Awards & Engraving

February '18

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A&E FEBRUARY 2018 • 63 Break Apart PRESSURE-SENSITIVE DEVICES The first item involves third-party hard- ware that basically replaces the mouse as a drawing tool. Pressure-sensitive pens and tablets have been around for years, but pressure-sensitive monitors are more recent additions, making it possible to draw directly with your finger tips on the screen. The key advantage to any of these devices is being able to draw more natu- rally and with more control. Using a number of tools such as the Artistic Media tool set on Expression enables you to draw lines of varying stroke width based on the amount of pressure applied instead of the typical mono width we're used to. Pres- sure-sensitive tools also include the Eraser tool and several others that we covered in the Shape tool dropdown. Like with using some of the Artistic Media tools, Corel records the basic vector path of the line being drawn and builds around that path the width variation, a kind of stroke attribute. The underlying path can be manipulated using the Shape tool, which changes the visible shape of the brush stroke. When colors are applied to the visible brush stroke, it is treated like any closed shape capable of being filled or assigned a stroke width or color. If it is selected and then Converted to Curves, it can then be broken apart, thus separating the underlying stroke from the new brush stroke vector outline. Having to draw such a complex vector outline from scratch would be difficult and would probably lack the spontaneous appearance that the pressure sensitivity affords. (fig 1) ARTISTIC MEDIA Even without a stylus, tablet, or pres- sure-sensitive screen, the use of the Artistic Media drawing tools function in the same way as described above, only the act of drawing is more prescribed and not tied to pressure applied. There is a wide selec- tion of brush strokes to choose from in the Artistic Media docker, and the Properties bar makes it possible to control various aspects of the strokes. The best way to get a feel for what is possible is to try out a number of brushes from the docker. Once you've done that for a while, then choose a brush you liked working with and explore the various options available—some are pretty dramatic. (fig 2) There are five categories of tools, the first being Presets, followed by Brush, Sprayer, Calligraphic, and Expression for working with pressure-sensitive hardware only. Each of the other tools has its own set of adjustments in the Properties bar. The two most typical adjustments are Brush Width and Smoothness. These determine the overall size of the stroke— Graphic Design fig 1

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