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Inkscape 0.44 - Faster, Bigger, Better 226

Posted by timothy
from the software-worth-crowing-about dept.
bbyakk writes "After 6 months of development, Inkscape 0.44 is out. This version of the SVG-based vector graphics editor brings improved performance and tons of new features: Layers dialog, docked color palette, clipping and masking, native PDF export with transparency, configurable keyboard (including Xara emulation), Outline mode for complex drawings, innovative 'node sculpting' and lots more. Check out the full release notes, enjoy the screenshots, or download your package for Windows, Linux or Mac OS X."
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Inkscape 0.44 - Faster, Bigger, Better

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  • No Packages yet (Score:5, Informative)

    by vonFinkelstien (687265) on Friday June 23, 2006 @11:17PM (#15594701)
    They are waiting to "officially" announce the release when the packages are ready. You can download the tarball now, however.
  • i dunno (Score:5, Funny)

    by cimmer (809369) on Friday June 23, 2006 @11:19PM (#15594708)
    Banner on the site says "Last stable version: 0.43". I'm a little nervous about putting my mission critical doodling on a new release.
  • Firefox Users (Score:4, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Friday June 23, 2006 @11:26PM (#15594728)
    Based on the screenshots, I thought the Inkscape font rendering looked really bad. Turns out, it's only because their screenshots are quite large and Firefox squishes them down to fit on the screen. Firefox ought to use some more sophisticated downsampling algorithm instead of simply discarding rows and columns of pixels, but there you go. If you move your cursor over the pictures and get a magnifying glass, click it to see the real quality of the Inkscape images.
    • Re:Firefox Users (Score:2, Informative)

      by sankyuu (847178)
      I find native SVG rendering on firefox interesting, for instance this graphic of the Uluru []. I still find it cool that you can click on the picture to view its source.

      But since SVG needs the Adobe SVG plugin on IE, i usually draw my clipart in Inkscape or Sodipodi (i forgot which has better Japanese support) then export it to PNG.

    • by grammar fascist (239789) on Friday June 23, 2006 @11:46PM (#15594792) Homepage
      All they need to do is a Gaussian averaging kernel around the fractional pixel position they want to estimate the value of. It's not really hard.

      I might just code this up. It's been bugging me for years. With 3 Ghz machines, there's really no excuse.
      • by grammar fascist (239789) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:10AM (#15595017) Homepage
        I just got two Funny moderations. Was it this?

        All they need to do is a Gaussian averaging kernel around the fractional pixel position they want to estimate the value of. It's not really hard.

        I wasn't joking, this is exactly how you'd do it correctly. Is this gobbeldygook to your average Slashdotter? Have I been hiding in the lab too much? Is this what grad school does to you?

        I need to get out more, apparently.
      • there is more to it then that, you need to make sure all tabs coordinate to ensure resampling doesn't use too much CPU time, otherwise a single badly coded (or maliciously coded) page could slow the system down significantly
      • All they need to do is a Gaussian averaging kernel around the fractional pixel position they want to estimate the value of. It's not really hard.

        I suggest optimizing Your approach for speed. After all, not everybody has a 3GHz machine (granted, outside the USA).

        Have a look at gdk-pixbuf: they have implemented a "Tiles" scaling algorithm that seems ideal for this task: it's faster than bilinear interpolation, and the result is similar to bilinear when reducing the size.

        It looks like nearest neighbor

    • Re:Firefox Users (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Mekabyte (678689)
      Firefox 3 will have resampling since it uses Cairo for rendering. You can try out a nightly build to test that feature.
    • Where's the -1 Obvious mod when ya need it?

      Or, if the image scaling bothers you, just disable the "Resize large images to fit in the browser window" setting in the Advanced tab in Options.

    • Re:Firefox Users (Score:3, Informative)

      by mh101 (620659)
      Open Preferences, then go to Advanced, and General. Uncheck "Resize large images..." and FF will no longer shrink the images.

