from Corel to AI to Moho

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Frank Mendonça
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from Corel to AI to Moho

Post by Frank Mendonça » Sat May 21, 2005 6:57 pm

Hello, guys!

I know this has been asked before (AI files to Moho and its problems, and I´ve read all the topics in the foruns), but since I work with Corel, perhaps someone could shed a light on it. My problems are the very same: importing an AI file into Moho, and it shows no outlines and the shapes look odd. I export the shapes from Corel 10 in AI 8 format, with outlines, RGB, but still I can´t get it right.

Any ideas? For me, it is really frustrating, since Moho is not as friendly as AI ou Freehand or Corel for drawing, but an excellent toll for animating. Another question is: is it possible to set the outline (and the fill) for an AI file imported? I tried to, but it doesn´t seem to work.
Frank Mendonça
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Toontoonz
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Post by Toontoonz » Sat May 21, 2005 8:09 pm

Welcome to the club.
I don´t have Corel, but use AI. It appears you have the same problem as all us that want to import AI type files.
Bottom line - unfortunately, importing AI files into Moho doesn´t really work too well.
Moho appears to use a special, proprietary vector format that is not the same format that all other vector drawing programs use. (In fact, from what I have been able to figure out, one cannot even export a vector drawing from Moho to use in any other vector drawing program).

This is very frustrating and basically shut down the use of Moho by me except for experimenting and practicing animation skills.
I use Moho to experiment with, but am afraid to offer Moho animation to clients because of all the potential problems with colors and shapes that would occur.
And one can only use a simple outline in AI that exports to Moho. This rules out any use of brushes or special lines.
And no gradients or other AI nifty drawing things (symbols, for example).

Like you say, Moho is not real friendly as far as drawing...and since one can´t export the Moho vector drawing it is a real problem of using any Moho art in other programs.

To me Moho won´t be ready for "Prime Time" until it fixes its method of drawing vectors (so it is like drawing in Adobe Illustrator, Freehand and Corel) and it can import a "perfect" AI type file from another program.
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Post by Nichod » Sat May 21, 2005 8:53 pm

I'm curious why you don't at like the drawing methods in Moho. I've just recently gotten back into Moho and I've always liked the drawing tools. The freehand works nicely and is efficient so it doesn't draw an obscene amount of points but only what is needed, and the new auto weld is wonderful, its quick and speedy. The only thing I'd like to see is better control of curves via handles.

I guess what I'd like to know is what would make the drawing tools up to par for you guys?

Brian
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Toontoonz
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Post by Toontoonz » Sat May 21, 2005 9:33 pm

Do you regularly use Adobe Illustrator or Macromedia Freehand or Expression or Corel?
How do you think they compare to drawing in Moho?
How do you export a vector drawing from Moho?
What do you think of the gradient feature in Moho compared to what is offered in Adobe Illustrator (and the other drawing features)?
Have you tried to make/use a new brush in Moho?
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Lost Marble
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Post by Lost Marble » Sat May 21, 2005 10:50 pm

I think it's unreasonable to expect Moho to "import a "perfect" AI type file from another program", including gradients, brushes, etc. Illustrator costs what, $500? And you're waiting for the $99 Moho to duplicate perfectly the vector features of Illustrator, and add animation features on top of that? Hmm...

Frank: As far as the Corel AI files, can you post an example file that won't import into Moho?
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Post by Nichod » Sat May 21, 2005 11:30 pm

I regularly use Adobe Illustrator. (now CS2) And I find its vector drawing tools to be horrible. Generally I just paint in photoshop and then convert it with streamline. The only thing that makes Illustrator nice to work with is that its export is easily exchangeable with the other programs I use (photoshopCS2, flashmx, etc)

I actually like drawing in Moho better then Illustrator. Of the 4 you listed I think Expression fit my style of vector manipulation the best.

As I've never exported from Moho, I'm not sure how it would work, I've been away from Moho for awhile so need to catch up, but I do very much like how the drawing tools work.

Once again I need to test out the gradient functions in Moho a bit more before placing a judgement, I will say they seem smooth, but they do appear to be limited compared to other implementations I've seen.

Still haven't gotten to using brushes yet. Thats on my list. First want to setup a character and do a test of actions and the like though.

