Software: Ulead PhotoImpact X3
Author: MaryLou White
Home Page: Wishing Well Tutorials

Title: Ruler and Guidelines
Skill Level: Intermediate

Description: The ruler has a number of nice features that can help you align things that the regular alignment tools cannot. The ruler guidelines are especially nice in that they are non-printing guidelines.

PhotoImpact X3 has several preset work modes. For this tutorial, we will be using the Full Edit mode so all of the tools in PhotoImpact will be available to you.

As you work, use your mouse to drag this along with you to mark your place.

LET'S GET STARTED The ruler is a very powerful little tool, although it is seldom used. We're going to take a closer look at it and explore the features. Follow along so you can try it out.

Open a new image maybe 400x200 or whatever size you like to work with. Draw two circles similar to those below:

We know we can align them so they are the same height by using the align tools but what if we want exactly 50 pixels between the circles? On the lower right corner, click on the Units icon. Since we want to put 50 pixels between the circles, check Pixels.

Next, turn on the ruler by clicking the Ruler toggle or by selecting it on the Units pop-up window. The ruler has small sections of 50 pixels each along the top and down the left side. If you are working with an image that is under or over 100%, the measurement values will become either larger or smaller. You can tell the measure is in pixels because that's what is indicated in the upper left corner of the ruler. You could use inches or centimeters if you prefer.

Okay, now how are we going to get those circles 50 pixels apart? When we move them left or right, the indicator on the ruler shows the placement based on the center of the circle. We need it based on the edges of the circle. There is a way!

Using the pick tool, place your pointer anywhere on the left ruler. Hold down the mouse button and drag the cursor to the right. You should see a thin blue line appear from out of nowhere. This is a guideline. Drag it over so it lines up under the 200 pixel mark. Watch the lower left corner of your PI screen to make sure it says exactly 200. Pull out another guideline and place it at the 150 mark. Again, watching your coordinates, move each circle until it touches the line. The cursor keys work well for this.

You can pull out as many guidelines as you like. They do not become part of the image. When you save or print the image, the lines will disappear. You can drag them back to the ruler too. There are also guide lines hidden in the top ruler. Pull one down just for the fun of it.

Try some of the other options on the Units menu. You can lock the guides or clear them all at the same time. You can also access the ruler from this menu.

Another nice feature of this tool is the Snap To Guidelines. When this is turned on, you can just move your graphic close to the guideline which will act like a magnet and pull the graphic right up next to it.

Some prefer this method rather than watching the settings in the lower left corner. The Snap To Guidelines option is on the Units pop-up menu. In the example below, I changed the unit of measure to inches and used Snap To Guidelines to position the square exactly the same distance from the top as it is from the left side.

You can also change the look of your guidelines and the color by going to the Preferences.

Just for practice, use the rulers and guides to align something of your choice. The more you practice, the better you will get. The grid is an invaluable tool when you want things done to perfection.

You're invited to join the PIRC Fourm! This is an active PhotoImpact Forum where you'll find a wonderful group of warm, friendly, talented, and knowledgeable people who are ready and willing to share their expertise with you. There are creative activities for all levels of PhotoImpact users. This forum is 100% free and everyone is welcome.

Copyright© MaryLou White.
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