Software: PhotoImpact 12
Author: MaryLou White
Home Page: Wishing Well Tutorials

Title: Saving an Image
Skill Level: Beginner

Description: This is a very basic beginner tutorial to show how to save an image in PhotoImpact. It covers saving a .gif, a .gif with a transparent background, a .jpg and a .ufo. There are other methods of saving files but using the Image Optimizer screen is recommended for new users when saving .jpg and .gif files.

Different formats are used for different applications. An image saved as a .gif can have a transparent background whereas a .jpg cannot. These two formats are used for putting images on the web and posting in emails. The .ufo format is one developed by Ulead and is used to save projects you are working on so the objects do not all merge together. This one cannot be used in emails or on the web.

PhotoImpact 12 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.


Note: If you are using a different version of PhotoImpact, you may not have the same images in your Easy Palette that are used in this tutorial. If that is the case, you will need to Download this small zip file that contains the images.

A general rule of thumb for saving images is, when saving a photograph, save as a .jpg, otherwise save as a .gif. An image saved as a .jpg can have millions of colors but cannot have a transparent background. Images saved as a .gif can only have a max of 256 colors but they can have a transparent background. While you are still working on an image, it's best to save it as a .ufo so you can make changes if needed.

  1. Open a new image 300x300 with a white background. Rather than drawing an image, let's use something from the Easy Palette.

  2. Open the Easy Palette and click on the Libraries tab. Find the Seastar in the Nature category. Using your left mouse button, drag the Seastar into the new image you opened in step 1.

  3. Notice, your Seastar has a selection line (a line of dashes) around it. For this image, we want to save only the selected object (the Seastar) and not the white background. On the menu, click Web\Image Optimizer. On the next screen, you have a choice of saving the entire image or just the selected object. If it is not already selected, click Selected Objects, OK.

  4. There are several file type choices on the next screen. We are going to save this one in .gif format (256 colors). When saving a single object, you will automatically get a transparent background behind your image. The white background will disappear leaving only the Seastar. Click Save As and navigate to the folder where you save your images. Type in a file name and save.

  5. Repeat the above steps but select the Strawberry instead of the Seastar. This time, click anywhere inside the image to un-select the Strawberry. Click Web\Image Optimizer. This time, you will not be asked if you want to save just the selection because you do not have a selection. It will save the strawberry along with the white background. Even though you are saving the entire image, there are ways to make the background transparent when saving as a .gif but those methods are beyond the scope of this tutorial. You don't have to save this image. The objective was so you could see the difference in saving an image with and without a selection.

  6. Repeat the above steps again but this time select Leaf 1, Seashell 2 and Butterfly 1. Put them all in the same image by dragging them out of the EasyPalette and into the image as shown below. Notice, the leaf doesn't quite fit into the image. It's slightly larger. You will need to resize the leaf using the Transform tool. If you don't resize the image, the resulting image after you save will be larger than the 300x300 because you will saving only the objects and not the entire image.

    To resize an image, click on the Transform tool located on the tool panel.

    Make sure the lock on the menu bar is locked. If it's open, just click it to lock. The lock will keep the object's perspective. While your object is still selected, use your mouse to drag the nodes on the bounding box inward until the leaf fits inside the edges. The bounding box is the black line you see around the image. The small black squares that are on the lines are called nodes.

  7. Click on the Seashell to select it. The other two objects will not be selected. On the menu, click Web\Image Optimizer. On the next screen, pick Selected Object, OK. Even though we have 3 objects in our image, only the Seashell is in the save window. Where did our other objects go?

    Since we elected to save the selected objects, we got exactly what we asked for, the Seashell! It was the only object selected so that's all that will be saved. Again, you do not need to actually save this image.

  8. Going back to the same image, click on any object within the image. Right-click and pick Select All Objects from the menu. Next, click Web\Image Optimizer. Since we have selected the objects to be saved, pick Selected Objects on next screen. Select the .gif button as the file type. Navigate to your work folder and save this image using the file name my-gif (you will need it later). Note: this file will most likely be smaller than the next two files (the .jpg and .ufo files) because you are not saving it with the background. You are saving the objects only which will result in a smaller size. Once this file has been saved, all of the individual objects will be merged into one image without a background.
As you can see, the way you save your image depends on what you want as an end result.


This is the preferred format for saving photographs since they can have millions of colors whereas a .gif can only have 256 colors. However, the downside is, each time you save an image as a .jpg, it will "degrade". Over time, it will become "fuzzy" and have a lot of ugly artifacts in the image.

