes and will be your most used tool in the Paths menu. It is worthwhile to learn the shortcut keys Ctrl++ (hold down the control button and press the plus key).


    Difference is the exact opposite of Union. Instead of merging two objects, one object subtracts from the other. This will use the concept of a cutter. The cutting shape will be the shape on top. Select your square and circle, then choose Path>Difference. You’ll notice that the top object cuts into the object below. Hit Ctl+Z to undo the Difference to get back to your original square and circle. Now change the object order and repeat the process. You’ll now see that you get a completely different shape, based on what shape is your object, and which shape is your cutter. This will be your second most used tool in the Paths menu. It is worthwhile to learn the shortcut keys Ctrl+- (hold down the control button and press the minus key)

    difference-1.jpg difference-2.jpg

    Intersection will take two overlapping objects and leave the overlap area as your new shape. Select your square and circle and choose Path>Intersection. You’ll see immediately that the overlapped area is all that remains from your two objects.


    Exclusion is the exact opposite of Intersection. Instead of leaving the overlapped areas, the overlapped areas will be removed, leaving behind a hole. Select your square and circle and choose Path>Exclusion. You’ll notice the overlapping areas are now a hole, and the remaining parts of your two objects are now one object.


    Division is similar to Difference in the fact that it requires a cutter. Your cutting object is the object on top. This option will take your top object and cut the bottom object where they intersect. Select your square and circle and choose Path>Division. You’ll notice your top (cutter object) disappears. What you’re left with is the same shape as your original bottom object, but now its in two pieces. Select the area where they overlapped and move that cut piece away. You’ll also notice that the cut edge of the cut piece has the same shape as the cutter.

    division-1.jpg division-2.jpg

    Cut Path
    Cut Path works much the same way as Division, but instead of a solid object, it cuts the path (outline) instead. This option also requires the cutter to be on top. Select your square and circle and choose Path>Cut Path. Your bottom object will be converted into a path (outline). Where the two objects intersected, the path will be cut into two paths. With your Selector Tool, move the overlapping path away. Now you have two separate pieces of line art.

    cut-path-1.jpg cut-path-2.jpg

    Combine and Break Apart
    This tool is a little complicated to wrap your head around, but it will play a role when we start editing nodes. We’ll also use these options when working with text so we can work with individual letters.

    Combine will take two objects and make them into one object. Unlike Union, the two shapes still remain. However, the lines of the two shapes now become sub-paths. The advantage of Combine is that you can use your node editor (we’ll be discussion next lesson) and edit the nodes of all the shapes that were combined. When using Combine, your shape specific transformation tools (like rounding square corners) will be lost.

    Break Apart is the opposite of Combine. It will take one object, and separate them into separate pieces. This allows easy manipulation of shapes within the original object without relying on node editing. Once your editing is done, you can select all of your pieces and Combine them once again to make a single object.


    • Try putting together a shape by using each of the Path tools (excluding Combine and Break Apart).
    • Once you have your shape put together, try playing with Combine and Break Apart (Break your shape apart first).

    • Jan 14, 2014 06:28 PM
    • by Travis
  7. Scroll Saw Patterns With Inkscape - L3

    Welcome back to Lesson 3 as we learn to use Inkscape to make scroll saw patterns. This lesson we’ll be aligning our objects. This will play an important role in designing our patterns as we line elements up for symmetry or distribute them equally across our pattern.

    Inkscape offers layers much the same way GIMP does. Each layer can hold any number of elements. The visibility can be toggled on and off and you can lock the layers from being edited. This is a very useful tool if you are working with large and complex graphic art illustrations. However, for our needs, we’ll only use the default layer (layer 1) to put together our designs.

    We won’t be discussing Layers in this class, but if you wanted to play around with them, you’ll find the Layers menu at the top. There you can create new layers, delete them, reorder them, rename them and more.


    You can choose which layer you’re working on at the bottom of the screen. You can also lock the layer, and toggle visibility in this section as well.


    Object Order
    Within a layer, we can have multiple objects. These objects have an order. One object will stack (or cover) another object. By default, the object order depends on the order in which you create them. So your first object will be on the bottom, your second will be on top, and your third object will be on top of all 3. We’ll be needing a way to change this order when we create our patterns.

    Create 3 shapes to experiment with (a square, a circle, and a star). Move each object so that it overlaps the other two. Choose your Selector Tool from the Tool Box and select an object. In the Options Bar, you’ll see an object order selection. By clicking one of these buttons, you can raise or lower your selected object’s order. The first button will send the selected object all the way to the bottom. The next button will move your selected object down one level. So if you want the top object in the middle, you’d select the top object and push this button once. Now it will be in the middle. The next two buttons work the same way, but will raise the selected object instead.

    I prefer using keyboard shortcuts. Page Up and Page Down will raise the object one level above or one below respectively. Home and End will either raise the object to the top level or the bottom level respectively.


    Grouping is a way to organize elements and makes manipulation of those elements easy. When several objects are grouped, those objects act as a single object. When you ungroup them, they become separate objects once again.

    To create a group, select several objects. At the top of your screen in the Tool Bar, you’ll find a Group and Ungroup button. I prefer using the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+G for group and Ctrl+Shift+G for ungroup.

    When you have a group, you can manipulate that group as if it was one object. You can change the fill and stroke color of all of the objects within that group. You can resize and rotate the entire group. Their same relative position remains the same within the group without coming out of alignment. Groups also make it easy to organize elements. Perhaps several shapes will make up a more complicated shape. You can group these objects into one object, then duplicate them for use in another part of your design. Moving the objects and manipulating them as a group will make your life so much easier.


    You can use horizontal and vertical guidelines to line up objects and for reference points. You can add guidelines by moving your mouse into the rulers on the top and left side of your work area and dragging them out. To move an existing guideline, hover over the guideline. When it turns red, it means you can click and drag the guideline to where you need it. If you need the guideline at a specific area, double-click the guideline and a pop-up dialog box appears where you can type in the specific location. To remove a guideline, simply drag the guideline back into the ruler.

    Objects will automatically snap to the guidelines, so you can use them to align objects pretty easily. You can also use a horizontal guideline as a reference for placing objects. If you need to rotate a pattern so that two points meet a horizontal surface for stability (a puzzle, car, or word art), a horizontal guideline is a great reference.


    Align & Distribute
    The Align and Distribute tool will take all the guesswork out of lining up your objects. It will place items in a precise area relative to other objects. You’ll be using this tool constantly. So take some time and get familiar with it.

    To use this tool, click the Align & Distribute button on your Tool Bar. This will pop up a docked dialog box with your options. You’ll notice the Align & Distribute dialog is broken up into 4 sections. The first two sections is where we’ll focus our attention.

    The Align box starts with a pulldown menu next to Relative To:. When aligning objects, you must tell the program what to reference when aligning. You have several options. First Selected and Last Selected refer to an anchor object. This is the object in which the other elements will align themselves to. So if you chose First Selected, the first object you select becomes your anchor object. Likewise, Last Selected, the last object you select becomes your anchor object. We’ll discuss how this works in a moment.

    Biggest and Smallest will choose the object in your selection that is the biggest or smallest (depending on which you chose) as your anchor object. All other items selected will position themselves relative to this anchor object. I’ve never used these options, but in rare occasion, they could prove useful.

    Page is nice when you want to center your pattern on your page before printing. Group your pattern and center on the horizontal and vertical axis. Now you’re ready to print!

    Drawing refers to the entire drawing. This includes elements inside and outside your paper. It figures the perimeter based on objects on the outer edges of all of the elements (top, bottom, left, and right), based on that, it will align your object relative to this calculated perimeter. I’ve never used this option and really don’t see the value. But it is available if the time arises.

    Selection is the option I use most of the time. When you select multiple objects, it will position those objects relative to one another. So if you want to center everything, you select your objects and align to the center. This works especially well when working with small groups of objects.

    Below the Relative To pulldown menu, you’ll see a row of buttons. These are the horizontal alignment buttons. The first button requires an anchor. This is where the Relative To First Selected (or Last Selected) comes into play. First you select your anchor object, then select any other objects you wish to align. When you click this first button, it will align the right side of your objects to the left side of your anchor.

    The next three buttons are pretty straight forward and work similar to word processors. The first button will align all of your selected objects to the left side (left justified). The next button will center all of your selected objects (center). Then we have align all of your selected objects to the right side (right justified).

    The next button is the reverse of the first button that requires an anchor object. But this one will align the left side of your selected objects to the right side of your anchor.

    Finally, the last button is for text only and does not work with objects. This will align all of your selected text objects along the left side.

    The next row of buttons are the same as the ones above, but instead of horizontal alignment, they modify vertical alignment.

    The next box is the Distribute section. This will distribute objects evenly within a selection. To calculate how to distribute your selected objects, you must first have the two outside objects (right and left or top and bottom) in the correct place. All other elements will be distributed relative to these two objects. The first row of buttons distribute objects horizontally. The first button takes the left edge of all the objects and evenly spaces them. The next takes the center of each object and evenly spaces them. The third button takes the right edge of the object and evenly spaces them. The forth button will calculate the gaps between each object and makes them even across your selection. And lastly, the final button is used only for text. This will distribute text objects evenly between two objects, much the same way as objects.

    The next row of buttons are similar to the first, however they distribute vertically instead of horizontally.

    We also have one last row of buttons. The first one will randomize the placement. The second button will distribute the items equally from one-another. I don’t really use this tool, so I’m not familiar with the application. We won't be using them in this class.


    Play with each of these tools until you understand how they work.
    Try designing an American flag. This is a great way to use simple shapes and use what you’ve learned in this lesson. If you do it right, you'll only have to draw 3 shapes; a square, a rectangle and a star. You’ll have to rely on grouping, duplicating and distributing objects to make it look correct. Here's a hint: Duplicate the red rectangle, and change the fill color to white to get your white stripe. Give it a try and see how well you do.


    • Jan 14, 2014 06:35 PM
    • by Travis
  8. Scroll Saw Patterns With Inkscape - L7

    Welcome to Lesson 7. This time, we're actually putting together what we've learned up to this point to design a scroll saw pattern. We will be designing a simple trinket box. Since the lid will have some nice fretwork, you can also use this box to hold potpourri.

    This video demonstrates the entire process. We move fairly fast and don't spend much time teaching you how to use the tools. But everything that I have done in the video (with exception to the Dynamic Offset tool) have already been covered in previous lessons. There is too much information to cover in written instructions, so I've provided a general overview instead. You probably won't understand the written instruction without seeing the video first.

    Create Lid and Base
    The box lid and base will be made of 1/4" material. First we have to come up with a general shape for our box. First, I create a perfect circle. I duplicate that circle, center the two circles vertically and stack them on top of eachother. I group the circles and duplicate them, then rotate them 90 degrees. I group both of these groups, duplicate, then rotate 45 degrees. Now we have a nice shape for our trinket box. I ungroup all of the groups, then union each of the pieces until we have a single shape. Then using the scaling tools, I lock the aspect ratio and make the box 5.4" tall so it will fit nicely on a 1x6" stock. Duplicate this object so we have two copies (1 lid, 1 base).

    Create Box Walls
    The box walls will be made of 2 or 3 pieces of 1/2" or 3/4" stock, stacked and glued. The box walls will be inset from the base and lid a bit for a nice shadow line. I duplicate the lid and scale it down to 4.9". I draw a small square and scale it to 1/4". We will use this as a measuring tool. I center the walls and the square vertically, then align it to the top. This will give us a visual indication of what 1/4" measurement. We now need to make the inner walls. I then duplicate the wall again, then use a new tool. Choose Path>Dynamic Offset. Grab the diamond shaped node and drag it down to the bottom of your 1/4" measuring square. It doesn't have to be exact, just get close. Set the square aside to use later. Duplicate the inner wall and set that aside, we'll use that for the Lid Insert. Select the outer wall and the inner wall and choose Difference.

    Create Lid Insert
    The Lid Insert will fit snuggly inside the box walls. This will be made of 1/4" or 1/8" stock. We'll glue this to the lid so it positions the lid precisely. Since we want to add piercing cuts to the lid, we must make this lid insert into a ring so the fretwork shows through. Repeat the same process as we created the Box Walls. Put the measuring square in place, duplicate the insert, then dynamic offset it until it reaches the bottom of the measuring square. Duplicate and set the inner ring wall to the side for reference for when we add the fretwork. Then select the inner and outer ring and choose Difference.

