So I've been trying to create a long shadow effect in Inkscape using an SVG image. As you can see, I've been able to do this with a shape.

enter image description here

But haven't found a way to do so with an SVG image.

enter image description here

What I'd normally do is select both paths and choose Extensions>Generate from path>Interpolate, but of course, in my experience, this requires a path. I've tried various ways to convert the image to a path, but have thus far been unsuccessful.

So my questions are: Is there a way to create a long shadow effect without a path? If not, is there a way to convert the SVG image to a path?

All I should need is an outline of the image.

  • A sort of motion blur? I'm sorry, perhaps it's my browser configuration, but I'm not able to see the first image (I see it black!). Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 13:20
  • Ok, I see it now. Mmm... for a complex object like the Tardis have you tried to create a copy of it, outline it (if vector) or trace it (if an image) and use the obtained contour to generate the shadow? Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 13:51
  • @PaoloGibellini Thank you for your reply. The TARDIS is a SVG image, so I tried outlining it, but that seems to simply apply a black border to the image. Interpolating that would be fine, yet Extensions> Generate from path> Interpolate still does not work. Am I missing something?
    – j.m.g.r
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 19:51
  • Can you upload the SVG file you're working with, in its simplest form?
    – Sean
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 20:10
  • @SeanMadsen Sure, I should have done that earlier. bit.ly/1wOApwl
    – j.m.g.r
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 21:23

1 Answer 1


After seeing your file, I can answer.

At first, duplicate the Tardis with Ctrl-D, then select just the duplicate, hit repeatedly Shift-Ctrl-G to ungroup all the nested groups until appears the message "No groups to ungroup in the selection".

The groups contain text and other objects, so you have to use Path...Object to path, and again Shift-Ctrl-G until done.

A lot of objects

Hit Ctrl-+ to make an union of the path: you have the outline of the Tardis:


The union contains some undesired nodes, you have to edit it and remove them:

Odd nodes

Now, you can proceed to interpolate, by placing a copy of your outline:

two paths to interpolate

And using "Extensions...Generate from path...Interpolate":

interpolated image

I've used 100 steps but I don't like the result (but I don't use often the interpolate tool and perhaps it can be tweaked a bit), so I've made a test with "Extensions...Generate from path...Motion" with a Magnitute of 1000,0 (seems to be the maximum), and (after some ungroup and an union of the result) I prefer this way better:

with the motion is better

The motion uses less nodes, and I suggest you to give a look to this function.

For a longer shadow you can duplicate the result of the motion and place it conveniently:

final image

  • 2
    Personally, i would use Extensions > Generate From Path > Extrude. And use the "Polygons" mode in that, and just union all the resulting shapes the extension produces. This results in less jaggy edges (and nodes).
    – ryanlerch
    Commented Nov 5, 2014 at 19:52
  • Indeed, the extrusion is another way. Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 9:35

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