What's New in
A Visionary Voyager production
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  

 Other Changes:
Image Mode, Palette , Print , QT Export and more...

PP9 has too many new features and changes to detail them all here. However there are some which are worth a brief mention at least and should be examined in detail in later tutorials on this site.

Image Mode (ex Convert to...) Menu item
PP9 now uses the more conventional term of Mode' when converting image formats rather than the Convert To... command in version 8.

Figure 41. Gif Export transparency mask.



In addition, many of the Mode conversion dialogue boxes have been made more useful and friendly, including the one for Paletted (8 bit) images (Figure 41).

This dialogue is typical of the changes in the user interface throughout PP9. Almost all sliders have been changed to an ultra thin, solid scale (rather than a block scale), while the activity progress bars in most dialogues boxes is reduced to an ultra thin bar along the very bottom of the dialogue box (just below the bottom row of buttons). I like these changes very much as they are just as informative as previous methods but save a great deal on screen space which is something a computer graphics person can never have too much of.

PP9 users can also apply, extract or embed ICC monitor profile information if available. Users can also customize the RGB space for their particular system to reduce colour incompatibilities.


Palette Improvements.
Like Draw 9, PP9 users can now view and use multiple on screen palettes simultaneously. Custom palettes can be created from the visible portion of any active document, or from an entire document. The use of masks can serve to control the selection of colours for new custom palettes.


Much Better Multi-Object Copy-Paste Between Documents or Clipboard
Previously in Photo-Paint version 8, I often experienced times when I needed to copy multiple selected objects to the clipboard to paste them into a New image or an existing one. PP8 only ever seemed to copy the primary selected object (the one with the red border in the Objects docker, no matter which other objects were also selected or grouped. PP9 changes this and copies multiple objects, along with all their properties when copying. Yeah!


Printing Enhancements: Printer Preflight Checking
PP9 now includes an automatic Print Preflight Check with an extra tab (called Issues) added to the Print dialogue box (Figure 42). If PP9 finds any contentious printing issues the icon on the tab changes to an exclamation mark in a bright yellow triangle, immediately alerting the user to any problems. The tab title shows the number of issues found. Clicking on the Issues tab informs the user of exactly what the problems are and suggested methods to fix them. This checking is done very quickly and does not seem to add very much extra time to that normally required to bring up the Print dialogue box.

Figure 42. The Print dialogue box showing the Preflight Issues tab contents and the mini print preview pane.


Figure 43. The checks that the Print Preflight undertakes can be easily controlled.


The Print Preflight tests that PP9 performs can be regulated by pressing the Preflight Settings button on the Issues Tab of this dialogue box, and then selecting which issues you would like checked (Figure 43).




Printing Enhancements: Miniature Print Previews
The Print Dialogue box shown above also allows for the viewing of a mini Print Preview pane (Figure 42). This may save some time and screen space by allowing the user to preview the result directly from this dialogue box rather than having to go into the full screen Print Preview mode. The mini Print Preview pane opens and closes from the dialogue box when the small arrow on the far top right of the box is pressed.


New Image Stitch and QuickTime / QTVR Support and Output.
PP9 now supports import and export of both QuickTime and QuickTime VR movies.

Figure 44. The new image stitch feature (first dialogue box) for the selection of images to stitch together.


To support the construction of QTVR movies, PP9 also comes with a new enhanced Stitch feature (Image > Stitch). The new stitch feature comes as two dialogue boxes. The first used to collect the images required for the stitching process (Figure 44). The images must already be loaded into PP9 before they appear in the Source Files list. Once added to the selection, the order of the images can be rearranged by clicking the rearrange icon (top-centre-right with rotation arrows), or by dragging the image name between other image names. The stitch process can be made to occur vertically of horizontally but not square or rectangular with multiple rows or columns.

Unfortunately, the PP9 Image Stitch feature only stitches in one direction (clockwise or top to bottom). I have a Canon PowerShot A5 digital camera which comes with a Stitch-Assist program onboard to help me make panoramas. The camera program helps the photographer create a series of overlapping images by displaying a partial view of the previous image in the series to help line up the next image. The Cannon program creates the image series in an anti-clockwise direction, lining up the left edge of the first photo with the right edge of the next photo. The PP9 stitch program stitches images in a clockwise direction. Thus, the images I took with my Canon A5 digital camera could not be used in the PP9 program. Luckily I found another series (taken clockwise) to test out PP9's stitch feature.

