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  #1  
Old 19th January 2011, 03:36 PM
Amr Hesham Offline
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Gimp VS. Inkscape in icon design

I need to design an icon for my open source project. Which one is more suitable? I'm familiar with Photoshop, yet I've never used an SVG design application before. I've also tried Gimp before.
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  #2  
Old 19th January 2011, 03:50 PM
DBelton Offline
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Re: Gimp VS. Inkscape in icon design

inkscape has some nice features that would help out when making icons, but gimp is closer to what you are used to using if you are familiar with photoshop.

but to get you started, here is a tutorial on using inkscape to create an icon.

http://vector.tutsplus.com/tutorials...-rss-box-icon/
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  #3  
Old 19th January 2011, 03:55 PM
Amr Hesham Offline
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Re: Gimp VS. Inkscape in icon design

Quote:
Originally Posted by DBelton View Post
inkscape has some nice features that would help out when making icons, but gimp is closer to what you are used to using if you are familiar with photoshop.

but to get you started, here is a tutorial on using inkscape to create an icon.

http://vector.tutsplus.com/tutorials...-rss-box-icon/
Thank you
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  #4  
Old 19th January 2011, 04:11 PM
DBelton Offline
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Re: Gimp VS. Inkscape in icon design

also some nice inkscape tutorials located here:

http://inkscapetutorials.wordpress.com/

while not all are related to icon creation, you can pick up quite a lot from them.
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  #5  
Old 19th January 2011, 05:43 PM
Dan Online
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Re: Gimp VS. Inkscape in icon design

The GIMP will do it ... but Inkscape will do it better. I recommend biting the bullet now, and learning Inkscape. You'll thank yourself later on.

This comes from an avid GIMP user, BTW.
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  #6  
Old 19th January 2011, 08:55 PM
ahesham Offline
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Re: Gimp VS. Inkscape in icon design

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan View Post
The GIMP will do it ... but Inkscape will do it better. I recommend biting the bullet now, and learning Inkscape. You'll thank yourself later on.

This comes from an avid GIMP user, BTW.
Thank you for the advice, but would you please point out the differences between Gimp and Inkscape (Raster-based graphics Vs. Vector graphics)? Also is Gimp powerful enough to fully replace photoshop?
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  #7  
Old 19th January 2011, 09:02 PM
Babylon5Nut Offline
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Re: Gimp VS. Inkscape in icon design

Amr:

First off, take a step back from the tools for a moment and consider something else. Icons should be thought of as both pieces of art as well as pieces of functional art. What I mean by that is you need to separately consider what "style" you want to do the icon in, and what the appropriate "type" of icon would be.

For instance, the end goal could be a folder icon. Now, you might want to do the icon in a "dry brush on canvas" style, but you also want the design to reflect the fact that this is a folder. On the other hand, maybe you want something very modern and rendered-looking, maybe glistening and shiny, etc.

Now, back to the specifics of the tools to use. This is not a perfect comparison (as any graphics professional would be quick to tell you) but just to explain things in reasonable generalities, think about it like this:

Gimp ≅ Photoshop
Inkscape ≅ Illustrator

The other thing is to recognize the importance of open-ended materials in creating this project (which, since you haven't specifically said, I'm going to assume is a program) because of the potential for portability.

SVG is perfectly-well supported in Linux as an icon format. However, other platforms cannot make use of it. Likewise with PNG: it's great for some platforms, but not others.

Another consideration is what kind of an artist are you? Some people love to use illustration programs to do their art. If you're like that, you'll probably want to start using Inkscape. On the other hand, others like pencil- or ink- or paint brush-on-canvas, and for them, Gimp would be a better starting point.

On a technical front, and in keeping with the "open ended" concept I mentioned above, here is what I would strongly encourage you to consider.

Your best bet is to author an icon in a large, square space (regardless of the actual shape of the icon), with a transparent background. This initial area can be whatever size you like, but I would suggest an initial area of 512x512 or 1024x1024, and at either 72 or 96 dpi.

The reason for this is two-fold. First, it will allow you to have a reasonable canvas size to start with, but not one so big that you'll put details in beyond what will be perceived at smaller rendering sizes. Second, the (typically) largest supported icon sizes are 512x512, and for many systems only 256x256 or 128x128, so this way you know you can satisfy whatever environment the icon will eventually wind up in.

On the purely technical side, I would keep your original artwork around and be ready to create a rasterized (i.e. bitmapped) version suitable for use in other icon authoring programs. This, for instance, can help you accommodate GUIs on other platforms (for example, Photoshop with the "Icon Factory" plug-in which will through a template allow you to create a full range of icon sizes and color depths suitable for generating Windows and Mac OS X icon files).

