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  • CD 4 first impressions

    Downloaded my copy of CD 4. These are first impressions after playing with it for just a short period of time... [sorry for the rant!]

    • If you like presentations, you'll be happy with CD4 and its new presentation mode.

    • likewise, if you've always wanted to scan directly to Canvas Draw, you'll be happy.

    ​• The interface appears to have been tightened up a bit and made more professional looking, though that may be wishful thinking. It is Retina aware which does help!

    • For the technical drawing crowd (which includes me), you will be quite underwhelmed with this upgrade. The annotation lens, improved drawing precision, and improved area calculations look to be mildly useful but, except for the new lens, the improved precision and calculations could be considered bug fixes rather than new features. I'm sure there are other bug fixes that we will appreciate as well but, arguably, one shouldn't have to pay for bug fixes. And the annotation lens appears to be a repackaging of the long time sprite effects make lens feature.

    • Still no .SVG import!! Really ACD? After all these years? Virtually every graphics program on the planet can import .SVG at this point. The .SVG format has only be around for nearly 20 years and is supported by all modern browsers as well as all of Canvas Draw's competition. This isn't rocket science... I've written programs that read and write .svd files and, if I can do it, surely the professional programmers at ACD can do it. And, .SVG export is primitive and doesn't handle transparency. Geez...

    • Shadows are still last century (i.e., separate graphic objects rather than a property of an object that moves with the object) -- and we are 17 years after the start of the new century. Likewise, no interior or exterior glow. Seriously, ACD, look at how shadows are implemented in iWork suite, in Illustrator, Graphic, Intaglio, Affinity Design, etc.

    • Of course no GIS module. I've given up hoping to see the GIS module ever again on the Mac... What a shame. Canvas was (and remains on Windows) one of the premiere spatial aware vector programs, far easier to use than the competition. This is one of the few features that distinguish Canvas from its ever more capable competition.

    • Still no save as .CVX so no natural way of sharing Canvas Draw files with Canvas for Windows. I assume that the next version of Canvas for Windows will be upgraded to read .CVD files, forcing us all to upgrade. Again, this is something that we have agonized and wailed over on this forum to no avail...


    a frustrated, long time Canvas user....

    [edited to change SVD to SVG (scalable vector graphics). Sorry, I was working on a program using singular value decomposition (SVD) when I wrote this...]
    Last edited by rwallx; 06-25-2017, 03:55 PM.

  • #2
    Where shadows are concerned, they can definitely be improved, but I for one would prefer a return of Photoshop plug-in support in this regard. While Canvas has always had a (very) base set of filters (SpriteEffects) and finally added essentials such as bevel and emboss at some point after Mac support was dropped, its base offerings are exactly that: base offerings. Granted this is true for most graphics applications, but unlike most other graphics applications, Canvas no longer has Photoshop plug-in support. I was a big fan of Alien Skin’s Eye Candy and used it through Canvas X (Mac).* Eye Candy had a shadow filter that was light years ahead of the default shadow feature in any given graphics software. Also, because the Eye Candy filters were included as Sprite Effects, they were effectively properties of the object as you desire.

    I would not give up on GIS support in Canvas Draw just yet. ACD has been rebuilding its Mac version of Canvas from scratch and is constantly adding features. How old was the original Canvas—now Canvas X 2017 for Windows—when the GIS and scientific modules were first introduced? ACD is still building up much of the basics in Canvas Draw, so at this point I think it is a bit premature to expect a GIS version.

    Canvas Draw can read CVX files but cannot save to that format. Similarly, Canvas X 2017 can open CVD files, but cannot save to the Mac format. Thus, Canvas files can be shared between the two platforms. I see the reason for this being two-fold. First, as I mentioned earlier, Canvas Draw was built up from scratch, so it lacks many of features in Canvas X 2017. ACD clearly had some means of overcoming this given that early versions of Canvas Draw used CVX as the default format, but I can see where this would cause serious issues as a file gets swapped back and forth between a Mac and PC. The second and big gotcha of course is unicode. Canvas Draw supports unicode whereas Canvas X still does not and probably will not short of a major re-write given that the code base is well over two decades old.

    Canvas Draw is still building its way up to a fully-featured Canvas product, and as others have mentioned in other threads, this new version is perhaps the first to be ready form prime time. Given the new code base and the fact that Canvas is very feature-rich, I am not the least bit surprised that it would take several versions over years for Canvas Draw to come close to where things left off with Canvas X, let alone be roughly on par with the much more mature Windows version.

    * I do not know why ACD started referring to the Windows version of Canvas as Canvas X when version 16 was released, as it makes no sense in any context and makes discussion of the original Canvas X (v.10), which was the last dual-plartform release, confusing.

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    • #3
      The Dynamic Shadow command, which creates a shadow that dynamically updates according to the changes made to its object, was added to the SpriteEffects filters in Canvas Draw 4.

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      • #4
        That's great Albert. Is there a list of everything new in Canvas Draw 4?

        Here's a test of Dynamic Shadow before and after using the effect. It gets completely pixelated.

        Click image for larger version

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        Click image for larger version

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        Last edited by kohanmike; 06-28-2017, 12:19 PM.

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        • #5
          I'm very glad about the Dynamic Shadow addition to CD4. I think there is a problem. A shadow added to an ellipse or circle blurs the original graphic, i.e., the original line is blurred. This does not happen with a rectangular object.

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          • #6
            Mike, release notes for Canvas Draw 4 are located here...

