Glossary - Version Independent Version

Version Note: This Glossary has been revised as have the tutorials that refer to it to be "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" (like this one) 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 find something in this Glossary that is inaccurate for your version of PSP, please EMAIL ME to let me know so I can fix it!
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To find an item in this Glossary, use Find (CTRL + F),
entering a keyword or keywords in the "Find what" box.
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dot Airbrush Tool, Using

The Airbrush tool airbrush tool simulates painting with an airbrush or spray can. To use the Airbrush:

  • Activate the Airbrush tool by clicking its button on the Tools toolbar.
  • On the Tool Options palette, set the brush tip shape and other options to determine how the Airbrush applies paint.
  • Select the Foreground and Background colors and materials on the Materials palette. You can use Foreground and Background solid colors, patterns, or gradients when painting with the Airbrush, as well as Foreground and/or Background textures.


dot Animations - Saving Files For Animation Shop

Animation Shop does NOT recognize PSP files created in PSP after PSP 7 - the version of Animation Shop distributed with PSP 9 is version 3.10, the same version distributed with PSP 8, after which Animation Shop was not distributed with PSP. Therefore, any file saved in layers for animation MUST BE SAVED IN PSP 7 format - otherwise, it will NOT open in Animation Shop. To save a layered image in PSP 7 format:

  • Choose File...Save As.
  • On the Save As dialog, set the Save as type to Animation Shop.
  • Click the Save button.
Version Note: The Animation Shop Save as type is not available in PSP 8; therefore, in PSP 8, to save a layered image in PSP 7 format:
  • Choose File...Save As.
  • On the Save As dialog, set the Save as type to Paint Shop Pro Image.
  • Change the low level qualifier to PSP.
  • Click the Options button, and in the Version panel, click the Save as PSP 7 compatible file radio button and click OK.
  • Click the Save button.
Note: Any effects or adjustments proprietary to a particular release might prevent you from saving the file as a layered Animation Shop Save as type image, or as a PSP image that is PSP 7 compatible. An example would be an image created in PSP X2 that uses Layer Styles. If the file cannot be saved "intact" in the prior version format, you should receive the following message:

save file will be limited to a merged image message

Click the "no" button to abort the save. You will need to remove any version-specific changes made to the image, finding other ways to create the same effect, and then try the save again. A merged image will just not do if you want to animate!


dot Animations - Saving Images As Transparent Gifs

Animation Shop does not do a very good job of saving transparent gifs - there are always some "jaggies" left around the image. Here are two ways to avoid this problem and keep your animations "clean":

  • Use a solid Background behind your animation layers. In other words, if you will be using the animation on a white Background, when you have completed creating your animation image in Paint Shop Pro, create a white layer, duplicate this layer as many times as you have layers in the animation, and merge one white layer with each animation layer. This makes the white Background part of the animation, and there will be no "jaggies".
  • An alternate procedure that gives great results is to Customize your animation during the save process. To do this, click on the Customize button on the Animation Quality Versus Output Size screen (first screen in the save dialog after naming your animation):
    • Click on the Colors tab:
      • Choose the number of colors - I usually use 255 colors.
      • In the Create palette by section, choose Optimized Median Cut.
      • In the Reduce colors by section, choose Error Diffusion.
    • Click on the Optimizations tab:
      • Check Write Minimal Frames.
      • Check Collapse Identical Frames.
      • Check Map Identical Pixels to Transparent.
    • Click on the Partial Transparency tab:
      • Check the first item (Convert pixels less than), and enter a low number in the box - I have 1.
      • In the next section, check the first item (Yes, blend with this color) and then click on the color box to choose a color close to your Background - use the exact color for solid Backgrounds.

These fields are sticky fields, and your selections should be intact for your next animation, though you may need to change the color in the color box on the Partial Transparency tab.


dot Animations - Using Layered Images

In my opinion, the best way to create an animation is to create a layered image in Paint Shop Pro and open the PSP file as a multiframed animation in Animation Shop. With the file saved as a PSP file, you can go back and make any changes, add new layers, rearrange the layers, and so on.

Be careful that everything that you want to appear constantly in your animation exists on every layer of the PSP file. For instance, if you have a three-layeed blinkie, and you have a teddy bear standing outside the blinkie, you'll need to create three layers with the teddy bear on it, and merge one with each of the three blinkie layers.

Another item often forgotten is the watermark - unless you want it to pop out only once during the animation, you need to merge a copy of the watermark with each layer of the PSP file while you are still in Paint Shop Pro. To do this, create a new layer and add your watermark. Position your watermark where and how you want it to appear, and then duplicate this layer as many times as you need to so you can merge it with each layer of the animation. Now merge one of the watermark layers with each layer of the psp file:

  • Hide all layers except one watermark layer, and one animation layer.
  • Merge visible layers.

Repeat the above process until all watermark layers have been merged. Now make all layers visible, save your image in PSP format, and you're ready to go to Animation Shop.

In order for multilayered PSP files to work correctly, Animation Shop must be configured to keep layers as separate frames. To configure Animation Shop this way, open Animation Shop and choose File...Preferences...General Program Preferences. Click on the Layered Files tab and check "Keep layers as separate frames". This feature causes Animation Shop to open a multilayered file and keep each layer as a separate frame. It's a very powerful feature.

Select the "Export frames to Paint Shop Pro as layered images" check box to have Paint Shop Pro create a single multilayered image in which each of the exported frames is turned into a layer. Deselecting this check box will revert to a separate image per exported frame. Finally, check "Preserve overall layer transparency" to retain the transparency level set for each layer.

Now, open your multilayered PSP file in Animation Shop, and click the View Animation button (or choose View...Animation). If the image checks out, you're ready to save the animation.


dot Bezier Lines

By definition, a Bézier 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 Bézier 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). The shape of the curve is determined by the length and direction of each node's control arms.

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


dot Border, Add

To add a border to an image, choose Image...Add Border

To add a border of the same width around an image, be sure Symmetric is checked, and enter the border width in any one of the boxes - the rest will be filled in automatically. If you want different widths for different sides of the image, UNcheck Symmetric and enter the width for each border.

Click the Color box to choose the color for the border.


dot Border, Select

To select a border you have just added, click on the border with the Magic Wand tool magic wand tool. Unless otherwise indicated, be sure the following values are set for the Magic Wand tool: Mode = Replace, Match Mode = RGB Value, Tolerance = 0, Sample merged UNchecked), Feather = 0, and Anti-alias UNchecked. Left-click within the border, and you will see the selection marquee (commonly referred to as the "marching ants") surrounding the border.

Note: If your image contains any pixels near its edges that are the same as the color of your border, use this alternate way of selecting the border:
  • Choose Selections...Select All.
  • Contract the selection by the number of pixels in the border by choosing Selections...Modify...Contract.
  • Invert the selection by choosing Selections...Invert Selection.
You should now have ONLY the border selected.


dot Brush Strokes Artistic Effect

To apply the Brush Strokes effect, use Effects...Art Media Effects...Brush Strokes.


dot Chisel Effect

To apply the Chisel Effect, choose Effects...3D Effects...Chisel. This effect adds a three-dimensional border to an image, using the Color chosen on the panel to color the chisel area if the Solid color option is selected.


dot Color - Finding the Color You Just Used

When you've replaced a Foreground or Background color with another color, and you need the previous color again, right-click on the color box and find your color in the Recent Colors dialog box that pops up.


dot Color - Set From An Image

To set your Foreground color to a color from your image, activate the Dropper tool dropper tool (E) and left-click on the color you want.

To set your Background color to a color from your image, activate the Dropper tool (E) and right-click on the color you want.

