QFX as a Draw Program

Object Editing with Layers

Margarita TimeSwitch to QFX Draw Mode to create object illustrations, bitmap image layouts, and object-oriented text. Move, scale, rotate, skew, mirror or flop objects, and fill them with single colors, ramps, or bitmap images, all with variable transparency. Draw object outlines of any transparency with a calligraphic nib you design, and place it over or under the object. Objects can be grouped for ease in manipulation, or joined or united to create objects with holes. Save, load and merge object files to create complex layouts conserving disk space until the final render to a high resolution bitmap.

Objects can be created and maintained on separate named layers. Each layer can be made visible or invisible, or editable or not editable. Create a visible but not editable layer to use for layout and placement. Make layers invisible to speed editing of complex scenes by avoiding lengthy redraw times. Drag and drop right in the Layers toolbox to rearrange layers.

Apply a variety of effects to objects like glow, emboss and shadow as well as other effects and filters. Or create lens effect objects to project special effects and filters onto other objects or the background.

QFX Drawing Tools

Objects are created using the Pencil, Oval, Rectangle and Text tools. Objects are vector-based and remain separate from the background canvas until rendered to bitmaps. QFX objects have four attributes: fill style, edge or outline style, softness and automatic shadows. Furthermore, a host of effects and filters can be applied to each object, independent of the other objects. Objects can be filled with a single color, a ramp, a bitmap image, or have no fill at all. Object edges are drawn with a calligraphic nib defined by the user. The nib may be rounded or sharp, any size and angle, or edges may be turned off for objects without outlines. Both object fills and edges may have any level of transparency and softness.

The Pencil tool draws line and curve segments, or irregularly shaped open or closed objects. It works in either freehand or Bezier mode. In Bezier mode, nodes are placed wherever you click. In freehand mode, nodes are placed at regular intervals set in the Objects Preferences dialog. The Oval and Rectangle tools are primitives used to create any size or shape ellipses or rectangles. Hold down the CTRL key to create circles and squares. Add nodes to create more complex objects, or delete nodes to create arcs or triangles.

Editing Objects and Nodes

QFX offers two object editing views. When Layout view is selected, each object's fill, outline and transparency attributes are displayed during the editing process. Outline view displays only the shape of each object, conserving time and memory resources. You can easily switch between views at any time.

Object shapes are changed by dragging nodes or node control points, or by changing node attributes. You can add and delete nodes, join or separate nodes or curves, and change nodes attributes. The Nodes toolbox includes cusp or flat, and symmetrical or asymmetrical options. You can also convert straight segments to curves, and curves to straight lines.

Transforms maintain the basic shape of an object, but modify its orientation. Transforms include moving, scaling, rotation, skewing, and reflecting horizontally and vertically. In QFX, a series of transforms can be applied to the same selection simultaneously, using the Frame tool.

Objects may be grouped for easy manipulation. Grouping maintains the attributes of individual objects when they are separated. Joining and uniting are methods of combining objects to create holes or to transfer attributes from one layer to another. Objects may be moved from one layer to another or easily moved to the top or bottom of the stack, or up or down one layer at a time.

The object Crop command uses one object shape to crop another, leaving only the overlapping area, great for further defining bitmap objects. The Drill command cuts a hole in the underlying object. When Crop and Drill are separated, they maintain their individual attributes.

The Align, Distribute, and Objects on a Path commands arrange objects in special ways. Use the Align command to line up objects relative to each other, to the group boundary or to the edges of the overall image. The Distribute command places objects at even, equal or explicit intervals. The Objects on a Path command will automatically align a group of objects or a string of text to any curve shape.

Text DialogText Objects. QFX can use any font installed in your system. Text controls include font selection, type size, style and width, kerning, automatic kerning, tracking, line spacing, word spacing and paragraph alignment. You can edit text as a block, or separate characters to create logos and initial caps. And you edit directly on the screen, not in a dialog panel, for perfect placement every time. The Text Options dialog includes a sample string edit box where you can type your text and see how it will look in the selected typeface.

Bitmap Objects

Objects with a bitmap or image as the fill attribute are called bitmap objects. This Draw Mode feature gives you a complete image composer built right into the program. Resize, rotate, skew and place dozens of images in real time, previewing transparency, blend, and edge characteristics while you edit. Create a layout of several bitmap objects, then select and manipulate them individually to compose the final image interactively. In real time. Without pasting each object before placing the next. All masking options are available, as well as variable transparency, special effects and filters. And because object layout files are much smaller than bitmaps, you can conserve valuable disk space by editing a layout over several sessions without rendering the objects until the final image is achieved. See Composing with Bitmap Objects.

Rendering Options

To enhance Draw Mode performance , objects are displayed on the screen at a lower resolution than they will appear when rendered to a bitmap. At any time during the editing process, select the Preview Render command to show a high-quality fully anti-aliased proxy of the objects.

The Final Render command converts the objects to bitmaps and paints them into the canvas. It is not necessary to render objects until the editing is completed. You can save object layouts and load them later for further editing before the final rendering. Object files are considerable smaller than high resolution bitmaps, conserving time and memory resources.