View Full Version : Smooooth Landforms & CLEAN Lines in Inkscape

11-17-2008, 03:38 PM
In case you are like me and can't afford Illustrator, I have taken tcberry's tutorial Using Illustrator For Smooooth Landforms & CLEAN Lines (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=3384) and jotted down how to acheive similar results using Inkscape (http://www.inkscape.org/).

Open your .png source image in Inkscape:

Since this is a pixelated source, and Inkscape's tracing doesn't have a blur option, you will have to slightly blur the source first.

Select the image, then use the Fill/Stroke dialog and set the blur. This is in %, not pixels, Here I have a blur of 0.3:

Trace Image won't work on a filtered source, so use Edit->Make a Bitmap Copy to create a bitmap version of the blurred source image:

With the new bitmap copy selected, Use Path->Trace Bitmap. I used the default settings:

You can now use alt-mouse-click to select under the new path and delete both the blurred source image and the bitmap copy, as they aren't needed. Here is the resultant path:

As in the Illustrator version, you can save this image right now and export to your favorite raster editor. I'll continue, following the tutorial, but in Inkscape

11-17-2008, 03:44 PM
Unlike Illustrator, the path created by the trace bitmap does not need to be removed from a white background. The background is removed automatically when performing a single scan in the Trace Bitmap dialog.

Instead of layers, we'll just work with paths.

Inkscape doesn't let you set the path location to inside or outside. It is always centered. This means a few things need to be done differently

Select the path, and set it's fill to ffe384ff (this includes the opacity):

Duplicate the path (Ctrl-D) and set the stroke to ffd457ff, 10px, the fill to none, and the caps and joins to round. To get the inner stroke, select the filled path and duplicate it (CTRL-D), and shift click the thick stroke we just made. It should show "2 objects of type path" selected in the info dialog. Now do an Object->Clip->Set. This will clip the 10 px centered stroke to only show the 5 px on the inside:

To make the black outer stroke, select the filled path and duplicate it. Set the fill to none, and the stroke to black (000000FF) and 2 px, then send it to the botton (end) Again, to get a 1 px outer stroke, we set a 2 px stroke then send it behind the filled path with no stroke:

Making the large water outline is done the same way. Select the filled layer, and duplicate it, then set the fill to none and the stroke to A8C399FF, 14 px with a round cap and join. then set it to the botton (end):

For convenience these can all be grouped together, or alternately, just create a rectanfle below them, as set the fill the same as the land fill. (The eye-dropper tool is handy here).

Now save the image and export it at any resolution you want!

11-17-2008, 03:47 PM
Here is the same image exported at 300 dpi instead of the default 90:

And the promised zip of the svg file:

-Rob A>

Steel General
11-17-2008, 06:44 PM
The Wizard of GIMP strikes again! :D

11-18-2008, 07:18 AM
I wish I could work with Inkscape but I never found the time to learn it properly.

Hmm I should start looking for some basic tutorials I guess :)

11-18-2008, 09:57 AM
man its been forever since I heard anybody say 'inkscape'. I remember my first map I made in it, since I managed to get fairly good at Inkscape before switching to GIMP (which is much better in my opinion :D )

looks like a good tutorial tho!

11-18-2008, 12:26 PM
One small update-

This works real well using path clones:

And an updated zip of the svg file with path clones:

@bryguy - I love gimp but inkscape is way better for a number of things. I almost always bring a bitmap into inkscape to do all my labelling, then export the labelling back out as either a png to being back into gimp as a layer, or a plain svg file I can import into gimp as a path.

-Rob A>

11-18-2008, 04:14 PM
Wow RobA - you're tireless!

11-19-2008, 04:46 PM
Awesome, Rob! Vector maps for the win.

12-04-2008, 12:45 AM
Tried it out on a composite map of the Yucatan peninsula I cobbled together.

I would say I did this "quickly," but it took me forever to figure out I needed to go to File>Document Properties>Fit page to selection in order to save it as an SVG correctly. Exported with no problems.

All in all, a great tutorial. I hadn't used Inkscape much before this, but after doing this and playing around a bit with it, I say I've got a handle on it.

12-04-2008, 09:55 AM
Glad you like it limetom!

Why don't you post a hello in the members introduction forum?

-Rob A>