To use the color you have set from an image, set the corresponding style to Color (see Solid Color, Set A Style To below).


dot Color Replacer Tool, Using

The Color Replacer tool color replacer tool used the Foreground and Background colors from the Materials palette to replace one color in an image with a new color. You can use brush strokes to replace only those areas the brush touches, or you can double-click the image to replace the color throughout.

Note: You can also set a Tolerance value on the Tool Options palette - this lets you replace colors that are similar but not identical, to the original. As the tolerance value is increased, more colors are replaced. If you set Tolerance to 0, the pixels to be replaced must match the specified color exactly. With a setting of 200, all the pixels are changed.

To replace the Background color with the Foreground color, double-click the left mouse button anywhere in the image. To replace the Foreground color with the Background color, double-click the right mouse button anywhere in the image.

To confine the color replacement to a specific area, select the area before painting with the Color Replacer.

You can also use the Color Replacer tool to replace a pattern or gradient with a color, pattern or gradient in much the same way colors replace other colors. When used in this manner, it appears the Tolerance parameter is ignored.

Beginning in PSP 9, the Color Replacer Tool Options palette includes the Replace All Pixels icon replace all pixels icon , which allows the user with one click to replace all pixels of the Background Material with the Foreground Material.

Version Note: The Color Replacer tool icon in PSP 8 and 9 looks like this: color replacer tool, and in versions PSP XI+, the Replace All Pixels icon looks like this: replace all pixels icon.


dot Colored Edges Effect

To apply the Colored Edges effect, choose Effects...Artistic Effects...Colored Edges.


dot Colorize An Image

One way to colorize an image is to use the Colorize command, which replaces all colors in an image or selection with a single color and saturation while leaving the lightness values unchanged. To apply the Colorize command, open the Colorize dialog box by choosing Adjust...Hue and Saturation...Colorize (or press SHIFT + L). Drag the Hue slider to the left or right, or type a number in the box to change the hue. Drag the Saturation slider to the left or type a negative number to reduce the saturation; drag it to the right or type a positive number to increase the saturation.

A second way to colorize an image is to use the Hue/Saturation/Lightness effect, with the Colorize check box marked. To color an image this way, choose Adjust...Hue and Saturation...Hue/Saturation/Lightness. Mark the Colorize box to turn the image into a duotone (two-color) image - the image turns into a greyscale image. Then select a Hue and adjust the Saturation and Lightness values to colorize the image.

Version Note: PSP X2 introduced a new tool called the Color Changer tool color changer tool which can be used to realistically recolor an object or a region in an image. What sets the Color Changer tool apart from other tools and commands (such as the Flood Fill tool, some of the retouching brushes, or the Colorize, Hue/Saturation/Lightness, or Hue Map commands) is that it takes into account the shading of the specified color. The Color Changer tool detects and analyzes variations in image brightness and applies the recoloring based on that illumination.


dot Colors, Reversing

To reverse the Foreground and Background colors, click the Swap Materials button color switcher.


dot Colors, Selecting

To set the Foreground and/or Background colors, use the Foreground and/or Background Color boxes on the Materials palette:

color boxes

To select a solid color, left-click a color box to display the Color dialog box. Click a color and then click the OK button.

You can also select colors using the Available Colors Panel, which appears when you click the Rainbow Tab on the Materials palette:

rainbow tab

Just left-click on any color to set the Foreground color, or right-click to set the Background color.

A third way to select a color is to use the display from the Frame Tab on the Materials palette:

frame tab

This tab displays an outer Hue rectangle and an inner Saturation rectangle. Click on the inner Saturation rectangle to choose a color - you can adjust the lightness by clicking on the vertical or Lightness slider, and the saturation by adjusting the horizontal or Saturation slider.

To use a color for the Foreground or Background Material, click the Styles button and choose the Color Style button color style from the drop-list.


dot Command, Repeat

When you want to repeat the last command you entered, use Edit...Repeat, or press CTRL + Y. You can also add the Repeat icon repeat icon to a toolbar for easy access.


dot Copy A Selection or Image

To copy a selection to the clipboard (an area of your computer’s memory used for temporary storage) while leaving the original image intact, choose Edit...Copy. From the clipboard, you can paste an image into a different image, or a different area or layer of the same image.

Shortcut: CTRL + C


dot Crop Tool, Use

Use the Crop tool crop tool (C) to remove unwanted portions of an image. To activate this tool, click on the Crop tool button on the Tools toolbar. Define the crop rectangle by doing any of the following:

  • Click and drag the crop area rectangle over the image.
  • Enter values for the Height and Width of the crop area on the Tool Options palette.
  • Enter positions for the Top, Bottom, Left, and Right sides of the crop area on the Tool Options palette.
Note: The image area outside the crop rectangle will be shaded grey by default. To modify the color of this shaded area, or to turn off the shading option, go to the Transparency and Shading tab of the General Program Preferences dialog.

To adjust the crop area, do any of the following:

  • Click and drag an edge or corner handle.
  • Move the entire crop rectangle by placing the cursor inside it and then dragging the mouse.
  • Adjust the Height and Width values in the Tool Options palette.
  • Adjust the Top, Bottom, Left, and Right values of the crop area in the Tool Options palette.
Version Note: The ability to define or adjust the crop area by entering the Top, Bottom, Left, and Right values was lost in PSP X2.

To remove the crop area and start over, right-click anywhere in the image.

To constrain the crop area to its current proportions, mark the Maintain aspect ratio check box on the Tool Options palette.

The Crop tool can automatically set the crop area to cover just the opaque (non-transparent) area of a single layer or an entire image:

  • To crop to the opaque areas of the current layer, choose the Crop tool, and then click the Layer Opaque button  crop to layer opaque button  in the Snap crop rectangle to group box on the Tool Options palette.
  • To crop to the opaque areas of all layers (the entire image), choose the Crop tool, and then click the Merged Opaque button  crop to merged opaque button  in the Snap crop rectangle to group box on the Tool Options palette.

You can also make a selection in an image and then crop the image using that selection. Though the selection can be any shape, PSP will place a crop area rectangle around irregularly shaped selections. To crop to a selection, do either of the following:

  • Choose Image...Crop to Selection.
  • Choose the Crop tool, and then click the Current Selection button  crop to selection button  in the Snap crop rectangle to group box on the Tool Options palette.

When you're ready to crop the image, double click inside the crop rectangle, or click the Apply button  apply button  on the Tool Options palette.

Version Note: PSP X2 introduced two new Crop features:
  • Crop to New Image option - allows the image area with the crop rectangle to become a new document while the original full document stays open.
  • A rotation handle on the crop rectangle, providing a convenient way to rotate or straighten images.

dot Customize

To access the Customize dialog - from which you can customize existing toolbars and menus, create your own toolbars and menus, and assign shortcut keys to common tasks - do one of the following:

  • Choose View...Customize.
  • Right-click on the Menu bar, any toolbar, or the title bar of most palettes and choose Customize from the context menu.
  • Right-click in a blank area in the workspace and choose Customize from the context menu ( Version Note: Not available in PSP 8 ).


dot Cutout Effect

To apply a Cutout Effect, choose Effects...3D Effects...Cutout.


dot Defaults, Setting

To reset the settings for a tool to the system defaults, in the Presets drop-list, select Default, or click the Reset to Defaults button reset to defaults button.


dot Deselect An Image

To deselect an image, choose Selections...Select None.

Shortcut: CTRL + D


dot Drop Shadow Effect

To apply a Drop Shadow Effect, choose Effects...3D Effects...Drop Shadow.


dot Duplicate An Image

To duplicate an image, choose Window...Duplicate.

Shortcut: SHIFT + D


dot Eraser Tool, Using

Use the Eraser tool eraser tool (X) to replace colors in an image with transparency. When you drag the Eraser across a raster layer, all the pixels in its path become transparent.

