Snowman Bench

snowman bench

Created February 11, 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 will help you create a really cute wooden snowman bench! The bench has a wonderful back constructed of four jolly snowmen, which you can decorate as you like! There's lots of room for individuality here, so have fun with your bench!



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, 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.

  • The PSP file containing the selections for this tutorial - you can get it HERE. ~ ~ Unzip into the folder where you keep your current PSP work.

  • (Optional) Fantastic Machine's Paint Engine - you can get a free demo version HERE. ~ ~ Unzip into your Plugins folder.

  • (Optional) Simple Filters Quick Tile - you can get it and all the Simple filters HERE.  ~ ~ Unzip into your Plugins folder.

  • Patterns and fills for the snowmen hats and scarves!
  • Note: The selections for this tutorial are contained in alpha channels. When you open the PSP file provided, you will see only a white background. Don't panic, the selections are there - you just can't see them!

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

Remember to save often!

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STEP 1

In this first step, we'll create a tile that we'll use for the wood of our bench. Set the Foreground Material to Color and select a color you'd like to use for your bench - for the sample image, I used #2B526F. Open a new transparent 200 x 200 pixel image, and use the Flood Fill tool flood fill tool (F) to fill with your chosen color. Select Fantastic Machine's Paint Engine, using the Sparkle preset. In case you do not have the Sparkle preset, here are the settings:

paint engine settings
Push Intensity (1.08), Lighten (.6), Bias (.15), Pull Intensity (.54), Lighten (.1), Bias (.17),
Effect Amount (1.54) Wrap Edges (CHECKED), Type (Downhill), Input (CHECKED), Line (UNchecked),
Length (26), Radiate (1.04), Motion Angle (17°), Curl (-59°), Operation Angle (-107°), Curl (-55°),
Direction Channel R (CHECKED), G (UNchecked), B (UNchecked)

You may use another preset, other settings, or another plugin or effect to set up the pattern for your wood bench - anything with some sparkles so it looks like snow and winter is good! This is your bench, so use your imagination!

When you have finished creating your tile, be sure to make it seamless - I usually use Simple Quick Tile to make seamless tiles, but if you are using Fantastic Machine's Paint Engine, and check Wrap Edges, your tile will already be seamless!

Set the Foreground Material to Pattern, and find your new pattern in the drop down list. I set the Scale to 100, and the Angle to 0.

Note: If you use a wood pattern that has a definite grain to it, like I did in my final image, you should change the Angle of the pattern as follows:
  • In STEPs 2 and 6, set the Angle so that you get an up and down grain.
  • In STEPs 3, 4, and 5, set the Angle so that you get a crosswise grain.
  • In STEP 7, set the angle to either 58° (for patterns with an up and down grain) or 328° (for patterns with a crosswise grain), so that you get a grain that follows the angle of the arm!

STEP 2

Open the ss-snowmanbench.psp image. Duplicate the image and close the original. Don't panic - all the selections are there, stored in alpha channels - you just can't see them yet!

Add a new raster layer, naming it "leftside". Load the side selection from the alpha channel, and flood fill with the wood pattern you made in STEP 1. Invert the selection and apply a Drop Shadow effect with the following settings:

Vertical offset (0)
Horizontal offset (0)
Opacity (100)
Blur (16)
Color (Black)

Deselect, and duplicate this layer, renaming the duplicate layer "rightside". Mirror the "rightside" layer.

Save your work.


STEP 3

Add a new raster layer, naming it "bottomshelf". Load the bottomshelf selection from the alpha channel, and flood fill with the wood pattern. Darken by choosing Adjust...Brightness and Contrast...Brightness/Contrast with Brightness = -25 (minus 25) and Contrast = 11.

On the same layer, load the bottomshelfedge selection from the alpha channel. Flood fill with the wood pattern, invert the selection, and apply the same Drop Shadow effect as above EXCEPT change the Blur to 6.

Deselect. Select all, float the selection, contract by 1, and apply a Drop Shadow effect with the following settings:

Vertical offset (14)
Horizontal offset (0)
Opacity (100)
Blur (22.2)
Color (Black)

Deselect and save your work!


STEP 4

Add a new raster layer, naming it "front". Load the front selection from the alpha channel, flood fill with the wood pattern, invert the selection, and apply the same Drop Shadow effect as in STEP 2.

