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Making 3D Style Text In Inkscape: Using The Interpolate Effect In The Free Vector Graphic Application

Inkscape is a popular free and open source vector line drawing application that is widely considered to be the open source community’s alternative to the industry standard application, Adobe Illustrator.

This Graphic Design school style tutorial shows a simple usage of the Interpolate effect.

Getting Started

The first step is to open a new document and then select the type tool from the tools palette and add some text to the page. The next few steps are taken to convert the text to a simpler path which will help to keep the file a little smaller and make the effect quicker to run, particularly on less powerful computers.

Step one is to go to the Path menu and select Object to Path. From this point on the text is no longer editable. Next step is to go to Path and click Break Apart which results in the individual letters being separated. One other result of this is that the counters of letters, such the centre of the letter ‘O’ is also treated as a separate item.
To reverse this effect, the centre of the ‘O’ is selected and, holding the Shift key, the outer part of the ‘O’ is also selected. With the two parts selected simultaneously, the next step is to go to Path and click Exclusion, which removes the counter from the ‘O’ making it fully recognisable as a letter again.

This step needs to be repeated with all the letters that have closed counters and when completed, the Union command is selected from the Path menu to join all the letters back into a single object.

Applying the Interpolate Effect

This new object can now be duplicated by clicking Duplicate from the Edit menu and the new copy is dragged down the page. The original can be kept as back up in case of problems. The duplicated object is now duplicated again and can then be moved a little way upwards and to the left, as in the third image.

These two objects are both selected and the 3D effect is applied by going to the Effects menu and selecting Interpolate from the Generate from Path sub menu. In this example Exponent was set to zero, Interpolation Steps was fifty and the Interpolation Method set as one. When the Apply button is clicked a script automatically places fifty duplicated layers into the document, each with a slight offset that produces the effect of 3D text.

This new 3D object can be moved down the document’s stacking order by selecting Lower from the Object menu. This places the original text on top of the interpolated layers and in the example image, a gradient blend was then applied to the text to add a little more interest.

This is a very quick and easy technique for producing 3D style objects using Inkscape and this can be used in a variety of different ways.


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