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:
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:
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.