Aligning and Distributing Layer Content

Making collages, images bound for the Web or for multimedia output, can often require you to align or distribute content that has been spread over different layers. You can use the clunky method of creating guides and grids and then employing the Move tool to place the content, or use more graceful, easier and, overall, more accurate methods. One such method involves the Move tool and its options (Figure 6-9); the other involves commands available from the Layer ^ Align and Distribute submenus.

ABC D E F G H I JKL Figure 6-9: The align and distribute buttons on the options bar. The options are from left to right: A—Align top edges. B—Align vertical centers. C—Align bottom edges. D—Align left edges. E—Align horizontal centers. F—Align right edges. G—Distribute top edges. H—Distribute vertical centers. I—Distribute bottom edges. J—Distribute left edges. K—Distribute horizontal centers. L—Distribute right edges.

Before you can use either method, you need to link the layers that you want to either align or distribute, or select them in the Layers palette. Note that to distribute content, you must select a minimum of three layers. After the layers have been linked or selected, the commands become available to you. Then it's just a question of deciding whether you want to use the commands from the Layer menu or the options for the Move tool, and how you want to align or distribute the content, for example, by their centers or their left top, right, or bottom edges.

Aligning or distributing content to the image canvas bounds requires one further step. You must first select the canvas. This you can do by choosing Select ^ All or Ctrl+A (Windows), (Mac OS). When the canvas is selected, you can use the commands in the Layer ^ Align Layers to Selection or Distribute submenu or select the Move tool and use the buttons on the options bar to make your choice.

To align content to specific areas in an image, first, make a rectangular selection by using the Rectangular Marquee tool (M). Next, select the layers; you can select a single layer if the content is not being distributed. Then, use the commands in the Layer ^ Align Layers to Selection or Distribute submenu or select the Move tool and use one of the align or distribute buttons on the options bar.

If you want to distribute the layers content unevenly or specify the number of pixels between the edges, you can do so by opening the image in ImageReady and then taking the following steps:

1. Select the Move tool.

2. Select the layers you want to distribute (you must select a minimum of three layers).

3. Enter a value in the text box, located to the right of the Distribution buttons in the options bar (Figure 6-10). The value you enter will determine the number of pixels that will separate the content edges.

4. Click the Distribute Layer Vertical Space or Distribute Layer Horizontal Space button to complete the distribution process.

Figure 6-10: The Align and Distribute options in ImageReady. They differ from the options available in Photoshop.

CAUTION

Files in CMYK mode are not supported by ImageReady.

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