Inkscape Experiments: Creating Beta Flashes


Using Pattern Along Path to Create a More Pointed Circular Beta Flash

Now we’ll create a more rectangular beta flash in Inkscape.

1.) Create a new square/rectangle with the Rectangle Tool. This will be used as our base path.

rectacular beta flash steps 1 and 2


2.) With the Rectangle Tool, create a new rectangle that runs up and down. Convert your rectangle into a path by selecting the Path menu, and click Object to Path. Select the bottom two nodes with the Node Tool, and merge the nodes by clicking the Joint Selected Nodes button in your tool bar, right below the menu bar. Select the newly created triangle with the Selector Tool and copy the shape. (Control+C)  This shape will be used in our pattern.

Creating a spike in inkscape

3.) Select the rectangle and bring up the Path Effect Editor pallet click the Path menu, and select Path Effect Editor… (Or use keystroke Shift+Control+7)  Select Pattern Along Path within the drop-down menu inside the Path Effect Editor pallet, and click the Add button. Inside Pattern Along Path settings click the Paste Path button (the clipboard icon) and set Pattern Copies to Repeat.

Pointed rectangular beta flash steps 1 and 2

4.) So far our beta flash looks pretty good, except for that top-left corner. To the right of the start/stop node, double-click to create a new node using the Node tool. Drag the Star/stop node down until it’s at the half-way point of your rectangle’s left-hand side.

5.) The new node gets dragged to the left until it becomes your new corner.


6.) You’ll notice how the left side of the rectangle bloats around the start/end node. Create two new points, one above and below the start/stop node. Drag all three nodes leftward until the inside left edge evens out.

7.) Now there’s a gap where the start/stop node is located. To fill in that space, enter a number around -10 in the Tangential Offset setting. For the clipping path, use the Rectangle tool to create a new rectangle over your beta flash. Select both the new rectangle and your pattern, and then set the clipping path by clicking the Object menu > Clip > Set. 


If this isn’t a satisfactory result, you can always covert the beta flash into a path by clicking in the Path menu > Object to Path. Use the Node tool to select the half of the beta flash you don’t like. Delete it. Then copy the half you do like, and paste it. The duplicate can either be rotated or flipped horizontally.

Then copy the half you do like, and paste it. The duplicate can either be rotate or flipped horizontally.


Next time, I’ll show how to rotate paths via the Create Tiled Clones pallet. If you want a sneak-peek, read the tutorial it’ll be based on.