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Windows Draw 6 or CompletePublisher'99

Using Layers for a Scrapbook Page

This explains how to set up a document in Micrografx Windows Draw 6, or, Sierra Complete Publisher for creating a scrapbook page. For simplicity's sake, I'll refer to both programs as "Draw".

Editors Note: Originally published as Micrografx Windows Draw 6, the current version is published by Sierra as CompletePublisher'99. For all practical purposes, they are the same program.

This tutorial uses a Cliptures ready-made page from one of the Cliptures, especially for scrapbooking volumes by Dream Maker Software. Even if you're not using a Cliptures ready-made page, this tutorial will still show you the basic steps for creating an excellent scrapbook page structure with the Draw program.

This is a long tutorial only because I've tried not to miss anything, and, to explain the reasons for most things! Once you've done this a couple of times to get familiar with it, you'll see how incredibly easy this is and how quickly you can set up a scrapbook page.

Assuming you have already decided which Cliptures ready-made page you want to use, you have the digital pictures you want to use on the page, and, you know what journaling you want to add, if any, you will be able to do an entire scrapbook page in 10 minutes or less! (Excluding printing!)

We're going to take advantage of Draw's layering feature to make working with the various page elements (photos, Cliptures, and text) much easier.

To follow along, you will need to have:

- Either Micrografx Windows Draw 6 or Sierra's CompletePublisher'99.

- A Cliptures "especially for scrapbooking" volume (which has ready-made scrapbook pages).

- Digital photographs to use on the page. These can be photographs you have scanned, taken with a digital camera, or, pictures you had processed at a photo lab and had them put on a computer disk for you.

Lets get started!

1. Start Draw and create a new 8.5" x 11" blank, vertical page.

2. Go to the DRAW menu, select LAYERS, and then select LAYER MANAGER from the sub-menu that appears. (This will open the Layer Manager window.)

(When you first open the Layer Manager, there is initially only one layer called "Layer 1".)

3. Click the RENAME button and change the Layer Name to "Photos" and click OK. (This will be the layer you later import you photographs to.)

(Now, still with the Layer Manager window open, you'll see that there is no "Layer 1", but a "Photos" layer instead. That's because you renamed it.)

4. Click the ADD button so we can add another layer.

5. Change the layer name to "Cliptures" and click the OK button.

(Now you have 2 layers called "Photos" and "Cliptures".)

6. Click the ADD button to add a third layer. Change the layer name to "Text" and click the OK button.

(Now you have 3 layers: "Photos", "Cliptures", and "Text".)

Take a minute to look at the Layer Manager window. You have set up 3 layers for your document called Photos, Cliptures, and Text. The Photos layer is at the top, Cliptures is in the middle, and, Text is at the bottom. The way Draw works is a little confusing, but the top layer you see in the list is actually the bottom layer in the document and the bottom layer in the list is the top layer in the document.

There are other buttons and options in the Layer Manager window that you can learn about LATER. For now, don't change anything!

Just remember that when you're looking in the Layer Manager window at the list of layers, that Draw shows the list in the opposite order of how they appear on your page.

Why is this important? Anything on the top layer (in this case, the Text layer) will be on top of and cover anything on any of the layers below it. Next, anything on the middle layer (the Cliptures layer) will cover anything below it on the Photos layer.

7. Lets close up the Layer Manager window and look at our page. Click the OK button in the Layer Manager window.

If you could look at a cross section of this layout page, here's how things would appear:

----The Top----

---------- Text Layer
---------- Cliptures Layer
---------- Photos Layer

----The Bottom----

We have 3 layers on the page. Anything on the top layer (in this case, the Text layer) will be on top of and cover anything on any of the layers below it. Next, anything on the middle layer (the Cliptures layer) will cover anything below it on the Photos layer.

By setting up your Draw document this way, you will be able to work with each of these layers without having to worry about disturbing anything on the other layers.