    Create Fretwork for Lid
    Now its time to add a bit of fretwork to the lid. But first, we need to know where the safe areas are to place the fretwork. We don't want the Lid Insert or the Box Walls to show through the fretwork. Choose the Lid Insert inner wall and center that in the lid. The Lid Insert inner wall will now be our boundary.

    For the fretwork, I decided to use a DingBat font. Find a design that you like. You can find the Dingbat font that I used from DaFont.com. Find the pattern you want, and begin placing the pattern within your boundary. Once everything is in place, remove your boundry reference. Then choose your fretwork patterns and choose Difference.

    Finishing Touches
    Now that we're done, go through and label all of your pieces and add any necessary instructions. Be sure to sign and date your work so that scrollers can give credit where credit is due. Upload a copy to the Pattern Library to share your pattern with the world! Its a huge thrill when you see your pattern cut by another scroller.

    The pattern that was designed in the video demonstration is below.

    Posted Image

    • Jan 14, 2014 06:32 PM
    • by Travis
  9. Scroll Saw Patterns With Inkscape - L2

    Welcome to Lesson 2. This lesson, we’ll be working with shapes. We’ll be using the tools located in the Tool Bar to create basic shapes. Then we’ll manipulate those shapes to create effects we’re looking for. This is a pretty easy lesson. We’ll only be using a few tools in the Tool Box to create our shapes; Rectangle Tool, Circle Tool, Polygon/Star Tool, and the Bezier Tool. Other than the Text Tool, we won’t be using the other tools in this class.

    Tool Options
    If you remember from the last lesson, we have the Options Bar across the top of the screen. This area changes, depending on which tool you have selected from the Tool Box. You’ll find many additional options for your tools so you can have greater control over your shapes. When working with a tool, be sure to check this section and see what options are available. There may be times when you change these options to create a certain effect, but when you try to make a simple shape again, it may inherit your previous options. Usually, the Options Bar will have a reset button to reset the values to default.

    Rectangle Tool
    Click the Rectangle Tool from the Tool Box, then on your work area, drag your mouse to create a rectangle. To create a perfect square, hold down the Ctrl button and drag.

    After you created your square, you’ll notice a small square in the upper left corner and lower right corner. These are resizing nodes. With your Rectangle Tool still selected, click and drag on one of these nodes. You will notice it will resize your square along the X & Y axis. If you hold down the Ctrl button while dragging, you can constrain the aspect ratio and resize along the X & Y axis proportionally.

    In the upper right corner of your rectangle, you’ll see a small circle. Click and drag this node. This will round the corners of your rectangle. This is a very handy feature that we’ll use a fair amount. It ads a softness to your patterns.


    After creating a square, choose your Selector Tool from the Tool Box and click the rectangle you just created. You will see arrows on each corner pointed diagonally and arrows on the center of each side pointing in and out. These are resizing nodes. (If the arrows on the corner look like they’re curved, click the rectangle again to get to your sizing options) If you grab the corner node (diagonal arrows) and drag them out, you will notice that you resize the rectangle along the X & Y axis. This allows you the greatest freedom of resizing. If you hold down the Ctrl button while resizing, this will constrain the aspect ratio, which enlarges the X & Y axis proportionally.

    The arrows on the center of each side will only resize the rectangle along that axis. This is a great way to elongate one side without effecting the other side.


    Click your rectangle again. Now you’ll see curved arrows on each of the corners and arrows on the center of each side that are parallel to the side. We are now in Rotation and Skewing mode.

    Click and drag the curved arrows in the corner. You’ll notice that you’re rotating your rectangle. If you wish to constrain the rotation to 15 degree increments, hold down the Ctrl key. This is very useful if you want to change the rotation to a common angle like 45 degrees or 90 degrees.

    Lets move to the center of your rectangle. You’ll notice a + that looks like a cross hair. This is your rotation’s center point. By default, it starts in the center. However, we can move this crosshair to anyplace you'd like. Click and drag the cross hair outside the rectangle, then rotate the rectangle. You’ll notice the rectangle now rotates around this new point. This is a very useful option, especially when you want to duplicate a pattern that radiates out from a common center point.


    Now, lets return to the arrows on the center of each side of your rectangle. These are skewing nodes. Click and drag these arrows and you’ll notice the rectangle becomes skewed. It will keep the edge parallel to the original, but move the corner up and down equally along both edges. This allows you to modify your shape in a symmetrical way without any advanced editing. Using a combination of rotation and skewing, you can come up with a lot of unique shapes.


    Circle Tool
    The Circle Tool works much the same way as the Rectangle Tool. Click and drag to make an ellipse. To create a perfect circle, hold down the Ctrl button and drag.

    Choose your Selector Tool from the Tool Box. Click the circle to get your resizing nodes. This works the same way the Rectangle Tool works. You have the arrows in the corners that will enlarge the X & Y axis. To constrain the aspect ratio, hold down the Ctrl button. The center arrows will resize only along the chosen axis.


    Click the circle again to get your Rotation and Transformation options. Again, this works the same way the Rectangle Tool works. The curved arrows in the corner allow you to rotate an object. Hold down the Ctrl button to constrain the rotation to 15 degree increments. The center cross hairs can be moved to change the rotation center point. The arrows in the center of each side of you selection will allow you to skew your circle.

    rec-rotate.jpg circle-skew.jpg

    Lets go back to the Circle Tool. Select the Circle Tool from the Tool Box and select the circle you’ve been working with. You will see two small squares along the edge of your circle. Just like the Rectangle Tool, these allow you to scale the object. You’ll also notice a small circle on the edge of your drawn circle. By clicking and dragging this circle, you can make a partial circle. With the options in your Options Bar, you can choose if it will make a partial circle, or a pie-shaped circle. The pie-shaped circle will use the natural center point of the circle to make it’s pie shape. Now here’s a trick to switch between a partial circle and a pie shaped circle. When you’re dragging, the circle node that’s being manipulated (highlighted in blue, you can control whether it’s a partial circle or pie-shaped circle by dragging your mouse through the blue node. This will toggle between the two options. Also note, if you’re trying to draw a new circle, but it’s coming up as a partial or pie-shaped circle, you can click the button in the Options Bar to make it a full circle.
    circle-options.jpg circle-partial.jpg

    Polygon/Star Tool
    The Polygon/Star Tool works much the same way as the Rectangle Tool. Click and drag to create a polygon or star. You’ll notice that you can’t make a polygon/star elongated. By definition, polygons are symmetrical. If you wish to elongate an axis, you must resize it using the Selector Tool.

    Choose your selector tool from the Tool Box and click your polygon/star. You will receive the same resizing options as the Rectangle Tool. You have the arrows in the corners that will enlarge the X & Y axis. To constrain the aspect ratio, hold down the Ctrl button. The center arrows will resize only along the chosen axis.


    Click the polygon/star again to get your Rotation and Transformation options. Again, this works the same way the Rectangle Tool works. The curved arrows in the corner allow you to rotate an object. Hold down the Ctrl button to constrain the rotation to 15 degree increments. The center cross hairs can be moved to change the rotation center point. The arrows in the center of each side of you selection will allow you to skew your circle.

    polygon-rotate.jpg polygon-skew.jpg

    Select the Polygon/Star Tool from the Tool Box and select your polygon/star. You can choose whether the shape you drawn is represented by a polygon or star by selecting the appropriate icon the option in the Options Bar. If the polygon option is selected, you’ll notice a single square node on the edge of your polygon. This is a resizing node and will resize the polygon proportionally along the X & Y axis.

    If the star option is selected, you’ll see two squares along the edge of the star. The square on the outside corner is a resizing node and will resize the star proportionally along the X & Y axis. There’s also an inside square. This node will change the sharpness of the star. You can also add a skewed spiral to the star as well by moving the node off center. Holding down the Ctrl button will keep this node centered between the outside points, thereby making a perfect star.


    You’ll also notice in the Tool Options that you can choose how many corners your polygon/star has. You can also round the corners of your polygon/stars here. There is also a randomization option, while not having much practical use, is kind fun to play with. Lastly, there’s an icon to set your polygons/stars to the default setting.


    Bezier Tool
    The Bezier Tool is a unique one and I’ll only be covering the very basics in this lesson. We’ll really look at what it can do in Lesson 5. But for now, know it can create lines or shapes.

    Select the Bezier Tool from the Tool Box. Click once in on your document and release (it is important that you don’t drag.). Then move your mouse to another location on your document and click again. This created a straight line from one point to the next, much like a dot-to-dot puzzle. Hit Enter on your keyboard, and now you have a straight line. We’ll learn to turn this straight line into a curved line in Lesson 5.

    You can also create closed shapes. Click once in your document, then click somewhere else. Create 4 or 5 points, then return and click on the beginning point (it has a small square node at the beginning point). This will close the shape.

    You’ll notice that this tool doesn’t have any options in the Options Bar.

    This tool will be used to make line drawings, add detail, and create more complicated shapes later in the class.


    Working With Color
    Now that we are creating shapes, it is important to look at how to color these shapes. Coloring is a great organization tool to color-code shapes based on purpose. It also helps for illustration. But in the end, you’ll most likely use a gray interior with a black outline for easy cutting and making your pattern printer friendly.

    To color a shape, simply choose your Selector Tool from the Tool Box, select your shape and click a color in the color palette. It is as easy as that.

    To color the stroke (outline), right click on the color you wish to choose and select Set Stroke. You can also hold down the Shift key and click a color in the color palette.

    To change the stroke width, right-click the number to the right of the Stroke color box (lower left corner of the screen). A pop-up menu will have a number of presets available.

    Note that a single straight line is considered a stroke and is colored as such. However, curved lines can have a fill, which could cause problems later on. We’ll cover this topic later in the class. But be aware that lines made with the Bezier Tool may cause problems if a fill color is applied.

    To remove the fill color or stroke color, right click on the Fill or Stroke boxes in the lower left corner of your screen and choose Remove Fill or Remove Stroke.

    For better control over your color, click the color box next to the Fill or Stroke boxes in the lower left corner. This will pop up a docked dialog box. You have a number of options to choose from, including color selection preferences, opacity, and gradients. Since we don’t use color when creating scroll saw patterns, we won’t be covering these options in this class.


    You’ll be duplicating shapes a lot. You’ll do this to make copies of a shape to use in a different part of your design, or you may duplicate an entire design as a backup copy, incase your experiments go terribly wrong.

    Duplicating can be done in a couple of ways. You can copy and paste an object. Copy by going to Edit>Copy (or the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+C). Paste by going to Edit>Paste (or the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+V).

    You can also duplicate a object by going to Edit>Duplicate and a copy of your object is placed directly on top of your original. However, I prefer using the shortcut Ctrl+D for duplicate.

    Selector Tool Options
    With your Selector Tool active, click your object. On the right side of the Option Bar, you’ll see the Height and Width boxes (H and W) along with a pull-down menu that offers various measurement units. I’ll choose inches. You’ll notice that the height and width change to reflect the dimensions in inches. You can type in specific values in the height and width fields and it will change your object dimensions accordingly. You’ll use this a lot when creating scroll saw patterns, especially when size plays an important role. There is also a lock icon between the height and width fields. This will lock the aspect ratio. So whenever you scale the object (with either the height or width fields, or by using the resize nodes on the object), the resizing will occur equally along the X & Y axis.

    Next to the height and width area, you’ll find an X & Y access fields. This is where your object appears in the X & Y coordinates of your document. This is represented in pixels and references to the bottom left corner of your object selection. You could use this for specific placement, but I find it much too cumbersome to use.

    To the left of the X & Y coordinates, you’ll find quick layering tools. This is different from the Document Layers hinted to in the previous lesson. Rather this is the order of objects within the layer. We’ll be covering this in the next lesson, so we won’t dwell on that now.

    To the left of the layers buttons is the flip and rotate options. This is very useful for flipping you objects. Select one of your shapes and choose either Flip Horizontally or Flip Vertically. When you combine this with duplicate, you can start to put together a nice symmetrical pattern. Try selecting an unusual shape. Then duplicate it (Ctrl+D). Then click the Flip Horizontally button in the Options Bar. Then move over your object to the right of the original object. Now you have a mirror image. Select you object again, duplicate, then lip vertically. Put that directly below your original object. Do the same for your first object. Now you can see that you have the beginnings of a pattern.

