Working with lenses and effects in Corel® PHOTO-PAINT™ X6

by Suzanne Smith

In this tutorial, we'll explore the many benefits of using lenses and masks to make image adjustments. We'll also look at how to create special tonal effects.

Working with lenses

Lenses, which are the equivalent to adjustment layers in Photoshop®, let you preview special effects and image adjustments without permanently altering the image's pixels. You can apply lenses to an entire image or to the editable area of a mask. If applying a lens to a masked area, you can use the Object Pick tool to reposition both the mask and the lens within the image.

Lenses also offer the advantage of being adjustable on the fly. At any time, you can double-click the lens icon in the Objects docker to make further adjustments.

Since a lens sits above the background image on its own layer, you can easily remove an unwanted lens layer by clicking the Delete icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the Objects docker.

Applying a lens to an image

  1. Click File > Open, navigate to a folder containing a suitable image, select it, and then click Open.

  2. Click Object > Create > New Lens.

  3. In the New Lens dialog box, choose Scatter and then click OK.

    This lens ‘scatters' the image's pixels, creating a painted look similar to Pointillism.

  4. In the Scatter dialog box, experiment with the Vertical and Horizontal sliders until you achieve a desirable effect, and then click OK.

  5. To readjust the lens settings, double-click the lens icon in the Objects docker, and then make any necessary adjustments in the Scatter dialog box.

    Note: When saving an image that has had a lens effect applied to it, be aware that many image file formats will merge any existing layers to a single layer. In this case, the lens effect will no longer be editable when the image is reopened. To retain the editability of a lens, save the file first in CPT format which will retain the layer structure. You can then export out again in the required image format, such as JPEG, PNG, BMP, etc.

Applying a lens to a masked area

  1. Open an image.
  2. In the toolbox, click the Rectangle Mask tool, and then drag to draw a rectangular mask on an area of the image.

    Note: Before drawing the mask, you can adjust its corner roundness on the property bar.

  3. To give the mask a softer edge, click Mask > Mask Outline > Feather.
  4. In the Feather dialog box, adjust the number in the Width box, choose Outside from the Direction list box, choose Linear from the Edges list box, and then click OK.

    Increasing the pixels in the outer edge of the mask will soften the transition between the masked area and the background image.

  5. Click Object > Create > New Lens. In the New Lens dialog box, note that the Create lens from Mask option is now automatically enabled.

  6. Choose Gradient Map and then click OK.

    The Gradient Map lens allows you to apply color to a black-and-white image, or to change the colors in a color image.

  7. In the Gradient Map dialog box, double-click the upper edge of the gradient panel to create an additional color marker, and then choose a new color from the Color list box.

  8. Continue adding more color markers as required, and then click OK.

  9. To reposition the mask (and lens), click the Object Pick tool and then simply drag the mask to a new position.

  10. To readjust the lens itself, click the lens icon in the Objects docker.

  11. In the Gradient Map dialog box, adjust the colors again and then click OK.

Applying multiple lenses

You can ‘stack' lenses on top of each other to create some amazing effects.

  1. Open an image.
  2. Click Object > Create > New Lens.
  3. In the New Lens dialog box, choose Photo Filter and then click OK.

  4. In the Photo Filter dialog box, use the Density slider to adjust color density and then click OK. If preferable, you can also change the filter color by choosing a new swatch from the Color list box.

    The lens now appears on its own layer in the Objects docker.

  5. Repeat step 2 and in the New Lens dialog box, choose Pixelate and then click OK.
  6. In the Pixelate dialog box, enable Radial in the Pixelate mode area, click the Point of Origin icon, and then click in the lower left-hand corner of the image window.

  7. Adjust the Width, Height, and Opacity settings until you are satisfied with the effect, and then click OK.

  8. Repeat step 2 again and in the New Lens dialog box, choose Gradient Map and then click OK.

Refer to the previously completed Applying a lens to a masked area for a refresher on how to adjust the Gradient Map settings.

In the Objects docker, note that all 3 lenses have been stacked, one above the other on separate layers.

By mixing and matching multiple lenses, it's possible to create abstract and unexpected effects. For example, you can hide individual lens layers by clicking the Hide/Show icon next to a layer.

The stacking order of lens layers can also have a great impact on an effect. Here, the Gradient Map Lens layer has been dragged to the bottom of the stack, resulting in a dramatic effect.

Note: To discard any unwanted lenses, simply select the lens layer and then click the Delete button in the bottom, right-hand corner of the Objects docker.

Working with effects

With Corel PHOTO-PAINT X6, there are various options for applying tonal and special effects to images. You can use the Effect tool to perform local color and tonal corrections. The Effect tool is grouped within the Brush Tools flyout in the toolbox.

When you select the Effect tool, the property bar displays additional effect brushes, including:

  • Smear
  • Smudge
  • Brightness
  • Contrast
  • Hue
  • Hue replacer
  • Sponge
  • Tint
  • Blend
  • Sharpen
  • Undither
  • Dodge/Burn

Each effect brush provides sub-categories of nib shapes. For example, with the Smear Effect brush, you get access to a variety of nib shapes.

In addition, the property bar provides additional options when the Effect tool is active. You can choose a round or square brush Shape, adjust brush Size, specify Merge Mode (which determines how color blends with underlying image elements), specify the Amount (or intensity) of the effect, adjust Opacity, as well as toggle Anti-aliasing on or off.

If you apply effects to your image on a frequent basis, you may find it convenient to include the Effect Tools toolbar in your PHOTO-PAINT workspace.

To open the Effect Tools toolbar

  1. Click Tools > Customization.
  2. In the Options dialog box, click Customization > Command Bars.
  3. In the list of Command Bars, enable Effect Tools and then click OK.

You can leave the Effect Tools toolbar floating in the workspace or drag it to a docking position.

To apply an effect using an Effect brush

  1. Open an image.
  2. In the toolbox, click the Paint tool flyout arrow and choose the Effect tool.
  3. On the property bar, choose Tint from the Brush category list box.

  4. Choose Tint Lightly from the Brush type list box.

  5. Choose a nib Shape and Size.

  6. Click a color swatch from the color palette, and then start applying your tint to the image.

Exploring the Effects menu

In addition to applying an effect to a specific area by using one of the Effect brushes, the Effects menu offers a wide range of effects that can be applied either to the whole image, or, to the editable area of a mask.

The following categories of special effects are available, each of which includes several different effects:

  • 3D Effects
  • Art Strokes
  • Blur
  • Camera
  • Color Transform
  • Contour
  • Creative
  • Custom
  • Distort
  • Noise
  • Texture

Applying an effect from the Effects menu

  1. Open an image.
  2. Click Effects > Texture, and then choose either Stone or Relief Sculpture.
  3. In the respective dialog boxes, adjust the settings until you are satisfied with the effect(s), and then click OK.

    Note: Just like the lens effects applied at the beginning of this tutorial, when you apply a mask to an image, any effects are applied within the editable area of the mask.

For more information on Corel® PHOTO-PAINT™ X6

The Help menu provides access to additional information on working with lenses and effects, as well as:

  • Help topics
  • Guidebook
  • Tutorial videos

Additional Corel PHOTO-PAINT tutorial videos can be found in Corel's Discovery Center.

For written tutorials, please click here.

For CorelDRAW® Graphics Suite Tips & Tricks, please click here.