- The Plotting Area
To create a Composite, click on the Jobs
button on the Navigation palette, and then select the desired job on the list
screen by clicking on it. Once you have selected the Job, thenclick
on the Plot button in the bottom left hand corner of the Job list screen.
This will display the Composite Plotting Area. (See below)
The CompositeMaker Plotting Area is
a full featured drawing tool that can be programmed to draw objects exactly
as you configure them. Along the bottom of the plotting screen are configuration
areas as described below. To the right of the plotting area are buttons
to aid you in manipulating the composite.
Figure - Full-featured Plot Configuration screen
The Plot Area can be sized to full
screen if you click on the small "o" icon in the top right hand corner of
the Plot Area. Minimize the Plot Area back to the original size by using
the "X" in the top right hand corner of the screen.
Figure - Full Drawing is expandable to your screen size
The Plot Area can be zoomed by clicking
on the arrows above the number in the bottom left hand corner of the Plot
Area which represents the percentage zooming. Click on the number itself
to revert to 100%.
Experiment with the Plot Area menu
items to discover the text, color and drawing objects available. You will
not require any of these objects or menu items for standard CompositeMaker
functions, but you have complete freedom to take advantage of them as you
CompositeMakerís Plot Area will accept
other drawing tool objects, so you can create logos and other objects and
paste them directly onto a finished composite. This allows you to
quickly add professional graphics once the composite creation process is
complete. You can also create a special template Job in CompositeMaker
that has your standard logo artwork already pasted in it. Then you
may easily copy and paste from the Template job to the working job.
Note that the Plot Area screen itself can be resized by clicking
and dragging on the bottom right hand corner of the screen, or clicking
on the Window Maximize button in the top right of the screen.
If you elect to use the optional Image capabilities of CompositeMaker
to place images of your Students in the plot, then they will appear in the
plot on the Drawing Configuration Screens.
- Student, Teacher and Frame Count
For every job, there are a certain number
of Students, a certain number of Teachers and a Frame count for the job as
it is configured. The Counts are displayed immediately below the Plot Area.
Students and Teachers are assigned to Jobs as described the Job section above.
Frame count is the number of frames encoded for this plot job. The number
of Frames should normally be set to be equal to the number of Students planned
for the composite. This is set in the Frame Encode Setup box.
- Margin Setup
Use the Margin Setup box to define the
minimum outside margins of the composite when plotting. Typical settings would
normally be 1" for right and left margins. You may elect to set a top margin
of several inches to leave room for a title. Similarly, if you plan to place
data or logos etc. in the footer area of the plot, set a bottom margin of
a couple of inches.
- Spacing Setup
Use the Spacing Setup box to define the
spacing between the frames when placed by CompositeMaker on the composite
plot. Experiment with varying vertical and horizontal spacing. Remember that
these spacings can accumulate and for a composite containing hundreds of photographs
can be an important setting to control total composite dimensions.
Since name labels are printed directly
below each frame during the drawing process, you must set a vertical spacing
that allows for the plotting of at least one line of text. Persons with long
names will be printed with text wrapping, but this can also be manually resized
after the composite plotting process is complete. See the Text and Picture
Editing section below for further information.
- Frame Style
Two major Frame stylings are available
On the Plot Screen, when you choose Custom
Frame, you will be able to choose from a drop-down menu containing all the
Frames presently in your CompositeMaker system. You can examine each Frame
in a thumbnail by choosing them successively from the drop-down menu.
- The Simple 3 Line box frame is
a drawing of 3 rounded corner boxes within themselves. This frame is sized
to fit the standard photo being used by the industry for composites. This
is the recommended frame style to use in CompositeMaker. If you
wish to use a different standard rectangular box, please contact Nufocus
- Custom Frames can be
added to CompositeMaker by the user. This is described in the Frames section.
It is recommended that you do not use complex frames for jobs with over
100 students. Memory limitations of your computer may cause plotting problems
for large jobs.
