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The Power of Frame Recognition

Recently I was contacted by a CorelDRAW user who wanted to create a unique picture frame with the name of a person at the bottom. FIGURE 1 is a picture of what was desired. I’ll go through the steps required to create this type of artwork in CorelDRAW so that it can be cut/etched on a laser engraver. Even if you don’t have to create this type of project or even use a laser engraver, the process can be transferred to a wide variety of projects.

The Power of Frame Recognition

Harness CorelDRAW’s Tools for an Impressive Gift Item

By FOSTER D. COBURN III, CORELDRAW UNLEASHED

(Originally published in the January 2016 issue of Insights.)

Recently I was contacted by a CorelDRAW user who wanted to create a unique picture frame with the name of a person at the bottom. FIGURE 1 is a picture of what was desired. I’ll go through the steps required to create this type of artwork in CorelDRAW so that it can be cut/etched on a laser engraver. Even if you don’t have to create this type of project or even use a laser engraver, the process can be transferred to a wide variety of projects.

CREATING THE OUTSIDE FRAME

The first steps involve creating the outside dimensions of the frame and the main cutout in the center. For this project, I was told the outside dimensions should be 5 in. by 7 in. and the opening in the middle should be 3 in. by 4.75 in. with rounded corners.

It was quite simple to create the two rectangles needed at the exact dimensions using the Rectangle Tool in CorelDRAW and setting the exact dimensions on the Property Bar. Those of you using older versions of CorelDRAW will have to be careful about creating the inside rectangle as you must draw it at the correct dimensions to get properly rounded corners. Thankfully this isn’t an issue in CorelDRAW X5 and later, versions that don’t distort corner roundness. Use either the Shape tool to round the corners or adjust the values on the Property Bar until the roundness is just right on the corners.

Once the two parts of the frame have been created, Combine (Ctrl + L) them to cut the smaller rectangle from the larger one. Because the lines will be cut with a laser, I gave them a red outline. If your laser requires a different color, use that color. FIGURE 2 shows our frame so far. For some of you, this is all you need and the project is complete. I’ve filled it with a pale blue for illustration purposes

CREATING THE NAME

Now let’s create the name. Note that the name in the original photo is used in two ways. The bottom of the characters slightly overlap the frame. Where they go inside the area for the photo, they are cut out. Where they overlap the frame, they are etched.

Regardless of the font selected, it is important to weld the text to itself so that it is a single object. You can do this by selecting Arrange | Shaping | Weld. I create my own shortcut key, assigned to W, so I can do this with a quick tap on the keyboard. If you have a stray accent (such as the dot on a lowercase I), you will have to manually draw a small shape to connect it to the rest of the text and weld it all together.

FIGURE 3 shows the name ready to attach to the frame. I’ve filled the frame with a pale blue and the name with orange for illustration purposes.

PUTTING THE NAME ON THE FRAME

Position the name to create the exact overlap you desire. Copy it to the clipboard (Ctrl + C). Now select the name and the frame, and weld them together using the button on the Property Bar. FIGURE 4 shows the name welded to the frame. When the weld is complete, paste (Ctrl + V) the copy of the text back into the drawing. Give the copy of the text a different outline color that represents the amount of etching you want. You’ll also want to put it on a different layer so it can be output separately.

For this example, I’ve outlined the copy of the text in blue. FIGURE 5 shows the copy of the text overlaying the frame. Note that you can’t see the text extended from the edge of the frame because it is behind the overlaid text. Again, fills were added for illustrative purposes.

OUTPUT THE FILE

This specific project was to be output on a laser cutter/ engraver. Because there are two parts to the projects, there will be two separate pieces of art sent for output. On one layer is the frame and text that has been welded together. It is outlined in red or whatever color is designated for cutting. Make this layer printable and any other layers nonprintable and then output the artwork.

Now toggle the layer with the frame and text to nonprintable and the layer with the copy of the text to printable. This copy should be outlined with a color that delivers the appropriate amount of etching. Output this layer.

Once the laser finishes, the piece should be perfect.

BOOLEAN FUNCTIONS

I’ve been telling users for years that the Boolean functions in CorelDRAW (Weld, Trim, Intersect, and Combine) should be used in almost every project. This project is yet another example of artwork that is fairly easy to create using these powerful features. Typically I find that users either aren’t sure which feature applies to a given situation or how to apply the features in the correct order. Practice the techniques in this article and you’ll soon find that you are creating the perfect artwork the first time, every time.


Foster D. Coburn III is the author of 13 books on CorelDRAW, the latest being CorelDRAW X6 Unleashed. He writes the free Graphics Unleashed Blog at http://graphics-unleashed. com and provides fonts, artwork, and add-ons of interest to CorelDRAW users through the CorelDRAW Unleashed site at www. coreldrawunleashed.com. Connect with Graphics Unleashed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/graphicsunleashed and follow Foster on Twitter @fostercoburn and Instagram @fostercoburn.

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