Using Landmarks To Align Images

"Landmarks" are arbitrary positions in the image. You can define such positions graphically in an image and then, within the layout view, use the defined landmarks as handles to align an image with a layout. Depending on the number of landmarks defined, you can use this feature to compensate the shift of an image, rotation, shear or even perspective distortion.

Landmarks are defined in the landmark editor. Open the landmark editor by pressing the "Define" button in the image properties dialogs.

The landmarks editor shows the image in the left panel and a list of the landmarks already defined int the right panel. You can zoom around the image view using the same methods than in KLayout's layout view (mouse wheel, middle mouse button, zoom box with right mouse button).

To add a landmark choose "Add" mode. Then click at the desired position of the new landmark. It will be shown in the image as a small target cross symbol. To delete a landmark, choose "Delete" mode and click on the landmark to delete. You can also select a landmark from the list and enter Delete mode. In that case, the currently selected landmarks are deleted.

To move a landmark, enter "Move" mode and move the landmark. Please note that the move operations follows KLayouts "pick and place" philosophy, so you have to click with the mouse twice: once to pick the landmark and second to drop it. The advantage of this approach is that you can zoom while dragging the landmark.

It does not make much sense to define more than 4 landmarks because for more the transformation derived from the landmarks is overdetermined. For best accuracy it is important to select landmark positions that span a large region. In particular, landmarks should not be too close and three landmarks should not form a line.

Dependent on the number of landmarks, KLayout can adjust the following parameters of the image:

  • 1 Landmark: displacement
  • 2 Landmarks: displacement, rotation and magnification
  • 3 Landmarks: displacement, rotation, magnification and shear
  • 4 Landmarks: displacement, rotation, magnification, shear and perspective distortion

Once the landmarks are defined, they can be used to adjust the image's display transformation. To do so, enter "Move" move in KLayout. When the mouse is over the image, the landmark symbols are shown and can be picked with the mouse. When you pick up a landmark and move the mouse, KLayout will adjust the image transformation and display the image frame according to the new transformation. When you drop the landmark, the image will be transformed accordingly.

Depending on the number of landmarks, KLayout can adjust either some or all transformation parameters such as displacement, angle etc. such that the other landmarks stay on the same position. In some cases that may not be desired. For example, if four landmarks are defined and one of them is moved, the result may be an extreme perspective distortion. Usually one would do a coarse adjustment by roughly adjusting the position and magnification and use the perspective transformation only to fine-adjust the image finally.

Hence, KLayout allows reduction of the degree of freedom it has when adjusting the transformation. While you drag a landmark, you can use these modifier keys:

  • Shift: Only adjust displacement
  • Ctrl: Adjust displacement, rotation and magnification
  • Shift+Ctrl: Adjust displacement, rotation, magnification and shear