Invert the selection again, contract by 1 pixel, and apply a Drop Shadow effect with the following settings:

Vertical offset (38)
Horizontal offset (0)
Opacity (100)
Blur (60.5)
Color (Black)

Don't worry about any shadow falling outside the bench - we'll clean that up later. Deselect and save your work!


STEP 5

Add a new raster layer, naming it "seat". Load the seat selection from the alpha channel, flood fill with the wood pattern, and darken as in STEP 3.

On the same layer, load the seatedge selection from the alpha channel, flood fill with the wood pattern, and apply a Drop Shadow effect with the following settings:

Vertical offset (2)
Horizontal offset (0)
Opacity (100)
Blur (16)
Color (Black)

Invert the selection, and apply another Drop Shadow effect, changing the Vertical offset to 0 and the Blur to 6.

Deselect and save your work!


STEP 6

Add a new raster layer, naming it "leftsideedge". Load the leftsideedge selection from the alpha channel, flood fill with the wood pattern, invert the selection, and apply the same Drop Shadow effect as in the previous step - settings will still be there.

Deselect. Duplicate the "leftsideedge" layer, renaming the duplicate "rightsideedge". Mirror the "rightsideedge" layer.

Save your work!


STEP 7

Add a new raster layer, naming it "leftarm". Load the leftarmedge selection from the alpha channel, flood fill with the wood pattern, and darken as before. Contract the selection by 1 pixel, and apply a Drop Shadow effect with the following settings:

Vertical offset (3)
Horizontal offset (3)
Opacity (100)
Blur (11.1)
Color (Black)

On the same layer, load the leftarm selection from the alpha channel, flood fill with the wood pattern, invert the selection, and apply a Drop Shadow effect with the following settings:

Vertical offset (0)
Horizontal offset (0)
Opacity (100)
Blur (6)
Color (Black)

Deselect. Duplicate the "leftarm" layer, renaming the duplicate layer "rightarm". Mirror the "rightarm" layer.

Let's simplify our bench at this point by merging some layers! First of all, merge the "leftside", "rightside", and "bottomshelf" layers, renaming the merged layer "lowerbench". Then merge the rest of the bench layers (but NOT the white background layer), renaming this merged layer "upperbench". This will come in handy later when you go to decorate the bench!

Save your work.


STEP 8

We've finished with the colored part of the bench - so let's get to the snowmen forming the back! Change the Foreground Material to Color, and set the color to an offwhite - I used #EFEDED.

Activate the white background layer. Add a new raster layer, naming it "back". Load the back selection from the alpha channel, and flood fill with the offwhite color. Deselect.

These snowmen bodies are really close together, so in order to apply a good Drop Shadow effect to each of them, we will select them individually. To do this, Choose the Selection tool selection tool (S), click the tool's Reset to Defaults button, and draw a rectangle that surrounds the first snowman's body, like this:

selecting snowman1

Be very careful not to include any of the second snowman's body in your rectangle! When you have your rectangle drawn, click inside the rectangle - this will bring the marquee precisely around the first snowman's body, like this:

selecting snowman1
Note: If you have trouble making the selection, zoom in several times to enlarge your work area - it will be easier to find the exact edge between the snowmen this way. If you need to move the selection marquee slightly, click inside the marquee, and with the right mouse button, move the marquee. And if you make a mistake, UNDO and start over!

When you have the first snowman correctly selected, invert the selection and apply a Drop Shadow effect with the following settings:

Vertical offset (0)
Horizontal offset (0)
Opacity (100)
Blur (16)
Color (#808080)

Deselect. Repeat this process with the second snowman's body (select, invert selection, apply Drop Shadow). Then repeat again for the third snowman's body, and finally, for the fourth snowman's body.

When you have applied a Drop Shadow effect to each of the four snowman bodies, deselect and save your work.


STEP 9

Add a new raster layer, naming it "heads". Load the heads selection from the alpha channel, and flood fill with the same offwhite color. Invert the selection and apply the same Drop Shadow effect as in STEP 8 - the settings will still be there.

Deselect and save your work!

Note: In the next several steps, we'll be adding the hats and scarves to our snowmen. Here's where you can get very creative, individualizing your snowman bench to your tastes! You'll need lots of different patterns and fills for this part - I used at least five for my bench!

