Disclaimer: VPaint is an experimental prototype, and is considered BETA. It lacks plenty of useful features commonly found in other editors, and you should expect glitches and crashes once in a while. It is distributed primarily for research purposes, and for curious artists interested in early testing of cutting-edge but unstable technology.
About this doc: this documentation is by no way exhaustive. It is just enough to get you started and explore by yourself. If you have any questions, you can ask us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, we'll be glad to help you out!
Hold the mouse middle button to pan the canvas.
Rotate the mouse wheel to zoom in and out.
Click on or hit F2, then draw a curve by holding the left click.
If you have a pressure-sensitive tablet (e.g., Wacom), you can draw curves with varying width by toggling .
In VPaint, curves are called edges, and the two end points of each curve are called vertices.
If you see this icon , then every time you draw two edges that intersect, a vertex is inserted at the intersection (splitting each edge into two edges). If you prefer edges to overlap by "ignoring" each other, toggle the icon into . However, when edges overlap but are not connected by a vertex, the paint bucket typically doesn't work as expected, so use it with moderation.
If you see this icon , then every edge you draw automatically snaps to nearby edges to connect them. You can disable this behaviour by toggling the icon to , but once again, use it with moderation because it is important that edges are connected in order to use the paint bucket.
The pen width can be changed manually by modifying its value in the Action Bar (the toolbar at the top of VPaint), but the fastest method is to hold CTRL and perform a drag-and-drop with the left mouse button.
Similarly, the "snap radius" (range within which edges are snapped) can be changed manually, or interactively by holding ALT. By holding both ALT and CTRL, you can change simultaneously the pen width and the snap radius.
Where the heck is the eraser tool? In VPaint, there is no eraser tool. If you are not happy with something you've done, you can either undo your last actions with CTRL+Z, or select any object with the select tool , and hit delete on your keyboard.
Click on or hit F3, then click to fill an empty region delimited by a loop of connected edges. Such filled region is called a face.
If instead of an empty region, you click on an existing object (i.e., a vertex, an edge, or a face), then it changes the color of the existing object instead of creating a new face.
You can change the current color by clicking on the color selector just below , or using the shortcut "C".
Go to the selection mode by clicking on or hitting F1, then click on an object to select it.
You can use a rectangle of selection to select several objects at once
Hold SHIFT to add to the selection, ALT to remove from the selection, and CTRL+ALT to toggle the selection
Once selected, you can move objects around using drag-and-drop
Click on or hit F4. Drag-and-drop a point on a curve to deform it.
Hold CTRL during the drag-and-drop to change the radius of influence:
Hold ALT during the drag-and-drop to sculpt the thickness of the curve:
Hold SHIFT during the drag-and-drop to smooth the curve:
If two objects overlap, then you can use "Depth>Raise" (Page Up) or "Depth>Lower" (Page Down) to change which one is on top of the other.
At the bottom of VPaint, there is a timeline that allows you to control time, that looks like:
Each small rectangle of the timeline corresponds to a frame. The current frame is indicated at the top-left of the view. You can pan the timeline with middle-button drag-and-drop, the same way that you can pan the view.
To change the current frame, either click on a frame with your mouse, or use the arrow keys. The "begin" key brings you to the first frame (the number that you can change on the left of the timeline), and the "end" key brings you to the last frame (the number on the right of the timeline).
To play/pause the animation, simply use the spacebar, or the play/pause icon.
To create an animation frame by frame, simply draw an image at frame 0, then use the right arrow to go to frame 1 and draw another image, then use the right arrow again to go to frame 2 and draw yet another image, and so on. Your timeline will look like below, where the dots on the timeline indicate in which frames you've drawn something:
Drawing everything can be a bit tedious, though. To save you a lot of time, it is possible to select objects at a given frame, hit CTRL+C to copy them, then move to a different frame and hit CTRL+V to paste them there. You can then slightly modify these objects to create the desired motion. This is similar to the traditional animation technique referred to as "straight ahead".
In order to save even more time, you can use a technology called "motion-pasting". One way to use it is the following. Draw some image at the first frame. Then, select everything (CTRL+A), copy them (CTRL+C), then move to the last frame (END). There, use the motion-paste action with CTRL+SHIFT+V. Your timeline should look like:
With the selection tool or the sculpt tool, modify this last frame. Then, play the animation and see the result: an automatic interpolation between the first and the last frame! In the timeline, the dots indicate the "keyframes", i.e. the frames where you performed any work by yourself. The line segments between dots indicate "inbetweens", i.e. the existence of an automatic interpolation between two keys.
If you edit an inbetween, it automatically becomes a keyframe. This way, you can start with a coarse approximation of your animation, and refine it little by little. This is similar to the traditional animation technique referred to as "pose to pose".
There exist other useful tools and ways to animate with VPaint, but the above techniques are the easiest, most stable, and should be enough to get you started. And of course, remember that VPaint is just a prototype! We're writing two new apps from scratch, called VGC Illustration and VGC Animation, which will be based on VPaint but have better performance, more features, and better documentation. You can read more about this at www.vgc.io. In the meantime, feel free to explore the different features of VPaint by yourself! If you have any questions or feedback, either about VPaint or VGC, you can ask us directly at email@example.com, we're always happy to help.
Happy vector painting!