Welcome to my past and current software projects!
This page is currently dedicated to my main software project, namely
!Sib2Draw is a vector graphics software with a difference: it has been written in order to overcome some limitations of Sibelius. The idea was to bring all the main features of a vector design program like Acorn's !Draw, along with music-specific object entering and editing, into a single software piece. !Sib2Draw does not use the original Sibelius score file directly. Instead, it makes extensive use of Sibelius Draw Export feature, improving the resulting drawfiles in many a way. It can also be used as a stand-alone program with many improvements upon !Draw. Moreover, it is fully WYSIWYG.
2. Modes of operation
HOOKED MODE: this mode is entered when the user clicks on the 'Hook' item in S2D iconbar menu, which is available if at least one copy of Sibelius is running. !Sib2Draw will send several Wimp messages to the last started copy of Sibelius in order to get a number of useful informations about the current score page format, rastral size, and defined text styles. This process may take several seconds, and involves Sibelius turning his Overview page a couple of times, finally popping up the Draw Export dialogue box... Just relax and watch !Sib2Draw doing some very boring job in your place... When finished, S2D has acquired all necessary info in order to create multiple page documents carrying all score, page, and text style settings used with the score currently loaded in Sibelius. At this point you can load any page from Sibelius by dragging the draw file icon from the export dbox onto !Sib2Draw iconbar. The program will create a temporary directory structure and will store the loaded-and-converted page into it. It will also automatically increment the page number in the export dialogue box. Alternatively, you can use the 'Recursive conversion' dbox from !Sib2Draw iconbar menu. The program will start loading and converting each page from Sibelius score according to your (completely configurable) choices. If you want to stop this process, simply press Escape: you will be asked if you want to halt recursion. Choose OK (or press Return) to stop recursive conversion, or Cancel (or press Escape) if you want to continue loading. You can now start to edit any loaded paged as you wish (see below).
It may be of interest to know what exactly happens to the exported Draw file:
- all objects are displayed according to the currently chosen rastral size;
- all MUSIC text objects are converted to symbols objects;
- all slurs/ties are redrawn in order to make them conform to the shapes which Sibelius effectilvely uses;
- each overhanging tie/slur is shortened - !Sib2Draw correctly discriminates between slurs and ties, and redraws them accordingly;
- all lines belonging to one stave are grouped into a 'stave' object;
- all accidentals belonging to one key signature are grouped as well;
- multiple text lines are merged into single text groups, as well as time signature numerals;
- all hairpins are converted into 'tagged' path objects;
- all objects bounding boxes are corrected;
- wherever possible, slot groups are created including all playback-relevant objects: noteheads, pauses, stems, ledger, flags, beams, accidentals, dots, articulation marks;
- score format, rastral size, a library comprising all available symbols, and text style informations are incorporated into the file.
UNHOOKED MODE: this mode is entered when you load any draw, sprite, or jpeg file directly, or when you load (by dragging or double-clicking) a previously saved STD document. In this mode, !Sib2Draw behaves quite normally: you can load and edit any draw file(s). If the loaded file/document was created or edited in !Sib2Draw, you will be able to use the already defined text styles, if any. Otherwise you will have to define them from scratch - the program deals with this automatically.
3. Saving a document (disabled in demo versions)
Acorn Draw file format does not support multi-page documents, i.e. each draw file represents a single page. In order to overcome this problem, !Sib2Draw always produces a 'document', namely an application directory containing one or more subdirectories (named STDpages00, STDpages01 etc). Each subdirectory contains one or more draw files named 'PageXXX', where XXX can go from 001 to 999. You can save (and later reload) whole 'documents' pressing F3 and dragging the directory icon to any open Filer window, or typing in a valid pathname and pressing Return or clicking on OK. Alternatively, you can get the 'Save to:' dialogue box via the main menu. You can also save (or better, 'export') any single page as a draw file getting the 'Save as:' dialogue box via the main menu. It is also possible to reexport Sprites or Jpegs similarly.
4. Printing (limited in demo versions)
To print a document, choose 'Print...' from the iconbar menu, or press the Print key (if !Sib2Draw owns the caret). The print dialogue box will pop up. You can choose the first and last page to be printed, number of copies, scaling factor etc, along with following options:
- inverted: the colours on pages will be inverted as in negative films;
- mirrored: the pages will be mirror-reflected;
- lighter: the line thicknesses will be slightly reduced;
- regularize lines: corrects horizontal line thicknesses in printouts according to printer's vertical resolution;
- 2-fold, 4-fold, and 8-fold booklet printing.
N.B. The current paper limits can always be shown in !Sib2Draw's main window.
