Drawing in Intaglio

Click on a menu title above for a detailed explanation of that menu's commands.
There are five types of basic graphics objects in Intaglio—paths, text, images, PDF, and EPS objects.
  • Path is the mechanism for creating a graphic shape. Paths consist of connected lines, curves and arcs and must be either "stroked", "filled", or both. A stroke colors the border of a path and a fill colors the interior. A stroke can have several attributes including color, width, dash, join (the way lines connect), and cap (the way lines end). A single path have all of its points connected to each other, or it can have two or more discontiguous sections called contours. A path with multiple contours is sometimes called a compound path.
  • Text is handled in an international format and can be manipulated in the same manner as other graphics. Like paths, text blocks must be either stroked, filled, or both.
  • Image is a bitmap graphic in a format such as PICT, TIFF or JPEG. It is also possible to import vector PICT objects.
  • PDF (i.e., Portable Document Format) is a common format for exchange of graphics.
  • EPS (i.e., Encapsulated PostScript) is another common format for exchange of graphics. EPS images contain a bitmap preview image and PostScript language code to render exact graphics on a PostScript printer.

Collections of graphic objects can be "grouped" to form a sixth type of object. Group is a container object that allows several objects to be manipulated as if they were a single object. The top-most or bottom-most element in the group can be used as a "mask" so that only the parts of the group that overlap the mask object are visible.

All graphics can be "transformed" to change their shape and location. Standard transformations include translate (i.e., move a graphic), scale (i.e., resize a graphic), shear (i.e., tilt a graphic), and rotate (i.e., spin a graphic).

Tips and Tricks

  • To duplicate a graphic, hold down the option key while moving it to move a duplicate. If you duplicate the graphic again immediately using the Duplicate menu command, the second duplicate will be offset by the same amount as the first.
  • While drawing, moving, or duplicating a graphic, hold down the shift key to constrain the operation to be purely horizontal or vertical.
  • To temporarily toggle the grid snap setting while drawing, hold down the command key (i.e., the key with the apple logo and/or clover leaf design).
  • To drag a graphic to another window or application, hold down both the option and command keys as you start dragging the graphic or hold down the mouse button for a half second before you start to drag. You can create a library of graphics by using this method to drag graphics to a Finder window or the desktop, creating clipping files.
  • Holding down the shift key while defining a rectangle, round rectangle, or oval forces the shape to fit inside a square, rather than a rectangle. Holding down the option key while defining most shapes provides an alternate style. Rectangles, round rectangles, ovals, and lines are defined from the center instead of a corner. Polygons exchange the position of vertices and sides. Arcs add two lines to form a pie shape.
  • Hold down the space bar to scroll while using a tool.
  • To change the radius of an arc, select the arc's center point using the Path Point Selection Tool, hold down the option key, and drag the center point.
  • To close a path while creating it, hold down the option key while clicking on the first point in the path. To break a smooth join between curves hold down the option key while dragging a control point. To reshape a path point, hold down the option key while dragging the path point. See the section below for more information about creating paths.
  • If you intend to draw several paths of the same shape (i.e., line, rectangle, oval, etc.) at once, "lock" that tool in place by holding down the command key (i.e., the key with the apple logo and/or clover leaf design) when selecting the tool in the Tool Palette. You can also lock a tool with the tool's contextual menu.
  • Arrows can be added to the start and/or end of any stroked path using the Stroke Inspector. The arrow controls are revealed by opening the disclosure triangle on the right side of the panel. Arrows can also be selected from a toolbar item.
  • To crop an image, first draw a rectangle (or any other shape of path) over it defining the area to be cropped. This is easier if the shape has no fill, or the fill is almost transparent. Second, group the image and rectangle and set a mask attribute for the group. Finally, convert the group to an image. This image will use the document's current export resolution setting.
  • There are several settings to control drawing options available only through an AppleScript.
  • If you have a lot of scripts in the Scripts menu, you can organize them into a menu hierarchy by moving the script files into folders within Intaglio's scripts folder. The scripts folder is located within your home directory inside of the Library, Application Support, and Intaglio folders.
  • The various palette windows their positions and sizes. To further customize your workspace you can position a document window where you want new documents to appear and run the Set Initial Window Position script from the Samples folder. For example, you can set the tool palette to horizontal mode in the tool preferences, position it just under the menu bar to form a global toolbar, and position new document windows under it.

Using the Path Tool          

A powerful aid to drawing is the Path Tool.

The path tool creates simple or complex paths containing one or more straight lines and/or curves.
To add a straight line segment click and release the mouse button to create the end point of the line.

For example, this line was created by clicking the mouse twice, once for each end point.

To add another line click again.

To close the path, place the cursor over the first point, hold down the option key, and click the mouse one more time.

To add a curve segment click and drag the mouse to create the end point of the curve. The point where you click the mouse button becomes the end point and the point where you release it becomes the first control point.

For example, this curve was created by clicking to create the start point, then clicking and dragging to create the curve point at the end.

To add another curve click again.

In the first image below, the control points are on the end of a straight line with the common end point for the two curves in the middle. Intaglio automatically keeps this line straight by moving the control points together to ensure that the transition between these two curves is smooth. Sometimes you want the transition between two curves to be abrupt rather than smooth. To break the straight line, and thus the smooth connection between the curves, place the cursor over a control point, hold down the option key, and move the control point. This control point will now move independently of the opposite control point.


To change an abrupt transition between two curves back to a smooth transition, place the cursor over the common end point, hold down the option key, and drag the mouse to create new control points.

Paths can also contain arcs. To add an arc to a path, create a new path containing the arc using the Arc Tool and join the two paths into one. You may have to reverse the arc's path to get it to join on the end you want.

For example, the path below is an arc connected to two straight line segments:

Once you've create a path, you can edit the points in the path using the Path Point Selection Tool.

To use the path tool again with an existing path, select the path with the path point selection tool, hold down the option key, and click or drag one of the path's end points. You can now add new points to the end of the path.

Path Operations
Two or more paths can be combined into a single path using one or more path operations. To combine paths, select them and choose the desired operation from the Paths menu. The resulting path will use the fill and stroke properties of the rear path. If the result creates disjoint elements they will be combined into one compound path. To break this into separate paths use the Separate command. The following path operations are available.

  • Unite
    The edges of result path consist of the outer edges of all the original paths combined.
  • Intersect
    The result path consists of the area where all the original paths overlap.
  • Exclude
    The result path consists of the area where the original paths overlap an odd number of times.
  • Subtract
    The result path consists of the area occupied by the rear original path but no other.

Using Styles
Intaglio maintains a set of default properties for each drawing document (e.g., line thickness, color, etc.). When you draw something new it is initially given these default attributes. The default attributes are set when you change an attribute value without first selecting any graphics. For example, if you start with a new blank document, set the line thickness to five points, and draw a couple lines they will both be five points thick because you have set the document's default thickness to that value. If you deselect the lines, set the line thickness to ten points and draw a rectangle, it will be ten points thick but the lines will stay at five.

Intaglio allows you to create multiple named sets of document defaults called styles. If a named style is activated it will be assigned to any new graphics created and any later changes to that style will passed on to those graphics. If a named style is activated when existing graphics are selected, it will be assigned to the selected graphics which will be given the style's attributes. You change the attributes of the active style by choosing new values with no graphics selected, just as in the behavior above, but when you change the attributes of a style those changes are passed on to all graphics that use that style.

In the example above, if you created a named style before initially setting the line thickness to five, that style's thickness would be set to five and the lines would use that style. Then when you deselected the lines and changed the thickness to ten the style thickness would be changed so the lines would change too (unless you switched styles first).