STEP 10

Let's add the hats! Change your Foreground color to anything - this is just a "placeholder" color! Just make it different from the offwhite you used for the snowmen, so you can see what you're doing!

Add a new raster layer, naming it "hats". Load the hats selection from the alpha channel, and flood fill with your "placeholder" color - I used a light blue. Deselect.

Here's where your creativity comes into play, big time! Using the Selection tool, select the first hat, just like you did with the snowmen bodies in STEP 8. This time the selections will be easier, though, because there's more space between the hats! Flood fill with whatever color, texture, or pattern you want! When you finish with the hat, invert the selection and apply a Drop Shadow effect with the following settings:

Vertical offset (0)
Horizontal offset (0)
Opacity (100)
Blur (16)
Color (Black)

Deselect. Repeat this process for each of the four hats!

Here are some suggestions for decorating the hats:

  • Use the Texturizer, or PSP's Texture effect to add texture to the hats, so they almost look like wool! I used the Texturizer's Sandstone preset, with Scaling 100, and Relief 4.
  • If you make your top hats black, or very dark gray, use white for the Drop Shadow effect instead of black!
  • On the second hat, I added a vector star, then changed all the nodes to Symmetric nodes to round out the corners!
  • For my third hat, I used the Airbrush to spray on some white paint! Then I used VM Natural Sparkle to add some sparkles!

Don't forget to add that Drop Shadow effect to each hat, after you've inverted the selection! When you have completed all four hats, save your work!


STEP 11

Add a new raster layer, naming it "hatbrims" Load the hatbrims selection from the alpha channel, and flood fill with your "placeholder" color. Deselect. We're going to use the same process we used in STEP 10 to color the hat brims! Use contrasting patterns or colors, or perhaps, like for the tophats, the same colors as the hats themselves!

Because the hatbrims are irregularly shaped, you might find it a little more difficult to isolate them using the selection tool. But, PSP has just the tool you need - the Freehand Selection tool!

Let's activate the Freehand Selection tool freehand selection tool, click the tool's Reset to Defaults button, and then set the Selection type to Point to Point.

Very carefully surround the first hat brim using the Freehand Selection tool. To do this, click once where you want your line to start. Move the mouse to the next point you want in the selection - as the mouse moves, a straight line connects from the starting point. Click the image wherever you want to anchor the line and change the direction. In the following diagram, I show you each point where I anchored my line - I started my selection by clicking at point 1, and anchored (clicked) at points 2, 3, 4, and 5:

making selection using freehand tool

When the line encloses the selected area, and has connected to the starting point, either double-click or right-click the point - in the above diagram, you would double-click at point 5. The line becomes a marquee (marching ants) to indicate that the selection is complete. Click inside the selection, and the first hatbrim will be selected!

hatbrim selected
Note: You can also use the Freehand Selection type instead of Point to Point, if you've got a very steady hand! The process is the same, except you drag around the area you want to select. To complete the selection, release the mouse button. Click inside selection to bring the selection marquee precisely around the hatbrim.

Add your pattern or color, texturize if you wish, and then invert the selection and apply a Drop Shadow effect with the same settings as in the previous step EXCEPT change the Blur to 6.

Deselect. Repeat this process with the second hatbrim. Then repeat again for the third hatbrim, and finally, for the fourth hatbrim. Be very careful to select only the hatbrim you are working on! If you get some of another hatbrim, hold your CTRL key down and select the part you want SUBTRACTED from your selection! Or use UNDO and start again!

When you have completed each of the four hatbrims, deselect and save your work. This is really shaping up now!


STEP 12

Activate the "hats" layer. Add a new layer, naming it "accessories". Load the hatband selection from the alpha channel (there's only one hat with a hatband), flood fill with the pattern or color of your choice, and apply a texture if you wish. Invert the selection, and apply the same Drop Shadow effect as above.

On the same layer, load the earmuffs selection from the alpha channel, flood fill with the pattern or color of your choice, applying a texture if you want. Invert the selection and apply the same Drop Shadow effect.

Deselect and save your work!


STEP 13

Let's add the scarf tails next. Activate the "hatbrims" layer. Add a new raster layer, naming it "scarftails". Load the scarftails selection from the alpha channel. Flood fill with your "placeholder" color again, and then deselect. Using the same procedures you used in the previous steps, select each of the scarf tails and color them! When you have completed a scarf tail, invert the selection, and apply the same Drop Shadow effect we've been using EXCEPT change the Blur to 16.

