Software: Ulead PhotoImpact 10

Title: Chain Links

Author:  Virginia

Skill Level:  Beginner

Please read: Terms of Use


  • Preferences
  • Path Drawing Tool
  • Easy Palette
  • Transform Tool

Using another version of PI?  This tutorial is written for 8 and is suitable for 7 through XL.


Before you start:

Workspace Menu

Standard Mode vs Basic Mode

PhotoImpact 10 has two work modes, Basic and Standard. Basic Mode features a simplified workspace with larger buttons and the most common functions whereas the Standard Mode displays all of the functions. You will be using the Standard Mode in this tutorial.

To check your mode, click Workspace on the Menu Bar. If the Standard Mode is greyed out, that means you are already in the Standard Mode. If not, click Standard Mode now.

Warning: If you switch from Standard to Basic Mode, and you have custom settings, you will lose all your custom settings.




1. Open a new image—white, 500x500 (or your favorite working size)

Set up Grid Go to File>Preferences>General.  Click on Guidelines and Grid under PhotoImpact.  Under Grid, enter 20 in both the Horizontal and Vertical spacing boxes.  Leave everything else at the default.  Click OK.

Apply Grid to Canvas At the lower right-hand corner of your PI window you'll see a row of icons.  Click on the one that looks like a ruler.  A menu will pop up as shown left.  Click on grid.  That will apply a grid to your canvas.  Each square of the grid will be 20 pixels by 20 pixels because that's how you set it up in the previous step. 


Path Tool2. Make the first link
  • Select the Path Tool
  • Shape Ellipse,
  • Color Your Choice
  • Mode 3D Pipe... 

In the Path Panel, set the Border at 10 and the Depth at 30.  Draw an ellipse about 4 squares wide and 6 squares high. 
When you let go of the mouse button, you will see that the ellipse will be larger.  This is okay -- you're drawing the center of the "pipe" so it expands each inwardly and outwardly by half the amount at which you have the Border set.
Deselect the object.

Path Tool 3. Make the second link 
  • Again using the Path Tool
  • Shape Ellipse
  • Color Your Choice
  • but this time Mode 3D Round... 

Draw an ellipse the same height as the first link but only one square wide.

Tip: it may be easier to match the sizes if you  move the first link by a half a square so it lines up top and bottom with the grid lines.

Pick Tool 4. Save the links... Open the Easy Palette Library that you will save these in.  Select both objects (with the Pick Tool, select one, then hold the ctrl button on the keyboard down while selecting the other). 
Drag the links to the Easy Palette, drop, click yes in the multiple objects box, give them a name and click OK.


Pick Tool 5. Making them Useful... To use the links, simply drag them to your canvas and deselect.  Now they can be dressed up with the preset of your choice:

Open the Easy Palette to, for instance, the Material Attribute Gallery.  Select one of the objects.  Click on Metallic, scroll down to find Copper 11 and double-click on it.  Select the other object and repeat.  Voila, green metallic links!

Path ToolThese are still Path Objects, so check out the Material Panel for all sorts of things to customize the links.

Duplicate each of your links.  Line up two as shown.  Select both, Merge as Single Object.  With that and the two unmerged objects, there is a length of chain in your future!

Something Cool

6. Make something cool with your links :)


Transform ToolUse the Transform tool to resize the links as necessary for your project.

To see what some of my friends have created with these chain links, please check out the Display Page.

I hope you had fun with this!  Any questions or comments, please drop me a mail at bear -at-


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