I'd have to agree on what LM said about cost vs features. I will say for the price Moho rocks and you can't beat it.

As far as gradients are concerned that Toon Titan has the best implementation that I've seen (flash plugin) you can see its functions
here:
http://www.flashfilmmaker.com/index.php?id=4,25,0,0,1,0

Brian[/url]
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Toontoonz
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Post by Toontoonz » Sat May 21, 2005 11:41 pm

Lost Marble wrote:I think it's unreasonable to expect Moho to "import a "perfect" AI type file from another program", including gradients, brushes, etc. Illustrator costs what, $500? And you're waiting for the $99 Moho to duplicate perfectly the vector features of Illustrator, and add animation features on top of that? Hmm...
Then why even say/offer that Moho can import AI-type files? :?:
When a software company says the product can import a file type a user has to assume the file is going to be the same in Moho as in the program it was imported from. (This is the first instance of a program that I have used where this type of thing has happened.)
Are JPEG, PNG, Targa and other files that Moho can import different in color and shape than in the originating program?
Last edited by Toontoonz on Sun May 22, 2005 1:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
Toontoonz
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Post by Toontoonz » Sun May 22, 2005 12:08 am

Nichod wrote:I regularly use Adobe Illustrator. (now CS2) And I find its vector drawing tools to be horrible. Generally I just paint in photoshop and then convert it with streamline. The only thing that makes Illustrator nice to work with is that its export is easily exchangeable with the other programs I use (photoshopCS2, flashmx, etc)
Have you ever tried to import a vector object from Streamline into Moho?
What did it look like in Moho as far as retaining colors and shapes?
Nichod wrote:I actually like drawing in Moho better then Illustrator. Of the 4 you listed I think Expression fit my style of vector manipulation the best.
If you prefer Moho over Illustrator and don´t like to draw with Adobe Illustrator, fine. :D
Could you post a link where I can see some of your Moho illustrations and animations?
Expression´s drawing style and tools are very similar to Illustrator. Why don´t you like Illustrator, but like Expression?
Have you ever tried to import a vector drawing from Expression into Moho? What did it look like in Moho as far as retaining colors and shapes?
Nichod wrote:I'd have to agree on what LM said about cost vs features. I will say for the price Moho rocks and you can't beat it.
I agree :D .
But the discussion is not about cost vs. features on Moho, the thread is about trying to import an AI-type file into Moho and it just has lots and lots of problems.
Also that the drawing tools in Moho are difficult to use (for me anyway). For you they are fine.
For me it is very clumsy to use the drawing tools in Moho. One has to click on several different buttons to accomplish just about any drawing task.
One cannot get the same precision of line using Moho as one can get using Adobe Illustrator (or other vector programs).
I could go on and on, but there is no reason to - Moho is apparently not going to change and you think Moho´s drawing tools are great.
I guess I have the problem.

Question: Have you ever used Moho to create an animation for a client?
Can you post it?
Last edited by Toontoonz on Sun May 22, 2005 1:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
Toontoonz
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Post by Toontoonz » Sun May 22, 2005 12:15 am

Lost Marble - I do not have any technical or programming background, but since Moho seems to have a special, proprietary-type vector system, is it even possible to import a "perfect" AI type file?

Why can´t one export a vector file from Moho?


Note: I do like the animation part of Moho - no real complaints there. :D
Nichod
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Post by Nichod » Sun May 22, 2005 2:19 am

Have you ever tried to import a vector object from Streamline into Moho?
What did it look like in Moho as far as retaining colors and shapes?


No I have not. As I said I'm getting back into Moho. My first priority is to catch up with the different/new tools. At some point I might try to import a vector object. But really I think the complexity would make is useless other then for a background object.
Could you post a link where I can see some of your Moho illustrations and animations?
Not yet! But soon. :D As I said I'm getting back into Moho
For me it is very clumsy to use the drawing tools in Moho. One has to click on several different buttons to accomplish just about any drawing task.
One cannot get the same precision of line as easily using Adobe Illustrator (or other vector programs) as in Moho.
I'd say that some of the controls could be improved. I'd like to see better control for curves and variable line widths. But really there is a big difference between the market that Illustrator is geared towards and the market that Moho is geared towards.

