Monday, January 31, 2011

Inkscape Interpolate vs Extrude vs Motion

I'm using Windows 7 Inkscape v0.48.
I discovered that Extrude is totally different than it used to be.
The old Extrude effect has been renamed Motion (Release 0.47).

Extensions Menu:




The video I worked thru was for Inkscape v 0.45.
3D Text Using Interpolation
Relevant Manual Link for v0.48.

My Notes on what worked in v0.48:

Make some text with the Text Tool.
Switch to Selector Tool first, if you want to change colors (see note below).
Path/Object to Path, Object/Ungroup, Path/Combine,
Edit/Duplicate, Shift top layer slightly with Selector Tool,
Extensions/Generate From Pattern/Interpolate
Motion (Can skip Combine & Duplicate.)
Same process.

It should look like some 3D text at this point.
(I think Union also worked instead of Combine.)
It didn't make any sense to me to ungroup and then combine, but the effect will not work without it. The combo makes one complete path, whatever that means.
Use Edit/Undo History to see if each step is executed.
For example, the Video used Break Apart instead of Ungroup, but Undo History showed the command was NOT executed.
I sure wish Inkscape would give a helpful prompt when it cannot execute a command.

Interpolate made my NEW laptop sluggish just doing a little text. I hate to see what it would be like if I was working on a bigger project. Would have to simplify/combine the interpolation result somehow, I suppose. Inkscape gets sluggish when using Filters also.

Tried Path, Path Editor Effects, Interpolate Sub-paths. It worked, but I got a really weird looking stacked letter "e" when applied on "interpolate" text.

A glitch on Object to Path step:
Color text in Selector Tool mode NOT Text Tool mode.
In other words:
With Text Tool create text, switch to Select Tool, THEN change text color, Object to Path, OKAY.
With Text Tool create text and change color first and then switch to Select Tool, Object to Path, text turns black.

Next on the video is add a white highlight to the interpolated text.
Go back to the text used to interpolate.
It should be black fill color with no stroke color.
Duplicate twice.
Color one white color.
Shift over, down slightly.
Select both.
Path, Difference.
Color white again.
Move on top of Interpolated text.
NOTE: I moved it THEN colored it white. Easier to see.
Object, Fill and Stroke, Blur 2 and Opacity 75 on the white highlight.
Mine was Blur .5, Opacity 100.

There might be a Filter that does something similar to a highlight, I didn't look. There are tons of Filters.

Next, add a Drop shadow.
I used Filters, Shadows and Glows, Drop Shadow, default settings.

Just playing some more with Motion:


The Interpolate Tutorial (Help, Tutorials, Inkscape: Interpolate) mentions none of these extra steps (Ungroup, Combine). And perhaps they are not necessary for the specific application(s) used in the tutorial.

The tutorial talks about the first node being important and also the order that you select the objects (exponent parameter).

I find that sometimes rotating the Object so first node is in a different position will make Interpolate work.
Another time, Object, Move To Top worked.

Tut says:
“To find the starting node of a path, select the path, then choose the Node Tool so that the nodes appear and press TAB. The first node that is selected is the starting node of that path.”

My observations tells me one difference in the method parameter is *sometimes* the direction of the interpolation. (Make the objects different colors.)

The tutorial also demonstrates the Style parameter, which I did not talk about here and shows how that can be used to create interesting gradient effects.

Reminds me of the Feedback Effect in Paint Shop Pro.

Inkscape Spheres

Besides 3D Boxes, there's also a Sphere to play with.
New in Inkscape 0.48.

Extensions, Render, Wireframe Sphere
via heathenx

Friday, January 28, 2011

Inkscape 3D Boxes

3D Boxes in Windows 7 Inkscape 0.48.

3D Boxes Tool has been in Inkscape since version 0.46, but I've never blogged about it.
I like to document things I learn for later reference.

Screenshot Image: All boxes selected, Outline View, Page Border On, All boxes have the same Vanishing Points (VPs), Y VP is infinite (blue lines), X and Z VPs are finite. That's 2 point perspective.

All 3D boxes created on screen have the same Vanishing Points (VPs) by default.
It's as if you are creating one "scene" or structure from the same perspective.
If a box is moved with the 3D Tool, the VPs stay the same.
That means the box changes shape and size as you move it around on the screen.
Holding the Shift key down while moving a Vanishing Point will effect just the selected box or boxes.

If a box is moved with the Tool Pointer, the box gets independent Vanishing Points.

I always forget to read the context sensitive help text that pops up at the bottom of the screen on the Status Bar.
Move mouse cursor over the various points on the box and read the help text.

