A Letterville Step By Step
Creating Dimension With Eye Candy

By Jonathan Androsky

A few weeks ago I posted the following layout over on the Letterville Portfolio Table for a critique. A few folks expressed an interest in seeing how I achieved the effects in that drawing. Well, it just so happens that the same client wanted to see another drawing with a different name, so I figured I'd try my hand at a how to.

Disclaimer: this is my first how to, I'm sure there are better / faster / easier ways to do this, this is just the method that I use and am comfortable with. So with that in mind, here we go.

The first thing I did was lay the sign out in CorelDraw. Pretty typical drawing. Now what we are going to do here is copy the shapes out of this layout and paste them into a new layout in Corel PhotoPaint. Yes, you can copy vector shapes out of Draw and paste them straight into Photopaint as bitmap objects, neat huh?  So at this point you'll want to have Corel Draw open with your layout, and Corel PhotoPaint open with a blank document that matches the overall size of your Corel drawing with a resolution of 72 dpi. This is the resolution that Corel assigns copied Vector objects when it pastes them into Photopaint, so when you paste your shapes they'll all stay the same size. I generally do work like this at about 10" in length, at this size and resolution (72 dpi) you should have an image that prints nicely on 8½" x 11" paper.

Ok, time to start our stone wall. There is a rectangle behind everything that represents mortar, copy that that bugger out of Draw and paste it into your PhotoPaint document.
You'll notice that I have the Objects docker open in PhotoPaint. I leave this open all of the time. When you paste a new shape into PhotoPaint, it will appear as an object in the docker. You can easily select objects by clicking on their representation in the docker as well as arrange their order (top to bottom) by dragging the objects representation to the desired location in the dockers list. Pretty handy, no?

Back to business. Stones and mortar are generally not smooth (duh) so we want some texture on our mortar. Select the mortar, go on up to the effects menu and from there go to Corel's Texture filters, select Stone. You'll get a cute little interface that lets you mess with the filter parameters, like so:

Now copy the stones out of Draw and paste 'em in. We're using the same filter for texture here, but with slightly different parameters.

At this point I thought the mortar looked a bit dark, so I selected it and gave the brightness and contrast sliders (located under Image / Adjust / Brightness, Contrast, Intensity) a gentle nudge. Here's where we're at.

Sorta' flat lookin', aint it? Enter the Eye Candy 4000 filter set. Select the stones and swing on over to the Eye Candy filters (under Effects), were going to use the shadow Lab to create some depth. Thusly:


When using this filter or the Cutout filter I almost never use black as the shadow color, rather I use a darker shade of whatever color the shadow is being cast upon. If there are a whole bunch of colors under the shadow, then I'll use black but I'll turn the opacity way down. Let's look at the finished wall:

Time to Build our sign face. We'll select the outermost shape of the sign, Copy it, and paste it over our wall. Then apply the Shadowlab filter on that object to give her some pop.

Now, we are going to create our gold leaf bevel. You'll see a wee little purple outline on the shape we just worked with, in CorelDraw we'll remove that outline and copy the same shape again and paste it into PhotoPaint. We're doing this because we want the bevel shape separate from the shadow so we can fool with it without affecting the qualities of the drop shadow or the purple pinstripe.

In PhotoPaint, select the new gold shape and go after the Eye Candy filters, we're gonna' use Chrome. There are 3 tabs in this interface that have parameters you can play with, I've included one image of the whole interface, and a second image which shows my parameters on the other two tabs.

Yup, that bevel is way wider than it will be when we're done. That's ok, we're going to cover most of it anyway. Here's how she looks.

Next we are going to copy and paste in the outside green and purple boarders. Since we don't need to fool with these, go ahead and select them together and paste them as one object.

