How to Crop an Image in Inkscape

Inkscape isn’t really known for its photo editing capabilities, but it does bring some features to the table. In this quick tutorial, we’ll be learning how to crop a photo in Inkscape, along with applying effects to the image.

1. Simple Photo Cropping

Step 1

First, we need to get an image into Inkscape. You can do this my simply dragging your image onto the Inkscape canvas, or you can head up to File > Import. You’ll get a popup with rather self explanatory options, which include embedding, resolution, and optimized rendering. My settings below should be fine.

inkscape import image

Step 2

I have a picture of a metal key resting on a wood background. Let’s start cropping!

metal key on wood table

Step 3

Cropping (or clipping) an image in Inkscape is very simple. Just use the Rectangle tool and draw out an area you’d like to keep, like I have below.

rectangle tool cropping

Step 4

Now just use the Selection tool to select the image and rectangle, then head up to Object > Clip > Set.

inkscape clip photo

Step 5

Below is my clipped result. That’s how you’d do a simple crop using Inkscape, but what if you wanted something more complicated?

clipped photo inkscape

2. Complex Cropping

Step 1

Let’s say I wanted to crop out the key entirely. In this case, we’ll be using the Pen tool to manually trace the object.

pen tool inkscape crop

Step 2

It’s a little tedious, but my key is rather simple, so it only took me about 30 seconds to do. You can of course use the Nodes tool to fine-tune the nodes to get it perfect.

use pen tool for cropping

Step 3

I almost forgot about the loop hole in the key! The Ellipse tool should work well for this.

circle crop clip

Step 4

I gave my key shape and ellipse different colors just so I could see them better. To cut the loop hole, select both shapes and do a Path > Difference.

path difference inkscape

Step 5

At this point, make sure the final shape is white. Below, I’ve also applied a very slight blur to the shape (using Fill and Stroke) which will make the crop look more realistic. In the photo editing world, this is known as “feathering”. All that’s left to do is select the image and key shape together and use Object > Mask > Set.

key clip shape

Step 6

Below is the result of the “masking”. Instead of simply cropping like “clipping” does, masking uses color lightness to adjust the intensity of the crop.

cropped key

3. Inkscape’s Photo Effects

Step 1

Inkscape has a few effects that work for images, such as Extensions > Color > Grayscale.

inkscape image greyscale

Step 2

Below, I’ve also added a drop shadow by blurring a duplicated key shape and positioning it behind the cropped key. I think it looks really good!

real key cropped

Cropping is Key!

You can also crop vector elements in Inkscape

As you can tell now, cropping a photo is very easy to do in Inkscape. There are plenty of other photo editing programs that could do the same thing (probably better), but if you ever need a photo-realistic element in your vector designs, this is one way to do it. Thanks for reading!

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