This tutorial will walk us through the act of creating a lightning bolt
using both CorelDRAW and Corel PHOTO-PAINT. The two foci will be the
Natural Pen Tool (Draw) and channel operations (Photo-Paint).
Before we actually create the lightning, let's set up our Draw environment.
Open up Corel Draw and go to Tools | Options (Ctrl J)
Select Document | Page | Size and change the settings to
Width = 640 Height = 480 Resolution = 96
Click OK to return to the document
Drawing Lightning with the Natural Pen Tool
Using the available pen nibs within the natural pen tool
gives us the necessary freedom to create jagged,
random-looking lightning bolts. Of the four available
types of nibs, two are the more useful for creating lightning:
the Fixed-Width Pen Type and the Preset Natural Pen Type.
The basic difference between the two is the shape they give a lightning bolt.
Let's try our hand at a bolt of lightning using the Preset Natural Pen Type.
Select the Natural Pen Tool from the toolbox, then select the
Preset Natural Pen Type from the property bar, setting the pen
width to 10 pixels as shown above.
Using your mouse, begin around the top center of our canvas,
press and hold the left button to draw a staggered, vertical
line downward. Just think of the randomness of lightning in
order to determine the bolt's dramatic lines or subtle curves.
Remember to stay within our 640 x 480 area.
When we release the mouse, our lightning has an outline only.
Remedy this by left-clicking the black color well of the color
palette as shown below.
Select the Rectangle Tool from the toolbox and draw a box
640 x 480 to match the size of our canvas. Press Ctrl A and
choose Align to Center of Page to center the rectangle onto
the canvas. Lastly, remove the black outline by right clicking
the 'null' well in the color palette.
With the rectangle selected, shift-select the lightning bolt
and press Ctrl H to export the items.
At the Export dialog shown at right, choose a folder, give the file the
name "bolt_channel_1", save as a *.cpt, checking the
"Selected Only" box. When the Bitmap Export dialog comes up,
choose Black and White for the color and 640 x 480 for the
size. Leave the resolution at 300 dpi. Click OK.
That's it! Let's close up CorelDRAW and open Corel PHOTO-PAINT.
To set up Photo-Paint's environment:
Open both the Objects and Channels dockers
Reset Colors in the Status Bar
Set the Mask Mode to Normal
Bringing Our Lightning Bolt to Life Using Corel PHOTO-PAINT
Let's match the canvas size to our CorelDRAW file: Go to Open | New
from the File menu, choose Black as the Paper Color and 640 x 480
for the image size. If it requires, change the resolution to 96 dpi.
An example is shown at right.
We want to retrieve the work done in Draw and use it as a channel
mask. So go to Mask | Load | Load from Disk from the menu and locate
the exported *.cpt file created earlier. The file will come up as a
mask to which we want to commit the following steps:
Invert the mask and select Save Mask to New Channel in the Channels docker.
Select the current mask from the Channels docker and delete it.
The Alpha channel should now be selected. If it isn't, click on
Alpha 1 in the Channels docker now as shown at left.
Choose Blur | Gaussian Blur from the Effects menu, setting the
radius to 2.00 pixels. Click OK.
Back in the Channels docker, choose Channel to Mask at the foot
of the docker. Once the mask has been created, select the RGB Channel
in order to bring the background into focus.
Go to Edit | Fill… and pick the paper color (white). Click OK.
From the Standard Toolbar, click Create Object: Cut Selection
which will turn our lightning bolt into its own object. Select the
Background in the Objects docker, go back to Edit | Fill…, choose
Current Fill this time, and click OK.
Now our lightning is finally beginning to look like the real thing as shown
at right (I hope!). But let's do a couple more things to further enhance it.
Select the lightning object in the Object docker.
Bring up the Drop Shadow dialog found in the Object menu
and set it up as follows: Offset = 0 px, Opacity = 80,
Color = white, Feather Width = 10, Direction = Average. Click OK.
Ungroup the bolt from its shadow and select the shadow from the Object docker.
Choose Noise | Add Noise from the Effects menu, accepting the default values.
At the Effects menu again, choose Blur | Motion Blur and give it the
following properties: Distance = 5.00 px, Direction = 45°,
Use Paper Color. Click OK.
Regroup the bolt and its shadow in order that they can move about
together as shown at left.
(From here, we can use our Transformation tools to resize, skew, scale,
rotate, distort, or give perspective to our bolt. Resizing vertically
is especially useful in that we can make the bolt skinnier, thereby
making it appear further away.)
And that about wraps it up! With a little imagination there's no end
to the number of lightning bolts a person can create.