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COREL Photo-Paint  Tutorials Main Page Corel 9 Review Main Page by David Mutch Ph.D.
Corel Down Under User Group,
Melbourne, Australia
Corel 9 Review Main Page  

 DOCKERS - "Look Ma - No Roll Ups!".


Yes, Roll Ups as we knew them are no more. Almost all features previously contained in Roll Ups have been shifted into either the Docker or directly onto the Property Bar, or in a few cases, into separate toolbars. The Docker has been altered to accommodate the extra features.

Figure 1. Finding the Dockers
To open a docker in PP9 you now need to go to Window > Dockers on the menu. Many new dockers can be found here. Also under the Windows menu are the Palettes.

Docker components are no longer available via the View menu and are now accessed from the Window > Dockers menu item (Figure 1). When many components are added to the Docker it tends to get quite long and a screen size of 1024x768 (at least) is now mandatory.

For those that still prefer Roll Ups, the Docker components can be undocked separately, dragged into the workspace and then ‘rolled up' to act very much like Roll Ups. These components can then be dragged back into the docker area either as a tab (the usual way) or as a ‘sub-component' which takes up more space. The actual final position of the component within the Docker can be controlled by watching and positioning the gray insertion line or box when the component approaches the Docker area.


 Some of the changes to individual Docker components are:

 The Objects Docker:
Figure 2. The Objects Docker
Text objects are indicated by the small A icon while drop shadows now form part of the parent object and are indicated by a small shadowed box icon. Right clicking on an object's icon brings up a much improved floating menu. New controls for combining objects and the use of drop shadows are now included.

The Objects Docker now includes a Create New Lens icon along with modified Delete and Lock Transparency icons positioned along the bottom panel. This Docker now has vastly improved right mouse button, context-sensitive menus which include all the Combine options, control of Drop Shadows and more (Figure 2). New Objects are created automatically for many tools rather than the object needing to be created first as in version 8 - a great time saver.

The Merge Mode list box and the Opacity slider have been moved to the top. Several new Merge Modes (e.g. Color Burn and Color Dodge) have been added and objects can be duplicated by dragging them onto the New Object icon. Reordering objects by dragging is now much more precise. The dragged object is now represented by a line between existing object layers rather than the box in version 8.

Text Objects are now marked with a small "A" character to the right of the Object's name. Drop Shadows are now part of the base object and are delineated with a small shadowed box icon. Right clicking on drop-shadowed objects allows the shadow to be removed or separated as a discrete object.

The Drop Shadow is now a discrete tool on the Tool Box rather than an item under the Object menu as it was in version 8. Drop Shadows can be re-editted at any time by selecting the appropriate object and the Drop Shadow Tool at the same time


 The Undo/Redo (History List) Docker.
Figure 3. The Undo/Redo Docker

Previously found under the Edit > Undo Special menu, the History Undo and Redo lists are now combined and stored in a full sized docker of their own (Figure 3). To undo a command simply click on the desired level within the list. A solid line indicates the last command stored in RAM (set in the Options dialogue - mine was preset to 15 levels, possibly because of my computer's 256 Mb RAM). The current position is indicated by a coloured band and any available redo commands are coloured a darker gray. PP9's undo list can contain up to 99 levels of undo, far greater than the measly 10 offered in PhotoShop 5.

Figure 3 shows how the Undo/Redo Docker operates. A list of up to 99 actions can be stored here.

  • The thick dark line (1) indicates the point where actions can be undone directly from RAM memory (15 levels shown here). Before this the action is undone mathematically.

  • The coloured bar (2) indicates the present state of the active document and is normally positioned at the last action at the bottom of the list. This bar changes position when actions are undone and the Redo History buffer contains actions.

  • The grayed area (3) appears after clicking on any action causing an undo to occur. Thus the gray area is actually the Redo History list and can be reversed simply by clicking on any grayed action.

  • New controls (4) to save the list as a script, revert to the last saved version, create and return to checkpoints, and to duplicate the image at the selected point are at the bottom.



