The power of the Powerclip

Some basics steps

With Powerclip you can place any object inside another vector object. We can use any vector shape, including rectangles, ellipses, text and any other vector object. For example, we can place an ellipse inside a rectangle.

Select the ellipse > go to the Object menu > Powerclip > Place inside frame. The cursor will change to a small arrow. Select the container (the rectangle) with the arrow.

This can be repeated with an image or any other object
Object menu > Powerclip > Place inside frame > and select the container.

You can edit the powerclip content by pressing Ctrl and clicking. A powerclip is like a layer inside the current layer. This allows you to modify the content of the powerclip and you can also see the entire content. When you are inside the powerclip (edit mode), the Status bar will show the name of the object on "powerclip content" instead of the name of the current layer.

Ctrl + click outside any object to exit the powerclip. You can do the same using the right mouse button, or the icon bar at the bottom of the powerclip.

If you want to select the content of powerclip, press Alt and click to select the content, then you can move, resize, rotate, and a lot more. The only difference is that you can't see the hidden portion of the object.

The powerclip is really a mask. You are not deleting the content, just hiding a part of the object. You can edit at any time to move, show or hide a part of the contents.

Using powerclips to enhance edges

This is very useful feature if you have an object with blurred edges which you need to sharpen. In this case, for example, we can draw an ellipse or circle around this image, and place the image inside, as a powerclip.

Select, move, and adjust to the shape. Then, the edges will appear sharpened and more precise than a bitmap. Now we can place it over another background and now we can see how the quality was improved.

Also, we can add other effects to this image, such as a drop shadow. We can change the color, adjust size, and create any other creative effect depending on the job.

The most important thing about a powerclip is the high quality of the image, since we are using a vector as a container. It maintains the sharpened edges no matter if you enlarge or reduce it. If it was just a bitmap, when we enlarge the image we would lose quality and resolution. But with powerclips we can preserve at least the border quality since it’s the most visible area that determines the quality. Although the content will loose resolution, the border is still perfect.

Using powerclips for cutting out objects

Most people think that it is quite easy when using basic shapes such as a circle or square. But what happens if we have an irregular shape, such as a flower? if we need to trace the outline of the flower in order to remove the background, it will take time and effort.

In this case, we will use PowerTrace, choosing the option for High Quality image.

Make sure that "Group objects by color" is enabled, and also "Remove background". If the option for "Remove color from entire image" is not enabled, we can activate it.

Then, we will go to the "Color" tab, where we can see how the image is composed. We can see several similar colors, all shades of red. Select the first one, hold the Shift key and select the last one to select them all. Then choose "Merge" colors. We can add more colors again, using the Ctrl key.

The result will be a simplified version of the image, that we can use as a container for the powerclip. We should ungroup the result of the Trace, take the shape that we need and delete the rest. If it has a compound path, we can break it apart (Ctrl + K) and delete the portions that we don't need.

After adjusting the position, once again go to: Object menu > Powerclip > Place inside frame. Now we have an image without a background in just a few steps - fast and easy! Also, we can adjust the image, fix any errors or improve the shape.

Now, we can place this image over any other background or surface, and we can apply a drop shadow or any other effect that we need.

Of course, it’s not always so easy. Some images are more complex than others. For example, this is a different flower. Let's repeat the procedure using the same steps: PowerTrace/ high quality image, but this time the inner part of the flower consisted of a lot of shades of colors and details. Now, we will separate the background from the rest of the image but we won't remove the background this time. We will select the background colors first and merge them. Then we can select the other colors and merge these also. The result will be a more simplified vector if we merge the dark and the light colors.

After we have finished we will have a group of two objects - the background and the flower. We will use the flower but we could also have a situation where we would need to use the background. Once again we use: Object menu > Powerclip > Place inside frame and select the container.

Holding down the Alt-key we can adjust the image as we need. Then, in just a few steps we have an image with a transparent background. Also we can use this image on any other kind of design.

We will have situations where we will find more complex images that we can't solve with a few simple steps. In situations such as these, the only solution is to draw the object. manually. In this case, I will use an ellipse for the top and a freehand drawing for the rest of the object. I will mirror this side, combine both and close it, and use another ellipse for the bottom. It's just a fast sample. of course.

Advanced techniques

After we have finished, select the image and place it inside the frame as a powerclip. But this time, we have another problem: the glass looks opaque. We can solve this by using the following little trick: using two objects instead one. With an ellipse, we will select the content (the wine on this sample). Hold Shift, select the powerclip and click the "Intersect" icon on the Property bar. This will create a new powerclip, with only the section that we need.

Delete the ellipse, edit the content of the powerclip and apply a Uniform Transparency. Remove the outline. Now the glass is really transparent. We could edit the transparency to improve it, adjusting the values for a better result. We can see that the image looks much more realistic than the simple cut.

We can also add transparency to the wine, adding to the transparent image below. The result will be a very realistic image, but we could well loose some of the detail. To solve this, we could draw an ellipse, make a duplicate, and combine these with Ctrl + L. Next, we select the glass and create a duplicate by pressing the plus key of the numeric keypad. Place this inside the frame.

Of course, each object is different and also each solution, but we have infinite possibilities for solving those problems, according to each image. Since the container is a vector object, the powerclip will have always have a sharp edge, so we can enlarge or reduce the size without problem. We can also apply some effects such as a drop shadow. We can use several images with a better and more realistic result.

Powerclip with Text and Logos

But what happen if we use text or a logotype instead? Powerclipping allows us to create incredible effects. Let's use as an example, the Corel logo. We will create a rectangle with the Mesh Fill tool, using random colors, and this we place inside the logo as a powerclip. We can manage this fill as we need, change colors, rotate, mirror, and make any other changes. Remember though, that we can't apply a Mesh Fill to a compound path, then it's the only way to use it on this logo. All changes are made without modifying the original logo, so it's a non-destructive effect.

This time we will use a different effect, such as an Extrude, and we have a nice result wit a few easy steps. This kind of effect could be applied to any kind of object, text or logo. and the most important thing is to remember that we can change the content at any time, as we need.

The Powerclip allows you to create stunning effects with fast and easy steps, such as to create an emboss effect, adding the same image of the background, and rotating or mirroring the content of the powerclip:

Remember that if you place an image as powerclip on a group of objects, when ungrouping it, each object will have a copy of the content. The same if you apply it to a composed object (such as a text) and you choose “break apart”, each object will have the entire content inside. This allows you to create nice effects with separate characters or shapes.

Final tips:

  • You can disable the “X” that indicates a powerclip under Tools > Options > Workspace > Powerclip Frame
  • Here, you can also manage the behavior of the object when you drag it to the powerclip frame
  • If you want to restore a powerclip frame to “normal” object, right-click the powerclip and choose “Frame type: None”
  • You can place a powerclip inside another powerclip, and have several sequential levels of powerclip.

All the images used on this tutorial were downloaded from Wikimedia Commons and used under free Creative Commons licence.