    You can rotate an object 90 degrees clockwise or counter-clockwise by using the Rotate buttons. However, I usually prefer using the rotation nodes on the object while holding down the Ctrl button.

    selector-options.jpg simple-pattern.jpg


    • We’ve learned how to use the basic shapes and how to manipulate them. Take a little time and play with these tools, rotate, resize, skew, duplicate, flip and whatever else catches your fancy. The more you play with this program, the quicker you’ll learn how the tools work with one another.

    • Jan 14, 2014 06:21 PM
    • by Travis
  10. Scroll Saw Patterns With Inkscape - L1

    Welcome to Making Scroll Saw Patterns with Inkscape. This class will last for 4 weeks with 2 lessons released each week. Each class will include a video demonstration, written out instruction, downloadable source materials, and an open forum where you can get your questions answered. I encourage you to ask lots of questions. That's what this class is all about.

    Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect from this class:

    • Lesson 1 - Introduction To Inkscape
    • Lesson 2 - Creating Simple Shapes
    • Lesson 3 - Aligning Our Objects
    • Lesson 4 - Building Complex Shapes
    • Lesson 5 - Nodes and Editing
    • Lesson 6 - Working With Text
    • Lesson 7 - Designing A Trinket Box
    • Lesson 8 - Designing A Desk Clock
    This class will be a bit more difficult than the GIMP class. Mostly because Inkscape is a different way of thinking than what we’re use to. The first 6 lessons will be mostly fundamentals without much inter-connectivity to one another. But these are the essential building blocks we use to create our scroll saw patterns. Everything will start to make sense in Lesson 7 & 8 when we start applying what we have learned to create a scroll saw pattern. So if you feel a bit lost, you won't be along. Just stick with it. You’ll get it soon enough. Once all the lessons are completed, I suggest you go through the class again. I have a feeling the second time around, everything will click for you.

    What Is Inkscape?
    Inkscape is a free vector based graphics program similar to programs like Corel Draw and Adobe Illustrator. It can be used to design scroll saw patterns like trinket boxes, candle holders, trivets, and other functional/decorative type items. It is also very useful for traditional fretwork designs.

    Inkscape is open source software. A large community comes together and programs this software in their spare time. The source code is available for anybody to download, study, modify or improve. Since a large community programs the software together, no one person actually owns the software. This is why Open Source Software is free.

    There are several advantages to open source software. First, obviously, is the fact it is free. Second, since a large community is programming the software, the program is always advancing and adding new features (assuming the community is active). Lastly, since the software source code is open to scrutiny, it is very unlikely that viruses or other malware can be inserted into the code. Someone will spot it and remove it immediately. So you can feel safe about downloading this great software.

    Bitmaps vs. Vectors
    There are two basic types of graphics out there. There are vector based graphics created by programs like Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, and Inkscape. Then there are bitmap or raster graphics like those created by Adobe Photoshop, Corel Photopaint and GIMP.

    Vector based graphics are mathematical representation of an image. Vectors are composed of nodes which define the space in relation to other nodes to create shapes, lines and curves. These complex shapes are then layered upon each other in order to define an image. The advantage of vector graphics is the file size tends to be much smaller. You may enlarge or shrink down a vector graphic without losing quality because the nodes stay within the same relative position to one another. The mathematical formulas recalculate the image based on node information, so there is no information that is lost (or gained) during resizing.

    Bitmaps are a rectangular grid of pixels (blocks of color) used to define a picture. The more pixels that are used in an image, the more information the image contains. This is called resolution. The higher the resolution is, the more detail you can pull from an image. You can enlarge a low resolution graphic. But since a low resolution only has so much information (number of pixels), when you enlarge it, it only spreads that information over a larger area. You do not gain additional detail by enlarging a low resolution graphic. (You can see an example here).

    So why would we want to work with vectors? Scaling is a big advantage. Often, we scale our patterns to the size we need for the stock we have on hand. Since quality is not lost with resizing, vector base graphics very useful. Second is the ability to quickly alter a graphic. If a line or edge isn’t quite right, we can go in and move the line the appropriate place. We can also add and subtract from the image quickly and efficiently. With the ease of editing, also comes with the ease of designing. Each element is separate from one another and their properties independent of other objects. So its very easy to move things around, line them up, flip, rotate and any other function. Once you know how to use the tools, you can make a simple scroll saw pattern in a matter of minutes.

    One drawback to vector graphics is that vector graphics can only be viewed by people who have a vector graphic programs installed on their computer. To work around this shortcoming, it is advised that you export your vector graphics to a bitmap before sharing your patterns. Bitmaps have the advantage of being universally accepted.

    Downloading Inkscape
    You can find a copy of Inkscape on their website at http://www.inkscape.org. At the upper right of the screen, you’ll see a “Download Now” button. Click this and you’ll automatically download the latest edition of Inkscape. Once it is downloaded, go ahead and install your new program.

    Inkscape Resources
    The Inkscape website has a number of really great resources. They have their documentation/user manual, tutorials, wiki, and support forums. Be sure to check out what they have to offer. This would be the first place I’d turn to if you wanted more information on a certain function.

    Inkscape is a popular program. You can find lots of tutorials on the internet. Just Google “Inkscape Tutorials” and you’ll find a lot of great resources. YouTube is another great place to find some great video instruction.

    Most of the tutorials on the internet focus on illustrations since that’s really what Inkscape is intended for. So you may have a tough time finding a tutorial focused on what you want to do with it. However, this is a great way to learn the ins and outs of Inkscape. Once you understand the tools, you can do anything you want.

    The User Interface
    Go ahead and launch Inkscape. The program will launch with a brand new document. In the center of the screen, you’ll see a rectangle. This represents your printable document. Anything inside the printable document will be printed. Anything outside will not. By default, the document size is A4. But since I live in the US, I prefer working with US Letter (8.5x11”). To change my document size, go to File>Document Properties. This will pop up a new window. Choose "US Letter". You may be looking for an OK button or an Apply button, but there isn’t any in this pop-up window. You’ll notice whenever you choose a preset, the paper on your screen automatically updates. When you chose the document size you prefer, just click the red X in the upper right corner.

    File Menus
    This should be no surprise. This section is the menu section you find on any program across the top of the screen. Each menu has a number of options organized under a menu title (File, Edit, View, Layer, etc). These menus contain access to all of the functions within the program. The very first thing I do when learning a new program is to go through each of these menus and look to see what they offer. This will give you a good idea of what the program can do and how its organized. You’ll also notice shortcut keys next to the menu options. For functions that you use on a regular basis, it is very helpful to learn those shortcut keys.


    Tool Bar
    Directly below the file menus, you’ll see a toolbar with your most commonly used buttons. It starts with your traditional buttons such as File, Save, Import, Export, Undo, etc. You’ll also find access to other Inkscape specific functions like duplicate and grouping. Probably the two tools you’ll use most often is the Text Property button and the Align And Distribute button. You can see what each icon represents by hovering your mouse over the icon for a moment. A tool tip will pop up with a short description about what that tool does. Take time to look at each tool.

    Below the Tool Bar is the Options Bar. We’ll discuss this in a moment. Just know that it is directly below the Tool Bar.


    Tool Box
    Along the left side of your screen is the Tool Box. This houses the tools you’ll need to build your shapes and drawings. Most of the tools deals with making shapes or lines. However, there are a few editing tools available there too. Hover over each tool to pop up a tool tip that explains what the tool is used for. Take time to see what tools are offered.


    Bottom Options
    Along the bottom of your screen, you’ll see a color palette that spans the width of your screen. You have a number of colors to choose from. This is the area where you set the color for your fill (color of the object) by clicking and where you can set the stroke (outline of the object) by right clicking and choosing Set Stroke.

    Below the color palette in the left corner, you’ll find a section that says Fill and Stroke. This indicates your chosen fill and stroke colors. Next to the stroke color, you’ll see a number. This shows the size of the stroke. Right click on this number and it will pop up a number of presets along with a remove option.

    Next to the Stroke and Fill area is a box with up/down options. This refers to the opacity/transparency of your selected object. For this class, this should always be set to 100%.

    Next are a few icons; an eye, a lock, and a pulldown that says Layer 1. This is your layer options. While layers are very useful for complex illustrations, they’re not necessary for what we want to accomplish. We won’t be using these options.

    Following that is the tool tip area. Whenever you have a tool or option selected, this area will show some helpful tips or instruction on how to use this tool.

    The last box shows you where your cursor is located. This may be helpful to some, but I don’t use it. Next to that is your zoom box. This allows you to zoom into the area where you are working so you can see the detail easier.


    Options Bar
    We’re returning to the section directly below the Tool Bar. This area changes depending on which tool you have selected from your Tool Box. This will give you a lot of control over whatever tool you are currently working with. Be sure to click each tool in the Tool Box and see what options you have available in this section. You will start to see the possibilities opening up from the basic tools in the Tool Box. The most common option you’ll use in this class is the scaling options when your selector tool is active. Here you’ll be able to lock aspect ratio and type in specific sizes for your objects.


    Along the top and left side of your work area, you’ll see a ruler. This comes in handy when laying out objects. You can change the unit of measure in your document properties (File>Document Properties). Look for the Default Unit section under the General section (Page tab). Choose whichever measurement you’re comfortable with from the pulldown menu.


    Dialog Boxes
    We’ll have a lot of dialog boxes pop up from time to time. These dialogs offer additional control over a particular function. There are two types of dialog boxes. The first are pop-up dialogs. These will float on your screen until you close them. Often you’ll only use them once, and you’ll close them when you’re done. The second dialog are docked dialogs. These are dialog boxes that you’ll use a bit more often. These will dock on the right side of your screen. If you open multiple docked dialogs, they will stack on top of each other. Just use the scroll bar to navigate to the dialog you need.

    You can close any of the dialogs by clicking the X in the upper right corner. These dialogs do take up a bit of space, so in order to keep them handy, but not in the way, you can make them into buttons. To the left of the X in the upper right corner, you’ll see a small triangle. When you click that, that dialog becomes a button on the right side of your screen. When you need the dialog again, just click the button and it pops up. This is especially handy for dialogs that are only accessible through the menu system.


    Navigating your Document
    You’ll need to move around your document quickly and easily. There are a number of ways to navigate your document.

    Panning up and down, or left and right is pretty easy. You can simply use the scroll bars located on the bottom and right side of your work area. Alternatively, you can click the middle mouse-wheel button and drag.

    Zooming in and out is necessary for seeing small detail. You’ll be doing this quite a bit. To zoom in and out, use the + and – keys on your keyboard or number pad. Alternatively, you can roll the middle mouse-wheel to zoom in and out. You can also use the Zoom tool in the Tool Box. Clicking will zoom in, whereas Shift clicking will zoom out. You can also use the zoom box in the lower right corner of the screen.

    • Download and install Inkscape
    • Check out the menu options.
    • Click each tool and see what options are available in the Options bar.
    • Start playing with the program.

    • Jul 08, 2014 07:51 PM
    • by Travis
  11. Scroll Saw Portraits Using Gimp - Bonus Videos

    We’ve been progressing through this class fairly well. Once we get to the base pattern, much of the rest is personal interpretation. We’re basically just cleaning up the base pattern and making decisions about what remains and what needs to be removed. This can be intimidating, especially if you are new to the process. So, I put together a 3 part video series as I work the portrait from the base pattern to the finished pattern. Sometimes watching someone else work makes it easier and you can pick up a lot of additional tips. I’ve posted these bonus videos below. You can also download my project file by clicking here. The file is a zipped file of about 5.2 megs. Let me know if you have any questions. Enjoy the show! :popcorn:




    • Nov 28, 2012 06:15 PM
    • by Travis
  12. Scroll Saw Portraits Using Gimp - L8


    Welcome to our final lesson! Up to this point, we should have a pattern that is for the most part finished. All that is left is to make sure it will cut OK. So this lesson, we'll talk about quality control (sounds so corporate, huh?).

    Print and Check
    Whenever I get a pattern to the point where I'm happy with the result, I will print a copy. Make sure you print it the size which you'll be cutting it. It will make checking that much more accurate. Then I'll take a red pen and circle any problem areas that may need attention. Areas like very thin peninsulas that may need thickening. Long peninsulas that may be a little too delicate for cutting may need a bridge to add extra support. Also check for islands. Then go back to your pattern and make the changes. I might do this process 2 or 3 times before I'm done checking.

    Here's a little tip to save yourself some ink. Click the visibility off for all layers except for your white background layer and your pattern layer. Select your pattern layer and turn the opacity down to 30% or so. This will make your pattern into a light gray. This will save you a lot of ink and money. After you're done printing your pattern, bring the opacity back up to 100%.