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            • #7
              The new Dynamic Shadow is a SpriteEffect and as such you need to set its resolution within the SpriteEffects palette. The default is 72 dpi. Set it to 300 for example and make sure anti-aliasing is checked.

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              • #8
                That's great, thanks Albert.

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                • #9
                  Well, I'll be... Dynamic shadows. Maybe an old dog can learn new tricks. Thanks for pointing this out, Albert.

                  I still think that the implementation is a bit clunky -- why would anyone want shadows at 72 dpi? While I like being able to set the color of the shadow, it would also be nice to control the degree of transparency. The iWork apps do shadows in a very elegant way. Still, being able to move/reshape the object and have the shadow changed automatically is a great help.

                  Maybe I can hope for .svg import and better .svg export (with transparency!) in a version 4 update?

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                  • #10
                    rwallx,

                    I just played a little with the dynamic shadow and I find to be about what I would expect from a built-in shadow feature. I am not sure of your level of experience with Canvas, but even kohanmike seemed to forget how SpriteEffects work based on his first response to trying out dynamic shadows; based on his posting history, he is clearly a heavy Canvas user with extensive experience.

                    When a SpriteEffect is first applied to an object the default resolution for the effect is the default resolution you have set for the application, as the filters are bitmaps. Interestingly, the Canvas Draw preferences appear to lack this option in the Display Settings preference so 72 ppi is now a fixed default with no option for 96 ppi. Anyway, once you change the resolution for SpriteEffects applied to an object, the user-defined filter resolution is retained.

                    As to transparency, because dynamic shadows are not separate objects, their transparency is tied to the transparency of the parent object just as with any other SpiteEffect. This again is why I hope for the return of Photoshop plug-in support. As I stated earlier, I have no expectation for the photo filters built into any graphics software to be extensive, as most graphics applications have Photoshop plug-in support and tools such as Eye Candy offer a more extensive set of filters with much deeper settings.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mdawson69 View Post
                      I just played a little with the dynamic shadow and I find to be about what I would expect from a built-in shadow feature. I am not sure of your level of experience with Canvas, but even kohanmike seemed to forget how SpriteEffects work based on his first response to trying out dynamic shadows; based on his posting history, he is clearly a heavy Canvas user with extensive experience.

                      When a SpriteEffect is first applied to an object the default resolution for the effect is the default resolution you have set for the application, as the filters are bitmaps. Interestingly, the Canvas Draw preferences appear to lack this option in the Display Settings preference so 72 ppi is now a fixed default with no option for 96 ppi. Anyway, once you change the resolution for SpriteEffects applied to an object, the user-defined filter resolution is retained.

                      As to transparency, because dynamic shadows are not separate objects, their transparency is tied to the transparency of the parent object just as with any other SpiteEffect....
                      Thanks for your reply, mdawson69. I've used Canvas since it began life as a desk accessory in the late 1980s and I've written software to support plotting of geological symbols in canvas, but I'm not a pro graphic artist by any means.

                      The fact that SpriteEffects work a particular way doesn't mean that it isn't clunky! ACD should at least allow us to set the resolution of the shadow in the new dynamic shadows dialog box though as I wrote before, nobody wants 72 dpi shadows so why not hardwire a resolution that won't automatically frustrate the user (especially inexperienced ones and some experienced ones, too)? I understand how SpriteEffects work and they were brilliant back when first introduce in Canvas a decade or two ago. While they retain considerable power, other graphics programs have found more intuitive ways to implement similar effects.

                      As to transparency, iWork apps and others allow one to vary the transparency of the shadow (why can, in addition be varied by the transparency of the object itself). This, arguably, provides for more interesting and realistic shadows where some level of detail beneath the shadow can be seen through the shadows. Real shadows are seldom 100% opaque.

                      None of this argues against your final point in favor of PS plug-in support. I can well imagine that this would be useful.

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                      • #12
                        I get the feeling that there will never be Photoshop plugins, if I remember correctly, that was dropped because of licensing issues. I use Canvas extensively, but not all it's features, I certainly have plenty to learn. I'll bet they're working on adding transparency to dynamic shadows, I say that because now that the Type palette is back, I can see them bringing back style sheets.

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                        • #13
                          Where can I find the difference between Canvas Draw version 3 and version 4 ? What are the new feature ?

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                          • #14
                            Sorry, I just find it as stated above Canvas Draw Release Notes - Support
                            http://www.canvasgfx.com

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by kohanmike View Post
                              I get the feeling that there will never be Photoshop plugins, if I remember correctly, that was dropped because of licensing issues. I use Canvas extensively, but not all it's features, I certainly have plenty to learn. I'll bet they're working on adding transparency to dynamic shadows, I say that because now that the Type palette is back, I can see them bringing back style sheets.
                              Yes, Adobe pulled a fast one with the introduction of the Phtoshop 7 SDK around 2002. Up to that point, most non-Adobe products that supported Photoshop plug-ins used the Photoshop 4 SDK. Many of the plug-in developers continued to support the Photoshop 4 SDK for several years after the introduction of Photoshop 7 SDK because much of the non-Adobe base stuck with the older SDK due to Adobe’s prohibitive developer licensing. Even Canvas did not drop Photoshop plugin support until 2007 (Canvas 11).

                              Adobe changed its policy with regard to the SDK and removed the fee. A number of contemporary graphics software developers have taken advantage of this. As of right now, Affinty Photo, GIMP, and Corel Painter have Photoshop plugin support, as well as lesser, albeit more task-specific, applicaitons such as IrfanView and Paint.NET. I am sure ACD can also make a request for licensing.

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