Simple Bezier Flowers in PSP

bezier flowers

Created February 1, 2003 © Copyright SuzShook
Made "Version-Independent" March 2009
Property of SuzShook

This tutorial is my own creation;
however, most of the techniques used in this tutorial, I have learned from others!
Therefore, if you recognize any contribution you have made, I thank you!
And I thank you as well for respecting this as my work by not posting it,
in whole or in part,
in any other location without written permission from me!

Individuals and PSP graphics groups are invited to share my tutorials with others with TEXT LINKS ONLY.
You can e-mail me to let me know you are adding one or more of my tutorials to your list if you like -
it's always fun to know who is doing them!

This tutorial is in response to requests from several who wanted to make some bezier flowers like the ones I created lately - so, here they are! Enjoy planting your Bezier flowers - it's far too cold here for the real ones!

I make my tutorials as brief as possible, without the customary paths, details, and how-to's. For those veterans among you, this will be welcome! But for those less familiar with PSP, I included a "Glossary" that contains all the details omitted in the tutorial. If you need a little extra help, check the Glossary section. Just click on the button below - the Glossary will open in a new window.

PSP glossary button

This tutorial assumes you have a working knowledge of Paint Shop Pro at the intermediate level (or advanced beginner level with the Glossary). It was originally written in and for PSP Version 7, then revised for PSP 8, and now made "version-independent". Screen shots for this tutorial can come from any version of PSP - where there are significant differences from version to version, a green "Version Note" will be included, along with multiple screen shots if necessary.

Where a note/tip refers to a version of PSP and all higher versions, a + sign will be used to indicate this. For example, if a note/tip applies to PSP X and higher versions, I will use the convention "PSP X+".

If you try this tutorial, and find something is inaccurate for your version of PSP, please EMAIL ME to let me know so I can fix it!

Screen shots in this tutorial are resized - your work will be larger than this!

Supplies - For this tutorial, you will need the following:
  • Paint Shop Pro - any version. The latest version of PSP can be found at the Corel site HERE.
  • In this tutorial, I used 3 of Nanson's wonderful gradients called Fire Pink, Turf, and Old Yella. You can find these, and all Nanson's gradients HERE. ~ ~ Unzip into your Gradients folder.

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OK, now we're ready to begin! Grab your mouse and let's get started!

Remember to save often!

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Opening Notes
  • In this tutorial, I will often give keyboard shortcuts for activating tools or commands. These shortcuts save a lot of time, and I use them constantly. When I give keyboard shortcuts, they will follow the tool or command names, often in parentheses.

  • Whenever any tool is used, always reset the Tool Options to the default values, unless directed otherwise. Usually, I will only list the values different from the defaults.

  • For simplicity and clarity, the bounding boxes have been omitted from many of the screenshots of vector objects in this tutorial.

Open a new, transparent image, 200 x 200 pixels. Flood fill with white. For the petals of the flower, select gradient for both foreground and background styles, and set both to Nanson's Fire Pink gradient (mqc Fire Pink) - or another gradient of your choice. For all gradients in this tutorial, I used the "Linear Gradient" Style, with Angle = 54 degrees, and Repeats = 0.

By definition, a Bezier curve is a line connecting two endpoints, whose curve is determined by one or more control points which do not lie on the curve. In very simple terms, if we call the endpoints of the line A and B, and the control points that determine the curve of the line C and D, we create the Bezier line by clicking at the starting point (A) and dragging to the first control point (C), and then clicking at the endpoint (B) and dragging away from the second control point (D).

Note: For an in-depth look at Bezier Lines in PSP, visit my Bezier Lines in PSP mini-tutorial.

In this tutorial, all the parts of our flower are made with the same basic Bezier curve. The starting and ending points of our line, points A and B, are very close together. The control points that determine the curve of the line, points C and D, are above, and to either side of the line. Here's an image showing the four controlling points of the Bezier line we will use:

bezier line points

To create a Bezier line in PSP, we use the handles created by dragging from the endpoints of the line to create the curve. Specifically, to create a Bezier line, do the following:

  • Click at the line starting point A, and drag to control point C until the arrow handle of the control arm rests on point C.

  • Click at the line ending point B, and drag away from control point D so that the circle handle of the control arm rests on point D.

Let's see how that works. Select the Pen tool pen tool (V) with default settings, EXCEPT change the Width to 2.00, make sure the Show Nodes check box is marked, and choose the "Draw Point to Point - Bezier Curves" Mode:

pen tool options for bezier line
Version Note: In PSP XI, the "Draw Point to Point - Bezier Curves" mode icon changed - it still works the same way, but has a new look: pen tool
Note: In the images that follow, I sometimes included the Bezier curve endpoints and control points. This is for illustration only - your image will not have these, unless you choose to add them so that you get the curve just right.

Click now at a point near the center of the canvas, and drag upwards towards the left. When the arrow handle is about at point C, release the mouse button. Now click at point B, which is really close to point A, and drag downwards towards the left until the circle handle of the control arm is close to point D. Remember, in making Bezier curves, we always drag from point B away from point D. Here's an image showing the control arms just before releasing the mouse button:

bezier petal - finished

When you release the mouse button, you should have a flower petal that looks something like this:

bezier petal - finished

To complete (and deselect) the flower petal:

  1. Click the "Start New Contour-Move To" button ( new contour button - pen tool ) on the Pen tool Tool Options palette.
    Version Note: The "Start New Contour-Move To" icon changed somewhat in PSP XI - here's the new look: ( new contour button - pen tool ).
  2. Click the Apply button ( apply button - pen tool ) on the Pen tool Tool Options palette.

This is the basic petal - we'll construct the entire flower from this petal! You can adjust it, stretch it, fatten it, whatever changes you would like to see using the handles on the bounding box. To get the bounding box, just activate the Pick tool pick tool (K).

Version Note: The Pick tool was new in PSP X - in prior versions, use the Object Selection tool object selection tool (O). Note that the Object Selection tool is still available in higher levels of PSP - it's not on the default Tool toolbar, but it still exists, can be accessed by its former Shortcut key, O, and can even be moved back to the Tools toolbar if desired using PSP's Customize facility.

You might want to edit the nodes to alter the shape of your flower pettal somewhat! Node editing in PSP is done this way:

  • Activate the Pen tool (V)

  • Click on the Edit Mode button on the Pen tool Tool Options palette:

    edit mode - pen tool

  • Now click on the curve, and the nodes will once again be visible. Click on any node to see and manipulate its arms, or to move it.

  • Right-click on any node to activate the Pen tool context menu, which contains many other commands such as edit commands for the curve, commands to change node types and commands to perform node transformations.

  • Add nodes by pressing and holding the CTRL key as you move the cursor over the contour to where you want to add a node - click when the cursor displays "+ADD".

Here's what I ended up with after reshaping my flower petal:

bezier petal - reshaped

To exit node editing, select another tool, or click the Apply button.

When you are satisfied with your petal, save your image.


We're now going to add a little shading to the petal. Add a new raster layer and name it "shading". Activate the Pen tool. We will use the same settings for the Pen tool as before EXCEPT Create On Vector UNchecked, Width set to 3.00 or 4.00, and Mode set to Draw Freehand:

draw freehand mode - pen tool

Set the Foreground Material style to color and the foreground color to a dark contrasting color - something a bit darker than the darkest part of your petal. I used #AD4355 for my shading. Set the Background Material to transparent (Null). Draw 2 or 3 lines as illustrated below:

bezier petal - shading

Click the Apply button to complete the shading lines.

We're going to do a little work on these lines now, blurring them and softening them until we get something we like! To prevent any of our modifications from "escaping" the flower petal, activate the flower petal layer, select the flower petal using the Pick tool (K) (Version Note: Object Selection tool (O) in PSP 8 and 9 ), and choose Selections...From Vector Object. Now, activate the "shading" layer again, and apply a Gaussian Blur of about 3.0 - this will give us the basis on which to work!

I used several of the retouch brushes to spread and blend the darker color until I had something I was happy with. In each case, I started with the +Default brush tip, and then changed the settings as indicated below. You may find you're satisfied with your flower petal the way it looks now, or you may use other methods to blend the colors. I'll explain here what I did.

Version Note: Starting in PSP 9, all the retouch brushes that were formerly part of the Retouch tool became separate brushes, which have been grouped into related categories organized on flyouts. The Push, Smudge and Soften Brushes are located on one of the flyouts on the Tools toolbar. In PSP 9, they were located on the Dodge flyout, but this changed in PSP X, when some flyouts were combined, placing these brushes on the Lighten-Darken flyout. In addition, in PSP X, the icons for most of the tools changed as well. Therefore, I will not show the Tools toolbar here in order to eliminate confusion. For each tool used, find it on the Tools toolbar by hovering with your mouse over the tools until the "tool tip" tells you you've found the right tool.

First of all, I selected the Push Brush tool push brush tool to push more of the dark color up into the petal. Here are the settings I used:

push brush tool options
Brush Tip (+Default), Shape (Round), Size (5), Hardness (10), Step (22), Density (25), Thickness (100), Rotation (0), Opacity (55)

To blend the colors a bit more, I used the Smudge Brush tool smudge brush toolwith these settings:

smudge brush tool options
Brush Tip (+Default), Shape (Round), Size (5), Hardness (50), Step (1), Density (50), Thickness (100), Rotation (0), Opacity (70)

Finally, to soften all the edges of the darker lines, I used the Soften Brush tool soften brush tool with these settings:

soften brush tool options
Brush Tip (+Default), Shape (Round), Size (11), Hardness (65), Step (30), Density (40), Thickness (100), Rotation (0), Opacity (70)

Here's my completed petal:

bezier petal - shading completed

Deselect now and save your work!


