Title: Photo Strip

Software: Corel PhotoImpact X3 (can be done in older versions too)

Author: Merlene Guldager

Home Page: Gold Acres Designs

Skill Level: Beginner

Materials Needed:

  • Five copyright free photos or use the ones in the Easy Palette's Fill Gallery.
    The freeware font Film Strip. Click here to download.

With this tutorial you will learn a fun way to display your photos. Could look really nice on a digital photo frame display or even printed out and hung on the wall. Or how about a scrapbook page!
You will be using the a Dingbat font to create the frame, and get to know the Transformation Tool in a new and somewhat scary (at least the first time) way. You will also be Splitting a shadow and then altering it.
This tutorial assumes your have a basic knowledge of PhotoImpact. Therefore, I am not going into great detail about where to find tools, and how to open or save an image.
You can click the example above to see the full sized version.

NOTE If you are using PI 10 or higher please be sure you are not working in Standard or Basic mode. You need to be in Advanced Mode or Full Edit to have all the functionality of the program available for this tutorial.


BEFORE YOU OPEN PI Unzip the film strip font double click to open it. You can now Minimize it and it will be available for use in PI. If you have PI open when you do this it WILL NOT show up in the font list. If you have Win 7 or 8 you will need to install it.
  • Open the photos or images to be placed inside the strip. Once you have them open in PI, press and hold the control key and the D key to duplicate each one. Then close the originals to preserve them. Most photos, even the ones in the EP are fairly large in size so we are going to reduce them all by 50% before we start. As we go forward you will understand why and be glad we did.

  • Right Click on your first image and choose Properties. You will get a control box like the one shown on the right. Choose the Second Tab Position & Size. Now change the type of resize to Percent and put 50 in one of the two boxes. Leave Keep Aspect Ratio checked. Then click OK.

  • Do the same for all five images unless they are smaller than 400 Pixels wide. Then minimize all of them.

Making the Strip

  1. Open a new White canvas 650 pixels by 500 pixels in RGB True Color format. This will give us lots of room to work in.

  2. Grab the Text tool and set it up as follows:
    Size = 100 (Click inside the number area after the last number then erase and type in 100)
    Mode = 2D
    No Border and No Shadow.

  3. Click on your white canvas and type the following lowercase letters:
    a c c c c c e

  4. Now we are going to bend or wrap the strip into a more interesting shape. So open your Easy Palette and find the Wrap Gallery.
    It is usually found near the Text Effects, or Type Effects. In later versions its under Text/Path Effects. Open the sub category Bend Text and find Bend 8 and double click on it.

    Your film strip should now look something like this....

  5. Right click and choose Select All Objects.

  6. Click the icon on the Attributes toolbar for Center Horizontally and then click anywhere on the background to deselect all.

Adding The Images

  1. To make things show up better fill the white background with a soft pastel color. I like blue so I filled mine with a soft blue pastel.

  2. Open your first photo or image and copy then close it.

  3. Paste it into your film strip canvas. It will appear in the upper right hand corner. Now comes the fun and a little bit scary part. I know it doesn't seem possible that your photo or image is ever going to fit into those tiny and funny shaped cells. Ahhhh, but it will....

  4. Grab the Pick tool. Now look at the Attributes Toolbar. On the far left you see a couple of controls with numbers next to them. Click on the slider for the first one and move it to about 30.

    You have just changed the Transparency of the photo or image you pasted into your strip image. Notice that you can now see the filmstrip through the photo. (In older versions of PI you can right click and choose Properties, then change the transparency under the Merges and click OK)

  5. Grab the Transform Tool and choose the DISTORT version of it. You do this by clicking the small carat on the right edge of the Transform tool Icon in the Attributes Toolbar.

  6. Grab your partially transparent photo in the center and move it over until the bottom left corner handle or node is in the bottom left of the first empty strip cell.

  7. Next grab the top left handle or node and drag it back and down to the top left corner of the strip cell and let go.

  8. Now grab the top right node or handle and move it back to the top right corner of the same cell.

  9. And finally move the bottom right node or handle to the bottom right corner of the cell.

  10. Now go back and adjust each one until you get a fairly good fit. Don't worry if you are a little bit larger than the cell of the strip, but do be sure it's not smaller. You should not be able to see your background color through the cell when you deselect everything.

  11. When you are satisfied that it looks good, use the Pick tool to select your resized and positioned photo, and change the transparency back to 0, (or right click and go to properties to do this) Then use the arrange tools to send your photo to the back (or right click and choose ARRANGE and Send To Back.) Just like magic it looks like it belonged there all along.

  12. Now do the same for the other 4 photos until there are no blank cells in your strip and all the photos have been sent to the back and restored to zero transparency.

  13. Click on any part of your strip then right click and choose Select All Objects. Right click again and Merge as Single Object.

  14. Right click your film strip and choose shadow. Accept the defaults and click OK

  15. Right click again and choose Split Shadow.

  16. Click anywhere on the background to deselect. Your film strip and it's shadow are now two separate objects.

  17. Grab the pick tool and use it to move the shadow down and away from the strip.

  18. Grab the Transformation Tool (Resize) and click on the Padlock to open it. We don't want to keep the aspect ratio the same for our next move. Drag the top handle down toward the bottom of the shadow until the number for height reads 74. This flattens the shadow.
    You will notice that the shadow size is wider than the image. This happened when we applied the bend to the strip. We will fix that shortly.

  19. Use the Pick tool to move the shadow back up underneath the film strip until the bottom of the strip just touches the holes along the bottom of the shadow.

  20. Right click again and Select all Objects and right click one more time and choose Group.

  21. Now drag your grouped objects to the workspace so that a new canvas will form around it that is just big enough to hold the strip and it's shadow.

  22. Now you have a nice image and your strip will amaze your friends and family. But it's kind of boring on that white background. So let's fancy it up just a little bit.

  23. You can use any fill or background you like behind your grouped strip. But it will look it's best if you stay away from busy ones. Choose a nice gradient or a texture mixture from the EP Fill gallery or just a nice solid, but light color as a fill.

  24. Lastly, you may notice that this is still a fairly large image at over 600 pixels in width. So let's resize it by 50%.

  25. Right click and select all objects, then right click again and choose Image Optimizer. You may get a pop-up asking if you want to save the entire object or not, just click OK.
    In the image optimizer choose JPEG as the filetype under the right-hand image and optimize down to a reasonable file size that does not degrade your strip and all your hard work. Then click SAVE and choose where and give it a name.

    Congratulations on a wonderful new way to show off your photos, be it on the web, in a scrapbook, printed and framed, or in a digital frame!

    *****A couple of final notes. Certainly you could choose a different bend. But the more the strip gets distorted by the bend, the harder it will be to place the images in the cells. If you choose a different one you may want to keep the photo larger than the cell and use the eraser with a soft edge of 0 to erase the bits under curves or that need to hang over corners. Just make sure that you can see through all the little holes at top and bottom and that it doesn't overlap into the cell next to it. You may encounter an error pop up when trying to place the third handle. If you do, go to the last one instead and then go back to the one that gave you the error and it will work.

  26. Don't forget to apply your watermark.

  27. Go to Web \ Image Optimizer and optimize and save your image.



Copyright © Merlene Guldager

     This document and the images contained therein may not be translated, duplicated, redistributed or otherwise appropriated.