    Bucket Fill Check
    Remember, the white areas indicate the wood. So if you did the pattern right, everything should be connected with white. Here's a quick way to check for islands. In your tool palette, click the bucket fill tool. Select your pattern layer and click the white area with the bucket fill tool. This will fill all the white areas in with black. Your image should be pretty much black. If you see any white areas, this would indicate islands that are not bridged. Just undo (Ctrl+z) the fill, and bridge the island.

    Marking Your Pattern
    If you intend on distributing your pattern, it is a good idea to mark the pattern with your name. This allows other scrollers to give credit where credit is due, and it also marks the pattern as yours (you now own the copyright to that pattern!). You can easily add text to the pattern by clicking the Text tool in the toolbox (looks like an 'A'). Then click in your image. This will pop up a dialog box where you can add your information. I usually include the title of the pattern, my name, and any additional info like email or website. Remember to check the tool options dialog box for font options. Click the Close button and your text will be placed. Use the move tool to move your text to the final location.

    You may want to share your pattern with the rest of the scrolling community. Many online communities allow you to attach JPG files to posts. Scroll Saw Village has special gallery software where you can upload new patterns. To get your pattern in a JPG format, first save your project (as an XCF file). Then go to File>Save As. This will pop up a dialog box where you can name your file. You can tell GIMP to save the file in two ways. First, you can click the plus sign next to Select File Type (By Extension), and you will be given different file options. Choose JPG and you'll notice your file name will now have the extension ".jpg". The other way to do this is to simply add the .jpg extension to your filename. GIMP is smart enough to know to export the file as a JPG. When you click Save, it will pop up a warning message saying that JPG doesn't support transparencies and will flatten the image. This is OK. Just click Export. You will get another dialog box with compression settings. JPG are compressed files. Just keep the quality at the default of 85 and click Save. You now have a JPG of your pattern.

    Important Note: If you save your project as a .jpg so you can upload it, your project settings will change. So before you close down your program, be sure to save your document again with the .xcf extension. Hopefully GIMP will fix this for future releases so we won't risk losing our work. But until then, we have to be extra careful.

    One Extra Touch
    I often like having a gray pattern with a black outline. For me, it makes it much easier to see and cut. I have created two tutorials that uses another free program, Inkscape, to clean up your pattern. Check them out if you're interested.

    -After your done with your pattern, post them in this thread. It would be interesting to see how different artists approach the same base photograph.

    • Nov 28, 2012 06:03 PM
    • by Travis
  13. Scroll Saw Portraits Using Gimp - L7


    Welcome to Lesson 7. We're starting to wrap things up a bit. Only one more lesson to go! Last time I left you hanging without teaching you much about taking the base pattern and creating a scroll saw pattern. Instead, I talked about how to use the brushes to clean up the image and we talked about the elements that create a scroll saw pattern. I did this for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted to give you a chance to experiment with it on your own. And second, there really isn't anything to teach! The fact is, there is no magic formula for creating scroll saw portrait patterns. Much of it relies on your own interpretation. You must decide on what stays and what needs to removed. Since it is all subjective, there's not much direction I could give you in that area. However, this lesson, I'll give you a few tips that I have run across when creating my own patterns. We'll be talking about the facial features.

    Matthew writes the eyes are the windows to the soul. This is really true. I always start on the eyes first because if you don't get the eyes right, the portrait just won't work. I'll also let you in on a trade secret. Professional photographers and cinematographers will often put a light behind or attach a light to the camera. They do this so there is a little reflection of the light in the eyes. Take a look at professional photographs and you'll see a square light source reflected in their eyes. This little glimmer in the eye adds so much life to the portrait, it will really amaze you. The picture of William Shatner was taken by a professional photographer and you'll see the highlight in his eye already. Try taking the paintbrush and blacking out those glimmers. Look at his eyes now. They are dead and shallow. This may be the look you're after if you're doing a portrait of Charles Manson, but for most people, you'll want that glimmer. Even if the original picture does not have the glimmer in the eye, I add it anyway. It may look like a minor detail, but it makes a major difference. I really can't stress this enough. It is very important.

    Lets take a look at eyelids. The upper eyelid is close to the eyebrow which will cast shadow on the lid. The majority of the skin resides in the upper eyelid, which creates a lot of folds and creases. You'll also notice, your eyelashes are much darker and longer on the upper lid. So it stands to reason this is where the majority of your detail will reside.

    The lower eye lid blends into the face much easier. The hairs are much finer and lighter than the upper lid. There is very little detail on the lower eyelid, and many times not necessary to include in the pattern. So depending on how prominent the lower eyelid is in your original picture, you probably need very little, if any detail, here.

    The inside corner of the eyes (tear ducts) really depend on the portrait. Shatner's picture, these areas are fairly distinct, so we've included them with the upper eyelid. Other times, you may want to only hint at the general shape, or exclude it altogether. Much depends on the original picture and how prominent they are.

    Crows feet (wrinkles at the corner of the eye) are a lot of fun to work with and will add a lot to your portrait. This is the character in the eyes. Womens' portraits you may not want to get too carried away, but a hint is always nice. Mens' portraits you have much more liberty and often improves the overall impression of the portrait. Children rarely have these lines, so I'd exclude them as much as possible.

    Bags under the eyes can be tricky. People often have a darker color under their eyes which the software may interpret as shadow. You'll have to decide if you want to include them or not. Usually, if it is just a darker color, I do not include it in the portrait. However, if their are creases or wrinkles and it contributes to the overall character of the face, I will include them.

    The nose can cause some problems. Depending on the portrait, the bridge of the nose tends to blend gradually into the face. Gradual changes like this pose some problems because it is hard to see where the shadows begin and end. Shatner's portrait, there is a distinct shadow that falls from the bridge of the nose and into his right cheek. For this, we'll just clean up the shadow a bit and call it good. Portraits of women, this shadow will play much less of a role. If you put too much shadow on the nose, you may lose the glamor look for a woman's portrait. For children, this shadow is pretty rare as their nose doesn't protrude enough to create a deep shadow.

    The area where the nose meets the upper lip does tend to be abrupt, which will create a lot of shadow lines. This is where we tend to focus our efforts on. Naturally, men you have a lot more latitude to play with shadow. Women portraits, we don't want to add too much detail or we lose the glamor look we're after. Shadows cast by the tip of the nose, creases between the nostril and laugh lines may be placed. Portraits of children, this plays even less of a role. Normally I outline the bottom area of the nose (nostril, side of the nostril and tip of the nose) with slight shadow. Again, your original picture will dictate how much detail needs to be added here.

    For most people, the color or your lips are a different color than the rest of your face. Software may interpret this as shadow and darken it. It is a temptation to darken these area, but you run the risk of making it look like lipstick. Often, I'll bring out the shadow line where the two lips meet. I also might hint at the general shape of the upper lip. There is a shadow that happens under the bottom lip that I'll also darken in. These shadows are usually enough to indicate the shape of the lips without darkening in the lips.

    One would assume that if a person is wearing lipstick, you would darken in the lips. While this is somewhat true, lipstick is glossy when applied. Therefore, it will reflect light and create a highlight. So make sure you include the highlight in the lips. This highlight will convey the lipstick much better and give the lips dimension.

    For children, I'll usually put a line/veining where the two lips meet and another line under the bottom lip. Don't get too carried away with shadow with children.

    The corner of the mouth usually have a bit more shadow. This may be an area where you can create laugh lines as well. You can be more liberal with the laugh lines of men. Women, however, you may only want to put a crease in the corner of the mouth, and one where the nostril meets the cheek. This will only hint at a laugh line without drawing attention to it. Children rarely have laugh lines, but they may have chubby cheeks you can play with.

    Ears are interesting because there is a lot of texture, creases, and shadow to play with. It is easy for us to get carried away here. The trick with working with ears is to remember it is only an ear. Nobody really cares about ears (other than having one). Everybody is more interested in the face. So with the ear, I may hint at an outline of the ear with a line coming from the hair line, and another coming from the neck to outline the earlobe. Remember, the jawline often goes past the earlobe, so I extend the jawline a bit to give the ear a sense of depth. The fold at the top of the ear creates a nice shadow, so I'll usually include that. I'll also include the bump between the jawline and the ear canal with a bit of shadow. Usually, this is enough detail for the ear.

    The hair is the fun part. This is your opportunity to get creative and create some really interesting shapes. This area is the most forgiving, so go crazy and have fun. Create lots of irregular lakes and interesting peninsulas. Be sure to bridge delicate areas so they don't break while sawing. Just have fun.

    Light or white hair can provide a challenge, mostly because there is very little shadow to play with. For these situations, you'll have to hint toward the shape of the hair with minimal detail. Perhaps some veining to indicate outline of the hairline. Or perhaps a few dark spots with some veining to indicate the flow of the hair. You can see the Einstein portrait below, I only hinted at his hair with veining/outlines.

    Bald heads are similar to light/white hair. The only difference is you may have to hint at the shape of the scalp. Veining the outline is probably your best bet. Areas that a person may have hair (by the ears), you can throw in a few shadows there to reinforce the idea they have a bit of hair left over. ;)

    Posted Image

    A Few Notes
    You'll notice that portraits of men may be easier. This is because they tend to have much more shadow and wrinkles you can play with. With men, these interesting imperfections is called "character." Women portraits, you don't have as much latitude. This is because their face tends to be softer, they wear makeup, and if you highlighted every wrinkle on your wife's portrait, you'll be sleeping on the couch! Women portraits we want to add glamor and beauty. It may be completely cultural and a bit sexist, but I find it to be true more often than not. With that said, if the character of the portrait calls for those lines, by all means add it. You certainly wouldn't recognize Mother Theresa without all of her wonderful wrinkles.

    Portraits of children are similar to women in the fact their face is much softer. They don't have many sharp lines or shadows to play with. You'll find their eyes tend to be larger, eyebrows less prominent, noses smoother, and their mouth smaller. They're a tricky one to pull off, but when you do, they're an awesome keepsake.

    A Cool Tip
    I should have covered this in the last video, but I forgot. One trick I always use is to copy the original layer and put it on top. This acts as a photo reference. If I have some question about a section of my base pattern, I can toggle the original picture on and off to see what I'm looking at. It really helps me decide if I should keep that detail, or remove it. Just make sure you're painting on the correct layer while working, or you'll say many bad words after discovering the mistake. ;)

    Take a look at other artist's portrait patterns and look at how they approached the facial features, especially the eyes.
    Continue working on your pattern. Revisit the facial features you had trouble with.

    • Nov 28, 2012 06:04 PM
    • by Travis
  14. Scroll Saw Portraits Using Gimp - L6


    Welcome back, everybody. This lesson should be an interesting one. Many of you will find the lesson frustrating, but the process exciting. Why frustrating? Well, because I'm not really going to be teaching you how to do anything! What!? What kind of class is this? One thing about creating scroll saw portrait patterns is that it relies heavily on your own interpretation. You'll have to make a lot of judgment calls about what you want to include in the pattern and what you do not. So there really is no right or wrong way to do this. So instead, I'll be showing you how to use the brush tool, and we'll be discussing elements of what make up a scroll saw portrait pattern. Lets begin!

    Working With Brushes
    We're only going to be using only one tool to finish off our portrait pattern. We'll be using the brush tool to paint in the dark areas, and white-out everything else. Start by selecting the brush tool from your toolbox. You'll notice you have brush options that show up below (if not, dock your Tool Options dialog box covered in lesson 3). We have several options, most of which we won't use. The only option we may be interested in is the brush palette flyout window. This is where you choose your brush size. What I prefer to do is open up a Brushes dockable dialog, and dock it next to the tool options. So go to Windows>Dockable Dialogs>Brushes. This gives you easy access to all of the brushes.

    We'll be using two colors to create our pattern; black and white. Black will indicate the areas that need to be cut out. White indicates the remaining wood. We'll be going through our base pattern and using the paint brush to color in the areas we wish to cut with black, and using white to paint out everything else. If you have other colors selected in the foreground/background area, you can reset them to black and white by clicking the tiny icon below the foreground/background selector. The foreground color will always be the color you're painting with. To switch between the foreground and background color, click the arrow above the foreground/background selector to swap the colors. While you are painting your pattern, this is the perfect opportunity to use shortcut keys. Pressing the 'x' button will switch your foreground color with the background color. This way you can work on an area and quickly switch colors without going back to your tool palette.

    Custom Brushes
    You can create your own custom brushes. Although we already have the two brush sizes we need already installed, it is beneficial to look at custom brushes so you can understand them a bit better.

