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PSP Tips & Tricks
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dot 161 Removing PSP From Your Personal Computer

Corel has made a program available for removing PSP from your computer. These instructions provide a method that is much more thorough than using Add/Remove Programs from the Control Panel. You can read about this program

dot 162 Filling Whole Areas of an Image With the Background Color

One way to fill whole areas of a flattened image with a color is to select the areas you want filled, make the color you want those areas filled with the Background color, and choose Edit...Clear (or hit the Delete key) - the selected area(s) will be flooded with the Background color. The background color is always used in this process (the one showing in the Background Color box), even if a gradient or pattern is selected in the Background Material box.

dot 163 Keeping Square Corners on Expanded Selections

If you expand a square or rectangular selection, the corners become rounded. In the following image, the selection on the left was expanded 30 pixels using Selections...Modify...Expand to produce the selection on the right:

selection expanded

If you want to keep the corners of a rectangular selection square when you expand the selection, use either of the following methods:

  1. Use Edit Selection to expand the selection:
    1. After creating the selection, choose Selections...Edit Selection.
    2. Choose Image...Resize ('All layers' UNchecked) or use the Pick tool (K) or the Raster Deform tool (which is still available using its old shortcut key, D) to increase the size of the selection.
    3. Choose Selections...Edit Selection to return to the selection marquee.
  2. Use Selections...Modify...Expand to expand the selection, and then click on the 'Current selection' button in the 'Create selection from' section of the Selection tool Tool Options palette:

    current selection button
    Note: This second method will only work if the selection is a rectangle with sides parallel to the images edges.

In the following image, the selection on the left was expanded 10 pixels using Selections...Modify...Expand. The selection in the center was expanded the same number of pixels using the first method above. The selection on the right was created by applying the second method above directly to the image on the left. All selections were filled with color for visibility. Note the difference in the corners of the expanded, filled selections - either way gives you crisp, square corners:

expanded selections

dot 164 Contacting Corel With Error Reports

If you find errors in PSP, or suffer from repeatable failures that you have fully documented and can explain, you can/should contact Corel - you can do this using the
Corel Customer Help page.

When you contact Corel about a problem, be sure you include sufficient detail in your report so Corel technicians can reproduce your error. If they can't reproduce it, they can't fix it. In addition, be aware that problem reports about previous versions of PSP are generally ignored.

dot 165 Running Pre-PSP X Text Scripts in Later Versions of PSP

Because of the ability new in PSP X to record text using either Points or Pixels, pre-PSP X scripts that write text may not work correctly in later versions of PSP. This is especially true when extracting text parameters from the Text tool Tool Options palette, and shows up most often if you execute the text script repeatedly, as when making multiple tags. If the resolution of the image is less than 95, the text might grow with each iteration of the script; on the other hand, if the image has a resolution that is greater than 95, the text may shrink with each iteration.

If this is a problem for you, make the following three changes to the problem script:

  1. Change the Host Version in the def ScriptProperties statement at the beginning of the script from whatever it is to "'Host Version': '10.00'". Actually, you can insert any version number from 10 up. If the Hoxt Version is blank, or 8 or 9, PSP will think the text needs to be converted.
    Note: If you subsequently attempt to run this same script in PSP 9, you will received a warning message when the script loads: "This script is from a newer version of Paint Shop Pro or the version could not be determined. You can continue to execute the script, but errors may occur or the script may produce unexpected results.". You can safely ignore this message and click the OK button.
  2. Use the TextEx command and not the Text command. If the script contains the Text command from PSP 8, the system will think your text information needs to be converted, and this is likely to change the size of the text.
  3. If you are extracting Text tool parameters from the Tool Options palette, be sure to set the Units parameter to Pixels:

    units parameter in Text Tool Options palette
Note: Text rendered in PSP X+ is not always the same size as that rendered in previous versions. You will most likely find the text in PSP X+ renders smaller than that in previous versions. This is an ongoing, unresolved problem.

