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PSP Tips & Tricks
021 - 040


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dot 021 Moving A Layer

In PSP, you can use the arrow keys to move the layers on your canvas up, down, or to the right or left. Choose the Move tool move tool, and then:
  • To move the layer one pixel at a time, press the arrow keys.
  • To move the layer 10 pixels at a time, hold down CTRL and press the arrow keys.
  • To move the layer 50 pixels at a time, hold down SHIFT and press the arrow keys.
  • To move the layer 100 pixels at a time, hold down CTRL + SHIFT and press the arrow keys.


dot 022 Adding To or Subtracting From A Selection

To add to a selection using the Selection selection tool and Freehand Selection tools, press and hold down SHIFT while outlining the area you want to add. To add to a selection using the Magic Wand tool magic wand tool, hold down SHIFT while clicking the area you want to add.

You can also add to a selection using the Add Mode on the Tool options palette. In this mode, there is no need to hold down SHIFT while adding - each selection you make is added to the previous selection.

To subtract from a selection using the Selection selection tool and Freehand Selection freehand selection tool tools, hold down CTRL while outlining the area you want to remove. To subtract from a selection using the Magic Wand tool magic wand tool , hold down CTRL while clicking the area you want to remove.

You can also subtract from a selection using the Subtract Mode on the Tool options palette. In this mode, there is no need to hold down CTRL while subtracting - each selection you make is subtracted from the previous selection.


dot 023 Hiding the Selections Marquee

To hide the Selections marquee (the "marching ants") when it becomes distracting, choose Selections...Hide Marquee, or press CTRL+SHIFT+M. Toggle the marquee back on the same way.
Note: The selection remains active even when the marquee is hidden.

Often, when tools appear not to work, the problem can be a tiny selection that is not easily seen, or a hidden Selection Marquee. Check out tip #090 Making Sure Nothing Is Selected for how to discover if there is a selection in the image.


dot 024 Showing and Hiding Layers

Use the Visibility Toggle buttons on the Layers palette to make layers, layer groups, or vector objects visible or invisible in the image. Hiding layers makes it easier to see or work on the rest of the image - these layers remain in the image, but are hidden from view. When a layer is visible, its Visibility Toggle button displays layer visibility button on. When a layer is hidden, its Visibility Toggle button displays as layer visibility button off.
Version Note: In PSP X4, the way visibility is indicated has changed. When a layer is visible, its Visibility Toggle button displays an "eye", as in previous versions layer visibility button on. However, when a layer is hidden in PSP X4, the "eye" on its visibility toggle disappears layer visibility button on.

To show all layers of an image, right-click on any Layer Name button in the Layers palette, and choose View...All from the pop-up menu.

To hide a single layer, click on its Visibility Toggle button. To hide all layers, right-click on any Layer Name button and choose View...None from the pop-up menu.

To view only the current layer and hide all the rest of the layers, right-click on the Layer Name button of the layer you wish to view and choose View...Current Only from the pop-up menu. Choosing View...Invert hides the layers that were visible, and makes visible all layers that were hidden.

When you are working with several layers and want to merge only a few of them, it is sometimes easier to hide the layers you want to merge, right-click on one of the remaining layers, and choose View...Invert from the pop-up menu. This leaves the layers you want to merge visible, and hides all the other layers.

Version Note: In PSP X4, View has been removed from the Layers palette context menu. Therefore, in order to show all layers of an image, hide a single layer, or to view only the current layer and hide all the rest of the layers in PSP X4, you will need to use the View command from the Layers menu. To make these tasks easier, the individual View commands can be added to the Layers context menu using Customize - for a detailed explanation of how to do this, see my Customizing Menus in PSP Tutorial.


dot 025 Changing BladePro Presets Into Super BladePro Presets (So You Can See the Preview)

Open the BladePro (q9q) preset, then save it by clicking on the Save Preset button ( SBP save preset button ), and it will be saved to the same folder as a Super BladePro preset (q5q), and the preview will be available. Do this to all the presets in a folder - you do not have to apply the preset, just save it. When you are done converting all presets, delete the BladePro presets (all the q9q files) to save space.


dot 026 Making Seamless Tiles

PSP contains a Seamless Tiling effect that rivals the 20/20 program and the Simple Quick Tile filter. It can be found by choosing Effects...Image Effects...Seamless Tiling.