The Eraser tool retains the information it has removed from a layer - to restore the erased image, right-click and drag the Eraser over the transparent areas.


dot Fine Leather Texture Effect

To apply the Fine Leather Texture effect, choose Effects...Texture Effects...Fine Leather.


dot Flip An Image

To flip an image, choose Image...Flip.

Shortcut: SHIFT + I


dot Flood Fill An Image Or A Selection

Activate the Flood Fill tool flood fill tool (F), and left-click within the image or selection to fill with the Foreground color, pattern, or gradient, or right-click within the image or selection to fill with the Background color, pattern, or gradient.


dot Gaussian Blur Command

To use the Gaussian Blur command, choose Adjust...Blur...Gaussian Blur, and set the Radius as directed.


dot Gradient, Set A Material Style To

To select a gradient for the Foreground or Background material, click the Style button on the Foreground or Background Material box (green arrows below), and select the Gradient style button gradient style button from the drop-list. The most recently chosen gradient becomes active.

material boxes

To set either Foreground or Background Material to a new gradient, click on the Foreground or Background Materials box on the Materials palette. On the Materials dialog (partially shown here), click the Gradient tab (red arrow) to open the Gradient dialog.

Click on the gradient in the gradient swatch box, or on the arrow beside the gradient swatch (3), to select your gradient.
gradient tab - materials palette
Scroll until you find the gradient you want and click on it. The gradient name (1) will appear above the gradient swatch box.

In the gradient Style (7) area, choose from (left to right) Linear, Rectangular, Sunburst, or Radial. Different options are available with different gradient styles - if an option is not available for a particular style, it will be greyed out.

Set the angle of rotation by dragging the rotation needle inside the gradient swatch box (2), or by using the numeric edit controls of the Angle box (4).

The Repeats option (5) is used to set the number of times to repeat the gradient pattern in the image.

To reverse the colors in the gradient, select the Invert check box (6).

Set the Center Point (8) or Focal Point (9) of the gradient by dragging the crosshairs on the gradient swatch (see below) or by using the numeric edit controls of the Horizontal and Vertical boxes.

Note: If both center and focal points are active options for a particular gradient style, two sets of crosshairs will appear on the gradient swatch. If both center point and angle are active for a particular gradient style, the crosshairs will appear at the base of the rotation needle.

gradient linear style   gradient linear style

Mark the Link center and focal points check box to have the center and focal points be the same values.


dot Grid, Using

Grids are available to help you align your artwork and arrange image elements symmetrically. You can set the preferences for the grid spacing at inches, centimeters, or pixels. You can also set the horizontal and vertical spacing and the line color for either the current image, all future grids, or both.

You can display or hide the grids for the image windows. When you display the grids, they appear in all open image windows. To display or hide the grids, choose View...Grids, or press CTRL + ALT + G.

After you display the grid, you can change and save the color, units, and spacing separately for each image window. If you save an image as a PSP file, when you open it again, the grid appears as you saved it.

There are several ways to activate the Change Grid, Guide & Snap Properties dialog. Any or the following methods works:

You can use the Snap feature with grids as well as with guides. See Snapping to Grids and Guides below.


dot Guides, Using

Guides are individual vertical and horizontal lines that you place on the image to help you align objects. They are excellent tools for helping you get images exactly where you want them.

Note: To use the guides, the rulers must be displayed. Choose View...Rulers or press CTRL + ALT + R to display the rulers.

To display the Guides, choose View...Guides.

To create individual guides, click on the rulers and drag onto the image. Click on the ruler at the top of the image and drag to create horizontal guides; click the ruler along the left side and drag to create vertical guides.

To move a guide, click the guide handle (red arrows in image below) and drag:

guide handles

The position of the guide as you move it is displayed on the status bar as well as on the Info tab of the Overview palette.

To delete a guide, drag its handle off the image window.

You can change the color or position and delete individual guides using the Guide Properties dialog box. To display this dialog, right-click or double-click the guide handle. Using the Guide Position option, you can place guides precisely where you want them.

You can delete all guides or change their color using the Grid, Guide & Snap Properties dialog. To open this dialog, double-click the ruler or choose View...Change Grid and Guide Properties.

You can use the Snap feature with guides as well as with grids. See Snapping to Grids and Guides below.


dot Hue/Saturation/Lightness Adjustment, Using

Use the Hue/Saturation/Lightness command to shift all colors in an image and change their strength and lightness. To use this command, choose Adjust...Hue and Saturation...Hue/Saturation/Lightness (or press SHIFT + H). Changing the Hue shifts all pixels in an image around the color wheel to a different point. For example, if you change the red pixels to green, the green pixels turn to blue and the yellow pixels turn to cyan. Changing the Saturation adjusts the amount of grey in a color. The level of grey increases as the saturation decreases. Changing the Lightness adjusts the color’s brightness.


dot Inner Bevel Effect

To apply an Inner Bevel Effect, choose Effects...3D Effects...Inner Bevel.


dot Kaleidoscope Effect

To apply a Kaleidoscope Effect, choose Effects...Reflection Effects...Kaleidoscope.


dot Layer, Activate

To activate a layer, click on its Layer Name button on the Layer palette.


dot Layer, Add Raster

To add a raster layer to an image, choose Layers...New Raster Layer.

Alternate methods: Right-click on any layer in the Layer palette and select New Raster Layer from the context menu. The new layer will be added above the current layer.

Version Note: In PSP 8 and 9, you can also add a new raster layer by left-clicking on the New Raster Layer button create new raster layer in the upper left corner of the Layer palette.

In PSP X+, you can create a new raster layer by selecting New Raster Layer from the New Layer drop-list in the upper left corner of the Layer palette (red arrow below):

new layer drop-list

Tip: Press SHIFT while clicking the New Raster Layer button create new raster layer to bypass the Layer Properties dialog.


dot Layer, Add Vector

To add a vector layer to an image, choose Layers...New Vector Layer.

Alternate methods: Right-click on any layer in the Layer palette and select New Vector Layer from the context menu. The new layer will be added above the current layer.

Version Note: In PSP 8 and 9, you can also add a new vector layer by left-clicking on the New Vector Layer button create new vector layer in the upper left corner of the Layer palette.

In PSP X+, you can create a new vector layer by selecting New Vector Layer from the New Layer drop-list in the upper left corner of the Layer palette (see red arrow in image above).

Tip: Press SHIFT while clicking the New Vector Layer button create new vector layer to bypass the Layer Properties dialog.


dot Layer, Convert To Raster

To convert a vector layer to a raster layer, activate the layer and choose Layers...Convert to Raster Layer.

Alternate method: Right-click on the vector layer in the Layer palette and select Convert to Raster Layer from the context menu.


dot Layer, Delete

To delete a layer, choose one of the following:

  • Drag the Layer Name button to the Delete Layer button delete layer icon at the top of the Layer palette.
  • Activate the layer by clicking its Layer Name button. Then click the Delete Layer button.
  • Right-click on the Layer Name button and choose Delete from the context menu.

To delete a vector object (sub-layer), click its Layer Name button and press DELETE.


dot Layer, Duplicate

To duplicate a layer, choose one of the following:

  • Activate the layer and choose Layers...Duplicate.
  • Right-click on the layer in the Layer palette, and select Duplicate from the context menu.
  • Activate the layer, choose Edit...Copy to copy the layer, and then choose Edit...Paste...As New Layer.

Using either of the first two methods, the new image is directly on top of the original image. Use the mover tool to reposition it. Using the third method, the new image will be centered on the screen - sometimes it is easier to "find" the new image using this method.