Now let's build the flower! Merge the "shading" layer with the vector petal layer, naming the merged layer "petal". Now create 4 more petals from this petal by duplicating the "petal" layer 4 times. Using the Pick tool (K) (Version Note: Raster Deform tool (D) in PSP 8 and 9 ) on each duplicate layer, rotate the petals until you have a 5-petal flower, like this:

bezier flower - 5 petals

Merge the 5 petal layers, naming the merged layer "flower1". Duplicate the "flower1" layer, and resize this layer by 50%. Duplicate the "flower1" layer again, resize the duplicate layer by 75%, and rotate this layer 30 degrees, either direction. You should now have something like this:

bezier flower - all petals

Wow - it's beginning to look like a flower, isn't it! You may want to sharpen the rotated and resized petal layers. I chose to leave my petals as is for a softer look, but if you do sharpen, Unsharp Mask with Radius = 1.5, Strength = 50, and Clipping = 5 is a good choice!

Save your work, and we'll add a few leaves!


Activate the white background layer and add a new vector layer called "leaf" - and let's draw a leaf! Set the foreground style back to gradient. Select Nanson's Turf (mqc Turf) gradient - or any gradient of your choice - for both background and foreground! Select the Pen tool (V) with default settings, EXCEPT change the Width to 2.00, make sure the Show Nodes and Create On Vector check boxes are marked, and choose the "Draw Point to Point - Bezier Curves" Mode. These are the same settings as used in Step 1, but we used the Pen tool again in Step 2 and we changed some of the settings. Draw a Bezier leaf in the same manner as we did the petal:

  • Click and drag up and to the left.
  • Click close to first point and drag down and to the left.

I made my leaf off to the left of the flower, just so I could see it better! Your leaf should look something like this:

bezier flower with leaf

Make a couple more leaves by duplicating this leaf layer. Use the bounding box or edit the nodes, if you wish, to reshape the leaves so that each one is just a bit different. Rotate them, and move them into place behind the flower, like so:

bezier flower with leaves

When you are satisfied with your leaves, convert the leaf layers to raster and save your image.


I added a yellow center to my flower, using another of Nanson's gradients called Old Yella (mqc Old Yella). Select the Paint Brush tool paint brush tool (B) to make the center, with these settings:

paint brush tool options
Brush Tip (+Default), Shape (Round), Size (21), Hardness (6), Step (25), Density (100), Thickness (100), Rotation (0),
Opacity (100), Blend Mode (Normal)

On a new raster layer at the top of the Layer Palette, make one or two dabs with the Paint Brush tool in the center of the flower. Add Noise at 15%, Uniform, to the center, repeating as needed. Add a small drop shadow with the following settings:

Vertical offset (0)
Horizontal offset (0)
Opacity (44)
Blur (21)
Shadow color (Black)

Here's my flower with the center in place:

bezier flower with center

Save your image!


All that's needed now is some shadows for the petals and leaves. For the innermost petals, and the second layer of petals, I used the same drop shadow as above. Then, for the bottom petals, and each of the leaves, I used a drop shadow with these settings:

Vertical offset (2)
Horizontal offset (15)
Opacity (57)
Blur (21)
Shadow color (Black)

Here's my completed flower:

bezier flower completed

And there you have it, a Bezier flower! Before you merge the layers on your flower and tube it, you might want to save it in PSP format so you can make additional flowers just by colorizing! The lilac flower in the opening image was made from the pink one, colorizing with Hue = 177 and Saturation = 111.

You're not restricted to oval petals and leaves, either! Use your imagination! For this last sample, I edited the nodes on my Bezier curve petal, added a node at the top of the curve, changed the Node Type to Cusp (CTRL + U), and stretched the arms up a bit, like this, to form a heart-shaped petal:

node edit - making heart-shaped petal

I did much the same for the leaves, and then used a brown gradient for the center. To get this gold flower in PSP 9, I used the Hue/Saturation/Lightness effect (the Colorize effect does not do golds and yellows well in PSP 9). I checked the Colorize button in the Hue/Saturation/Lightness effect, and set Hue = 40, Saturation = 89, and Lightness = 0:

bezier flower gold

Here's a very different type of leaf, also made with Bezier curves! Visualize a vertical line for this one, with control points to the left and right of the line. In the following diagram, the endpoints of the original line are indicated as A and B, and the approximate location of the control points, as C and D:

bezier leaf - a variation

To create this curve, click at A and drag down to the left. Then click at B and again drag down to the left (remember, away from point D!):

bezier leaf - a variation

Finally, here's a Bezier flowering plant growing in an urn, using variations of the leaves from above:

bezier flowering plant in urn

When you're finished with your flower, delete the white layer, merge visible layers, and tube it!

Have fun making Bezier flowers!

If you have any problems, comments, or questions, please do not hesitate to Email me.


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All graphics and content 2002-present by SuzShook