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Create a Base Image

A Base Image is any image which you want to use to trace over in the app. This might be an aerial photo, a site plan, a previous drawing or plan, or any other image which can aid the design process. Arrette Scale and Sketch can create base images from:

  • An image in your iPad photo library (including a screen capture, which is an excellent way to get almost any image from your screen)
  • The iPad's camera, which is useful for getting a physical sketch or base map into the app quickly
  • Dropbox, where you can access all of your files (though only image files and PDFs are readable by Arrette)
  • Adobe's Creative Cloud, which allows you to import Adobe formats such as Illustrator and Photoshop files into Arrette
  • Aerial photos & maps, straight from Apple and at scale already when you bring them in
  • Copying and pasting from some other apps on your iPad


To create a base image, start by tapping the Base button at the bottom of the screen. In the Base Image menu, at the left is a set of choices under "New Base Image" for the sources above.

Once you choose an image source, the app will lead you through creation of the base image. For most images (other than from Aerials, you will need to:

  1. Set the direction of north
  2. Set the scale of the image (by giving the length of a line placed on the image)
  3. Set the location of the image, and
  4. Give the image a name.

Just follow the steps in the app and when you're done, the image will be automatically placed in the current drawing.

PDF Base Image Techniques

There are two ways of creating a base image from a PDF:

See the links for details. Note that at this time PDF import only works for the first page of a multipage document. If you want a base image from different page, we recommend opening the PDF in any PDF viewer and taking a screen shot of that page. Then you can create a base image using the Photo Library option in the New Base Image menu.