Life without Photoshop...
July 23, 2007 3:40 AM   Subscribe

I need to make a template to help me print sheets of circular cutouts (diam: 4cm) of current and future digital photographs (each photo will need area selection/resizing). I'm on OSX Tiger, but I don't currently have Photoshop, and GIMP looks a tad daunting. Alternatives/instructions?

Pages lets me fill circles with images, but it doesn't let me resize them freely (too few options). I've taken a look at NeoOffice's Drawing, but I haven't yet figured out if it works in layers, or how to make circles into holes. I also can't figure out how/whether GraphicConverter will let me make a layer, and how to make holes. Pixelmator is still vaporware... Help?
posted by progosk to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I got this link from seanyboy.

[45 best free design programs]
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:55 AM on July 23, 2007

Gimp is not all that daunting. The newish book by Akkana Peck is really good.
posted by vilcxjo_BLANKA at 4:02 AM on July 23, 2007

Response by poster: Gimp is not all that daunting.

I'd really like to avoid the X11 hassle....
posted by progosk at 4:04 AM on July 23, 2007

Response by poster: [45 best free design programs]

Erm, thanks, but those are virtually all for PC...
posted by progosk at 4:08 AM on July 23, 2007

you could try seashore, it's based on gimp but without the x11 stuff
posted by sdevans at 4:11 AM on July 23, 2007

Best answer: One of these might have that capability: LiveQuartz and/or ImageWell.
posted by O9scar at 5:29 AM on July 23, 2007

Try Inkscape. It looks like it'll run properly on a Mac (admittedly IANAMac-worshiper).

It IS kind of daunting, but at least the installation should be easy. Just to get you started, I'd tackle it like this:

Create a plain circle (I would use black outline and no fill) and use Edit > Clone > Tiled Clones to make a bunch of them.
Have a separate layer below the circles layer and drag and drop your images in one at a time.
Resize using the circle as a guide to pick the part that you want (use the lock icon in the second toolbar near the number inputs to make sure the H/W ratio stays the same).
Select your image and then your circle, use Object > Clip > Set to make your image magically circular (can be undone later if you don't like it).
posted by anaelith at 5:42 AM on July 23, 2007

Response by poster: LiveQuartz and/or ImageWell.

Thanks for these - ImageWell is a bit arcane, whereas LiveQuartz looks like it could be just the right tool for my problem - if only it didn't freeze&crash every time i try using it...
posted by progosk at 6:31 AM on July 23, 2007

Response by poster: I know noone's reading this right now, but for future reference: the solution was LiveQuartz (thx O9scar), with the following provisos:
1. I had to create the template on a friend's Photoshop (a tiff with the transparent holes in the alpha channel)
2. LQ works at 72 dpi by default, and I wanted to print at more than that. The workaround solution was to make the template tiff at 300dpi - LQ then handles the workflow at that rate.
3. Saved the template as LQ's native .rhif file
4. Added the photos as separate layers - the nice thing is LQ lets you scale each one independently (to choose the picture area)
5. Erased the overlapping parts layer by layer
6. "Printed" to "compressed PDF" for archiving
7. Printed each pdf on photo-quality paper.

Thanks all - AskMe rocks!
posted by progosk at 7:46 AM on July 24, 2007

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