One of the special problems with managing a multimedia project (versus a text-based software project), is that there are often links to external data files which can get broken when you try to move the files around -- such as you might do when re-factoring the source code to make it more navigable. Three programs that we use extensively in the Lunatics project present this problem, and each requires slightly different handling. These are Inkscape, Blender, and Audacity. I have never found a compact guide to keeping the links straight in these programs, so I'm going to write one here.
Inkscape is a shining star in the free software graphics world. I've covered creating a simple ribbon in an earlier tutorial, so let's step things up a little. As part of my work I have often had to create icons for various situations. One of the more popular requests has been to create icons with a glass effect. This effect is surprisingly simple to achieve with something like Inkscape.
There's a reason they're called "movies." They're supposed to move. Your eyes are keyed to follow motion, and the constant revelation of new information in a moving shot holds your interest longer. Thus, while four seconds might be about the maximum comfortable length for a static shot, shots in which the camera or subject are moving extensively can often last more than a minute without feeling slow at all. Storyboards made entirely from static images make it hard to judge active shots. It's useful, therefore, to be able to insert some movement at the storyboard phase by panning and zooming a drawing. Here I'm going to demonstrate such an animated storyboard using Inkscape and Blender.
How do you get a flurry of images in your head into a concrete description of a film so that you can produce it? One important step is to create storyboards. For the storyboards on Lunatics, I've used a variety of approaches, from rough sketches on index cards to found photos and collages. This has allowed me to collect my ideas and get them into a concrete form -- both as cards I can manipulate directly and as images on computer that I will later be able to turn into an animatic.
There are a number of simple games I like to play when waiting for a package to download or compile. Often the available themes don't really suit me, and in any case I like to make themes or skins when I can. One of the easier packages to create an alternate theme for is KDE Mahjongg (
kmahjongg), which I will demonstrate here using Inkscape and Gimp. With the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing coming up, a space exploration theme seems appropriate.
Inkscape is my vector graphics application of choice. It can do a wide variety of vector drawing tasks with relatively little effort. It uses the now-standard SVG vector format as its native format, and it has become very extensible through a simple "stream-based", language-agnostic scripting system. On modern systems, it is reasonably responsive (though not the fastest), and the interface layout is well-balanced and fairly intuitive.
In the dawn of modern computing, there was only text. And the text was good. You can do a lot with text: write equations or sonnets, describe intricate computer subsystems or a fine spring day. But people are visual as well as verbal creatures, and there is simply no substitute for graphical communications.
One of the cool things about custom distributions of GNU/Linux is that they usually have better "eye-candy". However, it's not really that hard to provide your own. If you are setting up a multiple boot system, the GRUB boot menu will be an important startup step; remarkably enough, it is possible to include some graphics even as early as the boot menu.
Inkscape is one of the most popular free software vector drawing applications. With minimal effort you can achieve some excellent results. However, for the inexperienced it can be a bit hard to find out how to get those results. In this tutorial I'll look at creating a simple ribbon effect which will hopefully introduce some of the key Inkscape features along the way.
A great deal of the web is GNU/Linux based: most of it runs on LAMP servers, and some content is created with great tools such as the GIMP, Inkscape and a fancy notepad (or Vi, or Emacs—don’t start). Pen tablets are recognised and used, you have access to effects plug-ins, you can work on bitmaps or vectors (thanks Mr Pierre Bézier! Your name will remain in history). On the other hand, as soon as you want to have your work printed, it’s another matter.