    • Speaking of font rendering, take a look at this screenshot [] -- what happened to the missing word "as"? It reads: "The paragraph contains spans of text styled differently well as forced line breaks..." instead of "... as well as...".
      • Re:Firefox Users (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bryce (1842)
        That screenshot was made right after the word wrapping feature was implemented, and at the time it did have a tendancy to "lose" words around tight bends and such. There may still be a few glitches like this one in the word wrapping code, so please keep an eye out and report it (with sample file) where you find it.
    • Re:Firefox Users (Score:3, Informative)

      by BusterB (10791)
      I've been using the Firefox nightly build today (says it's 3.0a) - it supports smooth downsampling. The current Konqueror does too.
    • Re:Firefox Users (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tack (4642)
      Agreed. Go vote for [] (note
  • by onlysolution (941392) on Friday June 23, 2006 @11:29PM (#15594741)
    Be sure to use the link in the article to get the compiled packages, as the official site has not been updated with them yet.
  • Who's the genius? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheModelEskimo (968202) on Friday June 23, 2006 @11:39PM (#15594769)
    So...why announce the software when you can't even download the binaries for it yet? Somebody jumped the gun. Now, 85% of the /. comments are going to be "why is it just a source tarball? Open Source sucks!!!" ...sigh...

    If you want to try it out and you don't like compiling, wait another day for the official binaries, then give it a whirl - this Inkscape release really is that good. Very fast, excellent illustration tool. Congratulations to the dev team.
  • I like plants (Score:2, Informative)

    by Joebert (946227)
    I find the L-System Effects really intresting, I'll likely install the application just to play with thoose.
    • Re:I like plants (Score:3, Interesting)

      I love Inkscape. I do CS research, and I use it for illustrations in slides and papers. Gradients, highlights, anti-aliasing and such really make diagrams stand out. It's not any more difficult to work with than Word's or OpenOffice's vector drawing tools, either.
      • I love Inkscape. I do CS research, and I use it for illustrations in slides and papers. Gradients, highlights, anti-aliasing and such really make diagrams stand out. It's not any more difficult to work with than Word's or OpenOffice's vector drawing tools, either.

        And of course there's the ultimate power tool: XML editor. Being able to directly hack the image source and see the results immediately is the Real Ultimate Power.

        Whoever decided to include that was brilliant, and not as in Paula Bean.

  • Excellent. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hullabalucination (886901) * on Friday June 23, 2006 @11:47PM (#15594798) Journal

    I've really enjoyed watching the progress of this app, along with Scribus and the GIMP. Inkscape has become one of the tools I use day in and day out (especially in conjunction with Scribus) and even though I can run older versions of CorelDraw and Illustrator on my FC5 box, I've really come to value Inkscape even though it doesn't have the collection of power tools that the Windows vector apps have (in all honesty, some of the "power tools" in those other guys are just imagesetter-chokers and you're better off leaving them be).

    Now that Krita supports CMYK tiff files (with color management) the day has pretty much dawned in which I no longer have to jump over to my lone remaining Windows box to do some sort of previously-necessary file format conversion.

    • even though I can run older versions of CorelDraw and Illustrator on my FC5 box, I've really come to value Inkscape even though it doesn't have the collection of power tools that the Windows vector apps have

      I was looking for comparisons, and this serves me well. From somebody in the trenches it's comparable to older versions of CorelDraw and Illustrator. I wish the creators of these packages had more time and resources to push them up front into the running. I would like to see Inkscape burst out and be w

  • by TheModelEskimo (968202) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @12:03AM (#15594839)
    Been using it for the past few days for a hobby project so I thought I'd post this. It shows the new layers and color palettes. reen.png (Mind the space in the address)

    Sorry it's in KDE, seeing how Inkscape is the moment Skype isn't working in Gnome, so... :(
    • Sorry it's in KDE, seeing how Inkscape is the moment Skype isn't working in Gnome, so... :(

      I have already contacted the seGregation ans Kapartheid teams. Their thug squads will arrive soon to make an example for why one should never, ever mix KDE and GTK apps of you.
  • by RickBauls (944510) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @12:41AM (#15594950) pe-0.44-outlineview.png [] thats just purely... simply... insane! I wish I had enought time/patience to do something like that.
    • I'd say it was done with a graphics tablet, much like sketching with paper and pen, not placing each individual line with a mouse/keyboard. Still, seriously amazing... I've never been able to grasp drawing, not only can I not lay everything out in my head properly, but my hands shake and I can't draw lines with any consistency hahah. Perhaps why I never like to use the mouse if I can help it. Visual artists are sufficiently advanced that they're indistinguishable from magic to me ^_^.
      • try moving your hand using your arms not your wrist, i'm not very good at drawing but every time i see someone who it, they keep their wrist stiff and move their arm for most stuff
        • by MenTaLguY (5483) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @11:52AM (#15596645) Homepage
          Yes, that's exactly right. A lot of beginners try to draw mostly with their wrist and fingers, which doesn't work well and tires you out fast. Most practiced artists do a lot of their drawing motion from their upper arm/shoulder. Of course, you also have to draw larger for this to work well; beginners also tend to draw too small.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      That's fairly simple in Inkscape. Just import your favorite picture and do a trace bitmap with multiple scanning, color.
      • by ScislaC (827506) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @10:28AM (#15596352)
        Hehehehe... I can assure you that there was no bitmap tracing done whatsoever. My wife will confirm this as she watched me draw most of it from scratch (what she didn't watch was when I was on my lunch breaks at the office). I actually have a ton of progressional snapshots done during the creation, I need to string them together to show the process for people. It changed a LOT from beginning to end, and will change even more once we have SVG filters in place.
    • Yeah, and Slashdot isn't exactly helpi... OMG!! Ponies!
    • That is great (as someone else mentioned obviously done with a graphics tablet) but it's an absolutely insane number of vector objects. Impressive that a free app can handle that complex of a document. :)

      When they (Inkscape) implement proper PDF and eps support, Adobe should really start to either fear open source, or embrace open source operating systems and port their creative suite to Linux before people start retraining themselves in other applications. Heck, they're starting to lose their competitive
  • Red arrows? (Score:3, Informative)

    by AxelBoldt (1490) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @12:49AM (#15594972) Homepage
    So is inkscape finally able to produce a red arrow with a red tip? Up to now it was impossible.
    • Re:Red arrows? (Score:4, Informative)

      by TheModelEskimo (968202) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @11:37AM (#15596597)
      I just tried it. It works fine, and I'm sure it worked in previous versions as well:

      1. Create normal arrow
      2. Select the curve with the arrow point on it
      3. Ctrl+Alt+C or Path --> Stroke to Path
      4. Select the arrow tip in node selection mode and color it (both stroke and fill can be colored)
      5. Thank you, drive through please.
    • Re:Red arrows? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by _xeno_ (155264)

      Nope! The problem here is really the SVG spec, though, in that markers can't exactly inherit useful properties from the line they're being marked on.

      My reading of the marker section in the SVG spec [] says that "fill: inherit" and "stroke: inherit" should be cause the colors to inherit off the parent element.

      However: With arrow-heads, the arrow is being filled with a color, and the line is being stroked with a color. Even if Inkscape allowed markers to inherit stroke/fill properties from their parent, th

  • Illustrator (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Compuser (14899) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @12:53AM (#15594986)
    Can someone post a detailed comparison of features between Inkscape and Illustrator.
    Which features are still missing (aside from PDF capabilities)?
    • Illustrator: expensive Inkscape: free
    • Re:Illustrator (Score:4, Insightful)

      by t_allardyce (48447) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @07:33AM (#15595731) Journal
      I major feature that was missing is non-destructive shape unions, intersections and differences. These are in the pathfinder feature of Illustrator and they are pretty much a staple of any serious illustration work. I think it might kind-of be in Inkscape in this release but im not sure.

