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QuarkXPress 8 : Pictures - Cropping, positioning, and scaling

5/22/2013 4:06:10 AM
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1. Cropping

If you want to print only part of a picture, you have the option of cropping the graphic file using an image-editing program. But an easier option—and one that doesn’t actually delete anything from the original graphic file—is to crop imported pictures within QuarkXPress. Although the Item tool lets you crop pictures, the Picture Content tool is generally better for this task because you’re able to see what’s being cropped as you drag the mouse.

When you click a picture box with the Picture Content tool, any cropped areas of the picture are lightened to distinguish them from the live area. Click and drag any of the eight square resizing handles to crop the picture within. As you drag handles, the onscreen display is continually updated to show you what portion of the picture is inside the picture box and what areas are getting cropped. Figure 1 shows a before, during, and after example of cropping.

Figure 1. The picture on the left is selected with the Picture Content tool. The square resizing handles of the picture box coincide with the rounded resizing handles of the picture, indicating that the dimensions of the picture box are the same as the dimensions of the picture. Middle: After using the Item tool to drag the picture box’s resizing handles and then selecting the picture with the Picture Content tool, the cropped areas are visible beyond the edge of the picture box. Right: The final, cropped picture selected with the Item tool.


Cropping a picture with the Picture Content tool gets a little tricky when the small, square resizing handles of a picture box overlap the rounded blue resizing handles of a picture. When this occurs, clicking a box’s resizing handle will actually select the picture resizing handle, and if you drag, you’ll change the scale of the picture. The trick here is to first press the Command key (Mac) or Control key (Windows), click a box resizing handle, release the Command or Control key, and then drag. If you don’t release the Command or Control key before you drag, you’ll scale both the picture and the box. Unfortunately, when you use a modifier key, only the portion of the picture within the box is visible as you drag.

2. Positioning a picture within its box

If you want to move a picture box—and the picture within—simply click and drag the box with the Item tool ; however, if you want to move a picture within its box, use the Picture Content tool. When this tool is selected and you move the pointer over a picture box that contains a picture, the hand pointer () is displayed. Click and drag when this pointer appears to move the picture. Press the Shift key as you drag to constrain movement to vertical and horizontal. A live preview is displayed as you drag, with cropped areas lightened.

The arrow keys offer a useful alternative to moving a picture with the mouse. When you select a picture with the Picture Content tool, each click of an arrow key nudges the picture one point. Hold down the Option key (Mac) or the Alt key (Windows) to reduce the nudge increment to one-tenth of a point.

If you’re fond of using the Measurements palette to make changes to items, you can click the increase/decrease arrows next to the Offset Across (X+) and Offset Down (Y+) fields in the Classic tab to move a selected picture in one-point increments. Hold down the Option key (Mac) or the Alt key (Windows) to reduce the nudge increment to one-tenth of a point. Figure 2 shows the Offset Across and Offset Down controls in the Measurements palette. Of course, you can also specify offset values in the fields. If you want to place the upper-left corner of the picture in the upper-left corner of the box (the default position), enter 0 in these fields, which are also available in the Picture pane of the Modify dialog box (Item > Modify).

Figure 2. Clicking the Offset Across Increase button moves the selected picture one point to the right.


3. Scaling pictures

As with cropping, you have several options for scaling pictures. The quickest and easiest way to scale both a picture box and the picture within is to select the box with the Item tool, and then drag a resizing handle while holding down Shift+Command (Mac) or Shift+Control (Windows). Holding down the modifier keys maintains the proportions of both the picture and the box. If you hold down only the Command or Control key, you can disproportionately scale the picture and the box.

If you’ve selected a picture with the Picture Content tool, you can drag any of its resizing handles to scale the picture without affecting the box. Hold down Shift+Command (Mac) or Shift+Control (Windows) as you drag to maintain the proportions of the picture. If you hold down only the Command or Control key as you drag, the picture is disproportionately scaled.

The Scale Across (X%) and Scale Down (Y%) fields in the Classic tab of the Measurements palette provide another option for scaling pictures, as do the same fields in the Picture pane of the Modify dialog box (Item > Modify).

To return a picture to its original scale, set the Scale Across (X%) and Scale Down (Y%) values to 100%.

Tip: Context Menu Commands for Scaling Pictures and Resizing Picture Boxes

If you Control+click (Mac) or right-click (Windows) a picture box with either the Item tool or the Picture Content tool, the context menu offers two commands for picture boxes. Choose Scale Picture to Box to resize the picture so that it fits completely within the box (that is, with no cropping) while maintaining the picture’s original proportions. (If the dimensions of the picture are not proportional with the dimensions of the box, the box background will be visible between the edge of the picture and the top and bottom edges or left and right edges of the picture box.) Choose Fit Box to Picture to resize a picture box so that its edges align with the edges of the picture.

4. More options for working with pictures

Cropping and scaling are probably the two most common changes you’ll make to pictures, but other options—like rotation, skew, and opacity—let you make more dramatic changes. Nearly all of the controls for modifying pictures are available in the Picture pane of the Modify dialog box (Figure 3). Most of these controls are also available in the Classic tab of the Measurements palette (Figure 4).

Figure 3. Modify dialog box: Picture pane.

Figure 4. Measurements pane: Classic tab. The six controls at the left of the palette let you modify a picture box; the remaining controls let you modify the picture within.

Here’s a quick description of the options:

  • Offset Across/Offset Down: Move a picture within its frame.

  • Scale Across/Scale Down: Scale a picture horizontally and vertically.

  • Picture Angle: Rotate a picture (but not a picture box).

  • Skew: Slant a picture so that it tilts to the left (negative values) or right (positive values).

  • Picture: The controls in this section let you apply color, shade, and opacity to black-and-white and grayscale pictures.

  • Picture Background: The controls in this section let you apply color, shade, and opacity to the background of black-and-white and grayscale pictures.

  • Flip Horizontal/Flip Vertical: Lets you create a mirror image of a picture along a horizontal or vertical axis.

  • Suppress Printout: Prevents a picture (but not a frame, if the picture box has one) from printing. Choosing this option can reduce print time and save ink if you don’t need to include a particular picture.

Tip: Determining the Print Resolution of Scaled Pictures

When a bitmap picture (.tif, .jpg, .psd, and so on) is selected, the Effective Image Resolution control at the bottom-right of the Measurements palette displays the resolution at which the currently selected picture will print. It calculates the effective resolution using the picture’s original resolution and the current scale values.

 
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