This article was originally published on April 20, 2011.
When it comes to digital scrapbooking, I would be the square peg that just doesn’t fit into that round hole. I prefer Keynote to Photoshop as a scrapbooking platform and I’m usually designing for the rectangular screen rather than the square papers. Yes, it’s a challenge, but it’s just as much fun and I love the results.
One of the biggest challenges is playing with papers on my slides. Generally, I don’t use a background paper because it adds exponentially to the file size of the books I’m building. It also makes it more difficult to include large expanses of smallish text and maintain readability. I still love the layouts that involve stacking layers of different papers with photos, frames and other embellishments. The problem is that when you pull a “sheet” of paper onto your page, then try to resize it, Keynote wants to maintain its aspect ratio. That means if you want to turn that square-shaped paper into a rectangle, Keynote says it ain’t gonna happen.
Here’s where Shapes become your new best friend.
Using Keynote, you can place any number of shaped elements on your slide – squares, circles, rectangles, stars, arrows and more. Once you place a shape on the slide, you can resize it, color it, change its border and add a fill from a file. BINGO!
I start in Finder using the Cover Flow view. Most kits include an image showing you its contents. I find these images handy to identify coordinating papers for my current slide. From there, I scroll through the files – still in Cover Flow – to find the ones I will use. In this example, I’ll be using onelittlebird_storyteller_pp09.jpg.
Now, I go back to Keynote and place a shape on the slide. What you see here is a blue rounded square. Color, border and size will be adjusted later. In the Information Panel, you can see that this shape is filled with an Image Fill. The square thumbnail shows which image is currently in use. From here you can click the Choose button and find the paper file you want to use for your fill or you can drag the file from Finder and drop it on the thumbnail in the Information Panel.
Okay, I know this is looking very strange. This digital paper is a high resolution image and you’re seeing it at its max. Choose the selector just below Image Fill in the Information Panel and change it to Scale to Fill. As you see below, that makes a big difference.
From here you can pull any of the handles to resize the shape, even stretch it from a square to a rectangle. The fill will scale to meet your changes. Use the Stroke section of the Information Panel to change or get rid of the border. The Shadow and Reflection sections offer some interesting effects too. Here’s the final result.