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In PhotoImpact 4, we have no need for plugins, filters or add-ons for making a snowglobe. All the things we need - textures, glass, snow - are built into the program, and of course, we have the GIF Animator. The only thing we need to import is whatever we are going to put in the globe. I found this figure of Santa. He was a Christmas tree ornament in a photograph. I cropped the photograph close to him, painted out the tree so he was isolated against a white background, and resized him to 260 pixels high, because we are going to put him in a circular globe diameter 280 pixels. You can put anything you like in your globe, but if you want to use this Santa, right click on him and use Save Image As to download him.


The first thing we need to do is isolate Santa. Use the magic wand tool (outlined in red in the picture below, with the settings shown below, and click in the area outside Santa. The background will be selected, but because we have Search Connected Pixels checked, none of the white areas inside the figure will be selected, only those which touch each other - in this case the background ones.



Use Edit/Selection/Invert so that the figure is selected instead of the background. We want to make sure that we do not have a white 'halo' round the figure, so use now Edit/Selection/Expand-Shrink with the settings shown on the right. Finally, use Edit/Selection/Convert to Object.

circle settingsNow open a new image, 280x280 pixels. Here we shall build up the globe part of the snowglobe. Use the standard selection tool and these settings. Put the cursor right in the top left corner of this new image. Watch the co-ordinates at the bottom left of the workspace frame. Click when they reach 0,0, and a circle which exactly fills the image will appear.

easy paletteOpen the easy palette, either by clicking its button on the top bar, or by using View/Toolbars and Panels and checking Easy Palette. Click the left button at the top of the Easy Palette, and check Texture Gallery. In the texture gallery, find the Natural Texture called Cloud 1. (right).

Don't worry if your Easy Palette is much bigger than mine. I resized mine to give me more room on the workspace. Make sure that your image with the circle selected is the current one (if the top of its frame is not blue, click on its frame to select it) and double click on the Cloud 1 thumbnail in the Easy Palette. Your circle will be filled with the cloud pattern. It is a rather strange mauve shade, and we want a dull blue, so with the circle still selected, use Format/Colour Balance and with the Thumbnail Variation set at 10, click on each of the three thumbnails down the left side of the display.

Santa + sky 

Now return to your image of Santa, and click on its frame to make it current. Put the cursor on the Santa figure. It will change to the crossed arrows moving tool cursor, and you can click and drag Santa into the sky filled circle in the other image. You may leave an outline of Santa behind, because we shrank the selection. Arrange him as shown on the left, and then use Edit/Selection/Merge All.



If you are using the trial version of PhotoImpact 4 you will not have the Droplet 1 preset. Click on the link to The Trial Version Appendix to make the glass.



path toolpath settingsOpen another Image 280x280. Click on the path tool (left). Don't worry about what colour is shown, but set the Mode to Path, click on the Edit button to get the path menu, and set the settings as shown on the right.

Place the cursor at 0,0, hold the left mouse button down, and move the cursor diagonally across the square till the parameters show 280,280. The circle will fill the square exactly, and you can release the mouse button.

Return to Mode, and set it to 3d round. After a short pause, your circle will become a sphere in whatever colour/texture you had set beside the Mode box. Now click on the left button of the Easy Palette and select Material Gallery, then click on the Preset tab. The very first preset is called Remove... Double click on that to remove whatever colour and texture has been applied to the sphere. It will become a neutral grey colour.

Now scroll through the presets till you find one called Droplet 1. Double click on that, and your sphere will become a pale blue glassy circle with highlights.

pointerChange to the pointer tool at the top of the vertical toolbar (left).

moving the glassYou must place the cursor either right on the edge of the circle as it is shown in the picture on the right, straddling the dotted marquee line, or in one of the highlights marked with a red x in the picture. In either of those places the pointer will change to the move cursor which you see in the picture. Click and drag the glass circle into the Santa image, Release the mouse so that you can see where the glass is, and then click on the edge of the circle or in a highlight again to grab it for moving it into place, and arrange it exactly above the sky and Santa circle.

Use Edit/Selection/Merge All and we now have the globe part of the snow globe.

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