Canvas Update Introduces SpriteEffects

Deneba Canvas 6, introduced in 1998, implemented a new technology called SpriteLayers that lets you create sophisticated masking and transparency effects using bitmapped images and vector graphics. Now, less than a year later, Deneba Software (305/--596-5644, ) is preparing to ship Canvas 7, an upgrade to the integrated graphics software that adds another new technology, called SpriteEffects.

Vector Filters

Canvas combines image-editing and vector-graphics capabilities, and the new SpriteEffects function thus borrows from both Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia FreeHand. As with Photoshop's Adjustment layers, you can apply filters such as Blur and Sharpen to a layer that affects any underlying graphic. But SpriteEffects also work much like FreeHand lenses: you can use Bézier drawing tools to modify the size and shape of the SpriteEffect–the area affected by the filter–and you can detach a SpriteEffect from one object and apply it to others.

SpriteEffects have another property unique to Canvas: they let you apply Photoshop filters–including third-party plug-ins–to vector graphics, as long as the filters support Photoshop's Actions palette. When you apply the filter, the lens displays a rendered version of the vector graphic at a resolution you define. However, you can still edit the drawing in its vector form, and you can detach the lens and apply it to other vector objects.

Other Goodies

Along with the SpriteEffects technology, Deneba has spruced up the Canvas interface. The program's many palettes are consolidated in a single menu, and Canvas now includes a Photoshop-style Navigator window that makes it easy to move around a document in magnified views. You can also modify vector objects while viewing their stroke and fill characteristics; previous versions let you edit objects only in a wireframe mode.

The program's Web capabilities have been spruced up as well. You can create GIF animations, experiment with color-reduced palettes, and preview up to four versions of each image to see which settings offer the best trade-off between file size and image quality. Deneba has junked Colada, the Java-based Web export component of Canvas 6, and now provides direct export of Dynamic HTML. Deneba expects to ship the $375 package this September.

September 1999 page: 28

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