Working with Digital Photographs in Zoner Photo Studio

Bringing One Picture Into Another

You may have at some point felt the urge to create a collage on your computer, or otherwise fill up one picture with one or more other pictures. Or maybe you wanted you could get a laugh out of your friends by for example pasting yourself in front of the pyramids—but you didn’t know how. You can find out how in the paragraphs below.

Bringing One Picture Into Another

The Place Image function in Zoner Photo Studio is the ideal tool for creating virtual trips to landmarks worldwide, adding missing family members to a family portrait, or just playing around with creating your own virtual reality. This function may at first seem like just a toy, but there are actually a number of serious uses out there for the ability to place all or part of one picture inside another.

Two Ways to Add a Picture

To place one picture inside another the simple way, use Edit | Image Overlay (Ctrl+Shift+T). This opens the Overlay Image window. Use it to select a picture and position it within the picture you are editing. However, there is also another way to overlay a picture. This other method places the picture on a floating “layer” atop the main picture, so that it can be moved, resized, etc. before the placement is finalized.

The route to use this picture placing method is different than for the first one. Click Place Image (I) on the Main toolbar. This method is especially useful when joining pairs of pictures where one has a sharp foreground and the other a sharp background, and the goal is to obtain a completely sharp picture. In a case like this the simplest solution is to overlay one of the pictures atop the other.

Making the Copy

In the Editor, open the picture from which you want to copy a part. Use a selection tool to mark the area to copy. In our illustration, we have used the magnetic lasso (A). This tool automatically jumps to contours in the picture (here, the contours of the car). When making a selection, use the Blur setting on the Options toolbar to slightly blur the borders, so that the pasted material fades into the non-pasted part. As soon as the selection is ready, copy its contents to the Clipboard (Ctrl+C).

Quick selection with the magnetic lasso
Quick selection with the magnetic lasso.

Switch back to Zoner Photo Studio’s Manager module. Browse to and highlight the target picture. Open it a new Editor tab (Ctrl+Enter). Activate the Editor’s Place Image (I) tool. Click anywhere in the picture. This pastes the copied material from the earlier step into a temporary layer, where it can be manipulated before pasting is finalized.

Pasted Material
Note the small icons in the top left corner of the pasted material.

The most typical edit to pasted material before finalizing is repositioning it. To do so, click it and drag it to the desired location. Above and to the left of the pasted material are six small icons. These are buttons. Use them to transform the material in various ways. Their functions are, in order: free transformation, resize, rotate, skew, deform, and perspective. The icons are not described on-screen, but right-clicking within the pasted material does display a command menu with both these icons and text descriptions. Note that this right-click menu is not displayed if you have turned off “Show context menu on right-click” in the Editor section of the program Preferences. The functions are also available from the “Transformation” section of the Options toolbar.

The right-click menu for Place Image
The right-click menu for Place Image.

Activate one of the transformations, then click one of the “handles” on the pasted material’s corners and sides and drag it. Depending on which transformation you are using, the handle’s movement may be deliberately restricted—for example, the Resize transformation will not let you distort the image. Drag the handle to apply the desired transformation.

Adding a Shadow

You can add a shadow to the pasted material; this will sometimes improve how it looks within the target image. Click Shadow on the Options toolbar, then adjust the shadow settings as needed. All things being equal, go by the following: leave the shadow color dark, use an Opacity of 40 to 80%, leave the Mode at Normal, and use a Blur in the range from 18 to 30.

The shadow settings window
The shadow settings window.

Use the bottom part of the window to control the shadow direction, either by moving the red line within the circle or by entering a number of degrees. In our example, we have tried to imitate the shadows of the remaining objects. The last setting controls how far the shadow juts out; we have used a “cautious” value. Experiment a bit for yourself with this and with the whole process; you’ll soon be working with pasted pictures like a pro.