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!

VA Self-Employment Program

Ok. Biz time!

My husband and I started an independent game development studio officially a few months ago, though we have been working on a few products these last two years or so.

As we are both veterans of the military, we decided to look into the VA to see if we could qualify for retraining under CH31 benefits – i.e. Vocational Rehabilitation (now called VetSuccess I believe).

Just like applying to use your GI Bill, you have to apply for CH31 and meet with a VA counselor who will determine if there is a need and what level of need is to be given.

In our case, her official recommendation was “self-employment as a means to employment”, and she referred us to a self-employment counselor in our area.

Before going further, keep these 4 things in mind when it comes to the VA:

1. VA has a self-employment program (surprised? So was I)

2. Nothing with the VA is a guarantee – if you have been found to qualify for any type of benefit or assistance, remember the “hurry up and wait” motto.

3. VA counselors aren’t always forthcoming about what you can and can’t do – research like mad, ask questions,have a good attitude (I know sometimes that one can be tough) and be extremely persistent.

4. If the VA says a document must be no more than 10 pages, single-spaced, Arial font – they will absolutely throw it out/reject it if your doc is 11 pages, 9.5 font, Times New Roman – you get the idea.

That said, I met with a self-employment counselor a few days ago, and today – finally got a hold of the template that the VA uses for business plans – the general requirements are similar to any business plan, but the format is a bit different from the one I used for my original business plan.

(If I can find a link to the template, I’ll post it here later)

This isn’t the only way to write a good business plan of course – SBA has a good outline, as well as any Small Business Development Center (non-profit agency that helps small businesses get started – free service!):  http://www.sba.gov/content/templates-writing-business-plan

Anywho – back on track->

Here’s the short list on what the VA asks for, in the order is was given to me:

1. Cover Page

Company name, contact info, owner’s name, mailing address, phone, email addy, webpage/site addy, privacy statement

2. Executive Summary  (written last)

3. Marketing Section

Company mission statement: include competitive environment, source of competitive advantage, and competitive analysis

Marketing ‘Mix’: includes product or service, price, promotion, and channels of distribution

4. Organizational Section

Legal form of business, license and permits, human resource management, record keeping and tax preparation, insurance needs

5. Financial Section

Customer Investment: include equipment and supplies, and capital

Funding Needs: include a description of purchases, ‘break even’ analysis, and revenue projection

6. Appendix

Attach supporting documents – reference appendix docs throughout the text.

I’ve been told to pay strict attention to financial projections – VA wants to see a 5 year projection that must show growth beyond the initial investment. These projections must include at least 3 quotes for resources/services we intend to purchase (in our case – we have to get at least 3 quotes for art, music, and marketing/advertising so far).

After typing this, I’m getting the urge to get back to grind on updating my business plan, as it is taking a lot more research and editing than I had originally thought.

If there is anyone else thinking about applying for this program, here are some websites to check out first:

http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/   (general voc rehab/vetsuccess info)

http://vabenefitblog.com/self-employment-tips-with-voc-rehab/   (details of self-emp program)

http://www.disabledveterans.org/2011/12/29/rehabilitation-program-blocks-many-entrepreneurial-veterans/   (good/bad perspective – found this pretty helpful)

TL/DR:

What’s the point of doing all this?

If approved, VA will give my business a grant for up to $25K – it’s going to be a long process, and one that doesn’t promise anything – but at this stage, I have nothing to lose by doing the work anyway! 😉