    Make sure your Brushes dialog box is open, then click the flyout menu (triangle to the top right of the dialog box), choose Brushes Menu>New Brush. This will open a Brush Editor dialog box. You'll find an area to name your brush near the top. Below that is a preview pane where you can preview the size and shape of your brush. Below the preview pane, we can choose a brush shape. You can choose circle, square, or diamond. We'll be using the circle shape.

    Then we have a bunch of slider options. Radius indicates the size of the brush. Remember back in math class that radius is the distance from the center to the edge. So a radius of 5 pixels is 10 pixels wide. A radius of 2.5 pixels is 5 pixels wide. I wish they'd measure brush size by overall width, but they don't. So, keep this in mind when choosing your brush size.

    Spikes only refers to the square and diamond shaped brushes. These basically turns the brush into a polygon or a star. I doubt you'd use them in pattern making, but the option is there.

    Hardness refers to the edges of the brush. A soft brush will be solid color in the center, but fade out toward the edge of the brush. These brushes are handy in working with photographs or illustrations. But as pattern makers, we prefer hard edged brushes to create nice crisp lines. So max that out to 1.0.

    Aspect Ratio will squash your brush and Angle will rotate your brush. A squashed circle with an angle will create a really nice calligraphy-style brush.

    Lastly, we have Spacing. I don't really know what this is. I think it refers to the space between the jitters when using the jitter option in the tool options dialog box. We don't need it at any rate. Posted Image

    So what can we take from this window? Three things, really. We want a circular brush so we get consistent brushstrokes throughout the pattern. We want to be working with the correct brush size. We can determine the brush size by looking at the radius and doubling the value. So a brush radius of 1.5 will give us a brush width of 3 pixels. Lastly, look at the hardness of the brush. We want crisp lines, so the brush hardness should be set at 1.0. Keep these three things in mind and you'll do just fine.

    Brush Size
    In lesson 4, I mentioned I like working at 150 pixels per inch when creating my document. The reason I like this size is because I know that a 3 pixel wide brush is about the same size as the kerf of a scroll saw blade. A 5 pixel wide brush is about the size of the kerf of a spiral scroll saw blade (#5 size spiral). Knowing this makes a really nice reference. I prefer using my 5 pixel brush for doing the majority of my work because I know the detail won't be too small for my cutting skills. This will be something you'll have to play around with yourself. An experienced cutter may be comfortable with details made with a 3 pixel brush, whereas a newer scroller may be comfortable with details made with a 7 pixel brush. I'd recommend working with a 5 pixel brush to start out with. You can change later if it doesn't meet your needs. Since the default brush palette already has these brush sizes preset, there is no need to create a custom brush (unless you really want to!).

    If you feel like you don't have the necessary mouse control to do this kind of painting, you can use the dot-to-dot method instead. First, place a dot somewhere on your canvas. Hold down the Shift key and you'll see a straight line that appears from the first dot to your cursor . Click once again and it will create a straight line from the first dot to the second one you just placed. Move your mouse somewhere else while holding down the Shift key and place another dot. Again, another straight line. To make curved lines, just keep your dots closer and they'll appear curved. This is a great way to keep control over your paint brush. I often use freehand painting inc ombination with the dot-to-dot technique.

    Elements of a Pattern
    Patterns rely on basic elements to create a scroll saw portrait. By using a land/water analogy, we can break down the elements into lakes, peninsulas, islands, and bridges. These elements are conceptional and will happen naturally as you develop your pattern. But it is nice to recognize these elements for what they are, especially when you're looking at other artist's patterns. Look how different artists approach these elements. By looking at their approach, you can learn a lot about how to create your own patterns.

    The first thing most people will notice is the lakes, or cut out sections. Because of the extreme contrast between the cut out areas and the wood, this is where most people will look at first. Often lakes will indicate shadow of your subject and where the large majority of your detail resides. Lakes help define the shapes of peninsulas which reinforce the details you're trying to convey. Lakes can be as large or as small as you'd like. If you prefer a pointillism approach to patterns, your lakes will be small. If you prefer the deep shadow look, large lakes are in order. If you like line-art, long and thin lakes is what you need.

    To me, peninsulas are what makes patterns interesting. Just like the landmass, these are the areas that jut out into cut-out voids. I work hard to make these shapes interesting. Long and thin peninsulas are delicate and will certainly impress all of your friends. Unusual shapes add interest. Curved and flowing lines can add energy to the pattern. While lakes are what most gravitate toward, I find peninsulas the most interesting and most subtle of the details.

    The exact opposite of lakes are islands. These are sections of wood surrounded by lakes. This can be a very bad thing when working with scroll saw patterns. If you cut around the island, there is nothing there to hold the island in place and will only fall to your shop floor in a random mess. What makes scroll saw patterns unique is the fact it is completely cut from a single piece of wood. All of the details are magically supported by the surrounding wood. This is not to say you can't use islands in your design. There has been times when I chose to include and island in my pattern (see below). But I would say that 99% of the time, islands are a bad thing to have in your pattern.

    Lastly, bridges are the savior of scroll saw patterns. These are the elements that connect the islands to the motherland and turn them into peninsulas. They can also be used to support delicate areas. If you have a very long peninsula that is at risk of breaking during cutting or handling, you can add a bridge to reinforce that area.


    Starting Your Pattern
    Now that you have a basic understanding of how brushes work, and we understand the elements of a scroll saw pattern, go ahead and start working on your portrait pattern. Be sure to duplicate your photocopy layer first and rename the new layer to 'pattern.' Start by using the 5 pixel paint brush to darken the areas you wish to cut out and white-out the areas you want to remain as wood. Remember that we only want black and white. The gray tones left by our photocopy filter must be converted to black or white by painting. It'll be a little frustrating at first, but the more you do, the easier it becomes. Soon, you'll see your pattern coming to life, and that's where it gets exciting. If you feel that in you're over your head or a bit overwhelmed, don't worry about it. Just play with it right now. Next lesson we'll be talking about the facial features (eyes, nose, mouth, and hair). You'll be able to pick up a few tips with working with these parts. I'll also put together a bonus video demonstrating how I'd go about creating this portrait pattern. This way you can pick up a few tips as I work this pattern from beginning to end. This supplemental demonstration will probably published on Wednesday. But until then, I want you to tackle the pattern on your own. If you have any questions, I'd be glad to help.

    If you want to upload your picture for feedback or questions, choose File>Save As, then save your file with the extension .jpg. It will pop up a message saying that it wants to flatten the image. Click Export, then you'll get a new window about quality. Keep the default at 85 and click Save. You can now attach the .jpg to your post using the attach function in your compose window (blue box below your compose window).

    Important Note: If you save your project as a .jpg so you can upload it, your project settings will change. So before you close down your program, be sure to save your document again with the .xcf extension. Hopefully GIMP will fix this for future releases so we won't risk losing our work. But until then, we have to be extra careful.

    Have fun with it and experiment! That's what pattern making is all about.

    -Start making your pattern. Go as far as you can and really get a feel for it. Your pattern will start taking shape right before your eyes.
    -Ask questions if you get stuck, or ask for feedback. We're here to help.
    -Look through the Pattern Library or pattern archives from other scroll saw communities and look how the artists deal with these pattern elements.

    • Nov 28, 2012 06:05 PM
    • by Travis
  15. Scroll Saw Portraits Using Gimp - L5

    Welcome to Lesson 5. We're rolling up our sleeves and starting to get into the meat of the class. This time we'll be learning to create a base pattern on which we build our scroll saw pattern. There's a fair amount to cover, so let's get started.

    Understanding Layers
    OK. Before we get started, one more lesson in fundamentals. This is an important one because it is the very cornerstone of using programs like GIMP and Adobe Photoshop. Below, I've attached a GIMP project file which illustrates the concepts I'll be covering. Go ahead and download it and open the file.

    Imagine you're looking down on your desk. What might you see? You'll see the desktop, perhaps a piece of paper, a pencil, your coffee cup, and maybe a used tissue (eww). Consider each item as it's own layer. Each item has it's order. One item is placed upon another (ie, the coffee cup is placed upon the paper, and both are on top of the desk). If you notice on your layer's palette the order of each item. As if you were looking down, the top layer (first) is in front of everything below it. Then the next layer is on top of what's below that and so-on until you reach the desktop. But what if we wanted to reorder the items/layers? Click and drag your layer to whichever layer position you want it to be. You'll notice a dark line appears between two layers. This is where your repositioned layer will reside. So lets take the piece of paper and put it above the coffee cup. Notice now the paper hides the coffee cup and anything else below it. Try bringing the pencil to the top of the cup and paper. You can easily see that we can alter the visibility of layers depending on what layers are above it.

    Next to each layer is an icon that looks like an eye. This toggles the visibility of that layer. Try clicking a few of the eyes and toggle each layer off so none of the layers are visible. You'll notice that all you see is a checkerboard pattern. This basically shows you that these sections are transparent. Toggle the paper layer so that it is visible now. You'll notice you can see the paper just fine, and everything around it is transparent. Each of these layers has a section that is transparent, except for the desk layer, which covers the entire surface.

    One nice thing about layers is that you can manipulate one layer without affecting the other layers. Choose the used tissue layer and resize it (resizing is covered in Lesson 4). Notice it didn't resize anything else except the tissue layer. You can manipulate this layer to your heart's content with filters, color correction, resizing, drawing, etc. No other part of your design will be affected if it isn't apart of that layer! How cool is that? I'm sure you can see the advantage of keeping elements on their own layer.

    Attached File  layers_tut.xcf   1.37MB   117 downloads

    A Tour of the Layer's Palette
    Now that we understand the basics of layers, lets take a look at the Layer's Palette. At the top right corner of the layer's dialog box, you'll see a small triangle. This is the flyout menu we discussed in previous lessons. You'll find several options in here that you may or may not need. Read through them and keep these options in mind. They might come in handy later.

    Below that, you'll find a pulldown menu next called Mode. These are blending modes that creates various effects. We won't be dealing with blending modes in this class, but they are fun to play around with. Feel free to experiment with them.

    Below Mode, we have Opacity. This slider bar goes from 0-100% where you can set the level of transparency of a layer. This is nice if you want to see through one layer to the next for either reference, or to achieve a certain effect.

    Below that is Lock. This could be confusing as we think it might lock a layer from being modified. This is not true. This actually locks the alpha channel. An alpha channel is what defines what is transparent and what is opaque. When you lock an alpha channel for a layer, you're only allowed to modify the object on that layer and not the area around that object. Try locking a layer and grabbing your paint brush and paint around your canvas. You'll notice you can only mark up the object itself, and not the transparent areas around the object.

    Then we have the layers themselves. We already know how to reorder the layers and toggle the visibility of the layers. Next to the eye is a box. Click it and it will show a little chain. This is how you link one object to another object. Click the tissue layer, click the box next to the eye so it becomes a chain. Then select the coffee layer, then choose that linking chain. Grab your move tool and move that object. You'll notice the tissue layer and the coffee cup move as one object because they are linked.

    You can rename a layer by double clicking the layer name and typing in a new name and pressing return. It's a good habit to name your layers so you can see at a glance what you're working on.

    Right clicking on the layer brings up a menu of other options that will become useful too.

    Bottom left corner, we have an icon that looks like a piece of paper. Click that to create a new layer. It will pop up a dialog box with some options. Click OK when you're satisfied with your options and you'll have a new layer.

    The inverse of a new layer is deleting the layer. Bottom right corner, you'll see a trash can icon. Click that button and it will delete your selected layer.

    To the left of the trash icon is an icon that looks like an anchor. This anchors floating layers or selections. I have not found a benefit to this tool yet. If you have a floating layer or selection, just click the New Layer icon instead to anchor the floating layer to the new layer.

    To the left of that is the Duplicate Layer button. It looks like two boxes on top of each other. We'll be using this tool a lot to create duplicate copies (we'll discuss that in the next section).

    And lastly, you have two arrows. One pointing up and one pointing down. This is another way of rearranging your layer order rather than dragging and dropping the layers.


    Using Layers
    I'm sure you can see the benefit of having the layers functions. While they're very powerful when illustrating or doing photo work. But we'll be using layers as a way to back up our work. Before we manipulate our image, we'll duplicate that layer and work on the duplicate instead, thereby retaining the original image. For example. We have our original color image. We want to make that black and white, so we'll duplicate the color image and turn the duplicate into black and white. Next we want to change the brightness/contrast of the black and white image. So we duplicate the black and white image and change the brightness/contrast of our duplicate layer. Woops...we messed up! Well, instead of starting completely over, we can delete the layer we goofed up on and take the previous version of the image and duplicate that and try it again!

