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Zazzle Customization Tools Manual


How To Customize Zazzle Products Using the Full Set of Customization Tools



Contents


  0 – Introduction
  1 – Using the Art View
  2 – Understanding Image and Text Layers
  3 – Adding Image and Text Layers
  4 – Changing Image and Text Layers – General
  5 – Moving Image and Text Layers
        5-1 – Moving Image and Text Layers in the XY Plane
        5-2 – Moving Image and Text Layers in the Z Plane
  6 – Rotating Image and Text Layers
  7 – Resizing Image Layers
  8 – Formatting Text Layers
  9 – Changing the Background Color
10 – Customizing Designs with Multiple Sides or Areas
11 – Using the Edit Menu
12 – Using the Advanced Options


0 – Introduction



December 2016 - Please Note - Zazzle has revamped their product edit page. Though it looks very different, a lot of the same functionality is still there. Even though the screenshots below do not match, the descriptions of the tools and concepts should still be relevant and helpful.


If you are a customer interested in using the full power of Zazzle's customization tool set to create products uniquely your own, or you are a designer new to Zazzle who would like more information on using the customization tools to create products for sale, then this manual is for you.

The full set of Zazzle product customization tools is accessed via a Customize it! link, usually shown inside a blue lozenge beneath the product image [1]. It can also be found as a link in small type below the design template [2], if there is one.


Location of Customize It! Link


When you click on this link, the product page refreshes to show a four-button control panel on the upper left side of the product image [3] and the customization tools in a column on the right side of the page. The tools will look different depending on whether an image layer [4], a text layer [5], or both types of layers [6] are selected.



Main Customization Tools



Below the double arrow that opens and closes the four-button panel are the following:

  • a Zoom-In control which enlarges the product or art view image to fit the page [7]
  • a Show/Hide Art View control which changes between the actual product image and a product image template that shows boundaries, bleed zones, and possibly centering lines [8]
  • an Undo button which undoes the previous change (in most cases) [9]
  • a Redo button which redoes the previously undone change  [10]

The customization tools, described in detail below, comprise the following:

  • an Add Image button [11]
  • an Add Text button [12]
  • an Edit drop-down menu [13]
  • an Arrange drop-down menu [14]
  • an Alignment directional button pad [15]
  • modification buttons that change depending on whether an image layer, a text layer, or both are selected [16]
  • a Design Area selector which appears only if there is more than one design area [17]
  • a list of image and text layers [18]
  • a Background Color selector [19]

Below the customization tools, depending on the product, you may find Form Factor, Style, and Size options. These options allow you to see how the design will appear on each of the possible product forms.



TIP: There is no link or button provided to reset the design back to its original state; however, you can do this by simply hitting the refresh button of your browser.
TIP: The current state of your changes to the design will be saved only if you are logged in to a Zazzle account. If you are not logged in and you leave the page, your changes will be lost. If you are logged in, your changes will be saved automatically at certain time intervals. You can do an explicit save by clicking on the Save link above the Customize it!” section. Your customized products that are in-progress can be found on the Saved Designs page of your account. Hover the mouse pointer over your icon at the top of the page to find links to your account's pages.
TIP: Use the Undo button immediately at any time you don't like a change. There is only one level of undo.


1 – Using the Art View


Before making changes to the design, familiarize yourself with the art view. Turn it on and off via the Show/Hide Art View control which is second from the top in the four-button panel to the upper left of the product image. You can use the Zoom-In control to get a closer look at it. (When zoomed in, you can click anywhere on the page to go back to the normal view.)


Zazzle Product Art View


When creating or changing a design, you must take the various product image zones into account. The thick red line [20] is the outer limit of the product material to which the image can be printed. The black line [21] indicates a seam or edge, inside of which is what is actually visible on the finished product. The dotted red line [22] is the full bleed line. Important parts of the design, such as any text, should not extend past this point since it could be cut off.


TIP: While making changes, be sure to check the art view every once in a while to ensure that everything looks correct.


2 – Understanding Image and Text Layers


Each image or text that is added to the design is created as a separate layer. Starting from the bottom, each layer is graphically shown on top of the layer below it. In the example below, the zigzag pattern is at the bottom, topped by the white circle. The initial is on top of the circle and the name is on top of the initial. Unchangeable layers are marked with a lock icon. (Not shown.) All non-locked layers can be changed or removed.


Image and Text Layers


The currently active layer is highlighted in gray in the layers list. It also has a dotted rectangular box around it in the graphic view, though you may not see this box if the image extends outside the visible area. This is the layer that will be acted upon when you use the controls above the list to make adjustments or when you left-click and hold on the image to move or resize it. You can hold the Ctrl key down to individually select multiple layers. You can use the Shift key to select a contiguous group of layers.



