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Ernie Pyle

Hard to draw a rectangle?

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Steps:

  • Click the Shapes tool.
  • Select Rectangle.
  • Select Draw Shape Outline.
  • Use the mouse to draw a rectangle.
  • See the circles to resize, but no actual rectangle.
  • Hit Enter, or hit Finish.
  • Notice that nothing was done, although History says "Draw Rectangle / Finish Rectangle".

The color of the rectangle should be red on a black background. What's going on? Thanks.

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Self-answered: Apparently after I paste a screenshot into paint.net, I have to "flatten" the image before a drawn rectangle will show up on it. To a casual user like me, this violates the Principle of Least Surprise. Oh, well - I got it done.

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Not quite.  You don't have to flatten the image, you just have to deselect the pixels you have selected from pasting in the screenshot.  Hit Ctrl+D.  Or, potentially, you're working on a layer that is covered up by the screenshot.  Take a look and make sure the layer you're trying to draw upon is at the top.

 

Paint.NET, like other image editors, only affects the pixels within the selection area on the selected layer.  This doesn't violate Principle of Least Surprise, as it's standard for all image editors.   :)

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I can see that if you're familiar with image editors, you might not have been surprised. But as a layman, so to speak, I expected that I could paste a screenshot and draw over it without having to concern myself with any further preparation. That I had to flatten the image was quite surprising, given that I hadn't done anything to make it other than flat, to give it multiple layers, etc.

 

As for "the selection area on the selected layer", I didn't select anything. I pasted from the Windows clipboard and tried to draw a rectangle. It didn't work. By that I was much more surprised than the least I could have been.

Edited by Ernie Pyle

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When you paste something in, it is automatically selected.  You do NOT have to flatten the image.  You just have to deselect the pixels or choose the correct layer.

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When I flattened the image, I was able to draw the rectangle. Maybe there are other ways of going about it, but flattening worked for me.

 

What was surprising was that any action, other than just drawing the rectangle, was necessary at all. Put differently, what is surprising to me, a casual user, is that if I paste an image from the clipboard and want to draw on it, I have to think about deselecting pixels or choosing layers. Paste, use the tools to draw a shape, see the shape. That was my expectation. I think it was a reasonable one.

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Paste, use the tools to draw a shape, see the shape

But that is the way it currently works?

 

Could you be confusing the rectangle select icon :Selection:   with the draw shape/rectangle one :ShapesTool: ?

 

It is better to draw lines, shapes, text etc. on a new layer because they are easier to move around if not a part of the original image. Still possible  to do it on one layer though!

Try pressing the F1 key, when Pdn is open and it will take you to the documentation which explains many things. ;) ... and welcome to the forum too.

 

I don't think you will find another free graphics editor that is both as powerful and as easy to use as Pdn.

I'm sure you'll get the basics very quickly. ;)

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But that is the way it currently works?

 

Could you be confusing the rectangle select icon :Selection:   with the draw shape/rectangle one :ShapesTool: ?

 

Thanks for the welcome. :)

 

Looks like that's not the way it works, no. That's why I mentioned that it violates the Principle of Least Astonishment, at least from my perspective.

 

I definitely had the Draw Shape tool selected. Not sure why it didn't work at first, but after I flattened the image, I didn't change the tool, and I got what I wanted.

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Did you click the 'Finish' icon after drawing the rectangle? (It's new in Pdn4 and catches me out sometimes!)

 

Try this:

1. Press the 'Prtsc' button on your keyboard (eg. on a web page) to put the image on the clipboard.

2. Open Pdn, File/ New image. (opens at the same size as the clipboard image)

3. Edit/Paste.

4. You will have to Deselect now. (It opens selected because most users would probably want to resize the pasted image). Either Edit/Deselect or the :EditDeselect: icon.

5. You can now use the shapes tool, for rectangles etc.(But I still recommend doing this on a new layer :LayersAddNewLayer:)

6. When finished save first as a .Pdn file to keep any layers, then as a .Png or .Jpeg, if you need to post the image online.

If the image has layers and you are saving in a file-type without, it will ask you if it's ok to flatten the image.

 

Honestly it sounds far more complex than it really is! ;)

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The sequence doesn't seem hard, no, but I genuinely didn't expect to have to deselect anything. In fact, just thinking about it, I'm puzzled as to why I can't draw on an area that is selected. In fact, I'd assume that if anything the selection area would constrain drawing within it.

 

Note that my posts are just observations from a casual user who likes interfaces that are intuitive and easy to use on the face of it. I understand that powerful tools come with a lot of options and dials and bells and whistles. But I just wanted to draw a rectangle. :)

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Actually deselecting at step 4, is not really required as the whole canvas is selected at that point, (providing you haven't resized the selection).

 

Sorry for being misleading.

These things become second nature when you have used the program for a while and it can be difficult to see things with 'fresh eyes'.

I'm not the greatest fan of how many newer 'apps' and programs are designed but personally I found Pdn easy to learn in comparison with Gimp, Inkscape or Abode elements.

Pdn4 is a bit less intuitive than pdn3.5 (IMO) but has more functionality.

 

Do give it a decent try... most things are very straight forward to do!.... if you get stuck, please ask again!... hopefully you'll be answered by someone that explains in a clearer way! ;)

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When you paste an image from the clipboard it is automatically selected and the Move Tool automatically engaged. This is so you can, without further input, move the pasted area around the active layer.

 

From the online documentation:

 

 

IconEditPaste.png Paste

If there is an image in the clipboard, this command will paste it onto the active layer. Pixels being pasted will overwrite existing pixels in the same location.  The pasted pixels will be selected following the paste operation and the Move Selected Pixels tool will automatically be activated.  This allows the pasted pixels to be moved, scaled or rotated with ease.

 

Ref: http://www.getpaint.net/doc/latest/EditMenu.html

 

This is why you need to deselect.

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If you change from the Move tool to the Draw Shape tool, you're signaling that you want to switch from moving pixels to drawing a shape. Convenient and intuitive, then, would be a contextual change that would allow you to draw a shape right away.

 

I think the current behavior is less convenient and intuitive, because a switch to the Draw Shape tool left me in a state where I could not draw a shape without taking further action. The "further action" is trivial once you know what it is (and that it needs to be done), but it is an extra step, and one that is not obvious to a casual user like me.

 

(I've underlined the bit that made me mention the Principle of Least Astonishment. It's possible, I suppose, that I am easily astonished.)

Edited by Ernie Pyle

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I'll piggy-back on this thread, since I'm stuck at drawing a shape.

 

I added four screenshots, and would like to draw a shape on top of the screenshots.

 

Problem is, for some reason, it's drawn on the Background layer. Even adding a new layer and drawing a shape doesn't solve it.

 

I tried CTRL+D, nothing.

 

Then went looking in the different menus for a clue, to no avail.

 

What should I do after pasting multiple screenshots in a picture, before being able to add a shape?

 

Thank you.

Paint.net.shape.drawn.on.Background.layer.png

Edited by littlebigman

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Click on your top layer (Layer 5) in the layers list box. (In your screenshot, the background layer is selected--as shown by the blue background.)  You need to have your uppermost layer selected.

 

Then, click on the add layer button.  Draw on that new layer.

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