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Patina FAQs

Can I grab and manipulate shapes I've already drawn and text I've already written on the canvas?

Once shapes and text are committed to the canvas, you cannot grab them like the way you can with a layout application such as Pages or a presentation application such as Keynote or PowerPoint. Patina is a painting, drawing, and sketching application and in this regard you can think of the canvas as a paper painting canvas that absorbs paint. However, depending on what you want to do and whether there are other elements behind or overlapping the shape or text you want to edit, you might find you can indirectly edit it. For example, you can use the Select tool to frame part or all of a shape or text area and then move it, rotate it, delete it, etc. You might also be able to change the color of a shape with the Fill (paint bucket) tool.

How do I expand the Select, Shape, and Line tool buttons to show additional tools?

Double or long click on these tool circles to show the additional tools. The full set of tools for each button are as follows:
  • Transparent Select, Filled Select, and Crop
  • Rectangle, Circle, Rounded Corner Rectangle, Triangle, Hollow Head Arrow, Solid Head Arrow, and Linear Head Arrow
  • Straight Line, Dashed Line, Dotted Line, Curved Line
The tool you select will stay in the primary (visible) position during your current session but will revert back to the default position after you close the application or open a new Patina window.

How do I use the circles at the bottom of the app window?

The two circles under the far bottom left corner of the canvas control whether a color selection applies to outline color (if it’s a shape, or to stroke color if it’s a line, pencil, brush, or text) or to fill color. The active circle is indicated with an underline. If you click one of these circles, and then click one of the permanent or fixed color circles (see explanation below), that color will become the active color for outline or fill. You can alternatively double or long click the outline/stroke or fill circle to open the color picker and directly apply a color to outline/stroke or fill.

The next three circles are fixed or permanent colors (black, white, and transparent) and cannot be changed. Transparent cannot be applied as a canvas color (but instead you could use View | Transparent Background to have a checkerboard canvas). Some versions of Microsoft Paint use drop-down options for outline and fill to be "no fill" or "color". In Patina, transparent is the equivalent of Microsoft Paint ”no fill". In Patina, set the outline/stroke or fill color to transparent to be like "no fill" outline/stroke or "no fill" fill in Microsoft Paint.

The next seven circles are favorite colors. The default Patina favorite colors are the seven rainbow colors in the Patina logo. You can change these colors by double or long clicking them to bring up the macOS system color picker (double clicking will also automatically apply the color picker color to outline/stroke or fill (whichever is the currently active one), whereas long clicking will not apply it). Your changes of favorite colors will be semi-permanent: they will persist in your future Patina sessions unless you change them again or reset them to the default Patina colors by going to Preferences in the Patina drop-down menu and clicking "Reset Favorite Colors to Default”, or if you have checked the checkbox next to "Automatically Reset After Each Session" below that setting.

The last two circles are the Eye Dropper tool and Eye Dropper color. This color will be whatever color you sample with the Eye Dropper tool, or whatever color you choose from the color picker if you double or long click on this color circle (as mentioned above, double clicking will also apply the color picker color to outline/stroke or fill, whereas long clicking will only apply it to the Eye Dropper color circle).

How do I proportionally size and resize a shape (i.e., maintain the aspect ratio of the shape)?

To proportionally size a new shape that you are drawing, hold down the Shift key when you draw the shape. If you have stopped drawing but have not committed the shape to the canvas yet, you can continue to resize it proportionally by holding down the Shift key and dragging the corner of the shape. To proportionally resize an existing shape that has already been committed to the canvas, draw a selection frame around it using the Transparent Select or Filled Select tool and then hold down the Shift key and drag the corner of the selection frame. Or alternatively, after drawing the selection frame, go to "Adjust Selection Size..." in the Image drop-down menu or in the right-click menu, and then check the box that says "Preserve Aspect Ratio" and then enter the resizing information.

How can I rotate a shape or a selection in exact increments?

Use the Rotate option in the right-click menu or in the Image drop-down menu to rotate a in 90 degree increments.

Press and hold the Shift key while using the rotation knob on a shape or selection to rotate in 45 degree increments.

Press and hold the Control key while using the rotation knob on a shape or selection to rotate in 5 degree increments.

Press and hold the Option key while using the rotation knob on a shape or selection to rotate in 1 degree increments.

How do I use the slider?

The slider is context dependent. Depending on what tool is currently active or being used, the slider increases and decreases tool width, text font size, zoom level, and selection frame size.