dot 166 Loading Newly-Added Plugins Without Restarting PSP

Usually, when you add a plugin to your plugins folders, that plugin does not appear in the Effects menu until PSP is restarted. To cause new plugins to appear in the Effects menu without restarting PSP, choose File...Preferences...File Locations, scroll down to Plug-ins in the File types window on the left, and then do one of the following:
  • Temporarily disable one of the paths that existed when you opened the File Locations dialog by clearing the Enable check box in the 'Plug-in file folders' panel (see blue arrow below), or
  • Change the order of path entries using the up/down arrows in the 'Plug-in file folders' panel (see red arrow below).

    plugins panel if File Locations dialog

When you save this change by clicking the OK button, PSP reloads the Plugins cache file, making your new plugin available without stopping and restarting PSP. You may want to re-open the File Locations dialog and reverse the change you made.

dot 167 Color Management Problems In PSP

There is much written about Color Management and whether or not you should have it enabled for PSP. This discussion is far beyond the scope of this document. However, there are viewing problems that occur for some users with PSP X+, and this entry will show you two simple ways to correct those problems.

By default, Color Management is enabled in PSP. Some users have experienced viewing problems, among which are the following:

  • Green, pick, or purple tint to all images.
  • All photos showing up darker or lighter than with other software, including previous versions of PSP.
  • Images totally black.
  • All blues showing up as purple, including in the Materials palette.
  • Strange edges in drop shadows and blurs.

If these or similar color problems happen to you, there are two simple choices that will rectify the problems:

  1. Choose File...Color Management...Color Management and select the sRGB profile in the Monitor Profile drop-list; OR
  2. Totally disable Color Management by UNchecking the Enable Color Management checkbox in the Color Management dialog.

For further information, you might want to download the Corel Color Management Overview article entitled PSPX Color Management.

dot 168 8-bit vs 16-bit Images

One of the new photo features started in PSP X is support for 16-bit/channel functionality, which lets the user work with thousands of shades per color channel rather than the 256 shades per channel allowed by the 8-bit RGB color model. Before PSP X, PSP was only been able to handle images with 16 million colors. Starting with version X, PSP can handle images containing as many as 281 trillion colors - quite a box of crayons, huh! What this means to the average user is that when you make color and/or brightness corrections, the extra resolution creates far better results. There's so much more resolution to draw on that when you apply effects to a 16-bit image, the results are always much nicer looking. If you start with an 8-bit image and apply the same effects, the resulting image can become grainy or have noticeable banding and/or other artifacts.

To illustrate this graphically, I created an 8-bit image and a 16-bit image, filled both with a gradient, applied the Gaussian Blur effect twice, Unsharp Mask four times, and the Sharpen effect twelve times:

8 bit vs 16 bit images

Though the series of effects applied to these images is not something a person would normally do, the results are amazing, and illustrate the point that applying effects will/can produce radically different results.

Even though PSP X introduced 16-bit/channel color support, not all of PSP X+'s features support 16-bit images. You can see a complete list of commands, tools, and features that do fully support 16-bit/channel images in the 'What commands and features work with 16-bit per channel color images?' Corel Knowledge Base entry. In addition, none of the third-party plugins and filters will work on 16-bit images in PSP X+. This might change in the future, though many of these same plugins and filters do not work in the competition's 16-bit processing, either.

The average user who does not have a camera producing 16-bit images, or might be interested in printing such images, can ignore the above discussion. Just thought the comparison was interesting. I neither print my images, nor have a 16-bit image-producing camera.

dot 169 Disabling the Smart Photo Fix Open for Raw Images

If you find that your raw image files are automatically invoking the Smart Photo Fix dialog on open, and you want to disable this, choose File...Preferences...File Format Preferences, click on the General tab, and UNcheck 'Open Camera Raw Images with Smart Photo Fix'.

dot 170 Disabling the Automatic Rotation of Images Using EXIF Data

If you find that your images are automatically rotating on open, and then need to be rotated back to be correct, this could be due to the fact that the EXIF data was not reset by another program which rotated the image. PSP reads the EXIF field that tells whether the camera took the shot in a rotated format, and rotates the image for you based on that EXIF data. Many software packages that rotate images for you do not update that field, so PSP does not know the image has already been rotated.