Now we get to do some sandblasting. Copy and paste the beige background into PhotoPaint. Now we could use the Texture filter here, but I didn't like the results. So instead we're going to select the beige object, and use Corel's paint bucket tool. We want to choose the texture fill mode (the icon that looks sort of like a purple brain), then select "edit fill" (the cyan paint bucket Icon). Find the Red Brick texture, and tweak the parameters like so:

Not bad. Now to give a bit of dimension, back to the Eye Candy filters. Select the beige object we've been working with and apply the Cutout filter. Like in the Shadow Lab, we're using a shade of the background color instead of black. Make a note of the color used for the shadow here, we'll need it later.

Here we go gang, the last bit. We're going to select all of the flat interior design elements and paste them into PhotoPaint as one object, then add a drop shadow via Shadowlab. Remember when I said to make a note of your shadow color back when we applied the cutout to the background? This is when you'll need it.

I've also pasted in the center of the oval and applied the same Cutout filter to at as I did on the blasted background.


On to the text. We'll paste in our primary (Meadow Wood) and secondary (Estates) text as separate objects. The primary text will be a prismatic appliqué, while the secondary will be incised and Gold leafed.

Let's tackle the prismatic first. We're going to use the Eye Candy Bevel Boss filter for this. This filter works something like the chrome filter we used for the bevel, only it uses the objects original fill. Lets take a look.

You'll notice that I used dark and light shades of the original color for the lhighlight and shadow, this keeps the colors from becoming muddy. The B.B. filter can do some strange things to color, so you may need to play with your adjustment sliders to get what you like, I've also added a faint drop shadow with Shadow Lab.

On to the incised text. Select the object and apply a Chrome filter. We're going to use the same settings that we used for our bevel, with one exception. We want to change the profile in the Bevel Profile tab (this works like editing Bezier curves in your graphics software) to look like this:



Almost done! I want to say a quick word about the Chrome filter. This filter uses tiny bitmaps called reflection maps to generate it's effects. I'm using a reflection map called Roadside2, which is a color adjusted version of Eye Candy's Roadside reflection map. It looks like this:

These little fellows are buried deep in the Windows program directory along with Eye Candy's other data. They can be found by doing a search for "reflection". You can put any bitmaps that you want in here for an infinite variety of effects.
Ok, time for the finishing touches. At this point I thought the secondary copy needed an outline, so I generated one in Draw, Copied it to Photopaint, and used the Objects docker to arrange its location and place it behind the incised copy that we just made.

I didn't do anything fancy with the tree, "cuz that aint the tree we're usin'" (to quote the client) aside from a quick drop shadow.

The whole drawing looked a little dark to me, so I selected all of the objects and gave my Brightness and Contrast sliders a bump in the right direction.


Jonathan Androsky

I entered the sign industry in 1990 as a vinyl monkey. You know...weed, mask, stick, rinse, repeat as needed. It was a small shop in Eastern Pennsylvania, but the woman who owned that shop had to be the fastest sho-card writer I've ever seen. I learned a good deal about hand lettering from her.

Soon it came time to give college a shot. To drum up some beer money,  I started running with a biker friend of mine to Hog meets and club houses in the Philly and Allentown areas. I'd stripe tanks, paint jackets and anything else that put a few dollars in my pocket. The guys used to call me "Chicken".

On the off weekends it was grab the kit and head to the dirt track where I was the "Emergency name guy". Those deals went something like this:

Racer: Chicken! Dude! I ripped off my door last heat and we welded on some diamond plate or something but I can't drive without my name on the door cuz it's bad luck!!!!

Me: Ok, gimme twenty bucks

From there I landed a more respectable job at Spandex USA, now known Clarke Systems. I was a  Gerber router tech. / installer / trainer. That was good for about 2+ years until, in 1997, I installed a Sabre 408 at the signage wholesaler 21st Century Signs. The owner offered me a job where I could almost be a sign guy again, so I jumped on it. Now almost five years later I still work as a designer and consultant at 21st Century along with my beautiful wife Sara who runs the router that I installed. Oh yeah, and no one calls me Chicken anymore!


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