Version Note: Starting in PSP 9, the Duplicate Layer button duplicate layer icon is no longer located at the top of the Layer palette. However, you can return that icon to the Layer palette using Customize if you wish. For a detailed explanation of how to customize toolbars, visit my Customizing Toolbars in PSP Tutorial.


dot Layer, Move

To move a layer, layer group, or vector object up or down, rearranging the stacking order of layers, click the name of the layer on the Layer palette and drag it to its new position. A black line shows the position until you release the button. When you drag an item (layer, layer group, or vector object), the cursor changes to a hand move layer hand. If it displays a null symbol move layer null, you cannot move the selected item to that particular position.

Alternately, use the following commands to move a layer, layer group, or vector object:

  • Layers...Arrange...Move Up or Move Down. Each time you choose the command, the layer moves up or down one level.
  • Layers...Arrange...Bring to Top. This command brings item to the top of the layer stack.
  • Layers...Arrange...Send to Bottom. This command sends the item to the bottom of the stack, or just above the Background layer, if there is one.
  • Layers...Arrange...Move Into Group or Move Out Of Group. These commands move layers into or out of layer groups.


dot Layer, Rename

To rename a layer, open the Layer Properties dialog box (see Layer Properties Dialog below), type a new name in the name box, and click the OK button to close the dialog box. The Layer palette displays the new name on the Layer Name button.

Alternate method: Right-click the Layer Name button on the Layer palette, choose Rename from the context menu, type the new name, and press ENTER.

Version Note: In PSP X+, an alternate way to rename a layer is to click the layer you want to rename in the Layer palette and then click again - when the name appears highlighted in an edit box, type the new name and press ENTER.


dot Layer Blend Mode, Changing

The Blend mode for each layer is displayed above the layer names on Layer palette:

layer blend mode
Version Note: In PSP 8 and 9, the Blend mode is displayed on the right side of the Layer palette):

layer blend mode

The layer blend modes are methods of combining the pixels of the current (active) layer with the pixels of the underlying layers. You are not combining the layers permanently; you are previewing the way they will appear if combined. To combine layers permanently, you need to merge them. The current layer whose blend mode you are changing is the Blend layer. The pixels of this layer are blended into the result of the combination of the pixels of all the underlying layers, not merely the layer directly underneath it.

To change the layer blend mode, click on the arrow at the end of the Layer Blend Mode box - the resulting flyout menu will list the available blend modes. Alternately, activate the Layer Properties dialog box (see Layer Properties Dialog below) and select the blend mode from the Blend mode drop-list. Click on the Help button for more information on each blend mode.

When you select a blend mode from the Layer Properties dialog box or Layer palette, PSP applies the blend to all pixels in the layer. Use the controls on the Blend Ranges tab of the Layer Properties dialog box to limit the pixels that the blend mode affects. By setting opacity based on brightness or channel value, you can drop colors out of the current layer and make other colors show through. For a further discussion on using the Blend Range controls, click the Help button on the Blend Ranges tab of the Layer Properties dialog box.

Note: If a layer blend mode is applied to a Layer Group, it applies to all layers within that group.


dot Layer Opacity, Changing

The Opacity setting of the Layer palette displays the opacity of each layer:

layer opacity
Version Note: In PSP 8 and 9, the Opacity slider is displayed on the right side of the Layer palette:

layer opacity

At an overall opacity of 100%, the default value, a layer is totally opaque and none of the underlying layer shows through. As you drag the slider to the left to reduce the opacity, the underlying layer begins to appear. To set the opacity of a layer, do one of the following:

  • Drag the Opacity slider on the Layer palette opacity slider , or
  • Enter a value for the Opacity in the Layer Properties dialog box.


dot Layer Properties Dialog

To open the Layer Properties dialog box, choose one of the following methods:

  • Right-click the Layer Name button and choose Properties from the context menu.
  • Click the Layer Name button and choose Layers...Properties from the main Menu bar.
  • Double-click the Layer Name button.
  • Choose Layers...Properties.


dot Layers, Hide and View (Unhide)

To hide all layers, right-click on any Layer Name button and choose View...None from the context menu.

To hide a single layer of an image, click on its Visibility button - the little eye to the left of the layer name visible layer. The Visibility button will show the "not allowed" symbol to signify the layer is no longer visible (hidden layer).

Version Note: In PSP 8 and 9, the Visibility button is seen to the right of the layer name, and will show a red "X" ( hidden layer ) to indicate that the layer is no longer visible.

To view (unhide) all layers of an image, right-click on any Layer Name button on the Layer palette, and choose View...All from the context menu.

To view (unhide) only the current layer and hide all the rest of the layers, right-click on any Layer Name button of the layer you wish to view and choose View...Current Only from the context menu. Choosing View...Invert hides the layers that were visible, and makes visible all layers that were hidden.

To view (unhide) any single layer, click on its visibility button to remove the red "X" or the "not allowed" symbol.

When you are working with several layers and want to merge only a few of them, it is sometimes easier to hide the layers you want to merge, right-click on one of the remaining layers, and choose View...Invert from the context menu. This leaves the layers you want to merge visible, and hides all the other layers.

Note: Making a layer current (active) does NOT automatically make it visible.


dot Layers, Merge All

To merge all layers of an image, choose Layers...Merge...Merge All (Flatten). Flattening an image converts all data to raster data, and replaces transparent areas of the Background layer with white.

Alternate method: Right-click on any layer in the Layer palette and select Merge...Merge All (Flatten) from the context menu.


dot Layers, Merge Down

The Layers, Merge Down command allows the user to merge two layers without hiding all the other layers. To merge the current layer with the layer immediately below it in the Layer palette, choose Layers...Merge Down. The resulting layer will be:

  • A raster layer if either layer is a raster layer.
  • A vector layer, if both layers are vector layers.
  • A mask layer, if both layers are mask layers.
  • A Background layer, if the layer to be merged with is a Background layer.

Alternate method: Right-click on topmost of the two layers to be merged and select Merge...Merge Down from the context menu.

Note: If the merge you attempt is not legal, the Merge Down command will be greyed out. One such illegal merge I have found is trying to merge a raster layer into a vector layer - that won't work. However, you can merge a vector layer down into a raster layer with no problem.

And here's another important item - the merged layer will take its name from the name of the layer merged into, the bottom of the two layers. So if you name your layers wisely, you won't lose the layer names.


dot Layers, Merge Visible

To merge only certain layers of an image, you need to leave only those layers visible, and "hide" the rest of the layers. To "hide" a layer, see Layers, Hide above. Once you have hidden all the layers you are NOT merging, activate one of the "visible" layers and select Layers...Merge...Merge Visible.

Alternate method: Right-click on any "visible" layer in the Layer palette and select Merge...Merge Visible from the context menu.

Note: Merging layers always results in a raster layer, except when using the Merge Down command (See Layers, Merge Down above).


dot Locking Transparency

The Lock Transparency option restricts the editing of raster layers to the pixels that already contain data. Transparent areas remain protected when you paint, apply effects, paste selections, or perform other edits. This feature applies to raster layers only, and is useful when changing the color or texture of a layer, among other things.

By default, transparency is not locked, and the Lock Transparency "padlock" is grey and open ( lock transparency button - off ). When transparency is locked, the Lock Transparency "padlock" is locked and displays in color ( lock transparency button - on ).

Version Note: In PSP 8 and 9, the Lock Transparency "padlock" looks like this when transparency is not locked ( lock transparency button - off ), and like this when transparency is locked ( lock transparency button - on ).