Deselect and save!


STEP 14

Add a new raster layer, naming it "scarftail-left". Load the scarftail-left selection from the alpha channel and complete coloring this scarf tail to match the other scarf tail for this snowman. Invert the selection and apply the same Drop Shadow effect you used on the other scarf tails - the settings will still be there.

Move this layer below the "scarftails" layer in the Layer Palette.

Deselect and save your work!


STEP 15

Just about finished! Activate the "scarftails" layer and add a new raster layer, naming it "scarves". Load the scarves selection from the alpha channel and flood fill with your "placeholder" color once again, and then deselect!

You know the drill - select each scarf individually, coloring as you want, inverting, and applying the same Drop Shadow effect used above to each! You can use the Selection tool for the first snowman's scarf, but you'll probably have better luck using the Freehand Selection tool on the third and fourth scarves!

We'll remain on this same layer and add the bowtie scarf for the second snowman! Load the bowtie1 selection from the alpha channel, color as you want, invert the selection, and apply the same Drop Shadow effect we've been using. Then, still on the same layer, load the bowtie2 selection from the alpha channel. Flood fill with your color or pattern, and apply a Drop Shadow effect with the following settings:

Vertical offset (0)
Horizontal offset (2)
Opacity (100)
Blur (6)
Color (Black)

Reapply the Drop Shadow effect, changing the Horizontal offset to -2 (minus 2). Then invert the selection, and apply another Drop Shadow effect with the following settings:

Vertical offset (0)
Horizontal offset (0)
Opacity (100)
Blur (10)
Color (Black)

Deselect and save your work!


STEP 16

You can add fringe to your scarf tails by using the Jasc-supplied Rope tube with Scale set to about 15 and Step set to 1. Use a new layer for each scarf, and colorize the rope tube to match your scarves! Move your fringe layers BELOW the "scarftail-left" layer on the Layer Palette.

Save your work!


STEP 17

You can add other "belly" decorations to your snowmen, such as buttons, patches, hearts, etc. Add each of these on a separate layer, so you can move them around at will. You will probably want these layers BELOW the "scarftails" and "fringe" layers on the Layer Palette. Get carried away decorating your snowmen!

Save your work!


STEP 18

The only thing we have left to do is the faces on the snowmen! Add a new layer, naming it "noses". Load the noses selection from the alpha channel, and flood fill with orange - I used #E7723C. Invert the selection and apply a Drop Shadow effect with these settings:

Vertical offset (0)
Horizontal offset (0)
Opacity (100)
Blur (6)
Color (Black)

Use the Pen tool pen tool (V), the Preset Shapes tool preset shapes tool, the Paint Brush tool paint brush tool (B), and the Airbrush tool airbrush tool to add eyes, eyebrows, and a mouth to each snowman. You may want to put each element of each face on a separate layer so you can manipulate them better! You will need to move some layers, especially those with mouths on them, BELOW the "noses" layer on the Layer Palette.

To make the cheeks, change your foreground color to #E99391, activate the Airbrush tool, click the tool's Reset to Defaults button, and then set the Size to 10 and the Hardness to about 8.

Click once with the left mouse button for each cheek!

If you need/want to move one of the noses, use one of the selection tools to isolate the nose (just as we did with the hats and hatbrims and scarves above), promote the selection to a layer, and then you can move it where ever you want!

Save your work!


STEP 19

Finally, let's clean up any Drop Shadow effects that spilled outside the bench! To do this, load the cleanup selection from the alpha channel. Activate the "lowerbench" layer, and press the DELETE key! Repeat on the "upperbench" layer!


That's it! You're done! You can add decorations to the Snowman Bench if you want. Or you can delete the white background layer, merge all visible layers, and tube it!

You might want to save the image in layers, though, so decorating is easier. I merged all layers EXCEPT the "lowerbench" layer and the white background layer, renaming the merged layer "upperbench". If you want to place anything on the lower shelf, be sure you place it on a new layer BETWEEN the "upperbench" and "lowerbench" layers, so the Drop Shadow effect created by the bench will also reflect on any items you place there!

Here's another bench made with a cracked wood pattern:

snowman bench

Have fun creating and decorating your Snowman Bench!


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