Layer Outlines

LAYER OUTLINES

Layer outlines are useful for a variety of reasons to the user. In general though, outlines add some contrast to an otherwise borderless image, making it easier to view. See a video tutorial on this topic here.

Using ProShow Gold you can add a simple outline to any layer in your show and change the outline’s color. In Slide Options, select a layer, click on the Adjustments tab and click the check box next to Outline. You can adjust the color and toggle the outline on or off.

ProShow Producer takes layer outlines a step further and offers multiple ways to create an outline around a layer: the outline feature, vignette feature, and manually creating the outline.

Outline Feature

PSP Outline 1
PSP Outline 1

Using this feature, ProShow Producer provides five outline widths and the ability to set the outline’s color. To access the outline feature, open the Slide Options. Select a layer and then select the Adjustments Tab. The outline feature is located under the Editing Tools section. There you can set the function. Set the outline color and size.

PRO’s: Convenient, fast, easy to use. Quickly set the outline width from 1 to 5.

CON’s:

PSP Outline 5
PSP Outline 5

1)   Producer’s narrowest setting, 1, is sometimes too wide.
2)   Producer’s widest setting, 5, is sometimes too narrow.
3)   The outline rests half on and half off the image.
a)   An image cropped by a mask generally hides the outline
b)   When the mask is nearly the same size as the masked layer, a portion of the outline may be visible
4)   The outline is often positioned slightly off-center on the layer.
5)   Outline corners are always rounded.
6)   On masked layers, the outline is usually chopped off.
7)   When a duplicate layer is placed behind the masked layer, sized to match the masks’ size, and given an outline, the outline’s rounded corners do not display well.
8)  If a blur is applied to the layer, it is also applied to the outline. Something that you may not want to happen.

Vignette Feature

No Vignette Image
No Vignette

ProShow Producer can create an “outline” via a vignette. This applies a color over the inside layer edges. To access the Vignette feature, open Slide Options. Select a layer and then select the Adjustments Tab. The Vignette Feature is located under Editing Tools. Click the Vignette checkbox and then click on the Vignette button or simply click on the Vignette button.. This opens the Vignette dialog.

To create an “outline,” under the Vignette Type, set the Type to Solid Color (then select the desired color).

Vignette Outline (White Border)
Vignette Outline (White Border)

Under the Vignette Options, set the Vignette Size, to a size of 0 to 100%. Select Solid borders and Fill corners. Leave both Border Size and Corner Size at a setting of 0. If Solid Borders are not selected, the border will start out as a solid color at the outside edge and fade to transparent at the width specified by the Vignette Size. If Fill corners is not selected, the “outline” will have rounded corners.

PROS’s:
1)   Quick and easy
2)   Options for rounded or sharp corners.
3)   Faded Outline is possible.
4)   A gradient (or multi-color) “outline” is possible.

CON’s:
1)   Covers part of the image to create the impression of an outline.
2)   Not appropriate for most masked layers. May have an unbalanced in size.
3)   An applied blur applies to the whole image and may not be what you want.
4)   Except for selecting a preset gradient (with which you can change the colors/opacity/position/color space of), there is really no control over it. It appears to be a variation of a radial gradient type and you are unable to change it.

Manually Created Outline

Since ProShow lets you add or duplicate layers, it is fairly easy to create a layer that has the same aspect and size as the layer for which you want to create a border. There are a variety of techniques you can use to create this outline. It is possible to create extremely narrow outlines or very wide ones. You can create solid color, multiple color, variations in the opacity, variations in the blur, and multiple variations of the type of outline. The outline may be created with a single layer that is slightly larger than the original or a masked set to create a more complicated looking outline. While this is by far the most complicated approach, it is also the most flexible. However, the extra work involved is well worth it.

PRO’s:
1) Extremely flexible,
2) Extremely narrow to extremely wide outlines,
3) Outlines with transparent regions between the layer to which the outline applies and the actual outline,
4) Blur the outside edge or the inside edge of the outline is possible,
5) The outline can be offset from the layer it is outlining,
6) Multiple color/opacity options.
7) Does not require covering any part of the image.
8) The “outline” has sharp corners unless specifically rounded.

