Making Image Corrections Quickly and Easily in Corel PHOTO-PAINT
By Nathan Segal
The applications and features described in this tutorial require CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X3 or newer to be installed.
For digital artists and graphic designers, being able to adjust and correct images quickly and easily is critical. In this article, we'll look at several quick methods of punching up your images in Corel PHOTO-PAINT® in a few, easy-to-apply steps.
We'll also look at which file formats you should use for the Web and service bureaus.
Determining What Resolution to Use
Where your images are destined should determine the resolution for your finished product. You can use the following table to help you determine what resolution you should use:
72 dots per inch (dpi)
125 dpi to 170 dpi
High-quality brochures and magazines
200 dpi to 400 dpi
175 dpi to 350 dpi
* These measurements refer to 300 dpi at an output size of 8.5 x 11 inches, as an example.
Scanning Images for Corel PHOTO-PAINT
There are a couple of important things to consider when scanning: the quality of your print or film scanner, and the quality of the image being scanned. The higher the quality of both your scanner and original image, the better the image you have to work with in Corel PHOTO-PAINT will be.
A high-quality original yields the best results, whether it's print or film. Here are some things to look for:
- Good color saturation
- Edge to edge sharpness
- Smooth color graduation (no banding)
- Smooth contrast definition from highlights to shadows, where highlights retain some detail and aren't blown out, and shadows contain detail and don't suddenly fall to solid black.
Fixing Moiré Patterns
Sometimes when scanning, you'll encounter moiré patterns, which are caused by a misalignment between pixels and a scanning device or camera, making patterns turn into rainbow-colored streaks. Sometimes moiré patterns are the result of an original image that has tightly knit, multicolored areas or a tightly repeating pattern, such as a hound's tooth design in fabrics.
In my experience, moiré patterns often occur when scanning images from a magazine. In the process of printing the magazine, dots are overlaid to create the color image that you see. In some cases, scanning such an image creates a moiré pattern. Here are a couple of quick fixes. Note that each technique presented here will give you a different result. Before using another technique, click on CTRL + Z to undo the effect or your results will be cumulative.
Removing Moiré Patterns in Corel PHOTO-PAINTYou can quickly and easily remove moiré patterns in Corel PHOTO-PAINT by clicking Effects > Noise > Remove Moiré.
In the Remove Moire dialog box, you can adjust moiré-removal settings.
Scanning the document at a higher resolution than what you needFor example, if you're scanning an image for the Web, scan at 150 dpi instead of 72 dpi, which you would normally use. Once the image is scanned, reduce the image to the size you need.
Skewing the document when scanningWith the document flat on the scanner surface, rotate it on an angle from the vertical, and then scan it. After the scan comes up in Corel PHOTO-PAINT, you can rotate the scan back to the vertical by clicking Image > Rotate, and choosing a rotation option.
Skewing an image can often reduce moiré patterns.
Correcting Exposure Problems Quickly
Corel PHOTO-PAINT lets you quickly correct exposure problems, which are caused by too much light (overexposure) or not enough light (underexposure) at the time the photo was taken. Here are a couple of quick corrections that you can use.
Using the Image Adjustment LabThe Image Adjustment Lab consists of automatic and manual controls, which are organized in a logical order for image correction. You can access the Image Adjustment Lab by clicking Adjust > Image Adjustment Lab. A quick fix is to click on the Auto-Adjust button at the top right, and click OK. In many cases that will be enough to correct any exposure problems.
The Image Adjustment Lab
Adjusting Exposure in the Objects DockerYou can adjust exposure in the Objects docker, which you open by clicking Object > Object Docker. Next, drag the background object down onto the New Object button at the bottom of the Objects docker to make a copy of the background.
Then, choose either Add or Multiply from the Merge Mode list box at the top of the Objects docker. The Add mode increases the exposure (often quite dramatically), while the Multiply mode decreases the exposure. You may need to make several copies of the background to obtain the exposure you want. You can reduce the effect by adjusting the opacity of an object in the Opacity box.
The Merge Mode list box (left) and the Opacity box (right) are at the top of the Objects docker.
When you you're satisfied with the exposure, you can merge all the objects into one by clicking Objects > Select All, and then clicking the Combine Objects Together button at the bottom of the Objects docker.
The original image exposure (left) and with the Add mode applied (right).
Choosing Output File Formats
Two common image-output destinations are the Web and service bureaus. The file format for your final images should be determined by where they’re going to be viewed.
Choosing File Formats For The WebI recommend using the JPEG format for most images. For 8-bit images, I recommend using the GIF or PNG formats. Depending on the image, the compression may be slightly more or less in a PNG file than a GIF.
Corel PHOTO-PAINT has a handy tool when you’re preparing images for the Web — the Web Image Optimizer. This feature lets you experiment with different compression ratios and preview images in a variety of Web-compatible file formats. You can access the Web Image Optimizer by clicking File > Web Image Optimizer.
Choosing File Formats for Service BureausWhen working with a service bureau, TIFF is the universally preferred file format. You can also use Corel PHOTO-PAINT to create a PDF, which I’ve found produces excellent results. You can access this versatile, easy-to-use feature by clicking File > Publish To PDF.
Using PDF in Your WorkflowWhen I created my book cover, I used Corel PHOTO-PAINT X3 to do some color correction on my photographs, which I then imported into CorelDRAW® X3. Once I completed my layout, I saved it as a TIFF, which merged my photos into the background and gave me a solid black. From there, I imported the image into Corel PHOTO-PAINT X3 and used the Publish To PDF command to create the image you see below.
The final book cover layout
You can access a wide variety of options by clicking the Settings button in the Publish To PDF dialog box, which opens the Publish To PDF Settings dialog box. For example, you can add crop or registration marks, apply ICC profiles, set JPEG compression, and add passwords to the file.
The Publish To PDF Settings dialog box
I've also published layouts that were solely created in CorelDRAW X3 to PDF. I made things easier for the printer by clicking File > Prepare for Service Bureau in CorelDRAW X3. This launches a wizard that lets you gather all the files in the layout (such as fonts), create a PDF, and store all the files in one folder, making it easy to send to a service bureau. I recommend sending the PDF, all the fonts, and the original CDR file. To make things even simpler, use WinZip® to group all your files together before sending them. Of course whenever using third party content you must be sure to secure appropriate permissions. Of course whenever using third party content you must be sure to secure appropriate permissions.
In this newsletter, you’ve learned some important design and image manipulation techniques, such as how to set up your layouts, create high quality scans, make fast exposure corrections and work with service bureaus. Applying this knowledge will speed up your workflow and make it easier to obtain the results that you seek.
Nathan Segal boosts your Corel PHOTO-PAINT productivity with proven tips, tools and techniques to create better scans, images and prints in his book, The Corel PHOTO® PAINT X3 Insider. Sign up for his newsletter and receive free weekly graphics and photography tips.