3 – Adding Image and Text Layers


To add an image layer to the design, click on the Add Image button, which opens the Add Image dialog. This dialog allows you to choose an image to import into the design as a new layer. Images may be found in your account's image library, or may be imported from your computer, your Google Drive account, or from Instagram. Clicking on the Upload New Images button is the same as clicking on My Computer. Simply select an image from any of these locations, then click the OK button to create a new image layer.


Add Image Dialog


To add a text layer to the design, click on the Add Text button, which opens the Add Text dialog. Enter whatever text you want, including new lines, then click on the Done button to create a new layer of text.



TIP: You cannot put tabs in your text. Use a group of spaces instead.


Add Text Dialog



4 – Changing Image and Text Layers – General


To replace an image, click on its Change image link. This opens the Add Image dialog (see screenshot in Section 3), which allows you to choose an image to replace the corresponding image layer. Images may be found in your account's image library, or may be imported from your computer, your Google Drive account, or from Instagram. Clicking on the Upload New Images button is the same as clicking on My Computer. Simply select an image from any of these locations, then click on the OK button to cause the current image layer to be replaced with the new image.

To crop an image, make sure the image layer is selected, then choose Crop Image from the Edit menu. See Section 9 – Using the Edit Menu for detailed information.

To change text, click on the text layer's Change text link. An Add Text dialog will pop up (see screenshot in Section 3). Enter whatever text you want, including new lines, then click on the Done button to replace the previous text. (NOTE: You cannot put tabs in your text. Use a group of spaces instead.)

To remove an image or text layer, click on the X at the right side of the layer. A pop-up will ask you to either confirm or cancel the deletion.



5 – Moving Image and Text Layers


There are two ways to move an image or text layer. You can slide it back and forth (x-axis) and up and down (y-axis) to change its position on the product, or you can move the layer up or down (z-axis) in the layers list to change which layers it is above and which layers it is below.



5-1 – Moving Image and Text Layers in the XY Plane


To position a layer by sliding it around, make sure the layer is highlighted, then use one of the following methods to move it:

  • Move the layer with the mouse
  • Use the directional button pad
  • Make a selection from the Arrange drop-down menu 

To move a layer with your mouse, hover your mouse over the image and it will turn into a crosshair. Left-click and hold, then move the mouse to reposition the layer.

To move a layer by using the directional button pad, which makes moves in set increments, click on the up, down, left, or right arrow to move in that direction. Hold down the Ctrl key to move in smaller increments. Hold down the Shift key to move in larger increments. Click in the center of the directional button pad to center the layer both horizontally and vertically.

To make more complex moves, you'll need to make selections from the Arrange drop-down menu, which contains the following XY plane movement options:

  • Align selected
  • Space selected evenly (horiz.)
  • Space selected evenly (vert.)
  • Center horizontally
  • Center vertically


Image and Text Arrangement Options


The first three options are available only when you have more than one layer selected since these options move layers relative to each other. You can hold the Ctrl key down to select multiple layers individually. You can use the Shift key to select a contiguous group of layers.

The Align Selected dialog allows you to do both horizontal and vertical alignment, which means you can align both images and text so that their left, right, top, and/or bottom edges are aligned, or so that their centers are aligned either horizontally or vertically.




The two Space selected evenly options work on three or more layers. The layers must already be separated somewhat in the horizontal or vertical direction in which you want to space them.

When you click on Space selected evenly (horiz.), the selected layers that are leftmost and rightmost will not move. Any layers between them will move horizontally so that all the selected layers are spaced at even intervals.

When you click on Space selected evenly (vert.), the selected layers that are topmost and bottommost will not move. Any layers between them will move vertically so that all the selected layers are spaced at even intervals.

Use the Center horizontally and Center vertically options if you want to center one or more layers in one direction, but not the other. (Otherwise, it's easier to use the center of the directional button pad.)


IMPORTANT: Alignment is based on the “bounding box” of a layer; that is, the dotted rectangular selection line shown around an image or text in the graphic view. You may notice that with some fonts, the text does not appear centered within its selection box. (One example is Cloister Openface, where there is more space below a letter than above it.) If you use any centering controls on this text, the text may not actually look centered on the image. I have noticed this only with vertical centering. If you see this is the case, you will have to use the mouse to manually center the text vertically. You can follow that with a click on Center horizontally. I have a small semi-transparent plastic ruler that I hold against the screen to help me do vertical centering when this problem arises.


5-2 – Moving Image and Text Layers in the Z Plane


To position layers in the layers list, you can use one of the following methods:

  • Move the layer with the mouse
  • Make a selection from the Arrange drop-down menu 

To move the layer with your mouse, left-click and hold on the layer to be moved, then slide the layer upward or downward in the layers list. You will see a horizontal red line appear to show you where the layer will be placed. Position the red line where you want the layer to go and release the mouse button.



