The Shape Palette lets you select a shape to add to your mandala and adjust the shape's attributes. There are a variety of attributes available depending on the shape selected. In this section we will discuss the operation of the Shape Palette and also look at the various attributes in some detail.
At the top of the Palette is the Shape Popup Menu. When you click on it a list of the available shapes pops up. You can select a shape by moving the mouse to highlight the shape you want and clicking on it. In the current version the following shapes are available:
After you have selected a shape, it appears as a preview on the Canvas. You can then adjust the attributes of the shape by dragging the Attribute Sliders. Once you have clicked on an Attribute Slider, you can move the slider from the keyboard using the arrow keys. The "up arrow" or "right arrow" keys increase the value of the slider, while the "down arrow" or "left arrow" keys decrease the value. You can also move the focus to the next slider down the palette by pressing the "Tab" key and move the focus to the previous slider up the palette using "shift-Tab."
We will now look at the attributes available with each of the shapes.
The only attribute available with the "Circle" is the "Radius." The radius value is the radius of the circle in pixels.
With the Oval, the "Circle's" single "Radius" attribute is replaced with "Radius A" and "Radius B" attributes.
"Radius A" represents the horizontal size of the Oval when "Rotation" is set to "0."
"Radius B" represents the vertical size of the Oval at "0" rotation.
The "Rotation" allows you to rotate the Oval around its center. A rotation of "0.5" represents a 90 degree rotation from "0." At a rotation of "1.0" the Oval has been rotated 180 degrees, at which point it is indistinguishable from the same Oval at "0" rotation.
The "Wedge" shape adds an "Arc" attribute, which adjusts the size of the pie slice drawn. The value of the "Arc" attribute is the size of the central angle in degrees. At "0" the Wedge is just a radial line, at "90" it is one quarter of a circle, and at "360" it is the same as a "Circle" of the same radius.
The "Arc" shape has the same attributes as the "Wedge," but instead of creating a pie shaped wedge, it makes a more "moon shaped" section of a circle. At an "Arc" value of "0," the shape is non-existant. As the "Arc" value is increased, the shape grows from a crescent to a half-moon at "180" to a full circle at "360."
The "Rotation" attribute adjusts the wedge's orientation on the Canvas. The value of the rotation attribute is a decimal between 0.0 and 1.0. A rotation of "0.0" places the wedge in the "three o'clock" position. At rotation "0.5" the wedge has been rotated 180 degrees and appears at"nine o'clock." At rotation of "1.0" the wedge has been rotated 360 degrees, and looks exactly as it did at "0.0."
The "Width" attribute adjusts the width of the rectangle when the rectangle is in the "upright" position (i.e. with rotation of "0.0"). Similarly, the "Height" attribute adjusts the height of the rectangle. The value of the width and height attributes is one half the width or height of the rectangle in pixels. In this way, a circle with radius "60" will be inscribed in a rectangle with width and height both at "60."
The "Rotation" attribute adjusts the rectangle's orientation on the Canvas. The value of the rotation attribute is a decimal between 0.0 and 1.0. A rotation of "0.0" is the "upright" position. At rotation "0.5" the rectangle has been rotated 90 degrees and appears "on its side." At rotation of "1.0" the rectangle has been rotated 180 degrees, and looks exactly as it did at "0.0."
The "Star" draws a regular polygon with a number of adjustable attributes.
The "Radius" attribute value represents the radius in pixels of a circle circumscribing the star. In other words, a star with given radius will fit exactly inside a circle with the same radius.
The "# of Points" attribute selects the number of points that the star will have.
The "Rotation" attribute values range from 0.0 to 1.0. A rotation of "0.5" will put the points of the star halfway between the points of the same star at "0.0" rotation. Similarly, a rotation of "0.25" will place the points halfway between those of the "0.0" and "0.5" stars.
