Suz's Place hummer

PSP Tips & Tricks
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dot 141 Editing Shapes

Vector shapes made with the Rectangle tool, Ellipse tool and Symmetric Shape tool are not true vectors. To edit the nodes of the shapes made with these tools, these shapes must first be converted to paths. To do this, choose one of the following methods:
  • Right-click on the object layer in the Layers palette, and choose Convert to Path in the context menu.
  • From the Objects menu, choose Convert to Path.
  • Right-click on the object itself, and choose Convert to Path in the context menu.

Now click on the Edit Mode icon on the Tool Options palette  edit mode icon , or switch to the Pen tool, and you're in Node Edit mode.

dot 142 Making Your Shapes Symmetric

Shapes made with three of the shape tools - Preset Shape tool, Rectangle tool, and Ellipse tool - can be made symmetric by holding down the SHIFT key while drawing the shape. The Symmetric Shape tool, introduced in PSP 9, allows you to make symmetric shapes with any number or sides.

dot 143 Running A Script On Several or All Open Images

To run a script on several open images:
  1. Choose the script from the Select Script drop-list on the Script toolbar.
  2. Click the Run Selected Script button run selected script button to run the script on the selected image.
  3. Make another image active.
  4. Choose Edit...Repeat (or press CTRL + Y) to run the script on that image.

Repeat steps 3 and 4 until all images have been processed.

Note: You can also run the script on another open image by dragging its action (see red arrow below) from the History palette and dropping it onto the image.

history palette with script action indicated

To run the script on all open images:

  1. Choose the script from the Select Script drop-list on the Script toolbar.
  2. Click the Run Selected Script button run selected script button to run the script on the selected image.
  3. Right-click on the script action in the History palette and choose 'Apply to other open documents' from the context menu.

dot 144 Running A Script Not Listed In the Select Script Drop-List

To run a script not listed in the Select Script drop-list on the Script toolbar:
  1. Click the Run Script button run script button to open the Run Script dialog box.
  2. Browse to the folder that contains the script you want to run.
  3. Select the script.
  4. Select the playback mode in the 'Run script' drop-list in the lower left corner of the dialog box.
  5. Click Open to run the script.
Note: Scripts can be run from any folder. However, scripts located in folders not defined to PSP will always run as restricted scripts.

dot 145 Adjusting Brush Size Using the Keyboard and Mouse

For a quick way to change the size of any of the brushes in PSP, hold down the ALT key and using the left mouse button, drag your mouse forward to INcrease the size of the brush, or backward to decrease the size of the brush. You may have to release the mouse button and then press it again to get this to work.

Other keyboard shortcuts include the following:

  • To increase brush size by 1 pixel, hold down the ALT key and press C.
  • To increase brush size by 20 pixels, hold down SHIFT + ALT and press C.
  • To decrease brush size by 1 pixel, hold down ALT, and press X.
  • To decrease brush size by 20 pixels, hold down SHIFT + ALT and press X.

dot 146 Resizing Organizer Thumbnails

To resize the Organizer thumbnails (PSP XI+), drag the Thumbnail Zoom button on the Organizer toolbar (see red arrow below):

thumbnail zoom button

Thumbnails can also be resized in the pre-PSP XI Browser from the Preferences dialog in PSP 8 and 9, or by dragging the magnifying glass in the PSP X B rowser:

psp X thumbnail resizer

dot 147 Icons in Menus

To see icons next to menu items, choose View...Customize, click on the Menu tab, and select the "Menu icons" checkbox. To remove a single icon from a menu entry, choose View...Customize, click on the menu from which you wish to remove the icon, right-click on the menu entry from which you wish to remove the icon, and click Text in the pop-up menu (highlighted in green below):

removing icons in customize

To return the icon to the menu, follow the same procedure, clicking on Image and Text in the pop-up menu. In the example above, Image and Text has been selected for the Red Eye Removal menu entry.

Version Note: In PSP X4, this option has been removed.

dot 148 Using the Pick Tool to Select Multiple Vector Objects

To select multiple vector objects using the Pick tool (PSP X+):
  • When there is no raster data below the vector layer(s), drag with the Pick tool around the objects.
  • If there is raster data below the vector layer(s) at the point where you click to start the bounding box, the Pick tool will move to the Raster layer that contains that data. To prevent this from happening, hold down the SHIFT key while dragging with the Pick tool around the objects. Alternately, while holding down the SHIFT key, click on each vector object you want to include in the selection, either on the image itself, or in the Layers palette.
    Note: Be careful when dragging the bounding box that it totally surrounds all vector objects you want in the selection. Objects only partially surrounded will not be included in the final selection. If the size and location of the vector objects makes it impractical to draw a bounding box that surrounds all of them, use the click on objects method described above to add more objects to the selection. In addition, if an object gets included in the selection that you want removed, hold down the SHIFT key and click on that object in the Layers palette to remove it from the selection.

dot 149 Using A Script to Browse A File While in PSP

When you want to open your web browser to browse a file, for example, the Scripting API or the User Guide, while in PSP, use the following little script (where the "url" contains the complete path to the file you want to browse - shown in RED below):
from JascApp import *
def ScriptProperties():
       return {
             'Author': u'',
             'Copyright': u'',
             'Description': u'',
             'Host': u'Paint Shop Pro',
             'Host Version': u''

def Do(Environment):
       import webbrowser
       url = r'C:\PSP\PSPXI Files\CommandAPI-PSPXI' = url, new = 1)

When the above script is run on my system, it will open a browser with the API doc. Bind this script to one of the script icons in Customize, and then assign it to a shortcut key, and you have the API open at the click of a key. On my system, I've assigned this script to "6" on the keyboard, so all I have to do is hit the 6 key and I'm looking at the Scripting API. This is a nifty little script which comes from the hand of the incomparable Gary Barton - way cool, Gary!

dot 150 Getting a Darker Tan With the Makeover Tool

To darken the tan produced using the Makeover tool (PSP X+):
  1. Apply the tanning effect with the Makeover tool in Suntan Mode.
  2. Switch to and use another tool.
    Note: This "trick" will not work unless you both switch to another tool and use that tool. You can always undo the action you take. I often switch to the Magic Wand tool, make a selection, and then undo that action (CTRL + Z).
  3. Switch back to the Makeover tool and reapply the tan - it will darken the original tan.

dot 151 Getting a Suntan Effect Without Using the Makeover Tool

To get a suntan similar to that provided by the Suntan Mode of the Makeover tool (PSP X+), just use a round Paint Brush with Hardness of about 50, Opacity of about 75, Blend mode = SoftLight, and Continuous CHECKED. Start with the Foreground material set to #60372C, which is very close to what the Suntan mode produces. Lighten or darken that color according to your suntanning wishes and the skin tones in the image. These settings are just suggestions, but will give you a good starting point for experimentation.

dot 152 File Locations Dialog and Long File Names

If you're tired of trying to figure out what those file names are in your File Locations because the file names are just too long for the dialog box, try creating a new location for your PSP files directly on your C drive, or another drive on your system, outside of the My Documents/Documents folder. I currently have my PSP files in this location:

Within that folder, I have a folder for Tubes, one for Plugins, one for PSP X files, one for PSP XI files, one for PSP X2 files, etc., and one that contains all the goodies from releases of PSP prior to PSP X. Each of these folders contains folders for all the PSP resources, like Textures and Gradients and Patterns, etc. Now, when I use the File Locations dialog, I can see the entire folder name without having to click on each one.

This takes a bit of reorganization to start out, but it's worth the effort to be able to read the folder names at a glance.

You can tell PSP you've done this, too, during the install. When the installation asks where to place the PSP program files, look for a button near the bottom of the window labeled "Advanced Options." Click that to get a dialog in which you can change the location where the PSP install saves your personally created files - now PSP knows where your user files are to be found. Starting in PSP X3, the "Advanced Options" button is no longer available, and user-defined resources are assigned to My PSP Files. However, you can still place your PSP resources in a location of your choosing. To do this, after the PSP install is complete, create a folder for your user-allocated PSP files, with a name of YOUR choosing, and in a location YOU choose - like C:\!!PSP\PSPX#, for example, for PSP X3 files. Then use File...Preferences...File Locations to tell PSP where YOU want the files, deleting all references to the My PSP Files folder.

