Contour tool

17/02/2009

The benefits of the CorelDRAW Contour tool are a good reason for us to take a better look into its properties and variations. This tool is basically a way to create concentric lines to the outer or inner side of an object.

About the tool

The Contour tool can be found in CorelDRAW toolbox menu on the left under the Interactive tools group. The default interactive tool is the Blending tool, click and hold on the icon to gain acces to the other tools in the group and the Contour tool it self.

CorelDRAW has several presets and properties in the top settings bar that comes up when the tool is active.

CorelDRAW contour settings

Presets

CorelDRAW contour presets/

There are 7 default presets available for the tool. You can pick any of them and make adjustments to make ’em fit your needs.

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Contour direction

CorelDRAW contour direction/
These three CorelDRAW icons let you pick weather you want the contour direction to be:

  • To center (automatically sets the number of inner contour steps)
  • Inside (lets you choose the number of inner contour steps)
  • Outside

CorelDRAW inner and outer contour/

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These examples show the difference between the inner and outer contours. The star was originally yellow.

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Contour steps and offset

CorelDRAW contour steps and offsetThe contour steps and offset values are important when trying to control the smoothness of the contour. They work in a counter proportional matter.

CorelDRAW smooth contour/

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To achieve a smoother contour, useful when simulating 3D effects in CorelDRAW, you need to use a larger number of contour steps and a smaller value for the contour offset (min value is 0,025 mm).

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CorelDRAW fragmented contour/

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To break the contour into fragmented lines you need to do the opposite, a small number of contour steps and a larger value for the contour offset.

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Contour progression colors

CorelDRAW contour progression colorsUse one of the three contour color options to achieve different types of contour fill progression. The first two icons (Linear and Clockwise contour) let you assign the simple color progression between the objects color and the contour color.

CorelDRAW counterclockwise contour/

The Counterclockwise contour icon is used for custom color progression and results in a contour out of the color spectrum between the objects color and the contour color. For example, if the object’s color and the contour color are the same, using this option will result in a contour out of the entire color spectrum or the “rainbow effect”.

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Object and Contour colors

CorelDRAW contour colorsThe contour transition colors are controlled by the color of the object it self and the fill color.
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You can also add more colors to the transition by adding an outline to the object. These additional color transitions are controlled in the same way as the basic contour transition colors. The start color is the color of the outline of the object it self (Outline tab in the Object Properties docker Alt+Enter), while the other is the outline color you set in the contour settings bar.

CorelDRAW contour with outlines/

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This object has a yellow fill color and a red contour fill color creating the base contour. The blue color is the objects outline color while the green one is the contour outline color.

Practical use

The CorelDRAW Contour tool can be used to achieve many different effects. Here are a few of the techniques where we used it:


Text dipped in water

Gel text

Flaming text

Groovie design

Underwater text glow

Mystical Text

Combining contour with another effect

Combining this effect with other effects depends on weather CorelDRAW allows it or not.  You can go around some basic restrictions by stacking and layering copies of the same object to achieve the desired combination of effects. Read the FAQs.

Sometimes a combination of the effects may depend on the order that the effects are applied to an object. For example, you can combine CorelDRAW Contour effect with the Distortion effect but the outcome depends highly on the order you do it in.

CorelDRAW distort and contour/

These two objects have the same two effects applied to them but as you can see they look different. One of them looks as it should while in the second one CorelDRAW shows us one of its bugs.

The way around this bug is nothing but the order in which the effects are applied. For some reason, CorelDRAW doesn’t like applying the distortion effect to a contoured object but has no problem with applying the contour effect to a distorted object. In other words, to achieve this combination of effects, first you need to apply the distortion and then the contour.

Copy effect

If you want to use the same contour on multiple objects you can save time by copying the effect rather than reassigning it all over again to all the objects.

CorelDRAW copy effect from/

To do this you need to select the object that you want the contour copied to, go to Effects/Copy Effect/Contour From… and click on the contour of the object you want the contour copied from.

Useful links

See also: