Sunday, 12 August 2007

Bowling in Inkscape

At one time I directed a lot of my focus on mastering Inkscape, the wonderful, open source vector graphics editor. But things didn't pan out as planned.

Inkscape isn't as intuitive as I thought, which is not a bad thing. It's just that it's a tool with a learning curve. Figuring out how to use it means spending time trying its functions and features, and not by guessing which one does what.

I took the latter approach got disappointed. Inkscape seemed easy at first, but frustrations took over as I couldn't find the way the things I want. For example, I tried to create a magazine-style layout using it but the final output was not sharp enough and the size ended up wrong. I abandoned Inkscape for some time, thinking of giving up entirely.

But later (can't exactly remember when but about months later), I gave Inkscape another try. I was bored and I tried some things that I never tried before, like using paths and nodes. The result is the above: the bowling pin.

Yes, it looks like sketchy, amateurish at best. But it is a badge of courage for me. I played around with nodes and paths, something that scared me back then, when I thought Inkscape wasn't as easy as I would like it to be.

I took a leap of faith. It was scary, like it should be. It's a good reminder for myself that the scary possibilities are sometimes the ones that change things for the better.

A bit about the bowling pin. Initially it was a round shape converted into a path. In path mode, nodes can be added. Nodes can be manipulated to give an object the shape or curve we want it to have. For example, I added nodes to the circle to form the neck of the pin. It's a fairly simple manipulation, but I wasn't successful at manipulating paths and nodes before and that caused a lot of the frustrations.

Now I'm less scared of Inkscape. It takes time to learn it and I'm willing to give whatever it takes to get it working.

(The bowling pin is blue because one of the first bowling pins I ever saw were the plastic toy ones that my father bought me when I was wee lad. It had other colours too. And please never invite me to go bowling, because like virtually all other sports I'm just awful at it.)


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