Note: You can even record a script of yourself adding all the individual folders to File Locations. Then, if you have to reinstall PSP, you can run this script, and all your resources will be available to you.

dot 153 List of Favorite Paths

The File...Open, File...Save, File...Save As, and File Save Copy As dialogs include a button labeled "List of favorite paths," where you can name folders that you frequently use, without having to browse to those folders each time:

favorite paths icon

A permanent entry in that list is "Paint Shop Pro," which points to the folder where you installed PSP:

favorite paths icon expanded

While this might be handy for the File...Open dialog, do not use it for any of the File...Save dialogs! Saving files there invites trouble:

  • First, uninstalling PSP may remove those files without warning.
  • Second, more than one user account can run PSP, keeping the users' resources separate through the convention of separate user accounts. Storing files in the PSP installation location violates this convention, commingling files of different users. Microsoft discourages storing user-created files here for these reasons. I believe Windows Vista and Windows 7 actually prohibit it.

You'll notice that when you expand this button, My PSP Files is also listed. If that's where you opted to keep your user resources, you can easily browse to this folder by clicking on the name. If you have chosen another location for your files, you can add that location to the list by clicking on Add Current, browsing to the location you want to add to the list, and saving the file there. The next time you want to save a file, that location will appear in the "favorite paths" list.

dot 154 Duplicate File Names in PSP

When you have duplicate items in any of the folders for which PSP saves a cache file, you may get a pop-up dialog listing those duplicates, with a "Duplicate items detected" message. This can occur when you activate a tool that causes a cache file to be built, or when you are trying to save an image with the same name as one already in the cache file. Here is an example of the pop-up screen that appears when there are duplicate Picture Tubes detected:

duplicate files warning

There are several things to notice about the above image:

  1. The duplicate images are listed, with the location of each.
  2. Only part of the location path is visible.
  3. The text states that some of the duplicate items will not be available.
  4. The text also states that this warning will not be repeated for these items.
  5. There's a 'Copy list to clipboard' button at the bottom of the dialog.

The warnings are important. The first time PSP finds duplicate images when it is loading cache, it lists them for you. Then PSP continues building the cache, but only maintains one of the duplicate images in the cache. Thus, as the warning says (#3 above), some of the duplicate images will not be available. Corel does not state which ones are retained and which are dropped, but quite often I find the last one read in is the one that's retained, and all other duplicates are dropped. However, this is not a rule. What does matter is that you have images with duplicate names in different folders (they may actually be duplicate images, or they may be different images with the same names), and some of these images are not available to you.

The second significant part of the warning is that the warning will not be repeated (#4 above). The next time you open PSP, if you have NEW duplicate images, those will be listed, but the duplicates that were listed the last time the warning message was issued will no longer be listed, even if you have not taken care of them. So, it behooves you to take care of the problems when you are alerted to them.

The third significant item to notice in this pop-up is that even though the location of the duplicates is listed (#1 above), the exact location of the duplicate files may be "cut off" (#2 above). Even if you wanted to take care of them, you don't have enough information to do it.

Enter the 'Copy list to clipboard' button (#5 above). Whenever I get "Duplicate images" warnings, I immediately click on that 'Copy list to clipboard' button to save the list. Then I go to My PSP Files, to a folder I've added called "Duplicates", and create a text file with the name of the type of duplicates I need to research - in this case, I would call the text file tubesx.txt, where the "x" is just a number to distinguish this file from the other lists of tube files I might have in there.

Perhaps an image will make this clearer. This screen shot shows the My PSP Files folder on my system, with my added Duplicates folder (red arrow), and its contents (blue arrow):

duplicate files folder

Notice I have a couple of tube lists already in the folder. When I "clean them up", I rename them with a "z" preceding the name. You may want to just delete them. I created one called tubes3.txt for this instance, and opened it, pasting the information I'd saved to the clipboard when I clicked the 'Copy list to clipboard' button. Here's what I now have in the tubes3.txt file - for clarity, I've bolded the duplicate file name, highlighted the complete path to the duplicate in green, and highlighted the full name of the tube in red:

$roundbars C:\Documents and Settings\Suz\My Documents\My PSP Files\Picture Tubes\$roundbars.PspTube
$roundbars C:\Documents and Settings\Suz\My Documents\My PSP Files\Picture Tubes\$roundbars.tub
$roundbars C:\PSP\Tubes\$$\$roundbars.tub
$roundbars C:\PSP\Tubes\$roundbars.tub

Quite often I find I have one tube with the extension .tub, and one with the newer .PspTube extension when I find duplicates. This is the case for the first two tubes, both in the same location with different extensions. The other two tubes have the same name, but are located in different folders. The resolution to this problem is to check out the four tubes, and delete the duplicates. If the tubes are really different images with the same name, renaming one of them is the solution.