    We'll also be using layers as reference material. After we create our base pattern, we'll take a copy of the color image and put it to the top of our layers palette. We'll toggle the visibility of the color image back and forth and we can see how our pattern compares to the original photograph. This is a great way to check our work and help us with the pattern making process.

    Creating Our Base Pattern
    OK. Enough of the fundamental stuff. Let's start designing. Open up your project file that we created last time. You should see two layers in your layers palette. We should have a white background layer, and the picture layer. Our guidelines should also be visible. If you don't see any of these, chances are you saved your document as something other than XCF. If that is the case, I'd go back to the previous lesson and create your document again (saving your file is covered in the written instructions, not in the video). Remember that XCF format retains all of our layer and guideline information.

    Lets rename our original image layer to "original".

    Since we work in black and white anyway, it only makes sense to create our pattern in black and white. Working in black and white will also make seeing the shadows much easier and it will work better with the filters we'll be using in the next sections. So we must remove the color from the image.

    Go ahead and duplicate the original layer and rename it to "bw" (for black and white).

    In the menu across the top, choose Colors>Desaturate. This will pop up a dialog box that gives you 3 options; Lightness, Luminosity, and Average. Click each on of these options and watch what its doing to the image. Find an option that is the most pleasing to your eye. I chose Luminosity because the shadows and highlights seem to be richer and have more depth.

    The next step, we'll play around with the color balance/brightness & contrast. We want the shadows to be a bit darker, but not black. We also want the highlight to be brighter, but not white. The tones in between we want to ramp up so the transition is quicker, thereby giving a bit more contrast in general. There are several ways to do this in the Color menu on the top (color balance, hue/saturation, colorize, brightness/contrast, levels, and curves). I prefer using Curves.

    Duplicate your "bw" layer and rename the new layer to "curves."

    Choose Colors>Curves. This will pop up a dialog box that has a grid with a diagonal line. The lower left corner is your true black, and the upper right corner is your true whites. The diagonal line indicates how the black transitions into the white. Across the bottom, you'll see the gray tones in your image graphed out. Click the diagonal line and drag the center up. You'll notice your image got brighter. Drag it the other way and you'll notice it gets darker. Try moving the lines into various positions and watch what it does to your image. This curve allows us to control the brightness and contrast of our image. Bringing the curve up or down doesn't really accomplish what we want. We don't want to lighten it, nor do we want to darken it. What we want is to darken some of the shadows and lighten some of the highlights, and make the transition between the two levels ramp up quicker, thereby increasing the contrast overall. We can accomplish this by creating an 'S' curve. We can add another node to this line to create an 'S' shape. We want one node about 1/3 up from the bottom and just below the diagonal. The next node is about 1/3 from the top right and above the diagonal (see image below). This creates a really nice contrast to the overall image. Play around with the nodes a bit and find something that looks nice to you. Then press OK when you are happy with the way it looks. Remember, we don't want solid black yet, nor solid white. We want to see the details in the shadows still, as well as in the highlights.


    Now that we have our image looking good, its time to work with some filters. Filters are special effects that can be applied to a layer. There are a lot of filters to play with, so be sure to check them out too. But the filter we're interested in is the Photocopy filter. But before we proceed, lets duplicate our curves layer and rename the new layer to "photocopy."

    Choose Filters>Artistic>Photocopy. This will pop up a dialog box. You'll see a preview pane on the top with a bunch of sliders below. One of the annoying things about GIMP is the preview window is at 100%. You can't zoom out to see how you are affecting your entire image. Hopefully this will be changed in the next version, until then we have to work around this minor annoyance. One thing you can do is resize the window by grabbing the corner and dragging it out. Make this dialog box as large as your screen allows. This way you'll be able to see a bit more of your image in the preview window. Drag the image so you can see his eyes.

    We have 4 slider options; Mask Radius, Sharpness, Percent Black, and Percent White. Play around with these sliders and watch what it does to your image. Are you starting to see the beginnings of a scroll saw pattern? Pretty cool, huh? The Mask Radius is how it calculates which surrounding pixels should be darkened. A higher level will create a darker, thicker line. I like to move the mask radius all the way to the right. The Sharpness is how much detail it will retain. Low sharpness creates blurred lines, whereas high sharpness creates crisp lines. I like having my sharpness all of the way to the right too. Percent Black will indicate how much black will be added to the image. I like to keep this at about .95 or so. Not quite maxed out, but close. Percent White is where you'll find the most control. This will indicate how much of your image will be converted to white. If you max out the white, sure your image is now in black and white, but you also lost a lot important detail in your image. I prefer having some gray tones so I can retain some of the detail in the image. I like having control over which details I think are important are not. In the next lesson, we'll decide which details remain and which details we can do without. So for my Percent White, I set mine at about .6. Pan around the image and take a look at what your image will look like. If you are happy with the results, press OK and the computer will process your filter.

    In the spirit of experimentation, try hiding your newly created photocopy layer and duplicate your curves layer and do this process again with different settings. Do this a few times and choose the one you like best. Whichever ones you don't want, be sure to delete them so we don't get confused later on.


    Well, that's pretty much it! We're getting pretty darn close to a pattern now and you can see it taking shape! Be sure to save your work (remember you want the xcf extention so we save all of our layers). Next lesson we'll be cleaning up this pattern so its cuttable. We'll learn to work with brushes. We'll also discuss bridges, peninsulas, islands, and lakes; the cornerstone of what makes scroll saw patterns unique. This should be fun! I know I can't wait!

    -Play around with layers and be sure to understand how they work.
    -Follow the above steps to create your base pattern.
    -Apply the same techniques to any other picture you're working on along side the class.
    -Experiment with color adjustments and filters and see what they can do.

    • Feb 05, 2015 04:45 PM
    • by Travis
  16. Scroll Saw Portraits Using Gimp - L4

    Welcome to Lesson 4. This time we get to work with an image! Yay! Well, don't get too excited. We're going to prepare this image so that it is ready for us on the next lesson where we really roll up our sleeves and start the pattern making process. So this lesson is pretty straight forward and will go pretty quick. Besides, I covered a lot on the lasts lesson to keep you plenty busy...LOL.

    This lesson, we'll download our image, prepare our pattern document, layout guidelines, and re-size our image.

    The Image
    I was trying to figure out what portrait I wanted to use in this class. Since we're doing a portrait pattern, I figured you weren't too interested in doing a portrait of my uncle Joe. So I figured a celebrity would have more of a wider appeal and be a bit more interesting. The tricky thing is to find a celebrity picture that doesn't have a lot of copyright restrictions. I guess most celebrity photographers want to make money with their pics. Who knew. Posted Image I turned to WikiMedia Commons. Wikimedia Commons is the media repository for the Wikipedia project. The nice thing about this website is that it lays out the terms of copyright and license. That way we can see if its something we can legally use.

    I ended up finding a nice picture of Captain Kirk...yup, Mr. William Shatner! If we look at the licensing terms, you can see it is released under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.5 license. Basically it says we're allowed to use this image whichever way we want, as long as the original author is credited and we release our derivative work under the same license. So Jerry Avenaim was kind enough to donate the image for public use under this license. How cool is that?

    Remember me preaching about a high resolution picture? Well, if you look at the full resolution picture of William Shatner (click the image in Wikimedia Commons), you'll notice it is fairly small. While this is not an ideal size, I think it will work well for us. I chose this image because it really has a nice color balance. The contrast and highlights are very nice and the skin tones are even across the picture. You can clearly see all of the detail we'll need to pull a pattern from it. So, despite the fact it is lower-than-ideal resolution, the fact that it has all of these other things going for it will more than compensate for the resolution shortcomings . I'm confident this picture will produce really good results for us. You can download the picture here, or click the image below.


    Creating Our Pattern Document
    Go ahead and open up your downloaded picture into GIMP (File>Open). Here is our picture off Bill. We won't be using this document to design our portrait on. If you look at the size of this image (Image>Canvas Size), you notice it is only 3.4x4.7". This is much too small to cut. Instead, we'll create a new document that is 8x10". I like working in this size because it's easy to find frames for the final cutting. So let's create our new document in which we'll be working our final pattern in.

    Go to File>New and that will pop up a Create A New Image dialog box. This is where we'll set up our document dimensions. There is a template pull-down menu, but they don't offer an 8x10" option. So we'll have to make a custom document. Make sure your units are in inches (pull-down menu next to the Height field. It's pixels by default). Then it's just a matter of typing in our dimensions (8" for the width, 10" for the height).

    Now that we have the height and width set, we have to set the resolution. By default, the resolution is 72 pixels per inch. This is much too small. It makes it hard to get the detail you want out of a pattern. A popular resolution is 300 pixels per inch. This is overkill. It makes too large of a file for what we need. My favorite size is 150 pixels per inch. This seems to be a happy medium. Just enough resolution for me to get the detail I want, but not too much. Plus I know that a 3 pixel brush size is about the width of the kerf of a scroll saw blade. I also know that a 5 pixel brush size is the width of the kerf of a spiral scroll saw blade (#5 spiral). This is a nice point of reference when creating patterns and we'll be discussing brushes in more detail in Lesson 6. But for now, we need to change the default 72 pixels per inch resolution to 150 pixels per inch resolution. Click the + sign next to the Advanced Options. You'll see the X & Y Resolution fields there. Just change them from 72 to 150.

    There are a couple more options under the Advance Options too. The color space will always remain RGB, so keep that at it's default. For the Fill With field, lets choose white. This will create a white document, which is much easier to see and work with. The comments field is unnecessary. Click OK and we have our pattern document set!


    Creating Guidelines
    OK. We now have our pattern document. The size is 8x10". But since we're going to put this into a frame, a little bit of the frame will overlap our cutting. So we should take that into account. I figure if we have a 1/4" margin around our entire design, we should be pretty safe. So to help us to remember to keep that margin, we'll create guidelines. Guidelines are there for reference only. They will never be printed. You can use guidelines for alignment, marking reference points, or as in our case, creating margins. Creating a guideline is easy. You'll notice along the left and top of the screen, you'll see rulers. These rulers will be in inches. If not, change the units to inches in the lower left corner of your screen (covered in Lesson 3). We'll also use the coordinate readings on the lower left corner. So to create a guideline, click into the ruler and drag out toward the center of your pattern. Keep an eye on the coordinates in the lower left corner and drop the guideline at a 1/4" from the edge. Continue doing this across all 4 sides of the document. If you mess up, you can hover over the guideline and it will change to red/pink. Click and drag to reposition the guideline. If you want to delete a guideline, drag the guideline back onto the ruler and it will disappear.

    Copy Our Image to the Pattern Document
    Now that we have out pattern document set up, lets stick our picture in there. Click the picture of Bill to make that window active. In your Layers dockable dialog box (see Lesson 3 if you don't have it), you'll see a layer called Background. You can drag this background layer onto your pattern document and this will copy the layer. Alternatively, you can highlight the layer and press Ctrl+C to copy the background layer to your clipboard. Then click your pattern document and press Ctrl+V to paste the image from your clipboard to your pattern document. Either method works well.

    Resizing Captain Kirk
    In the tool palette, choose the Scale tool (Shift+T unless you reassigned the shortcut). Click on the picture of Shatner and it will pop up a dialog box. You can scale an image in two ways. You can either type in the dimensions in the dialog box, or use the nodes on the picture. Nodes are the little squares at the corners of the picture and in the middle of the edges. Grab one of the corner nodes and drag it around. You'll notice that it will change the aspect ratio and really mess up the image (it gets really skinny or really fat). We want to scale the image equally along the X axis as well as the Y axis. Click the reset button in the Scaling dialog box to undo your previous scaling. You can constrain the aspect ratio in two ways. First, you can click the little linking chain next to the width and height fields. Then you can grab a corner node and the image will scale equally along the X and Y axis. Alternatively, you can hold down the Ctrl key while dragging a corner node. That, too, will scale the image equally along the X and Y axis.

    So continue resizing the image so that Bill fits nicely within your margins of the pattern document. Remember to constrain the aspect ratio while resizing. I have the edge of his hair along the top margin, and each shoulder touching the side margins. You'll notice that his shirt goes beyond the bottom margin. This is OK. His shirt isn't important information, so we'll just leave off any of the shirt that goes beyond the bottom margin. When you're happy with the image, click the Scale button in the dialog box to tell the computer this is the size you want it. The computer will recalculate the image to the size you indicated.