I do agree that if .ai files are not importing correctly that some work should be done to correct this, as it would be a big benefit. Its just a matter of value of development time. I'd say its worth the effort.

Brian
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Lost Marble
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Post by Lost Marble » Sun May 22, 2005 3:48 am

Toontoonz wrote:is it even possible to import a "perfect" AI type file?
No, it isn't possible to import an AI file perfectly into Moho. They are both vector-based programs (mostly), but the respresentation of curves behind the scenes is very different. Importing AI into Moho will always involve an "approximation" process. We will continue to improve it, but it will never be perfect.
Toontoonz wrote:Why can´t one export a vector file from Moho?
I guess this has just never worked it's way up to a commonly-requested feature. I don't think there are many cases where you would want to export an animated sequence as a series of still AI/EPS/whatever vector images.

Moho does export to SWF, which is a vector format, so I think you could go Moho->SWF->Illustrator, but that would involve an extra conversion step.
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Re: from Corel to AI to Moho

Post by myles » Sun May 22, 2005 6:50 am

At least partly getting back to the original poster's questions... :wink:
Frank Mendonça wrote: I export the shapes from Corel 10 in AI 8 format, with outlines, RGB, but still I can´t get it right.
Hello Frank,

does Corel 10 allow you to choose an AI version earlier than 8 :?: AI7 works fairly well for me from a few other apps (the AI7 specs were made widely available by Adobe). If my vague memory serves me correctly, it was around AI8 or AI9 that some fairly serious incompatible changes were introduced to the AI format, but there were ongoing changes even before that.

In :arrow: this thread, while mainly discussing imported point density, if you go through to the SWF example, I posted a partial view of a quick example of exporting from Expression into Moho via AI7 - simple colours and shapes (including outlines) were reasonably well preserved in spite of the approximation (and I was using Expression's B-spline drawing tool, so I probably had a conversion from Expression's B-spline to AI's variable handle Bezier to Moho equal-handled Bezier, and I can no longer remember which uses quadratic Bezier curves and with uses cubic Bezier curves).

Notes on what transfers:
Simple flat fills, yes (and some programs can be, umm, tricky about whether they are really exporting RGB or CMYK colours inside an AI file, in spite of the mode you used to choose the colour in the program). Gradients, patterns, meshes, and other fancy fill types, no. I think outline import is similarly only supported for simple non-variable-width single-colour outlines. I've only tested this with AI7 export from Xara X and Expression, where the results when importing into Moho are usually quite good (see the sample imported outlines in the last slides of the SWF file referred to in the thread mentioned above).

I suspect shapes may continue be an approximation, not only due to different curve mathematics, but in order to get reliable animation - I've used a 3D spline animation program where you could alter the node handles which looked great while modeling, but when used with bone and point animation could lead to distortion results which were ... unexpected. :shock:
Frank Mendonça wrote:Another question is: is it possible to set the outline (and the fill) for an AI file imported? I tried to, but it doesn´t seem to work.
I've seen at least one vector program that didn't properly close vector shapes in AI export :x - it just placed the last point over the first point and didn't "weld" the two together, so Moho couldn't fill it. Moho includes an Auto Weld script to fix this problem. 8) If you've already got a fill, the select shape should let you play with the outline settings (make sure you are on frame 0, you haven't hidden that section of the outline, and - my usual mistake - you have a line width set to greater than 0).

However, the non-closed shape is really a fill issue :roll: - I haven't yet seen a problem with fills without outlines (except where I'd set the line width to 0 myself :oops: ) - perhaps you could post a sample Moho file containing un-outlinable shapes?

As long as you apply special outline features (such as brushes and variable width lines) within Moho I haven't yet seen many problems, although I'll admit I do most of my drawing inside Moho 8) rather than importing, and I work in a limited hobbyist environment.

Trying to transfer special program-specific features across programs is where you run into trouble, and brushes used on outlines are a prime example. :roll: Of course, this is not a Moho problem, you'll run into exactly the same problems when trying to move program-specific features like brushes on outlines between non-animating illustration programs, such as Expression's vector brushes or Illustrator's Artistic brushes.
The same usually applies to, for example, gradients in many illustration programs - elliptical, conical, and diamond fills, for example. Not to mention such features as gradient transparency, automatic drop-shadows, and bevels. :x There's still a lot you can't rely on to be cross-compatible in the vector world - bitmap/raster compatibility is so much more reliable, which is why some publishers and printers prefer TIFF files for final output.

