Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

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Benboom
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Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby Benboom » Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:08 am

Hello to all!

I’m new to vector illustration programs although I’ve been using Photoshop for years. I know that what I’m trying to do can be done in Illustrator but (of course) I don’t have that program and wouldn’t know how to use it anyway. :-)

But I stumbled across Inkscape today and I’m thinking might be able to do what I want so I wanted to post with a description of what I’m after and make sure before I invest too much time.

I’m interested in replicating the 3D effect you see in 50s monster movie titles such as these:

http://www.mrbalihai.com/haideaway/v/ps ... 7.jpg.html

http://www.mrbalihai.com/haideaway/v/ps ... _.jpg.html

Although you can do lame versions of the perspective extrusion in Photoshop they just don’t ever look right to me. So far I have figured out how to create appropriate text in Inkscape and I’ve been able to convert it to a path and duplicate it, extrude one copy and then layer the other over the extrusion in a different color. Fine, but that’s only a beginning and I have no idea how to get the rest of what I need for the effect:

First, the extrusion is solid and I need “corners” (for lack of a better word) which show the angles of the letters along the length of the extrusion.

Second, I have to figure out how to apply perspective to the extrusion so the rear part is smaller than the front. (Ideally I’d be able to apply a gradient to the extrusion’s depth as well, but let’s get this out of the way first.) So far every time I’ve tried to use the perspective command I get an error message which says “Requires two selected paths. The second must be exactly four nodes long.” I don’t have a clue what that means, and I’ve tried selecting both paths first but I still get the error.

I used to be able to do all of this in Typestyler (I’m a Mac user) but that program has never made the shift to OS X and it’s just awful to try to use it in Classic emulation mode.

So, number one: can what I’m after be done in this program? And number two, if it can, is there already tutorial which would address this issue? I’ve searched and found the basic 3d text tutorial but it doen’t have the information I need.

Thanks very much.

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EarlyBlake
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby EarlyBlake » Fri Feb 20, 2009 4:59 am

You can get a corners effect using extrude in 0.46. After you do the extrude do an ungroup twice on the result. You'll find that the extrusion is actually a group of paths. To get corner change the colors of the fill and/or stroke of each path generated. It's a lot of work thought. You also have to rearrange the stacking (z-order) of the paths. The extrusion for just the letter P in a simple font produces 17 objects. So it will be a fair amount of work. Less than drawing by hand I guess.

There is supposed to be a 3-D effect extrusion the developers version of inkscape. I don't know how to use it or if it really works though. Things are hit or miss in any given iteration. http://wiki.inkscape.org/wiki/index.php/ExtrudeEffect

Benboom
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby Benboom » Fri Feb 20, 2009 6:11 am

Thanks; that sounds like an awful lot of work!

I just found the Interpolate command and have been playing with it; while it seems sort of buggy (it sometimes reverses the order of the colors between top and bottom objects) I found that if I set the number of copies up to 20 or more I can get a gradient between the two objects as well as the perspective effect (if the two objects are different colors and sizes). That doesn't give me the "corners" but it's better than where I was this morning. :-D It might work in a pinch, but I suspect I will find ways to make it better. However, I have not been able to get the Perspective effect to work at all so far. I keep getting this incomprehensible error message:

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "Contents/Resources/extensions/perspective.py", line 127, in ?
e.affect()
File "/Volumes/Work/ Graphics Apps/Inkscape/Inkscape.app/Contents/Resources/extensions/inkex.py", line 154, in affect
self.effect()
File "Contents/Resources/extensions/perspective.py", line 80, in effect
solmatrix[i][0] = sp[i][0]
UnboundLocalError: local variable 'sp' referenced before assignment


Any suggestions are most welcome!

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capnhud
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby capnhud » Fri Feb 20, 2009 6:58 am

You could try this tutorial by Joaclint or even check out his blog or even heathenx tutorial live envelope effect or 3d text using the interpolate

Benboom
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby Benboom » Fri Feb 20, 2009 7:09 am

Capnhud, thanks for those links. That looks like good information, although some of the non-native English is really hard going ("Without a doubt this disadvantage conditions the utility of the design but to “normal” distances it must happen unnoticed." Do you know what that means?). I have to get a handle on the Perspective effect, but the Inkscape Guide has only one mention of the term "quadrilateral" in the whole index, and that is in the entry that tells you to create one. :-(

I'm downloading one of the video tuts right now. Thanks for the links.

[Edit] Hmm, the tutorial .avis won't play with my version of Quicktime, which is the latest one. I'll have to convert them to something I can read, which will take quite a while. Well, I'll get to it sometime.

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EarlyBlake
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby EarlyBlake » Fri Feb 20, 2009 9:13 am

Try this one for perspective. Lots of pictures no video.

http://inkscapetips.wordpress.com/2007/ ... ve-effect/

Heathenx's tutorial in breif. Draw a box and convert it to a path. Do a combined with that path you want to do the perspective effect on. (Combined is under the path menu.) Select the new path with the :tool_node: and do a cntl A to select all nodes in the new path. Then in Windows hit alt drag one of the boxes corner nodes. If your using lunix grab the node then alt drag. You will see the path deform as you move it. When you have what you want break apart the paths and delete the box. (Break Apart is under the path menu also.)

You should probably reead the manual on interpolate. The part about starting node position.
http://www.inkscape.org/doc/interpolate ... te.en.html

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heathenx
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby heathenx » Fri Feb 20, 2009 9:41 am

Benboom wrote:[Edit] Hmm, the tutorial .avis won't play with my version of Quicktime, which is the latest one. I'll have to convert them to something I can read, which will take quite a while. Well, I'll get to it sometime.


Off topic:
I take it you are on a Mac? The videos are encoded with x264/mp3 so you'll likely need a codec that can play those. I recommend using VLC or something with an Mplayer backend for viewing. The tutorials can be watched online via flash by clicking on the monitor images. If you are able to watch flash videos straight then you can find the video repo at http://screencasters-repo.heathenx.org and download them from there. :)

Benboom
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby Benboom » Fri Feb 20, 2009 11:34 am

Heathenx, thanks; when I figured out it was the 264 codec I added Perian to my codec supplies and can load your tutorials now but they are just too darn big for my system to play them comfortably; I lose frames, which is horrible when you're trying to follow the mouse actions. So I've downsized the two tuts to 640x480 Quicktime files which I can play better; the quality is still good enough to see what you're doing. It must be nice to have such a fast system. :D

However, the .flv files play back much, much better - thanks for giving the pointer to that page. They are also smaller than my Quicktime movies, which is nice. I will spend some time with them tomorrow morning.

It looks like what I'm trying to do can probably be done but I suspect that when the application is more mature it will be a lot easier. The exercise of working in an unfamiliar app is interesting, though so I'll stay with it.

EarlyBlake, it's not the Interpolate effect I'm having trouble with so much as the Perspective effect. The Guide blandly tells you to create a quadrilateral but there's no mention of what that means and the index only shows that word in the section I'm talking about - it's recursive but not helpful. Perhaps it's described elsewhere and just never made it into the index, but I read the whole Perspective section several times. [...clicking links...]Ah, that non-video tutorial you've linked to looks interesting, but I'm not sure about that box I'm supposed to create with the four nodes. Can I just draw it with a Bezier line? All the writing on this assumes something that I plainly don't know. Anyway, if I do that and then select it and then select my text and then apply the Perspective effect I always get this error message:

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "Contents/Resources/extensions/perspective.py", line 127, in ?
e.affect()
File "/Volumes/Work/ Graphics Apps/Inkscape/Inkscape.app/Contents/Resources/extensions/inkex.py", line 154, in affect
self.effect()
File "Contents/Resources/extensions/perspective.py", line 80, in effect
solmatrix[i][0] = sp[i][0]
UnboundLocalError: local variable 'sp' referenced before assignment

Benboom
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby Benboom » Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:05 pm

EarlyBlake wrote:
Heathenx's tutorial in breif. Draw a box and convert it to a path. Do a combined with that path you want to do the perspective effect on. (Combined is under the path menu.) Select the new path with the :tool_node: and do a cntl A to select all nodes in the new path. Then in Windows hit alt drag one of the boxes corner nodes. If your using lunix grab the node then alt drag. You will see the path deform as you move it. When you have what you want break apart the paths and delete the box. (Break Apart is under the path menu also.)


Very confusing. I think I understand your third sentence, but each time I draw a box, convert it to a path, combine it with my text, and then use the tool you show all I can resize is the box I drew (while leaving the text unaffected), or I can resize individual points within the letters of text, but somehow the text is not getting treated like the box is. I've tried all the various group and combine actions I can think of but I'm obviously just doing something wrong. Well, I'm running out of time for this evening and will have to get back to this tomorrow.

Thanks for all your help, everybody.

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EarlyBlake
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby EarlyBlake » Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:15 pm

Did you select all the nodes in the path ? And are you holding down the ALT key (or what ever is the equivalent on the Mac) before you select and drag a node with :tool_node: ?


Edit: For the perspective effect: Yes, just draw the 4 point target path it with the :tool_pen: . And draw the nodes starting at the bottom left, as it says on that page. And it's better not to move the 4 node path until you are done. That error message you are getting is worrying. Maybe it's different for a Macs, but that error message looks more like there is a problem with inkscape code, rather then you did not select the right paths in order. Hopefully you can get the node sculpting tutorial going.

I bet extrusion is looking better now :lol:

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capnhud
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby capnhud » Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:38 pm

Benboom wrote:

each time I draw a box, convert it to a path, combine it with my text, and then use the tool you show all I can resize is the box I drew (while leaving the text unaffected), or I can resize individual points within the letters of text, but somehow the text is not getting treated like the box is.


I am going to assume that since you are having this problem you are at least getting the text to form the perspective shape; however, after performing the perspective effect you would like to tweak the shape somewhat? Which leaves you with either a box with nodes you can manipulate or text that you can manipulate but not both at the same time.

The only way that I can replicate what you are describing is if I don't select both objects together and do Path>Combine.

Once you do that selecting any part on that shape with the :tool_node: will cause alot of nodes to appear since the shape and text are combined. Once the nodes are showing select them all and they will turn blue. Now depending on which ones you want to move you will need to hover over a node and holding Alt (Windows) grab the node and make the desired manipulation.

Hope this helps.

Benboom
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby Benboom » Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:30 pm

capnhud wrote:I am going to assume that since you are having this problem you are at least getting the text to form the perspective shape; however, after performing the perspective effect you would like to tweak the shape somewhat? Which leaves you with either a box with nodes you can manipulate or text that you can manipulate but not both at the same time.


No, so far the perspective effect has not worked *at all* for me no matter what is selected, combined, or anything. I get an error message every time. After reading more on this I am thinking it may be an issue caused by the fact that I don't have something called "Numpy" installed, but the Numpy home page, like most linux projects, is virtually incomprensible to the average non-geek computer user. It may be as simple as installing the equivalent of a plugin, but after reading the entire Numpy home page I can only say "What?". The power of unix is also one of its main drawbacks because people who are familiar with it assume similar familiarity among the non-unix types. This isn't their fault, of course; it's up to the new user to learn how this stuff works, but I've had problems like this with almost every single open source application I've ever encountered. Man, you should have seen me when I was learning how to use POV-Ray!

I am very tenacious despite being somewhat confused, though. :mrgreen: At this point I haven't had enough time to really dig into this whole thing because there's just so much information available and I've been shooting off in different directions because I don't know any better. The answers I'm getting here are helping and it's up to me to work through them and see what I can do. The video tutorials are helpful now that I can actually view them and I intend to spend some time with them today.

Thanks, everybody, for your help.

[Edit] Grrr! Numpy requires OS X 10.5 and I am running 10.4.11.
Last edited by Benboom on Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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heathenx
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby heathenx » Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:34 pm

Benboom wrote:EarlyBlake, it's not the Interpolate effect I'm having trouble with so much as the Perspective effect. The Guide blandly tells you to create a quadrilateral but there's no mention of what that means and the index only shows that word in the section I'm talking about - it's recursive but not helpful.


A quadrilateral is a polygon with four sides (and 4 angles, I guess)...that's the "quad" part of the word quadrilateral. Similarly, a triangle has 3 sides, pentagon has 5, hexagon has 6 and so on.

To achieve a perspective effect in Inkscape 0.46, you must apply the proper order first. You need to select the object that you wish to convert to perspective (make sure it's a path) and then select the quadrilateral path. In release 0.45 the selection order was backwards. Basically, if your first attempt doesn't work then try reversing your selection order.

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "Contents/Resources/extensions/perspective.py", line 127, in ?
e.affect()
File "/Volumes/Work/ Graphics Apps/Inkscape/Inkscape.app/Contents/Resources/extensions/inkex.py", line 154, in affect
self.effect()
File "Contents/Resources/extensions/perspective.py", line 80, in effect
solmatrix[i][0] = sp[i][0]
UnboundLocalError: local variable 'sp' referenced before assignment


As far as the above warning, I'm not sure what is causing that. The only time that I have seen errors come out of the perspective effect was because of python-numpy not being installed. Hmm...

Benboom
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby Benboom » Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:44 pm

heathenx wrote:A quadrilateral is a polygon with four sides (and 4 angles, I guess)...that's the "quad" part of the word quadrilateral. Similarly, a triangle has 3 sides, pentagon has 5, hexagon has 6 and so on.

To achieve a perspective effect in Inkscape 0.46, you must apply the proper order first. You need to select the object that you wish to convert to perspective (make sure it's a path) and then select the quadrilateral path. In release 0.45 the selection order was backwards. Basically, if your first attempt doesn't work then try reversing your selection order.

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "Contents/Resources/extensions/perspective.py", line 127, in ?
e.affect()
File "/Volumes/Work/ Graphics Apps/Inkscape/Inkscape.app/Contents/Resources/extensions/inkex.py", line 154, in affect
self.effect()
File "Contents/Resources/extensions/perspective.py", line 80, in effect
solmatrix[i][0] = sp[i][0]
UnboundLocalError: local variable 'sp' referenced before assignment


As far as the above warning, I'm not sure what is causing that. The only time that I have seen errors come out of the perspective effect was because of python-numpy not being installed. Hmm...


Yes, I understood the literal meaning of the word "quadrilateral" but I thought it was being used as a specific Inkscape term; I see now that it was not.

I think this is a Numpy issue. I need to find a version which will work with my OS, though. 1.21 is all that I find on the Numpy site and it won't work on my machine - the installer won't allow it.

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heathenx
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby heathenx » Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:49 pm

No joke...when I was on openSUSE I used to have a b**** of a time getting the proper numpy and related packages installed for the perspective effect. Since moving over to Ubuntu I have not had one problem and I don't think I ever had a problem in Windows. Sometimes it's like solving a riddle. :(

Benboom
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby Benboom » Fri Feb 20, 2009 11:11 pm

heathenx wrote:No joke...when I was on openSUSE I used to have a b**** of a time getting the proper numpy and related packages installed for the perspective effect. Since moving over to Ubuntu I have not had one problem and I don't think I ever had a problem in Windows. Sometimes it's like solving a riddle. :(


Well, I appear to be SOL. I finally found an older version of Numpy (1.04) which is specifically for my OS (Tiger 10.4.11) but IT won't install on my system either.

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heathenx
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby heathenx » Fri Feb 20, 2009 11:23 pm

I think I would try posting to the Inkscape mailing list (perhaps inkscape-devel) and see if someone can help you locate a proper package.

http://www.inkscape.org/mailing_lists.php?lang=en

SureWhyNot
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby SureWhyNot » Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:55 am

Off topic:
When I was messing with a Xara free trial, I noticed that it has a lot of easy-to-use 3D effects tools. It won't solve your problem, but you might want to check that out.

Benboom
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby Benboom » Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:37 am

This is turning into much more than I wanted to get into, really. I updated my Python, then was able to add Numpy, and then was able to go through some of your Envelope tutorial but as soon as you drag your node and see the text distort upwards my node moves but the text stays the same. The frame moves but not the text. It acts as though only the box is selected but both box and text are selected. I made sure I followed every single step you did and even deleted the whole thing and restarted from scratch with the same result.

At this time I think I need to acknowledge that the Mac version of this program just doesn't behave quite the way yours does and I don't see how you guys (who are all non-Mac users) can help with that issue. Many of the things which happen on your screen do not reflect what occurs on mine at all and some things just don't work, period (example: the font pulldown on the upper left is completely non-functional; to change the font I must click on the T icon in the toolbar and go through the separate font window instead).

Here's something else I finally figured out. After wasting a lot of time with the Perspective instructions at http://inkscapetips.wordpress.com/2007/ ... ve-effect/ (link in earlier post) and not getting it to work I discovered that at least on a Mac the instructions are just flat out wrong. This kind of thing will drive you crazy! The correct procedure on my machine is this: 1. Draw shape, create text (order not important). 2. Text to path. 3. Select TEXT. 4. Select SHAPE. [not the other way around] 5. Run Perspective effect. This works - the instructions on the linked page do not, since they say this: "The main principle of this effect is to draw a shape of the wanted perspective, select it first and select the object you like to modify second and the click on Effects -> Modify Path -> Perspective."
Last edited by Benboom on Sat Feb 21, 2009 3:49 am, edited 2 times in total.

Benboom
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby Benboom » Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:40 am

SureWhyNot wrote:
Off topic:
When I was messing with a Xara free trial, I noticed that it has a lot of easy-to-use 3D effects tools. It won't solve your problem, but you might want to check that out.


Point me to a Mac version and I'll be glad to try it! :D

Benboom
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Semi Success!

Postby Benboom » Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:08 am

I'm pleased to say that I got it working, mostly. I'm able to create the text, extrude it, and then add the perspective, then save it as a bitmap to import into Photoshop. The exported bitmap has strange artifacts in the extrusion which would kill the whole thing if this weren't being used for monster movie title effects, but in point of fact they actually help by adding texture here. I'm a firm believer in working with what you can get. :-) For the record, the odd lines aren't visible in the Inkscape page no matter how high I set the magnifiaction, only in the exported png.

I had to kind of figure out how to do this via trial and error because the order you do these operations is important and on the Mac it is not the same as it is in the tutorials I have seen so far; this makes getting help somewhat painful and drawn-out, as you have seen.

Still, thanks to all of you who chimed in with suggestions.

One question (and easy one this time, I hope): how do I constrain the bezier tool to draw a straight vertical or horizontal line? The regular Mac conventions (SHIFT) do not apply and I can't seem to find a combination of keys that works for this.

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heathenx
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby heathenx » Sun Feb 22, 2009 1:03 am

Benboom wrote:One question (and easy one this time, I hope): how do I constrain the bezier tool to draw a straight vertical or horizontal line? The regular Mac conventions (SHIFT) do not apply and I can't seem to find a combination of keys that works for this.


Try holding your control key down. It will snap to whatever degrees that you have set in your preferences. Release 0.46+devel has a nifty vert and horiz snap feature in the bezier tool. Quite handy.

Benboom
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby Benboom » Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:01 am

heathenx wrote:Try holding your control key down. It will snap to whatever degrees that you have set in your preferences. Release 0.46+devel has a nifty vert and horiz snap feature in the bezier tool. Quite handy.


No joy - none of the keys has any effect on the line the bexier tool draws: ctrl, cmd, opt, shift, none of them. Also, there is no pane in the prefs which allows you to set the snap feature of that tool which I can find; the logical place is in Preferences/Tools/Pen but it gives me no such option. Here is the entire array of items in the Pen tool prefs that I get:

Show selection cue (check/uncheck)
Create new objects with:
Last used style
This tool's own style
Fill/stroke
(Take from selection)
ctrl+click dot size: [3.00] times current width

That's it.

I am using version 0.46 but I am certain it is not as full featured on the Mac as it is on other platforms. I'd rather stay away from developers' releases because I have enough trouble troubleshooting as it is. I wonder if there's anybody on this forum who uses a Mac?

Benboom
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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby Benboom » Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:24 am

File deleted.
Last edited by Benboom on Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Beginner ? about 3D perspective text

Postby Benboom » Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:28 am

I found the answer to the keyboard issue on the Mac in another post: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=800&p=9622&hilit=mac#p9622

I realize that Inkscape is primarily used by PC users but it would be really nice if stuff like this was included in the .dmg distribution for Mac users. It seems a little harsh to make them go through what I had to just to get the program to function like it is supposed to.

Thanks to heathenx, caphnud and EarlyBlake for the helpful replies.


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