To get a "muted" seamless tile, just add a white layer above your seamless tile and lower the opacity until you get the effect you want. Then merge the two layers and save in any format supported by PSP. To make this seamless tile available for all future images, save it in the Patterns folder of My PSP Files - and in whichever format you want, as PSP patterns are now supported in .jpg and .gif formats, as well as .bmp, .psp, and .pspimage formats.


dot 027 Resizing Images

Starting in PSP XI, the default resizing algorithm is Bicubic. Prior versions of PSP listed Smart Size as the default I'm not sure why, but "Smart size" is no longer the recommended way to go in resizing images, even though the online documentation still says that the Smart Size resampling type "chooses the best algorithm based on the new pixel dimensions you set".

Here are some additional resizing tips:

  • Donít increase an imageís size more than 25 percent. Increasing the size of an image causes a loss of detail and sharpness.
  • Only resize an image once. If your first resize is not correct, undo it and try again (unless, of course, you are using stair step interpolation, which involves resizing repeatedly in small increments).
  • Correct and retouch images before resizing.


dot 028 Adding and Selecting Symmetric Borders

Sometimes, when you add a border to an image, and then try to select that border with your Magic Wand tool magic wand tool , you get some of the pixels from the image along with the border. This occurs because those pixels are the same color as the border. To get a clean selection in this case, use this alternate method of selecting the border you just added:
  • Choose Selections...Select All (CTRL + A).
  • Contract the selection by the same number of pixels as the border you just added by choosing Selections...Modify...Contract.
  • Invert the selection by choosing Selections...Invert Selection (CTRL + SHIFT + I).

Here's another way to select an added symmetric border:

  • Choose Selections...Select All (CTRL + A).
  • Choose Selections...Modify...Set Selection Borders. Enable the Inside option, set Border Width to the size of the borders you added, and UNcheck Anti-alias.

Either way will always select ONLY the symmetric border you added, with no additional pixels or "mousebites".


dot 029 Removing the Bands From A Gradient Fill

Sometimes, when you do a gradient fill, the bands of color seem to show up too clearly, and they don't seem to blend well. This is often monitor-dependent, but you CAN get rid of those bands. Just use Adjust...Add/Remove Noise...Add Noise, and use about 3-5% uniform noise. Magically, the bands have disappeared.


dot 030 Adding New Layers Quickly

To add new layers quickly, bypassing the New Layer dialog, press SHIFT while clicking the New Raster Layer button new raster layer button, the New Vector Layer button new vector layer button, or the New Art Media Layer button new art media layer button. This method also works for adding a new Layer Group, or adding one of the Adjustment layers.
Note: Starting in PSP XI, the layer types are found in the layer type drop-list at the top left corner of the Layers palette. This drop-list will aways display the last used layer type. This information is retained from image to image, and even from PSP session to PSP session.
Version Note: In PSP X4, the New Layer droplist has been moved to the Layers palette toolbar on the lower edge of the Layers palette. This has not, in my opinion, made adding new layers any easier - in fact, the process now requires at least two clicks, whereas in previous versions of PSP, if you were adding a layer of the same type as the previous layer, the last used layer type was active in the New Layer droplist. Now, it is necessary to click on the New Layer icon, and then choose the layer type. On my system, I've added icons for New Raster Layer and New Vector Layer to my customized toolbar so that I can eliminate the extra step. If you want to learn how to customize your toolbars, see my Customizing Toolbars in PSP Tutorial.


