Chris' ColorWorks Power Tips- by Chris Wenham

Get to Know Reapply

(Works with both ColorWorks V2 and V1+)

Using Reapply you can create a frame around a photograph easily and fast. First take your source image, select Effects.Clone and click OK after making sure the starting point is the bottom left corner of the image. Now open up a new canvas that's the same size as the source. Take the rectangle tool, make sure it's set to "filled", and draw a rectangle that's about 5 pixels smaller on each side than the canvas you're drawing to. (So say the new canvas is 200x200, your rectangle would start at 5, 5 and end at 194, 194 (trust me, it works) to leave a 5 pixel "buffer" all around the edge.) ColorWorks will clone from the source canvas to the new one into the space of that rectangle. Now:

[a picture demonstrating the finished product]

The black you laid down first makes the shadow and gives the appearance of the red frame being raised. The soft brushes also round the corners. If you need a stronger red, just press Shift + Backspace once more.

The above is just a simple illustration of what you can do with the Reapply command. It's one of the most useful features in ColorWorks, allowing you to layer effects with the same shape/track you've just drawn with. Combined with the stacking of effects together you can accomplish very complex processes in only a few keystrokes.

Of Gamma Correction and Web Publishing

(Tip works with both ColorWorks V2 and V1+)

When SPG designed ColorWorks they included features for advanced Gamma Correction. It adjusts for nonlinearities between the voltage sent to the monitor and its color output. Every monitor has a different gamma setting depending on how it was made, how old it is, and how long it's been switched on. Colors even change slightly as it warms up. Gamma Correction becomes important in print publishing when you need to be sure the colors you see on the screen are going to be the same when they print out.

However, in Web publishing you have a slight problem -- you can't possibly know what the Gamma of a person's monitor is when they come to visit your page. After designing a graphic in ColorWorks, saving it, and then viewing it with a non gamma-correcting web browser you may find that your images are darker than they were in ColorWorks.

The best you can do is to shoot for the "average" gamma so your images are neither washed out on Macs nor dark and gloomy on Suns. Try for 1.8 or 2.2 on each of red, green and blue. Find these settings in Options.Canvas Creation Settings on the "Monitor Gamma" (GIF, 8k) tab. If you don't want any gamma correction at all just set it to 1.0.

One last tip I discovered when searching for alternatives (before smacking my forehead and realizing I could have just set the gamma to 1.0) was to cut and paste the image into a simple picture viewing utility like Galleria (mask, float and Edit.Cut). You could then save it without gamma correction and be able to save images smaller than ColorWorks's 100x100 pixel minimum, set transparency colors and more. (I'd say this is temporary at least since there should be a GIF89 export filter for ColorWorks out soon, plus the elimination of the 100x100 pixel minimum with version 3.)

To learn more about monitor gamma and how to compensate for it, head to the What About Gamma? page.

Download Depot

Rain Texture - Similar to ColorWorks' own "Drops" texture but in a different style. Here the drops look like they've fallen on a vertical or tilted surface. Download to the x:\cworks\texture directory.

ColorWorks Culture

The following was first posted by Joel Krautheim on the c.o.o.* newsgroups; we've stolen it and brought it to you here:
Here is a funny story -- During one of our first SMP (symmetric multiprocessing -- the trick of spreading a drawing operation across more than one CPU) testing trips to IBM Boca Raton, we were having problems getting the performance gains we expected, one of the IBM SMP gurus at the time, an absolutely brilliant man named Jim Macon, said to us, "wait a minute, let me get the Colonel." We said to ourselves, "Yeah, get his butt in here and let's get to the bottom of this." A few minutes later Jim came back with a diskette and proceeded to work on the system, then we tried the operation again and got the results we expected.

What happened you ask? When Jim left the room he went back to his office and built a patch for the OS/2 SMP "KERNEL" in a FEW MINUTES, it was the patch that was on the diskette. Ever since, it has been a running joke at SPG that when something isn't going right, somebody says, "tell the Colonel to get his butt in here and fix this."

News from SPG

SPG's Web site

SPG released two new on-line technique lessons this month, Watermarking images and Creating 3D effects. The 3D effects tutorial expands on the "instant spheres" trick from one of my earlier powertips columns, showing you how to do cones, bars, lozenge shapes and more. The Watermarking effects tutorial is more simple, and covers two different ways in which you can add a "Watermark" to your images.

After testing the water with a CD-ROM-Only version of ColorWorks V2, SPG has decided to do the same with their V1+ product. This US$99 version (selling for less at places like Indelible Blue) leaves out the printed manuals in favor of the on-line "Mega Manual" found on the CD-ROM.


Chris Wenham is a Team OS/2er in Binghamton, NY and president of his own company -- Wenham's Web Works. He has written comedy, sci-fi, HTML, Pascal, C++ and will work for tips.

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