  1. Using the same image with the three objects, click on Web\Image Optimizer. If objects are selected, pick Entire Image from the small menu. On the Optimizer screen, click the .jpg button. Navigate to your work folder and save this image using the file name my-jpg (you will need it later). Once this file has been saved, all of the individual objects will be merged into the background as a single image.


When saving your files in .ufo format (Ulead's native format), all of your objects will be preserved. A good way to work on other projects is to save often and save in .ufo format. This will allow you to go back later and continue where you left off and the image will be exactly as you left it. Remember, this format cannot be used on the web or in your emails. When designing an image for the web, save your file as a .ufo until you are finished, then re-save it in a format sutiable for the web (.gif or .jpg).

  1. When saving as a .ufo file, you do not use the Image Optimizer. Using the image you created above with the three objects, Click File\Save As on the menu. It should automatically show .ufo as the file type. If not, find the .ufo file type on the drop-down menu. Navigate to your work folder and save this image using the file name my-ufo (you will need it later).

    Note: Depending on how your options are set, you may or may not get the following screen when saving as a .ufo. If you do, select the RLE (Run Length Encoded) option.


Now we'll see the results of our saved images. Close the image in your workspace without saving it. On the menu, click File\Open. Navigate to the folder where you saved your images. Hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and click on each of the files and click open.

  1. This will open all three images, my-gif.gif, my-jpg.jpg and my-ufo.ufo. We need to make them a bit smaller so we can see all three on the screen.

  2. Click on the .gif image. On the menu, select Adjust\Resize. Set the options as shown below. Repeat for the .ufo and the .jpg images. Note: the .jpg image will have only one option on the "Apply to" section which is Base Image.

    Now let's look at each image and see the different effects depending on how they were saved.

  3. Click on your .gif image. It should have a transparent background but all of the images have been merged into one. You can use the Pick tool to move the image around the screen but you cannot separate the pieces. Since we did not save the background, this image will be smaller than the other two.

  4. Click on the .jpg image. You cannot move any part of this image. The objects have all been merged into the background and it is one solid image.

  5. Click on your .ufo image. Use the Pick tool to click on the objects. You should be able to move each object around just as you did when you created it.

    Even though each image looks the same, they are very different in file size. To see the difference. click on the .gif image, then click the little black I in the lower right corner of the screen. It will bring up a screen with details about your image.

    Repeat for each image so you can see the differences. The .gif can have only 256 colors so is the smallest If an image has more colors, when it is saved as a .gif, the image is compressed to remove the extra colors.

    The .jpg is larger than the .gif because it has more colors although you can't see them all.

    The .ufo has no compression of any kind and is fully intact so it will be the largest in size. A .ufo file cannot be seen on a web page nor can it be seen in other programs. It is a format developed by Ulead to keep your objects intact, just as you left them, when you save the file.

    There are many other file formats but on a beginning level, we will only be dealing wtih these three as they are the most common.


  • .gif (Graphics Interchange Format)files can have a maximum of 256 colors and can be saved with a transparent background. They can be saved over and over and not lose quality, and can be used on web pages. When saved, all objects are merged into a single object.

  • .jpg (Joint Photographic Experts)files can have millions of colors but cannot be saved with a transparent background. When saved over and over, they degrade in quality, and they can be used on web pages. When saved, all objects are merged into a single object.

  • .ufo (Ulead Object Format) files can have millions of colors and can be saved with a transparent background. They can be saved over and over and not loose quality and separate objects will not be merged when saved. They cannot, however, be used on a web page.


If you are doing this tutorial as a part of the Beginners Workshop, please complete the following steps.

  1. Arrange all three images so they fit in your workspace. Put them in order with my-gif.gif first, my-jpg.jpg second and my-ufo.ufo last.

    NOTE: The .gif image may not be the same size as the .ufo and the .jpg when you re-open them. The reason is, when you save the .gif, you are saving the objects only and not the background. With the .ufo and the .jpg, the background is saved with the image.

  2. On the .ufo image, select all objects (click on one object, right-click, select all objects). While all the objects are selected, do a screen capture. It is important that the .ufo file be selected when doing the screen capture or the selection lines will not show. Paste the screen capture as a new image and crop as shown below. Save your image as a .gif file. Note: The result of this project will be larger than the normal 400x400 workshop limit - so don't worry about .

    You do not need to add the red text. Your mentor can see the file names on top of each image and can determine by that if you have done the exercise correctly.

Copyright© MaryLou White.
This document may not be translated, duplicated, redistributed or otherwise appropriated without permission.