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Best Practice

Technique for fitting photographs into irregularly shaped graphic

Have you ever tried to get the "perfect" photograph to fit into a graphic shape but the two won't match up correctly? Heads get shaved off, the focal point isn't completely visible? This technique won't work with every photograph, but it's good to keep in you quiver of skills just in case ...

The slide below is the series example of Concepts 052. We needed to find suitable photographs to place within the irregularly shaped light beams coming from the lighthouse. First of all, you need to develop an eye for choosing photographs. Some photographs simply won't work with a shape and you need to move on to finding one that does fit.

See the middle photograph on the left side of the slide? This was nearly perfect, except the vertical size was just slightly off. We needed to have just a little bit more vertical in order not to cut the heads off the people sitting at the right side of the photograph. This is what we did.

  1. We duplicated the photograph and rotated the copy vertically
  2. Then we lined both images up so that the flipped copy appeared to extend the height of the original photograph.
  3. We selected both images and saved them as picture: select both photographs, right click on one of them while they are both selected, and click on "Save as Picture" in the menu that comes up
  4. Save it to your desktop (or wherever you want to route it)
  5. Drag the new picture onto your slide
  6. Now you position the photograph under the irregularly shaped graphic (you can move it around until you get the best fit
  7. Crop the photograph to match the dimensions of the irregularly shaped graphic
  8. Cut the newly cropped picture so that it goes into your clipboard
  9. Import the photograph into the irregularly shaped graphic by right clicking on the irregularly shaped graphic, click on Format Shape, click radio button that says Picture or texture fill, and clicking on the Clipboard button.

The picture should appear perfectly in the graphic.

Another use for this technique is just as useful. Sometimes images come in upside down or flipped horizontally. You can rotate the photograph vertically or horizontally and then import it into the irregularly shaped graphic. The photograph will come in correctly now. This is a good technique to learn and keep in mind.