To control this option, do either of the following:

  • Click the Lock Transparency button on the right side of the Layer palette.
  • Select or clear the "Lock Transparency" check box in the Layer Properties dialog box.
Note: You can lock a layer transparency any time; remember to unlock it before trying to add to the layer.


dot Material Styles, Setting

To set the style for either the Foreground or Background Material, click the Style button:

material boxes - style buttons

On the drop-list, choose between setting the style to color color style, gradient gradient style, or patternpattern button.


dot Materials, Reversing

To reverse the Foreground and Background Materials, click the Swap Materials icon material switcher.


dot Mesh Warp Tool, Use

Use the Mesh Warp tool mesh warp tool to deform images, layers, and selections. To activate this tool, click on the Mesh Warp tool button on the Tools toolbar - it is probably grouped with the Deform and Straighten tools, or with the Warp Brush tool. A grid, or mesh, appears on the image. The grid intersections have mesh points, or nodes, that you drag to create deformations:

  • Click and drag a node to move it and deform the image.
  • Press SHIFT while dragging a node to move the entire row or column.
  • Press CTRL while dragging a node to deform the row or column into a smooth curve.

To apply the mesh warp, double-click the image or click the Apply button  apply button  on the Tool Options palette. To cancel the mesh warp, click the Cancel button  cancel button  on the Tool Options palette.


dot Mirror An Image

To mirror an image, or reverse it horizontally, choose Image...Mirror.

Shortcut: CTRL + M


dot Move An Object

To move an object, activate the Move tool move tool (M). Left-click on the image and drag to its new location.


dot Noise Command

To add noise to an image, choose Adjust...Add/Remove Noise...Add Noise.


dot Pattern, Set A Material Style To

To select a pattern for the Foreground or Background material, click the Style button on the Foreground or Background Material box (green arrows below), and select the pattern style button pattern style button from the drop-list. The most recently chosen pattern becomes active.

material boxes

To set either Foreground or Background style to a new pattern, click on the Foreground or Background Materials box. On the Materials dialog (partially shown here), click the Pattern tab (red arrow) to open the Pattern dialog.

pattern tab - materials palette

Click on the pattern in the pattern swatch box, or on the arrow beside the pattern swatch (3), to select your pattern from the Pattern Type drop-list. Scroll until you find the pattern you want and click on it.

Note: When you move your cursor over a pattern in the Pattern Type drop-list, the path to that pattern will appear as a ToolTip. This should help you find the pattern you are looking for.

The pattern name (1) will appear above the pattern swatch box. Open images can be used as patterns, too. They will be found at the top of the Pattern Type drop-list. If the image has a selection, the selection rather than the entire image is available as a pattern.

After you have selected your pattern, set the angle of rotation by dragging the rotation needle inside the pattern swatch box (2), or by using the numeric edit controls of the Angle box (4). The Scale option (5) is used to set the size of the pattern, from 10 to 250% of the image's actual size.


dot Perspective - Horizontal Effect

To apply the Perspective - Horizontal effect, choose Effects...Geometric Effects...Perspective - Horizontal.


dot Perspective - Vertical Effect

To apply the Perspective - Horizontal effect, choose Effects...Geometric Effects...Perspective - Vertical.


dot Pick Tool, Use

Use the Pick tool pick  tool (K) to rotate, resize, skew, and distort layers, floating selections, and images. This tool can also be used to select and modify vector objects. To activate this tool, click on the Pick tool button pick tool on the Tools toolbar. A bounding box with handles appears on the selection or layer. Deform the image by dragging the handles:

  • Resize vertically by dragging the center top and bottom handles.
  • Resize horizontally by dragging the center left and right handles.
  • Resize horizontally and vertically at the same time by dragging the corner handles.
  • Rotate by dragging the center bar.
  • Change perspective symmetrically by pressing CTRL while dragging any of the four corner handles; or change the Mode to Perspective on the Tool Options palette.
  • Apply a skew/shear effect by pressing SHIFT while dragging any of the four center handles; or change the Mode to Skew on the Tool Options palette.
  • Distort (move the corner) by pressing CTRL + SHIFT while dragging any of the four corner handles; or change the Mode to Free on the Tool Options palette.

The deformation is applied and the bounding box removed when you change to another tool.

Version Note: The Pick tool replaces both the Object Selector tool and Raster Deform tool in PSP X+.


dot Plug-in Filters, Applying

To apply downloaded plug-in filters in PSP, choose Effects...Plug-in Filters and find the Plug-in Filter you want on the flyout menu. Depending on the number of filters you have installed, you may have several plug-in filter lists (Plugins 1, Plugins 2, etc.). The filters will be listed alphabetically within each list, and from list to list.

Note: Several filters require the installation of two other files into your WINDOWS SYSTEM folder before they will work. These files are msvcrt10.dll and plugin.dll. Though msvcrt10.dll is widely available, plugin.dll is the property of Adobe, and is typically installed with Adobe products. If you are running WINDOWS 98 or WINDOWS ME, install these files in the C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM folder; if you are running WINDOWS 2000, these files go into the C:\WINNT\SYSTEM32 folder; for WINDOWS XP, install these files in the C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 folder; finally, for WINDOWS VISTA, place these files in the C:\WINDOWS folder.


dot Presets, Use

To use preset values in any PSP effect or for any tool, select the preset from the Presets drop-list on the effect dialog panel or tool Tool Options palette.


dot Raster Deform Tool, Use

Use the Raster Defo tool deform  tool (D) to rotate, resize, skew, and distort layers, floating selections, and images. To activate this tool, click on the Raster Deform tool button deform tool on the Tools toolbar. A bounding box with handles appears on the selection or layer. Deform the image by dragging the handles:

  • Resize vertically by dragging the center top and bottom handles.
  • Resize horizontally by dragging the center left and right handles.
  • Resize horizontally and vertically at the same time by dragging the corner handles.
  • Rotate by dragging the center bar.
  • Change perspective symmetrically by pressing CTRL while dragging any of the four corner handles; or change the Mode to Perspective on the Tool Options palette.
  • Apply a skew/shear effect by pressing SHIFT while dragging any of the four center handles; or change the Mode to Skew on the Tool Options palette.
  • Distort (move the corner) by pressing CTRL + SHIFT while dragging any of the four corner handles; or change the Mode to Free on the Tool Options palette.

The deformation is applied and the bounding box removed when you change to another tool.

Version Note: The Raster Deform tool was replaced in PSP X with the Pick tool pick  tool. However, the Raster Deform 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, D, and can even be moved back to the Tools toolbar if desired using PSP's Customize facility.


dot Recent Materials Dialog

When you've replaced a Foreground or Background material with another material, and you need the previous material again, right-click on the material box and find your material in the Recent Materials dialog box that pops up.

The top panel of that box contains the ten most recently used materials (if they are not already in the middle section); the center panel contains ten common colors, including black, white, and two shades of gray; and the bottom panel contains the Foreground and Background Material boxes, and the Other button used to display the Material Properties dialog.


dot Resize An Image

To resize an image, choose Image...Resize. If the image has more than one layer, select the Resize all layers check box to resize the entire image. Leave the box unchecked to resize only the active layer.

Shortcut: SHIFT + S

Version Note: In PSP X+, the default Resizing algorithm has been changed from "Smart Size" to "Bicubic".


dot Ripple Effect

To apply the Ripple effect, choose Effects...Distortion Effects...Ripple.


dot Rotate An Image

To rotate an image or layer, choose Image...Rotate...Free Rotate. In the Rotate dialog box, select the direction and degrees of rotation. To rotate every layer in a multi-layer image, select the All layers check box. Clear the box to rotate only the current layer.

Shortcut: CTRL + R

There are two additional rotate commands:

  • To rotate an image 90 degrees clockwise, choose Image...Rotate...Rotate Clockwise 90.
  • To rotate an image 90 degrees counter-clockwise, choose Image...Rotate...Rotate Counter-Clockwise 90.
Note: When you use either the Rotate Clockwise 90 or Rotate Counter-Clockwise 90 command, the ENTIRE image is rotated. If you need to rotate only the current layer, use the Free Rotate command, and UNcheck the All layers check box.


dot Sculpture Texture Effect

To apply the Sculpture effect, use Effects...Texture Effects...Sculpture.

