Creating a Simple Image

The best way to learn is to roll up your sleeves and get right to it. The following exercise introduces the Paint Shop Pro tools used for drawing, painting, and creating lines and shapes .

Using the Preset Shapes Tool

To get started, open a new image at 500x500 pixels with the resolution set to 72ppi, the background color set to White, and the image type set to 16.7 Million Colors. Then follow these steps:

  1. Select the Preset Shapes tool from the Tool palette.

  2. Set the stroke and fill colors by moving the mouse over the color swatches. Left-click to set the stroke and right-click to set the fill color.

  3. In the Tool Options window, click the button to the right of the shape in the Shape Type option. Choose the Rectangle shape from the flyout menu (see Figure 34.1). Set the Line Width to 2. Leave the Antialias option checked or place a check mark in the option if none is present, but remove the check mark from the Create as Vector option. Leave Retain Shape unchecked, as well.

    Figure 34.1. Choosing a preset shape type.


  4. Click and drag the mouse within the image window. As you drag the mouse, a rectangle forms, grows, and changes shape. When you release the mouse, a perfect rectangle will be drawn where the outline was.

Try another!

  1. Reset the foreground color by choosing a color from the color swatch in the Color palette.

  2. Under the Color Swatches, click and hold the Fill Style to set the style. You can choose, for example, No Fill to create an outlined shape (see Figure 34.2).

    Figure 34.2. Choosing a Fill Style.


  3. Choose another color and, in the Tool Options window, set the Shape Type to Circle.

  4. Click and drag the mouse in the image window again. This time you'll draw a circle. You might notice that, unlike the rectangular shape, the circle is drawn from the center out. This piece of information will come in handy when you want to draw more complex shapes by combining various lower-level shapes.

Avoiding Aliased Images

If you haven't placed a check mark in the Antialias check box of the Tool Options window, and if your circle is large enough and it contrasts enough in color with the background, you may notice that it's a bit jagged (see Figure 34.3).

Figure 34.3. An aliased circle.


This jaggedness is called aliasing , and it's the result of taking an analog shape, such as a circle, and digitizing it. A shape such as a circle is analog by nature in that it has an infinite number of points that make up its circumference.

When you draw a circle on a computer screen, it must be represented by pixels. All these pixels together make up a grid of 640x480 pixels, 800x600 pixels, 1,024x768 pixels, and so on. Because the circle is being drawn on a grid, it is digitized. That is, only a certain number of points are available, and each point on the circumference of the circle that is being drawn must be represented by one of the pixels that make up the grid on your computer screen.

What all this really means to you, the digital artist, is that many of your shapes and lines will be aliased. This, of course, means that your images will have jagged edges. Or does it? Actually, it does and it doesn't. How can that be, you ask? Simple! You can use a process known as antialiasing to give jagged edges the appearance of being smooth.

Antialiasing uses mathematics and shades of colors that range between the colors along the edge to fool your eye into believing that the edge is smooth.

Figure 34.4 shows another filled circle drawn in Paint Shop Pro. This time, when I drew the circle, I placed a check mark in the Antialias check box in the Tool Options window.

Figure 34.4. An antialiased circle.


To show you the difference, I zoomed in on both Figure 34.3 (the aliased circle) and Figure 34.4 (the antialiased circle). Seeing the two images side by side will give you a better idea of what aliasing and antialiasing are all about (see Figure 34.5).

Figure 34.5. Aliased and antialiased circles side by side.


The image containing the aliased circle is obviously made up solely of black and white pixels, whereas the image containing the antialiased circle shows pixels of varying shades of gray along the circle's edge. It's those pixels that give the second circle its appearance of smoothness.

Using Brush Tips

Close the image on which you've been doodling and open a new image with the same settings as before. (You can save the first one if it is the beginning of a masterpiece you want to get back to later.) Then follow these steps:

  1. Select the Paint Brush tool. In the Tool Options window, click the Paint Brush Options tab to open the Brush Tip palette (see Figure 34.6).

    Figure 34.6. The Brush Tip palette.


  2. Use the controls in the Brush Tip palette to set the various options for the Paint Brush tool. You can set the size, the opacity, the hardness, the density, and the step of the brush. In addition, you can select a brush from the pull-down menu. To access that menu, click the brush icon at the upper-right of the tabbed palette.

    You can choose from a variety of brushes. I'll talk more about brushes in Chapter 38, "Painting Tools and Techniques."

  3. After you are finished selecting a brush and playing with the settings, draw on the new image to get the feel of the various brushes and their settings. Change the color, the brush type, and the opacity to see what happens.


    One nice option here is the brush preview in the upper-left corner of the Brush Tip tabbed palette. This small window shows you what the brush looks like and gives you a good idea of the effect you'll get when you use any given brush.

  4. Try lowering the opacity. If you lower the opacity enough, you'll be able to see previous lines you've made through the new lines you're drawing. This powerful feature enables you to mimic real-world drawing tools.


A new option in the Tool Options window, first introduced in version 6, is the addition of a control button next to the spin controls (the spin controls are the small arrows that enable you to change a numeric setting by clicking either the up arrow or the down arrow). The new control buttons can be recognized by the small icon with a small underlined , black, downward-pointing arrow. Clicking one of these, where available, will open a small sliding control. The sliding control, although not as accurate as the spin control, is much quicker to use when precision is not as important.

Figure 34.7 shows how I mimicked an orange highlighter marker drawn over some black text.

Figure 34.7. Orange highlighter over black text.


To create this quick highlighter fakery, I simply added black text to a new image and then drew over the text with an orange brush. I set the brush to Normal with the shape set to Round, and I set the size to 104 (just enough to cover the height of the text).

I set the Opacity to 52 (I played around with this setting a couple of times and used Edit, Undo until I got just the opacity effect I wanted). I set the Hardness to 0 (I wanted a very soft edge so that it would blend into the white background, as an older marker might do). I left the Density set to 100 and the Step set to 25. All of these settings combined to give the effect I wanted, that of a marker highlighting some text.

Try playing around with the brushes and their settings to see how they work. Don't worry if some of the options seem confusing for now.

Sams Teach Yourself Internet and Web Basics All in One
Sams Teach Yourself Internet and Web Basics All in One
ISBN: 0672325330
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 350
Authors: Ned Snell © 2008-2017.
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