      Next major feature is an effects stack which is needed in GIMP too. Both GIMP and Inkscape have really suffered from the lack of any dynamic non-destructive editing features and separation of various effects and styles from content - these are the way forward and things Photoshop and Illustrator users have had for years, you just cant seriously live without them and its a shame because non-destructive editing and separating content from style is really something the OS world embraces - obviously these two projects feel they have more important things to do, which is why no-one seriously uses either of them.

      Just to give you an idea, Photoshop drop-shadow has single-handidly changed the entire web and graphic design fashion for nearly a decade, you can take any layer and add drop shadow - tweak the settings and then go back and change it any time you want, this combines with other effects to make an effects stack that is dynamically applied to layers and objects - this is a very simple principle and is so so incredibly vital I cant even begin to stress how much.
      • Re:Illustrator (Score:4, Informative)

        by bbyakk (815167) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @09:50AM (#15596222)
        > I major feature that was missing is non-destructive shape unions, intersections and differences.

        Non-destructive intersection is now possible, it's called clipping. Other types are not supported by SVG.

        > Next major feature is an effects stack

        We're working on that. Hopefully 0.45 will have this.
        • Nice, but are there going to be issues with SVG causing limitations? Whats the plan with that?
          • Re:Illustrator (Score:4, Informative)

            by bbyakk (815167) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @11:20AM (#15596529)
            One possibility is to wait for newer versions of SVG. Many good things are being added.

            Another possibility is to implement something on top of SVG but in SVG-compatible way. For example, this is how we implement star shapes missing in SVG. This is not always possible, and even when it is, we do this only if it's something simple and limited (i.e. would not require pervasive changes across all of our codebase) or when the need for the feature is really very urgent. I may be wrong but to me, non-destructive unions or intersections do not seem to fall into any of these categories.

            On the other hand, we have plans to implement "path effects" (non-destructive effects on shapes and paths) on top of SVG. This is relatively easy to do. Plus, in 0.45 we should have support for SVG filters, thanks to Google SoC.
    • Re:Illustrator (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Wylfing (144940) <brian.wylfing@net> on Saturday June 24, 2006 @07:37AM (#15595743) Homepage Journal
      Can someone post a detailed comparison of features between Inkscape and Illustrator. Which features are still missing (aside from PDF capabilities)?

      I am not exactly an art guru, but I do use both Inkscape and Illustrator all the time. The three things that have historically bugged me most about Inkscape have been the huge difficulty of locking/unlocking objects, the poor import/export of EPS and PDF, and the inability to add custom colors and gradients onto the swatch palette (I use that in Illustrator a lot to save and reuse colors and gradients). Actually, the editing of gradients is really clunky in Inkscape, so I guess that is another thing that bugs me.

      I don't want to paint an overly grim picture of Inkscape, though. It's really quite good, and I am very eager to get my hands on this new version (but I'll wait for the debs).

      • Re:Illustrator (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bryce (1842)
        The three things that have historically bugged me most about Inkscape have been the huge difficulty of locking/unlocking objects, the poor import/export of EPS and PDF, and the inability to add custom colors and gradients onto the swatch palette.

        One of our top development priorities for 0.44 was a layer dialog; hopefully this will make doing things like locking/unlocking objects somewhat easier.

        According to beta testers, due to a few fixes that were submitted by users, EPS and PDF are working more re

    • Illustrator CS2 has added an amazing raster to vector conversion tool. It was so-so up until CS2, but if you're trying to vectorize a photograph or drawing, it really is the bees knees.
  • I can't get the release notes. The page keeps coming up blank. So I have to ask, does this version do anything for stability and memory usage? 0.43 is a beautiful, beautiful piece of Open Source software, but I can make that poor application slow to a crawl by playing with the font size & fill for a large chunk of text. I can send my whole computer into full-on swap frenzy by having Inkscape color-trace a bitmap & then playing with the points of one of the resulting layers.

    I love Inkscape. It f
    • by msloan (945203) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:24AM (#15595041)
      Many crashes have been fixed in this version. As for the release notes, I can access them.

