How to Cartoonify a Picture Using Inkscape: For People Who Know Nothing About Inkscape: GETTING STARTED

 

 

 

What is Inkscape?

In a nutshell, Inkscape is a FREE, open source software program that you download from the internet that allows you to create using something called vector art. I really don’t know much more than that, and really only care that it is free to users who accept the terms of service.

For people who would like to read more about it before, during, or after trying it out, I found this link helpful:

http://wiki.inkscape.org/wiki/index.php/Frequently_asked_questions

 

What are ‘vector’ graphics?

Wikipedia gives this answer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vector_graphics

Since I don’t understand what most of it means, here’s a more simplified answer:

 ‘Vector’ refers to a technique, not really a type of art in itself.

The best way I can explain it based on my own experience is to compare it to something else.  In my mind:

MS Paint is to Inkscape (vector art), as traditional painting is to tangrams

              

If you have ever used a painting program such as MS Paint, Mario Paint, or ever saw or played new games like Draw Something, the concept is similar to painting with real brushes that you dip into paint and use STROKE techniques to make a masterpiece on paper or canvas. Or, like drawing with a pencil and using a combo of erasing and re-drawing until you are happy with what you have created.

Inkscape is a vector-based art program that allows you to create, arrange, and color SHAPES, much like when arranging TANGRAMS into the shapes of houses, cats, people, or other objects (tangrams are the series of paper, wood, or plastic polygons, that teachers usually gave to kids to have them learn how to arrange and recognize basic shapes – not sure if this is US only or not). Instead of having to erase part of an object to ‘fix it’, you can manipulate the shape, angles, curves, etc, of the object, and rearrange the objects as many times as you like until you are happy with the final piece.   *If anyone has a better or more accurate analogy I would love to hear it! 🙂

Object manipulation, rather than drawing/painting, is how we are going to turn a picture into a cartoon.

 

Why use Inkscape?

I found Inkscape easier to learn than other free programs I have tried (i.e. GIMP, GraphicsGale, etc). Not sure if it just appeals to how my brain functions or if I like how it looks, but heck, I’ll take it! 🙂

One thing I found that I love is the ability to re-size objects and images while maintaining the quality of the object/image. What I mean is – no matter how much I zoom in or out, or re-size an image, the integrity of the picture is maintained, and I can then save the image in multiple size dimensions (inkscape saves it as .svg). I can also export an image as a .jpeg or .png for other uses. This has been especially helpful when designing logos for tshirts and making the bubbles, marbles, and backgrounds I made for our android app Bubble Zing.

 

Example:

Image re-sized in MS Paint appears blurry and grainy.

(image from: psd.tu-torial.com)

*There is a very technical explanation for this that I believe has to do with pixels, aliasing, and file type, but I am not confident that I understand enough or can explain it in plain terms here (google ftw?).

Vector image re-sized in Inkscape:

       >

(images made by me with Inkscape)

How do I get Inkscape on my computer?

Visit: http://inkscape.org/

On the upper left side of the screen, click ‘download‘.

To know which Inkscape package to download you need to know if you are running Windows, Mac OSX, or some other operating system.

Hint:

  • If you see any of these images on your monitor’s screen, you are running Windows.
    •    ,     ,  
  • Apple computer users are running Mac OS X (unless you who installed a different operating system on your Apple, or other computer – if not, ignore this statement).
  • Linux, Unix, etc – I’m sorry, I don’t know enough about these to be helpful here.

 

Once you have determined the operating system you are running, click on the appropriate installer and begin the download. Windows users, click ‘installer‘; Mac users click ‘.dmg‘.

Follow the instructions on the installer. I have found it helpful to close other programs before installing the program, and restarting your computer when finished, but that is a personal preference.

 

What Inkscape looks like when you first open it up!

 

My first thought when I saw this: “Holy craptostada! That’s a lot of buttons!”

As I played around more with Inkscape vector graphics, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t really need to worry about using them all. But yeah – how much I thought I would have to learn just to be able to draw a circle was overwhelming, but it isn’t so bad when you get used to it.

I hope you find this to be easier to use than it looks as well! 🙂

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I’ll end this part here and post the actual tutorial in the next blog (I know! All this pre-tutorial talk getting in the way lol).

Coming up:

How to Cartoonify a Picture using Inkscape for people who know nothing about Inkscape: TUTORIAL!

Busy w/Bubble Zing and Being a ‘Boss’

Desperate times call for desperate measures!

Well, when you don’t have the funds – gotta improvise!

Recently we released a casual game called Bubble Zing on the Android Market (also EonEdgeStudios.com is up – but not public yet – we’ll post more soon when it is public).

Apple is still reviewing our application and submitted documents so I suppose we are back to the “hurry up and wait” game.

However, until we get some more funds, we’ll probably have to continue being a bit creative with stretching the dollar.

Bubble Zing is the first game made by myself and my husband that we felt has much greater production value than our other works so far. Although not trained, we managed to do all of the vector art ourselves (thank goodness for F/OSS like Inkscape and Gimp!). We also paid a local musician $50 for non-exclusive rights to a 42 second soundtrack he made – and I really feel like it made all the difference (thank you Dan Kramer).

B/c we offered it for free – google ads were definitely a must. Unfortunately – no admob or other advertising yet, but I think the progress we have made in 5 days hasbeen acceptable.

We are now in the 50-100 downloads range, and some of our euro buddies have agreed to help spread the word.

Further, I am researching into why our games appear to be more popular with people we didn’t know or directly market to in European countries. Right now, I’m not sure if it has to do with compatible technology, or cultural reasons that europeans are downloading our game more than americans. Either way, we are happy to have their support, and hope to be able to reach out to other countries as well.

Fortunately, the feedback has been mostly positive, and when it hasn’t – it has been brutally honest, which has allowed us to find and fix bugs right away.

On another note, every new situation is forcing me to really pick up the pace and figure out “how to be a boss” – not the kind of boss that tells people what to do per se, but the kind that is meant to inspire others, find opportunities, and lay the cards such that we have a solid foundation that is capable of growth despite possible setbacks.

Currently, my partner is the sole owner of the business officially, and I am to be officially hired as the CEO. Many people have pushed for us to be a partnership, but I’m not so sure that is the best thing for our business at this time. Without having experience, I suppose I cannot be certain if this is a good decision, but it feels right, and at the moment, will make it easier for us to take on projects and government contracts that do not require us to show who owns how much %, etc. That is another topic in itself…

So, here we are, man – woman, husband – wife duo, taking some huge risks with both our business and our relationship. Where one succeeds, the other may fail – but ya know, I think we can do it, and be victorious in both!

We are definitely a slow moving tortoise at this time, but I’m ok with that. It’s where we need to be as we figure out how to be awesome at business and awesome at life. ;-P

Of course – thanks to our friends and family, and strangers who are downloading our games from ’round the world. We couldn’t take these next steps without ya!

-Pepperonymous
*Bubble Zing can be downloaded from here: [link]

*Gameplay video here: [link]

*FB page up finally!: [link]