If you want to disable this automatic rotation by PSP, choose File...Preferences...File Format Preferences, click on the General tab, and UNcheck 'Rotate images automatically upon opening using EXIF data'.

dot 171 Viewing the Selection Marquee While Cropping

When the crop shading area feature is enabled, shading appears outside the crop rectangle, making it easier to see the projected results of your crop. However, if you have a selection marquee active in your image, the part of the selection marquee within the crop rectangle disappears as you adjust the crop rectangle, which can be counter-productive. If you want to be able to view the selection marquee at the same time as you adjust the crop rectangle, disable the Crop shading area feature by choosing File...Preferences...General Program Preferences, clicking on Transparency and Shading in the left panel, and UNchecking 'Enable crop shade area' in the Shading panel on the right. You might want to enable this feature again after your crop has been applied.

dot 172 Extracting Color From Any Image

If you want to use a color in PSP that matches something you see on a web site, or on your Windows Desktop, or on the visible screen for any other program, this can easily be done from PSP. To capture the a color like this, you must be able to see both PSP and the application/window from which you want to capture the color. You may need to resize the PSP window.

To capture a color, set your Foreground or Background Material to Color, place your cursor over the Foreground or Background Material box, hold down the CTRL key, move the sampling eye dropper to the area on your screen where you want to capture the color. As you move across the screen, you will see the Sampling Screen tool tip follow the cursor. When you have the color you want in the Sampling Screen color box, left-click to capture the color:

sampling screen color capture

dot 173 Removing PSP Installation Files

Some installations of PSP leave behind a whopping chunk of installation files. These are left to assist in repairing the installation without having to reload the CD or the download file, should repair be necessary. If you keep the CD or the download file, you may safely delete the "Installation Files" folder.

After deleting this folder, it is a good idea to remove the installer-defined shortcut to PSP on your Desktop and replace it with one you create. Right-click on the shortcut and choose Delete from the context menu. Then browse to the Corel PSP program folder, find the PSP program .exe file (called Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo.exe), right-click on that file and choose Create Shortcut from the context menu. Then just move this shortcut to your Desktop.

dot 174 Starting Animation Shop From Within PSP

Animation Shop no longer ships with PSP after PSP 9. However, if you have a previous version of PSP which included Animation Shop, you can use that version of Animation Shop with any version of PSP. To start Animation Shop from within PSP, I have provided a small script based on a function written by Gary Barton. Bind this script to an icon using Customize in PSP, and then place that icon on a toolbar or menu so that you can start Animation Shop at the touch of a button. Click here to
download the script.

In this script, which must be installed in a Scripts-Trusted folder, I have used the path to the Animation Shop executable as found on my system - if your path is different, edit the script, changing the path in line 42.

If you need help binding the script to an icon, visit my Using Bound Scripts in PSP tutorial.

dot 175 Updating Back to Animation Shop From PSP

Even though Animation Shop no longer ships with PSP, the ability to export frames from Animation Shop back to PSP is still intact (this capability was temporarily lost with PSP XI, but restored with the first PSP XI patch). To export frames from Animation Shop to PSP, choose File...Export Frames...To Paint Shop Pro (SHIFT + X).
Note: If you have more than one version of PSP open, the frames will be exported to the most recently-used copy of PSP. If you do not have any version of PSP open, the version of PSP that installed Animation Shop will open - on my system, that's PSP 9.

When you have finished working on the frames in PSP, and you want to work on the animation again in Animation Shop, you can do one of two things:

  1. Using the Customize facility (View...Customize), drag the "Update Back to Animation Shop" command (which can be found in the Unused Commands category in Customize) back onto a toolbar, and use it to update the animation in Animation Shop with your changes.
  2. Close the image in PSP - you will be asked if you want to save the changes:
    • If you click Yes, you will be presented with the Save As dialog, and you can save the image using its original name, or a new name. The changes you made to the animation will NOT be communicated to Animation Shop if you choose this path.
    • If you click the No button, you will be presented with the "Would you like to update the changes back to Animation Shop?" dialog. If you click Yes in this dialog, the changes are communicated to Animation Shop and the image closes. If you click No, the image closes without updating Animation Shop.

