I wanted to put together a tutorial for Inkscape because I love it so much and you should love it too. I'm nothing of an Inkscape expert nor an artist but Inkscape allows me to do things I'm usually not capable of so I think that speaks to its value. I'm going to share how I made the starfish in the footer of Liquid Designs. I'm going to assume you can pickup the initial interface on your own and I hope that by showing you my specific steps, I'll have a nice walkthrough that you can follow to familiarize yourself with some of the features. Let's begin.
First step is obvious: we want to start with the base shape which is a star, so we pick the polygon tool (which is conveniently labeled with a star). Now along the top bar are some settings that you might need to change. Here's what I use:
- Corners: 5. The number of points; this will be a 5-point starfish.
- Spoke Ratio: 0.49. This is how far the sides cut in towards the center. 1.00 means almost a circle, 0.01 means the star points almost eat themselves. 0.49 is a good balanced star.
- Rounded: 0.18. This makes the star more rounded and chunky. A 0 would be a sharp, pointy star.
- Randomized: 0.020. This adds a bit of unevenness to the star, and is the most important factor in making the star look more natural. 0 means the star is perfectly even and symmetrical.
Going from the middle of the canvas to the top left should result in a star leaning right.
You can use the arrow pointer in the upper left and then click the shape you made once to bring up the resize tabs and again to bring up the rotate tabs (I say tabs for want of a better word). This is pretty typical interface behavior as far as graphics programs go.
The next step is to set the fill and stroke properties. To do this, keep the shape selected and go to Object > Fill and Stroke… (also Shift + Ctrl + F on Windows XP).
The dialog is pretty self-explanatory so I won't get into all the little details. You can set the fill color/gradient/pattern or stroke color/gradient/pattern, and you can modify the settings of the stroke for width, edges, etc. The shape updates live as you make changes, so the best thing to do is just play with all the options and see what they do. For this starfish, you want a solid fill of RGBA ffbb16ff (that's red, green, blue followed by the alpha transparency) and a 6 pixel stroke of RGBA eca700ff. The color tools in Inkscape can be a bit of a pain (even though there is four of them) but you can always pull up an external color tool and then copy-paste the hex code into the dialog.
By now you've mastered the basics of working with shapes. Unfortunately it's late here so I'll have to share the second half of this tutorial tomorrow. Good night :)
: For part 2 of this tutorial, go to A starfish with Inkscape continued.