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Author Topic: Re: New user question re: break apart/ungroup  (Read 3133 times)

June 22, 2018, 06:22:16 PM
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octoolguy

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I am a scrollsawyer. I have a great book of projects to cut out but the problem is they put all the patterns on one page. That's all fine except the one I'm working on has one pattern that needs to be cut 8 times. So rather than print out 8 pages of all the patterns to just get one piece, I thought I'd try to bring the entire page into Inkscape and then break it apart so that I can work with each individual pattern. One piece I need one pattern, another piece, I need 2 of. and so on. I have scanned the page and saved it as a .pdf. I then went out on the web and found a conversion service that converted the .pdf into a .svg. Once that was done, I opened Inkscape and imported the .svg file. I got it in but at that point, I can't seem to break it apart. I'm stumped as to what to do next. I'm hoping someone here will help me.
Thanks in advance,
Ray
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June 22, 2018, 07:05:35 PM
Reply #1

brynn

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Welcome to the forum!

I just answered your message on InkscapeForum!  But since you gave some different info here, I'll answer here too.

First, you don't need to use a conversion service.  Inkscape can open PDF files.

When I look at your file, and do Ctrl a (select all), the status bar tells me there is a Group of 2.  Therefore,

Ungroup   :ung:

Now, status bar says 2 objects of type Clone.  Therefore,

Break the clone's link to it's parent (even though the parent doesn't seem to be in the file, you still need to "unclone" it)  That's this button on the command bar  :ucl:

Now, status bar says 2 objects of type Image.  That means there are 2 raster images in the file.  And of course, Inkscape can't edit raster image.  But maybe they can be converted to vector.

Hhmm....unfortunately, the one on top is extremely poor quality, to use auto tracing.  I can't even read the text.  The bottom one is better, but I still would want better, if possible.  I don't know if the conversion service would have affected the quality of the images.  But I certainly would not use this file, and instead, open the PDF directly in Inkscape. 

Or it might be better not even to use PDF, after you scan it.  When  you scan it, can you choose PNG or JPG?  If so, just use File menu > Import, to bring it into Inkscape.  Then you can save as SVG, and share it with us.

If you can share the PDF (or other) file, I can continue with suggestions.  It would be better if I could see it, so I can judge whether the quality is good enough for auto tracing, or whether you should hand trace it.

Edit
If I understand your workflow, I think it might have been the conversion process which created the clones.  So it would probably be better to avoid that.
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June 22, 2018, 07:41:18 PM
Reply #2

octoolguy

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Here is the best scan I have so far saved in .pdf format. I have tried doing the trace bitmap with this file but once I click on the "ok" button, nothing seems to happen. I'm using "color" and 2 scans.
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June 22, 2018, 08:46:05 PM
Reply #3

brynn

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It might be that nothing is happening, if you're trying to scan the group.  Or it might seem like nothing is happening, because the results come out right on top of the original.  In this case, the result might be looking nearly identical, and you just don't realize it's there.  But first.

Yes, this is much better scan.  But in my opinion, still not nearly good enough for an auto trace.  Maybe some other members here can tell you how to fix the image, so that you can get a better trace.  I'm  not very good with raster editors.  Or maybe you can find some options in your scanning software, to improve the results?  What you need are clean, solid lines.  These are too thin, and with too much speckles everywhere. 

For me, with these results, I'm going to suggest that your best chance for success will be to trace it by hand.  You'll want to use the Pen tool.  I would suggest to zoom in, but you can experiment for yourself.

Click once to start a path, click once wherever you want to place a node.  Best practice is probably to place a node in the apex of each curve.  You can always add more nodes later, if needed.  Go all the way around, and when you get back to where you started, click once inside the tiny box that you see, at the beginning of the path.

Next, switch to the Node tool.  Go around and while holding the Shift key, click on all the nodes where you want a smooth curve, rather than a corner.  Then click this button on the Node tool control bar, to change those selected nodes to smooth  :sn:

Now you will notice that when a node is selected, you can see handles (thin blue line with tiny circle on the end).  You can grab the tiny circle with the mouse, and drag.  In that way, you can adjust the curve to perfectly fit the curve in the image.  You can also drag nodes around, in case you didn't get them placed exactly right.

There is a way to make smooth nodes while you are drawing the path, and not have to come back later and change them.  It takes a bit of skill, which I've never really mastered.  So I always switch the smooth nodes after I draw the path.  Anyway, if you want to place a smooth node during drawing of the path -- instead of one click, do click-drag.  As you drag, you will see the handles appear, and you can adjust them as you go.
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June 22, 2018, 11:22:17 PM
Reply #4

octoolguy

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Thanks Brynn, I do appreciate you giving it your best shot. I'm not nearly proficient enough to do all of what you are suggesting. I will have to do some more studying. I sure wish there was a class around me that I could take. It's tough at my age to try to dope it all out from watching videos and listening to folks like you. I really do envy you. Oh well..........maybe someday.
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June 23, 2018, 02:51:30 AM
Reply #5

brynn

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Oh, well try not to feel too overwhelmed.  We all started where you are -- isn't that inspiring?  I'm getting into the "senior" category myself, although it was about 10 years ago, when I first started learning Inkscape.

I apologize if I was too brief in my explanation.  I was in a bit of a hurry.  I should also have mentioned the manual, which is free, unless you want to buy a hardcopy.  You can find in Help menu > Inkscape manual.

Also, try Help menu > Tutorials > Basic, Shapes, and Advanced.  Don't worry, the one named "Advanced" isn't really advanced.  It really is an introduction to editing paths.  These are not the kind of tutorials which create a particular drawing.  They just guide you in trying different tools and features.  That's where I first started to learn Inkscape  :)

After I digested those 3 tutorials, I opened Inkscape and started playing.  If I got stuck, I would post a message and ask for help.

And you can also check out the Home tab on this website.  There I have tutorials listed according to user skills.  So you could start in the Beginner Skills block.  Really, I think the best way to learn Inkscape, is to just dive right in.  To me, it's not the kind of thing that you can just memorize first, and then start drawing.  You really need to actually do it.  (Well, I guess some people do take the memorizing approach.  I guess they know what's best for themselves.  But for me, diving in was better, and it seems to be the case for most people.)

And please don't hesitate to post messages and ask questions.  We're here to help.  So open Inkscape, and try your best to follow my instructions.  When you get stuck, just post a message and tell us where you're stuck.

It may well be that other members will know some way to use a raster editor to improve the quality of the scan.  Then you could use Trace Bitmap.  Things may be a little slow over the weekend, but I'm pretty sure someone else will answer.
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August 08, 2018, 04:03:50 PM
Reply #6

octoolguy

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Thanks Brynn, I'm so sorry for being so long since posting. A family thing happened and I have been to busy to get back to my original project. Would it be ok to try something different? I have another thing that I need to do and it follows somewhat the same lines. I have a pattern for a basket that has very thin wall thickness. I scanned it and need to widen the wall out to 1/4" or maybe 5/16". I hope this scan is good enough for you folks to work with. Here goes. Thanks for your help. Oh, and if you can show me how to change the line color from black to red. That makes cutting so much easier to follow.

Ray
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August 08, 2018, 05:13:51 PM
Reply #7

octoolguy

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Here is a much better scan of what I'm working on. I'm learning the scanner too.
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August 08, 2018, 10:22:54 PM
Reply #8

brynn

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Ok, I can't tell by looking at this JPG, exactly what needs to be wider. 

See my screenshot.  Do you mean the gray area needs to be wider, so that the heavy black lines need to be moved outwards?  Or do you mean that the heavy black lines need to be thicker, or heavier?

The gray area appears to be about a quarter inch thick, just by visual estimation.  Although that thickness appears to vary, around the object - less than a quarter inch in some places, and much more in the area where 3 "walls" come together.

The 2nd version you provided should be....well, at least it will work better than the first version.  I'm not sure how well it will trace, but the 2nd version would be the one to use, for sure.

But I can't explain how to widen the path, or exactly how to trace it, until I know which parts need to be wider.
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August 09, 2018, 12:15:59 PM
Reply #9

octoolguy

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Thanks so much for your help. Yes, the gray area between the dark lines needs to be widened out. In the original pattern, that area appears to be mostly about 3/16" and I want to make it a 1/4" to give the thing more strength. This particular part has to be cut 4 times or "stack cut" but I need four of this part. Then there is another layer that I need 3 of but that's a different pattern. If I could learn how to do this, then I can make the second pattern myself. Once the walls are uniformly 1/4" I would like to make the dark lines red in color so I can see them when cutting. The blade is black so it is much easier to see the lines if they are red. I realize this is all foreign to you but in the world of scroll sawing, there are many patterns available but we scrollers like to alter/change them in small ways. Many of the other folks already know how to work with Inkscape but I have been having a terrible time learning it from the videos on youtube. Too many foreign dialects/accents for my old ears. Thanks again,

