PI6 QuickTip #28: All About Objects

PI has three kinds of objects: Path, Text and Image. With regard to editing, Path and Text objects are very similar. Both can be 2D or 3D:

path and text objects 

And you can apply the EasyPalette's Material Gallery effects to both Path and Text objects, as well as edit color, shading, size and type of bevel edge, apply bump maps, etc. by clicking the Material button in the Attributes toolbar. 

Although you can apply EasyPalette Gallery effects to Path and Text objects, be careful. Some of those effects (e.g., the Fill Gallery) will turn your 3D object into a flat, 2D Image object. Once that happens, converting the object back to a Path object rarely works successfully for restoring a 3D look. If you must fill a Path or Text object with an image, do so via the Edit, Fill command or from the Material dialog box's Color/Texture tab, and select File. That will preserve the 3D character of your object.

Another thing to remember about Path or Text objects is that as long as they are individual objects, they can be edited. However, once you select multiple objects and Merge as Single Object, the newly merged objects become a 2D Image object. They can no longer be edited with the Path or Text tools.

editing path objects

And here is an important caution about Text objects. If you use a dingbat font to make an object and try to share it with someone else, it won't work for them unless they have the exact same font installed on their own computer. If you're going to share an object made with the font tool, before you save it choose Object, Convert Object Type, From Text to Path. Converting it to a Path object frees the object from the constraints imposed on it by the Text tool. Now it can be shared and edited like any other Path object. When you open it up in PI, you must select the Path Drawing tool to edit the object.

Of course it goes without saying that you are a responsible and ethical netizen who would never redistribute dingbat fonts as objects unless you have permission to do so from the font artist who created them!

Image objects are a whole different ball of wax. You can make them in any number of ways. For example, you could make a selection area from clipart or a photo, then convert the selection to an Image object. You can merge several different Path or Text objects to make an image object, too. For example, the objects in the EasyPalette's Image Library are all Image objects. Here is an example of an Image object that I made myself:

image object

Here is a really important thing to remember about Image objects, and something that newbies struggle with constantly. You cannot apply Material Gallery effects to Image objects. So many times people email me and they are really upset because they have an Image object of say, a swan, and they want to make it gold or glass or something like that. It can't be done. 

What you can do is fill the Image object with solid black. Merge it with the base image, then do Edit, Trace, Image. The Trace command will turn the black-filled area into a Path object! The Path Drawing tool will be selected automatically. In the Attributes toolbar, select 3D Round (or whatever) from the Mode dropdown list. Drag it the object out into an empty area in the work space, where it will open in its own window. Now you can edit it just like you would any other Path object. 

Finally, remember that although it's easy to make Image objects by making selections from existing images, be careful to respect copyright laws or you could be in big trouble. Every day I see OE stationery, tubes and objects made from the work of recognized artists who have not given their permission to redistribute their work. 

Many companies and web site owners have become justifiably aggressive about protecting their trademarks and copyright online. When you offer for free what other people are selling to earn a living, you're striking a primal chord. For example, don't even think about making some cute "Precious Moments" objects and making them available for download from your site unless you can afford a good lawyer. You may find yourself the subject of a lawsuit so fast that your head will spin. 

Be smart and be careful. Make Image objects from your own photos or digital artwork, check out the many online royalty-free galleries like the PI Gallery, or get permission from artists whose work you'd like to convert to objects. 

Do not duplicate, translate, copy, archive, appropriate or redistribute this document.



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