drawing lace with Inkscape

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brynn
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drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby brynn » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:25 am

Hi Friends,
Inkspots and I have been discussing different ways to create either a realistic lace, or even something that's a good simulation or depiction. So we decided to just start a topic, to get any potential suggestions or advice from others, share some files, and also to share our experience.

Here's a screenshot of some experiments I did with the L-System extension, and I'll attach the SVG below. (Some examples are outside the page border.) I managed to get some hexagon-related patterns going. And the large one on the right even curves around a little. But if I add one more Order value, my system crashes. Apparently a lot of it just overlaps itself. But for the most part, I found it really difficult to make the formulas (Rules) that work how I want them to, or to control the outcome. These all just happened by changing up the variables (+, -, A, F, etc).

Image

Then I took that first one (top left) and made some lace-like patterns with duplicates.

Image

I've thought of Pattern Along Path, but no matter how small I make the individual unit, there's still some distortion in the curves. (like for example, a strip of lace curved around in a heart shape) But I still have some more ideas to try out. I'll post more screenshots and/or sample files whenever I get around to working on it.

Also, I like making page borders with geometrical patterns. Some of them appear to be lace-like, such as this:

Image

Here's the SVG of the L-System file:

lace2.svg
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RobA
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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby RobA » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:36 am

Hey brynn-

How do you make borders like the one shown? Are those from an L-system, or some other method?

-Rob A>

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby chriswww » Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:30 am

can any of the turtle graphics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtle_graphics) integrate with inkscape or otherwise produce svg?

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby brynn » Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:10 pm

Hi -Rob A>
No, I did not use the L-System for the border. I certainly wish I could figure out how to make the right formula (Rules) for such a thing, though.

I usually make borders like that by starting with a square or rectangle, and then making some kind of symmetric, geometric design inside. Usually I prefer to use the Pen tool in straight line mode, but it could be done otherwise with shapes too. I use snapping and a grid to make sure it's symmetrical. Then I either clone or duplicate, and snap the units together. I've fantasized about making a website where I would offer webpage design elements, but I'm not sure if I will ever bring that to fruition. And really, all I've made is borders, a handful of miscellaneous objects (possibly for use as logos) and a few backgrounds.

Turtle graphics sounds a lot like the L-System, and according to the info you referenced, it's vector. I suppose an extension could be written for it, but I don't really have any clue about integrating with Inkscape. Actually it sounds so similar, I'm not sure how it differs from the L-System?

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby chriswww » Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:05 pm

Turtle graphics (aka logo graphics programming language) is an ancient program but has a vector base in it, e.g. you can specify angles and lengths as values instead of pixels. The difference between that and any factorial style declaration like L-System, is that in logo you specify how to draw an object (e.g. pen down, draw 20 going north, turn 25 degress, draw again, etc) and then once your complete single object is defined you can then define some kind of a bigger loop which will draw the object, then turn, then move a bit, etc, and repeat that however many times. L-System is more like specifying non-procedurally how the whole thing behaves during drawing, in one go. that's very hard to tweak just right so you get the graphical output you want. And since L-System and similar are factorial style, some designs are not possible in it. With procedural declarations it's much easier to control and get almost any design up. The question of hooking up inkscape to turle graphics (logo) is non-trivial...however there are linux based programs that generate svg from various incarnations of turle graphics programs. I don't have a linux box anymore to have a play.
by the way not trying to be mean to L-System etc...they're suited to their niche of things.

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby chriswww » Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:06 pm

and by the way..those are nice lace designs :)

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby brynn » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:32 am

Thanks chriswww, and also for the info on turtle graphics :D
Now just waiting for Inkspots, who inspired me to post the topic.....

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby flamingolady » Fri Feb 17, 2012 2:52 pm

Just to throw another style of lace in, here's an unfinished version. When I look at lace, say doilly, it's the 'holes' that make it pretty, so I attempted duplicating the holes using 'path, then difference', and it's all done manually. I can't get the path/difference function to work using a group to cut the path, I keep getting back an error msg that says it's not an object (for it is), so I manually cut a path on each and every dot, square, triangel, etc., slow but sure method, lol.
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lace on round1.png
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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby brynn » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:14 pm

Oh, and it looks awesome at that size, dee! I can't remember if you use one of those cutter machines (cutter/plotter,/vinyl machine)? That's one of our goals, to make something that looks almost realistic.

But I had not even thought of a paper doily. I suppose for that matter, we could probably come up with something, even using the Spirograph extension. I have loads of spirograms! It would just be a matter of somehow making some sharper corners. OH, I know!! All we'd have to use is use a fill color on a more complex spirogram, with the Even:Odd fill rule enabled. It's not going to get much simpler than that.....well except for maybe the star tool. I'll bet we could make some cool doily type of lace with various stars or combinations of stars! (Often I make mandalas with 2 or more stars, and difference or intersection, etc.)

(No, you can only difference 2 things at a time.)

Ok, gotta go play some more :D

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby flamingolady » Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:38 am

Funny, I was thinking spirogram too. However, I wasn't thinking 'paper' doily, but the tatted lacy thin yarn kind, lol. I tried to make the squares 'non-perfect' to look more like yarn, but as I said, this is unfinished. Funny thing, I feathered the squares using the filter, and they looked like material, but when I applied the path/difference function, it took away the filter and took it back to the perfect square, oh well. maybe you'all come up with something even better.
dee

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby Inkspots » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:38 pm

HI Brynn,
I'm so glad you got this Topic started!
I've been reading about what you all have been doing, and its fascinating.
I came at things a little differently, my idea from the beginning was to try my hand at designing lace elements and embellishments for paper craft and cutter designs. I had seen several designs that I liked created by others, but Inkscape seemed like the perfect tool to use for creating something of my own. Of course I don't know what techniques others may use to create their pieces. I had to do some research, and I've done a lot of experimenting and just generally playing with the idea. I wont bore you all by describing my research into historical lace patterns or any of that. ( I'm a bit of a plodder, so I tend to research almost everything) I wanted a good general idea of how old lace was constructed and used, so I could decide how to get started with drawing it. Cut-work and ecru laces seemed easiest, so I started out, by drawing some simple shapes that could represent ribbons, and simple ecru lace. Basically, cotton edging with small symmetrical holes cut out of it. My first attempts didn't look like much, but they encouraged me to keep trying. Brynn mentioned working on lace to, which lead to the discussion we're continuing here.

I really never considered the idea of trying to create lace procedurally, or algorithmically until brynn mentioned the possibility. I did try the veroni crackle extension for lacy crackles, but I just didn't like the result. I'm still fairly new at all this, and don't understand those extensions well enough to make good use of them. So... I started out trying to draw whole pieces of lace edgings. :lol: I quickly discovered that this was leading me to make small errors in the pattern repeats, and I wasn't lining things up properly, or reproducing the same shapes every time. Eventually I came up with a pattern segment I could clone, and join without ruining the overall lace pattern , so thats what I'm working with now. here is a screenie of the lace edging, before anything is done to change it.

Image

Sorry for the poor quality of the image. I'll replace it with a better one soon. I think it's enough to give you an idea of what I'm doing though. I removed the fill, so you can see the details of the stroke. As you can tell, the ends of one version of the unfinished lace still have to be patched, where the cuts leave open places. I didn't post earlier tries at lace, since I wasn't happy with them. I can upload some screen-shots of later attempts, and problems with creating curved borders and shapes, like Ovals and hearts in a later post. Brynn, I'll upload the Svgs as soon as I can. I didn't make any screen-shots of the wild things that happened to this lace when I tried to make it into a lace heart, but I haven't given up on the idea, and will continue trying.

Flamingo lady,
I love your lace doily. You mentioned not being able to use Path> difference for cutting shapes that have been grouped, from your basic object. It's true you can't do that, but you can use Path>union to turn all the shapes into a single path. Once that is done you can use path>difference to cut with them. So long as the objects you want to group don't touch, path>union wont change them when they are joined.

Brynn,
Wow, Your work with the L-system was really something. I keep going back to look at it. It must have taken a lot of time to work out the formulas. You said you gave up on L-system for this purpose, and I think you're right that it isn't well suited. L-system is wonderful for creating organic plant forms, and the possibility of randomness and the unpredictability of the result is a plus there. It's just frustrating to try and use it for something like this. I want to see some of your spirograms now. :)

I have stolen time to visit the forum at the end of a very long day, so thats it for this post.

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby brynn » Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:09 pm

Ooohhh, now I understand! When you described what you were doing before, I couldn't quite make the leap to "lace". I think we are probably thinking about different types of lace, and perhaps one or even both of us is calling something lace, when it might technically have another name. What you've shown in the screenshot, I've heard called by another name. Unfortunately, I can't think of it right now.

What I'm thinking of lace is made with thread. Like I've seen travel shows where they go to Italy, and it shows the older woman either weaving or tying or twisting single threads or fine cotton strings (or something, I'm not sure of the right word). Or I've also seen lace made with a crochet hook (crochetted lace?). So there's no real fabric involved, it's all made with single strands of thread/string. So that's where I was going with the L-System.

I agree that the Voronoi pattern isn't controllable enough for this. I think it can resemble lace, and work well in certain situations. But not for any realistic effect.

It's going to drive me crazy trying to think of that word, lol. But I'll come up with it eventually!

Anyway, I love what you've done, and look forward to more experimenting. For example, I've been playing with the Star tool. I make 2 different stars, with the same number of spikes, and try different path operations on them. That how the circle of hearts happened. It only results in circular "segments" though, and I haven't made any I like well enough to clone and link together. But it's fun playing with it!

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby Inkspots » Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:11 pm

brynn,
We aren't thinking of different things at all. I think what you mean by lace, and what I mean by Lace, Really are the same thing. The difference is in the purpose of our drawings. You want to draw each thread of a lace mesh, or something that represents each thread in the lace mesh, and you can afford to do that because it will be a drawing, used as an image.

I'm drawing my lace, to be used as a pattern for creating a physical object. The Lace has to have more solid space, than empty space, so it wont crumble when it is handled. The shapes and sizes of the openings have to be planned around the shapes, and sizes of cutting machine blades. I have to consider how fine a cut can these machines make, and how small is the smallest piercing they can do. There can be no overlapping paths, and all openings must be closed at each end. long cuts and scrolls must be broken by an area of solid material, or the paper will turn outward, buckle, or curl, and tear.

Imagine this lace oval. cut from crisp white paper,Image
and adhered to the front cover of a single fold greeting card. All those little openings have to be cut out, and the paper still has to hold together. I'm pretty sure this contains too many repeats of the lace pattern, at too small a size, and despite it's evident simplicity, there are an awful lot of nodes in this pattern. On the center left you will see a pretty obvious defect. It was caused by a slight overlap when the lace strip was bent to follow an oval path. It's lace, but it's a cutting pattern for making Paper lace.

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby brynn » Sat Feb 25, 2012 4:11 pm

Oh no, I understand what you're saying! But what you're doing, there's actually a word for it, I think. It's like......applique, except that instead of sewing some kind of smaller shape to a larger piece of fabric, the shape is cut out. And the edges of the cutout are finished in much the same way as some applique (whip stitch, blanket stitch, e.g.). Let's see if I can find something.....

That looks great, btw! Too bad you can't make each repeat whole. Or I don't know if it might be less noticable to have the odd segment at the bottom? Most people "see" things from the top down, and won't even notice a "miss" in a pattern, especially like this, which has so much detail. Most people's eye won't notice it at the bottom.

I'll search.....

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby brynn » Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:03 pm

Hhhhm, well I couldn't find the word I was thinking of. It's probably some old word with roots in the Smokey Mtn region (or even Ireland or Wales) but I found "Cut Work" in Wikipedia, which describes it:

"Cutwork or cut work is a needlework technique in which portions of a textile are cut away and the resulting "hole" is reinforced and filled with embroidery or needle lace" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cutwork

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby Inkspots » Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:03 pm

brynn
Yes, we always call it cut-work, or cutwork. It's a technique that was used a lot for embellishing linens. Ecru, or picot lace is done that way.

Edit: Since the oval frame posted above was made, I have made two that don't have the over-lap defect, but the lace segments are larger, and that causes a lot of squashing distortion in the inner loops. The circle frame made to the same lace design is almost perfect. I'm planning to use the other lace design from the same example for the next few experiments, and I'll post an update to let you know how it goes. Still no success with the lace heart. I can bend the lace to the heart shape, but there's always either an overlap, or an odd little gap I can't fill neatly.

Ty for your kind words, glad you like what I've done so far.
Let me know how your efforts are going.

I have to concentrate on something else for the next few days, but I'll get back to this as soon as I can.

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby flamingolady » Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:02 am

Inkspots - beautiful work! I think we both have the same basic concept, mine is also about leaving the open spaces, etc.
Brynne - is the word 'tatting' by any chance? there's one other word, and now I can't think of it either, someone on LDD (a brit), used a method of cutouts in paper to adhere to greeting cards.
I have a small Cricut (which I haven't used in ages sadly), but couldn't afford the SCAL program, was hoping someone on here would come up with a pc version as open source.
keep up the good works ladies!
dee

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby Inkspots » Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:53 pm

Hi flamingolady, thankyou I'm glad you like it.
Yes I'm using a subtractive method for creating my lace to, which is really the only way I think would work work for a cutter design.
I'm considering trying an additive technique, but I suspect it will be more work...and work is bad. :P

I'm sorry to hear your not getting the use you'd like from your cricut. I know you've probably visited the Inkscape cutting designs forum at http://www.inkscapecuttingdesign.com/index.php already , but if you haven't do pop by and ask them about the software options. They will almost certainly have a better idea of what may work for you than we do here. If you have already tried InkCut, and it didnt work for you, maybe they can help you come up with a fix.

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby brynn » Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:11 am

Off topic:
I saw a message the other day, about some other software for getting Inkscape work to the cutter. It says it can also take work done on Windows. Here's the link. viewtopic.php?f=31&t=11496 (InkCut doesn't work for windows.)
Last edited by brynn on Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: replace link

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby Inkspots » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:11 pm

brynn
Thankyou, I didn't see an active link in your message, can you check it please?
It would be nice to learn about as many options as possible, for users of all operating systems. I'm afraid all the possibilities I know of for use with both the Cricut, and the windows operating system are commercial programs. I think Make-the-cut is quite a bit less expensive than Scal, but it would nice if we could find an option that is both free , as in freedom, and free, as in free beer. :) I suppose this really ought to be in the cutters and plotters sub forum, or pm, but this is where we are....so here is where I'm putting it.

I'm trying to get some notes together on some of the troubles I've had trying to draw my lace, and hunting down some of the svg files.
Are you interested in seeing them, or is what I'm doing too different from your project to be of any use?

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby brynn » Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:16 pm

Oh sorry! I've edited the message, and the link is there now :D

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby brynn » Sun Mar 11, 2012 9:07 pm

Ok, I finally got a nice lacy thing with the Spirograph extension. I guess it's more like a doily (which IS a type of lace, after all). ("finally" meaning I got around to it -- not that it's taken these months to do it) Although I can't say this is a quick way, an easy way, or an efficient way to do it. At all! :lol: But I do think it's pretty effective, and the potential for variations is virtually endless.

As far as using this particular one on a cutter, I'm not sure. I should be able to combine the paths and make it work. Or well Union would be better, because some...or probably most of any overlapping of paths would be eliminated. There are many areas where each circular unit just meets each other. And I do understand how that would be hard to handle with a cutter, because those areas would be prone to rip apart. So this one is probably not a good one for cutters.

But I also think that these could be designed to be used with cutters, where there wouldn't be such delicate areas. I'll have to make an example, because describing it will take too long. And I do plan to make a tutorial to go with it, along with the SVG as well.

Anyway, this was my idea for making something in an unusual shape, like a heart for valentines. The circular units in this one are a little too big, but using smaller units, and then just arrange them in the heart shape, or whatever.
Off topic:
:idea: If I knew how to make an extension, I would write one for drawing heart shapes. Or maybe even a heart shape drawing tool!

So the process for this, in general, is creating the spirograms, doing some path operations to make interesting "holes" and "hole patterns", and then joining units together. I think the greatest advantage with the spirograms, is that you can use the Even-Odd fill rule to automatically have holes. The tricky part is making the right kind of spiro. I'm not sure if "iterations" is a proper term to use for spirograms, but you can't always predict whether a loop will be a hole or solid, until you actually apply the fill rule. Well, at least I can't predict it. Working with this extension (for me) is entirely trial and error, and does take some patience and time.

Here's a smaller one, and I'll put the large one in a linked thumbnail.
Image
Image

Oh gosh, well the smaller one isn't transparent, because I used a screen snip app instead of exporting. But you get the idea. Ok, I'm off to try making one for cutters :D

PS - I just noticed that it looks almost like a fractal pattern :mrgreen:
Last edited by brynn on Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby flamingolady » Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:46 am

Brynne - can't wait to hear if your design worked on the cutter. Seems like it would take forever to cut, and I know just cutting the alphabet can be frustrating because it can tear the paper. I wish I could think of the name of what the lady did on LDD, too bad those forums are gone....
The last time I checked into the Inkscape cutting thread, they said their program only worked on Linux op sys, not windows (I have win7). And after SCAL got sued, you can only use it if you have it grandfathered in. I sure hope someone comes up with an open source program soon.

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby brynn » Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:35 pm

Did you see this viewtopic.php?f=31&t=11496? It says something about accepting Windows output, but not sure what that means. I don't have a cutter, but just wanted to specify that my last image probably will not work well for cutters.

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Re: drawing lace with Inkscape

Postby Inkspots » Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:10 pm

Still no joy in making the lace heart. I've had success with squares and rectangles, but the heartshape just isnt working.
Do one of you want to give it a try, and see if you can get the lace to bend to the heart shape without distorting?
Last edited by Inkspots on Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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