Moving Layers


There are two options on the Arrange menu that will allow you to move a layer quickly to either the top or bottom of the layers list. Move to first will move the selected layers to the top of the layers list. Move to last will move the selected layers to the bottom of the layers list.


Arrangement Move Options



6 – Rotating Image and Text Layers


Image and text layers can be rotated using one of the following methods:

  • Click on the Rotate button
  • Make a selection from the Arrange drop-down menu 

Upon each click of the Rotate button the selected layers will be rotated 45 degrees in a clockwise fashion. Holding down the Shift key while clicking on the Rotate button will rotate the selected layers 45 degrees in a counter-clockwise fashion. In this example, I clicked once to rotate one text and one image layer 45 degrees.


Layer Rotation Example


Holding down the Ctrl key while clicking on the Rotate button opens the Rotate dialog. The number you enter is used to calculate a rotation angle from the horizontal, which is the zero starting point. Positive numbers cause a counter-clockwise rotation. Negative numbers cause a clockwise rotation. If you enter a number greater than 360, then 360 is subtracted from that number until the result is less than 360. If you enter a negative number, then that number is subtracted from 360 until the result is a positive number less than 360. 360 is the same as zero. Note that the number you enter denotes a specific angle and is not used to affect how the Rotate button works.





There are two options on the Arrange menu that do rotation. Rotate left rotates the selected layers 45 degrees in a counter-clockwise direction. Rotate right rotates the selected layers 45 degrees in a clockwise direction (the same as the Rotate button).


Arrange Menu Rotate Options



7 – Resizing Image Layers


When you select one or more image layers, the resizing icons and options become available.


Image Resizing Tools


To make image layers larger or smaller, use one of the following methods:

  • Click on the Scale Out button [23]
  • Click on the Scale In button [24]
  • Click on the Resize to Fill button (cropping) [25]
  • Click on the Resize to Fit button (no cropping) [26]
  • Make a selection from the Arrange drop-down menu 

To make the selected image layers smaller, click on the Scale Out (-) button. To make the selected image layers larger, click on the Scale In (+) button. Hold down the Ctrl key while clicking on one of these buttons to make smaller changes. Hold down the Shift key while clicking on one of these buttons to make larger changes.

To resize a selected layer to fill the available image space, recognizing that some parts of the image may be cropped, click on the Resize to Fill button or select Resize image to Fill from the Arrange menu. To resize a selected layer to fit into the available image space with no cropping, recognizing that some part of the background or underlying layers will be visible, click on the Resize to Fit button or select Resize image to Fit from the Arrange menu. With both fill and fit resizing, the selected image layer will be centered automatically.


IMPORTANT: If you have multiple image layers selected, the largest one will be resized to fill or fit, whereas all the smaller ones will be resized in the same proportional manner as if they were attached to the largest image. Also, only the largest layer will be centered automatically. If you want to resize several image layers to fill or fit, or you want all of the layers to be centered automatically, you must do each one separately.


8 – Formatting Text Layers


There are many options available for formatting text. You can change the size, color, alignment, and font of text. You can also arrange separate text layers relative to each other, which is explained in section 5-1 – Moving Image and Text Layers in the XY Plane.

When you select one or more text layers, the text formatting tools become available.


Text Reformatting Tools


To change the size of the selected text, click on the Size drop-down list [28]. You can select a pre-defined size in the list or click on the entry field and enter any numeric size, including up to two decimal places.


Font Size Dialog


To change the color of the selected text, click on the colored rectangle [29] to open the Color dialog. You can choose a pre-defined color from the color chart, or click on the Advanced link to open the Hex Color dialog, which gives you three ways to change the current color. You can grab the circle on the large square colors image and drag it to select another color; you can grab the slider control on the vertical light-to-dark color brightness adjuster and slide it up or down to make the current color lighter or darker; or you can enter a hex code for a specific color. Click the Done button(s) once you've made your changes. (NOTE: Many of my product descriptions contain hex codes for colors used in the design to be used for exactly this purpose.)


Font Color Dialogs


To set the alignment of the selected text, click on the Text Alignment drop-down list [30]. The options, from left to right, are left-justified, centered, and right-justified.


Text Alignment Options


To change the typeface of the selected text, click on the Select Font button [31], which opens the Font list. Each font in the list is shown in its font style so you can see an example of what it will look like. Scroll through the list and left-click on the font you want. Its gray box will get larger to let you know that it is selected. To narrow down your selections by style, click on the All Fonts drop-down list and choose a style group. Once you've made your selection, click the Done button.



