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Ripped photo edges

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Introduction and example

For this Serif DrawPlus tutorial we’ll create a simple ‘torn photo’ look that can be used in a variety of ways – on a Serif Digital Scrapbook Artist scrapbooking page or on a Serif WebPlus website or even a Serif PagePlus document. It is a very simple use of the cropping or clipping capabilities within Serif DrawPlus.


In this tutorial I will be giving the example using Serif DrawPlus X3 where the cropping and clipping tools are now a part of the Arrange Studio tab. For users of Serif DrawPlus X2, the Cropping tool is tucked away in the Arrange drop down list in the menu bar. It produces the same results but is in a different position.


Firstly, we need a photo, I’ve taken this one, amrcna70.jpg, from the Serif WebPlus 10/X2 WebArt Photo Collection, Structures sub category (I’ve chosen this photo because it has good contrast around the edges for displaying in this tutorial). Bringing this photo into DrawPlus does not alter the original file, it is still safe and intact, all that happens is that the photo becomes a new image as part of the DrawPlus project.

Remember, whatever you do, have FUN!

Ken (Major Confusion)

Ripped photo edge example :: Kaptain-Chaos Designs ©2008 Ripped photo edge example :: Kaptain-Chaos Designs ©2008 Ripped photo edge example :: Kaptain-Chaos Designs ©2008 Ripped photo edge example :: Kaptain-Chaos Designs ©2008 Ripped photo edge example :: Kaptain-Chaos Designs ©2008 Ripped photo edge example :: Kaptain-Chaos Designs ©2008 Ripped photo edge example :: Kaptain-Chaos Designs ©2009 Ripped photo edge example :: Kaptain-Chaos Designs ©2008 Ripped photo edge example :: Kaptain-Chaos designs © 2009

With the photo decided upon, let’s fire up DrawPlus.


For this photo, an A4 portrait size is all that’s needed. Rather than open the photo direct as we did for the Avatar tutorial, we will be placing the photo on the page and then exporting at a different size later. Go to ‘Insert>Picture>From File’ and browse for the photo and left click on the page to insert it. Save the file, giving it a meaningful name.


The next section is up to you how you want to work, the quick way is to convert the image to curves and adjust the sides, but for this tutorial, as it is an exercise in using the crop to shape option please follow the steps. It is better not to miss practicing with the crop and clipping paths though; however if you want to use the quick way, I will leave you to work things out for yourself if you are skipping this next step.

Create a Quick Shape (QS) rectangle roughly the same size as the photo, not larger than the photo itself. It could be sized to ‘crop’ any unwanted features, to focus attention on the main object. Give the QS no line, fill with white and apply a 50% transparency to the QS. This is just to enable us to see what we are doing, when the photo is cropped to this shape the white fill (and line if used) will disappear because it is only the shape that is used in cropping or clipping.

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With the QS still selected, go to Tools in the menu bar and select ‘Convert to Curves’. Our QS rectangle is now called a ‘closed curve’ in layers tab.

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Selecting the node tool, adjust the outline of the QS to look like a torn photo by adding nodes and moving the shape around. Don’t take the shape over the edge of the photo.


Let’s get creative!


It’s entirely up to you what shape is created, just a torn corner or an edge or, as in the example, the whole photo.

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 On the right hand Studio bar, selecting the Arrange tab, on the far right, click on the the ‘Crop’ drop down triangle next to the button itself and choose ‘Crop to Top’. Our photo immediately takes on the shape of the closed curve above.

With our cropping or clipping shape created, taking the selection tool, left click just outside the top left corner of the photo and, holding down the left mouse button, drag it past the bottom right corner of the photo. This has selected both the photo and the ‘closed curve’.

Notice how immediately, when two or more objects are selected, DrawPlus offers us the ability to group them? This is not what we want to do at the moment, but is useful to know.

If we are unhappy with our shape, there is an easy way to adjust it without having to undo anything. Select the object then click on the ‘crop’ icon to access the closed curve (clicking on the bitmap icon to pan the bitmap within the crop). For X2 users, simply go to the Layers tab, click on the plus next to the cropped object to access the closed curve. For either method, after selecting the closed curve, select the node tool and the crop shape is then editable.

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That’s the first part completed, save the work so far and we’ll now continue by adding another QS rectangle to the page, this time make it slightly larger than the photo, give it a creamy colour (H57, S42, L86) fill with no line. Either use the Arrange tab and choose ‘Send to Back’ (X2 Arrange in menu bar), or in the Layers tab, drag the new QS to the bottom of the layer.

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Convert the QS to curves and name it ‘background’. Using the node tool, drag the outline to a similar outline shape to the crop shape but allow a little artistic license to make the shape wider and thinner in places.

It looks a little plain and ‘drawn’ rather than ‘natural’ and requires a little texture to make it look more realistic. To give a bit of texture, use the roughen tool on the edges (third from bottom of left hand toolbar). Left click on the mouse and drag, either up or down, on the closed curve ‘background’ to give a slightly roughened edge. There’s no need to go too far with this or it will look unrealistic.

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A finishing touch:


Add an inner shadow with these settings:
Multiply 75%
Blur 7.5 pt
Colour choose a brown from the drop down swatches
Lock Centre
Distance 0 pt
Angle 215 degrees


Followed by a drop shadow:
Multiply 50%
Blur 8.25 pt
Colour black
Lock Centre
Distance 0 pt
Angle 45 degrees


If you are adding this to some other project that uses drop shadows you may wish to leave the drop shadow out and just stick with the inner shadow for now.

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Once complete and with the background still selected, go to Export and choose 24 bit png with transparency checked or 32 bit png and it’s ready to add to your publication (You may prefer jpg if it is for a web page).