If you just happen to draw that first box *anywhere* on the screen, the box can act and look really strange. "Normal" perspective must be within the Page Border boundaries. (View, Document Properties, Show Page Border - On by default.) I usually have Page Borders shut off. Try creating a box with part of it outside and part of it inside the Page Border. lol

Try making several 3D boxes at different areas on the screen which will all have the same VPs by default. The further away you get from "normal" box, the more distorted the boxes get. Then drag a Vanishing Point (with 3D Tool). Whoa. Vertigo. lol All the boxes change. That's kinda fun. A good way to learn about perspective.

I found 3D boxes difficult to work with on a small screen. Vanishing Point ends are far away from the box, which makes sense, but makes it difficult to edit. Have to zoom in and out a lot.

Some sample boxes I made:


Here's basic info tut.
Official Manual on 3D Boxes.
NOTE: Fill/Stroke color is shown on Tools Control Toolbar. Mine says "None" for both Fill and Stroke. Have to use the Node Tool for coloring in my Windows 7 version (mentioned below). (Ctrl/Click with the Pointer Tool also works.)

I tried walking thru this
3D first-aid kit tutorial (Apr 2010).

I got stuck at step 2. Not for newbies.
Step 2:
"disable parallelism of edges, position the object the way we need it, define final size and change colors."
Okie dokie...Five hours

That little icon button on right side of Angle Y on the Tools Control Toolbar "disables parallelism" or sets Vanishing Point (VP) to finite. (Angle Y is set to infinite VP by default. Toggle On/Off with that little icon button.)

Pull Angle Y down toward bottom of box.
The other two vanishing points got flipped? (Angle X and Z)
Object, Flip Horizontal?
Select a side to color with the Node Tool. (Or Pointer Tool Ctrl/Click.) That's also how to make a side transparent (no color).

Step 3:
Objects, Ungroup
View, Display mode, Outline
Alt/Click to select and delete sides you don't "see."
Good luck with that.
But hey, Ungroup is how to take the lid off the box or remove the wall from the room, etc. (Could also set to no color.)
I didn't know about the Outline View. That's how it would look if you were drawing it out on paper with pencil and ruler by perspective.

It all went downhill from there and I quit.
I didn't understand what duplicating the box was supposed to do.
Union made the box turn dark blue.
My Guides were way more complicated than what the tut showed.
I didn't want to fiddle with rounding and gradients and finishing.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Inkscape Spiral

I just spent hours trying to figure out how I made that orange spiral in Inkscape way back in 2007.
Blogged previously
See also
Paint Brush

Here are the spiral instructions for Inkscape 0.48 in Windows 7.

How to:
1. Make a spiral (spiral tool)
2. Make a tiny circle/ellipse (circle tool) and keep it selected
3. Path, Object to Path
4. Extensions, Modify Path, Add Nodes
This popup menu must have changed? It took me a while to figure out the settings.
Was under Effects Menu, now under Extensions Menu.
Division method: By max. segment length
Maximum segment length (px) 5.0
Number of segments 10.

5. Note the Circle (fill pattern) must be the top most object.
If the spiral is made first, I think the circle will automatically be the top object.
Otherwise select the circle/pattern and:
Objects, Raise to the Top

6. Select both objects (circle and spiral)
7. Extensions, Generate from Path, Pattern along Path
(Was under Effects Menu, now under Extensions Menu.)

Copies of the pattern: Single, stretched
Deformation type: Snake
Space between copies 0
Normal offset 0
Tangential offset 0
Pattern is vertical unchecked
Duplicate the pattern before deformation checked

Additional Notes:
It took me the longest time to figure out it was the circle that I had incorrect and so pattern on path would not work the way I wanted it to. Try pattern on path with just a plain circle and see what happens.

The different types of circles can be identified by clicking on them with the Node Tool.

Another thing that is helpful when working in Inkscape is Edit, UnDo history displayed. That will indicate whether or not Inkscape could execute the command on the object as it is.

I'm working thru some Inkscape video tuts and this one applies to Pattern Along Path.
Episode 066 – Intro to Live Path Effects (LPE)
Inkscape v0.46
Video demonstrates some of the items under Path, Path Effects Editor.
First up is Bend effect, which I didn't know about.
Then Pattern Along Path.
Not sure what all is different from the Pattern Along Path under the Extensions Menu.
"Live" maybe?
The way the effect was applied is definitely *different*.
On the video he copied the pattern to clipboard, then selected path and went into Path Effects Editor, applied (Add) Pattern Along Path, and then clicked on the icon for *Paste Path*.
It did not require that both items be selected and the pattern be top most object as is required under the Extensions Menu.
No fill color on result, but can add any fill color you want.
I used Pencil in Spiro Path Mode for my path, which wasn't available when the video was made. It makes a nice smooth curvy line, no need to smooth with Ctrl/L (Simplify).
The video is a good visual aid to learning this technique, plus it can be downloaded and played in VLC.
I like watching people work in Inkscape. He does selection zooms with the Zoom Tool, which I forget to use.
Also Inkscape 0.48 has a lot more effects under the Path Effects Editor.

