Intuitive Image preparation Using Inkscape

I have been experimenting with this for a couple of weeks, and developed a technique to enable a user to create and color line work intuitively, without having to worry much about how well these object will animate in Synfig. I think this could allow for more complex drawings to be introduced in a project. This technique is best suited for interconnected parts, (arms, legs, clothing, etc.) while smaller, disconnected details such as facial features are probably best developed using standard techniques.

AS A WARNING: if the user decides to go with this technique, s/he will sacrifice the ability to use transformation layers such as Rotation effectively (Linked vertices get pulled apart when transformation layers are applied). The user will probably have the best luck rotating groups of vertices independantly, and mediating the in-betweens with waypoints. It sounds messy, But after trying it for several minutes, I found that manner of animation to be rather intuitive and easy.

I’m hoping you guys like this, and if you’re interested, maybe you could help me figure out more details on how to improve this technique! I know there were some recent additions to Synfig that had to do with linking vertices, so I don’t know if this technique is now obsolete. But if not, then this is another option animators could use! The tutorial is in the zip file.

EDIT: I don’t mention it in the tutorial, but it is probably a good idea to set the paths to have “no outline” and fill the background path with black. The background path’s fill will provide the outlining, and this will ensure a clean look that is no different from your original line work.
Preparing an image for Synfig With (373 KB)

Thank’s for this tutorial …

Maybe you can push your prose in the synfig wiki … Has it’s half related to something ‘external’ to synfig, maybe under Tips and trics category will be better than in tutorial.

(did i read that before???)

Nota: too bad for the rotate / scale … layers … but i think this is very interesting with the bones/skeleton feature to come


Very intriguing technique. My first reply would be: why not draw your vectors in Synfig itself, but on the other hand I think I am going to try and make a character in Inkscape using your tutorial to see if how far I get so that I am able to give some more constructive feedback.

To d.j.a.y: Okay, sounds good. I wasn’t sure if there were more appropriate places to put something like this into. I’ll delete this thread soon then. As for the “sacrificing rotate layers,” I think that you could still use them, but it would take considerably more work to do so. Also, is there some sort of place on the forum to post this to, in addition to the wiki? I feel like I’ll get more feedback if I post to a forum.

To darkspace65:
You’re right, I should have explained that :blush:
In Synfig, I have had some difficulty in composing the elements for an animation. In the Windows version, the rendering of a scene is a little slow if you don’t reduce the resolution, and there are (maybe? I’m not completely sure) no quick snapping tools for spline vertices. Most importantly, there is also no special filling tool that can fill in spaces between multiple layers (at least not that I know of. A recent update in linking vertices may have changed that, but I don’t know for certain.) This makes coloring very difficult without properly setting up the linework.

Inkscape is an open source svg editor dedicated to still pictures, so it has a lot of cool features that unfortunately would weigh Synfig down. Ever since I learned about Synfig, my first thought was how well Synfig and Inkscape could work together. Maybe I should tell Inkscape developers about Synfig and how the two programs could work in synergy!

Hi YellowDee,

Nice explanation for designing in Inkscape for Synfig animation. It’s basically the process I use aswell though, I prefer working with Inkscape shapes. Prep: convert shapes to paths, then importing from Synfig. I believe someone had coded an Inkscape python extension that prepped svg files for work in Synfig and you may be able to find it linked on the boards somewhere.

I previously had problems when importing mass amounts of colour gradients from Inkscape, but your method makes me want to fiddle around with it again.

Do you mean shapes like circles, with their own special nodes, in addition to Blines? That’s a great method too. Do you do things like computing unions and breaking apart the results?

The main motivation for my process was to be able to easily color the linework that I had. In this way, I could make all kinds of open lines that intersect with each other, and still color everything in with relative ease, such that the result is still animatable. (I “Ink” sketches using Inkscape, where I simply trace my drawing with blines)

I was also aware of that great extension to export to a synfig project. It proved to help me out of jam with one of my test images. Maybe I should add that to the tutorial.

I have not tested the gradients yet. I always planned to do those within Synfig, but maybe I should consider creating them in Inkscape too. Thanks for your input! It’s always good to share ideas.