Building custom pages

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The Print Module in IDimager allows you to completely customize the page design of every page to your personal preference. This section will describe the possibilities in this area. For the sake of this description we will start the print module with a couple of selected image. Select 3 or 4 of your thumbnails and the press [Ctrl]+[P] to open the Print Module. A default page is generated, but since we're going to design our own pages, we'll just delete everything. Click in the Page Design, and press [Ctrl]+[A] to select all slots. Then press [Del] to delete them. You should now have an empty design.


Note; keep in mind that all of the left side widgets are designed for design-wide changes, meaning, they affect every slot in every page of the design. As we're now going to custom build our page you should never touch any of these widgets!!


Adding slots


The first thing that you should know is that the Print Module works with so-called "slots". A slot is a place holder for your image. You can add a new slot by right clicking on the page design background and then select "Add Slot". There are a few pre-defined slots there. Select one that matches you need, or that closest matches your need.





As you can see, an empty slot is added to the page, in this case, the I've added a 6x4" slot. An empty slot can be recognized by the checkered background pattern. If you need a different sized slot then right click on the slot and set the width and height there.


Moving and sizing slots


To move or resize a slot is very intuitive. Simply click on the slot's inner area to select it and then drag it around to a new location.


Notice that a selected slot has handles at every corner of the slot. When you click and drag these handles you can resize the slot.




Notice that the width and height of a selected slot is indicated in the upper left and lower right corner of the slot. As you resize a slot, you can see these sizes update and you can use that as a helper.


Assign an image to a slot


Ok, now we have a slot on the page design and it is size and located at the place where we want it. The next thing is to add an image to it. Simply drag the image from the filmstrip above the page design and drag the image over the slot that you need.




Now you have your image loaded in the slot. The default fit mode is "best fit". To change the fit-mode for this slot only, right click on the slot and select "Fit Mode" and then and of the three available modes: Best Fit, Cropped Fit, or Stretched Fit.





When changing any of the properties of a slot then that change is applied to *all* selected slots. So if you want to change the fit mode for a series of slots then select each of them by clicking on it while holding down the [Ctrl] key. Then right click on a select slot and change any of the settings and those are then applied to all selected slots.


If you load and image into the slot and set it as cropped



Adding borders to your slots


You can define borders for individual slots or for a series of slots by selecting the slot(s) first. Then right click on a selected slot and open the Borders menu.




Here you can switch the border ON by ticking the "Display Borders" option. You can also change the color and size for the border. The size for every side can be defined separately if needed. You also have the option to switch on Outer frames. An outer frame is a fine line that is drawn around the image.


Below is a sample of a bordered image, where the bottom border is set to 20% and the rest of the borders are set at 2%.




Adding a drop shadow to your slots


You can define drop shadows for individual slots or for a series of slots by selecting the slot(s) first. Then right click on a selected slot and open the "Drop Shadows" menu.


In this menu you can specify the drop shadow display, the color of the shadow and the size of the drop shadow.




Adding on-image Captions and Watermarks


Each image in a slot can get on-image captions. Those are caption titles that are printed on top of the image.


To add an image caption, first select one or more slots for which you'd like to add captions. Then right click on a selected slot and select "Text & Watermarks" and then "Change Captions". That will open the caption list and you can now add several captions. The way captioning works is similar to adding captions to your images in the Image Viewer/Editor. So for a full description of the possible caption properties you should read that section.




Adding watermarks is fairly similar. Now select the option "Text & Watermarks" from the context menu and then "Change Watermarks". Adding watermarks also works identical to adding watermarks to images in the Image Viewer/Editor.




Rotating slots on the page design


You've already seen that when you select a slot that the application displays drag handles at the corners of the slot. In the center of the slot there is a handle too. When you drag the dot at the end of the handle, you can rotate the image.



Apart from rotating with the rotate handle, you can also rotate an image to a fixed angle. In that case, select one or more slots (those that you'd like to rotate), right click on a selected slot and enter the angle in the "Rotate Angle" field.




Overlaying slots


Up to now we've been working with a single slot on the page. When you add another slot (right click on the page and then "Add Slot") then it is possible to overlay the slots. This means that you can place one slots (partly) over another slot. Do this by simply dragging the slot over the other one.




You'll notice that the last created slot will be placed *over* the first slot. It is possible to customize this order. If you need the last created slot to be placed behind the first slot then right click on the last created slot and select "Send to Back" (or right click on the first slot and select "Bring to Front").





Slot aligning


When designing pages, it is sometimes convenient to have your slots aligned to each other or have them placed at a specific position on the page.


With IDimager you can align your slots to a specific position on the page, for example in the page center or centered horizontally or vertically. Select on or more slots (those that you want to have aligned) and then right click on a selected slot. Then open the Align menu and select where on the page you'd like these slots to be aligned.




Apart from direct page aligning you can also make sure that your slots are aligned to each other. IDimager uses "snapping" for this. Snapping simply means that when you drag a slots along the line of a different slot then IDimager will automatically "snap" to that virtual line. Snapping can be enabled or disabled by clicking the "snapping" button in the lower left corner. By default, snapping is switched ON.


Let's say that you want one slot to be aligned at the left of another slot. Drag the second slot to a position near the left side of the first slot and notice that the application will snap to the left. Sometimes it isn't convenient to have snapping because you may want to position the second slot just slightly to the left of another slot. In that case you can hold down the [Alt] key while dragging. That will temporarily switch off snapping. In the sample below, the lower image is being dragged and the blue dotted lines indicate the snap zones for the first slot.




Masking your images


Masking is a technique where you overlay the image with a gray-tone image (the so-called mask image). Below is a sample mask image.




When masking, the application will use the mask as a filter for the image where the rule is that the lighter a pixel in the mask is, the more the pixel of the underlying image becomes visible. The sample mask above will then create an effect like this:




Notice that the full blacks from the mask image will filter out the image completely. Full whites from the mask result is full display of the image. Every gray shade between black and white result is a faded display of the image where the darker the gray shade means more filtering.


To apply a filter to one or more slots you must first select these slots. Then right click on a selected slot and select "Mask -> Load from File". Then select the mask that you'd like to apply. That's it basically. It's very simple to create your own masks with any photo editor application. However, you can also find many mask images online. Masking allows you to create neat effects in your page designs.


Using Fixed Content slots


A Fixed Content slot is a slot where the content is not related to an image but instead it has a fixed content which you can load to it. You'll normally use fixed content slots to either create logo slots or illustrative slots (for example a nice background image). Fixed Content slots are convenient to use in templates as they will be included when a page is generated from a template, including its content.


Creating a Fixed Content slot is similar to creating a new slot (right click on the page design and select "Add Slot". Once the slot is there, right click on it and select "Fixed Content -> Load from File". Then point to the graphic that you want to load into the slot. Notice the background slot that uses a fixed content. Even when this page is saved as a template page, this slot will be filled with the same image as fixed content is stored within the template.