Get creative with
Satori PhotoXL
by Cavan Scott

Want Photoshop without the high price tag? What you need is this issue’s cover-disc star Satori PhotoXL. Never one to shy away from the camera,  Cavan Scott shows you what to do…

Why is it widely believed that Photoshop is the be-all and end-all of photo manipulation packages? There’s plenty of alternatives around that won’t leave too much of a hole in your pocket. One alternative is the powerful Satori PhotoXL 2.29, which won’t burn a hole in your pocket at all because we’re giving it away free on the cover disc this issue. To give you a helping hand with this impressive graphics tool, we’ve got 20 tips that will have you creating photographic masterpieces on your PC in no time at all. Move over David Bailey…
1 D’oh!
Hitting ‘Undo’ in many programs means you lose everything you’ve done with a certain tool, just because of one silly mistake. Not so with Satori.

If you make a boo-boo while painting on a picture, go to the Edit menu and pull down to Undo (Remove Top Object). This will bring up the Undo slider.

Drag the slider along the bar and you will see your brush stroke undo stroke-by-stroke in front of your very eyes. When you reach the point where you made your mistake, hit OK and continue with your work.
4 Adding text
In the Edit toolbar select the Add Text icon, then switch to the Setup tab on the Actions palette. First, type your text into the Setup box and choose the font you require. Set the font size from the pull-down menu and make sure you have selected the correct colour from the Colour palette. Then choose whether you want the text to be in bold or italics.

Click once on the main image to create an outline of the text, and then position it within your frame. Right-click on your mouse and select the Render option. Satori will now draw your text on to the image.

8 Add a gradient to your text
Give your text a little extra kick by adding a gradient. Once you’ve formatted your text (see tip four) click on the Colour tab of the Actions palette and hit Box Corner.

This will activate the Box Corner icon, which features four small boxes at each of its corners. Select a colour such as yellow as your current colour from the Colour palette and click in the two top boxes. Then choose blue and highlight the bottom two boxes and your text will now be coloured yellow at the top, blending gradually down to blue at the bottom.

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It has to be said that Satori’s undo feature is unrivalled in similar packages like PhotoShop and Paint Shop Pro

5 Zoom raider
Want a closer look at your work?
Hit the magnifying glass logo on the Shortcuts toolbar and select the area of your project you want to zoom into. A new window will pop up containing the chosen part of your image along with the Zoom Controls box.

You’ll notice that the magnified box has bitmapped slightly. If it’s a large image, you can bring it into sharper focus by pressing the Hi-Rez button.

You can also use the Zoom Control window to open more than one magnified window and pan around the image with the second one.
9 Brush strokes
If you want to add a personal touch to your work, Satori enables you to create your own brushes.  What’s more, you can design a brush to be anything from a letter to a logo.

Start by opening a new canvas roughly 500x500 pixels and draw the shape you want the brush to be. For your first attempt, why not use your initials? Once you’re happy with the shape, select File, Save As and save the file into the Brushes folder in the Satori directory. Then, close the canvas and then open a new image.On the Paint Actions palette, go to the Size tab and click Setup.
2 Cast a shadowy figure
It’s easy to cast shadows in Satori. Hit the Select Top Object icon on the Edit toolbar to highlight the first object on the image and then use the Previous Selection Object to scroll through the layers until you’ve selected the object you want to add a drop shadow to. On the Actions palette switch to the Shadow tab and click Shadow.

Increasing the figure in the Number box will lengthen the shadow while selecting a number in the Offset box enables you to move the shadow away from or towards the original object. Once you’ve done that, use Feather to blur the shadow and make it look more realistic.

6 Go on, expand
your horizons
Just because you start a project using a small canvas, there’s no need to try and cram everything into a tiny area. Hitting the Canvas button on the Actions palette will enable you to alter its dimensions.  Click on Change Size to bring up the Resize Canvas window and enter the new width in the X box and the height in the Y box.

You’ll notice that you can view the size of your image in inches, centimetres or pixels.

Unless you want your image to stretch to fit the new canvas, make sure you highlight the Keep To Original Size option.

Once the Brush Setup window has opened, switch to the Type tab and select Use Imported File before hitting Thumbnail Browse. Look for the file you’ve just created and hit OK. Click Apply Now and paint on the open image and you’ll see that your initials have replaced the usual brush. You can then try applying different settings to the new brush back in the Brush Setup window. When you’ve achieved the effect you want, switch to the Type tab, hit New and enter a name for the brush you’ve created. Click OK and a new button for your brush will appear under the Brush tab of the Paint Actions palette.

10 Keep it tidy
Satori uses a lot of different palettes – small windows containing various different tools – to help you work.

3 Colouring competition
Adding colour to line art or illustration is a positive dream with Satori.

Scan in your artwork, and open it as a RIR file. On the Actions palette, click Geometry and then hit the Fill tool. Go to the Setup tab and press the line-art button.

Now, it’s just a case of choosing the colour you want from the Colour palettes, moving the fill cursor over the area you want shaded and clicking the left mouse button. Remember to zoom in to colour more detailed areas.

To give your newly coloured art more depth, go back to the Actions palette, select Paint, switch to the Brushes tab and click on the Shadow tool.

The Resize Canvas window also enables you to set the Dots Per Inch (dpi) of your image. 

If you’re working on images for a Web site it’s best to keep the dpi to 72 – by way of comparison, magazines such as Windows Answers usually insist on around 300dpi.

7 Texture brushes
Open your canvas and hit Texture on the Actions palette. This will bring up the Set Texture window.

Scroll through the RIR file thumbnails until you find the image you want and then click OK.  

A Texture canvas will appear and you’ll notice that the clone icon has replaced the cursor.

While these are all very useful, having all of them open at one time leaves your on-screen working area cluttered and extremely limited. Luckily there is only one of these you need to have open at all times, and that’s the Actions palette. This palette is separated into a number of sections by a series of buttons down the left-hand side: Paint, Geometry, Keying, Layer and Canvas. Running along the bottom is another series of buttons, including Canvas, Colour and Zoom. Click once on the individual button to bring up the relevant palette and click again to close it up.

You may also find it useful to have the Shortcut palette up and running all the time, as it contains all the main controls, everything from the clone tool to add text. However, if you leave it floating around it can also get in the way.

To find a more useful home click and hold the mouse button on the palette.
This darkens any area you brush and when used with the Highlight option adds a three-dimensional element to your work.

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Fancy livening up some drab line art with a splash of colour? Check out the tip above.
Click on the top right-hand corner of the Texture image, then switch to the main Canvas window and begin painting as you would with a normal brush. Instead of a single colour, you’ll be brushing on the Textile image. Change the Textile source via the File, Load Texture menu.

There’s a couple of things you should remember while using the textile brush: first, any images you want to use as a textile source must be converted to a RIR file first.

Also, both the original canvas and textile source must be of a similar size in order for the process to work correctly.
Drag the palette to the empty grey space above the main window. Let go of the mouse and the Shortcut palette will resize itself to fit this area.

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Satori PhotoXL’s tools are all free-floating, and can be positioned wherever you like.

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Reproduced with kind permission of Windows Answers magazine, Future Publishing.