The Sculpture effect accentuates the edges of an image so they appear embossed or sculpted. It overlays the result with a semi-transparent colored pattern. In the "Pattern" panel, click the Pattern box or bar and select the pattern to apply - the available patterns are stored in the Patterns folder.

Note: When you move your cursor over a pattern in the Pattern selection box, the path to that pattern will display as a ToolTip. This should help you find the pattern you are looking for.


dot Select An Entire Image

To select everything in an image, or select all, choose Selections...Select All.

Shortcut: CTRL + A

To select all the pixels on a layer, you can use one of these four methods:

  • Select the entire image (CTRL + A), and then float the selection (CTRL + F) - this will select all the non-transparent pixels on the layer.
  • Use the Selection tool to draw a rectangle around the image, or part of the image you want to select, and then click within the rectangle - a marquee will appear around the image, or part of an image, that is within your selection.
  • If the image is predominately one color, you can use the Magic Wand tool to select the image. Use the Tolerance option to vary similarity to the selected pixel other pixels must have in order to be selected. A tolerance of 0 will select ONLY those pixels with exactly the same RGB value as the selected pixel.


dot Selection, Contract

To contract a selection, choose Selections...Modify...Contract, and enter the number of pixels by which you want the selection to contract.


dot Selection, Copy

To copy a selection, choose Edit...Copy. This command places a copy of a selection on the clipboard while leaving the original image intact. From here you can paste it into a different image or into a different area or layer of the same image.

Shortcut: CTRL + C


dot Selection, Custom Selection

To make a custom selection, activate the Selection tool, and click the "Custom selection" button custome selection button on the Selection tool Tool Options palette . In the Custom Selection dialog box, enter the selection position, in pixels, for the left, top, right, and bottom edges. Click OK to complete selection.


dot Selection, Delete From Alpha Channel

To delete a selection that has been saved to an alpha channel in the active image, choose Image...Delete Alpha Channel. This opens the Delete Alpha Channel dialog. Select the alpha channel (selection) that you want to delete, or mark the Delete all alpha channels check box, and click Delete.


dot Selection, Float

To float a selection, choose Selections...Float.

Shortcut: CTRL + F


dot Selection, Invert

To invert a selection, choose Selections...Invert.

Shortcut: CTRL + SHIFT + I


dot Selection, Load From Alpha Channel

To load a selection from an alpha channel, activate the layer on which you want to place the selection, and then choose Selections...Load/Save Selection...Load from Alpha Channel to open the Load From Alpha dialog box. To load a selection from the active image, leave the current image name in the Load from document box. To load a selection from another image, use the Load from document drop-list to find the image, and highlight its file name. Then, in the drop-list below the document name, choose the alpha channel that contains the selection you want to load.

Follow guidelines in the tutorial for other options in this dialog, or press the Help button for further information. When you have chosen your selection and set the other options, click the Load button - the selection displays on the current layer of your image.


dot Selection, Load From Disk

To load a selection from disk, choose Selections...Load/Save Selections...Load From Disk. The Selection picker box shows selections files in the defined folders for selections, in the last used category. To change the folder, click on the Selection picker box or the drop-list arrow (green arrows below), and find the folder that contains your selections by choosing a different category (blue arrow below), or by clicking on the File Locations button (red arrow below) along the top of the selection picker list to define a new location:

load selection from disk drop list

Choose the selection or image file you want to load from the Selection drop-list. Follow guidelines in the tutorial for other options in this dialog, or press the Help button for further information. When you have chosen your selection and set the other options, click the Load button - the selection displays on the current layer of your image.


dot Selection, Make With the Magic Wand

To make a selection using the Magic Wand tool magic wand tool, move the Magic Wand over the area you want to select - the center of the crosshairs is the point. Click the color or area you want to select - a marquee surrounds the selection.

Note: In my tutorials, unless otherwise specified, the Magic Wand tool options should be set as follows: Match Mode = RGB Value, Tolerance = 0, Feather = 0, and Sample Merged NOT checked.


dot Selection, Modify

To modify a selection, choose Selections...Modify.


dot Selection, Paste As A New Image

To paste a selection as a new image, choose Edit...Paste...Paste As New Image. This command creates a new image from the selection.

Shortcut: CTRL + V

Version Note: The shortcut for this command changed in PSP X2 to CTRL + SHIFT + V. However, it can be changed back to CTRL + V using Customize.


dot Selection, Paste As A New Layer

To paste a selection as a new layer, choose Edit...Paste...Paste As New Layer. This command creates a new layer from the selection in the same or a different image.

Shortcut: CTRL + L


dot Selection, Paste Into A Selection

To paste a selection into a selection, choose Edit...Paste...Paste Into Selection. This command resizes the pasted selection to the size of the selection it is pasted into.

Shortcut: CTRL + SHIFT + L

Note: A selection or image pasted into another selection must be proportional to prevent distortion. See Selections, Making Proportional Selections below for further information.


dot Selection, Promote to Layer

To promote a selection to a layer, use one of the following methods:

  • Choose Selections...Promote Selection to Layer (CTRL + SHIFT + P). The name of the new layer is Promoted Selection.
  • Right-click on the Layer Name Button of a floating selection and then choose Promote Selection to Layer from the context menu. The name of the new layer is Promoted Selection
  • Cut or copy the selection and then press CTRL + L or choose Edit...Paste...Paste As New Layer. The new layer will be created above the current layer, and will have the default name, Raster x, where "x" is "1", or one higher than the highest similarly-named layer in the image.

Shortcut: CTRL + SHIFT + P


dot Selection, Save To An Alpha Channel

To save a selection to an alpha channel, choose Selections...Load/Save Selection...Save Selection to Alpha Channel to open the Save Selection to Alpha dialog box. The Add to Document panel contains the image name in the Add to document drop-list. Below the image name is a drop-list of all alpha channels in the document, if there are any. The Name panel contains the default name for the alpha channel - type a new name in the Name edit box to change this name. The Preview panel shows a preview of the selection being saved. Click the Save button to save the selection to the alpha channel.

Note: The limit in the number of alpha channels is 99 - that should be enough for most projects. If you try to save the 100th selection, the Save Selection to alpha Channel option will be greyed out. You will have to delete an existing alpha channel (see Selection, Delete From Alpha Channel above) before adding another. If you do not want to delete one of your alpha channels, you can save the selection to disk.


dot Selection Marquee, Hide

To hide the Selections marquee (the "marching ants") when it becomes distracting, choose Selections...Hide Marquee. Toggle the marquee back on the same way.

Shortcut: CTRL + SHIFT + M

Note: The selection remains active even when the marquee is hidden.


dot Selection Marquee, Move

To change the area the selection marquee encloses, you can move the marquee. This is useful if you want to fine-tune the area inside an oval or other selection shape. There are two ways to move the selection marquee:

  • With the current selection tool, place the cursor inside the marquee, hold down the right mouse button, and drag the marquee, or
  • Activate the Move tool move tool (M), place the cursor inside the marquee, hold down the right mouse button and drag the marquee.


dot Selections, Making Proportional Selections

To make selections suitable for "pasting into" other areas, they must be proportional to those areas to prevent image distortion. In PSP terms, the source selection must have the same aspect ratio as the target area. To ensure this

  • If you are making the selection to be copied into, note the aspect ratio on the status bar and use this number when selecting from your source image.
  • If you are copying into a selection of unknown proportions, copy the selection to a new image, determine its aspect ratio by viewing the Resize dialog, and use this number when selecting from your source image.
  • If you need an image of specific dimensions, make a new image with those dimensions, use the Resize dialog to determine its aspect ratio, use this number when selecting from your source image, and copy the selection directly to this new image.