      Verbatim from the wiki:


      In addition to the Outline mode which makes it much easier to work with complex drawings, this version of Inkscape also provides significant speed improvements in many areas.
      • Thanks to optimizations in the renderer, Inkscape's screen redraw is faster by at least 10%, and in some cases (such as complex stroked/dashed paths at high zooms) up to three times faster.
      • Optimizations in the Node tool resulted in noticeable speed gains for node editing. Thus, switching to and from the Node tool (with a path selected), as well as selecting nodes in that tool, are now at least ten times faster than before. Other operations, including curve and node dragging and move/scale/rotate operations on multiple selected nodes, are much faster as well. This is especially important when working with complex paths; with these optimizations, paths containing several thousand nodes, though still slow, are much more usable.
      • An optimization in the attribute setting method made operations such as moving multiple objects with arrow keys at least 30% faster compared to 0.43. This is especially noticeable when you are moving clones selected together with their original (e.g. a clone tiling), in which case Inkscape now works three to four times faster.
      • Interface icons are now rendered in the background (from SVG source in share/icons/icons.svg) when Inkscape is idle, rather than waiting for all the icons in a menu to render the first time you pull it up. This eliminates the annoying delay when opening menus for the first time.
      • Previously, zooming in to view a small portion of a path (especially big and complex path), there was a very noticeable slowdown and memory use increased dramatically. We optimized the renderer to only process the visible part of a path, and as a result the rendering speed is now almost the same at any zoom up to the maximum, providing up to 10-40 times speedup compared to the previous version (the closer is the zoom, the greater is the gain).
      • The Path > Break Apart command is now dozens of times (up to 100x) faster for complex paths with thousands of subpaths.


      • Reading a document with an incorrect namespace URI not only did not cause Inkscape to complain, but could also "pollute" Inkscape's internal namespace table, resulting in an "infection" of subsequently saved documents by the incorrect namespace. This is now fixed, but as a result, documents with incorrect namespace URIs will no longer load. You will have to edit them in a text editor to fix the namespaces.
      • With newer versions of GTK, dragging with graphics tablet pen did not work in some tools and contexts (in particular, in Node and Rectangle tools). This is fixed.
      • Scaling of objects with stroke in Selector used to cause undesired shifts of the scaled object, as well as scaling it in the dimension which was intended to remain untouched (e.g. slight change in width when you scale only height). All these problems are now fixed, both for interactive scaling by mouse and for numeric scaling via the Controls bar, and for both values of the "Scale stroke with objects" option. Among other things, this means that stroked objects no longer lose snapping on scale, and that the "Default scale origin" option in the Selector tool preferences finally works as designed. Caveat: There may still be problems if you scale a selection that contains objects with different stroke widths.
      • Scaling of stroke now works for objects that didn't specify stroke-width; before, they always ended up with the default 1px stroke.
      • The bounding box for text and flowed text objects did not include stroke width. This has been fixed.
      • Stroke miterlimit on text objects was misinterpreted in absolute units instead of multiplies of stroke width (resulting in miter joins rendered as bevel).
      • The
    • Stability should be a lot better across the board in this release. Memory usage is better in selected circumstances (and we've fixed the most major memory leaks). Give it a try and see how it works for you.
  • Ink Question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Monkelectric (546685) <{moc.cirtceleknom} {ta} {todhsals}> on Saturday June 24, 2006 @02:00AM (#15595121)
    Could Inkscape be used to generate art for a videogame? Are there any libraries to render this stuff?
    • Re:Ink Question (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MenTaLguY (5483)
      Yes, and yes. It's been done, too -- just off the top of my head, there's Monsterz [], but there are other games using SVG graphics as well. Since SVG supports scripting via Javascript (given appropriate browser support), some people have even written games for the web in SVG directly. Browser support isn't widespread enough to make a Flash-killer yet, but if you're just rendering graphics for your own traditional game engine SVG graphics are certainly an option today.
    • Re: game art (Score:3, Informative)

      by mughi (32874)

      Could Inkscape be used to generate art for a videogame?