Manual link for Inkscape v0.48 on
Path Effects Editor
“ is planned to migrate most of the path effects found under the Extensions menu to LPEs. This has two advantages: The effects will be faster to render and the original path is stored for future editing.”

Inkscape 0.48

I was checking out what's new with Inkscape (0.47, 0.48) since the last time I blogged about it.
Some notes follow, but first, the following interface problems bother me a lot.
(Inkscape 0.48, Windows 7, 14" wide screen laptop.)

I would think that the white text on light background is easy enough to fix, but I couldn't find a way to fix it myself.
Instructions to change Theme didn't work, although I did get some kind of old style default theme, which was ugly but more readable.

The toolbars need a lot of work.
Toolbars need: customize, scroll, move

As far as I could find, the only change I can make to the Toolbox is icon size.
Files Menu, Inkscape Preferences, Interface, Toolbox Icon size.

The other toolbars reposition with View Menu, Default/Custom/Wide.
Custom will put all toolbars (except Toolbox) horizontally across the top of the screen, so at least I can use them.
Vertically they are unusable because they don't scroll and I can't see what is selected.

The Tools Control needs a tighter design so it doesn't hog so much screen real estate.
If I could customize the Toolbars, I could probably eliminate at least one of them.

I hid the Commands Bar and the Snap Controls Bar:
View Menu, Show/Hide

I had to dig up how to change the default template again.
Open, edit, save this file to get Inkscape to automatically open at 100% zoom without page borders.
blogged previously

Links/What's New Notes:

Anatomy of Inkscape Window

New in 0.46 since I posted the version 0.45 Toolbox icons:
3D Boxes
Release Notes 0.46

New in 0.47:
Release Notes 0.47
Spiro Mode on Pencil (below) and Pen was new in version 0.47.
(Manual says "not very useful"?)

Filter Effects were reworked a lot.
Added tons of preset filters.
The Filter editor is still there, so can tweak applied preset filters and make other custom filters.

Lots of changes to Extensions Menu (formerly Whiteboard).

New in 0.48:
(I thought airbrush, but it's more like a brush clone.)

Release Notes 0.48
Text was reworked a lot and feels more fun to use.

New items on the Extensions Menu:
Jessy Ink is new
Modify Path, Pixel Snap
Color, Black and White
Generate from Path, Voronoi Pattern
Web, Slicer

Pencil and Pen seem more fun to use too. I'm not sure what all was changed on those.

Here's a brief YouTube tut for swirlies:
Inkscape Tutorial - Swirls and Flourishes

My notes as I watched the video:

1. Draw Freehand Lines Tool (Pencil), Create Regular Bezier Path, Smoothing 50, Shape: Triangle in
Draws with that.
2. Draw Bezier Curves and Straight Lines Tool (Pen)
Draws a shape.
Select and Transform Objects Tool, Right click, Copy to clipboard

3.Back to Draw Freehand Lines Tool, Shape: from clipboard (instead of Triangle in)
Draw a shape.
Copies them.
Resize and keep proportion need to: Path, Objects to path
Moves them around, rotates, etc.
Select all, colors, left click fill color, shift/click stroke color
Path, Object to Path
Path, Union

Draw rectangle, send it to bottom
Select stroke and fill colors
Create gradient
Copy union shape, Flip Selected Objects Horizontally to mirror
Object, Group, Gradient
Copies the grouped shape again, move to back and blurs it
via the Fill/Stroke Menu so it looks like a glow.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

German Songs 16-17th Century

Found this little gem in the archives.
The book of German songs : from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century (1856)
Author: Dulcken, H. W. (Henry William), 1832-1894
Subject: Ballads, German; Ballads, German; Folk songs, German; Folk songs, German; German poetry; German poetry

Norwegians in North Dakota

This is the third and last post in "The Way It Was" series.
1. Native Americans
2. German from Russia
Next is Norwegians.

Notes from:
The Way It Was
The North Dakota Frontier Experience
Book Two: Norwegian Homesteaders
c. 1998
By Everett C. Albers and D. Jerome Tweton, Editors

Introductory Section:
The Norwegians in North Dakota History
D. Jerome Tweton

Why North Dakota?
The good farmland in other areas of America had been taken. North Dakota area had a reputation as fertile region for farming.