In summary, then, here's what to do when you are alerted to duplicate images:

  1. Click on the 'Copy list to clipboard' button.
  2. Open My PSP Files (or the location where you save your PSP resources).
  3. Create a Duplicates folder, or open the Duplicates folder if you've already created one.
  4. Create a text file for the list you just copied (choose File...New...Text Document), such as masks1.txt, tubes1.txt, etc.
  5. Open the text file.
  6. Paste the list in (choose Edit...Paste, or CTRL+V).

Using the PSP Browser, Organizer, or Windows Explorer, compare the duplicates, and either rename one of them (if they're different items with the same name) or delete one of them if they are just plain duplicates. It takes a little time to clean this up, but it's worth it to eliminate those messages and get to ensure that all your tubes and masks and patterns, etc. are available to you in PSP.

Which brings us to three important issues that need to be addressed:

  1. Maybe you've seen those messages before, but you're no longer getting them - however you've noticed that some of your tubes/masks/patterns, etc., are still unavailable.
  2. What about shapes - how do you eliminate duplicate shapes?
  3. Plugins do not generate a list of duplicates, though there can be many of those out there.

These three issues will be addressed in the following three tips.

dot 155 How to Force the Duplicate File Names Messages To Be Displayed Again

As noted in the previous tip, PSP does not allow duplicate file names in any of the resources it manages, like gradients, textures, picture tubes, masks, etc. The first time PSP encounters duplicates, it will display a message listing the duplicates found, but once it has told you about the duplicates, it no longer warns you about them again. The fact that the duplicates messages no longer pop up doesn't mean the duplicates have miraculously gone away. It just means PSP warned you once, and told you the message would not be repeated - it was not kidding! The duplicates remain, and still need to be cleaned up. To get the duplicates messages again, you need to delete all your cache files so that PSP will rebuild them. The messages will be generated again when the cache files are rebuilt. Here's the process:
  1. Choose File...Preferences...Reset Preferences.
  2. In the Reset the Application dialog, CHECK the "Delete all cache files" checkbox.
  3. Click the OK button.
  4. Exit PSP. The cache files will be deleted.
  5. Restart PSP. The cache files will be rebuilt as needed.

You'll get messages about duplicate Patterns, Gradients, Textures and Swatches as PSP is initializing, because those cache files are built as PSP sets up the Materials palette. Other cache files are built as they are needed - for instance, when you choose a painting tool, the Brushes cache file is rebuilt, and when you choose to add or save a mask, the Mask cache file is rebuilt.

Now that you're getting those messages again, save each list as described in the article above, and then research and remove or rename the duplicate files.

dot 156 How to Remove Duplicate Shapes

The second issue is removing duplicate shapes. If you get a message that you have duplicate shapes called Circle, and you check all your Preset Shapes locations, you will probably not find Circle listed in any of them. This is because Preset Shapes are stored in shape libraries, which are actually just layered PSP images. In these shape libraries, the individual shapes are the vector sublayers in the image. There can be literally hundreds of shapes (sublayers) in a single library (PSP file).

To delete duplicate shapes, you have to start with the shape library name. For example, I had this in my duplicates list recently:

Box C:\Documents and Settings\Suz\My Documents\My PSP8 Files\Preset Shapes\More Shapes.jsl
Box C:\Program Files\Jasc Software Inc\Paint Shop Pro 8\Preset Shapes\Shapes 01.PspShape

This tells me that a shape called Box exists in two different shape libraries:

  • One called More Shapes.jsl in My PSP8 Files, and
  • One called Shapes01.PspShape in the Jasc PSP 8 folder.

To eliminate these duplicates, you have to either delete one of these libraries, or open one of them and delete or rename the Box layer. Looking at the two libraries, each of which contained 40 shapes, I determined they were duplicate libraries, so I could delete the entire More Shapes.jsl library, which I had copied from PSP 7.

