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Inkscape User Manual

Un-official manual by Kevin Wixson

Table Of Contents

Part XI
Chapter 12: Gradient Tool



Applying a gradient effect to an object in Inkscape is done by means of the Gradient Tool. A gradient can be applied to any object that has fill and stroke properties. Linear and radial gradients can be defined. Linear gradients effect a gradient transition from one point to another in line, perpendicular to the line. Radial gradients transition from a center point to a radius point in an elliptical arc.

To apply a gradient to an object with the Gradient tool, first the object to be painted must be selected. With the gradient tool, click and drag the gradient from the starting position (for linear gradients) or the center (for radial gradients) to the end or outside of the gradient. The starting and ending points for the gradient effect can be anywhere on the canvas and not necessarily inside or even intersecting the object. The effect works as though the entire canvas was painted with the gradient, masked by the object selected.

Gradient handles can be enabled in the Node tool, shape tools, Text tool, and Dropper tool (on by default), as well as in Selector and Zoom tools (off by default). Use the Inkscape Preferences dialog to change this.

Any gradient handle, if dragged close to a handle of another gradient, will merge with that handle (drag with Shift to prevent merging). Dragging such a merged handle will adjust any number of gradients attached to it. To separate merged handles, drag them away one by one with Shift.

Radial gradients display handles in the center and at the ends of two radii, which allows you to move, rotate, squeeze, or stretch the gradient to form an arbitrary ellipse. Also, you can independently adjust the focus of the gradient; drag the central handle with Shift to separate the focus handle.

When dragged, handles will snap to the edges (and their continuations) and the central axes of the bounding boxes of all selected objects (drag with Shift to prevent snapping).

Dragging with Ctrl will snap the angle of the linear or radial gradient to the user-settable angle increments (default is 15 degrees). A center of a radial gradient, dragged with Ctrl, will be constrained to horizontal and vertical movement relative to its previous position.

Dragging with Ctrl+Alt will move a handle along the gradient direction (for linear), radius (for radial), or their perpendiculars, allowing you e.g. to stretch or squeeze a linear gradient without disturbing its angle.

Dragging with Ctrl+Shift will scale the entire linear or radial gradient around its center.

Tool Control bar

The tool control bar for the Node tool has the following commands and options:

Tool Preferences

The tool behavior can be modified in the Inkscape Preferences window:



Additional Information

Related Topics


Date: 09/02/2005
Nickname: Ken Manheimer
Subject: Unable to find how to remove a gradient from an object
Message: is it possible to remove a gradient from an object? i would like to have it revert to a simple (dropper-determined) color, and don't see how to achieve that, either from this document or from flailing around the 0.42 UI.
Date: 09/02/2005
Nickname: Kevi
Subject: Unable to find how to remove a gradient from an object
Message: You remove the gradient with the Fill & Stroke dialog. Open the Fill and Stroke window, and on the Fill tab, choose the solid fill button (between the "no fill" and "graidient fill" buttons). I'll write more about this in the documentation when I get a chance.
Date: 11/18/2005
Nickname: Alex Santos
Subject: Invert radient gradient?
Message: How can I invert the radiant gradient(center white outside black, instead of the default? I tried to change the offset, move the gradient handles, but no luck.
Date: 03/15/2006
Nickname: ctjctj
Subject: Gradiant Editor
Message: The two parts of using a gradient are the placement of the gradient and the description of the gradient. The Gradient Tool allows you to place the gradient and set the elipse or angle of the gradient. The distance from the center of the elipse or one side of the linear to the other gives the distance over which the gradient aplies. The Gradient EDITOR allows you to set the color at any point of the gradient and how far from the endpoints the stop intermediate point is. Begin -- Added Stop -- End. The Begin is normally foreground color with an offset of 0 and an alpha of 255 (100%). This means the gradient is the given color at the start. The end point has an offset of 1.00 and an alpha of 0 (0%). This mans that the background color shows through. If the background color is white, then this shows as a "highlight" To change from a "highlight" to a dark spot, change the alpha channel of both the begin and end points. You can add a stop and get other results. For example, the end and begin point could be set to alpha 255 and a color of blue. Add stop with an alpha of 0 and you have a gradient that starts at blue, goes to clear and back to blue. Using this on a rectangle gives a 3D highlight type of affect. If that stop point was set to alpha 255, and a color of red, the gradient would move from blue to red and back to blue.

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This manual is my scratch pad and development site for the Inkscape documentation project. Documentation that appears here may eventually work its way into the official Inkscape documentation, and changes to the Inkscape documentation may work it's way into this draft. It is a work in progress, so please don't mind the mess. Anything that appears here is GPL'ed under the usual licenses for GPL documentation, yada, yada, yada, or has been dedicated to the public domain. For a list of those elements that have been placed in the public domain, please click here.

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