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Tutorial: An Introduction to Expression 3 ...Over a Cup of Coffee.
A little while back, I sort of mentioned in the Renderosity Vector Forum (Renderosity.com) that I would do a tutorial for Expression 3, because people seemed interested in that program. Expression is a vector graphic program from Creature House that can emulate natural media very well. It does this by using strokes (like custom brushes), which are almost infinitely controllable. The user can define their own strokes as well, by for example scanning in a natural water-colour brush-stroke on paper, and defining that as a stroke. You can download a 30-day trial version of Expression 3 from the Creature House web-site to see how cool it is for yourself. The entire user manual in pdf form is available for download as well. I haven't been using this program as regularly as I would like, so if I get any details wrong, apologies in advance...This tutorial jumps about a bit and waffles on, but it will take you through the basic tools & steps to create a simple still life (left) in Expression. I will try to explain some of the aspects of the program, and the use of vectors, to the best of my abilities. So here goes:
1: Layers: Expression allows you to work in layers, I find the best way to organise my images is to use a different layer for different elements. In this case I wanted a background, a coffee cup, a mouse (computer) and a packet of Cigarettes (smoking is bad for you people, but this is in the picture because of the friend who inspired the idea for the image) At left you can see a view of the layers for the image...By double-clicking on the layers identifier colour you can set it's attributes and presentation, giving you a choice of paths view, wireframe, preview or default view; (more on these later). Here you can see all but the top layer are "locked" meaning I can't work on (or accidently stuff-up) the locked layers, only the top one!

2: The Background:
The background here consists of a series of gradient-filled squares drawn using the "square" tool from the toolbox . Every separate element on a layer can be aligned below or above other elements within the layer. I wanted the table to be in front, strangely enough...All the elements are selected here, as shown by their red outline, by using "Ctrl-A" or "Apple-A" on the keyboard. Each element can be selected separately using the selection tool from the tool box however, and arranged as you like, by using the arrange menu choices.


All images copyright © Cameron J. Stephen and may not be reproduced
or used without the permission of Cameron J. Stephen. All Rights Reserved, 2003.