- Frame Encode Setup
The Frame Encode Setup box is a simple
text entry area that you will use to "program" the placement of Frames on
the Composite. Placement controls are very simple to use. The following rules
apply to Frame Encode Setup encoding:
- Place a number in the text box
to represent the number of frames to be displayed on each successive row
of the composite. Note the 6/7/6 and 19 encoding in the above figure,
and compare the last 2 lines of frames. The second last line has
6 frames, 7 blank positions, and 6 more frames. The bottom line has 19
frames centered on the plot.
- Blank rows in the text
area will lead to blank rows in the Composite.
- All frames in a row
will be center-justified.
- To allocate empty spaces
in the middle of a row use a 3 digit code delimited by "/" (slash) characters.
For example, as in the above screen shot, to place 6 frames on the extreme
left of the plot, followed by 7 frame positions with no frame printed,
followed by 6 more frames on the right enter the code: "6/7/6" on the
desired line in the text area. Note that there can only be 2 "/"
delimiters per line in the Frame Encode Setup box.
- The number of frames
decoded from the Encode Frame Setup text code box is displayed in the
area above the configuration editors with the label: "No of Frames:" Normally,
the encoded number of Frames should equal the number of Students in the
Student List for this Job.
- CompositeMaker will
attempt to decode your frame placement instructions encoded in the Frame
Encode box and will advise you if they are not interpretable.
- Draw Plot Button
The Draw Plot button will
place frames into the Plot Area as encoded by the Margin Setup, Spacing
Setup, Frame Style and Encode Frame Setup editors. Depending on the number
of Students to be plotted, this can take several seconds. Normally, you
should clear the plot area first by clicking on the Clear Plot button before
performing a Draw Plot function.
- Clear Plot Button
Clear Plot will erase all objects on
the Plot Area. Beware that any manual additions or edits you have made will
be lost when a plot is cleared. If you wish to delete only specific
items on the plot then you may select them with your mouse and delete them
with the Edit... Delete menu item or the Delete or Backspace keys on your
- Plot Teacher
Teachers that are added to a Job can be placed individually
on a CompositeMaker plot by clicking on the Plot Teacher button. The Teacher
will be plotted in the exact middle of the plot, and can be manually positioned
by selecting all elements of the Teacher Frame with your mouse (Frame, name
and label) and then moving them to the desired location. Note also
the ability to move objects with the plot areas Move menus.
- Adding School Logos and Names
The ConpositeMaker drawing tool is a full-featured tool and
this allows you to manually add any images and text that you wish to add
to the plot job. A centrally located School name and class year is often
added. A school logo can also be easily placed in the center of the job.
- Dimensions Button
A Composite's dimensions are a very
important aspect of the composite creation process. Limitations in plotter
and/or paper size may restrict the physical size of the print job you can
perform. On the other hand, individual photo size and the number of students
and teachers required on the final composite will define a composite's minimum
dimensions. Click on the Dimensions button to view the Plots'
dimensions in inches.
Figure - Analyze Dimensions Dialog
CompositeMaker has built-in recommendations
to manage and optimize paper usage while creating composites with a pleasing
design. The Dimensions Dialog provides advice for a recommended aspect ratio.
You are not required to follow these recommendations.
- Browse Button
The Browse Button allows you to quickly
find other Jobs in CompositeMaker that have similar numbers of students. The
Frame Encoding Setup from these other Jobs can be easily copied from these
other Jobs and pasted into your present Job. The other Jobs in CompositeMaker
are sorted by number of Students and then the closest fit is highlighted.
Figure - Browse Other Jobs Dialog
You are not obliged to pick the highlighted
Job. You can choose any other Job and then copy the Frame Encoding Information
to your present Job, then add additional lines and/or Frames in the Encode
Frame Setup editor. Click Cancel
if you do not find an acceptable alternative setup and manually enter the
setup codes on the Plot screen as normal.
- Save Info Button
To perform an immediate save without
closing the plot session click on the Save Info button.
- Cancel Button
To cancel the plot design session click
on the Cancel button. This will return you to the Job List screen without
saving the edits you made in the Plot screen.
- Save Button
To save the plot session click on the
Save button. This will return you to the Job List screen after saving
the edits you made in the Plot screen.
- Computer Memory Issues
CompositeMaker memory requirements vary
dramatically depending on the Frame Style you elect to use on a Job.