8. If you look directly below the page, starting at the left you will see 3 tabs called: Photos, Cliptures, and Text. These are the layers we just created. Clicking on a tab will make that layer active. When a layer is active, you can add or change things on that layer without effecting the other (inactive) layers.

So you have a basic layout page ready to go! Let's get started! We'll start with the Cliptures ready-made scrapbook page first!

9. Click on the "Cliptures" layer tab to make it the active layer.

10. From the INSERT menu, select the PICTURE command. This will open a standard, Windows file dialog window.

11. Click the down arrow next to the "Look In" rectangle and select your CD-Rom drive letter from the list. This will show you the folders at the top level of the Cliptures CD.

12. Double-click on the Color folder, then double-click again on the WMF-HI folder, and finally on the Pages folder. This will show you a list of the Cliptures ready-made pages for that particular volume.

13. Double-click on the name of the page you want to use and Draw will import the graphic into your document.

OK, so now you have the Cliptures ready-made page imported into your document! Let's do some quick formatting to make sure it is precisely positioned and properly sized.

14. Click on the graphic to make sure it's selected and you can see the "handles" in each of the 4 corners of the graphic.

15. From the FORMAT menu, select the OBJECT command. This will open a window called Object Properties and the tab at the top: GENERAL will be the active tab.

16. In the LOCATION section there is a place where it says "X" and a place that says "Y". The number for the "X" specifies how far over from the right edge of the page that the graphic will start. The number for the "Y" specifies how far down from the top edge of the page that the graphic will start. Set both the "X" and "Y" numbers to .5 (1/2 inch).

17. In the SIZE area there is another set of "X" and "Y" number areas and also a place with a check box that says "Keep Proportional". The "X" number specifies the width for the graphic and the "Y" number specifies the height.

18. The FIRST THING you want to do is to UN-CHECK the "Keep Proportional" box. With the "Keep Proportional" box unchecked, we can change the height or width of the graphic without one setting affecting the other.

Note: If the "Keep Proportional" is checked, changing the height number will also change the width number, or, changing the width number will also change the height. Normally, with most graphics, you would probably want to keep this checked so that the graphic doesn't become distorted. But for this circumstance we are making a very minute size adjustment so that our ready-made page will leave an exact 1/2" border around the whole scrapbook page and any distortion will be totally unnoticeable.

19. (Make sure "Keep Proportional" is unchecked.) Set the "X" number to 7.5 (7 1/2 inches) and set the "Y" number to 10 (10 inches).

What we have done with this series of "Format" settings is to set the graphic so that it will start at exactly 1/2" down and to the right on the page and we have specified for the graphic to be exactly 7 1/2" wide x 10" tall. This will give us an exact, and even, 1/2" border on all 4 sides of the printed page.

Before you close out of this Object Properties window, there is one more point of interest to look at! If you look at the section that says "Layer of Object" you will see that it says "Cliptures". That is the layer that was active when we imported the Cliptures ready-made page. As you get more comfortable with the workings of Draw, you can use this option to move elements from one layer to another, if you should need to.

20. Click the OK button to close the Object properties window. We're back at the page and we can see our perfectly positioned graphic!

21. On the layers tabs at the bottom of the page, click on the Photos tab to make the Photos layer the active layer.

22. To see why we've done all of this layer thing this way, click on the Cliptures graphic. Nothing selected? Try clicking on it again. Again. Still nothing? That's right! That's what we want! We have put the graphic on a layer and have it just where we want it. Now, because the graphic is on its own layer, we can work on the other parts of our page without worrying about moving, deleting, or disturbing the graphic in any way!

Now for phase 2!

23. With the Photos layer tab still active, go to the INSERT menu, select the PICTURE command. This will open a standard, Windows file dialog window. Navigate to the hard disk or drive and folder where you have your digital photos. Double-click on the name of the first photograph you want to import.