One of the things I find most disturbing with most vector packages is, the objects collect a number of nasty boxes and handles all over them when selected. This sometimes can impair readability of the page to be edited, and is always distracting to some extent. With !Sib2Draw this is not the case. In order to edit one or more objects, select it/them via select-clicking on that object as usual. The object's colour will turn to red - that's all. Groups of objects will get a dashed box around them. To select more objects, use adjust-clicks, or make/add a selection with a select/adjust drag, as in !Draw. If you now want to change the objects shape by scaling, simply press and hold the left Alt key. Depending on the nature of the selected object(s), up to eight handles will pop up. At this point, always holding down the left Alt key, you can drag any of them with Select to scale at your wish, seeing the SOLID resulting shape throughout the process. To scale objects proportionally, hold down the shift key too. In this case, all scalable feature of object(s) will be scaled, including line thickness and dash patterns. For polar transformations (rotations and skews) you'll have to use the right ('Alt Gr') key instead. Four 'arclets' (one for each corner) and four 'romblets' (one for each side) will pop up. You can get one-degree steps if you hold down SHIFT while dragging. When entering slurs, you can keep them horizontal holding down SHIFT.
When entering a hairpin, you can 'free' it from horizontal locking if you hold down ALT. N.B. Sib2Draw automatically starts a new decrescendo hairpin from the same vertical position of the end of a currently selected crescendo hairpin, if any.
The other principles of operation in editing existing objects are much the same as in !Draw, with some (hopefully useful) additions:
- CLICK: You must hold down the CapsKey to be able to select locked objects.
- DRAG: Dragged objects are ALWAYS solid-displayed during the drag. The drag is locked to semitone grid by default. You can free-drag if you press and hold the alt key after dragging has started.
- DOUBLE-CLICK: This is used to enter the edit mode for paths or text objects. In the case of paths, all points will be displayed, and the main menu will be replaced by the path edit menu. You can now select any point with select, add any number of points using adjust or even dragging a rectangle outline to enclose the desidered points. Now you can move it (them) either by adjust-dragging or using the arrow keys. In the case of text, you will simply get the caret at the point you double-clicked upon.
- ARROW KEYS: These are always active, and can move any selected object(s)/point(s) by very small amounts. To move by 'half-tones', use shift-arrow key. To move by 'octaves', use ctrl-arrow key. You can use ctrl+shift-arrow key to move by bigger amounts.
- CROSSHAIR: Pressing the Tab key toggles crosshair view on/off
- SNAPPING: You can snap the object side you are dragging to another object's side. Just move the pointer upon the object you want to be snapped to while ALT-dragging, then press CTRL too: the pointer will snap to the nearest side of it, and the object you got snapped to will turn yellow, indicating that snapping has succeeded.
- OBJECT ALIGNING: If you want to centre e.g. text horizontally under (over) any selected object(s), you do not need to drag it. Just click on it holding down the CTRL key and - bingo! - the text jumps to the horizontally centred position. If you use the SHIFT key, you'll get a vertical alignment instead.
Use left/right Alt-Ctrl and Alt-Shift combinations to align to borders, and Shift-Ctrl combination to centre an object both horizontally and vertically.
- STYLE INHERITANCE: If you are editing text (i.e. the text caret is placed somewhere onto an existing text group), you can create a new text group anywhere without selecting a style from the text submenu - simply use adjust-click where you want to place it. If you enter a path object (line, curve, ellypse etc), it will inherit its style from another selected path object (if any).
- TEXT+MUSIC SYMBOLS: you can input several 'music' symbols in any text, using the same functions, ctrl-combinations, and ctrl-notepad keys found in Sibelius
- SLURS EDITING: You can edit slurs and get them to any shape you like. Just select them, press and hold the alt key to display their control points, and drag any of them to get the desired shape.
- ZOOM/MAGNIFIER: You can zoom-in/out with select/adjust clicks if you hold
down CTRL+SHIFT+ALT/ALTGR altogether. Alternatively, you may select the
Magnifier item in main menu (or simply press
- STRETCH MODE: when active, allovs to select multiple objects and traslate them proportionally, according to their relative positions. Particolarly useful in srinking bars etc.
- OTHER: Shortcuts for Grid/Grid Lock/Show Pane, Undo/Redo are the same as in !Draw. Locked objects stay in place until deleted, i.e. a page can be reloaded on top of them
You may click HERE and take a look to some !Sib2Draw screenshots, download a demo, and even purchase it if you like...
!Sib2Draw is Copyright © 1998-2005 G. Lo Nigro, Trieste, Italy
Sibelius is Copyright © Sibelius Software, 1993-2005