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I'm trying to create a specific kind of abstract line design that consists of parallel lines with a 3D look using Inkscape. Here's an example of what I'm aiming for: enter image description here

I've been experimenting with various techniques, but I haven't been able to achieve the desired effect. Here is what I have tried so far:

  • Creating multiple parallel lines using the Line tool and then adjusting their angles manually.

  • Experimenting with gradients and shading to add depth to the lines. enter image description here Despite these attempts, I'm not getting the 3D effect I'm looking for. I believe there might be a more efficient or accurate method to achieve this design.

Could someone guide me on the best approach to create a 3D-looking abstract line design with parallel lines in Inkscape?

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    Dead simple with an Adobe Illustrator Blend. No idea if Inkscape has anything comparable.
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 16 at 12:22
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    @Scott Inkscape's equivalent is the Interpolate Extension, there's also an Interpolate Sub-Paths effect, which is similar, but non destructive.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jun 16 at 18:12

2 Answers 2

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You can do this quickly and easily with the 'Interpolate Between Paths' extension.

Start with a single curvy line.

Thin curvy line on a dark background

Duplicate it, then scale and move the copy. Maybe also rotate and skew it, or edit the nodes a little. Just make sure to keep the node count the same.

Curvy line from above plus a duplicate, transformed with its nodes visible

Now change the color of the duplicate (or set the alpha to 0), then select both and use 'Extensions → Generate from Path → Interpolate Between Paths'.

Screenshot of the 'Interpolate Between Paths' dialog, with 'Interpolate style' highlighted

Play around with the parameters in the dialog, perhaps with 'Live preview' enabled, however that tends to be slow. Make sure to enable 'Interpolate style' to make the color transition as well. An 'Exponent' value above or below 1.0 makes lines bunch up a little more towards one of the original lines, adding a little more "depth". If it doesn't do it in the right direction, try swapping the z-order of the original lines.

Finally, click 'Apply' and 'Close'. To quickly re-apply the effect, after undoing and adjusting the paths, you can use 'Extensions → Previous Extension'.

End result of the interpolated lines having a 3D-effect

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    If no colour transition is required, the Live Path Effect: Interpolate Sub-Paths is also useful, and especially nice since it's fully non destructive.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jun 16 at 18:03
  • Thanks for the answer but it doesn't answer it. not the curve i showed Commented Jun 19 at 13:27
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As said by others, Inkscape's Extension > Generate from Path > Interpolate between Paths does it. But there's few things that should be known if one wants predictable results.

Draw 2 paths. In your example one of them (=cyan) has good contrast against the background shape, The other is either dark or it has reduced opacity to make the blend fade gradually.

My paths are these:

enter image description here

The dark one is on the top. The cyan one is sent to back.

Both paths have the same direction and they have as many nodes. Otherwise the result would be difficult to predict. To stay in the predictable side it's easiest to duplicate the first path and adjust its nodes with the node tool. Send the wanted background path to back.

To use the path interpolating extension select at first the background path (=cyan) and then hold Shift and add to the selection the foreground path (blue). Here's the interpolation dialog and the preview of the result:

enter image description here

Both paths have as many nodes, so the interpolation method "how to cope with different numbers of nodes" is meaningless.

Use Z-order is not needed because I selected the background path first. Endpath duplication is not needed in this job.

But the result is not perfect. After pressing Apply The generated intermediate paths are group g716 which is in the front and partially hides path1, the original foreground path:

enter image description here

The foreground path must be manually lifted to top for the right order:

enter image description here

The next trick is not obvious. But it can be useful:

enter image description here

Interpolate between paths places the nodes of the intermediate paths along straight lines. How in the hell the bottom notch is placed like there's a separate curved spine just for it?

The secret is to have different node distributions. Both curves have as many nodes, but they are placed differently:

enter image description here

Interpolate between paths cannot have curved placement spines, the interpolation happens always along a straight line. Curved spine is possible if one uses path effect "Interpolate Subpaths". But it cannot interpolate colors nor stroke styles. See tutorials and Inksape documentation if you want to know more.

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  • thanks. it will take some time for me to make it perfect Commented Jun 19 at 13:26

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