Jump to content
How to Install Plugins ×

MXI's Shapes (photo grids, measurements) UPD:2017.04.03


Recommended Posts

What's new
2017.04.03 - added pyramid to photo shapes, updated aspect ratio shapes slightly
2016.06.02 - added superellipses
Photo grids
I had some photo-editing to do recently and I thought it will be handy to have cropping masks to help me with it. I found that I can implement them as custom shapes, so I decided to make a set.
After little research in places like this and that I came up with this set of shapes:
3x3 grid and Phi 3x3 (Golden Ratio) grid are ultimately all that I was looking for by the moment, but it's hard to stop when you started, so I've implemented everything that looks half-reasonable at least (trying not to overload shapes with details).
How to use:
  1. make a new layer over your photograph;
  2. create a grid shape there and move it to find a proper composition;
  3. the simplest way to convert a shape to selection I know is to deselect it, do a Magic Wand outside and invert selection;
  4. crop image to selection;
  5. delete this utility layer;
  6. you're done.
Some shapes are sensitive to proportion. Don't forget to hold a Shift button when using them.
If you need differently oriented spiral, for example, you can drag one side over other side while holding Shift to keep proportions.
I by no means an experienced photographer, so if you have a better idea on what should be in the set - I would like to hear your ideas and motivation.
Measurements, dimensions, other grids
As I said, it was hard to stop, so I started to think what other kinds of useful shapes can be implemented. And here they are, various measurement assisting tools:
And some more miscellaneous grids:
Some of them may have no practical use (Smith chart in raster graphical editor, anyone?), some of them may have non-optimal parameters. This is just an experiment. Let me know if you have some use for them or something like them.
Superellipses lie in between of regular ellipses and rectangles. In some designs superellipse can be more appealing option than rounded rectangle.
There are few variants in the pack, with different level of "roundness":
  • 2.5 is a power factor of choice of Piet Hein, popularizator of superellipses;
  • superellipse with factor 4 is called squircle;
  • factor 5 is used in iOS icon designs;
  • factor 3 is here just to fill the gap between other values.
Or visit my page and grab it there.
Ideas for future (shapes)
  • Parametric shape generator.
  • Your suggestions.
(I'd rather prefer to move this to a different topic in Shapes subforum. Not sure how to deal with forum rules.)
While making the shapes, I found it's tedious and error-prone to do conversion from Xaml pages to Paint.NET shapes manually. So I've spent some time to write a converter.
It's a PowerShell script which does the simple thing - takes source Xaml files from one place and puts shape files to other place. (Source files are the files created in Kaxaml according to this instruction.)
(Update: Kaxaml site is dead, I changed the link to GitHub repo if anyone willing to build it from sources. As of 2019, XAML Studio might be a good enough substitution.)


Script can be obtained on GitHub. The simplest way of using it is to call it from bat file. Check for a sample bat file in the same place on GitHub and customize it for your needs.


PowerShell is included in Windows since Windows 7, and there should be no issues in using it on modern versions of Windows. But I will not teach you how to use it in ways other than with a bat file.


Folder "C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files\paint.net\Shapes" is not working for Paint.NET. It's quite annoying to confirm file operations in Program Files every time. Paint.NET developers should move user manageable content to user profile.
(Update: since 4.0.18, it's now possible to move shapes to C:\Users\<username>\Documents\paint.net App Files\Shapes folder. Note that it's different from "paint.net User Files" folder, though.)
Shapes should be fillable. If your shape consists only of PathFigures, you need at least one figure which is closed and filled. (Update: fixed in paint.net 4.0.10)
Shapes will be shown in dropdown menu and will have moving grips located according to fillable area. I had to do a hair-thin trick on measurement_mark shapes to make them work properly. (Update: fixed in paint.net 4.0.10)
Default FillRule is EvenOdd. Placing one fillable geometry inside other switches filling state. You may need to set FillRule="NonZero" if you want to keep all the shape filled.
To be able to quickly iterate creation process and fix all of this is a good reason for the script to exist. It allows you to test your shapes, fix source files and have proper shapes immediately, instead of having manually corrected shapes which doesn't match their sources.
Ideas for future (converter)
  • Warnings for improper shapes? (Unfillable paths, what else?)
  • Back-conversion. Not required if you follow a good practice of editing source files only.
  • Your suggestions.
Edited by MXI
kaxaml ded
  • Upvote 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
On 5/7/2017 at 3:11 PM, Drydareelin said:

Is only that smith chart had numbers :P

I could probably make it in a way similar to aspect ratio shapes.

But I should know if it is really useful. I know there are some good svgs out there if you need a very detailed Smith chart.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 months later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...