[gss-content-box color=”red”]Article License. | Level: Medium | Categorie: Graphics & DTP[/gss-content-box]
Inkscape can be used to create quickly mock-ups for GUI interfaces, websites, color palettes, etc.
Vector graphic allows the creation of complex objects while having maximum quality no matter the resolution applied.
I will show you how can we create a magazine cover mock-up. In another article I will also show you how we can create a mock-up for a website.
For a magazine project, Scribus the Open Source application for DTP is the best tool for the job. Inkscape can be used to generate simple or complex mock-ups that can be used in customer meetings, portfolio previews etc. Also Inkscape graphic elements in the mock-up itself can be exported as PNG and used in Scribus to complete the DTP project.
Install Linux and Inkscape. We will also need several graphic assets like fonts, logos, a color palette and an image.
The end result should look like the image below.
Action!! -> Inkscape
I create a new document in Inkscape, A4 size with a width of 744.09 pixels and a height of 1052.36 pixels.
In Inkscape we can use layers to organize a complex graphic, they are similar in concept with those used by Gimp – the raster graphic application. So we will use layers to organize the different sections of the cover mock-up. Inkscape allows very easy to lock a certain layer and in this way it won’t be affected by editing mistakes or other actions applied to another layer.
As an example for this particular exercise, we will use the idea of creating a mock-up for an IT magazine cover, dedicated to the Linux OS, beginner level.
The structure of the magazine cover
Main content – the central image, text and a graphical logo, the main headline and article;
The title of the magazine – will contain the title of the magazine, sub-title and the main logo of the magazine;
Top bar to contain the name of the magazine, the date of release and version number.
Bottom bar should contain the email address, the website and barcode for the magazine.
Secondary content section will also contain references to other articles in the magazine.
Lets organize the mock-up document by using Inkscape layers
The Layer window can be opened either by pressing SHIFT+CTRL+L or by accessing the main menu – Layer ->Layers or by using the dedicated icon in the main toolbar.
The Layer window will show all the available layers and their status – if they are visible or not, if they can be modified or not etc.
The layers can be accessed also in the bottom toolbar of the Inkscape interface. Quick access is provided via a dropdown list with all the document layers plus option to hide or lock each of them.
Each layer can be hidden by selecting the eye icon; in this way we can concentrate on working on one layer at a time without distractions; the lock icon closes the layer for editing, protecting it from editing errors.
The arrows below the Layer list can be used to change their sequence, while the plus and X symbols allows for adding or deleting layers.
Inkscape has also implemented some basic “Blend mode” effects, similar to some of those used by Gimp. Their number is lower than Gimp, as you can see from the image below.
The last option in the Layer window is the opacity level; we can use this to change the opacity on individual layers in order to obtain interesting effects.
Going ahead with the mock-up creation process
In order to create the mock-up for the magazine cover I will use a series of geomotrical figures, more precisely rectangles with different colors.
I will create the main background; I will use a rectangle with the same size as the Inkscape document (A4 format). I will fill the rectangle with the color black and I will remove the stroke. I will name this layer – “Fundal-Coperta”.
I will create a new layer (“BaraSus”) and I will lock the previous layer (“Fundal-Coperta”); I will draw another rectangle, remove the stroje and fill it with a gray color; by using the alignment tool, I will position this rectangle in the top part of the document. This rectangle will contain the top bar of the magazine cover, with the release date, version number and a small icon.
I will create another layer; I will lock the previous layer (“BaraSus”); again by drawing a rectangle, no stroke, I will fill it with the color #d64937. By using the alignment tool, I will position this rectangle after the rectangle representing the top bar of the cover.
This particular section is very important because it contains the main title of the magazine and it really needs to draw attention to the potential readers-buyers.
I will use the following fonts: Oswald for the title of the magazine and Roboto Slab for the sub-title. The title of the magazine will be white while the sub-title will be black.
The Tux Logo – the official Linux mascot:
Linux full desktop capture
I will apply a text effect for the word “Linux_” by using the predefined effects that Inkscape has. Main menu – Filter -> Shadows and Glows -> Inner Shadow.
The end result is this interesting effect of the Linux text being cut-out from the main background section of the magazine.
I will add the Linux mascot as well – the penguin Tux in SVG format. In this moment you can experience some slow downs when moving the Inkscape document. This is due to the Tux logo having complex objects and details which the CPU is required to re-calculate whenever we are moving the document. Depending on the power of your computer you can experience this or not. I experienced it so after applying a shadow effect to the Tux logo, this has gotten even worse.
We have a solution for such issue. In the main menu we go to View -> Display Mode -> No Filters. This option will deactive the effets and complex objects and will reduce the CPU usage without affecting the end result. So when you are ready with the Inkscape document you can turn this off by going to View -> Display Mode -> Normal.
Again this type of visualization of the document will not affect the end result of the document if you exported either as PNG or as PDF. This option is particular usefull for those who don’t posses a powerfull system.
Another option that can be used to move highly complex graphical objects is the Outline optin in the Display Mode meniu. You can see the end result of this display mode in the image below. In this mode you can move elements very quickly without stressing your CPU.
I will create another layer – “Articol-Principal”; this time I won’t create a rectangle. I will use a screenshot for this section and I will add the text of the main article and the second logo.
I will create a new layer for the bottom bar of the cover – “Subsol”; I will use another rectangle, same gray color used for the top bar as well. I will add with the text tool – the email, the website and than I will use one of the Inkscape extensions to generate a generic bar code; main menu – Extensions -> Render -> Barcode.
[gss-content-box color=”red”]Note: make sure that you are always on the layer you want to work on and the layer is not locked; if it is locked the barcode will not appear because Inkscape is not allowed to do changes on the layer, including adding new graphical objects.[/gss-content-box]
The end result:
The last section of the magazine cover will contain other articles. This will time I will use the main background as a point of reference and I will added 3 titles with rectangle used as a separator.
The end result for this section, you can see it in the below image; for the titles of the articles I used the Oswald font.
In this moment the Inkscape magazine cover mock-up is ready and can be exported either to PNG (main menu File -> Export Bitmap) or to PDF (main menu File -> Save As -> change the output file).
Note: even if the screenshot we used for the main article is exceeding the document border, the final export will cut the image based on the document size and it will appear within the borders.
The final magazine cover mock-up done in Inkscape!