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  Torn Paper Effect For Web Page Backgrounds In Canvas™ 6 - Part One
Sample Page 1 Sample Page 2 Sample Page 3

Many people have asked how to create a torn paper effect for a web page background. I have experimented with traditional image editing programs using selections, but Deneba Canvas has some unique features which makes the job easy and very flexible. The strategy here is to use the Freehand tool to draw a jagged line, then enhance it with the Fractalize effect. Then combine this line object with a rectangle to produce the torn edge swatch. That's not all. Using the Smart Mouse constraints Canvas enables you to ensure that the swatch will tile seamlessly when it is used as a background in a web page. There's more! The swatch is a vector object and can be reused over and over by applying not only color inks but also texture inks - perfect for paper textures! Read on and find out how.

1. First select the Freehand tool freehandtool.gif and draw a rough line on the Layout area (below left). When you release the mouse the line looks like the one below right. Don't worry how it looks at this stage (see note in next step).

cnvtorn01.gif cnvtorn02.gif

2. Click Effects > Fractalize. In the dialog, enter a Wiggle factor of 15, a Density of 4 and "Make Polygon". Click "Apply" then "OK". Note: You can stretch, contract, rotate and otherwise distort the line before or after applying the Fractalize effect. Not only that, you can repeatedly click the "Apply" button until you are satisfied with the appearance of the line so don't put too much attention on drawing the line perfectly in step 1.


3. Next draw a small rectangle 100 points wide by about 120 points high. Give it a fill color. Next click Layout > Smart Mouse to bring up the Smart Mouse dialog. Click only the Object Edges constraint button.


4. The top right corner of the swatch must mate to the bottom right corner of the swatch in order for the background to tile seamlessly. When the two objects are combined, both right hand corners must intersect with the jagged line. Move the rectangle up and down the jagged line until you have a close match. Using the Object Edges constraint, only one of the two corners will intersect when the rectangle snaps to the line. It can be either the top or the bottom...it doesn't matter. In order to make the opposite corner of the rectangle intersect along the same vertical line, you start by dragging the center handle up or down (depending on which way the line has to move), then slide the mouse pointer sideways towards the corner until it snaps. You will see the Object Edges pointer while doing this (below).


5. Next select both objects and click Effects > Combine. In the dialog, choose "Divide" then click "Apply".


6. Separate and delete the pieces having straight edges that face away from the swatch as well as the end pieces. Be careful not to disturb the other pieces.


7. With the Combine palette still open, marquee select all the objects and choose "Outline", then click "Apply". That will merge all the objects into a single object.


8. The finished swatch object will look similar to the one below. It is shown with a black pen ink for clarity. Give it a pen ink of "No ink".


9. There are two more objects to go - a 1000 point wide rectangle to make the background image tile vertically in web pages, and a shadow for depth. We need the 1000 point wide rectangle directly under the swatch having the same height and x / y coordinates as the swatch. This is so when we render the image it will be a single rectangular object 1000 pixels wide. Click Edit > Replicate one copy with no offset, then select the bottom object and drag the right side handle to stretch it. Give it a fill of "No ink". Next chop the end off by making a new rectangle overlapping the right end, then select both rectangles and choose "Subtract Front" in the Combine palette.

Note: As long as you are rendering over a white background the "No ink" fill will render as white in the final image, but will allow transparency for the shadow to show through when placed underneath it.


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