This will be limited by your available computer RAM, the available hard drive
space, and the limitations in size of the plot file you will be delivering.
The built-in Simple 3 Line Frame style has a very simple graphic description
and thus takes very little computer memory. This is the recommended
Frame to use for large jobs. Custom Frames with elegant graphical elements
will require more RAM to display in CompositeMaker and may lead to memory
alerts. Similarly, these will also generate very large plot files if
many students are being plotted. Be prepared to purchase more computer
RAM or larger hard drives if you wish to plot hundreds of Students with complex
- Text and Picture Editing
CompositeMaker allows you to add additional
text and pictures to a composite at any time during the plot edit process.
These additions can be created with the CompositeMaker drawing tool or can
be copied and pasted from other drawing software packages.
We recommend that you create a Template
Job in CompositeMaker where you copy standard text and logos for easy placement
into Job composite plots.
Text and Logo position can be controlled
using the CompositeMaker drawing tool.
- Plotting to Postscript Plotters or Plot
The purpose of CompositeMaker is to ease
the creation of uniform high quality electronic plot jobs of composites. It
is unlikely that your organization will have itsí own large scale plotter.
These devices cost many thousands of dollars, have high consumables costs
and can be difficult to maintain. It is more likely that you will generate
a computer file that you will send to a service bureau that specializes in
graphics printing and plotting.
- To create the Plot File choose File... Print from the
menu associated with the Plot Area. Do not use the File...
Print menu item in the menu associated with the main CompositeMaker window.
A Print Dialog will appear.
- Since most composites are oriented
in Landscape mode, do not forget to set this in your print dialogs during
the printing process. Most service bureaus will know how to rotate a Portrait
mode Postscript file into Landscape mode, but there may be an added charge
- In CompositeMaker, you will save
the composite print job as a Postscript file. Set the Print to File option
if appropriate. Several Postscript file creation drivers are available,
you will require one that supports the definition of a large format plot.
- MS Publisher Imagesetter is one
such driver. This can be used on a Windows computer to create Postscript
files for subsequent transmission to the graphics service bureau you wish
to deal with.
- On Macintosh, Abode PSPrinter
is a very good Postscript file driver for large format print jobs. This
can be downloaded from the Abode web site at www.adobe.com.
- Important Issues
Months or weeks before your busy season,
begin the process of finding a graphics service bureau that has the necessary
plotting hardware and expertise to plot your jobs. Deliver to them a couple
sample plots for testing. If you are happy with the quality and timeliness
of the results, then advise them of when you will be coming in with your plot
jobs. Since CompositeMaker allows you to prepare many more composites that
you otherwise would be able to do, you may be able to negotiate a volume discount
for your work if you arrive with all your plot files at the same time. The
service bureau will be able to set up the hardware and do the plotting in
sequence, thereby lessening their cost. They may be willing to pass some of
those savings on to you.
The delivery of large graphics files
requires a medium with the capacity to hold these files during the delivery
process. For simple composites that use the 3 line standard frame, a 1.44
Mb floppy may be sufficient. For larger files you may be able to use a compression
utility such as WinZip (www.winzip.com)
on Windows or DiskDoubler or Stuffit (www.aladdinsys.com)
on Macintosh to create self-extracting compressed plot files that can then
be loaded onto floppies. Most graphics service bureaus will also have ZIP
drives which have a 100 Mb capacity. Discuss this issue with your selected
graphics service provider. They may have a preferred format for file
The universality of e-mail has made computer
file delivery a much simpler task. If your organization has e-mail that does
not have an attachment file size limit, you can likely send your files to
the service bureau of your choice. Again, compression is a recommended intermediate
CompositeMaker is available in both
Macintosh and Windows versions and can be implemented in a client-server
environment of mixed Macintosh and Windows computers. CompositeMaker
requires Mac OS 7.5 or Windows 95/98/NT4 minimum. Due to the graphical
nature of large composites, we recommend a minimum of 64 Mb of RAM
memory on the computer.
CompositeMaker is customizable to
your needs. If you would like to add additional functions and features
to CompositeMaker, Nufocus Inc. will gladly quote for these additions.
If you would like to receive a demonstration
version of CompositeMaker, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For software support: E-mail: