Shapes 4: Creating a Logo from Text with Shapes in Corel Painter

Many logotypes are created with vector-based tools like CorelDRAW and Adobe Illustrator. Painter's Shapes tools can also be used for this type of image creation. This installment will work through a simple logo project to demonstrate how the Shapes tools can be put to use.


Initial Text

The initial logo text is created using the Text tool. I simply typed out the characters in the combination of upper and lower case as my starting point.


Converting Text to Shapes

With the Text layer selected in the Layer palette list, I applied the Convert Text to Shapes command (Layers palette > Layers palette flyout menu) to the Text layer. This replaces the Text layer with a group of Shapes corresponding to the former text outlines.


Individual Character Selection

I wanted to kern—adjust the spacing of—the type elements to close them up. This is accomplished via the Shapes Selection tool (Tool palette). An element is selected by positioning the cursor over the desired type element and clicking on it. The Arrow keys can then used to adjust the spacing between adjacent characters. This is more precise than dragging the element by hand. The Shapes Selection tool can also be used to click-and-drag a selection rectangle to select multiple characters. This is handy for repositioning multiple Shapes elements.


Selective Anchor Point Selection

I now wanted to alter the geometry of selected type elements. The font I chose, Rockwell Bold, is a slab serif typeface. Both the first and last type elements in PixlARTP and T—have serifs at their bases. For the logo, I wanted extend and join their bases to nest the internal type elements between them. Holding down the Shift key in order to create a multiple selection, I used the Shapes Selection tool to drag out a selection rectangle to choose only the anchor points making up the slab serifs of the two characters. Again using the Arrow keys, I repositioned the slab serif elements to make the P and T type elements taller.


Repositioning for Combining Shapes

My next step was to merge the P and T type elements into a single Shape. Using the Shape Selection tool, I selected only the two points comprising the left edge of the T's slab serif base. Using the Arrow keys, I repositioned these two anchor points to the far left—nearly adjacent to the base of the P's slab serif base. Tip: While the Shape Selection tool is active, holding down the Shift key in conjunction with the Arrow keys moves the selected Shapes elements 10 screen pixels at a time.


Shapes Editing

With the both the P and T's slab serif bases in close proximity, it was now time to perform a bit of Shapes surgery. In order to join two Shapes together, it is necessary to temporarily convert them from closed shapes to open shapes.

The initial step removes control points. In order to do so, we must first split two line segments with the Scissors tool (Tool palette or Shapes Tools Property Bar). I first selected the T's line segment to be split by clicking on it with the Shape Selection tool. With the Scissors tool, I clicked in the center of the line segment. The result appears to be a new control point; it is actually two overlapping control points. I switched to the Remove Point tool (Tool palette or Shapes Tools Property Bar) and clicked on the newly created visible anchor point. This deletes one half of the former single line segment. Clicking on the remaining control point deletes the other half.

We now have two open shapes, one pair at the top of the slab serifs and the other pair at the bottom. Using the Shapes Selection tool, I selected the adjacent pair comprising the tops of the P and T slab serifs. I the applied the Join Endpoints command (Shapes menu) to the points. A new line segment is created between the points. I then performed the same operation on the bottom pair of slab serif elements. The two open shapes now make up a single closed shape. Clicking inside the newly joined P and T elements, I realized that the inside portion of the P—referred to as a counter—had disappeared.

A Shape with a negative space nested within it is called a Compound Shape. The P type element is an example. This character is actually made up of two Shapes: the outer P form and the internal counter. When a Compound Shape is converted to an Open Shape, the compound relationship between the two Shapes is voided. The former nested Shape is still present but it is no longer acting as a negative space within the surrounding Shape. Rather than re-establish the former P counter relationship with the P type element, I decided to further customize the logo by using square counters in both the P and R type elements.


Creating a Compound Shape

When multiple Shapes are grouped together—as our example is—Painter internally keeps track of all of the individual anchor points in such a way that you cannot create a Compound Shape when the Shapes to be compounded are inside of a Group. The target Shapes elements—the P type element and a newly created square counter Shape—must be temporarily dragged outside of the layer grouping. This is easily accomplished in the Layer list by selecting and dragging the elements outside of the Group folder. Having done this, I could now select both Shapes with the Shapes Selection tool and apply the Make Compound Shape command (Shapes menu). If the Make Compound Shape command is dimmed out, it indicates that either one or both of the two Shapes to be compounded are stilled grouped.


Finishing Touches

I deleted the round dot capping the i type element and replaced it with a square element to mirror the square counters in the P and R type elements. I then used smaller centered squares within the larger square counters in order to visually accentuate the notion of a pixel. By saving the finished file in Painter's RIF format, I can preserve the vector-based Shapes data. Like all vector art, I can resize the logo to any resolution and maintain the crisp edge only vectors can provide. For example, I can up-size it to an appropriate resolution for print, then convert it into a pixel-based layer using the Convert to Layer command (Shapes menu) and proceed to use Painter's arsenal of paint and effects tool on it. Painter also allows export of Shapes to Adobe Illustrator via the Export as Adobe Illustrator File command (File menu > Export).

While not a vector-centric application, the availability of Shapes in Painter enables a wide variety of design possibilities.


Viva la Painter!

Shapes 4: Creating a Logowith Shapes in Corel Painter