Ray
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August 09, 2018, 01:00:06 PM
Reply #10

octoolguy

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Brynn, after going back and reading all the posts up to this point, I see that I started the thread with a different project so I'm going to put a picture of the finished project that is now in question. Please disregard the initial post. If I can learn to do what I'm asking here, I will be able to figure out how to do what I originally inquired about. I'm SOOO confused. Getting old is not for the faint of heart.
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August 12, 2018, 01:30:09 AM
Reply #11

brynn

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Yeah, I'm with you about getting old!  Just when you think you've met all life's challenges and deserve a break - sometimes it seems like the challenges just get harder.  At least we're prepared for them this time around, right?  No worries about the older messages.  We'll just move on from here....yikes, that was an unintended analogy!

Unless you can get another version of that drawing, which is just black  and white....or it probably would be possible to use a different graphics program, to make that image better tracable.  I don't know how to do that myself.  Anyway, short of either a better original image or fixing that image, I would suggest that tracing the image "manually" will be your best option.

I'll make a video to show you the basics of using the Pen/Bezier tool, to trace the image.  Note that I use a bit of a different technique than other people use, because it makes it easier for me.  It is possible, using the Pen tool, to create the smooth curves as you go.  But I find that difficult to control.  So I draw in straight segments, and then I come back afterwards and adjust the curves to fit.

I'll be back shortly to post the video.
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August 12, 2018, 02:14:52 AM
Reply #12

brynn

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Ok, in some cases it might not be clear what I did.  To start the path, click once with the Pen/Bezier tool.  (The video flashes a blue circle when the mouse clicks.  But it does not show 2 blue circles for a double-click.)  Click once whenever you want to place a node.  Double-click to end the path.

I guess it's a little hard to see, because in the video, I'm drawing a black path over a black line.  You can really only see it after I change it to red.  You can always draw a practice path over the white area of the canvas, to see how it works.  The path is not actually drawn until you double-click to end the path.

I would suggest not trying to draw it from start to finish, all in one long string.  I usually try and draw in smaller path segments, because inevitabley, I'll be almost to the end of a long path, and my finger slips, or the mouse gets bumped, or something happens and I lose the whole thing and have to start all over. 

For the part with the Node tool, you can click on nodes to select them.  You can drag a selection box, like I did the first time, to select multiple nodes.  The second time, I clicked on the segment, to select the 2 nodes at each end of the segment.  Or you can hold the Shift key, and select multiple nodes, one at a time, if that is the best way for whatever you need to select.

One important thing that's not in the video (because you can't see it because of the heavy black line) is how to continue a path.  Try this first over a white part of the canvas, so you can see it.  When the existing path is selected, and the Pen or Pencil tool is enabled, you'll see a tiny square at each end of the path.  If you position your mouse inside that tiny square, it will turn red, and get larger.  That's your clue that the mouse is in the correct position.  Then click once.  Now you are ready to continue the same path.

If you miss that tiny square, you will start drawing a new path.  That's not a huge problem.  There is a way to connect them after the fact of drawing them.  But it always makes sense to avoid that if you can.  But if your mouse does miss the box, or for some other reason you have 2 paths that you need to connect, here's how.

Select the 2 end nodes.  If they are exactly on top of each other, the easiest way to select them both is to draw a tiny selection box around them.  You can look at the status bar to make sure it says that 2 nodes are selected.  Because you can't tell by looking at them.  If they are on top of each other, they look like 1 node.

After they are selected, click Join Selected Nodes button on the Node tool control bar.  It looks like this  :jsn:

If the nodes are not on top of each other, and they are some distance apart, and you use Join Selected Nodes, it moves them, and joins then halfway between where the end nodes were to start with.  If you don't want them to move, use a different button.  Use Join Selected Nodes With a New Segment button  :jns:  That will connect the path together with a new segment between the nodes, without moving them.

Edit
Just realized I forgot to show something.  As you are drawing the path, and you click once whenever you want to set a node, if you realize you got one in the wrong place, you can press the Backspace button on the keyboard, to undo the last node you place.  Or you can press it multiple times, if you want to undo the last few.

Edit #2
Note that there are keyboard controls for almost everything.  I tend to use buttons and menus, but a lot of Inkscape artists use only keyboard controls.  So anyway, if you want to start learning the key shortcuts, sometimes they show up when you hover your mouse over the button  or menu item.  Otherwise, you can find them in Help menu > Key and Mouse Reference
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August 13, 2018, 04:23:54 PM
Reply #13

octoolguy

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Thanks for all your time Brynn. This is how a tutorial should be done. I now have yours and Tyler's from over on the other forum and I have been watching and trying to follow along while having my own copy of Inkscape open. I can't seem to figure out how to change the color of the line from one node to the next and so on. If you can tell me that, it would make it soooo much easier. Thanks again.