What is the difference between Transparent Select and Filled Select, and how does the choice of one or the other affect other functions in Patina?

Transparent Select only selects the image itself and not the background. Note that some pasted images may not be transparent even if you use Transparent Select.

In Patina, the default setting for the Select tool is Transparent Select, whereas in some versions of Microsoft Paint the default setting is equivalent to Filled Select. If you've used Microsoft Paint before, you may notice that default setting difference in particular when you select and move an object (in Patina, the background by default will be transparent) and when you use trail mode (in Patina, trail mode will work similarly to the default behavior in Microsoft Paint if you first change the select tool setting to Filled Select).

How do I manage transparency in Patina?

In earlier versions of Patina, you could save images in file formats that support transparency by checking a box in the save screen. In current versions, transparency in Patina works differently. The default canvas is represented with white, but for the most part it functions as a transparent canvas unless you actually apply white color to it (in which case the Eye Dropper color circle will indicate white color instead of transparent when you sample the canvas with the Eye Dropper tool).

Note that if you use the Filled Select tool instead of the Transparent Select tool, the select frame will pick up the white canvas color because some users like having the white canvas actually function as a white color in such cases.

In the View drop-down menu (or using the keyboard shortcut Shift + Command + T), you now have the option of toggling on and off Transparent Background, which represents the canvas as a checkerboard.

To save an image as transparent, make sure Transparent Background is on when you save the file. If you try to save a transparent image in a file format that does not support transparency, a message will warn you that if you proceed you will lose transparency. Due to a quirk in macOS, if you then click Cancel, you will see a redundant message that says the file could not be saved. Duh.

Does the tool thickness indicator below the scroller indicate thickness in pixels for the shape, line, pencil, brush, and eraser tools?

No. The indicator is a relative scale from 1-10. Its usefulness is in allowing you to use the same tool thickness in multiple places without having to guess or use trial and error to achieve the same thickness.

How do I crop images?

You can crop using the Transparent Select, Filled Select, or Crop Select tool. The Crop Select tool allows you to draw a frame that you can freely move around or resize without affecting anything in the image. After you draw and position the selection frame, to execute the crop select "Crop" from the right-click menu or from the Edit drop-down menu, or use the keyboard shortcut Command + K (and Command + Z to uncrop). If you are using the Crop Select tool, you can also simply click “Enter/Return" to execute the crop. Note: if you want to use a keyboard shortcut to initiate use of the Crop Select tool, you can click P on your keyboard.

How do I zoom out using the Zoom tool (magnifying glass)?

To zoom out, click the magnifying glass tool and then hold the Control key down when you click the magnifying glass cursor. You will see the + symbol inside the cursor change to - symbol to indicate it is zooming out. You can also zoom using pinch gestures on the trackpad.

How do I change the color of something I've already drawn?

If the object is already committed to the canvas, you may be able to use the Fill (paint bucket) tool to change the color. This tool always uses the color that is currently in the fill color circle, not the color in the outline color circle, even if the tool originally used to draw the object (such as a Shape tool or the Text tool) used the color in the outline color circle. For example, if you draw a square with black outline and red fill, and later (after it's already been committed to the canvas) you want to change the outline color to yellow, you need to change the fill color circle, not the outline color circle, to yellow before you use the Fill (paint bucket) tool.

What keystroke shortcuts can I use to do special manipulations of selected parts of images, such as creating a trail?

If you use Transparent Select or Filled Select tool to select part of an image and then drag (or use arrow keys to move) the selection frame, the selected part will separate from the non-selected part of the image.

To create a trail, hold down the Shift key when moving the selected part. (You may find that to get the expected result you need to change the Select tool from the default Transparent Select to Filled Select.)

To separate the selected part while still retaining the selected part in the original image (sometimes called "stamp" mode), hold down the option key when moving the selected part.

To rotate a selected part, hold down the command key and use the up and down arrow keys.

Can I save PSD, PDF, AI, and PS files that I’ve opened/imported in Patina in those original file formats?

No and sort of yes. In Patina you can open/import files in those formats (PSD files will be non-layered in Patina), but “Save” is disabled for those file formats. However, the print menu in macOS allows you to save a file as a PDF or PS file format.

How do I go back to 100% view (i.e., actual size) after I have zoomed in or out?

