QFX as a Paint Program

Digital Painting and Special Effects

QFX uses a configurable set of basic paintbrushes, a set of special purpose brushes, and custom brushes created by the user to apply colors, ramps, masks and special effects to images. The Fills tools paint by converting pixels in selected areas to the current color, effect or mask. Lasso tools are used to apply solid or transparent color, special effects, filters, ramps (gradients) or to create masks or alpha channel. Special effects include Warping and Shading for 3D effects, Window Linking for paint-through and tiling, Filters, Glow, Emboss, Shadow, Image Control, Remap, High-Contrast, Posterize, Monochrome, Pixellate, Pointillize, Mosaic, Displacement and Motion Blur. Furthermore, QFX supports Photoshop plug-in filters and selection modules.

QFX Painting Tools

In Paint Mode, images are created and edited by applying color, effects or mask to the canvas using the Brush, Fills and Lasso tools. When a Fill or Lasso tool is used, an area or shape is defined first, then the color or effect is applied to the selection. You can apply a series of colors and effects, undo them and edit the shape of the selection or parameters of the effect repeatedly, giving you unlimited flexibility in experimenting with combinations of colors or effects, or defining areas to process before committing the changes to the image canvas.

Brushes: QFX brushes are pressure-sensitive, giving you maximum control over the color or effect applied as you paint. Edit the size, shape and transparency of the built-in brushes, or design your own set of custom brushes to save and use again. Create a cycling brush when you select a ramp (gradient) as the brush color. When the editing window is magnified, brush tool cursors are displayed proportionally larger, so you can see exactly where the color or effect is applied. It appears smaller when the window is zoomed out or reduced.

Brushes Toolbox

The Brushes toolbox selects the edge type, size, and line drawing options for the current brush. The Brush Sample Window displays the options as they are selected. The proxy windows display the current set of custom brushes. The toolbox menu commands control the toolbox display, access the Brush Options dialog, load and save custom brush files, and close the toolbox.

The Brush Options dialog configures individual brushes. Options include the number of brush strokes saved for each level of undo, and brush cursor shapes. Cycle Brush options determine if you paint with ramp colors or transparency levels. Custom brush painting modes include using the current image as the color, painting with both the image and alpha, painting with the image only, painting with alpha only, or painting with the image as alpha.

FillsFills: The Fills tools paint by converting areas of similar color or tone to the current color or ramp, or a mask. The Fills tools are also used to fill areas with effects. QFX features seed and border fills, and our exclusive SmartFill, which lets you select the degree of pixel similarity when filling noisy areas such as scanned backgrounds. The Magic tool automatically masks areas with similar pixel values.

LassosLassos: QFX lassos, define precise areas for processing, painting, retouching, cropping, applying effects, and for cut, copy, paste and dupe operations. Because lassos are Bezier objects, you can select and edit the lasso shape itself or the individual nodes. You can also modify a lasso shape by applying any combination of transforms (move, scale, rotate, skew, mirror and flop) in a single operation.

The Pencil tool draws irregular shapes in either Freehand or Bezier mode. The Oval and Rectangle lassos create any size and shape ovals, circles, rectangles and squares. Adding and deleting nodes creates triangles, arcs and more complex shapes. The Text tool uses installed Windows fonts, displaying a preview of your sample text string when you click the font name. Text options select the font and style, type size and width, tracking, line spacing, and paragraph alignment. Type text directly onscreen, kern interactively or turn on automatic kerning for tightly spaced text.

Lasso options include hard, soft or anti-aliased edges, any degree of transparency, and a selection of drawing cursors. Process either inside or outside lasso shapes, and save, load or merge lasso files in any editing window. The Lasso toolbox displays push-button lasso editing commands including Undo, Cut, Copy, Paste, Dupe, Delete, Stash and Restore.

Trace LassoAutomatic Lasso Tracing. QFX can trace images, objects or masks (alpha channels) automatically to create Lassos with Bezier curves, straight line segments or a combination of both. Tracing options provide control over which image attributes are used for tracing, what kind of curves are generated and how inflections are handled. This new feature makes it a snap to convert scanned art into vector objects or resolution independent selections (lassos).

Editing Color and Ramps

Color and RampsThe QFX Color Palette offers extensive options for creating and editing digital color. The default palette displays 256 defined colors which are also displayed on the Color Bar. Select from the palette or sample a color from the image, then edit any or all of its components, and see the new color in real time. You can drag and drop to copy a color to any part of the palette, create color spreads, define color ranges for brush cycling, posterization and other effects, and create, save and load custom palettes. QFX color model options include RGB, HLS and CMYK.

The Ramps Palette features 4-point, 5-point, circular and linear ramps of either color or alpha values. You can move the center point of 5-point and circular ramps, and set linear ramps to any angle. The ramp preview window displays the selected options in real time.

The Color Plane function turns the color planes of the current model on and off, either together or in any combination, restricting processing to only the selected planes. The Random options randomize color as it is applied for a more natural look when you are retouching scanned images.

The Densitometer measures the color values of image pixels, displaying values for one or two selected color models. It also tracks the location of the cursor in the image. There can be up to two color information display sections. The sample area can be set to more than one pixel, and can be sampled by average, median or most frequent value.

Special Effects

QFX includes a suite of special effects and functions that are applied through any of the tools, and are easily configured. The Glow, Emboss and Shadow functions create realistic effects quickly and easily. Filters may be applied over the same area of the image more than once, and unique effects are created by combining different filter processes one after another. QFX supports custom filters you create, and accesses plug-in filters and effects installed in your system.

The Image Control, Remap, High-Contrast, Posterize and Monochrome functions put complex darkroom procedures at your fingertips, giving you complete control of all aspects of color correction and enhancement. Color planes can be edited individually or in any combination within the selected color model. Simple, easy to use dialogs display preview images so you can see your changes as you work, even when you are editing very high-resolution files.

  • Also see QFX Effects for more exciting effects.
  • Warping and Shading: The Warp function is used to add a three-dimensional look to your images, to create perspective, to make a selection appear to wrap around a shape, or to distort or bend a selection. Select the number and frequency of the warp mesh grid points, masking options, transparency, and the calculation method for composing with target image. Warp the entire image or a selection, and use the clipboard to place it in a different editing window. Warp meshes can be saved, and opened in the same image, a different image or opened from a queue. The transparent proxy option aids in placement of the warp image. Warp meshes can be moved, scaled, and edited using the Frame tool.


    The Shade function applies realistic lighting effects to a warp by using true 3D lighting calculations. Select flat, Gouraud, or Phong shading, Fill and Main light intensities, Intensity and shininess of highlights, lighting angle, apparent depth of mesh. Also invert effect or apply shading only options. Preview option shows effect before applying.

    Window Linking: When two editing windows are linked, the image or alpha channel of the source image is used in place of the image or alpha channel of the target image when you are painting, filling or applying effects. Select the type of link connection, target and source editing windows. The Zoom option shrinks or expands the source image to fit target. The Tile option repeats the source image in target. Use Window Linking to create paint-through effects, to tile a smaller image into a larger one for a repeated background, or to provide an unlimited number of image or mask channels.