To delete an individual shape from a library:

  1. Open the library in PSP.
  2. Delete the sublayer that contains the duplicate.
  3. Save the shape library again.
Note: If the duplicately named layer is not really a duplicate, but just a duplicate name, rename the sublayer to a unique name.

In either case, once you've changed a shape library, you MUST reset your cache, as described above. Otherwise, the changes may not take effect and the Shapes cache may be invalid. If you do not want to reset all your cache files, but just the Shapes cache file, just close PSP, find the cache files, and manually delete the Shapes cache file (called Shapes.PspCache).

Note: To find your cache files, choose File...Preferences...File Locations, click on Cache in the left window, and note the Cache file folder name in the right window.

dot 157 How to Remove Duplicate Plugins

The last "duplicates" issue listed above is trickier to resolve than the other two - and that is removing duplicate plugins. The plugin cache is built, or updated, during PSP initialization, but duplicate plugins are NOT listed for the user. They're just not available, period. It's quite easy to have duplicate plugin names, and you will not even know about it until you go to find a certain plugin, and though you can see it in your plugins folder, you cannot see it in PSP. It's time to do some checking and some renaming. Use Windows Explorer to browse your plugin folder for all copies of the "missing" plugin. Then go into that folder and rename each of those plugins, appending a number to differentiate them.

For instance, a recent search for radtrans.8bf on my system produced the following list:

RadTrans.8bf - in the DSBFLUX folder
RADTRANS.8BF - in the Visual Manipulations folder
radtrans.8bf - in the VM folder

PSP will only retain one of these - in my case, it was the one in the VM folder - and any attempt to get to the others will be unsuccessful. If a script tries to access one of the "unlisted" plugins, it will fail with a "JascApp.InvalidCommandName: Invalid or missing command" error. Resolution? Rename all three files:

RadTrans.8bf - became RadTrans1.8bf
radtrans.8bf - became radtrans3.8bf

Now all my Radial Transmissions plugins are available.

Note: The external file name for the plugins does not matter to PSP. It uses information stored internally within the plugin file to list it in the Plugin list, not the external name. Therefore, it does no harm to rename your plugins this way!

There's no easy way to identify these duplicates before the problems occur. The best time is to notice it when it happens - you're trying to use a certain plugin, you can see it in the PSP Plugins folder, but it's not showing up in PSP. When that happens, search for duplicates and resolve by renaming. Note that the plugin cache seems to have a very long memory, and even when you rename the plugins and restart PSP, sometimes the problems persist. I always delete the cache files and let them rebuild whenever I have to rename plugins. If you want to delete just the plugin cache files, they're the ones called PSPPFCachV8F.PspCache and PSPPLCachV8F.PspCache in the Cache folder.

That should just about cover the topic. I hope these tips about duplicate images help you clean up your system, and keep it running smoothly.

dot 158 Selecting Previous or Next Node

While node editing, to select the previous node, use SHIFT + [. To select the next node, use SHIFT + ].

dot 159 Spacebar Function With Tools

Beginning in PSP X, holding down the SPACEBAR while using any tool temporarily suspends the active tool and activates the Pan tool. This allows you to pan to a different area of the image to continue painting or erasing or whatever other activity you were doing. Releasing the SPACEBAR returns control to the previously active tool. I find this particularly helpful when using a tool like the Eraser or Background Eraser. If I have the image zoomed in to a large magnification while I am erasing, and I need to pan the image to another area, holding down the SPACEBAR allows me to do this without actually changing tools. Once I've panned to a new area, I can just release the SPACEBAR and continue erasing.
Note: The pre-PSP X function of the SPACEBAR used in conjunction with the Background Eraser tool has been replaced by the BACKSPACE key. See #100 Background Eraser Tips for more information on the Background Eraser tool.

dot 160 Searching the Corel PSP Knowledge Base

To get to the Corel PSP Knowledge Base to search for help with problems, click on the following link:

Corel PSP Knowledge Base

In the Find Answers section, select Paint Shop Photo Pro in the "Select your Product to search our knowledge base" drop-list. Click the Search button to go to the PSP Knowledgebase page, where you can choose the version of PSP you are using, as well as a general area of topics, or enter a keyword that describes the topic you want to research.

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