Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Tuesday, January 4, 2022 at 22:53

This is the seventh part of Inkscape for Students the series. After we had discussed Guides Use previously, now we will learn to crop images in various ways. You will learn to cut shapes and then bitmap pictures. These cropping basics are useful for many projects. Now let's practice it!

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The Basics

Cropping in graphic designing is to cut away a drawing with shape of another drawing. Basically, it is like illustration below before and after. 

The Tools

To do cropping in Inkscape, we use Path menu that contains several tools namely: Difference, Intersection, Exclusion, Division and Cut Path. For bitmap or photo, we use another tool called Set Clip located under Objects menu.

Basic Cropping Exercise

1. Create a red rectangle and a blue ellipse on top of it a bit on its corner.

2. Select both objects → open Path → Difference.

3. You cropped first object with the cutting area of second object.

4. Repeat point 1 to 3 except change Difference with Intersection, then Exclusion, then Division. These should result to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of cropping illustration above. Did you see the differences?

5. Repeat 1 to 3 except make both no fill, stroke only and do Cut Path. This should results to the 5th of the illustration.


Multiple Crops Exercise

To practice this, you may use Guide Lines, Snapping, and shortcut keys you already learned from the previous tutorial and you do not need to be too precise. Putting objects slightly off is okay.

1. Create a black circle and a slightly smaller yellow circle on its center.


2. Crop with Difference so that the black circle now looks like a bracelet.

3. Create three smaller green circles and place them with same distance to each other in the bracelet.


4. Duplicate the three circles. 

5. Select the first green circle, select the bracelet, Difference.

6. Do point 5 to second and third green circles.

7. Resize with Ctrl+Shift green circles so they now look like beads in bracelet.

8. Color them as you wish. Final result should looks like below. The beads got some radial gradation and shine effects afterwards.

Bitmap Cropping Exercise 

We learned above how to crop shapes which are all vector. Now, how to crop bitmap pictures? The answer is, you cannot do Path Cropping as the above to crop bitmaps as Inkscape has another tools to deal with them we will learn below. 

1. Insert a PNG photo. 

2. Create a small green square on top of the photo.

3. Select both objects, select menu Objects, Clip, Set.

4. Photo cropped by square shape.

5. Repeat point 2 to 4 for triangle and circle so you get three different crops. Final result should looks like below.

They look cool, right?


That's all for now. You should get a new skill to cut away / split picture after another object's form. You can now combine the basics above to create something new, like, to make your own student card design by adding some text like your name, address and school near your circularly cropped photo. Next time we will learn about vectorization, that is, making photo fully editable and resizable in Inkscape. Thank you and see you next time!

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.