Eraser Tool Tips

Created as a Quick Guide in 2003 Copyright SuzShook
Made a "Version-Independent" Tutorial 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.
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This tutorial was originally published as a Quick Guide in 2003. With the demise of the Quick Guide capability in PSP, this Quick Guide is being re-published as a mini-tutorial!

This tutorial will give you some tips for using the Eraser tool.

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.

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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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Create a new image with the following settings:
  • 200x200 pixels
  • Transparent background

Choose the Selection tool selection tool (S). From the Selection Type drop-list, choose the Square shape. From the Mode drop-list, choose Replace, set Feather to 10, and make sure the Anti-alias checkbox is checked. Drag a square selection in the center of the image:

square selection

To mark the position of the selection marquee (just for reference), use horizontal and vertical guides. If you need help learning how to use guides, see my Using the Alignment Guides tutorial.

Note: If the guides do not show up, choose View...Guides. That should do it!

Here's my image with the guides in place:

square selection with guides


Choose the Flood Fill tool flood fill tool (F). In the Tool Options palette, make sure the Match Mode is set to None, Blend Mode to Normal, and Opacity to 100. In the Materials palette, set the Foreground material to red - I used #FF0000. Fill the selection with red:

filled square selection


Choose the Eraser tool eraser tool (X). In the Tool Options palette, in the Brush Tips drop-list, select the +Round 10 brush tip.

When you drag the Eraser across a raster layer, all the pixels in its path become transparent. Use the eraser tool to erase part of the red square:

part of square erased


When used with the RIGHT mouse button, the Eraser tool "unerases". This comes in handy when you are cleaning up an image for a tube, and your mouse "slips". No need to hit the undo button and lose everything you've just done - just "unerase" those pixels back in with the RIGHT mouse button. That's right - using the Eraser tool on a raster layer reapplies any paint that was previous removed, even after you close an image and reopen it, as long as the image is saved in PSP format.

Use the eraser tool now to reapply some, but not all, of the paint you removed in STEP 3:

unerasing part of square


Save the image in PSP format using the Save As dialog - call it eraser_test so you can find it again later.

PSP retains information about erased areas even after the image is saved and closed. To demonstrate that this is indeed so, close the eraser_test.pspimage file. Then re-open the image (File...Open), or find it in the Recent Files list (File...Recent Files) - it should be right at the top of the list!

Apply the Eraser tool again, using the RIGHT mouse button, to some of the remaining erased area - you will see the red color restored!

erasing with right mouse button


In order for PSP to be able to restore erased data, it has to save information about that data. It also needs to store information about areas that were transparent in the image as well. Since transparency equates to no color, and there is no available code for no color, PSP assigns the color black to transparent areas. This means that if you unerase an area that was originally transparent, it will now be black.

To demonstrate this "phenomenon", increase the brush tip Size to 20. Then erase in a straight line from somewhere above the red square to below the red square. To do this, click with the LEFT mouse button at coordinates (65,30). Then hold down the SHIFT key and click at coordinates (65,162). You should see something like this:

erasing demo - erasing

Now, using the RIGHT mouse button, unerase the line you just erased, this time clicking at coordinates (65,30) (remember to use the RIGHT mouse button), then holding down the SHIFT key and clicking at coordinates (65,162). See what happens?

erasing demo - unerasing

Although this appears as bizarre behavior, it is logical. If you can grasp the fact that PSP has to store "something" about those transparent pixels, black is as good a choice as anything. It can't store nothingness, so this is how PSP handles the transparency situation. Just keep it in mind when unerasing data, and if you restore unwanted black pixels, just erase them. You may have better success erasing the black pixels if you decrease the Hardness setting for the brush.


Here are a few additional tips:

  • You may have noticed that unerasing a feathered area produces a solid color. This is because PSP stores feathering as a change in transparency. Unerase reveals whatever color exists in the transparent regions of the image, and may not always be what you think it will be. Changing the Eraser tool settings, such as decreasing the Hardness setting, may help unerase more smoothly around the edges.

  • If you RIGHT-drag the Eraser tool on a layer, the paint you reapply might look somewhat different from the way it looked originally. The eraser's settings for Opacity, Density, or Hardness, for example, can produce different effects from the original.

  • Many of the Eraser tool options help erase smoothly. For example, erasing with a Hardness value near 0 allows you to erase around the edges of an object, leaving very soft edges, almost like anti-aliasing!

Hope you have enjoyed this tutorial as much as I did creating it!

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