Regards, Myles - disillusioned about cross-program compatibility long before Moho. :wink:
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Toontoonz
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Post by Toontoonz » Sun May 22, 2005 10:40 am

Nichod wrote:I regularly use Adobe Illustrator. (now CS2) And I find its vector drawing tools to be horrible. Generally I just paint in photoshop and then convert it with streamline. The only thing that makes Illustrator nice to work with is that its export is easily exchangeable with the other programs I use (photoshopCS2, flashmx, etc)]
One other note and that is regarding the style of drawing one gets in different programs. Drawing in Photoshop and Illustrator gives one a totally different look of drawing. In addition, the drawing in Illustrator is a vector-type drawing which makes scalability very easy compared to the pixel drawings of Photoshop. (I use both programs).
All Streamline does is attempt to take a Photoshop pixel-based drawing and turn it into a vector drawing. (And the resulting file is fairly large.) Macromedia Freehand has a very good trace tool to do the same thing as Streamline.
And I think that Adobe is abandoning Streamline....the new version of Illustrator has "Live Trace" - Quickly and accurately convert photos, scans, or other bitmap images to editable and scalable vector paths with the Live Trace feature.

To see the types of drawings people are doing with the $399 Adobe Illustrator check out:
http://www.illustratorworld.com/index.shtml

Or the popular $179 vector program Xara X:
http://www.xara.com/gallery/

Or the free (for now :D :D :D ) very nice Microsoft Expression vector program:
http://www.microsoft.com/products/expre ... .asp?pg=gl
prabhat
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Re: from Corel to AI to Moho

Post by prabhat » Sun May 22, 2005 12:34 pm

[quote="Frank Mendonça"]I export the shapes from Corel 10 in AI 8 format, with outlines, RGB, but still I can´t get it right.

quote]

Hi,
I use all COREL 2.0 character drawings , done in 1990 or so, in MOHO. So AI 3.0 to AI 6.0 format works reasonably OK. Though many a time we don't get the line width and line color as in the original drawing from Corel.

MOHO exactly doubles up the number of nodes in the drawing from COREL via AI.

I know it's a problem. But I guess MOHO makes up with many other interesting and time saving features. So extra time in redeifining the line colour and width still is worth the effort.

Regards

Prabhat MOHANTY
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Post by Nichod » Sun May 22, 2005 1:13 pm

One other note and that is regarding the style of drawing one gets in different programs. Drawing in Photoshop and Illustrator gives one a totally different look of drawing. In addition, the drawing in Illustrator is a vector-type drawing which makes scalability very easy compared to the pixel drawings of Photoshop. (I use both programs).
All Streamline does is attempt to take a Photoshop pixel-based drawing and turn it into a vector drawing. (And the resulting file is fairly large.) Macromedia Freehand has a very good trace tool to do the same thing as Streamline.
And I think that Adobe is abandoning Streamline....the new version of Illustrator has "Live Trace" - Quickly and accurately convert photos, scans, or other bitmap images to editable and scalable vector paths with the Live Trace feature.
:D To each his own I say. None of the products you have mentioned are bad. I just tend to not like the technical workflow of Illustrator. Freehand is a little nicer. I think XaraX is very powerful and underrated. AICS2 has live trace? Hehe. I rarely use Illustrator. File sizes are sometimes large with streamline conversions but it depends upon how well you prepare your raster image for the conversion and the settings you have. Generally my file sizes are no larger then the raster's size and are sometimes even smaller.

But if we want to continue this discussion to be fair we should start a new thread, if you are interested in more talk on the topic please start a new thread.
I use all COREL 2.0 character drawings , done in 1990 or so, in MOHO. So AI 3.0 to AI 6.0 format works reasonably OK. Though many a time we don't get the line width and line color as in the original drawing from Corel.
I just tested a 3.0 and a 6.0 import to Moho from Illustrator. Two fairly complex logos and they imported correctly. Make sure that your export is simple. No features that are not a standard and may not be crossprogram compatible.

Brian
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