The "Sharpness" attribute adjusts the "pointy-ness" of the star. The sharpness value represents a percentage of sharpness. At sharpness of "0" percent, the star is a regular polygon (i.e. a pentagon, octagon, etc.). At sharpness "100" percent the star is so pointy that the points of the star appear as radial lines.
The "Radius" of a flower represents the radius of a circle which passes through the cusp points where the petals of the flower meet.
The "Petal Length" controls the length and shape of the Flowers petals. At "0" the flower is not a flower shape at all but a regular polygon. A value of "50" creates a Flower with semi-circular petals. Higher values yield Flowers with longer petals. Negative values of this attribute are also available, creating more abstract, but still "flower-like" shapes.
The "# of Petals" attribute selects the number of petals the flower will have.
The "Rotation" values for a flower are similar to those of the "Star." A value of "0.5" will place the petals of a flower halfway between the petals of the same flower at rotation "0.0."
The Lotus creates a flower with pointed petals as found in traditional Tibetan mandalas. It is very similar to the Flower and has the same attributes available, except for "Petal Length."
The Yantra creates a traditional Hindu Yantra design.
The "Radius" sets the size of the design. A Yantra of a given radius will be perfectly circumscribed by a Circle of the same radius.
The "# of Triangles" attribute sets the number of triangles drawn. Nine triangles create the full traditional Yantra.
The "Rotation" attribute rotates the design around its center, with a rotation of "0.5" representing a 180 degree rotation.
The Palace creates the palace shape used in traditional Tibetan mandalas. The square represents the palace of a deity and the protusions on the sides represent the doors to the palace.
The "Width" attribute sets the width of the central square in pixels. A Circle with a radius of half a given Palace's width will be perfectly circumscribed by the Palace.
The "Door Height" sets the distance that the doors protrude from the central square.
The "Door Width" sets the width of the widest part of the doors. If the "Door Width" is greater than the "Width" a non-traditional shape will result.
The "Throat Width" sets the width of the narrower section of the doors. If the "Throat Width" is greater than the "Door Width" a non-traditional shape results.
The Heart "Width" attribute represents the relative size of the heart. This width is not directly related to the width or radius of the other shapes.
The "Rotation" attribute for a heart represents a fraction of a full rotation. A rotation of "0.0" sets the heart "right side up." At "0.5" the heart is upside down and at "1.0" is back to the right side up position.
The "Planet" draws a single shape as a planet in orbit around the centerpoint. The "orbit" does not show, and is drawn in the diagram only to make it clear how the planet's position is determined. The Planet attributes set the size of the "orbit" and the position of the planet in the orbit. To change the shape and attributes of the orbiting shape you use the Ringshape Palette.
The "Radius" attribute sets the radius of the "orbit" that the planet sits on. In other words, the radius is the distance from the mandala's centerpoint to the centerpoint of the planet shape.
The "Rotation" attribute determines the position of the planet shape in the orbit. At "0.0" the planet is in the 3 o'clock position. At "0.25" it is at 6 o'clock. The planet continues clockwise around the orbit as the rotation increases, until it returns to the 3 o'clock position at rotation "1.0."
You can think of the "Ring of Shapes" as an orbit containing mulitple planets at regular intervals, or as an invisible "Star" with a shape at each point. The "Ring of Shape" attributes set the size of the invisible star or orbit, how many shapes are in the ring and the position of the shapes in the ring. To change the shape that appears in the ring and set its attributes you use the Ringshape Palette.
The "Radius" attribute sets the size of the invisible orbit or star that determines the placement of the shapes.
The "# of Shapes" attribute sets the number of shapes that appear in the ring, or the number of points in the invisible star.
The "Rotation" determines where the shapes appear on the ring, or the rotation of the invisible star.
When you have adjusted the attributes of your shape and wish to add the shape to your mandala, you press the "Add Shape" button. This adds your shape to the mandala. If you are not happy with the result you can undo it by selecting the "Undo" command from the Edit Menu.