dot 031 Deleting Layers Quickly

To delete an unwanted layer quickly, do one of the following:
  • Drag the Layer Name button to the Delete Layer icon delete layer icon at the top of the Layers palette.
    Version Note: In PSP X4, the Delete Layer icon is new ( delete layer icon ) and has been moved to the Layers palette toolbar on the lower edge of the Layers palette.
  • Right-click on the Layer Name button and choose Delete from the pop-up context menu.
  • Highlight the layer you wish to delete and click on the Delete Layer icon .


dot 032 Duplicating Layers Quickly

To duplicate a layer quickly, do one of the following:
  • Right-click on the Layer Name button and choose Duplicate from the pop-up menu - the duplicate layer is positioned directly on top of the original image.
  • Activate the layer, choose Edit...Copy to copy the layer, and then choose Edit...Paste...As New Layer - the new image will be centered on the screen.

In PSP 8, the Duplicate Layer button duplicate layer button was located at the top of the Layers palette, but it has not been there since. However, you can use Customize to place that button on the Layers palette if you wish, which gives you two additional ways to duplicate layers:

  • Drag the Layer Name button to the Duplicate Layer button duplicate layer button at the top of the Layers palette.
    Version Note: This does not work in PSP X4 - even though with Customize, you can add the Duplicate Layer button to the Layers palette.
  • Activate the layer and then click on the Duplicate Layer button.

Using either of these last two methods, the new image is positioned directly on top of the original image. Use the Move tool move tool to reposition it.


dot 033 Copying A Layer From One Image To Another

To copy a layer from one image to another, drag the Layer Name button from the Layers palette of the first image and drop it (release the mouse button) onto the second image.


dot 034 Cropping An Image To Exact Coordinates

In PSP through version XI, if you know the coordinates of the image area you want to crop to, enter those coordinates into the Left, Top, Right, and Bottom fields on the Crop Tool Options palette, and then double-click anywhere within the image, or click on the Apply button apply button. If you have many images to crop to the same coordinates, save the settings as a preset:
  • Click on the Preset drop-list crop preset drop down button.
  • Click on the Save Preset button save preset button.
  • Give the preset a name in the Save Preset dialog box.

In PSP X2, the ability to crop an image to exact coordinates was dropped. The best substitute I can suggest is to use Guides to delineate the area around which you want to crop, and then draw the crop rectangle to fit. If you have many images to crop to the same coordinates, save the settings as a preset:

  • Click on the Preset drop-list crop preset drop down button.
  • Click on the Save Preset button save preset button.
  • Give the preset a name in the Save Preset dialog box.

Incidentally, if you miss being able to enter the exact coordinates in the Crop tool Tool Options palette, please EMAIL Corel and express your unhappiness with the decision to drop this ability.


dot 035 The Crop Shading Area and Floating Toolbar

The Crop tool inserts a shaded area around the crop rectangle to help better visualize the area you are cropping. By default, this shading is black with an opacity of 38%. You can change the color or opacity of the crop shading, or disable this feature entirely by choosing File...Preferences, clicking Transparency and Shading, and making the appropriate changes in the Shading panel at the bottom of the dialog.

By default, the last used Crop tool crop rectangle is automatically displayed in an image when you choose the Crop tool. Users can turn this automatic crop rectangle off using File...Preferences, clicking Transparency and Shading, and UNchecking the "Automatically display crop rectangle" checkbox.

PSP XI introduced the floating crop toolbar. When you select an area of an image with the Crop tool in PSP XI+, by default, a floating toolbar appears below the selected area, allowing you to choose a predefined crop size or to rotate the selected crop area 90 degrees using the Rotate Crop Rectangle button (rotate crop rectangle button). If the original crop rectangle will not fit into the image when rotated, it will be resized to fit the image. Note that the aspect ratio is not maintained when the crop rectangle is rotated, so use this facility cautiously.

Note: Crop rectangle rotation is a non-scriptable, non-undoable command. This means that once you've rotated a crop rectangle, you cannot "change your mind" and rotate it back to what/where it was. Because the crop rectangle changes size to fit the image, the original size may be lost on rotation.