Font Selection Dialog



9 – Changing the Background Color


The background color is the color that shows in any part of a product's designable area that is not covered by an image or text. You can change the background color of a design area by choosing a predefined color from the Printed Background Color chart, or by clicking on the eyedropper, which opens the Color dialog that allows you to pick a new color via various methods. (See the equivalent information about changing text color in Section 8 – Formatting Text Layers.)


Background Color Options


The icon that looks like a gray and white checkerboard represents transparency. Theoretically, choosing transparency would let the product's normal color show, whereas choosing white would force the background to be white. Practically, it appears that transparency and white are treated the same way on colored products – both allow the product's color to show.


IMPORTANT: On certain colored products, such as t-shirts, white in an image or white text is rendered as transparency, meaning that instead of being white, it will be the color of the product. For example, white text on a light blue t-shirt will not be visible.


10 – Customizing Designs with Multiple Sides or Areas


Some products have more than one side or area that can contain a design; for example, throw pillows (front and back), MacBook sleeves (front, back, and flap), and cube-shaped poufs (bottom, back, left, front, right, top). These sides or areas can be accessed via the Design Area drop-down list [32].


Design Area Options


Choose a design area, then make modifications to its layers using any of the methods described in this manual. You can copy images from one area and paste them to another area. You can also send an image or text layer from one area (where it is deleted) to another area (where it is added) by using the Move to [Area] option on the Edit menu. You can remove all layers from an area by choosing the Clear side option on the Edit menu. 



WARNING: When you move a layer to another side or area, the design area switches automatically to the receiving area.

TIP: Make sure you check all design areas before you decide you are finished customizing the product by clicking on each view underneath the main product image [33].



11 – Using the Edit Menu


The Edit menu gives you access to some basic layer and area functions.


Edit Menu


Undo and Redo are related to the last change you made to the design. Undo removes the last change. Redo puts back the last undone change. The same actions can be taken by clicking on the counter-clockwise (undo) and clockwise (redo) buttons to the upper left of the product image.


WARNING: Undo and Redo are not always available when you might expect them to be. If you cannot click on either one, you will have to undo/redo the change yourself.

The Select all and Select none options apply to image and text layers. Select all selects all layers. Select none deselects all layers. You can also select all layers by holding down the Ctrl key while left-clicking on each layer, or by left-clicking on either the top or bottom layer and then holding down the Shift key while left-clicking on the layer at the opposite end.

Cut, Copy, Paste, and Delete apply to the currently selected layers. Cut copies the selected layers and then removes them. Copy makes a copy of the selected layers. Paste inserts the previously copied layers onto the top of the layers list. Delete removes the selected layers without saving copies of them.


WARNING: If you copy and paste a layer, and the designer has given that layer a name, then any changes you make to one copy will be applied to the other. (See Section 10 – Using the Advanced Options to find out how to turn off names on layers.)

Move to [Area] moves the selected layers to the specified area of the product. There may be one or more of these Move options listed, depending on the number of areas of the product that can be separately designed. See Section 11 – Customizing Designs with Multiple Sides or Areas for more information.

Clear side is used to remove all layers on the current side or area. See Section 11 – Customizing Designs with Multiple Sides or Areas for more information.

The Crop Image option is available only when only one image layer is selected. It opens the Drag to Crop Image dialog which allows you to crop that layer's image to a specific size and region by dragging out a rectangular area with your mouse. When you click Done, the cropped image replaces the original image layer.


Image Cropping



12 – Using the Advanced Options


The Advanced Options dialog is accessed via the icon that looks like a gear. Most of the advanced options are aimed at designs being published for sale in a store. However, there are three that are of interest to someone customizing an existing product.


Advanced Options


The Tile this Image option [34] can be used to tile the selected image layer. Ticking this option will cause the selected image layer to be duplicated and placed next to itself as many times as necessary to cover the entire design area. You can resize the image layer after tiling to get it to look the way you want.



Image Tiling


IMPORTANT: Only one image layer may be tiled per design side or area.

If you tick Show whites in image as transparent [35], any white areas of the currently selected image layers will be made transparent so you will see any part of the design that lies beneath them.


IMPORTANT: Show whites in image as transparent works only for layers that do not already contain transparency. In the example below, I cannot make the white polka dots across the top of the image transparent because that image layer consists of white dots on a transparent background. I also cannot make the white dots inside the pink circle transparent because that image layer consists of a pink circle ringed with white dots over a transparent background around the outside of the circle.


Show Whites as Transparency


The Make this a template object option [36] is used to create named template fields for easy product customization. If you are customizing an existing product before you purchase it, the only thing you might do with this option is turn it off (by clicking on it) for any selected layers. The reason to turn it off is that if you copy and paste an image or text layer that has this option turned on, then any changes you make to either copy will also be made to the other copy (or copies), so in order to be able to change copied layers independently you must make sure they don't have the same field name.

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