There are still some users who seem to have lost the ability to export frames from Animation Shop to PSP. For those users, it is still possible to work in PSP on frames opened in Animation Shop. Once you've selected the frames you want to work on in PSP, if SHIFT + X does not work, copy the frames (CTRL+C), then go to PSP and paste as a new image (CTRL+SHIFT+V). This will give you a layered image with all frames intact, from bottom to top.

For the users above who cannot directly export frames to PSP, the "Update Back to Animation Shop" command will not work either. The solution is to save the image in PSP once the changes have been made and reopen in Animation Shop.

Note: If you have to use this route to update frames, be sure to select all frames from the Animation (CTRL+A) before copying and pasting into PSP. If you choose only some of the frames, when you re-open the animation in Animation Shop, several frames will be missing!

dot 176 Using the Graphite Workspace Theme in PSP

The default installation of PSP X2+ has a brand new look called the Graphite Workspace Theme. If you prefer the classic PSP interface, or to turn the Graphite Workspace Theme on and off, click on the menu item View...Use Graphite Workspace Theme.

dot 177 Adding More Control to Clarify

If you want a little more control in the Clarify effect than you can get with the Strength settings, try duplicating the layer you want to clarify, apply the effect to the duplicate layer, and then adjust the opacity of the duplicate layer to moderate the strength of the effect.

Another technique that has been suggested is to split the image to RGB (Image...Split Channel...Split to RGB), apply Clarify to each channel, and then recombine the channels (Image...Combine Channel...Combine from RGB).

dot 178 Resetting the Registry Values for PSP

Here's a nice little trick for resetting the registry with PSP:
  1. On your Desktop, click the PSP icon once to select it.
  2. Hold down the SHIFT key and double click the PSP icon again.
  3. You should get a message asking if you'd like to set the application back to its default state. Click Yes and the registry settings will be removed - be aware that you will lose any customizations or preferences that you have set, but no files will be deleted. When you start PSP, it will be as if for the first time.

dot 179 Creating Bullets When Using the Text Tool

There are a couple of ways to add bullets to text in PSP:
  1. The first way is very simple, and will work with many fonts:
    • Choose the Text tool.
    • Click on the image where you want to place the text - this will put you into "text edit", either in the Text Entry box, or directly on the image (PSP X3+).
    • Type the text you want bulleted.
    • Move the cursor in the Text Entry box or on the image to the location where you want to place the bullet, hold down the ALT key and type 0149 using the Numeric Keypad on your keyboard. Sometimes a smaller or square bullet can be created by typing 0183 instead.
  2. The second method uses the Windows Character Map program:
    • Choose the Text tool.
    • Click on the image where you want to place the text - this will put you into "text edit", either in the Text Entry box, or directly on the image (PSP X3+).
    • Type the text you want bulleted.
    • Return to Windows and choose Start, click on Run, and type CharMap in the Run Open box - this will bring up the Character Map dialog.
    • Choose any installed font from the Font drop-list at the top of the dialog.
    • When you find a bullet you like, click the Select button, and then the Copy button.
    • Return to PSP, place the cursor where you want the bullet, and press CTRL + V to paste the bullet. You might need to backspace to return the text to the same line as the bullet.
Note: In PSP X3, the second method does not appear to work if you are editing text directly on the image. However, if you activate the Text Entry box to edit text (SHIFT + LEFT-CLICK), this method works.

dot 180 How To Reset Cache

PSP builds cache files on your computer to improve program performance. Sometimes, these PSP cache files become corrupted. You might have installed Picture Tubes that are not showing, or Preset Shapes. Or you're seeing duplicates of your Picture Tubes. When this happens, the best thing to do is to reset cache, deleting all the cache files so PSP can rebuild them. To do this:
  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.

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