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Thursday, November 13, 2014

5) Grouping, Line Width, and Color

Today's post will cover how to group objects, edit line width, and change color. I'll be using the trefoil from my previous post to create the following image:


Grouping is a feature that is used to combine objects so that they can be edited as one unified whole. Grouping comes in handy in a number of situations. We might group a trefoil so that we don't have to edit each ring separately. We might create a diagram with all rings in one group and all chains in another. With a few clicks we could change all of the rings to red and the chains to blue. Grouping can also be used to rotate entire sections of a diagram to create images such as snowflakes.

To group: Drag the cursor over all of the objects that you want to combine.

The individual boxes show you which items have been selected:

To group these items, press Ctrl+G on your keyboard. You can also group and ungroup by clicking on the following icons on your screen:

If you can't find the grouping icons, you can go to the menu at the top of the screen, and go to Object > Group:

After we have grouped our selection, notice the border has increased to include all three rings in the trefoil:

We can now duplicate, resize, and rotate the trefoil without having to edit each ring separately:

(For more about duplicating, resizing, and rotating click here)

If, at any time, you'd like to Ungroup: Select the object and press Shift+Ctrl+G. You can also click on the Ungroup icon on your screen, or go to Object > Ungroup on the menu.

Line Width:

In Inkscape, "Stroke" refers to the lines that form our images. We can adjust the thickness of our lines by editing Stroke Width.

It is much easier to edit Stroke Width in groups, however, to get an idea of the original width, I am going to briefly Ungroup my trefoil. I am doing this because Grouped items have a tendency to display Stroke Width as "Unset," which doesn't help me at all in figuring out what values to work with.

With my trefoil Ungrouped, I can click on one of the rings to see Stroke value in the lower left corner of the screen:

I can also see this value by opening up the Fill and Stroke menu. To open up the menu, double click on the area to the right of the word Stroke:

I can also access the Fill and Stroke menu from the top of the screen, by selecting Object > Fill and Stroke:

After the Fill and Stroke menu opens, click on the tab that says "Stroke Style." Make note of the width that is displayed, in this case, 1 pixel (px).

Now I am going to group my trefoil again, so that I don't have to change the width of each ring individually. With a grouped object, the Stroke may display as Unset. In the lower left corner of the screen, double clicking on "Unset" will bring up the Fill and Stroke menu again:

I want to make the lines in my trefoil thicker, so I am going to increase the Stroke value to 2 pixels. After typing in a new value, press Enter on the keyboard to get the change to take effect. Make sure that you are working in the correct units on the drop down menu (in this case "px" for pixels).

Now my trefoil looks like this:


There are two types of color changes: Fill and Stroke. Fill refers to the inside of the object, while Stroke refers to the outline of the object. For tatting diagrams, we usually only need to change the outline color. To do so, select your object and hold Shift down on your keyboard while you select a color from the palette at the bottom of the screen:

If you want to create a custom color, open up the Fill and Stroke menu and click on the tab for "Stroke Paint." Then choose a style (in this case I've chosen "flat color") and slide the Red, Green, and Blue dials (R, G, B) to create a color of your own:

For tatting diagrams, we typically want to set Fill to "X" so that the shapes are not colored in. Fill should be set to "X" by default, but if you need to you can select your object and click on the "X" in the lower left part of the screen to eliminate Fill. (Holding Shift down is NOT required to change Fill)

If you'd like to fill in your shape with a color, simply click on a color from the palette at the bottom of the screen. You can also open up the Fill and Stroke menu and click on the tab that says "Fill" to make custom edits to color.

I like to diagram my rings in red, so my final trefoil looks like this:


Phyllis said...

Love your tutorials on Inkscape. They are nice and easy to follow with just the right amount of info given on how to do the specific task. Look forward to more. I do have one questions along the line of color change. Do you happen to know how to change the line color on one half of the ring (like a partial split ring 12ds picot 4ds). I played around in Inkscape about a year ago and had figured it out but apparently misplaced those instructions. If not, I will figure it out again and send them to you.

Robin Perfetti said...

One way to do this would be to create an oval with the circle tool and set the stroke color to red (or whatever color you want to use). Then duplicate this oval and leave it so it lays directly over top the first one. Change the color of the duplication to blue, then use the arc tool to open up the blue oval as we did in part 1 creating chains. You will start to see the red line appear below as you do this, and you can open the oval as much or as little as you want (depending on the layout of the split ring). Then group the two ovals together so they can be moved as one.

Will talk more about this in the next post.

Robin Perfetti said...

Also, if you really want to use the teardrop shaped ring, the object can be clipped (same concept as cropping) and the two halves can be fit together. This is more complicated and something I would have to include visuals for. Maybe the next post will be about split ring only.

Gloria Nelson said...

Your tutorials are excellent! I was looking for a program to draw with and you have helped me so much! Looking forward to the next tutorial!

Tally Tatty said...

Dear Robin, these are excellent tutorials! Thank you for them! However, I have to practice a lot as well. I am taking next week off, in order to study what you so gallantly offer us.If I still can't draw that poppy, after that, i'll look for a professional to help me.

Robin Perfetti said...

Thank you! There's a lot more to come...hoping to have it all done before the end of the year.

Robin Perfetti said...

Inkscape does take a lot of practice, but it gets easier with time. There are still some basics I have not had the chance to go over, so hopefully you will have enough information to be able to create your diagram. If not, stay tuned!

Tally Tatty said...

I was wondering: most tutorials show radially symmetrical patterns. But how do you adjust the size of the rings, when they are of different sizes in an asymmetrical pattern? I wish the program could calculate that. For instance, if I decide that a ceratin ring is made of 5x5 stitches, I wish I could ask the computer to draw a ring of 7-4-4-7 to scale automatically. is that possible?

Robin Perfetti said...

Yes, you can achieve those results by using percentages to resize. If you have a ring of 25 stitches and want to create a ring of 22 stitches, you can duplicate the 25 stitch ring and scale it to 88% of the original size (22/25 = .88).

To do this, you will select the first ring, press Ctrl+D to duplicate it. Select the duplication and go to Object > Transform in the Inkscape menu. When the transform menu opens, select the tab called “Scale” and make sure it is set to %. Type in 88%, select the box to scale proportionally, and click “Apply.”

I will make a mental note to add directions for this type of resizing, either in its own post or as an addition to Post #4.

muskaan said...

Dear Robin,
I remember doing some of this, after constant & continuous back-and-forth between tutorial & Inkscape. But your explanation & diagrams are so much easier. Wealth of knowledge here. Need to spend time trying & 'memorizing' :-)
And using percentages to resize is such a great application !

Robin Perfetti said...

Thanks muskaan! Inkscape has a really steep learning curve. The good news is that a lot of it becomes second nature over time. The bad news is that, no matter the amount of practice, making each diagram still takes a long time to do.

I plan to add some screenshots of resizing by percentages to post #4 as soon as I get over this head cold.

Robin Perfetti said...

Screen shots for resizing by percentages have just been added to Post #4, under the "Resizing" section.

muskaan said...

Hello Robin :-)
I have started Inkscape learning in right earnest now. But have stumbled on the very first step. In some earlier attempt, I had used red colour in Fill. Now all my circles are red. After reading this post, I can select each item & change the fill to 'nil'. But how do I make it my default ?!
There was one window where it asks for new item whether I want to continue with the last setting or try a new one. I deselected the 1st & selected the 2nd. But no change. Now I keep getting red coloured rings & have to select each to change the fill.
Thanks :-)