- Paperback: 472 pages
- Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (October 9, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1593271816
- ISBN-13: 978-1593271817
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #353,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Book of Inkscape: The Definitive Guide to the Free Graphics Editor 1st Edition
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About the Author
Dmitry Kirsanov is a developer and a graphic designer, specializing in website and logo design. His articles about Inkscape have appeared in Linux Format in the UK and on TuxMagazine.com. Kirsanov also writes the "Design Lab" column teaching creative fundamentals of web design (http://www.webreference.com/dlab/), and is the author of Dmitry Kirsanov's Web Design Book (in Russian). Tim Daniels, one of the founders of the Inkscape project, is the book's technical reviewer.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Inkscape program first caught my attention over two years ago when I was looking for an open source vector draw program. I had been quite proficient in CorelDraw when it was in version 5, but that was many, many versions and years ago. Just jumping back in was not an option, a total retrain would be required. So, here was a perfect opportunity to move over to open source software. However, finding documentation to guide me through the learning process was unavailable at that time. I decided to work on other projects and check back later. Once again, I'm in need of a vector draw program and The Book of Inkscape is just the reference and tutorial that I need.
The book begins with a little groundwork on what vector graphics is and the situations in which the format excels, as well as the limitations. There is an overview of the type of tasks where Inkscape could be used and some background on scalable vector graphics (SVG). There is also a comparison with the three currently dominant vector programs. I have not used Adobe Illustrator, but have dabbled with Xara and as mentioned, had worked extensively with CorelDraw5. Our introductory chapter ends with a bit of Inscape history.
If you've had no prior experience with Inkscape or other vector draw programs, the Inkscape Primer leads you through installing on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Basic explanations of the interface and definitions of vector terminology follow. The material throughout is presented in a friendly, conversational manner and the keyboard and mouse shortcuts for accomplishing tasks are included throughout the pages. Most books include descriptions of the preference settings in the beginning pages. The author's approach is to give a brief overview of the options settings with a note that the recommended modifications are discussed throughout the book in conjunction with the function or feature affected.
The Book of Inkscape is a tutorial as well as a comprehensive reference to all the features of the program. It provides a solid background of information for understanding the concepts of vector drawing (paths & nodes), and thorough instruction on how to use all the Inkscape features. Every topic includes plenty of illustrations. Every time I randomly open to a page of this book, there is another nugget of information and a suggestion for creatively integrating a technique into your drawing. I just randomly opened to page 113, section 7.5.1: Randomizing, Unclumping, and Removing Overlaps. There's a great illustration of randomizing and then unclumping a large number of small filled circles into an interesting pattern. This could make a great page background with a little more transformation.
Vector graphics rule when it come to creating Logos. There is a great deal of information on the text-editing capabilities of the program as well as converting text to paths for further distorting and manipulating the now shapes into a unique `brand'. Inkscape installs with a nice selection of filters and Chapter 17 provides explanations and examples of how to use them and illustrations of possible results. The filters are non-destructive and may be modified at any time. Trace Bitmap (autotrace in CorelDraw) has got to be the coolest tool since sliced bread! It's used to transform a bitmap, such as a digital photo, into a scalable vector graphic. You'll find it detailed in Chapter 18 in the Tracing section. The explanation of how each of the options works is quite good. This is a very resource intensive process so be prepared to wait a bit for the results. A scalable vector rendition means that you can reduce or enlarge your graphic with no loss of detail or legibility.
The Book of Inkscape could easily be used as the text for an intensive 10-week class. It is well organized, conversational in its approach, detailed and well illustrated, and accessible for a vector graphics newbie. The book itself is very legible in terms of type to page contrast, the pages themselves have a nice feel/texture, and aside from a four-page color insert are grayscale on eggshell. The binding was designed to allow the book to lie flat when open, making it easy to read when following along on your computer. If you aren't bound to a commercial application, go open source. You'll be investing only a fraction of your software savings into documentation with The Book of Inkscape: The Definitive Guide to the Free Graphics Editor.
But before you wonder if The Book Of Inkscape is just an "intro" to a series of books, fear not: it isn't. Not only that but it strives to turn you into an Inkscape Master by the end of it.
The book itself starts off with a bit of history regarding the program, graphics in general and the SVG format in particular. You'll also get a gentle intro to the workspace and how you can customize it to work for you. Indeed, Inkscape can be customized to you and the book goes into this in detail.
The Book of Inkscape also goes through each interface element all the while using examples. This is important and is something a lot of other books miss. It is one thing to tell your readers about a particular feature. It is another to tell and then SHOW them as this will help you get inspired as to what you can do.
And lest you think that it is just a reference tome, The Book Of Inkscape also comes with tutorials that allow you to put your knowledge to practice. And these tutorials are done going from basic (setting up a business card) to more advanced (drawing the rose you see on the front cover).
Now, one key thing that needs to be addressed is writing style. In many books, you'll find that though the information is solid, the way it is presented is boring. Not so in this case. The writing is clear and to the point but you get the sense that the author is very much enthused and in love with his subject matter. You will want to keep reading and trying "just one more thing, Hon!"
In short, if you want to master Inkscape quickly, this is the book for you!
As a reviewer of Dmitry Kirsanov's book about "XSLT 2.0 Web Development (Charles F. Goldfarb Definitive XML Series)" remarked already, Kirsanov's style is lucid & compact and he shoves a lot of information into the hungry reader's mouth.
As a core Inkscape developer and distinguished russian webdesigner he knows his baby well and offers lots of "hands-on" advice, lots of illustrations (mainly in B&W with a 4 page color insert) as well as in the appendix: an SVG Primer, keyboard shortcuts and examples of command lines (for those who'd like to use the program in a production pipeline).
One important issue in selecting a "definitive guide"-book for me has always been the thoroughness of its index: with 22 pages (prepared by his loving & knowledgeable wife :) ....) it leaves nothing to be desired.
So why did I rate this wonderful accomplishment not with five stars ? -
I missed a webpage with sample images and the python scripts he used in his tutorial:"Creating an animation" as well as some hints about scripting the Inkscape engine with Python (just google for IXML, if you are curious), though he offers at least some results of this tutorial on his webpage.
If all goes well I hope to see some scripting examples & a little more support on the Web with the 2nd edition to raise my rating gladly to five stars, Dmitry :) ....
And I ordered his XSLT Webdesignbook a day after I received his Inkscape book: the man knows his trade too damn well ;-P....
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