Monday, October 1, 2012

Your First Scrapbook Layout with GIMP - Part 4

Now that your picture is cropped exactly how you want it, let's move on to rotating and resizing.

Your picture should look something like this:

I think it's a little too straight, a little too in  line with everything else, a little too matchy matchy.  So let's tilt it a little to the left, ok?  For that we need the Rotate tool.

The Rotate Tool


The Rotate tool is located in your Toolbox.  It looks like this:


You'll find it in your Toolbox here:



Click on it to select it and then click on your picture.  Notice that a grid appears on your picture, like this:


and a Rotate Dialog opens, that looks like this:


You have a couple of options for rotating your picture.  You can click anywhere on the grid area, hold your mouse button down, and drag until it is rotated to your satisfaction (I use this option a lot) OR you can use the Rotate Dialog to rotate your picture to an exact angle.

To rotate your picture using the Rotate Dialog, you can enter the angle you prefer in the Angle box (or use the up and down arrows to the right of the box to arrive at the angle you prefer) and click the Rotate button.

An anomaly (or as we used to call it in Software Support, an "undocumented feature"--we also sometimes told our customers that a particular problem might be caused by solar flares--sometimes one needs to get creative in that world) of the version of Gimp I have is that if I just type something into the Angle box and click the Rotate button, it won't actually "take".

It's not until I click on the picture itself and rotate a bit, that I can type something in the Angle box and have it work.  So that's what we'll do here.

Click and drag the picture just a tad, to tilt it to the left, like this:



You'll see the results of your clicking and dragging reflected in the Rotate dialog, like this:



Notice that since we're rotating to the left here, it will be a negative angle.  At this point you are able to type directly into the Angle box.  Let's enter "-20" (you could also use the down arrow to the right of the Angle box, but I find that it's faster to just type in what I want) in the Angle box, like this:


Then click on the Rotate button.  Your image should now look like this:


Awww... how cute is that?  Much better now that it's not so straight up and down!

You can play with the rotation however you'd like.  Rotate it left, rotate it right, play with bigger angles, knock yourself out.  For most things, the click and drag method, though not as exact as entering a specific number, is sufficient.  I use the "type it in the Angle box" method when I want to make sure I know the exact angle being used.  In this case, I'm planning to add a frame to this picture and I'll want them to be leaning the same direction, and at the same angle.  So it's good to know that I was dead on the money at -20.  Hey, that kinda rhymes!

Now that we've rotated it a bit, we should probably also make it a tad smaller.  On a 12" x 12" page, a picture that is approximately 4.5" x 6" takes up a lot of real estate, especially since we still have a frame, a vellum quote and maybe some text to add.  So let's see about resizing, or in Gimp speak, scaling.

The Scale Tool

The Scale tool is located in your Toolbox, here:


Click on the Scale tool icon so that it's highlighted in your Toolbox, and then click on your picture.  Notice the grid that comes up, with the boxes located around the outer edges, like this:


And the Scale dialog opens, like this:


It shows you the size of your image, here reflected in pixels, as well as the resolution (300 ppi--or pixels per inch).  Also of note in this dialog is the linked chain just to the right of the width and height.  The fact that it is linked means that any scaling you do to width will automatically and proportionally scale height, as well.  We definitely want size changes to things like images of people to be proportional.

You can click on the linked chain to unlink it, which will then allow you to make size changes to an image on only height or only width.  This is useful for things like square frames that you want to make rectangular, or other items that don't look silly when width and height do not remain proportionally the same as the original.

Play a little with the scale on the picture.  Unlink the chain and check out the impact of making the picture larger in width than height, or vice versa.  Laugh out loud.  Then use the Undo function (Edit, Undo on the work area menu bar) to get back to your original size. Once back to your original size, click the link again to re-link so that changes are again proportional.

Another thing I like to change in this dialog is the fact that the size of the picture is represented in pixels.  I really like to see things in inches.  To change the unit of measurement, click on the down arrow in the pixels box, here:


Many of the options might come in handy in different circumstances, but my choice is generally inches.  Once you've changed the unit of measurement, it should look like this:


Interesting.  The picture was about 4.5" x 6" but the size now shows about 6.5" by 7.5".  Why do you suppose that is?

Remember that we rotated the image.  And the fact that it is angled 20 degrees means that the size of the layer increased to accommodate.

I like to take about an inch off at a time and see what it looks like.  Click the down arrow to the right of the width box (where it now says 6.513) and you should see something like this:



Do you see how the photo is smaller by an inch?  How the grid is about an inch inside the layer boundary on the right and about an inch inside the layer boundary on the bottom?  What you're actually seeing here is the before an after view, with the after view overlaying the before view. 

When you're happy with the new size, click the Scale button.  Your picture should then look something like this:


Now is a good time to save your image.  Select File and Save from the work area menu bar.

How are you doing so far?  You have learned a lot already!  You have learned how to drag pictures or graphics into Gimp, how to duplicate layers, how to move, crop, rotate and scale.  You're off to a great start!

Remember, if you're having trouble, leave me a comment and I'll help you get back on track.  If you have questions along the way or if you find a better or more efficient way to do things, leave a comment.  Or if you just want to say, "Hey, what's up!?!", leave a comment.

Next time, we'll add a frame, a ribbon and a vellum quote.  And, if we have time, we'll talk about text... baby. 

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