Inkscape is an open source vector line illustration application that can be downloaded and used for free by anyone. While lacking the brute power of the industry standard illustration application, Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape is a well featured illustration application.
The many tools packed into Inkscape make it suitable for producing a wide range of different graphics that can then be used in many ways, such as being used in a DTP package such as Scribus.
Producing a logo, such as a simple logo with a fashionable drop reflection, is a typical example of how Inkscape can be used. Similar effects can be produced using the free image editor Gimp, but the advantage of using Inkscape to produce such effects is that the end result is a vector line graphic which can be infinitely scaled. The raster images produced by Gimp quickly start to lose their quality when scaled up.
The pictures at the bottom of the page show several screen grabs that may help to illustrate some of the steps taken in achieving the final result.
Starting the Logo
In this example, a very simple text based logo is being produced for a business called Newbys and the first step is to open a new Inkscape document and use the Text Tool to add the Newbys text to the page.
In this case a bold sans-serif face has been chosen as this is better suited to reflection effects than lighter fonts, which may disappear a little in paler reflections.
The other point to notice is that the text has been set to white and reversed out of a colored box. This has been done because the letter ‘y’ has a descender when used in lower-case and this can cause difficulties when adding a drop reflection. Another way to get around the problem would be to use uppercase letters, as in this Adding a Reflection in Gimp tutorial.
Reversing the text out of a colored background is easily achieved by drawing a box over the Newbys text and then clicking the Object menu and selecting Lower to Bottom. The color of the text and background box can be changed using the Fill and Stroke palette, opened from the Object menu.
Adding the Reflection
With the text now reversed out of a colored box, these two elements can be duplicated and flipped to form the reflection. This is done by clicking on the text and then, holding the shift key, clicking on the box to select both items simultaneously. They are duplicated by going to the Edit menu and selecting Copy, followed by Paste in Place.
With the duplicated items still selected, they are flipped by selecting Flip Vertical from the Object menu. The down arrow key can be used to move the flipped text and box downwards so that it lies just below the first box, with a narrow space separating the two boxes.
The Gradient Tool can now be used to add a blend to the lower box to give the impression of a reflection in a shiny surface. Firstly the Designer should click on a blank part of the page to deselect the text and lower box and then click on the lower box to select that item only.
There is a wide range of control available for manipulating gradients in Inkscape, however in this case a simple gradient is all that is required and the gradient should automatically be set to use the color of the boxes as the start color and white as the end color.
With the lower box selected, the Designer should click on the Gradient Tool and then place the cursor a little way above the lower box, before clicking and dragging vertically downwards. The solid color of the lower box will change to a blend from the foreground color to white and this can be adjusted by moving the cursor further down the page. The Gradient Tool can be used again if the result isn’t as required.
This is a very quick and easy technique that produces a very effective result that can be used in a wide variety of ways.