The Xara Xone Workbook WEBSITE AND WEBSITE GRAPHICS CREATED WITH XARA DESIGNER PRO 6 DOWNLOAD ZIPPED TUTORIAL Rosemary, a new TalkGraphics member, recently posted this question: “I'd like to know how to get a round image to show without its surrounding rectangle of white background?” The usual recommendation is to use Xara’s drawing tools to create a mask over the part of the image you wish to preserve, then select the mask and the bitmap image and from the Arrange menu, select Combine Shapes > Intersect Shapes (or press Ctrl 3). This creates a vector dropout mask that can be edited. And this is often the best method. But if you have a high resolution image, there is an easier and just as effective a method. It involves the Live Effects Tool (Ctrl F5) and the Mehdi Eraser Classic filter, which is found in the Live Effects Tool > New > drop down list can be used. But there is an even better option. Mehdi offers a large number of free down-loadable filters on their website. One of the free filters, and the one I prefer for this job is Mehdi Eraser Genuine. This filter provides a little more control. This tutorial will demonstrate how effective it is at dropping out a solid background color from a bitmap image. It does not have to be white. I have created a sample image on a white background and placed the image over a medium gray background. The original image is the size shown here but 300dpi. If the image you are working with is low resolution, create a bitmap copy (Arrange menu), True Color and 300dpi. The increased resolution does not make the image sharper but it gives you more pixels to work with and hence a smoother edge. Download the Mehdi Eraser Genuine filter and install it in the Plug-ins folder (C:/Program Files x86 > Xara > Xara Designer Pro 6 > Xara Picture Editor > PSplug-ins). Once you place the filter in this folder it will be available in the Live Effects Tool menu. Select your bitmap, then open the Live Effects Tool. Click New > on the Infobar. From the drop down list, select Mehdi > Eraser Genuine. Increase the Zoom to 100%. Drag the image if necessary so you can see the edge to determine the optimal setting to preserve the edge. Make sure the Erase color is set to white, or if your image has a different color background, edit the color by clicking on the white square and editing the color values as needed. Adjust the Maximum slider until the background drops out and the edge is sharp. In this example, 64 works perfectly. Here are the results. Almost perfect. Except the light gray outline around the bitmap. Not a problem. Here’s how we can eliminate it. Select the bitmap, from the Arrange menu, select Convert to Editable Shapes. Switch to the Shape Editor Tool (F4). Select two adjoining corner control points and use the arrow keys on your keyboard to nudge the side towards the center. Repeat for the other three sides. This process creates a bitmap with Alpha channel transparency, and the edges are very sharp. You can apply a wall shadow or a glow shadow just as you could with a vector mask as shown above.