      Yes. Depends on what and how you're planning to do things. The GNOME games migrated to SVG artwork quite a while back.

      Another approach is to create your artwork in SVG and then render to bitmap at different sizes. This mirrors a lot of the workflow used for creating icons.

      Are there any libraries to render this stuff?

      As far as libraries go, there are librsvg [] and KSVG [] for a start. For other gaming needs, one can do some interesting things with

  • by Tim Browse (9263) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @04:24AM (#15595384)

    Seriously, what's up with the summary? It explains what Inkscape is, so you don't have to go and find out, tells you what's happened, gives you information about the new features, has useful links for stuff that is relevant and that you might be interested in as a result.

    This is not what I'm used to on slashdot.

    Where are the editors?!

  • by Peturrr (940456)
    Since Xara has been opensourced and is freely available on Linux, the question arises: which is better? Is there really a big difference between them in terms of speed, features etc? Which one do you recommend?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Xara still isn't in widespread use, if at all. Releasing source code is one thing, getting it to compile cleanly accross the board is something else and I suspect they are still some way from a stable release.

      Inkscape is very good, especially so for pre 1.0 software. I previously used sodipodi extensively and was pretty worried about the inkscape fork, specifically the move to C++ and use of GC. Inkscape could have gone horribly wrong, fortunately the developers are delivering. Kudos and much thanks to them

      • I thought the animated PNG spec was called MNG [] and that even Mozilla threw out support for it since it was being used absolutely nowhere (and was a bit bloaty. even for Mozilla.)

        Oh, wait, Wikipdia tells me there's an APNG too. Hmm. From the looks of the links there it's still highly experimental and I don't think anyone's using it.

  • "innovative 'node sculpting'"

    You mean like the way Flash has been handling it for years?
    • And before Flash, FutureWave Smartsketch (on which FutureSplash Animator which was Flash 1.0 was based) --- my copy running on Windows dates from 1994 --- don't have a machine running PenPoint anymore, but I think my copy for that was dated 1992.

      (who will have to finish up his feature comparison chart of vector drawing programs)
    • The Flash editor runs on Linux now? Last I heard they barely had the player working...
    • Re:I call bullshit (Score:3, Informative)

      by MenTaLguY (5483)
      Hmm, what did you think we meant by "node sculpting"? It's basically proportional node dragging with a pressure-sensitive falloff radius. You do find that in the mesh editors of a lot of 3d apps, but as far as I know it's the first time I've seen it in a 2d vector application.
  • Can someone tell me how to do a glow effect? Its a gradiant where the core is either not filled or solid of the gradiant start color, then fades to the gradient stop color radially, outwards.
    Imagine a physical sign, like on a buildingwith neon behind it. You can't see the neon, but you can see the glow on the wall behind the sign.

    This is the one thing I can't figure out how to do. Mostly because of courners. If I peacie it todether, the corners never look even. (Not to mention a huge hassle!)
    • Re:Glow Effect? (Score:3, Informative)

      by MenTaLguY (5483)
      For now, you can sort of tediously fake it with a lot of transparent gradients -- otherwise, you'll have to wait for 0.45 to implement SVG filter effects, which are basically a whole suite of dynamic raster effects. I don't think any other vector application will have anything like it.
  • Donation? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by biscon (942763)
    Since this thread is being read by at least one of the developers, I want to say: thanks guys, you rock!.
    I have recently founded a company with a few friends and Inkscape 0.44 came just in time, to address some issues
    we were having editing large SVG's in 0.43. We badly needed the optimisations to the rendering engine as well
    as outline mode.

    We hope to make money on our product in a few months and would like to know if you take donations?.

    Giving something in return for your excellent work would be nice, but w
  • GIMP (Score:3, Interesting)

    by metamatic (202216) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @09:23AM (#15596130) Homepage Journal
    I just wish the Inkscape developers could redesign the UI of GIMP...
    • funny, i was hoping someone would make a GIMP style interface for inkscape

      even better would be to, at some point in the future merge the two projects (after GIMP gets effects layers and other, more pressing things)

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