 The Movie Docker.

Figure 4.
The Movie Docker

This is a completely new docker (Figure 4) and complements the version 8 style horizontal controls and frame scroller beneath movies during editing, which still appears in version 9.

The current editable frame is indicated by a red box surrounding a movie frame icon and can be altered by double-clicking a different frame icon.

Frames can be selected simply by clicking, multiple sequential frames by shift clicking and even non-sequential frames can be selected by ctrl clicking. Selected single or sequential frames can be repositioned within the movie by dragging.

The size of the frame icons can be changed like those in the Objects Docker by clicking the small right-pointing arrow near the play controls. All play controls are now at the top.

The frame rate of each frame is controlled by a vertical spinner that appears when the user clicks near the indicated current frame speed.

The icons at the bottom are used to insert existing movie frames, delete frames or set up an overlay template across a number of frames.

An overlay template of any existing frame appears as a semitransparent image superimposed over up to 8 sequential frames. The superimposed image is derived from the upper red pointer. Both upper and lower pointers can be repositioned by dragging and the transparency of the overlay can be adjusted using the slider at the bottom of this docker.



 Brush Settings Docker.

Figure 5.
The Brush Settings Docker

Previously found in the Tools Settings Roll Up, Brush Settings are now displayed their own Docker (Figure 5).

Settings are divided into sections which expand vertically like Macintosh folders, depending on the setting of the small arrow on the right of each section. Values are set using new drop down horizontal sliders.

The new interactive nib shape controls are great and can set rotation, size, width and soft edge easily. This docker will appear empty until the brush tool is selected.

Many of the settings in this docker were previously contained in the Tool settings Roll Up.

  • The paint mode selector (1) includes several new modes.
  • The nib adjustment region (2) provides for almost total control of the nib settings.
  • The base nib can be selected and then made narrower (3), soft-edged (4) or rotated (5) using the interactive control handles and slider.
  • Brush, nib and stroke properties settings areas can be opened (or closed) using the arrows (6).
  • Values (7) are adjusted by clicking on the value which then opens a pop up slider bar (not shown).
  • Additional icons (8) allow for loading textures etc., or switching features on of off.
  • The Pen Settings area and switches (9) allow the keyboard arrow keys and the mouse to be used as a pressure sensitive pen and for the second pen button to be set to a particular tool.

There is no facility on the Brush Settings Docker for the loading and saving of presets. Presets must now be selected either from the Artistic Media Docker (see next) or from the Brush Tool Property Bar. The shipping version of PP9 omitted many of the presets found in version 8 but the release of Service Pack 1 for Draw 9 suite (see the END section of this review) restored most of these and added some new ones.

Initially I found the new horizontal slider controls quite difficult to use as they require two mouse clicks to activate. After some perseverance and practice however they became much more acceptable to use.

The Brush Tools Property Bar is now stuffed full of goodies including Nib create,save and load facilities, the Stroke Path/Mask feature and Brush and Nib rest options.



 Artistic Media Docker.

Figure 6.
The Artistic Media Docker

The Artistic Media Docker is also an entirely new docker. It has no incarnation in previous versions (Figure 6).

Brush Styles are shown graphically as small grayscale images.

The upper portion of this docker shows recently used Brush Styles. As the user changes brush settings, the display of the current example in the uppermost pane is updated. The lower portion of this docker shows a wide range of preset examples. The lower display can show examples from all brush types or individual brush types by selecting the group (*).

Selecting any of the examples automatically selects the correct brush tool and sets up that style for immediate use with the current paint colour. Selection of an example Media Style also displays the Paint/Clone Tools Property bar with the correct brush settings.

On the Paint/Clone Tools Property bar are many new features including the ability to use, load and save presets, new bush types and even new nib shapes. Orbits can also be switched on or off from this bar but the Orbit settings can only be changed from the Brush Settings Docker described previously in this section of the review.




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