The Panel Maker toot

If you're looking for a bit more control in the settings for your panel layer, the Panel Maker tool should work perfectly for you. Unlike converting a selection into a panel layer, the Panel Maker tool lets you set up how the layer will look in its main image preview. (See the sidebar "Previewing your panel layer" to find out how the panel preview works.) Also, when you've finished drawing out the panel, it's done. If you need to redraw it, you have to undo or delete the panel layer. (If you're using the selection method, just create a new selection before converting the selection into a panel layer.)

Follow these steps to use the Panel Maker tool to create a new panel layer:

1. Select the Panel Maker from the Tools palette with your mouse or stylus.

2. If it isn't open already, open the Tool Properties palette by pressing F3 on your keyboard.

Initially there are only two options available for the Panel Maker. This is because the options are in Simple Mode.

3. At the top of the Tool Options palette, click the Show Menu button and select Advanced Settings Mode.

4. The Tool Options palette expands, as shown in Figure 7-3.

Here's how the Tool Options break down for the Panel Maker:

* Shapes: The panel layer you create can be any shape you'd like. So, you're given the option to create a rectangular, circular, polygonal, polyline, or freeform panel. Each of the nonrectangular panel layer types are automatically masked off to maintain the final form of the shape you create.

* Line Size: This refers to the size of the border created with the panel layer. You can enter a value from 0.1mm to LOmm in the Line Size text box.

* Sides: If you're creating a polygonal panel layer, you can choose the number of sides created, from 3 to 32.

* Brush Shape Thickness: Adjusting this changes the shape of the borders created. For example, creating a thin brush shape results in thin vertical borders and wide horizontal borders.

* Direction: Adjust the direction of the brush when you create borders.

Previewing your panel layer

When you're on the main page looking at a panel layer, the artwork you see isn't necessarily what it will look like in print. That's because each panel layer provides a read-only preview of the contained artwork. Because of the possibility of multiple image layers within each panel layer, ifs easier to simply show a static image of all the visible layers at once. (Besides, it's significantly easier on the program and your system to do that, as opposed to displaying every separate layer from every panel layer at the same time).

When you first create a new panel layer using the Panel Maker tool, you have the option to open the Tool Options palette and select the preview resolution from the Preview Resolution drop down list (from 150 dpi to your page file resolution) and select an expression mode (the way the line art will be presented) from the Expression Mode dropdown list. Deciding which option to select from the Expression Mode drop-down list depends on personal preference:

n" Select Black and White (2bit) from the Expression Mode drop-down list for the simplest type of preview. This mode is great for showing off your finished ink work. However, the preview will look fairly poor at low resolutions, and things may look jumbled if you forgot to hide your pencil work and it gets mixed up with your ink work.

^ Select Gray (16bit) or Color <32bit) from the Expression Mode drop-down list for a richer preview. These options work really well to preview your pencil work. The two expression modes are essentially the same — the difference is that only 32-bit layers can display colors in the preview; IB-bit layers are limited to grayscale.

Keep in mind that you're stuck with the resolution and expression mode you pick for that panel layer — you get only one shot at this (unless you just delete the panel layer before you draw anything and start over, I guess).

• Keep Aspect Ratio: Used by the rectangular, circular, and polygonal shapes, this maintains a general shape of the panel layer you're creating. You can adjust the ratio by entering values from 0.1 to 20 in the corresponding Width and Height text boxes.

• Start From Center: The panel layer you create starts from the center and works its way out however you drag it along the canvas. (If you leave this check box deselected, the panel starts from a corner.)

• Rotate After Size is Decided: Useful for any last-second tweaks, this option allows you to adjust the angle of the created panel layer. You also have the additional option of locking the rotation to intervals of 45 degrees by selecting the Rotate at 45 Degree Intervals check box).

• Lock at 45 Degree Angles: Used by the polyline shape, this locks the lines created to intervals of 45 degrees.

• Convert to Curve: Instead of creating straight lines, the panel maker (when you select the polyline shape option) creates curved lines. The curve is set by the placement of the polyline endpoints on the page. When completed, the border will be the curved shape, with everything outside the shape masked off.

• Fill Inside: The shape created is automatically created with a masking layer. The mask is tilled in the shape you create.

• Draw on Mask Only: Used by all but the lasso shape, this replaces the border with a masked off area.

• Panel Name: This is the name of the panel you're creating.

• Preview Resolution: Ranging from 150 dpi to the page file's resolution, you select the resolution of the panel layer when previewed on the main page.

• Expression Mode: Along with the Preview Resolution, the values in this drop-down list help set up how the panel layer looks when previewed on the main page. You can select from Black and White (2bit), Gray (16bit), and Color (32bit). (See the sidebar, "Previewing your panel layer," for more information).

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