    Saving Your Image
    To save your image, go to File>Save. This will pop up a dialog box. Browse to the folder where you'd like to save your file. At the top of the screen, you'll see a Name field. This is where you name your file. One thing about GIMP that is cool, is you can add whatever extension you want and GIMP is smart enough to save it as that kind of file. So if you called it Shatner.jpg, GIMP will save it as a jpeg image. Since we want a raw file, we'll add the extension as xcf. So your image would be called Shatner.xcf.

    You can also just type in a basic name like "Shatner" in the Name field. Then go down to the pull down box that says "All Images" and choose GIMP XCF image. Then when you press Save, it will add the extension for you. You can also click the + button next to Select by File Type and then choose GIMP XCF image. Either way will work.

    We want to save our image as GIMP XCF image because it holds all of our layers information. This allows us to manipulate individual layers rather than merging down our layers into one. This will be important as we start working on our patterns. We'll cover layers in the next lesson.


    Well, that's it. Now we're ready to start working on our base pattern, which we'll cover in the next lesson. But before you close everything down, make sure you save!

    -Download a copy of the William Shatner picture. Create a new pattern document at 8x10" and create your guidelines. Then re-size your picture to fit within the guidelines.
    -If you are working on another portrait along with the class, do the same process with your other picture.
    -Practice using guidelines and resizing pictures.

    • Nov 28, 2012 06:06 PM
    • by Travis
  17. Scroll Saw Portraits Using Gimp - L3

    Welcome back, folks. This lesson we're doing a tour of the user interface and talking about customizing our tools. There's a lot to cover, so lets get started.

    When you first launch GIMP, 2 or 3 (or more) windows will open. First you have the main screen. This is the big gray box which holds your picture. A small window will also open with a bunch of icons. This is your Tool Box (If you don't see it, go to Windows>Toolbox). And finally, one or more windows will also open. These are dockable dialog boxes that contain various functions. We'll cover each of these in the sections below.

    One unique thing about GIMP is that it uses floating windows. (GIMP 2.8.6 now offers Single-Window Mode, which is similar to the way most Windows programs operate. You can turn on/off this mode at Windows>Single-Window Mode. For this tutorial, it would be easiest to have it turned off so your screen looks similar to mine.) If you notice, none of the screens maximize to cover your full screen. As PC users, we are use to an application to fill the whole screen. GIMP uses floating windows instead, very similar to the way Mac and Linux systems work. It is a little strange to get use to at first, but once you do, you'll learn to love this way of working. It allows you to move your tools around the screen and make a nice work area. The main window does have an option to maximize the screen, but I don't recommend it. The reason is that if you are working on an image with the main window maximized and you zoom in, all of a sudden your tool box and dialog boxes start covering areas you want to work in. It really messes up your work flow. So, instead, re-size the main window to a size you're comfortable working with that still leaves room for your tool box and dialog boxes.

    Main Screen
    The main screen functions much the same way as any other application. Across the top you'll see the menu (File, Edit, Select, View, etc). This menu holds all of the functions within the program. Whenever I learn a new program, I'll go through the menus and see what options I have. Also note where your options reside and how they are categorized. Once you figure out the organization structure of the program, you shouldn't have too much trouble finding options you need.

    Go ahead an open an image in your main window (File>Open). Once you find an image, you'll notice the picture opens so you can see the entire image. You may want to re-size the window so that you have plenty of room for your toolbox and dialog boxes.

    One of the first things you'll notice, other than your picture, is a ruler that goes across the top and left of your screen. When you move your mouse around the image, you'll see a black triangle that shows you where your mouse is relative to the ruler. In the lower left corner of the window, you'll see the coordinates of your mouse as well. Notice it changes when you move your mouse. These coordinates correspond to the black arrows on the rulers. This is very handy when you're trying to dial in a specific measurement. Next to the coordinates, you'll find a drop-down box. It defaults to pixels (px) when you first launch the program. We won't be using pixels in this class. Instead we'd rather work with inches. So click the drop-down box and choose inches (in). You'll notice the rulers change from pixel measurements to inches measurements. The coordinates also indicate inches. You'll find the ruler pretty handy when scaling images or aligning items. We'll be using the ruler in the next lesson when we create our work area.

    To the right of the measurement drop-down box (lower left), you'll see another drop-down box. This contains percentages of zoom. You can select whichever preset you'd like to see as much or as little detail as you'd like. This is convenient if you want to see the image at 100%. But I usually will use keyboard shortcuts to zoom in and out of the image as I'm working. I'll cover the keyboard shortcuts in the Navigating The Image section below.

    To the right of the zoom drop-down box, you'll see an area that contains text (hover over the image). These are tool-tips associated with whichever tool you have selected in the toolbox. It will give you basic information on how to use that tool.

    One last section on the bottom left corner. Next to the scroll bar, you'll see a box with a dotted outline. This is a painted mask tool. When you click this icon, your image turns red. From here, you can use your paint brush to paint on a mask. A mask is a way to make a selection (we'll cover this in Lesson 5). Using white creates the mask, using black removes the mask. When you're done creating your mask, click the icon again and the red disappears . But in its place, you'll see the selection in which you painted on. Don't worry, we'll explain what this is later and how to use it.

    OK. Lets move over to the bottom right. In the corner, you'll find a triangle made up with dots. This is your window resizing tool. Click and drag the dotted triangle and you can re-size your window. Just above this is a cross with arrows. If you click that, a thumbnail image of your document pops up and you'll see a white box (you have to be zoomed in on your main image). Drag your mouse around this thumbnail and you'll notice you're panning your main image. This is a easy way to navigate your image without zooming back out.

    In the upper left corner, you'll see a little arrow above the side ruler. This is a flyout menu and is basically the same thing as the main menu across the top. Flyout menus are all over the place in GIMP, so be sure to look for them because they offer easier access to many of your options.

    Lastly, lets look at the top of the screen. You'll find a lot of text. The first part is the file name of the document you have open. You may also notice an asterisk before the file name. The asterisk indicates the image has changes made to it, but has not been saved yet. Next to the file name, you see parenthesis. Inside you'll notice it says RGB. This is the color profile of the image. Basically we use Red, Green and Blue to make up our images. We'll be working with RGB exclusively. If you doesn't say RGB, you'll have to change the color profile so that it is RGB (Image>Mode>RGB). Next to RGB, you'll see how many layers your project contains. It really doesn't make much difference. The more layers you have, the larger the file is, but we won't worry about that. It's not that important. Right after the parenthesis, we'll see the resolution of the image. The last couple lessons, we talked about the importance of resolution. The resolution is noted in pixels. Then at the end of all of this is the program name...GIMP.


    Tool Box & Options
    Lets look at the toolbox. As you can imagine, this is the section that holds all of the tools you have available. This can be customized to suite your own needs and we'll cover that in another section. Each icon indicates each tool. If you hold your mouse over the icon, a tool-tip will pop up and let you know what the tool is.

    Below the tools is a box on top of another box. This is your color selectors. By default, the boxes are black and white. The top box is the foreground color, and the bottom box is the background color. You can switch the order of these boxes by clicking the arrow button and the colors will swap places. If you have color in the boxes, you can go back to black and white by clicking the tiny black/white box icon to the bottom left of the color selector. To select a color, click either the foreground or background color. This will pop up a color selector. The foreground color is the color most of your tools will use (paint brush, paint bucket, etc.). Some tools will use both foreground and background color (gradient fill).

    Below all of this is a dockable dialog area. By default, the tool options is docked. Whenever you click a tool, this window will change to offer you additional options for that particular tool. If you don't see the Tool Options dialog box, you can open the dialog box by going to Windows>Dockable-Dialogs>Tool Options. You can dock the dialog box to the tool palette (see Dockable Dialogs below). Take some time and look at the options each tool offers.


    Dockable Dialogs
    Dialog boxes offer options for tools and provide other information. We'll be using several dialog boxes while creating our scroll saw patterns. You can find different dialog boxes under Windows>Dockable Dialogs. Just select the dialog box you wish to open and it will pop up the window. Since having a bunch of dialog boxes open at once will quickly clutter up the screen, GIMP lets you dock the dialog boxes so several windows can reside in one main window. Each docked dialog will be separated by a tab. So selecting one tab will display the options of that particular dialog box. Clicking the next tab will show that dialog box's options, etc. Docking a dialog box is easy. Just select the dialog box name in the window and drag it over to another dialog box. You'll notice a black outline around the information area of the other dialog box. That tells you that you're about to dock the dialog box into another. When you release the mouse button, your dialog box will have it's own tab.

    To remove the dialog box from the dock, grab the dialog box tab icon and drag it outside the containing dialog box. This will create a lone dialog box. You can either dock it to another set of dialog boxes or close it all together.

    You can re-arrange the tabs of a docked dialog box by grabbing the tab icon and drag it over to the top of another tab. This will put you selected tab in front of the tab you just hovered over.

    Another way to add tabs is to select the little triangle flyout menu on each set of dialog boxes. Choose Add Tab and that will give you the same list as Windows>Dockable Dialogs.

    Remember that the section below the tool box is also a dockable area. I like having my brushes dialog box docked into this area.

    Here are some of the dialog boxes I like having open. Tool Options and Brushes are both docked under the toolbar. I like having Layers, Channels, Undo History in it's own dock. You may also want Tools dialog box docked somewhere too for convenience while you're learning (we'll talk about that in the next section)


    Customizing The Tool Box
    Now that we have our dialog boxes customized, let's customize our tool box. As you can see we have a lot of tools at our disposal. As scroll saw pattern makers, we have very specific needs and really don't need all of the tools offered. So instead of having those tools clutter up our toolbox, we can display only the tools we want. To do this, we need to open up the Tools dialog box (Windows>Dockable Dialogs>Tools). To do this, go to Edit>Preferences then select the Toolbox section (Updated for GIMP 2.86). You'll see a list of all of the tools available. Next to each tool is an eye. This controls the visibility of that tool in your tool box. Click a couple and watch your Tool Box. You'll see the tool appear or disappear. This is nice to remove tools you'll never use.

    You can also change the order of the tools by selecting the tool in the Tools dialog box and dragging it up or down. A little line will show you where you're putting the tool in relation to the other tools. Give this a try and watch your tool box. You can immediately see that the tool order changes.

    So go through the tools and choose which ones you prefer. I'd recommend :Rectangle Select, Ellipse Select, Free Select, Fuzzy Select, Scissors, Color Picker, Zoom, Measure, Move, Align, Crop, Rotate, Scale, Flip, Text, Bucket Fill, Blend, Eraser, Clone, Dodge/Burn. We won't use some of these options, but these are the tools that I might use when creating a scroll saw pattern. There are other tools you might want to turn on, namely the color manipulation tools. I don't have them turned on. I'll use the menu at the top of the screen instead. But feel free to turn those on if you want easy access.


    Navigating The Image
    We'll be zooming in and out of the image all of the time. So we'll need to find an easy way to navigate the image. There are a number of ways to do this. You can find the option that works best for you.

    Zooming in and out can be easily be done with the + and - keys. You can use the number pad + and - keys or the ones on the keyboard (remember, the plus on the keyboard is Shift and =). You can also use the magnifying glass in the toolbar. Drag a box around what you want to zoom in, or just click to zoom in incrementally. Holding the Ctrl and clicking will zoom out. You can also use the zoom pull-down menu on the bottom of the screen. I personally like using the roller wheel on my mouse. Ctrl+mouse wheel will either zoom in (roll up) or out (roll down).

    Panning can be done with the scroll bars at the bottom and right of the image. Just drag those around and you'll easily pan the image. The dotted box in the lower right corner will also help you pan the image (see Main Screen section above). Hovering your mouse over the image and pressing the space bar will allow you to pan the image while dragging the mouse. You can use the roller wheel to pan the image up and down. Holding the shift button while using the mouse wheel will pan the image left and right. The method I prefer is using the button on the mouse roller wheel to pan around the image. Just click the button, then drag the mouse to pan the image.

    Keyboard Shortcuts
    Keyboard shortcuts will make your life much easier and the pattern making process go that much quicker. It is much easier to type 'P' to get the paint brush as opposed to moving over to the toolbox and selecting the icon. We'll be working with black and white, so to switch the foreground color with the background color (black and white), we hit the 'X' key. That way we can paint the black areas, then hit 'X' to switch from black to white and paint in the white areas.

