Extrude in Inkscape

To design the poster image for The People VS The Machine I revisited an old technique that wrote about in 2009. The technique used the Extrude extension in Inkscape, combined with the Color > Randomize extension to create what could be described as a stained-glass effect for text.

TPVTM outline

I wanted to do the same and create an extrusion between each letter of the title text. This, however, presented a few challenges. In versions of Inkscape up to 0.49 the extrude extension would only work on two selected objects. Even if you highlighted more than two objects the extension would only choose two of them to apply the extrusion to (I’m still not sure how it decides which two to choose). I could do this manually with each pair of letters, but this would take a long time and could easily get confusing!


I took my concerns to the Inkscape bug tracker. I explaind what I expected to see when I ran the extension on two or more objects:

Two objects – one extrusion

If you select two objects it should create one extrusion. Simple enough!
Two objects

Four objects – six extrusions

If you select four objects it creates six extrusions. A bit more complicated…
Four objects

Six objects – fifteen extrusions

If you select six objects it creates fifteen extrusions. Now it gets more complicated!
Six objects

As you can imagine doing all of that by hand would take some time and would be hard to keep track of. In fact, for all of the letters I would have to run the Extrude extension 220 times!

I argued my case to the developers of Inkscape on their bug tracker. After a bit of discussion around the intended purpose of the extension it has now been updated to work on all selected objects. The updated extension should be in Inkscape 0.49. Thanks to ~suv and to Alvin Penner for updating the extension!