24. The photograph will be imported into your page and it will be behind the Cliptures graphic. Why? Because you imported it onto the "Photos" layer which is below the "Cliptures" layer.

25. When you first import a photo into your document, it will still be selected. You can click anywhere on top of the photo, whether you can actually see that part or not, and move it around the page. This is important to remember because when you import the photo, Draw will place it in the middle of the page. More than likely, at least part of it is going to not be visible through any of the photo areas on the Cliptures ready-made page. So, Draw knows which layer your working on and even though you may be clicking on a part of a photo that's hidden behind the Cliptures graphic, you can still manipulate the photo the same as if you could see the entire thing.

26. Click on top of the photo and drag it so that it's located behind one of the photo places on the Cliptures graphic. Once you have the photo in the general position where you want it, you can:

Size the photo: If you click on any one of the object handles on the corners of the photo, you can make the photograph larger or smaller.

Rotate the photo: Basic options for rotating a graphic can be found by going to the DRAW menu, selecting the ROTATE command, and the selecting one of the options from the sub-menu that appears.

27. You can also edit your digital photographs in PhotoMagic by going to Draw's EDIT menu and selecting the EDIT IN IMAGE EDITOR command. This will start PhotoMagic and open your photo for manipulation. When you're done editing the image in PhotoMagic, go to PhotoMagic's FILE menu and select the EXIT AND RETURN TO DRAWING command. This will close PhotoMagic and take you back to your Draw document with your newly modified photo replacing the original version in the layout.

NOTE: When you're manipulating digital photographs, you need to keep in mind that some modifications you make to the photos may affect their printing quality. See the section below: "Reminders for Digital Photographs".

28. Because the photographs are only visible behind the transparent photo frames in the Cliptures scrapbook page, very little cropping should be necessary, if any. If you do need to crop a photo, you can by selecting the CROP IMAGE command from Draw's EDIT menu.

29. Continue importing, positioning and making any modifications you like to any additional photographs until all the photos for your page have been added and are finished.

When you done with your photos, it's time to add any journaling or toppers you like to the page!

30. On the layers tabs at the bottom of the page, click on the Text tab to make the Text layer the active layer. Now you can add whatever text you like to the page without having to worry about selecting or changing your photos or graphics on the other layers!

31. When you're done with your text, be sure to do a spelling check in with Draw's spelling checker!

32. Look over everything, make sure you have saved your page, and then you're ready to print!

Reminders for Digital Photographs:

Cliptures EPS and WMF graphics are both vector based computer graphics formats. This is a different graphic format than your digital photographs. With vector based graphics, you can freely enlarge, reduce, and rotate the graphics without any loss in image quality.

Digital camera pictures, scanned photos, and all other digital forms of photographs are bit mapped graphics. This type of computer graphics format is necessary in order to show the vastness of colors and detail visible in photographs.

Resizing or Scaling:
Making a photograph smaller is never really a problem, but, if you make the photo larger, your are decreasing the resolution of the photograph. This may or may not affect the quality of your finished, printed page, depending upon the original resolution of the photograph and how much you changed it.

Rotating:
The dots (pixels) in bit mapped graphics are square. Rotating a digital photograph in 90 degree increments is not a problem because all of the square pixels are being turned on one of their 90 degree sides. However, if you rotate digital pictures in anything other than 90 degree increments (like 27 degrees), the quality of your printed photograph will be degraded. How much depends on the original image's resolution, the degree of modification you're trying to make, and, the software program you are doing it with.

Larger, higher resolution images hold up better to being enlarged or rotated, but they are also much larger files which will use more of your computer's and software program's resources when you are manipulating, saving and storing the files, and, when printing them. Working with digital images requires some personal trial and error for each person on their system to see what works for the individual, and, if the finished results are acceptable for them or not!

Article by David Sutphin
David is an avid computer scrapbooker and the owner of Dream Maker Software, publisher of Cliptures clip art.

Copyright 1999, all rights reserved.


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