PieceWorx Writing Studio v1.0 www.PieceWorx.com


Customizing the Matte Background
Other Ways to Quickly Add a Custom Background Image

The Matte is the area in the editor frame behind the editor window.
While the matte provides a container for the editor window and serves as the background of the Editor frame, the main purpose of the matte is aesthetic.

The matte can have a different color, texture or background image based on the current theme so as to suit your mood or the mood of the piece you are currently writing. However, the color and image can also be customized independent of the current theme.

Customizing the Matte Background

Hotkey Alt+B
Right-click menu Customize Background

To customize the matte background, open the background customization dialog window using Alt+B or Right-click->Customize Background.

Background Layers

In order to better understand how background settings get applied, it is helpful to understand background layering. Background layering refers to the priority of different background settings.

If a background color is defined in the current theme and you also define a custom background color and a custom background image using the Customize Background dialog, which color or image takes precedence? And if an image does not cover the entire background, what is visible behind the image?

The following list indicates the layer priorities, or order of precedence, for the different background settings:
  1. Custom background image - always the closest layer, the highest priority, if an image is selected
  2. Custom background color - completely covers the theme layers, if a color is selected
  3. Theme background image
  4. Theme background color - always the farthest layer

Customizing the background color

If you choose a custom background color it will override any settings from the theme.
In the following screen captures, I set the background color to blue. The background remains blue regardless of the current theme.

The following screen shows the White theme with a blue custom background.
The following screen capture shows the Console theme with a blue custom background. If your eyes are like mine, the following blue background appears to be a lighter blue than the one above. But I assure you, it is only an optical illusion. The background blue is the same.
Because of the layer priorities, if you set a custom background color it will always hide any background settings from the current theme.

Customizing the background image

Click the Choose Image button to select a file from your computer to display in the background of PieceWorx Writing Studio. In the following screen capture I have chosen a photograph of an orange lily. A thumbnail preview is displayed beside to the button.

Above the Custom Image group box at the top of the window is the Mode group box. You can see that there are four mode options which govern how the background image will be displayed.

When you select your background image the program will automatically choose a mode based on the resolution and/or orientation of your image. If you want a different mode you will need to select it. The modes are:
Stretch Mode

The following screen capture displays the background image in stretch mode. No matter what the size or shape of the editor frame, the background image will expand in the vertical and horizontal directions to fill the space. Stretching can result in the distortion of the image and may ruin the aesthetic value of some images. In the case of the orange lily, however, it looks nice regardless of how it is stretched because it's a magic lily.
Tile Mode

Tile mode is best used with low resolution images or pattern images designed to serve as repeating backgrounds. Note that if the resolution of the image is quite high, then the tile effect may not be visible because the first tiled image fills the entire background. The size of the tile is based on the pixel resolution of the image you select for your custom background image.
Fill Mode

Mouse Left click, hold and drag to reposition background image

Fill mode is used when you want to fill the entire matte background and you want to preserve the aspect ratio. As a result of these constraints, unless the background exactly matches the dimension of the image, a portion of the image will be hidden from view. Whether the truncated portion is the top/bottom or left/right depends on how the shape of the image compares to the shape of the matte background.

If you click the left mouse button on the background image and drag, you will see that you can reposition the image to display a portion of the image that was hidden. You are limited in how much you can shift the image because Fill mode still requires that the entire background area be filled by the image. You will probably need to try this out for yourself. Just set the image to Fill mode, then left-click on the image and drag.
PanZoom Mode

Mouse Left click on matte, hold and drag to move (pan) background image
Mouse Ctrl+Mouse-wheel to zoom (resize) image
Mouse Ctrl+Left-click-hold on matte, then drag to zoom (resize) image. (For those who don't have a mouse wheel.)
Hotkey There are no hotkeys to pan/zoom the custom background image
Right-click menu The are no menu items for controlling pan/zoom

PanZoom Mode is the most versatile of all modes. It allows you to resize your background image and position it anywhere on the matte. In the first of the following two screen captures, I made the image small and positioned it toward the top right of the editor window. In the second capture, I enlarged the image a bit and positioned it near the bottom right of the editor window.

To pan the image, or move it, just click and hold the left mouse button anywhere on the matte surface and drag. To resize the image hold the control key while using the mouse wheel. Or if you don't have a mouse wheel, hold down the Ctrl key, then click the left mouse button anywhere in the matte area and drag. Dragging up or to the right increases the image size. Dragging down or to the left decreases the image size.

NOTE: If the custom background image ends up behind the editor window where it isn't visible, you can move the editor window out of the way using Alt+Right a couple times or you can hide the editor window using Alt+H so you have a clear view of the entire matte area. Then just press Alt+H again to show the editor window.
Or if you prefer your editor window on the right with the image on the left, just press Alt+Right twice to move the editor window. Then left-click and hold on the matte area and drag toward the left to bring the image into view. Pan/zoom as desired.

Other Ways to Quickly Add a Custom Background Image

In addition to using the Background Customization dialog window there are two other ways to add a custom background image to the matte surface.

Drag a New Background Image

You can simply drag an image from your Windows file system onto the matte surface. This will automatically replace any existing custom background image.

You can still manage, modify or remove your background image using the dialog window.

Copy/Paste a New Background Image

If an image is in your Windows clipboard, then a right-click on the matte surface will reveal a menu option named Paste Background Image. Selecting this menu option will insert the new custom background image. This technique provides a convenient way to copy images from another program via Ctrl+C or Right-click->Copy for use as a custom background rather than having to save the image as a file and then drag it onto the matte surface.
After pasting my new custom background...the program automatically determined that it was a small resolution image and chose the tile mode. Perfect.