2007 SLP Curriculum Guide #21 Vectors - Basics II
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In this guide we will explore using 'Nodes' though only the basics so that once again you can become familiar with using Nodes. Nodes are used to shape the shape, line or curve into other shapes or curves. Using Nodes is one of the keys to Vector drawing and other than learning the basics will take time to perfect. However, one can learn to draw very intricate shapes and curves and therefore very intricate images or objects that then can be used in other ways (such as using it as a raster drawing to add additional PSP features).


Nodes are little boxes somewhere on a line (curve) that can be activated and dragged to change the shape of that line (curve). There are many different options one has available when working with nodes. We will explore some of them in this guide which are some of the basics to using Nodes. Take time to explore each of the exercise steps and upon completion of this guide you will be ready to move on to Vector Drawing.


  1. Draw a simple Square for illustration:
    • New Raster Canvas, 600 x 600 white Background
    • Select the Rectangle Tool, Square Option and check Show Nodes and Create on Vector.
    • Draw a Square that is fairly large (takes up about 3/4 of the canvas) and then Center into Canvas (Objects || Align || Center in Canvas)

  2. Right Click in Center of the Square to bring up a context menu.
    Note that one item you will see is 'Convert to Path'. Click on this item.

    Also, note that not all Vector Tools will show this item but you will discover which one do and don't as you experiment with various shapes to draw.

    In order to work with Nodes one does have to have the shape path, as it is known, set. Otherwise you will not be able to use nodes.
  3. Notice that at each corner of the square there is a Node. It is actually an outline of a small box that currently is transparent in its center.
    • Move your cursor over each node and fine one that says 'Start' and one that says 'Close'
    • We have drawn what is known as a 'Closed' object in that all lines are connected.
    • An 'Open' object is a line where there is no line connecting the 'Start' and 'Closed' nodes.
    • If you now click on a node, its center will turn black to denote that that node has been selected.

  4. At this point the only changes we can make to this object are to enlarge it or make it smaller by grabbing a node (click on a node and hold down the mouse button) and then moving it. You can experiment doing so but return to a size that is about the same as you began with.
  5. In order to manipulate nodes that will change the shape of the line or curve you must click on the PEN Tool. Also you must have the 'Convert to Path' checked in order for nodes to be manipulated.


The Pen Tool is used for two purposes. One purpose is to draw lines and curves and the other is to be able to use nodes to shape lines and curves. We will just use the Pen Tool in this guide to continue learning how to use nodes.
  1. Right Click any where in the canvas to bring up the Context Menu.
    • Notice that this context menu now includes additional items including the four that where available before using the Pen Tool.
    • We will only be exploring the 'Edit' and the 'Node Type' items each which brings up its own context menu.
    • Also, note that if no node is selected when you move your cursor over one of those two items, their respective context menu items are greyed out. However when one or more nodes are selected then some or most of their respective items are available.
    • If you do not see the nodes click your cursor over (on) a line to make them visible.

  2. Select a node. Then right click and select Node Type. Note that you can select Asymmetric, Symmetric, Cusp, Smooth/Tangent. When you select one of these items (except cusp which is greyed out due to being a square) you will see an arrow. Its tip will be pointing in the direction of the path. Its feathered end is opposite to the tip. You can grab the tip or end and rotate the arrow to change the shape of the line/curve at that node. Try it to see how things work. Just use Undo (Ctrl + Z) to return to a square.
    • Asymmetric: When you grab either end of the arrow you can move the arrow up or down. The opposite end will move in the opposite direction. Also, you can move the end you grab in or out to shorten or lengthen the arrow section.
    • Symmetric: Similar to the Asymmetric node you move things in the same way. However if you shorten/lengthen one end the other end will also shorten/lengthen the same amount.
    • Cusp: Each end of the arrow moves independently of the other end.
    • Smooth/Tangent: Will cause just the node selected to become either an Asymmetric or Symmetric arrow and will cause the node in a square to become rounded.
    • Convert to Line: If a node selected is on a curve, using this item will convert the curve to a line.


At this point we now have the basic knowledge to be able to use vector drawing in a simple fashion. Many of the other options available for us to use will be explored in additional guides. However, explore the next guide to learn how to work with Vector graphics where we not only will use the basics so far discussed but begin to use other options and techniques.


  1. When completing a tutorial or series of tutorials, and having placed them upon your web page, post in the SLP Forum your completed work using this layout:
    • Name or Screen Name.
    • Web Site URL.
    • Version of PSP using.
    • List of Tutorials completed.
  2. Post your Work:
    • List what you did, feature, options used, values.
    • Indicate steps taken and results.
    • Indicate things you found interesting, worthwhile and any other comments.
  3. Comment on any particular techniques you used or discovered, any particular results you found perhaps by accident and any ideas you have for creating a particular result.
  4. Post any questions and comments in the SLP Forum.

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