Figure 45. The stitch program (second dialogue box) is used for adjusting the overlap between adjacent images.


Once the images you need for the stitching process are selected, a second dialogue box opens to edit the overlaps and produce the final stitched image (Figure 45). Generally I found the program to work well, albeit more slowly that I would have liked. The stitch program that came with my camera worked much faster with more automatic features and better merging of overlapped images. The lack of a hand panning tool to help align images in PP9's stitch was a big omission I feel. However, the final result from PP9's stitch was satisfactory with almost invisible joins where the separate images were merged. I needed to manually crop the final image to remove the uneven overlapped white spaces at the top and bottom of my stitched image, whereas in the A5 camera stitch program, the crop feature was already included in the stitch program. The stitched image (before cropping) from one of my experiments is shown in Figure 46.

Figure 46. Stitched images still requiring cropping.


Creating a QuickTime VR (QTVR) Movie
Once a panorama is constructed it is a relatively simple task to make a QTVR movie. QTVR movies are not movies as such with frames that display sequentially like a regular movie. A QTVR panorama movie displays a small window containing a much larger panoramic image. The viewer can pan the large image inside the window and even zoom in and out. They are excellent for displaying large areas in a small space and can allow the visualisation of a complete 360 degree 3D space such as a room or studio.

You can also make a QTVR 3D Object movie in which an object can be rotated as if the camera was mounted on a spherical set of gimbals.

Before making a QTVR movie there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • If you start from an image (as in the case of a panorama) you must first convert you image into a movie (Movie > Create From Document) or else the QT and QTVR options will not show up in the Save, Save As or Export Dialogue boxes

  • The starting image or movie must be 24 bit

  • The horizontal size of the image in pixels must be divisible by 4. If necessary, the image can be resampled or cropped a few pixels to ensure this.

  • A movie with only a single frame will export as a panoramic VR movie while a multi-frame movie will export as a 3D Object VR movie

  • Objects in any non-background layers can be used as 'Hot Spots' to link to intermovie nodes or URLs (web links).

Figure 47. The Quick Time VR Export (panorama) dialogue box.


Once these conditions are met you can use Save, Save As or Export to create your QTVR movie by selecting MOV-QuickTime VR in the Files of Type dropdown list in any of these dialogues. Following this, the QuickTime VR Export Dialogue box appears (Figure 47). In this dialogue there are 3 tabs. The Node tab allows for various compression codecs to be used (depending on which is installed on your computer). The VR World tab allows the user to set the size of the window in which the panorama is viewed, and the last tab, Hot Spots, allows for the linking of hot spots to movie nodes or web URLs.


Better Compatibility: PDF, PSD, RIF, CDR, EPS and other file formats.
PP9 provides improved compatibility with some important 'standard' type formats such as Adobe® PhotoShop® PSD, Acrobat® PDF and Corel Draw® CDR files, and also new support for additional images formats such as MetaCreations® Painter® RIF format. The improved PSD compatibility now supports the preservation and manipulation of PhotoShop Layers during import and export. When Corel Draw CDR files are imported directly into PP9, the object path is preserved so that it can be used as a mask.

Both PP9 and Draw 9 have a new Publish to PDF option under the File menu which allows for the easy creation of Adobe Acrobat 3 PDF files. The Publish to PDF options include choice of image compression methods, image downsampling to grayscale or monochrome, image colour mode as RGB or CYMK, the inclusion of bookmarks, thumbnails, hyperlinks, ICC profiles, job tickets, and users can also save their favorite PDF output settings as a style for easy recall for future documents.

New EPS export features in PP9 include better bounding box options, Bitmap image compression, postscript compatibility options, and enhanced colour management management features. PP9 now also includes support for Postscript Printer Description (PPD) files so that users can directly access postscript printer setup features via the PPD.


Much, much more...
These are just a few of the many enhancements and new features in Corel Photo-Paint 9. I have tried to cover most of the important new features but time restrictions prevent me from covering all of the changes. At my last count I reach well over 100 significant differences between version 8 and and version 9 and I was still a long way from finishing the count. You will just have to buy or try the program and see these all for yourself! Corel has 30 day trials available for those wishing for a hands-on, risk-free raod test. I love it and think all Photo-Paint users should aim to upgrade or purchase as soon as they can.


    Made in Australia    
Produced by David Mutch of Visionary Voyager Corporation Pty Ltd
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved.