How to draw and type on a photograph using GraphicConverter

=== by Bob Sutherland ===

A lesson on how to draw shapes and type text on a photograph using GraphicConverter software by Lemke Software GMBH for Macintosh computers.

I have already created a lesson on this website that shows you how to resize a digital photograph using GraphicConverter software. The lesson included instructions on how to open a photograph file with the software and how to save the photograph creating a new file after you resized it. I will presume you have already learned the content of that lesson. In this lesson I will focus on providing instructions on how to draw and type on photographs.

I would recommend you resize your photograph to the final size you want it to be before you start drawing or typing. Otherwise if you resize it latter you may be surprised at how small your drawings and typing become as the photograph shrinks down in size.

I would strongly recommend you make copies of your photograph and only use one of the copies. Assume that the file you open and begin drawing and typing on is going to be altered even though it may be your intention to save your final masterpiece using a totally different filename and file type.

This is the Welcome to GraphicConverter 11 window you will see every time you start up the program unless you disable it in the bottom left corner. It provides you with a few different ways that you can open a file containing a photograph. You can drag the photograph file with your mouse and drop it on that big dotted square with the grey arrow pointing down. You can use either the Single Image or Browse tabs and their respective menus to search for the photograph file among the folders and files on your computer. Or you can use the standard method that works on nearly any modern computer of going up to the GraphicConverter 11 menu across the top of the screen where you can open the File menu and select the menu item Open.
I have found the photograph that I will be using for this lesson. It is a file named scan44.jpg in my Pictures folder on my computer.
The photograph is a snow covered winter scene. I was standing on a frozen lake as I took this photograph of a house along the shoreline.

In the bottom left corner of this window is a little box indicating that my photograph is being displayed at 86% of its size. In an ideal situation it is preferable to display your photograph at 100% of its size when writing on it.

I do not think I will need that toolbar that is across the top of the window just above my photograph. Therefore I am using the GraphicConverter 11 menu across the top of the screen to open the View menu and selecting Hide Toolbar. If I had a desktop computer with a large screen this step would not be necessary but my screenshots for this lesson are the size of a small screen on a laptop computer.

In the GraphicConverter 11 menu across the top of the screen open the Window menu and select Tools to see the tools submenu. There is a long list of tools that you can use for drawing and typing on your photograph. At the bottom of the list there is a small black arrow triangle pointing down which indicates the list continues past the bottom of the screen. When I scrolled down by holding my mouse button down on the black triangle I discovered the tool list is about twice the height of my computer screen.

I should mention that you do not need a photograph. In GraphicConverter you can open a new blank screen of any size you define. You can then use these tools to draw a magnificent drawing or painting on a white or coloured background.

As is usually the case in many computer programs there is more than one way to do something. If you do not like the prospect of having to continually visit the tool submenu to select tools for drawing then you can display a toolbox with many of the tools on your screen. In the Window menu select Show Toolbox.
Here is the floating toolbox. By floating I mean that if you hold your mouse button down on the short titlebar with the word Tools at the top of this tool window you can drag it around on the screen so that it is not in your way.
In the floating toolbar there is box with a diagonal line that is the line or arrow icon. I have double mouse clicked on the line icon to open a small menu where I can add arrowheads to the ends of the lines or change its style from a solid line to a dotted line.

Near the bottom of the floating toolbar are the options to change the colour and the thickness of the line that you will be drawing. In my screenshot the line thickness is 1.0 pixel but in many cases you will want to change that to draw a thicker line. The screenshot shows a black box overlapping a white box for the colour icon. Since the black box is in front of the white box the foreground colour is black and the background or fill colour is white. Lines and arrows are drawn using the foreground colour. If you mouse click on the black box a standard Macintosh colour chart pops up on the screen where you can choose a colour for your line.

Once you have made all of the setting choices for your line move your mouse to your photograph. Hold your mouse button down while dragging your mouse across the photograph in any direction to draw your line.