Ray
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August 14, 2018, 01:47:47 AM
Reply #14

brynn

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You're welcome.  I have it on my to-do list, to make a full tutorial for using the Pen tool.  Hopefully I'll get to that pretty soon.

One path...or more specifically the stroke on one path, can only have one color.  If you need part of a path to have a different color, you'll have to break the path.  Or if you need a lot of different colors, it might work better to duplicate the path, and then break that one, so that you have a different colored segment lying on top of the original

To break a path at a particular node, select the node (by clicking on it once) then click the Break Path at Selected Nodes button on the control bar.  (Or else I"m sure there's a key shortcut for that.  You can look it up, if you prefer that way.)  If you need a path broken at 2 adjacent nodes, you can click on that segment, to select both nodes.  Or you can break the path (or even multiple paths) at multiple nodes, all at the same time.  Just select whichever nodes (hold the Shift key to select them one by one), and click the break button.

Why do you need them different colors?  Is it about the depth of the cutter?

I'm not sure if the other message explained it, but I just remembered that you need to make those paths wider apart.  Let me know if you still need that info, and I can explain how.
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August 14, 2018, 05:43:14 AM
Reply #15

Moini

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After disconnecting two path nodes, one would still need to do Path > Break apart to be able to color the (sub-)paths differently.

August 14, 2018, 10:35:50 AM
Reply #16

octoolguy

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Brynn, yes, I will still need to be able to adjust the distance between the two lines. Or at least to be able to tell it to make the distance the same all the way around the pattern. If that is possible. As to the color, I was watching the gif on the other forum and the way the poster shows it, his drawing turns to a shade of green once it is defined and is much easier to see when adjusting the nodes to the curves needed. He is also using a second layer to do the trace and locking the top layer after reducing the opacity to 50%. Gee, listen to me. I actually sound like I'm getting all this. Thanks so much for your help. You would make a great teacher.

Ray
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August 14, 2018, 03:26:37 PM
Reply #17

brynn

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Ok, for tylerdurden's animation, he just set a fill color for the path.  After you go all the way around with the Pen tool, and you come back, and close the path by clicking inside the tiny square which I told you about, then just click some color on the palette, and it will fill with that color.  If you want it partially transparent, you can use either the A slider, in Fill and Stroke dialog > Fill tab, or the Opacity slider (which is closer to the bottom of the dialog, while the A slider is more in the middle).

Remember you can also zoom to your heart's content, and that can also help to see things more clearly.  If you know how to zoom with your mouse, that usually works in Inkscape.  But if not, you can use the Zoom tool. 

I agree that making a separate layer can be a good idea.  If you had showed a more complex drawing, I probably would have suggested it too.  For example, sometimes people want to trace something from a photo.  With  a photo, I certainly would have suggested the extra layer. 

A lot of what we suggest, when we answer support questions comes from our personal preferences.  And there are countless examples with Inkscape, where there are a few, or sometimes even several ways to reach the same goal.  You probably noticed how different he and I are in tracing paths - I put more nodes and keep close to the line I'm tracing, as I go, while he just drops out a handful of nodes and drags the path to fit the line.  Either way, you get the same result.  Most of the time, there is not one single right answer (although Moini hit on something just above which can be done in one one and only one way, which I forgot earlier- read on).

After disconnecting two path nodes, one would still need to do Path > Break apart to be able to color the (sub-)paths differently.
Oh right, thanks Moini.  I don't know where my head has been lately   :b1:

Ray, I didn't give you the whole story about coloring a stroke on a path with different colors.  So I'll review that part, then I'll explain about making it wider.

1 -- select the nodes where you want to break the path
2 -- Break path at selected nodes (button on the control bar, or else there's probably a key shortcut)
3 -- while everything is still selected, Path menu > Break Apart

Note that depending how many nodes you break, the fill color might disappear or partially disappear.  Generally you need a closed path to have a fill color, and breaking the path  makes it an open path (not closed).

Ok, there's an easy way to make the paths wider apart from each other.  However, I have a suspicion that it might not be the best solution.  The reason for that is that it is going to move the entire path outward.  The effect that will have on those little round knobby things...."alignment dots" will get bigger.  I don't know what function those have, besides alignment.  I mean, they are going to be cut out, right?  Does it matter if they are bigger?

