6 - The Keyboard

6.1 - Keystrokes in the Action Image Window

The keyboard can often be used in this application instead of button presses to more quickly perform various functions. Observe the bold, underlined letters on the various buttons in the application and you'll know what key to press to perform the function specified on the button when that window is active. Capitalization matters!

Tip: If you don't want to memorize keystrokes, then the most important one to know is k, which opens a dialog with buttons for every keystroke operation except the cursor keys (panning), the function keys F1-F10 (keyboard-based area tool selection), and the esc key.

Command palette, opens with k

6.1.1 - Help Window

h or ? will open the help window.

6.1.2 - Cancel Area Selection in Progress

Use esc to cancel an area selection in progress.

6.1.3 - Panning the Image Window

Within the context of the action image window (the active image), pressing the cursor keys (, , and ), optionally along with shift or opt/alt will alter the position of the image in the window.

6.1.4 - Area Tool Selection

Tip: The function keys F1 through F9 choose the area selection tools in the order they appear in the Area Tools dialog, so they're very easy to remember; F1-F3 is the first row, F4-F6 the second row, and F7-F9 the third row. Remember this one fact, and you'll be able to quickly switch area tools from the keyboard in any image context.

6.1.5 - View Window Sizes

Note: The following image view sizing keystrokes only function if the resulting image view won't be larger than your available monitor estate, specifically meaning the monitor the image is on when you execute the command; and if the image won't end up being pathologically small such that it won't have an adequate title bar for you to move the image view window around with.

In addition, keep in mind that the size of the view is independent of the zoom setting for the view. For example, if you are zoomed at 2x in a 2:1 view, and you request a 1:1 view size, you'll get a 1:1 view that is still zoomed at 2x.

  • 1 - 1:1 Image view
  • 2 - 2:1 Image view
  • 3 - 3:1 Image view
  • 4 - 4:1 Image view
  • shift+1 - .75:1 Image view
  • shift+2 - .50:1 Image view
  • shift+3 - .25:1 Image view
  • shift+4 - .10:1 Image view

6.1.6 - Antialiasing Toggle for Current Area Tool

a turns anti-aliasing on and off. You can also do this from the Preferences dialog, and you can also set the amount and radius of the antialiasing.

Note: Antialiasing increases the size of the selection beyond the boundaries you specified with the area tool you are using. This is because blending into the surrounding content requires altering that content.

6.1.7 - Area Blending

b opens the Blending dialog. This provides a means for you to make soft area selections. There are choices for flat, sine and conical blending curves, and control of the blend floor is also available, as is a multiplier factor that makes the curves steeper.

6.1.8 - Assigning an Image as the Brush

B (shift+b) assigns the active image as the brush for Brush Stroke operations.

You can also create a new brush using the New Image operation, accessed from the File/New Image menu or with control+n.

Warning: Assigning large images as the brush can result in extremely long computation times for the Brush Stroke operator.

6.1.9 - Clone Image

c creates a new copy (not just another view) of the action image.

6.1.10 - Clone Image at View Size

C (shift+c) creates a new copy (not just another view) of the action image that is the same size as the view — not the image — it was created from. This is a quick visual way to create a scaled image. You can also create a precisely scaled copy of an image with the e (enlarge / duplicate / reduce) command.

Normally, the view aspect ratio is locked; so when you resize a view, it's always the same shape as the image it represents. In most cases, this is what you want. But there may be times you want to resize an image in such a way that the new size is a different aspect than the original. For instance, a widescreen image may have been packed into a 4:3 (normal video) aspect, and so it looks distorted. In such a case, you can unlock the aspect control mechanism using y to allow free resizing of the image with the mouse, and then you can use C (shift+c) to clone the aspect-adjusted image. When you're done, pressing y again will re-lock the view's aspect ratio control mechanism.

6.1.11 - Copy Image to Clipboard

Under OS X (MacOS), both control+c and +c will copy the action image to the clipboard.

6.1.12 - Delete (clear) the Current Mask (for Non-modal Selections)

d deletes the current mask when  Modal Selections in the Area Tools dialog is not checked.


Enlarge / Reduce dialog

6.1.13 - Enlarge / Reduce Image to Duplicate

e opens a dialog that provides a means to create a new image, scaled (or not) from the image you're working with. When you enter the width, the height is set proportionally to the original image's height.

If you want to distort the aspect, then you just enter the width you want first, then alter the height. You'll probably want to check  Stretch as well. If you don't, the new image will be the new size you specified, but the source image's content will be fitted inside it in an aspect-correct manner.

Tip: If you are going to be enlarging to more than twice the original image's size, or reducing to less than 1/2 the the original image's size, you can obtain a higher quality result by doing this in several steps.

