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Chapter 11. Pictures and Text > To create a clipping path:

To create a clipping path:

1.
Import an EPS, TIFF, BMP, PCX, or PICT file into a rectangular picture box. For this first attempt, we suggest you use an image that's silhouetted on a white background.

2.
To layer a picture, make sure its box has a background of None. (Select the box, click the background icon on the Colors palette, then click None.)

3.
Choose Item > Clipping (Cmd-Option-T/Ctrl-Alt-T).

4.
Note the green line around the image in the preview window, which denotes the clipping path, as you choose from the Type pop-up menu :

(Choose Item to turn off the clipping path function a. The picture will only be cropped by the picture box. To turn off Runaround, see page 194.)

Choose Picture Bounds to have the path conform to the rectangular outer boundary of the picture (its bounding box) b. If Restrict to Box is unchecked, any areas of the picture that the picture box is cropping will become visible, and may obscure items below it.

Choose Embedded Path to create a clipping path based on a clipping path that was saved with the picture in another application (c, next page). Choose Alpha Channel to create a clipping path based on the non-black parts of an alpha channel that was saved with the picture in an image-editing program. Note: If the picture was saved with more than one alpha channel or path, choose the desired channel or path name from the Alpha or Path pop-up menu.

Print documents only: Choose Non-White Areas to create a clipping path that follows the contours of the actual image and ignores non-white areas of the picture. The white areas have to be either close to white (e.g., very light gray) or absolute white for this to work.

5.
As you choose any of these optional settings, click Apply at any time to preview the current settings in the document:

Click Crop To Box, if available, to have the clipping path stop at the edge of the box.

Click Rescan to restore the original path.

Check Invert to switch the cropped and visible areas a. This option isn't available when the Item or Picture Bounds Type is chosen.

Figure 3a. Clipping Type: Non-White Areas with the Invert option on—only pixels in the outer fringe will print.


Check Outside Edges Only for an Alpha Channel, Embedded Path, or Non-White Areas (not Item or Picture Bounds) clipping path if the picture contains a blank hole or holes where the background white shows through, and you don't want the clipping path to include them. With Outside Edges Only unchecked, an additional clipping path will be created for each hole b.

Check Restrict To Box to have only areas of the picture inside the picture box display and print (cd, next page). Uncheck to let the entire picture display and print.

With any Type option except Item chosen, you can further expand or contract the clipping path to print more or less of the picture by entering a positive or negative value, respectively, in the Outset field. For the Picture Bounds Type, enter Top, Left, Bottom, or Right values. For an Embedded Path or Alpha Channel Type, the Outset value will expand or contract the entire clipping path relative to the original path or alpha channel. For the Non-White Areas type of clipping path, the Outset value will expand or contract the entire clipping path relative to the original non-white areas (ab, page 198).

Figure 4a. Clipping Type: Non-White Areas, Outset -15—the clipping path shrinks slightly inward.


Figure 4b. Clipping Type: Non-White Areas, Outset 15—the clipping path expands slightly outward.


6.
Choose Tolerance settings for an Embedded Path, Alpha Channel, or Non-White Areas type of clipping path:

For an alpha channel clipping path, the Noise value (0–288 pt.) is the minimum size an area near the border of an alpha channel must be to be included in the clipping path (ab, next page). Adjust the Noise value to exclude tiny, extraneous blobs in the background from the clipping path.

Figure 5a. Clipping Type: Non-White Areas at the default Noise setting of 2 pt.—the clipping path includes extraneous pixels outside the oval.


Figure 5b. Clipping Type: Non-White Areas, Noise 30 pt. —the extraneous blobs aren't included in the clipping path.


Smoothness (0–100) makes the clipping path more or less smooth by adding or decreasing points (ab, next page). The lower the Smoothness setting, the more points the clipping path will contain; the higher the Smoothness, the fewer points the path will contain and the more precisely its shape will match that of the image. A low Smoothness could cause output problems, but the program can adjust this setting automatically during printing, if need be. You may need to play with this to get the optimal setting.

Figure 6a. Clipping Type: Non-White Areas at the default Smoothness setting of 2 pt.—the clipping path has many points, and hugs the image precisely.


Figure 6b. Clipping Type: Non-White Areas, Smoothness 75 pt.—here the clipping path is smoother, but it's less accurate.


Threshold works with an Alpha Channel or Non-White Areas clipping path (ab, page 199). It controls what percentages of gray on the alpha channel will be treated as white (and not mask the picture) and what percentages will be treated as black (and mask parts of the picture). At a Threshold setting of 10%, for example, gray values from 0–10% will be treated as white; gray values between 11% and 100% will be treated as black and will act as a mask. At a Threshold setting of 40%, more gray values will be treated as white, and less of the picture will be masked. For the Non-White Areas type of clipping path, the opposite is true: The Threshold is the percentage a color can be darker than white before it will be left outside the clipping path and won't print.

Figure 7a. Clipping Type: Non-White Areas, Threshold 2 —the clipping path includes the gray background.


Figure 7b. Clipping Type: Non-White Areas, Threshold 10 —the clipping path ignores the gray background.


7.
Click Apply, then click OK. If you'd like to reshape the clipping path, follow the instructions on the page 201.


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