Very few Norwegians went directly to North Dakota upon arrival in the United States. Some had been successfully farming elsewhere and reinvested where the land was free. Others saved up enough money to start a farming operation and then moved to North Dakota.

Like other immigrant groups, they tended to cluster together.

They preferred the river valley areas of the state.

Like the Germans from Russia, they also combined the various land laws to acquire large chunks of land.

That's about it for the introductory section on Norwegians. I was hoping to find more information on their story before they came to the United States.

The book continues with the individual settler stories recorded in the 1930s and on record in the state.

That's all I have of this series.
I blogged three: Norwegians, Native People, Germans from Russia
And briefly mentioned Book One on Sod-busters. There wasn't much of an introductory text in that one. It did give more details on collecting the stories.

Other books in the series:
1. The Cowboys & Ranchers (Book 3)
2. The Townspeople
3. The Horse and Buggy Doctors
4. The Teachers

I liked how these books were done. They don't give you a big heavy data dump. Just a nice brief clear introductory summary and then on to the personal stories and experiences.

Germans From Russian in North Dakota

I've been digging around in North Dakota history, focusing on how it all began, and where the people came from.
Previously: Native Americans

Notes from:
The Way It Was
The North Dakota Frontier Experience
Book Four: Germans from Russia Settlers c. 1999
By Everett C. Albers and D. Jerome Tweton, Editors

Introductory Section:
In Search of a Better Life: The Germans From Russia, by D. Jerome Tweton

“Der Erste hat den Tod,
Der Zweite hat die Not,
Der Dritte erst hat Brot.”

“For the first generation, there is death.
For the second, there is want.
Only for the third is there bread.”
—Black Sea German proverb

Why were there Germans in Russia?
Because Catherine The Great (German royal ancestry) Russian Ruler 1762-1796 offered them:
a. free land
b. exemption from service in the Russian army
c. religious freedom
d. local self-government
e. and tax exemption
to come on over to southern Russia and develop the lower Volga River and Black Sea regions.

Black Sea area is now southern Ukraine. Muldova borders Ukraine.
Bessarabia Map

Why did they leave Russia?
Well, everything went fairly well until Tsar Alexander II (1855-1881) came along and started taking away what Catherine The Great had offered. Then Tsar Alexander III (1881-1894) was even worse. He decided the Germans from Russia must be "Russianized" or assimilated into mainstream society.


Besides the political situation, there was also land shortage and economic distress.

Why North Dakota?
They came to the US to farm and land scouts determined the best unclaimed land was in the Dakota Territory. They started in what is now called South Dakota and by 1884 had pushed up into North Dakota area.

How much land are we talking about?
I hadn't realized these were large chunks of land.
In Book One of the series, Sod-Busters, it says:
People learned how to use the land laws to their advantage. One could parlay the Preemption Act, the Homestead Act, and the Timber Culture Act (plant those trees!) into 480 acres (160x3=480).
160-acre preemption cost $1.25 an acre.
The most common combination was a homestead and tree claim for a total of 320 acres.
Sometimes unmarried couples would file on adjoining quarters of land and then marry afterward, giving them a 320-acre farm.
A father and four sons of legal age could homestead adjoining quarters forming an 800-acre farm (5x160=800).

Back to Book Four.
Now the part that got a little confusing to me was differentiating among various groups of Germans from Russia.
The above group as a whole is referred to as Black Sea Germans.
The Volga Germans were the first immigrants to leave Germany for Russia in the 1760s.
(immigrants - to vs emigrants - from)

Tweton further divides with:
Germans from the Caucasus region
Dobrudja Black Sea Germans (to ND via Canada)
German-Russian Mennonites
Volhynian Germans

Tweton says the Volga, Caucasus and Volhynian Germans never came in great numbers to North Dakota.

The point being that this was a diverse group. They came from different parts of the Russian Empire, spoke different German dialects, and had different religious backgrounds as well. They had a strong loyalty to their particular village/region.

This visual helped:

I added the arrows and cropped to fit my blog.

The time frame wasn't readily apparent to me at first either. I wasn't aware that Germans were moving to Russia over a long period of time, from the 1760s til 1850s? I'm still not sure how that all happened. Also, I think the Germans sometimes didn't come directly from Germany to Russia. Didn't some migrate after the Napoleonic wars to other areas like Poland? I'm not sure of the geography back then.

So are the different German dialects a lot different from each other? I don't know.
The only thing I know in German are swear words.
Donnerwetter noch einmal!