If that's going to be a problem, I can think of a way to do it without making them bigger, but it's very involved.  It really could not be more complicated, to get it done without making the alignment dots bigger.  But here's how to do it the easy way, so you can at least try it (be sure to make a backup file, just in case).

1 -- When you finish drawing them, you'll have 3 paths all together.  Select all 3
2 -- Path menu > Combine
3 -- Duplicate (this might not be necessary, but if you don't make a duplicate, you won't be able to see where the path was originally.  You'll only see where it's moved to)
4 -- There are 3 different ways to make path offsets, so you'll need to choose the one that's best

Path menu > Outset -- moves the path outward by 2 px, each time you click it.  I seem to recall you need a somewhat specific width, so this might be the best way to manage it.

But if that's too tedious, and you don't need a precise size, try Path menu > Dynamic Offset.  When you do that, the nodes will disappear, and you'll see a tiny diamond shaped handle in the top area of the path.  It usually shows up at the highest point.  Drag that diamond handle with the mouse and you can see the path move.  Then you can just drag it to where you need it.

If you use Dynamic Offset, or the one below, Linked Offset, you need to use Path menu > Object to Path, after you're finished, to make it a regular path once again.  I suspect the cutter won't recongize those offset paths.  It might, but I just don't know for sure.

If you think you might ever need to edit the original path, you can use Path menu > Linked Offset.  That way, if you edit the original, then the offset path is automatically changed to match.  I guess it's kind of like how clones work.  It goes the same as the dynamic offset, with the tiny diamond handle.  Note that you won't need the duplicate path as I suggested in step 3 above, for linked offset.  Linked offset automatically makes you a duplicate.
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August 15, 2018, 02:13:54 PM
Reply #18

octoolguy

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Thanks again Brynn. To answer your question, yes, those little nubs need to be there to give the basket the look of weaving. I can't cut them off or it would make the entire basket look strange. Anyway, I'm going to try to figure out what you and Moini have given me. It's all very confusing right now but I'll keep plodding along. The one problem I'm having right now is after viewing Tyler's gif's and I do the whole node/trace thing, I get a couple of ghost lines and when I cross them or go near them with my cursor, I get a very fast red line that shows what I have done but it then disappears. I can't grab either line to move it with the node editing tool. I even went so far as to uninstall the program and reinstall it but nothing changed. Sad!
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August 15, 2018, 03:45:42 PM
Reply #19

octoolguy

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Brynn, here is a screen shot of what I am getting. In this pic, I have put the top layer at 0% opacity. What am I doing wrong?
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August 15, 2018, 03:59:33 PM
Reply #20

Moini

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One thing I notice is that there seems to be a path effect on your paths. See how they aren't the same thickness all along the line? To remove that and to get something that more closely resembles Tyler's video, do:

- Select all (Ctrl+A)
- Path > Remove path effects

When you draw something new, take care that 'Shape' for the tool is set to 'None' at the top tool controls bar.

August 15, 2018, 04:57:00 PM
Reply #21

octoolguy

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The weird thing is, when I scroll across the trace, I get a momentary red line that is the actual node trace. But it quickly goes away. I just did what you suggested but I didn't see any change. Thanks for your help.
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August 15, 2018, 07:04:36 PM
Reply #22

octoolguy

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Wow! I think I'm on to it Moini. I went back and did as you said and got the whole thing to fill in green. From there, I just zoomed it and started doing the node editing thing. And it works. I was beginning to think my computer wasn't powerful enough. But, it's working. Thanks a million to you and Brynn and Tyler. You guys are the best.

Ray
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August 15, 2018, 11:39:23 PM
Reply #23

Lazur

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Some cleanup on the original: voti.png
*voti.png
(59.49 kB . 2115x3011)
(viewed 269 times)

August 16, 2018, 04:25:25 AM
Reply #24

brynn

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You can disable that flashing red line.  I don't know what it's purpose is, or why it's on by default, but it drives me nuts!  I have disabled it.  Here's how.

Edit menu > Inkscape Preferences > Tools > Node

Uncheck "Always show outline".

No, I did not suggest to cut off the "Alignment dots".  I said they'll get bigger when you do the outset path.  If they are meant to make it look like a weaved basket, then maybe it would be a good thing that they get bigger.  I can think of a way to make the lines wider apart, without making the dots bigger, but it would definitely not be easy!  But now that I know what they're for, it probably won't be a problem if they are bigger.
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