Do not confuse this 90-degree rotation with free rotation using the Rotation handle - new in PSP X2. For more information on this free rotation, see #011 Crop Tool Enhancements - and Warnings!.

The floating crop toolbar can be turned off using File...Preferences, clicking Transparency and Shading, and UNchecking the "Enable floating crop toolbar" checkbox.

Rotation using the Rotation handle is for the crop rectangle only, not the image. If you want the image rotated before it is cropped, use the Pick tool (Raster Deform tool before PSP X), or the Rotate command (Image...Rotate) before cropping.


dot 036 Selecting An Image Area By Exact Coordinates

If you know the coordinates of the image area you want to select, left-click on the Selection tool selection tool to bring up the Selection tool Tool Options palette, click on the Custom selection button custom selection button, and enter the coordinates in the boxes at the top of the dialog.


dot 037 Revert Command

Use the Revert command to remove all changes made to an image since it was last saved. To apply the command, choose File...Revert. This is basically the same as closing the image without saving it and opening it again. When you use the Revert command, the History is emptied.
Version Note: The Revert command was moved to the Edit menu in PSP X4.


dot 038 Using An Uninstalled Font In PSP

To use an uninstalled font in PSP, browse to the folder where the font is located, open the font by double-clicking on its name in the list, and minimize. This font will now be available within PSP.


dot 039 Moving the Selection Marquee

To change the area the selection marquee encloses, you can move the marquee. This is useful if you want to fine-tune the area inside an oval or other selection shape. To move the marquee, use one of the following methods:
  • With the current selection tool, place the cursor inside the marquee, hold down the right mouse button, and drag the marquee.
  • Choose the Move tool move tool, place the cursor inside the marquee, hold down the right mouse button and drag the marquee.

To move the selection itself, see #131 Moving Selections.


dot 040 Using the Guides

Guides are horizontal or vertical lines that you drag onto your image to use for positioning items or aligning brush stokes. While grids place a series of horizontal and vertical lines at certain intervals, you place guides at the locations you want. They are excellent tools for helping you get images right where you want them.
Note: To use the guides, the rulers must be displayed. Choose View...Rulers or press CTRL + ALT + R to display the rulers.

To display the guides, choose View...Guides.

To create individual guides, click on the rulers and drag onto the image. Click the top ruler and drag to create horizontal guides; click the left ruler and drag to create vertical guides.

To move a guide, click the guide handle on the ruler and drag. In the following image, I've colored the guide handle red so you can see it - in reality, that handle is the same color as the ruler:

guides

Also, note that the position of the guide is reflected on the status bar as it is being dragged (see green arrow above). In the above image, the guide is being dragged from its initial position of (0,20) (red arrow above) to its new position of (0,100) (blue arrow above).

To delete a guide, drag its handle off the image window.

You can change the color or position and delete individual guides using the Guide Properties dialog box. To display this dialog, right-click or double-click the guide handle. Using the Guide Position option, you can place guides precisely where you want them.

You can delete all guides or change the color of them using the Grid, Guide, and Snap Properties dialog. To open this dialog box, double-click the ruler or choose View...Change Grid, Guide, and Snap Properties.

Note: There are a number of unresolved problems with guides in PSP X2. Perhaps the most annoying is the "sticky" guide cursor that appears at times after utilizing the Grid, Guide & Snap Properties dialog, especially if that dialog is invoked by double-clicking on a ruler. Once that dialog is closed, you're often left with a guide cursor carrying a guide waiting to be applied. To eliminate this annoyance, click somewhere in the workspace outside the image - clicking within the image will often make you lose guides already set.

A second very annoying problem occurs when images are pasted into the workspace - either after a copy, or from a screen print - using CTRL+SHIFT+V (the "old" CTRL+V). What happens with these images is the crosshairs cursor (cross hairs cursor - cross hairs cursor is normally black, but is colored red here so you can see it) normally seen when hovering over the rulers has disappeared, making the "grabbing" of guides very difficult. Hopefully, these problems will be resolved in a patch.


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