Color and Format
Image Composer - The Working Environment
Image Composer - Colors and Effects
Image Composer - Layers and Sprites
Paint Shop Pro:
An insertion example
A lettering example
Elsewhere on this site:
Using Microsoft's Tools:
Image Composer - The Working
opening Image Composer, a framed blank space presents itself. This is the canvas
- anything appearing inside this area will be included in the final picture, and
any image or part of an image outside (in the gray area) will not - except
when saved in Image Composer's own proprietary ".mic" format (see Saving your
work). The canvas can be instantly resized at any time
by dragging the dotted lines.
When an existing picture is opened, the canvas, by
default, exactly spans the picture. Resizing the canvas does not affect the picture, and resizing the
picture does not affect the canvas size, even if the parts of the picture now
lie outside. Think of the canvas and image as two separate things (more in Layering). Cropping is accomplished by changing the size of the
canvas relative to the image. If, at any time, you want the canvas to exactly match an
image, select "Fit Composition Space to Selection" in the
|It's important to remember that size is
relative - to be certain of final size, use "Actual
size" under "View" to see how the image will appear
relative to others on your computer desktop. Zoom in to do detail work,
but it's a good idea to always evaluate the results in actual size.
When one clicks on
small squares with arrows appear at each corner and edge. When you have
more than one image in a project (see Layering),
the one currently selected will have these boxes. Click on any image to
select it. Drag one of the small squares to change the image size. Use
care - unlike similar tools in other Microsoft products, using
the corners for resizing does not automatically maintain aspect
ratio - which means you can distort the picture easily.
The upper-right corner is for rotating
the image - drag this square to rotate the picture. The area of the
picture will enlarge to accommodate the new, rotated picture, so you will
have to resize the canvas to
accommodate the picture if you want all of it
to appear. Fixed 90-degree
or 180-degree rotations, as well as "Flips" (mirror images) can
be accomplished through the "Arrange" menu.
Saving your work
There are a wide variety of formats available in which to
save. In general, you should save ongoing projects or compositions you may
want to modify later in Microsoft Image Composer's proprietary ".mic" format.
This format cannot be read by any other software, so your final creation must be
saved in another format. Of these, JPG is the most versatile, but for a better
discussion of image formats, see Formats.
The ".mic" format saves all image information,
regardless of canvas size or placement - even
image information completely outside the canvas area. Each layer is saved
separately, and hence can be edited later. Besides being useful for unfinished
projects, the ".mic" format is also useful when you must create a
large number of similar-looking things, such as menu icons, since you don't need
to re-create the entire composition for each item - simply alter the one thing
that's different (such as the text), "File/Save Copy As..." to the target
format, and "Edit/Undo" to revert and re-enter the text of the next
one. The only thing the ".mic" format doesn't save is "undo"
If you wish, "Save selection as..." saves only the
object or layer (Image Composer calls them "sprites") currently selected
- the one with the boxes on the corners.
"Save for the Web..." is a wizard - it will ask you a few
questions dependent on the type of image you have.
|Images with a lot of different colors:
- Connection Speed: Helps the wizard to compute
- Format/Quality: Gives you several choices with
respect to quality and format type. Note that GIF files frequently will be
larger and of poorer quality than JPGs for pictures with a lot of
|Images with not as many colors, or
opened originally as GIFs.
- Transparency: Allows you to select a color
that won't appear.
- Background: You indicate your web background -
Image Composer makes small adjustments to discourage
"haloing" through incompatible adjacent colors.