CON’s:
1) Requires a modicum of skill with Producer,
2) May require imagination,
3) Extra effort is involved,
4) May require some knowledge of masking,
5) To make it look correct, some math skills are probably required.

 

Creating A Simple Outline

Simple Outline
Simple Outline

To create a simple layer outline, assume the outline layer has an aspect of 3:2 and a scale of Fill Frame. Add a white gradient layer of 1200×800. The mask is the layer 1 gradient. The masked image layer is layer 2. Both layers’ zoom is 65. Duplicate the gradient layer and move it below the image layer. Create the outline by changing its zoom-x to 60.5. Now, calculate the zoom-y amount. Start with the difference in zoom-x: (65.5-65.0)/65.00 =0.5/65=0.00769. Next, calculate the required zoom-y change by multiplying this difference by the mask layer aspect: 0.00769(3/2)=0.0115. Now, multiply that value with the starting zoom-y: 65*0.0115=0.75. The final zoom-y is 65 + 0.75= 65.75. So, zoom-x = 65.5 and a zoom-y = 65.75. The border/outline around the image should look equal on all sides.

Create A More Complicated Outline (A Transparent Region Between the Image and Outline)

Complicated Ouline
Complicated Ouline

Duplicate the Simple Outline as given above. Then, duplicate layer 3, the outline layer. Set layer 3 zoom-x to 66.0 and zoom-y to 66.5.  Set layer 4 zoom-x to 67.0 and zoom-y to 68.0. Set layer 3 as an inverted grayscale mask. Set layer 3 blur to 20. You should now have an outline with sharp outside edges and soft inside edges. The outline should have a transparent region between the image and the inside edge of the image.

Variations on this more complicated layer outline are very numerous and relatively simple to modify once the initial outline setup is created. I’ve used this type of outline for in my own shows for a number of years. Generally though, I use the simple outline.

Keep these tips in mind when manually creating your outline:

•         Calculate the proper zoom value increases from the starting zoom value for each axes.
>         An outline with all sides the same size generally looks more pleasing to the viewer.
•         Ensure all layers have the same scale type (e.g., Fill Frame).
•         Ensure the mask and outline layers have the same aspect.
>         For example, if the mask has an aspect of 3:2 then the outline layer should too.
>         It isn’t strictly required but is highly recommended

Method for Calculating the Proper Size Increase for Manually Created Border/Outline Layers.

  1. Subtract Starting Zoom from Ending Zoom (This calculates the amount of change)
  2. Divide the result by the Starting Zoom (Gives the decimal value of the Size Change)
  3. Multiply the result by the image aspect to get the size change for the other orientation
  4. If step 1 was for the horizontal axis (zoom-x)
    • Multiply step 2 value by the layer’s horizontal axis value, then
    • Divide the result by the layer’s y-axis value
    • Add the result to the Starting Zoom value
  5. If step 1 was for the vertical axis (zoom-y)
    • Multiply step 2 value by the layer’s y-axis value and then
    • Divide the result by the layer’s x-axis value
    • Add the result to the Starting Zoom value
  6. Change the outline layer’s zoom values to the values calculated in step 3

Note: if the layer aspect is 3:2, then the x-axis value is 3 and the y-axis value is 2. If the layer has an aspect of 4672:3104, then the x-axis is 4672 and the y-axis is 3104.

Using Graphical Layers for Outlining

Often, the quickest way to create a border/outline of a non-masked layer is to simply duplicate it. Then, move it from its default location from above the original layer to below the original layer. Resize the lower layer relative using the technique describe above. The next thing you want to do is to change the image layer to a color other than the default colors. In Slide Options, go to the Adjustments tab. This is where adjust the layer’s color(s).

•         To make the image layer black, set the white point to -100.
•         To make it white, set the black point to 100.
•         To set the layer to any other color,
>         Click on the Auto button to automatically set Brightness, White Point, & Black Point
>         Set the contrast to -100.
>         Select the Colorize tool and set the desired color.

NOTE: For an Advanced Treatment of Outlines and Shadows, visit the Tutorials page and review the video tutorial there.

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