For instance, if you want to create an enlargement of four times the original image size, then you can do it in two steps of two. Here's what you would do for an image going from 2000x500 to 500x125:

  • 2000x500 to 1000x250
  • 1000x250 to 500x125

When you're done, just delete the intermediate images.

6.1.14 - Restoring an Image to Its Original Clipped-from Location

f (fudge it) restores a clipped image back into the image it was clipped from. You can use this two ways. First, you can clip out a region, edit the original, decide you don't like the results, then hit f (with the clip as the active image, not the original) and the clip will go back over the changes you made.

Another way to use f is to clip out a region, then edit the clipped region, thus avoiding any edits to the original. If you like what you've accomplished, you just press f and it'll be put back, in its current state, right where it was taken from.

Note: If you close the last view on the image the clip was taken from, f does nothing, because there's no image remaining for the clip to be restored to.

6.1.15 - Placing a Viewable Grid Around Each Pixel

g turns the pixel grid on and off. This type of grid is most useful when you are zoomed in, where colors don't visibly vary much from one another, and you need a precise selection among the individual pixels.

6.1.16 - Changing the Grid Color

G (shift+g) alternates the pixel grid color between black and white.

6.1.17 - Opening the Help Dialog

h and ? will open the Help dialog.

6.1.18 - Opening the Image Information Window

i will open the image information window. Among other things, this window collects all the meta information about the image in one place so you can examine it. This is a very good thing to do before you save a file that is going anywhere but on your own computer (and even then...)

Keep in mind that timestamps, GPS data, and the image itself represent a lot of information that can be mined by others; others who may not be your friends. Those things in combination can add up to a very precise collection of information usable by others.

It's easy to forget about your own security, to simply assume that information you put out will not come back to bite you. But sometimes it can. So be careful.

6.1.19 - Juxtaposing Images for Image-to-image Comparisons

j, juxtapose, can be used with n (next) and N (previous) to compare images if you have them set to the same size and magnification.

6.1.20 - Opening the Keyboard Command Palette

k opens the keyboard command palette. This palette contains buttons for every keystroke operation except the sizing commands 1 though 4, the function key commands to select an area tool, , , , and esc.


The keyboard command palette

6.1.21 - Work with/as a Layered Image

l (that's a lower-case L, not a one) opens the Layers dialog. If you press l on an atomic, non-layered image, it will be converted to a layered image. If you press l with any layer or the master image active, the Layers dialog opens preset to that layered image.

6.1.22 - Controlling the Rulers

m opens the Measure dialog which provides control of the ruler display. You can choose between inches, centimeters, and pixels; control opacity and font size; which, if any, rulers are visible, and which image windows the rulers appear in (just the active window, or all of them.)

Ruler positions are maintained on a per-window basis, not a per-image basis; this allows you to put rulers in different places on different views of an image.

When the Measure dialog is active, the , , , and home keys control the ruler positions.

6.1.23 - Next and Previous Image

n and N (shift+n) activate the next and previous window, respectively.

6.1.24 - Set Origin Image

o sets the currently active window as the origin image, which is the image that is used as the source for the Merge operator.

6.1.25 - Operate (for Non-modal Selections)

When  Modal selection is turned off in the area toolbox, no operations on the image will occur until you press Operate in the area toolbox or you press O (shift+o) with the action image active. Instead, making a selection only displays the selection on the image.

Making another selection and having shift pressed when you finish it adds to the current selection.

Making another selection and having opt/alt pressed when you finish it subtracts from the current selection.

The current selection can be deleted with d.

u will undo a change to a selection, and r will redo that change.

Nothing will actually be done to the image itself until you click Operate or press O (shift+o).

In this way, you can create complex area selections before you commit to any particular operation.

6.1.26 - Print the Action Image

p prints the currently active, or action, image.

6.1.27 - Quarter Turn the Action Image

q rotates the action image 90° clockwise.

6.1.28 - Redo (reverse an Undo)

r executes the redo function. After you undo an operation with u, you can redo it with r.

Note: If you extend the image dimensions, both the undo and redo lists are cleared. If you perform a new operation on an image, the redo list is cleared and the undo list increases by one (up to the system limit, which is ten.)

6.1.29 - Rename an Image

R (shift+r) opens the image rename dialog.

Note: The image's name may not be the same as its name in your computer's filesystem. This gives you some extra flexibility in naming atomic images, layers, and masters.

6.1.30 - Save an Image

s and S (shift+s) Saves the image.

Using s: If the image is a component of a layered image, or in other words a layer or a master type image, the entire layered image will automatically be saved in .elx layered format.