I think the usual route to America was to take a train to Germany, probably a seaport like Hamburg, and then take a ship to New York. After that they took a train again, I think. Sometimes part of the journey within the US was by covered wagon.

Travel Routes for Germans leaving Russia to North America.

A Brief History of the Germans from Russia
First the colonists settled along the Volga River from 1764 to 1767.
Then later as Russia acquired Ukrainian lands north of the Black Sea and the Crimean Peninsula and Bessarabia, the colonists also settled in these areas as well.
[Article note: Bette's first name is Johann; his middle name is Ludvig.]

Karl Bodmer Paintings and North Dakota Natives

I've been digging around in North Dakota history, focusing on how it all began, and where the people came from. I saw some Bodmer paintings in a book (In North Dakota The Heritage of a People, by Tweton and Jelliff, c. 1976) which led me to find Bodmer's public domain works on the Internet.

My notes on the topic:

Karl Bodmer [Carl]
Swiss painter hired as artist on a Missouri River expedition in the 1800's.

(Cropped Wiki map.)

Here's a photo I took in July 2007 of the Missouri River North of Bismarck along Hwy 1804, which is a pretty scenic drive if you are ever in the area.

Bodmar's artwork is public domain and can be found at wiki commons.

Also found some Black and Whites.
And Keelboats.

Bison dance of the Mandan indians in front of their medecine lodge. (Medicine is spelled medecine.)

Wow. These guys were in good shape, lol.

Some of the places mentioned in the artwork:
Fort Union
Missouri River and the North Dakota/Montana border twenty-five miles from Williston.

Fort Pierre (SD)
The site where the Lewis and Clark Expedition met with the Teton Sioux is located nearby. It derives its name from Pierre Chouteau, Jr., a fur trader who established the fort.

Fort Clark
(Fort Osage)
Near Sibley, Missouri.

List of settlements along Missouri River.

Mandan Chief

Mato-tope (Ma-to-toh-pe or Four Bears) (b. c.1795 - d. 30 Jul 1837)
Second chief of the Mandan tribe.
Lived on the upper Missouri River in what is now North Dakota.

Notes from the book:
The Way It Was
The North Dakota Frontier Experience
Book Five: Native People c. 2002
By Everett C. Albers and D. Jerome Tweton, Editors

Introductory Section:
Native People: Differences and Similarites, by D. Jerome Tweton

"We Indian people, like the winged ones, are all different, but like the winged ones, we are all alike."
—Hidatsa grandmother

Five groups of Native Americans in ND history:
1. Mandan
2. Hidatsa
3. Sanish (Arikara)
4. Chippewa (Ojibwa)
5. Great Sioux Nation (Lakota, Nakota, Dakota)
a. Dakota - Santee/Wahpeton/Sisseton
b. Nakota - Yankton/Yanktonai
c. Lakota - Tetons

They traveled different paths to the region, did not get along, and pursued a different way of life.

Chippewa drove the Nakota and Lakota onto the Plains.
Lakota pushed the Sanish northward.
Animosity between Chippewa and Sioux.
Conflict between Sanish and Lakota.

Mandan, Hidatsa, Sanish were farmers along Missouri River.
Chippewa were hunters/traders, some farmers.
Nakota hunters/farmers mix.
Lakota hunters.

Three different languages:
Sanish - Caddoan
Chippewa - Algonquian
Mandan, Hidatsa, Sioux - Siouan

They all hunted buffalo.

The intro concludes with:
“The westward march of white settlers and their demand for land, of course, led to conflict on the plains. The army with its chain of protective forts led the way for white settlement. The ultimate result was the reservation and the restriction of the Native People to those, often too small, reserves. Government policy attempted to turn hunters into farmers, to change Native People into white people. Toward that end Indian ways—ceremonies, religion, long hair, language—were banned. As the interviews in this book illustrate, the adjustment to the reservation was severe. The old life, the free life, was forever gone for all Native People.”

Bison Landscape

Battle of Little Bighorn was in 1876.
Wounded Knee was in 1890.
Dakota Territory was 1861-1889.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Russia In Pen and Pencil

I was digging around in the public domain archives for stuff on Russian history and found these pictures drawn in pen and pencil. These are good quality and can be very detailed close up.
I still need to read the text in this volume, so I am not sure what time period this covers, but some of the images are dated in the 1500-1600's.

Russian pictures drawn with pen and pencil (1889)
Author: Michell, Thomas, 1836-1899
Subject: Soviet Union -- Description and travel

Here's some samples:

Architecture 0092:



"Illumination" designs 0025:

Maps 0016:


People 0119:


This is how they rode horse 0162: - yikes! lol

Scenery 0006: