Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Creating a Desktop Wallpaper using Inkscape

After seeing this tutorial for an abstract background, I thought it would be fun to do something similar in Inkscape.

My primary desktop is Kubuntu, so I have decided I will do a desktop that will work for this system. 

To start, let's do a Google search for a logo.  I will be using a Kubuntu logo.  Go ahead and save that logo somewhere on your computer. 

I am going to start with the logo so I can use that for the basis of my color palette.

Drop the logo in Inscape and we will do a bitmat trace (Path>Trace Bitmap...)

The logo only has 3 colors + the black text.  We will do a scan for 4 colors.  Once the object has been traced, ungroup (Ctrl + Shift + G) the object so we can get rid of the text. You will also need to break apart (Ctrl+Shift+K) some elements to delete separate parts. We will set the logo aside and use it for later.

Now we will create a rectangle...  this will be our background.  You can change Inkscape properties so the document is the size of your screen. This is not too important though since we are working with vector, we can always change the size later to fit any screen size.   Once you have the rectangle created, give it a fill gradient.  I like to use the colors on the logo for the gradient colors. (You can use the eye dropper tool for this)

Now we will create some gradients to give a more abstract look.  Before we do this, we will want to create a new layer. Name the current layer "Background" and add the new layer "Abstract Gradients."

Layers in Normal blend mode

On the new layer add a few simple shapes that look nice.  Use a gradient fill shape; for one color, use black then use a similar color to what you already have for the other color.

Layers in "Screen" blend
Change the layers blend mode to Screen, and it will blend better.  At this point, you can play with the gradients and opacity of the shapes till you get your desired results.

Now create a new layer to work in and call it "Wavy Stuff" or whatever. 

Using your bezier pen tool, create a couple wavy lines that overlap each other occasionally.  After creating the curves, I find it helpful to press Ctrl+L to smooth it out a bit.

Make both curves white.  I like to take the opacity down significantly on one of the curves. Now with both curves selected, we will interpolate. Extensions>Generate From Path>Interpolate...   Press the live preview box to see what changes you need to make.  Play around with it till you get it where you are satisfied.

Repeat this process a couple times with more curves. Experiment with colors and opacities.

Now for the finishing touches, we will add the logo.

Put it on its own layer and place that layer right above the background layer.  Use Multiply for blend mode.  Play with the size and opacity to your liking.  I placed mine in the top left corner and turned the opacity to 15% so it is not very noticeable. 

Finally, write something to make the Wallpaper legit.  You may want to create a new layer for the text.  I just wrote Kubuntu.   Copy the text and flip it vertically (press v) then to a gradient so it looks like a mirror image.

That's it!

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