Beware! When you draw a line, rectangle, oval or any shape with GraphicConverter you are drawing the final shape exactly where you want it to be on the photograph. In sharp contrast to my drawing lessons for the Preview and XnView MP applications there are not going to be any little dots called handles appear that would allow you to drag your line or shape around on the screen or change any of its characteristics.

This time I have double mouse clicked on the icon that draws the outline of a rectangle. A menu pops up with any settings that you can select which in this case are almost nil. Near the bottom of the toolbar I can pick a line thickness and foreground colour for the border around the rectangle. Rectangles are drawn by holding your mouse button down at any corner of the rectangle and then dragging your mouse in a diagonal line across the rectangle to the far corner.
I have selected the text icon in the toolbar that is represented by the capital leter A in a square box. Two windows immediately pop up on my screen. The tall window has the title Text and probably has far more word processing options than you are familiar with unless you are involved in the printing or graphics art business. The short window has the title Text Objects.

In the tall Text window I have selected Chalkboard as my font, 36 point as my font size and centre justified. I then mouse clicked on the small black rectangular box labelled Text Color and a standard Macintosh colour chart appears on the screen.

All of these small windows in GraphicConverter are floating windows. Each window can be moved around on the screen by dragging their title bars while your mouse button is held down.

In the standard Macintosh colour chart there are five icons across the top that allow you to use a colour wheel, sliders, a list of colours, a light spectrum or this display of pencil crayons to choose a colour. There is also an eye dropper at the bottom of the colour chart. To use the eye dropper mouse click once on the eye dropper and then mouse click on the exact spot on your photograph that has the colour you want to use.

When you select a colour it should appear where I have my arrow pointing at in the bottom left corner of the colour chart and also in the rectangular box labelled Text Color in the Text window.

Now comes the exciting part! You mouse click on your photograph and a thin vertical flashing line appears that is the same cursor you see when typing in a word processing program. You start typing. If you want to have two or more lines of text you can press the Return key at the end of each line and keep typing away. When you are done mouse click once somewhere far away from what you just typed. The thin outline of a text box should appear around the words, numbers or characters you have typed. There will be small square called a handle at each of the four corners of the text box.

In my screenshot you can see that I typed the phrase "Lots of snowmobile traffic" in reference to all of the tracks left by snowmobiles across the snow covered lake in the photograph. The typed text has a thin text box around it and four square handles. When I moved my mouse into the text box the cursor changed to a small hand.

I can hold the mouse button down and drag the text box around on the photograph to reposition it. I can grab one of the handles and drag it around with my mouse to change the shape of the text box. All of the text inside the text box will behave like a paragraph in a word processing document with the end of the lines wrapping around to fit within the text box.

In the Text Objects window you will see the words you typed on your photograph. If you typed a lot of words in a text box then only the first few words will be listed to represent that text box. You can create more than one text box on your photograph with each text box being listed in the Text Objects window.

The Text Objects window allows you to select any one of your text boxes regardless of where it is in the sequence and then make changes to the text such as font, font size or text colour using the options in the Text window. The Delete button near the bottom of the Text Objects window will allow you to delete a text box if you realize you made a spelling mistake. I am not sure why anyone would choose the Flatten button but be aware that it permanently locks your text box and merges it into the photograph so no further changes can be made to the text you typed.

At the end of the blue arrow you can see where I have managed to capture a screenshot of the flashing vertical line text cursor. The height of the word processing style cursor depends on the font size selected in the Text window. In this case the cursor marks the position where I am about to type some words in a new text box. Text boxes can overlap each other and other shapes such as lines, rectangles and ovals.
This is just an example of a few things that I was able to draw and type on a photograph using GraphicConverter.
My previous screenshots were of a computer screen that was too short in height to show all of the available tools in the floating GraphicConverter toolbox. Therefore the program automatically hid some of the tools with no warning to the user. Here I have taken a screenshot of a much taller computer screen so you can see more tools in the toolbox.