Edit Photos with Inkscape

We all take photos that don’t turn out just the way we planned.  Sometimes there is no easy fix and the picture ends up in the trash.  But a simple edit can make all the difference. Although not your typical photo editing software, I do edit photos with Inkscape from time to time.

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to to cut a portion out of one picture and paste it onto another.  Take a look at the pictures below. In the unedited version on the left, you can see that the dandelion puff really doesn’t show up very well. I was disappointed with this so I clipped a dandelion out of another picture and pasted it on top. See the result in the picture on the right.

Getting Started

Picture of unedited photoPhoto edited

To start, import the original picture into Inkscape.  Go to File>Import to browse for the picture you want to edit and click Open. Do the same for the picture you are going to get the clip from. I’ll be using a picture of a dandelion for my clip.  I cropped it before importing it to make it easier to work with.cropped photo of dandelion puff

Outline, Fill, and Clip 

Now, draw an outline around the item you want to clip. I used the the Freehand Drawing Tool (from the Tool Box Bar on the left side of the screen) because the photo of dandelion traceddandelion puff is irregular and I wanted to make a “squiggly” line around it. For your photo, the Straight Line Tool might be more appropriate. You’ll have to decide.

Next, select the outline and Fill it using the Fill and Stroke Box. After I Fill the object, I like to remove the Stroke, but that is just my personal preference.outline is filled

Here’s the magic! Drag to select both pictures … and then Object>Clip>Set! You have your clip. Isn’t that cool!clip of dandelion puff

All you have to do is cut and paste the clip onto the original picture and group them together. Now you can export it as a bitmap. File>Export Bitmap.  Inkscape will save it as a PNG. If you need another format, you’ll have to open it in a program that allows you to change it to another extension. I usually use the GIMP for this.

For more on using the Clip feature in Inkscape, click here to check out a great tutorial on the Inkscape Tutorials Weblog.

I hope you’ve found my tutorial helpful. Happy drawing!


11 Replies to “Edit Photos with Inkscape”

  1. This doesn’t work any more with the new version.
    There is no “Right Click>Ungroup and then, Object>Clip>Set!”
    any more.

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