By Steve Bain
There’s nothing better than harnessing the power of your computer to create hundreds or even thousands of objects in the blink of an eye. CorelDRAW’s Artistic Media Tool sprayer enables you to do just that. You can ‘spray’ objects onto any open or closed path and for amazing technical and creative effects. In this short tutorial, I’ll show you how to create your own sprayer effect and set options to control its appearance.
You’ll find the Artistic Media Tool located in the Toolbox grouped with other line-drawing tools in any recent version of CorelDRAW (as shown below).
Drawing while Sprayer is selected as your Artistic Media Tool mode (shown below) enables you to apply saved spray styles to lines. Each stroke you make can be instantly applied with a saved object distorted to the shape of your path. Once applied, the spray style extends the full length of each stroke.
By creating custom Sprayers, you can quickly draw highly complex collections of objects and dynamically control their appearance while still having the ability to edit the condition of the path. As an example, I’ll show you how to apply a set of footprints that follow a path at a specified spacing and rotation (as shown below). Since the Artistic Media Tool can be controlled using either Property Bar options and/or using the Artistic Media docker, I’ll mention both as I walk through the steps.
Start by downloading this zipped CorelDRAW file (saved in CorelDRAW version 12 format) or follow these steps using your own creation. Although I’m using CorelDRAW X4 for demonstration purposes, the same technique can be used with versions as far back as version 10.
To create a custom sprayer, follow these quick steps:
- If you are starting from scratch, create the object you wish to use as your new sprayer style and create the path you wish the sprayer to follow. To follow the download example, uncompress and open the CorelDRAW file named Footprint Sprayer.cdr (shown below). The file consists of a single page that includes just two objects.
- For this example, the footprint group I’ve created consists of a pair of fading footprint objects roughly 0.5 inches wide by 1.5 inches high and a curving path across my page. Open the Artistic Media docker (shown below) by choosing Window > Dockers > Artistic Media and scroll to the bottom of the stroke list.
- Choose the Artistic Media Tool (I) and choose Sprayer mode in the Property Bar. Click to select the footprints (or your own objects) in the upper-right corner of the page. In the Artistic Media docker window or the Property Bar, click the Save button. The Create a New Stroke dialog opens (shown below). Choose the Object Sprayer option and click OK.
- In the Save As dialog that opens next, enter a name and click OK to save your new sprayer. Your sprayer is automatically added as the last item in Spraylist File List in both the Property Bar and the lower half of the docker.
- To set default options for your new custom sprayer, click to select it from the spray list either in the Property Bar or the docker. Be certain no objects are currently selected on your page. Use Property Bar options to control your Choice of Spray Order, Dabs and Spacing, Rotation, and Offset options. If you’re using the footprint sprayer example, choose By Direction, a Dab value of 1, Spaced at 2.0 inches, with the Rotation set to 90 degrees and Relative to Path (as shown below). If you’re using your own creation, experiment with the settings through trial-and-error as needed.
- With your options set, create and/or select the path or object for your custom sprayer. Using the docker, select and drag your new sprayer from the docker window directly onto the path or object (as shown below).
- The effect is immediately applied (see below). Notice the actual path or object applied with your sprayer becomes hidden and only the sprayer objects appear. Incidentally, since this is a dynamically linked effect, you can manipulate the curvature of the path at the node level using the Shape Tool (F10) while the sprayer is applied without altering the options applied to the sprayer.
While the sprayer is applied to the path, experiment with the effects of other options using the Property Bar. As you do, you’ll discover just how powerful the sprayer effects are. Click the Reset Values button (far right on the Property Bar) will return the sprayer options to the default values you first applied. If you wish, you can also dismantle the effect and return the path to its original state by right-clicking the path and choosing Break Artistic Media Group Apart (Ctrl+K).
Steve Bain is an award-winning illustrator and designer, and author of nearly a dozen books including CorelDRAW The Official Guide.