Now, for what it's worth, Gimp does allow you to create Windows icon (.ico) files, but I'm not sure how you go about creating the full range of sizes and color depths for complete platform compatibility (Seven & Vista, XP, 2000/98SE etc.).

I'm not saying you're going to create this breadth and scope of icons yourself or that you personally will need this range for your specific project. Your project might never require it. But, if you decide to port to Windows or Mac OS X (or, if someone else wants to be able to port it to "scratch their own itch") you will want some degree of flexibility.

Just something for you to think about, anyhow.

Good luck to you and on your project!
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Old 19th January 2011, 09:11 PM
ahesham Offline
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Re: Gimp VS. Inkscape in icon design

Quote:
Originally Posted by Babylon5Nut View Post
Amr:

First off, take a step back from the tools for a moment and consider something else. Icons should be thought of as both pieces of art as well as pieces of functional art. What I mean by that is you need to separately consider what "style" you want to do the icon in, and what the appropriate "type" of icon would be.

For instance, the end goal could be a folder icon. Now, you might want to do the icon in a "dry brush on canvas" style, but you also want the design to reflect the fact that this is a folder. On the other hand, maybe you want something very modern and rendered-looking, maybe glistening and shiny, etc.

Now, back to the specifics of the tools to use. This is not a perfect comparison (as any graphics professional would be quick to tell you) but just to explain things in reasonable generalities, think about it like this:

Gimp ≅ Photoshop
Inkscape ≅ Illustrator

The other thing is to recognize the importance of open-ended materials in creating this project (which, since you haven't specifically said, I'm going to assume is a program) because of the potential for portability.

SVG is perfectly-well supported in Linux as an icon format. However, other platforms cannot make use of it. Likewise with PNG: it's great for some platforms, but not others.

Another consideration is what kind of an artist are you? Some people love to use illustration programs to do their art. If you're like that, you'll probably want to start using Inkscape. On the other hand, others like pencil- or ink- or paint brush-on-canvas, and for them, Gimp would be a better starting point.

On a technical front, and in keeping with the "open ended" concept I mentioned above, here is what I would strongly encourage you to consider.

Your best bet is to author an icon in a large, square space (regardless of the actual shape of the icon), with a transparent background. This initial area can be whatever size you like, but I would suggest an initial area of 512x512 or 1024x1024, and at either 72 or 96 dpi.

The reason for this is two-fold. First, it will allow you to have a reasonable canvas size to start with, but not one so big that you'll put details in beyond what will be perceived at smaller rendering sizes. Second, the (typically) largest supported icon sizes are 512x512, and for many systems only 256x256 or 128x128, so this way you know you can satisfy whatever environment the icon will eventually wind up in.

On the purely technical side, I would keep your original artwork around and be ready to create a rasterized (i.e. bitmapped) version suitable for use in other icon authoring programs. This, for instance, can help you accommodate GUIs on other platforms (for example, Photoshop with the "Icon Factory" plug-in which will through a template allow you to create a full range of icon sizes and color depths suitable for generating Windows and Mac OS X icon files).

Now, for what it's worth, Gimp does allow you to create Windows icon (.ico) files, but I'm not sure how you go about creating the full range of sizes and color depths for complete platform compatibility (Seven & Vista, XP, 2000/98SE etc.).

I'm not saying you're going to create this breadth and scope of icons yourself or that you personally will need this range for your specific project. Your project might never require it. But, if you decide to port to Windows or Mac OS X (or, if someone else wants to be able to port it to "scratch their own itch") you will want some degree of flexibility.

Just something for you to think about, anyhow.

Good luck to you and on your project!
I'm very thankful! You really helped me and BTW I chose Inkscape as I want my icons rendered and glossy. BTW I'm not an artist, I'm a developer; however, from time to time I like/need to produce some graphics.
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Last edited by ahesham; 19th January 2011 at 10:02 PM.
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  #9  
Old 19th January 2011, 10:19 PM
Babylon5Nut Offline
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Re: Gimp VS. Inkscape in icon design

Any time. BTW, here's some interesting sites to look at for creating appropriate and professional-looking icons:

psdtuts+ 7 Principles of Effective Icon Design

WebDesignerWall How To Design Mini Icons

Six Revisions 50 Excellent Icon Design Tutorials

BTW, both for personal use as well as perhaps looking for inspiration in designing your own icon, have a look at InterfaceLift.com. They have literally tons and tons of icons done in just about every conceivable style. Also, if you just go to their main page, they have an ever expanding archive of zillions of stunning, jaw-dropping wallpaper (again, for personal use). It's where I generally get all of my wallpaper from.
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