There are a number of ways you can do this:
  • Go to the View drop-down menu and then click “Actual Size”
  • Use the keyboard shortcut Command + 0 (that’s number zero, not letter O)
  • Click the Zoom tool and then double click the control knob on the slider
  • Click the Zoom tool and then click the + and/or – buttons at the top and bottom of the slider
  • Click the Zoom and then move the slider with your mouse by clicking down and holding the control knob on the slider
  • Click the Zoom tool and then use the up and down arrow keys on your keyboard to move the slider (it will move in 1% increments, so this is a slow way but useful for fine-tuned movement)

What is the easiest way to adjust the zoom level in fine increments to get to the exact zoom percentage I want?

Click the Zoom tool and then use the up and down arrow keys on your keyboard to move the slider in 1% increments.

What are the different ways I can open/import an existing image into Patina?

There are multiple ways to open/import an image in Patina:
  • In Patina, go to the File drop-down menu, and then click Open/Import..., or use the keyboard shortcut Command + O (letter O, not number zero)
  • Copy to your clipboard an image from any application and then paste it onto the Patina canvas
  • Copy to your clipboard an image file from Finder, email client attachment, etc. and then paste it onto the Patina canvas
  • Drag an image file from Finder, email client, etc. and then drop it onto the Patina canvas

How can I zoom in on an object while drawing it?

Use your fingers in a pinching gesture on your trackpad instead of using the Zoom tool in Patina.

How do I flip shapes that I am in the process of drawing?

You can flip shapes while you are drawing them by rotating them (see separate FAQ about rotation for more details about rotating shapes and selections). When you select an already drawn object, there’s a menu option to flip horizontally or vertically.

How do I rotate a text box?

Due to technical constraints, you cannot rotate a text box when you are writing text. However, once the text is committed to the canvas, you can use a Select tool to draw a select frame around the text and then rotate it.

What is the "Smooth Edges" setting in Preferences?

In Preferences, found in the Patina drop-down menu, there is an option to turn on "Smooth Edges". Smooth edges is technically known as "anti-aliasing". In the Windows operating system, it is on by default and is a global setting that cannot be turned off for specific applications only. In Patina, smooth edges is off by default. You can turn this feature on and back off, even for drawing of different objects on the same canvas, but generally only more advanced users might have a reason to turn it on. Having it turned on can create problems filling the inside of a shape with a color. See the FAQ called “Why are there dotted or broken lines along the inside edges of a shape or object that I filled with a background color?” for more details.

What is the “Smooth Resizing” setting in Preferences?

In Preferences, found in the Patina drop-down menu, there is an option to turn off and on "Smooth Resizing". Smooth resizing is technically known as "interpolation". In Patina, it is turned on by default. The function of this setting is to provide better quality image resizing. However, interpolation can sometimes cause certain types of undesirable outcomes, so in Patina interpolation is only performed if the setting is turned on AND a selection is resized or a selection is rotated.

What is the "Slider Sets Width of Tools Independently" setting in Preferences?

With this setting you can set whether you want slider changes to tool width to only affect the current tool (i.e., independently) or to affect all tools at the same time.

How do I change the default file format that images are saved as in Patina?

Go to Preferences in the Patina drop-down menu and change the selection in "Default File Format".

Can I use Patina as a photo/image editing tool?

Patina was designed to be an easy-to-use drawing application, but it can also be useful for basic photo editing tasks too, such as cropping, rotating, resizing, and converting file formats (by saving as a different file type, although please note that Patina does not do JPG compression, and images saved in JPG format may be subject to minor color changes). If you are resizing photographic images, you will generally find that it is best to have the Smooth Resizing (Interpolation) setting in Preferences turned on (which it is by default).

What are the various indicators on the status bar at the bottom of the Patina app window?

From left to right, here are descriptions of the indicators on the status bar:
  • Under the slider: indicates tool thickness on a relative scale of 1-10 when Shape, Line, Pencil, Brush, and Eraser tools are active; indicates text font size when the Text tool is active; indicates zoom percentage (from 25% to 1600%) when the Zoom tool is active; indicates size scaling percentage (from 100% to 200%) when a select frame is active
  • The numbers next to the crosshair icon indicate the pixel position of the cursor on the canvas (upper left corner of the canvas is 0,0 position)
  • The dotted square icon indicates the pixel size of an object drawn on the canvas
  • The solid square icon indicates the pixel size of the canvas
  • The protractor icon indicates the rotation angle of an object drawn on the canvas in 0.1 increments

What keyboard shortcuts are available in Patina, and how do I use them?

