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Scroll Saw Patterns With Inkscape - L6

pattern making tutorial class inkscape video

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#1 Travis

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Posted September 17, 2009 - 04:13 PM



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
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-tool.jpg

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.

textbox.jpg


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.


font-properties.jpg

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.

font-properties-popup.jpg


Kerning
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.

text-on-path.jpg


Assignment:
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.

Click here to view the article

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#2 wood-n-things

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Posted June 13, 2010 - 02:38 PM

So I read and read this tutorial and no luck. I open the 'T" --select my font style and size of font. Then I click on the tab for text and nothing happens. It is blank.
Don't be so open-minded.
Your brains will fall out!

#3 Dan

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Posted June 14, 2010 - 12:44 AM

Mike,

Are you trying to edit text you already typed? Did you select your text first? I did the same thing you did (I think), then found that if you select the text you already typed, you can edit the font style and size. Then if you select the Text tab you can edit the text in that window. Hope this helps.

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#4 wood-n-things

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Posted June 14, 2010 - 05:03 AM

Dan,
No I was trying to create a new piece of word art. I'll try typing the word first and then attempt to manipulate it..I'll report back. Thanks!
Don't be so open-minded.
Your brains will fall out!

#5 Travis

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Posted June 14, 2010 - 07:15 PM

So I read and read this tutorial and no luck. I open the 'T" --select my font style and size of font. Then I click on the tab for text and nothing happens. It is blank.



Hi Mike. You'll have to put text into your pattern before clicking the "T" button.

Click the "A" icon on your toolbar first (on the left), then click in your canvas area and type your word. Then select your word with your pointer/selector tool, then click the "T" icon. This will give you your text options.

Let me know if this doesn't work for ya.

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#6 wood-n-things

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Posted June 14, 2010 - 08:23 PM

When I click on the "A" on the left it makes the text vertical? I finally found the "A" on the top bar for horizontal..LOL That worked Now I'll try and play with it a little.

Thanks!
Don't be so open-minded.
Your brains will fall out!

#7 dust4tears

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Posted October 21, 2012 - 05:50 PM

I wanted to share this because I was having issues with it on a MacBook~

If you are trying to use Kerning on a Mac and it DOES NOT work.....try these solutions. They worked for me.
(Taken from Inkscape's resources)

Mac OS X specific issues

How can I make the Alt key work ?

If you find yourself unable to use Inkscape functions that require the alt key (i.e. option key) such as Alt+D to create a clone or Alt+Click to select under, you will need to turn off the "Emulate three button mouse" under the Input Preferences for X11.

Recent X11/Xquartz versions (≥ 2.5.1) have a new GUI option in the preferences dialog to make the option/alt key work like a real Alt modifier instead of Mode_switch (X11 Preferences > Input > Option keys send Alt_L and Alt_R). Changing this setting will have the downside of no longer being able to input diacritic and other special characters via keyboard in X11-based applications because both option keys will be changed - see below for a more fine-grained solution.

If you still cannot get it to work you can try using a keyboard mapping file for X11 (the environment Inkscape is running in) called an xmodmap (keyboard modifier map and keymap table). Open a terminal and type

cd ~
touch .Xmodmap
This will create a new text file called ".Xmodmap" in your home directory. The period before the actual file name "Xmodmap" causes the file to stay hidden within the Finder.

Now open the file by typing

open .Xmodmap
and paste the following into the newly created file:

keycode 66 = Alt_L
This defines the left option key as alt within all X11 applications, enabling Alt based shortcuts. You need to re-start X11 to see the change.

The right option key stays the same though, so you cannot use it as Alt but you can still use it to type special characters such as é, ß or \ on non-US keyboards (which is Shift+Option+7 on a German keyboard for example). It makes typing those letters more cumbersome but the user (unfortunately) has to determine him/herself which of the two functionalities is needed most for his/her daily business.

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#8 kardar2

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Posted November 14, 2012 - 02:31 AM

Okay I want to type a name out in English type but I need it to be like 5" tall . this only goes up to 144 pt is there a way to make the letters bigger than 144pt ? thanks

#9 Travis

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Posted November 14, 2012 - 03:55 AM

If you select your text, you can use the scale function at the top of the screen . You have width (W) and height (H) along with a pulldown menu for increments of measure. Switch the measure to Inches (in) instead of Pixels (px). Click the Lock button between the height and width to lock the aspect ratio. Then enter 5 in the Height box and you should be set.

Attached File  scale.jpg   74.04KB   3 downloads

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#10 kardar2

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Posted November 14, 2012 - 11:50 PM

thanks travis

#11 Pancho

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Posted January 23, 2017 - 05:40 AM

Travis... is there a way to remove the shadow effect from a font?  I have been using a font called "Jersey Letters" but have not found a way to remove the shadow around the individual letters.  Your help would be appreciated.
 



#12 Travis

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Posted January 23, 2017 - 05:33 PM

It sounds like the shadow is baked into the font?  I looked at a font called Jersey Letters through a Google image search.  Looking at the font, it is not the easiest to remove.  But you can edit each individual letter by turning the letters into a path and editing the nodes (select word, Path>Object to Path, then Object>Ungroup, then edit the nodes).

 

You might be better off finding a new font that is similar.  Look through the Old School section on Dafont.com.  They have a lot of collegiate type fonts.


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