By Steve Bain
One of the niftiest effect tools in CorelDRAW’s toolbox has got to be the Interactive Drop Shadow Tool. It enables you to instantly apply soft, beautiful shadow effects. CorelDRAW’s drop shadow effects are bitmap-based. But if you’ve ever wondered about your shadow’s color model and resolution properties you’re not along. The answer is often critical to print workflows and largely depends on which version you are using.
Why won’t your shadows print in spot colors?
Prior to version X3, shadows were based on the CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) color model used in full color printing. Although CorelDRAW’s interface appeared to provide ways for you to change the color model, CorelDRAW would alway revert back to this default at print time — without any warning. Thankfully, color management options in newer versions enable you to determine the color model that all effects are based on.
If you’re using CorelDRAW 12 or older and the shadows in the drawing you’re preparing need to be set to spot color inks, you have some work ahead. You’ll need to separate the shadows from the objects and then convert each shadow color model at the bitmap level.
NOTE: Keep in mind that this workaround will be successful only if there are no other colored objects underlying your shadow.
To convert the drop shadow to a fixed-palette ink color, follow these brief steps:
- If you haven’t already done so, finish applying your drop shadow effect using the Interactive Drop Shadow Tool and ensure the shadow is just the way you need it to appear before proceeding.
- With your drop shadow effect in place, right-click the shadow portion itself and choose the Break Drop Shadow Group Apart command from the popup menu. Doing this will break the dynamic link between your original object and the shadow effect.
- Using the Pick Tool, click to select only the shadow bitmap and choose Bitmaps, Mode, Duotone (8-bit). A message “Bitmap Has Color Mask” may appear warning you that are about to eliminate a transparency mask which may be applied to the shadow. If so, click OK to proceed.
- The Duotone dialog will open with the Curves tab in view, indicating the color type and any currently selected inks. If it isn’t already selected, choose Monotone in the Curves tab (shown next).
- To change from the current color, double-click the ink color name to open the Select Color dialog. In the Color Select dialog, choose the ink color you would like to use—such as a spot color of ink from one of CorelDRAW’s Fixed Palette collections. To access these colors, click the Fixed Palette tab in the dialog (as shown next). Click OK to close the dialog and accept your color ink choice.
- After choosing your ink color, you’ll be returned to the Duotone dialog. Notice your chosen color is now listed. Click OK to close this dialog and the new spot ink color is applied. Notice your Status Bar now indicates the selected bitmap is a Duotone (as shown next).
The solution to controlling your shadow’s bitmap resolution is even quicker than spot ink conversions. By default, all drop shadows are rendered using a resolution setting of 300 dpi (dots per inch), but if you require you may change this value anywhere within a range between 72 and 1,000 dpi using settings in the Options dialog by choosing the Workspace, General page. To access this option, open the Options dialog by choosing Tools, Options (Ctrl+J), click General under the Workspace heading on the left side of the dialog, and change the value in the Resolution area (shown next).
There’s something else to keep in mind when changing resolution settings for effects. Changing effects resolution only apply to shadow effects created after the fact, meaning the effects will only apply following changes to the drop shadow resolution. Any shadows already created will remain applied with the previous setting, as shown next) in this magnified view.
Steve Bain is an award-winning illustrator and designer, and author of nearly a dozen books including CorelDRAW The Official Guide.