Use the .elx extension for extended layer files. When working with layered images, if you want to save just the active image layer or master as a flat (atomic) image in .jpg, .png or .ato file format, use S (shift+s) instead of s.

If the image is not a layered image component, you use the filename extensions .ato, .png and .jpg (or .jpeg) to choose how you want the image saved. Note that only .png and .ato save transparency information for atomic images, and .ato saves 48-bit data. The .png format saves 24-bit data with transparency, and .jpg saves less than than 24-bit and does not save transparency. Jst sy n t lssy cmprssn.

The save format is selected by the extension you provide if the image is not a layered image:

.ato48-bit RGB + 16-bit transparency + copyright + annotation + notations iToolBox custom format - it is suggested that you always use this format for flat (atomic) images that you intend to do more work on, ever.
.png24-bit RGB + 8-bit transparency common image format
.jpgLess than 24-bit RGB format, lossy, common image format
.jpegLess than 24-bit RGB format, lossy, common image format

If the image is a component of a layered image (a layer or a master) and you use s to command a save, the entire layered image will be saved in the .elx format, and you must use the .elx extension on the file.

The full list of savable file types is located here.

6.1.31 - Text Generation

t commands the Text dialog to open. This generates text into a new image.

You then use the merge operator to compose the result. It is best to generate the text large if you are going to use it large; this produces the highest quality anti-aliasing. Experiment with smaller text placements. You can also use the Text tool in the area toolbox to do this. When typing in the text entry box, if you press tab, this will immediately close the dialog and generate the text. If you press esc, this will immediately close the dialog and cancel text generation. The text generation dialog blocks; that is, you have to close it before you can do anything with the rest of the application.

6.1.32 - Undo Changes

u, undo, will remove the previous operation and place it into the redo list. Note that if you then perform another operation, the redo list is cleared. Also, if you extend the image dimensions, the undo and redo lists are both cleared. The system limit for undos is set to ten.

6.1.33 - Open Another View on an Image

v allows you to open additional views on an image. You can work in any open view on an image; and you can maintain the individual views at different pan and zoom levels.

6.1.34 - Paste the Clipboard Into a New Image

Under OS X (MacOS), both control+v and +v will paste the clipboard contents into a new image if:

  • The clipboard contains a filename for which you have the appropriate access permission(s), or...
  • The clipboard contains a correctly encoded image.
Caution: If the clipboard contains a URL that points to a file out on the network rather than on the local machine, iToolBox will not process it. If you're trying to grab a file from a web page, drag the image from the browser to your desktop, and then from your desktop into iToolBox.

6.1.35 - Change Color of Non-modal Selections

w and W (shift+w) allow you to choose which of eleven different color choices is to be used for the display of area selections when operating in in non-modal area selection mode.

6.1.36 - Extend Image Dimensions

x allows you to alter the dimensions of an existing image.

6.1.37 - Lock / Unlock Y-axis

y allows you to unlock the y-axis of the image view so you can size view of the image with the mouse in a natural aspect-incorrect manner. This is handy for setting up visual resizing of images that are squeezed horizontally or vertically (have a distorted Aspect Ratio.) Pressing y a second time turns y-axis locking back on; the effect is immediately apparent as soon as you resize the view.

6.1.37.1 - Addressing Common Aspect Ratio Problems

Y (shift+y) unlocks the y-axis, then resizes the view to as near to 1:1 as it can get, and then resizes the view on the x-axis to a series of preset common Aspect Ratios which are indicated in the Area Tools dialog status line.

opt/alt+y unlocks the y-axis, then resizes the view to as near to 1:1 as it can get, and then resizes the view on the y-axis to a series of preset common Aspect Ratios which are indicated in the Area Tools dialog status line.

Tip: For all three y actions, keep in mind they resize the view, not the image itself. If you want the image itself to be rescaled to the view, use C (shift+c) after the y action, which will produce an appropriately scaled new image.

6.1.38 - Zooming in and Out

z, Z (shift+z), and opt-alt+z allow you to change the zoom level on an image view.

You can also use the magnify (F10) tool in the Area Tools dialog to zoom in and out with left- and right-clicks.

6.2 - Keystrokes in the Operator Dialog

Details on this may be found on the Operators dialog page.

6.3 - Keystrokes in the Layer Dialog

, , , and home move layers relative to the master image. Other keystrokes are indicated with bold, underlined letters on the command buttons. See the Layers dialog for more information.

6.4 - Keystrokes in the Measure Dialog

, , , and home move the rulers. Other keystrokes are indicated with bold, underlined letters on the command buttons. See the Measure dialog for more information.

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