In the drop-down and right-click menus, you will see keyboard shortcuts that are associated with various actions. Additionally, you can use the following keyboard shortcuts to activate various tools (these commands also appear as tooltips when you hold your mouse pointer over the relevant tools):
  • Transparent Select: N
  • Filled Select: F
  • Crop Select: P
  • Rectangle: R
  • Circle: C
  • Rounded corner rectangle: O
  • Triangle: T
  • Arrow (Hollow Head): A
  • Arrow (Solid Head): Control + A
  • Arrow (Linear Head): Option + A
  • Line: L
  • Line (Dashed): H
  • Line (Dotted): D
  • Line (Curved): U
  • Text: E
There are no keyboard shortcuts for the Pencil, Brush, Eraser, Fill, and Zoom tools.

Does Patina have layers?

No. Having layers would likely significantly increase usage complexity, which would conflict with the principle of keeping Patina very simple and user-friendly.

Can I use more than one font size in a text box, and if so, how do I do that?

You can indeed use more than one font size in a text box. First type all the text in one font size, and then highlight the portion of the text for which you want to change the font size, and then use the Patina slider to change the font size, or click the Command key and the plus sign key (+) at the same time to increase the font size, or the Command key and the minus sign key (-) at the same time to decrease the font size. Alternatively, you can bring up the Mac system fonts panel by going to the Format drop-down menu and click Font and then click Show Fonts, or you can do the same thing using the right-click context menu, or by clicking the Command key and the letter T at the same time.

What is "alpha blending of colors”, and can I turn it off?

Patina's alpha blending functionality allows you to blend translucent colors to create new colors. A translucent color means a color that is non-transparent or semi-transparent or non-opaque. There is a setting in the Mac color picker for setting the opacity of a color.

You cannot turn off alpha blending of colors in Patina, however there will be no alpha blending if the color you put on top of another color is set to 100% opaque in the Mac color picker.

What does it mean if a favorite color circle has a diagonal line that splits the circle into two colors?

Patina represents color opacity of less than 100% with a split line in the color circle. When you move the opacity slider in the Mac color picker to less than 100% opacity, you create a translucent / semi-transparent color, or fully transparent color if 0% opacity.

Why are 72 and 144 pixels included in grid line settings?

The standard and/or default DPI settings in macOS and Patina are 72 and 144, so those grid line increments allow you to easily align the grids with whole inches in non-retina and retina displays.

Why does the color of text change when I click and change the fill color button?

Due to a bug in macOS, the fill color button changes the outline color button (which in Patina controls the text color) when the Text tool is used. To avoid this problem, set the background color first and then do not change it while you are still writing text.

Why do I sometimes see stray lines when I'm drawing while zoomed in on the canvas?

Those lines are rendering artifacts that unfortunately cannot be controlled by the app because they result from imperfections in the scroll view functionality of macOS. When you zoom out or in after those artifacts appear, they should disappear and will not be a permanent part of your image.

Why can't I see or easily use the scroll bars when the canvas is larger than the Patina application window?

Scroll settings are controlled by your Apple computer's operating system, not by Patina. To change scroll settings, go to your computer's System Preferences, then go to General, then go to "Show scroll bars" and determine what setting you need.

What JPG file compression does Patina use?

Patina does not compress JPG files.

Why are there broken lines along the inside edges of a shape or object that I filled with a background color?

Patina has a preference called Smooth Edges (Anti-Aliasing) that is set to off by default. When Smooth Edges is on, strokes have smoother edges, but a fill color sometimes cannot fill all the way to the edge of an outlined area, so there may be the appearance of dotted or broken areas along the inside edges. The way to avoid this problem is either to make sure Smooth Edges is turned off in Preferences, or, if the problem only happens after filling an object that has been rotated, fill the object with color first before rotating it.

After I use a Select Tool to rotate an existing shape multiple times, why does the color spill out when I then try to fill it with color?

Thin strokes in a shape may end up with breaks in the strokes after you rotate the shape multiple times using a Select Tool. If you subsequently fill the shape with color, these stroke breaks prevent the shape from containing the fill color inside the shape and then the color will spill onto the canvas. The way to avoid this problem is either to use thicker strokes for the shape or to fill the shape with color before rotating it. You may also find that turning Smooth Edges (Anti-Aliasing) on or off in Preferences may affect the construction of strokes.

Sometimes when I move an object and put it on top of something else, I can no longer see the object.

Try selecting the object with the Filled Select tool instead of with the Transparent Select tool, or vice-versa. Note that transparent select is the original default setting but you can change the default setting in Preferences if you prefer the Filled Select tool to be the default setting.

Why does my saved Patina image look enlarged in Mac Preview?

In older versions of OS X, Preview does not properly display the screen size of objects drawn on a Retina Display. Upgrading to the newest version of macOS should solve that problem.

Why does the shape jump to a new position when I drag the left or right side of a hollow arrow, or the top or bottom of a triangle, to a negative position, instead of mirroring itself like happens when I do the same thing with other shapes?

Due to technical constraints, currently those two shapes do not mirror when the sides are dragged in the stated directions to a negative position. You can use the rotation tool instead to achieve the same result.

I opened/imported an image in Patina and then after I saved it in Patina, the color changed. What’s up with that?

In Patina, this kind of color change is more likely to happen if you save an image in JPG file format (which is technically called a "lossy" format) rather than in PNG file format (which is technically called a "lossless" format). JPG is ideal for saving images with lots of details, such as photos, where small changes of color might not be too noticeable. PNG file sizes will generally be bigger but will preserve colors better, so PNG is ideal for saving images, such as graphics, that have less detail and need better retention of original colors.

I am trying to resize an image, but instead the canvas is resizing. What am I doing wrong?

Make sure you first use a Select tool to frame the part of the image you want to resize (or go to the Edit drop-down menu and Select All, or use the keyboard shortcut Command + A, if you want to select the entire canvas). When you do that, you will see that the resizing option in the Image drop-down menu, or in the right-click menu, changes from “Adjust Canvas Size…” to “Adjust Selection Size…”.

I opened a large resolution image in Patina and I cannot see all of the image on the visible Patina canvas. I would rather not have to scroll to see other parts of the image. What’s the best way to deal with that situation?

The Patina Zoom tool allows you to zoom out to 25% to help handle such situations. Please note that that certain drawing functions might not work as well, or the same, when you are zoomed out that far.

Is Patina available in an iOS version for iPhones and/or iPads?

Not currently.

How do I update Patina?

Your Mac notifies you when updates are available for Patina and any other software you've downloaded from the Mac App Store. In OS X Yosemite (OS X version 10.10) and above, you can tell your Mac to automatically install updates. The first time updates are ready, Yosemite gives you the option to always update automatically. You can also manually check for updates by going to the Updates button in the toolbar at the top of the App Store window.

What operating system version is required to run Patina?

Patina works on OS X versions 10.8 and later, including macOS Sierra. (Version 10.8 is also known as Mountain Lion, version 10.9 is also known as Mavericks, and version 10.10 is also known as Yosemite).

When I printed my image, it got split onto more than one page. How can I prevent that from happening?

You can resolve this problem by using appropriate settings for canvas size and DPI in the "Adjust Canvas Size" setting found in the Image menu in Patina.

For example:

A4 paper size is 210 x 297mm or 8.27 x 11.69 inches. If you set DPI to 300 (for example), you could then set width and height to 2480 and 3508 pixels in order for the image (canvas) size to be equal to the paper size since 2480/300=8.27 and 3508/300=11.69.

Why does text sometimes look a little fuzzy or choppy along the edges?

Due to constraints in macOS and the way Patina is designed, if you don't set a background color for a text box, the edges of text might not look very smooth. Fortunately, setting a background color does not mean that you have to use a colored background. When you see a default white background in Patina, it looks white but it's actually transparent (as you can see if you go to the View menu and click "Transparent Background"). To solve the text rendering problem, click the "fill" color circle (the second one from the left side on the bottom row of buttons) and then click a color to be the background color. If you still want to have a white background, simply choose white as the background color - the background will still look the same, but the text will render better. (You can confirm the background is actually white by changing to Transparent Background, where you should see white for the text box area rather than a checkerboard pattern.)

How can I align a Select frame to a precise position?

If you draw a Select frame and then try to adjust the position, you will affect the contents of the frame. If you draw a Crop frame (a type of Select frame), the frame can move without affecting the contents. But if when a frame is active you click on the Zoom tool to try to see better where to align an edge, you will lose the frame. To avoid that problem, you can either zoom in first before drawing the frame, or you can zoom in on an active frame using your MacBook Trackpad.