For a detailed explanation of these methods, visit my Making Proportional Selections Tutorial.


dot Shapes, Making Them Constrained

When you want to get a constrained polygon (square, triangle, pentagon, etc. - that is, one with equal sides and angles) when using the Preset Shape tool preset shape tool (P), hold down the SHIFT key while drawing the shape.


dot Shapes, Make Them Specific Sizes

When you are asked to draw a rectangle or any preset shape in a tutorial, the Overview palette, Info tab, gives you some valuable information. As you move your cursor over the workspace, the cursor position is recorded. When you begin drawing, several more numbers appear on the palette:

overview palette

Look at the boxed entries at the bottom of the palette. The first of these, called Start pos on the panel, contains the coordinates of the starting position of the shape. The second pair of coordinates (End pos) indicates the moving cursor position as you draw out your image, and will continue to change until you stop moving the cursor. The third pair of numbers (Width Height), which also changes as you move your cursor, indicates the dimensions of your image (width by height).

This same information is also reflected on the left end of the status bar at the bottom of your screen:

status bar
Version Note: In PSP 8 and 9, that information is seen on the right end of the status bar.

In this case, the first pair of coordinates indicates the starting position of the shape and the second pair indicates the moving cursor position. The equal sign is followed by the dimensions of the shape, width x height. The status bar also provides one additional piece of information, the aspect ratio of the image, which is defined as the width divided by the height and in this case is 1.848. This information can be very handy to have at times.

Therefore, if you want an image of a specific size, make sure your Overview palette is visible (F9 is the shortcut key), and just watch that third set of coordinates, or keep a close eye on the status bar at the bottom of your screen.


dot Sharpen

To sharpen an image, choose Adjust...Sharpness...Sharpen. For more control over the amount of sharpening that occurs, choose Adjust...Sharpness...Unsharp Mask - I like to start with Radius = 2.00, Strength = 50, and Clipping = 5.


dot Sinedots II Configuration File, Opening

To load a particular Sinedots II configuration file, or settings file, you've saved, click on the OPEN button at the bottom of the Sinedots II filter screen. A list of configuration files will appear. Double-click on the configuration file you want to open.

To find the individual settings saved in the configuration file, click on the small down arrow beside the name box at the bottom of the screen, and a list of the settings in the currently open configuration file will drop down.

Any time you're not sure which configuration file is open, click the OPEN button. The Open Presets File dialog box will pop up, and the name of the currently open configuration file will appear in the "File Name" box. If that's not the one you want, browse through the list, double-clicking on the one you want.


dot Snapping to Grids and Guides

When you have the grids and/or the guides displayed, you can use the Snap feature to automatically align your paint strokes and objects to the nearest grid line or guide.

The snap influence setting controls how many pixels away an item must be to snap to a grid or guide. An item's center point will snap to a grid point or guide if the center is the closest part of the item to a grid point or guide. To change the snap influence, choose View...Change Grid, Guide & Snap Properties. Click the Grid or Guides tab and change the Snap Influence value.

To snap to the nearest grid line, choose View...Snap To Grid (CTRL + SHIFT + G). To snap to the nearest guide, choose View...Snap to Guides (SHIFT + ALT + G).

Note: If a grid point and a guide are equal distances from an item, the item will snap to the guide.


dot Solid Color, Set A Style To

To use a solid color for the Foreground or Background Material, click the Style button beneath the Material window

material boxes - style buttons

and choose the Color Style button color style from the drop-list.


dot Status Bar, Enable

If your status bar is not enabled, enable it by choosing View...Toolbars, and click on Status.


dot Text, Add

To add text to an image, activate the Text tool text tool (T). Set options such as font, size, alignment, leading and kerning on the Tool Options palette. Set material style, color, etc. on the Materials palette. Click the image where you want to place the text to open the Text Entry dialog box, where you enter the text itself.

PSP 9 introduced a new parameter called Direction which allows the user to choose either of three options:

  • Horizontal and Down - this is the normal direction for text, where text line are written horizontally, and subsequent lines are written below the first line.
  • Vertical and Left - this option places each character vertically, but subsequent lines are placed to the left of the first line.
  • Vertical and Right - this option places each character vertically, but subsequent lines are placed to the right of the first line.


dot Texture, Choosing A

To select the current texture for the Foreground or Background material, click the Texture button on the Foreground Material box or the Background Material box - the most recently chosen texture becomes active.

material boxes

To choose a new texture, click on the Foreground or Background Materials box.
texture tab - materials palette
On the Materials dialog (partially shown here), mark the Texture check box (red arrow). Click on the texture in the texture swatch box, or on the arrow beside the texture swatch (3), to select a texture from the Texture Type drop-list. Scroll until you find the texture you want and click on it. The texture name (1) will appear above the texture swatch box.

After you have selected the texture, set the angle or direction of the texture by dragging the control needle inside the texture swatch box (2), or by using the numeric edit controls of the Angle box (4). The Scale option (5) is used to set the size of the texture, from 10 to 250% of the image's actual size.

Note: When you move your cursor over a texture in the Texture Type drop-list, the path to that texture will appear as a ToolTip. This should help you find the texture you are looking for.


dot Texture Effect

To apply a Texture Effect, choose Effects...Texture Effects...Texture.

The Texture dialog box has three columns - the left column contains the texture swatch. Click on the Texture swatch or bar to select a texture from those available - the available textures are stored in the Textures folder.

Note: When you move your cursor over a texture in the Texture selection box, the path to that texture appears as a ToolTip. This should help you find the texture you are looking for.

Enter the values listed in the tutorial for the other fields.


dot Tiles Texture Effect

To apply the Tiles effect, use Effects...Texture Effects...Tiles.


dot Transparency, Setting A Material To

To set either the Foreground or Background Material to transparency, click the Transparency button transparency button. When a Material is set to transparency, the transparency button is depressed, and the Material box shows the transparency icon:

transparent material
Note: You cannot set either the Foreground Material or the Background Material to transparency if the active tool is one of the painting/brush tools - the Transparency button will be greyed out. If the tutorial calls for setting either the Foreground or Background Material to transparency, make sure you do not have a painting tool/brush active before you attempt this.


dot Tubes (Picture Tubes), Create

To create your own Picture Tube from an image, the image must be 24-bit, and must have only one raster layer with transparency. Choose File...Export...Picture Tube, and set the file options:

  • In the Cell Arrangement panel, enter the number of Cells across and Cells down.
  • In the Placement Mode box, choose how you want the images placed by the Picture Tube tool.
  • In the Selection Mode box, choose how PSP is to select an image from the cells within the picture tube.
  • In the Scale box, choose the percentage (10% to 250%) to reduce or enlarge each image in the picture tube - this parameter was introduced in PSP 9.
  • Type in the name you want for your tube in the Tube name box - PSP will add a .PspTube extension to the name.


dot Vectors, Adding Nodes

To add a node to a contour:

  • Enter Node Edit (see Vectors, Entering Node Edit below).
  • Click the contour you want to modify.
  • Press and hold CTRL as you move the cursor over the contour to where you want to add a node.
  • When the "add node cursor" appears ( vector cursor - add node ), click the line and a node is added.

In my experience, most of the time the added node is a Cusp node.

Note: In the realm of nodes, LESS is often BETTER - do not add nodes unless you have a specific purpose or goal in mind. The trick in using vectors and node editing is to name the nodes correctly so that the arms do the work for you. The more nodes you have, the more complex your work becomes, and the more lumps and bumps you risk having to smooth. To become proficient, practice with different types of nodes to see what they can do for you. See Vectors, Node Types below for a brief explanation of each node type.


dot Vectors, Changing the Shape of a Vector Object

You can adjust the shape of a vector object by changing the node type, moving a node, adjusting the node's control arms, or changing the line segments. To change node types or line segments, see Vectors, Defining or Changing Node Types and Line Segments below.

To change the shape of a vector object by moving a node, enter Node Edit (see Vectors, Entering Node Edit below) and drag any node to change the contour's shape. Note that if you drag a segment instead of a node, you move the entire contour.

Another way to change the shape of a vector object is to move the control arm handles of a node. When you activate a node, its control arms, with handles at the endpoints, become visible:

node editing - node control arms

Move your cursor over one of these handles - when the cursor shape changes to node editing - manipulator , click and drag the handle.

Note: Sometimes the control arms are not visible when a node is selected, or only one of the handles is visible. I've found that when I want to make both handles visible, changing the node type to symmetric (CTRL + S) usually helps. However, when a node has lines (rather than curves) on either side of the node, there is no need for a handle on the line side of the node, as the length of the line segment can be changed merely by moving the node itself. Changing the node to symmetric also changes both the before and after segments of the node to curves.


dot Vectors, Defining or Changing Node Types and Line Segments

To define or change a node type or one or both of the line segments on either side of the node, you must be in Node Edit mode (see Vectors, Entering Node Edit below). Select the node you wish to make changes to. Selected nodes are solid filled - the upper right node is selected in this image:

nodes

Right-click on the selected node, and choose Node Type from the Node Edit context menu.

Note: In the resulting pop-up menu, the current node and segment types will be greyed out. You can choose any of the non-greyed out node or segment types.

You can also change the type of several nodes by pressing the shift key while selecting them. To select all nodes, either press CTRL + A, or double-click on any node. Then right-click to access the Node Edit context menu.

Shortcuts: There are many UNDOCUMENTED shortcuts to defining or changing node types and/or line segments. Some of the common ones include:

  • CTRL + S - convert selected node to a symmetric node
  • CTRL + SHIFT + S - convert selected node to an asymmetric node
  • CTRL + U - convert selected node to a cusp node
  • CTRL + 1 - convert line before selected node to a curve
  • CTRL + 2 - convert line after selected node to a curve
  • CTRL + B - straighten line before selected node
  • CTRL + F - straighten line after selected node
  • CTRL + L - straighten both line before and after selected node

Remember, the node must be selected before using the shortcuts.

Note: These shortcuts DO NOT appear in the PSP Keyboard Map (Help...Keyboard Map), nor do they appear on the Node Type pop-up menu. However, you can add them using View...Customize. For more information on adding keyboard shortcuts to menu commands, see my Customizing Menus in PSP Tutorial.


dot Vectors, Determining Node Types

To determine the type of any node, in node edit mode, place your cursor over the node, and read its type on the status bar at the bottom of the screen. It will say something like this:

node editing - status bar

"Base Node" means the node is neither the starting nor ending point of the curve. "Cusp, Curve Before, Line After" gives you both the node type and the line segment types. The "(119.50, 29.50)" entry represents the coordinates of the node's location on the canvas.

You can also determine the node type by activating the node so that it becomes solid, right-clicking on the node, and choosing Node Type from the context menu. The current node and line segment types will be greyed out. Here is the Node Type pop-up menu for the node whose status bar entry is shown above:

node editing - node type context menu


dot Vectors, Entering Node Edit

To fine tune or completely transform vector objects, you can edit their nodes, contours, and paths. In Node Edit, you can change a vector object's size or shape; you can move or adjust nodes, change node types, add or delete nodes and contours; you can merge nodes or contours, reverse, join, delete, or break contours, or transform nodes by using transformation commands.

To enter node editing, do the following:

  • Activate the Pen tool pen tool (V) .

  • From the Tool Options palette, select Edit Mode pen tool - edit mode.

  • Click a vector object. The object becomes an outline with nodes.

As you move your cursor over your object in node edit mode, it changes format:

  • When it is a plus sign with small arrowheads at each end ( vector cursor - arrowheads ), you can move the node.

  • When it is a small curve ( vector cursor - curve ), you can move the entire vector object.

  • When it says START ( vector cursor - starting node ), the node is the start of the curve that makes up the vector object.

  • When it says CLOSE ( vector cursor - ending node ), the node is the end of a closed curve that makes up the vector object. The CLOSE node will always immediately precede the START node moving in the direction of the curve.

  • When it says END ( open curve ending node ), the node is the end of an open curve that makes up the vector object.


dot Vectors, Exiting Node Edit

To exit Node Edit, select another tool, or click the Apply button on the Pen Tool Options palette:

apply button - pen tool


dot Vectors, Making Selections From Vector Objects

Sometimes as you are working with vector objects, you want to make a selection from the vector object, to save either to disk or an alpha channel. The best and easiest way to do this is to activate the Pick tool pick  tool (Version Note: Object Selector tool object selection tool in PSP 8 or 9), select the object, and then choose Selections...From Vector Object. That's all there is to it.

Shortcut: SHIFT + CTRL + B


dot Vectors, Modifying A Vector Object's Properties

There are four ways to access the Vector Property dialog box:

  • Double-click on the object's Layer Name button on the Layer palette.
    Note: With vector layers, the Layer Name buttons of the vector objects on the vector layer are listed below the vector layer name. To display the Layer Name buttons of all the vector objects on the layer, click on the plus sign that appears next to the vector layer icon ( vector layer icon ) (Version Note: In PSP 8 and 9, the vector layer icon has a different appearance ( vector layer icon).
  • Right-click on the object's Layer Name button on the Layer palette, and choose Properties from the pop-up menu.
  • Choose the Pick tool pick  tool (Version Note: Object Selector tool object selection tool in PSP 8 or 9), select the object you're interested in, right-click anywhere inside the image and choose Properties from the context menu.
  • Activate the Pick tool pick  tool (Version Note: Object Selector tool object selection tool in PSP 8 or 9), and press the Properties button properties button on the Tool Options palette.

The Vector Property dialog box allows you change many things about your vector object without re-creating it. These include:

  • The name assigned to the vector object.
  • The stroke type and size.
  • The fill type and/or color.
  • The line style for the lines of the object.
  • Whether the object is to be visible or invisible (used for paths for text).
  • The object's anti-alias status - in case you forgot to check Anti-alias before creating your object.

This is very handy when you have been working on an object, and now want to change its color, or the width of the outside line, or you forgot to add a border (stroke) and now find you need or want one.


dot Vectors, Node Types

To determine the node type of a particular node, see Vectors, Determining Node Type above. There are four node types - symmetrical nodes, asymmetrical nodes, cusp nodes, and smooth nodes. The other options in the Node Type pop-up menu describe the line segments on either side of the node.

Symmetrical nodes have the following characteristics:

symmetrical node
  • Path is a smooth curve on each side of the node.
  • Arms always equal in length.
  • Arms always maintain a straight line.
  • Any change to one arm mirrored in other arm.

Asymmetrical nodes have the following characteristics:

asymmetrical node
  • Path is a smooth curve through the node.
  • Arms move independently, and can have different lengths.
  • Arms always maintain a straight line.

Cusp nodes have the following characteristics:

cusp node
  • Used to define a sharp change of direction in the path.
  • Arms move independently.
  • Arms need not maintain any relation to each other.
  • If there are line segments on both sides of the node, there will be no control handles. If there is a line segment on one side of the node, with a curved segment on the other side of the node, there will be only one handle. This will look similar to the smooth node with the single control handle, but unlike the smooth node, the control handle's direction does not have to follow the direction of the line.

Smooth nodes have the following characteristics:

smooth node
  • Has a curve segment on one side of the node, and a line segment on the other side of the node.
  • Has a single handle, on the curve side of the node - the direction of the control handle is always the same as the direction of the line.
  • Allows a curve to blend seamlessly with a line.
Note: The default node type when entering Node Edit for the first time on a vector object (other than some vector lines) is Cusp.


Last updated: July 27, 2009


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