Effects & CoreImage

Click on a menu title above for a detailed explanation of that menu's commands.
Effects are vector and bitmap operations performed on an Intaglio graphic object to produce an image you can't get by vector operations alone. For example, to get a circle with a drop shadow you might create a blurry bitmap of the circle outline and draw it under, and slightly offset from the circle. This is what Intaglio effects do automatically.

Standard Intaglio effects require at least Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther). If you have Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) and a compatible video card you can also used advanced effects based on Apple's CoreImage technology.

Since effects require vector graphics to be converted to bitmaps, Intaglio uses the document's resolution to determine the size of the bitmaps to create. It's important to note that your vector graphics remain editable when effects are used, but the effect bitmaps must be recreated when a graphic is edited. Since this can be time consuming on slower machines or with high resolutions, there are two ways to reduce this computation time while editing. The first is to hide all effects, and the second is to preview effects on the screen at low resolution while editing.

The Effects Inspector

The Effects inspector lists all effects in the currently selected graphic and allows you to edit those effects. The effects are listed from top to bottom, so the image above shows a 3D Lighting effect over a Drop Shadow effect. The items in the list can be dragged to rearrange the effects. The buttons under the list allow effects to be added or removed and the effect options to be changed. The panel on the right allows the properties of the selected effect to be adjusted.

Standard Effects

  • Drop Shadow
    A shadow is placed under the original graphic to create the appearance of the graphic floating above the page.

  • Interior Shadow
    A shadow is placed inside the original graphic to create the appearance of the graphic cut into the page.

  • Exterior Glow
    A glow is drawn behind the original graphic, from the edges out.

  • Interior Glow
    A glow is drawn inside the original graphic, from the edges in.

  • Blur
    A blur filter is applied to the original graphic. This works best with bitmap graphics.

  • Gaussian Blur
    A gaussian blur filter is applied to the original graphic. This works best with bitmap graphics, or it can be applied to the mask of a graphic to turn the whole graphic into a shadow.

  • Sharpen
    A sharpen filter is applied to the original graphic. This works best with bitmap graphics.

  • 3D Lighting
    3D imaging algorithms are applied to simulate the appearance of light reflecting from a raised surface. There are separate controls to adjust the characteristics of the simulated light source and the 3D surface created from the graphic.

  • Reflection
    Creates a reflected image of the original graphic below the original.

CoreImage Effects

CoreImage is an innovative graphics technology in Mac OS X 10.4 to use today's advanced graphics cards for image processing. Intaglio allows you to use CoreImage to create effects limited only by your graphics hardware and your imagination. Computers with less capable video cards are able to use many CoreImage features, but performance is slower and experience indicates that some features behave in unpredictable ways.

CoreImage includes many different image processing filters called image units. To use these filters show the advanced effects from the action menu in the effects inspector. This will add the still image filters installed on your computer to the Add Effects menu (i.e., the “+”) in the inspector window.

  • Add To/Remove From Source List
    Allows the selected graphic to be named and added to, or removed from the effects source list. Adding graphics to the source list allows an effect of one graphic to use images created from other graphics. Graphics in the source list can’t be deleted from the document, but they can be moved to another (possibly invisible) layer.

  • Always Use CoreImage
    This is an option for individual graphics. Graphics with this option enabled will use CoreImage whenever possible to render standard effects, even if those effects could be rendered without using CoreImage. This will frequently run somewhat slower and appear slightly different than using Intaglio's standard effects mechanism.

  • Color Match Effects
    This is an option for individual graphics. CoreImage has the capability to color match the graphics created for effects. Effects for graphics with this option enabled will always use CoreImage color matching.

  • Ignore Effects Resolution
    This is an option for individual graphics. Normally effects are automatically scaled as the effects resolution changes. This option inhibits that scaling. This is desirable for a few CoreImage filters whose results depend on exact pixels supplied as their sources, to allow the final result imaged at high resolution to match the preview screen image. For example the Edge Work and Pixellate filters may benefit from this option.

  • Crop Effects
    Some image units return very large results. Intaglio automatically crops these to the size of the document, but it can be desirable (and faster) to crop them manually or to the bounds of the source graphic. Because CoreImage uses the bottom/left corner as the origin, the crop values are relative to that corner of the graphic.

  • Collect Effects
    Create a collection of effects by grouping the currently selected effects.

  • Disband Collection
    Ungroup the selected effects collection.

  • Show/Hide Advanced Effects
    This adds or removes the available CoreImage filters to the Add Effects menu. Filters are added to the menu in submenus by category.

Using CoreImage

The CoreImage sample above shows one graphic used as a source for another. A “light ball” is mapped onto a 3D surface generated from a text block. The light ball is a plain bitmap image in the document that presents several light sources. The effect also includes two drop shadows to emphasize the green and red lights on the ball. The list in the inspector window shows the filters used to create this effect. The filters at the bottom of the list are performed before those above them in the list. This means the filters at the top of the list are drawn on top of the filters below them in the list. Filters can be dragged in the list to reorder them.

Each filter has an output and zero or more inputs (i.e., sources). Frequently as in this example, multiple filters are chained together by connecting the output of the first to the input of the second, and so on. Filter sources can be the output of previous filters (including generator filters) or a graphic in the document previous added to the source list. In this example the Shaded Material filter uses the light ball graphic as its Shading Image input. There are several output channels available to contain intermediate results, to be combined in later filters. Here the output of the Shaded Material filter is stored in channel A, then used as the input of both Drop Shadow filters. The outputs of the two Drop Shadow filters are composited together to form the final image. The diagram below shows the chain of filters used in the image above and the intermediate results throughout the process. The filters in the effects list above are show in the right column of the diagram below.

Below a Circle Splash Distortion filter has been composited prior to the drop shadows and darkened with a Gamma Adjust filter. Note that the drop shadows don't change because they're also using the intermediate result of the Shaded Material filter as their input. The results of all filters above Shaded Material are composited together to form the final image.