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Windows Draw 6 or CompletePublisher'99

"Slicing" a Digital Photograph

This tutorial explains how to use the "Slice" feature in Micrografx Windows Draw 6, or, Sierra Complete Publisher for cropping a digital photograph to a non-rectangular shape. For simplicity's sake, both programs are referred to as "Draw" in this tutorial.

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

Being able to "Slice" a photograph in Draw is a great feature for computer scrapbooking! Slicing crops a photograph into the shape of an object. Much more than simple rectangles, you can use circles, ovals, stars, or other shapes too. This can add a whole new range of design possibilities to your scrapbook pages!

Draw includes some special shapes with it but you're not limited to those. To use a shape, the graphic must be a single object, like a star or a circle. Although a little more involved, you can also slice a photograph into a word that could be used as a headline or topper for a scrapbook page.

"Slicing" requires 2 objects; the object that you want to slice (the digital photograph), and, a simple vector graphic object that is the shape you want the sliced object to be. It works pretty much like a cookie cutter. Your photograph is the cookie dough and the shape is the cookie cutter.

Note: The slice shape (cookie cutter) must be a single object graphic. It cannot be a graphic that is made up of multiple objects or Draw will not know which individual shape to make the slice with. Most vectored clip art graphics contain multiple objects within the graphic. If the image is grouped, it may appear like it's one object when it really isn't. A graphic like this cannot be used to slice a photograph.

To follow along you'll need to have:

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

- A digital photograph to slice. This can be a photograph you have scanned, taken with a digital camera, or from a computer disk with your photographs that you got from a photo lab.

(For the purposes of this lesson, working with a low resolution photograph will be easier and take less computer processing time, so, if you have a low resolution photograph, practice this tutorial with it instead of a high resolution image.)

Lets get started!

For this tutorial, we'll take a digital photograph and put it into the shape of a circle.

1. Start a new layout in Draw and make sure the Visual Toolbar is active.

2. From 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 photograph. Double-click on the name of the photograph you want to use and the photo will be imported into your layout.

3. On the Visual Toolbar, click on the Create Shapes button and select Circle. When you do this, the mouse pointer will change to look like a cursor with a little circle next to it.

4. Next, move the cursor over on top of the layout and draw a circle by clicking, holding down the mouse button, and dragging down and to the right. As you drag the cursor a circle will be drawn on your layout. You want the circle to be a little smaller than the size of the photograph, so, when you have the circle to about that size, release the mouse button.

5. When you clicked on the Circle creation tool, a little window also opened up that says "Circle". We only need one circle for this tutorial, so click on the Finished button in the circle window.

6. Next, click on top of the circle and drag it on top of the photograph. (If you need to adjust the circle's size you can by clicking on one of the squares in a corner of the circle and dragging the little square.)

7. Once you have the circle over the top of your photograph, you're almost ready to slice. It's important to remember that the circle (your cookie cutter) does have to be on top of the photograph (your cookie dough) because when you do a slice, the program is going to use the shape of the top object to cut the shape out of the bottom object.

8. The final thing you have to do before you make the slice is to select both of the objects; the photograph and the shape. You have to do this so that the program knows what objects is going to use for the slice.

9. There are a couple of ways to select multiple objects. You can click and drag a rectangle around the outside of just those two objects, or, you can click on one object to select it, then hold down the shift key and click on the second object. (Holding down the shift key lets you select additional objects without deselecting what you already have selected.)

10. OK, both objects selected?

11. From the Tools menu select the Slice Object command.

12. At first it will appear as though the circle just disappeared but nothing else happened. Don't panic! The program did cut the shape! It may look like nothing happened but what you're seeing on the screen is actually two objects, the new shape and the left over piece of the photograph.

13. So, the final thing you need to do is to click on a corner of the photograph, or, anywhere else on the photo that's outside of where the circle was. When you click on it, it's selected. Now press your delete key. The extra cookie dough disappears and your left with....

Your shape!

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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