    In the tool palette, you can hover over an icon to get tool tip. A the end of the tool-tip, you'll find the shortcut key in bold. Hover over the paintbrush tool and you'll notice that the letter 'P' is the shortcut key. Hover over the other tools. What shortcut keys do you see?

    In the menu, you'll also see shortcut keys assigned to various functions. The shortcut is on the right of the option. For example, look in the Select menu. Next to None you'll see the shortcut as Shift+Ctrl+A. Pressing this combination of keys will deselect your mask from the image.

    You can create custom shortcut keys too. Go to Edit>Keyboard Shortcuts. This will pop up a dialog box that has all of the options within GIMP. Find the function you wish to assign. When you want to assign the shortcut, just click the short cut column next to the function. Then press your combination of keys. If the combination of keys isn't used by any other function, you shortcut key will automatically be saved. If the shortcut keys you chose is being used by another function, it will pop up a warning message asking if you want to reassign the shortcut. You can say yes, or decide to select a different combination of keys.

    Customizing your shortcut keys is very powerful option. I like to have my shortcut keys within reach of my left hand so I can switch between tools/functions with my left hand and still control the mouse with my right hand. This works well for me. Create a work area that works well for you.

    One last note. If you right click on various icons or on the image itself, it often pops up additional options for that tool or section of the program.


    -Browse through the menu options and tool options.
    -Customize your tool box and dialog boxes.
    -Look at the shortcut keys. Reassign them if you prefer.
    -Practice navigating through an image. The better you get at it, the quicker you can work.

    I'm sure you have plenty of questions. Just fire away and I'll do my best to expand on some of these concepts. We're getting there! Next lesson we'll be importing our picture and setting up our work area. Then we're off to the real pattern making. Posted Image

    • Jan 14, 2014 10:01 PM
    • by Travis
  18. Scroll Saw Patterns With Inkscape - L8

    Welcome to the very last lesson in our Inkscape class. Time flies, doesn't it? We're doing another demonstration. This time we're creating an elk mini-clock for a desk. The project takes a standard 1 7/16" mini-clock insert you can find online or at some craft stores. This video runs a little long, but you'll see the entire process of putting together this project. There is too much information to cover in written instructions, so I've provided a general overview instead. You probably won't understand the written instruction without seeing the video first.

    Making Clock Template
    The clock insert we're using requires a 1 3/8" hole to be cut. Most will use a forsner bit and drill the hole. So lets make a clock holder. First I draw a 1.375" circle. Then I add cross hairs to mark the center of the hole by taking a vertical line, duplicating it and rotating it to horizontal. I center everything and group it. I want a 1/4" border, so I'll draw a 1/4" box to act as a measuring device. I stack the the center hole with the measuring box. Then ungroup the center hole, duplicate the center, then use dynamic offset and enlarge it to the top of the measuring box. Delete the measuring box, select the outer circle and inner circle and use Difference to make a donut. Group this new shape with your cross hairs and set aside.

    Making Frame
    We'll create a oval frame to contain our scene for the clock. First, I make the main oval and size it to the size I want. Then create a measuring square at 1/2" square. Select your oval and square, center horizontally and push the square to the top of the selection. Duplicate the oval and use dynamic offset and scale it to the bottom of your measuring square. Delete the measuring square, select the inner oval and outer oval and use Difference to create your basic frame shape.

    Now we need to make some feet. Draw a square about the size you need, then turn it into a path. Using node editing, give the legs a nice gentle curve. When you reach a shape you're happy with, duplicate the shape and flip it. Place each leg into the approximate place. Then center vertically, group them, then select both the feet group and the oval frame and center them horizontally. Ungroup everything, then use Union to make it one shape.

    Now to make sure everything sits on the same plane, draw a large square that overlaps your new shape. Select both shapes and choose Difference. This will flatten out the bottom of the feet and flatten the bottom of your oval frame.

    Making The Base
    Draw a square a little longer than the width of your frame. I usually like 1/2" or 3/4" on each side of the frame. Then I choose a height wider than the stock I'm using. So if I'm using 3/4" stock, I might make the height 1.5" or 2". Once you have the dimensions figured out, round the corners of the rectangle to soften up the base.

    Tracing Our Subject
    Find a picture you'd like to use in your clock. I chose to use an elk. You can find the elk here if you want to follow along. Import the picture into Inkscape to begin tracing. I use a square that I turned into a path as my starting point. Then its just a matter of placing the nodes and adjusting the Bezier handles to match the picture.

    You may need to create multiple shapes and use Difference to punch a hole into the silhouette. You can also use the Bezier tool in the Tool Box to add some veining. Once done, group your elk and delete your source photo.

    Arranging Our Elements
    Now you can take your traces subject and place it where you want it within the frame. You can also place your clock template within the frame too. Once you get everything placed, its a good idea to duplicate everything and set it aside. Someday, you may want to use your tracing again. This way you can have that element separate from the pattern you're creating.

    When you're happy with the placement, it is time to start to Union the pieces together. You'll have to ungroup any groups before using Union. If you run into further trouble, breaking apart elements will sometimes help.

    Finishing Touches
    When you're finished, you can start labeling your pieces and signing your work. Add any instructions if required. Print our your design or upload a copy to the Pattern Library.

    The pattern that was demonstrated in this lesson is posted below.

    Posted Image

    I hope you guys enjoyed this class and learned a thing or two. Inkscape isn't a hard program to learn, it just takes a little practice (just like anything else). The possibilities are endless with this program and you can come up with unique designs that nobody else has. I hope you choose to share your talent with the rest of us. Scrollers are very appreciative of pattern designers. Plus, its a huge thrill when you see someone cut one of your patterns. I can't wait to see what y'all will come up with. Happy designing! :thumbs:

    • Jan 14, 2014 06:33 PM
    • by Travis
  19. Scroll Saw Portraits Using Gimp - L1

    Welcome to the GIMP class on creating scroll saw portraits using this great (and free) software. This class will last for 4 weeks with 2 lessons released each week. We will all work with the same image to create a portrait pattern (still to be determined). It makes it easier to troubleshoot problems that arise if we're all on the same page. However, I encourage you to find a picture that you'd like to work on along side of this class.

    Each class will include a video demonstration, as well as written out instructions. You'll also find resource material posted with each lesson. This may include links of interest, or files you may download. I encourage you to ask lots of questions. That's what this class is all about. If you find a technique that works better for you, we'd all love to hear about it. Also, feel free to upload files for evaluation.

    This lesson is pretty much here to lay the groundwork. First lets go over what you can expect from this class:

    • Introduction - Introduction to pattern making and GIMP.
    • What Makes A Good Pattern - We discuss different styles of patterns and look at reference material.
    • User Interface Tour - A quick tour of the program. We'll look at tool pallets and major sections of the program. We also discuss basic navigation through your project.
    • Creating a Workspace - We'll create a workspace and do any of the preliminary tasks before we roll up our sleeves and dig in.
    • The Base Pattern - The meat of the pattern making process. We'll use filters to establish a base pattern for us to work on.
    • Islands, Peninsulas and Lakes - The elements that make up scroll saw patterns. We'll talk about how to handle delicate areas and create unique shapes that form our pattern.
    • Facial Features - We discuss various facial features and a couple tips to bring your portrait to life.
    • Final Touches - We wrap things up by checking our work and learn to export our pattern for distribution.
    Why create your own patterns?
    -There are lots of reasons why you'd want to learn to create your own patterns. First, you will make a pattern that nobody else in this world has. Being able to create something from nothing really gives you a sense of self satisfaction (plus it impresses your friends!)

    -You may want to create a portrait of a loved one. Many people like personalized portraits of their pets or family members. This can be apart of a brag wall, or as a memorial for a loved one who has passed.

    -You'll be able to fulfill requests. Often times you'll find fellow scrollers who do not have the ability to make personalized patterns for themselves. You'll be able to help them out and create a pattern for them. That's just good karma!

    -And lastly, you can make some extra money with these skills. Word of mouth moves fast. Before you know it, you'll have many commission pieces lined up. Offer your services at your next craft show. Nothing wrong with making a few extra bucks doing something you love. If nothing else, it will keep you in sawblades.

    What is GIMP?
    GIMP is a bitmap based graphics program that stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. GNU is a software licensing term that means that anybody can copy, modify, or redistribute this software as long as the same licensing terms remain with the new product. Basically it means it's free!

    GIMP is Open Source Software. A large community comes together and programs this software in their spare time. The source code is available for anybody to download, study, modify or improve. Since a large community programs the software together, no one person actually owns the software. This is why Open Source Software is free.

    There are several advantages to open source software. First, obviously, is the fact it is free. Second, since a large community is programming the software, the program is always advancing and adding new features (assuming the community is active). Lastly, since the software source code is open to scrutiny, it is very unlikely that viruses or other malware can be inserted into the code. Someone will spot it and remove it immediately. So you can feel safe about downloading this great software.

    Bitmaps vs. Vectors
    There are two basic types of graphics out there. There are vector based graphics created by programs like Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, and Inkscape. Then there are bitmap or raster graphics like those created by Adobe Photoshop, Corel Photopaint and GIMP.

    Vector based graphics are mathematical representation of an image. Vectors are composed of nodes which define the space in relation to other nodes to create shapes, lines and curves. These complex shapes are then layered upon each other in order to define an image. The advantage of vector graphics is the file size tends to be much smaller. You may enlarge or shrink down a vector graphic without losing quality because the nodes stay within the same relative position to one another. The mathematical formulas recalculate the image based on node information, so there is no information that is lost (or gained) during resizing.

    Bitmaps are a rectangular grid of pixels (blocks of color) used to define a picture. The more pixels that are used in an image, the more information the image contains. This is called resolution. The higher the resolution is, the more detail you can pull from an image. You can enlarge a low resolution graphic. But since a low resolution only has so much information (number of pixels), when you enlarge it, it only spreads that information over a larger area. You do not gain additional detail by enlarging a low resolution graphic. (You can see an example here).

    So why would we want to work with bitmaps? Most graphics you find on the internet, all digital photographs from cameras or scanned pictures, and most any other form of digital graphics are bitmaps. Even vector graphics eventually become bitmap images. Bitmap images are a convenient way to distribute images through digital mediums.

    As scroll saw pattern makers, we often work with photographs. Since photographs are bitmap based graphics, it only makes sense to work in a bitmap graphics program. Bitmaps have the advantage of being modified easily, whereas vector graphics rely on complicated layering techniques and precise positioning of nodes. Using a program like GIMP allows us to change individual pixels with use of various tools. You can easily use a paintbrush to change the color of pixels, or use the eraser tool to remove all pixel color information.

    Downloading GIMP
    You can download a copy of GIMP from http://www.gimp.org. Right in the middle of the screen on the front page you'll see a Download button. Click that and you'll be taken to download page. The easiest way for Windows Users is to select the Installer option. This is a regular executable file that will install the program for you. Mac and Linux users will have to download them from the FTP and Web Mirrors section. (don't download the Source Code as it isn't compiled and won't run on any system. These files are intended for the programmers).

    User Manual
    On the GIMP website, you'll find a section called Documentation. This is the User Manual. Just select the language you prefer and everything is online. Be sure to bookmark this site. I'm sure you'll be referring to it in the future.

    You also have the option of downloading the User Manual. I don't recommend this. First, the file is huge (40+ megs). Second, it's not as up-to-date as the online version. And lastly, I don't know how to install it. It requires complicated stroke commands. While I'm kinda a computer geek, that is waaay above my head. Just stick to the online version. You'll be much happier.

    Other Resources
    GIMP is a popular program. As such, there are a lot of great resources on the internet to help you learn how to use this really cool program. As scroll saw pattern makers, we have very specific needs and probably won't find tutorials we can incorporate directly into our patterns. However, going through these tutorials will help you understand the program better and learn what all of the tools do. Here are a few cool websites you might enjoy.
    • GIMP.org - They have a number of tutorials ranging from beginner to advanced. A great place to start.
    • YouTube - A great place to find video tutorials. Hundreds to choose from. I can spend all day here.
    • 25 GIMP Video Tutorials to Help Get You Started - A blog post from Six Revisions that highlights some really great tutorials.
    • Design Your Own Web - Some nice basic instruction on how to use GIMP
    • Meet The Gimp - A video podcast that uses GIMP to do some really cool stuff. Lots of material here!
    • Google - Lets not forget our good friend, Google.
    Download and install GIMP onto your computer. Play around with it a little.

    • Jul 08, 2014 07:57 PM
    • by Travis

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