I stumbled on this Quick Tip from VectorTuts+ for making some detailed elements for your designs using Inkscape. I was intrigued since I’ve always used Illustrator or Photoshop for such things and I know how difficult these can be for beginners. So, I downloaded the free software and started playing around. Quick, easy, and perfect for people who want something simple or who are new to design.
So… here’s a little information on how to make your own.
After downloading and installing the software, start a new document (default setting is fine). As explained in the blog post from VectorTuts+, we’re going to be using the Spiro Path with the same settings used in the aforementioned blog post.
Now to get those nice curvy lines.. click once to start your path, then when you move the mouse to the next location, click, hold and drag the mouse around. You’ll see the curve developing as you move the mouse and once you have it how you like it, release the mouse button. Continue this with as many curves as you like and once you have the full path, just right click and it will draw it out for you.
Not exactly what you had pictured? Well you can still move the path points around. Simply choose this tool:
Click on your swirly design and you’ll notice a few points display on it. You can click and drag any of these around to change the shape of your swirl. You can even change the direction of the curve.
Make as many or as few of these swirls as you like. Flip them, rotate them.. just generally play around until you get a good feel for the different tools and settings. Once you’re done and are ready to use this in your design, say in Photoshop, it’s fairly simple to export it.
First, click on your swirl design so that it is selected. If you have more than one, shift-click until you’ve selected all of them. Next, go to File -> Export Bitmap… Make sure you have it set on the tab that says Selection. You can change the size here if you like, and you can choose where to save your file. You can also export each individual object separately by checking the box at the bottom. One important part here though, is to make sure you have checked off “Hide all except selected”. That way you’ll get only the design and not the background. Once everything looks good, hit Export.
Now open up Photoshop, or whatever graphic software you prefer and Open the file you just saved. It should have saved it as a ‘path#.png’ which can then easily be added to the rest of your design.
Once you have these opened in Photoshop you can always save them as a predefined brush or custom shape and use them again and again.