2007 SLP Curriculum Guide #23 Exercises #1
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Before we move on to learning to use additional Vector graphic options for Vector drawing, let's take some time to just explore some of the vector drawing tools. In later guides we will explore using Text and the Drawing Tool in some detail. For now we will just use the basics that we have explore with some of the preset shapes.


  1. Start with a fairly large white background raster layer.
  2. Select a tool, check both show nodes and create a vector, select a shape and draw it (which automatically sets a vector layer.
  3. Right click and check 'Convert to Path'. (However, note that some tools do not require this step as the path is already active.)
  4. Click on the Pen Tool to reveal the nodes.
  5. Experiment with clicking and dragging nodes.
  6. Use the Pick Tool, Properties Option and experiment with the Stroke and Fill boxes.


    • Use Undo (Ctrl + Z) to erase or undo steps.
    • Click on the Layer Palette, click on the plus sign to the left of the Vector Layer to reveal the sub-sections for that layer (often only one).
    • Click on that sub section and right click and click on 'Clear' to remove the shape. OR, click on the Vector layer and right click on 'Delete' to remove the layer in order to start again.
    • Also, if you want to experiment with the background click on that layer and try out different backgrounds as well including gradients and patterns.

    • Experiment with each of the four (5) different Shapes Tools to explore and become familiar with each (Preset, Rectangle, Ellipse, Symmetric).


    Preset Shapes: Depending upon how you originally set up your Preset Shapes in folders, you may have only a few or possible many to choose from. I used a 'call out' and checked 'retain style'. This shape automatically has its path set so I just manipulated the nodes, then used Pick Properties to change the stroke size and the fill as a gradient. I then set the background to another gradient.

    Some preset shapes may have a double outline for the Stroke appearance. Thus one can drag nodes both on the outside and the inside of the stroke. Some preset shapes (dependent upon what you have in your preset folder) may not be amenable to node manipulation beyond just increasing/decreasing size.

    Rectangle: I first drew a rectangle shape and then manipulated the nodes. The process of node manipulation was often repeated using different node types on the same node to ultimately obtain the rope like design as illustrated.

    I also use the Properties dialogue to increase the stroke size and use a pattern. I used the fill and a gradient. What I should have done in the beginning was to get a selection around the rope design before changing its fill (pattern). But I did take some time to get a selection around the rope design.

    Then I used various effects including an inner bevel for the rope design, a cutout for the background. I also blurred the background. Then I set a shadow around the main design and a texture for the gradient background. Finally on the background I created a circle from it.

    Ellipse: I drew an ellipse, then shaped it into a heart by using node type cusp for the top node and bottom node. I moved the side nodes to obtain a better shaped heart. Also, check the 'Hints and Tips' below for using the Ruler, Grid and Snap to Grid options for View.

    Once the basic shape was done and centered I converted the layer to a raster layer in order to obtain the fill design. Using selections I also got a selection around the heart and used the Cutout option to create the inner shadow effect.

    I changed the background to a gradient, flood filled it and then used the distortion map to create another design. I finished up using a heart shaped mask and then added a texture to it as well as an inner bevel.

    Symmetric: I used the 'Stellated' mode which draws symmetric star shapes. There are some interesting options that you want to also explore when drawing as they can create neat looking flower shapes as well. The options to explore include the 'Number of Sides', 'Radius' (which creates the size of the inner area), 'Round Inner' and 'Round Outer' check boxes which change the shape of the outer or inner edges of the star shape.

    I began by first drawing a 15 point star with no other changes in option values. Then I experimented with various option values to learn about them. Next I drew a second start, sized it down and positioned it in the center. I followed up with a third larger star, use the layers palette and specific layer for the their drawing and dragged it to the bottom of the vector layer to back the two other stars. I finished the image by using properties for each star to get slightly different fills, and then enhanced the raster background. (See Hints and Tips.)

    HINTS and TIPS

    Using View Options

    To more precisely draw using Vector Drawing techniques, using Rulers, Grid, and on occasion Snap to Grid VIEW features will help.
    • In the VIEW menu, select Rulers, Grid and Snap to Grid.
    • Click on 'Change Grid, Guide and Snap to Properties' and select a value for horizontal/vertical and snap values. I tend to use a value of '50' for each.
    • By then positioning nodes on Grid cross sections one can accurately obtain very symmetric shapes.
    • There will be times when one will want to turn off the Snap To.

    Using Vector Layers Palette

    There are various ways to manipulate the Vector Layers.
    • When drawing additional shapes in a particular vector layer, sub-layers will appear for each newly drawn shape.
      • Each new shape will appear on a new sub-layer.
      • To activate a sub-layer click on it to make bold the vector title.
      • Once can then work that vector shape with additional options (properties, etc).
      • One can move the layer (thus position of the vector shape on the canvas) by dragging sub-layer over or below another sub-layer.
    • One can move a sub-layer to a new Vector layer.
      • First create a new Vector Layer
      • Next select the sub-layer of another Vector Layer you want to move.
      • Drag that layer to the new Vector Layer.
    • Keep in mind that you have to activate (click on) a sub-layer to work with it. Sometimes when trying or exploring options, etc they don't seem to work. Just open the Layers Palette and click on the sub-layer you want to work.

    Keep in Mind

    • After first drawing a Vector Shape, right click and click on Convert to Path in order to work with Nodes.
    • Not all Vector Shapes require the above step but worth checking as if the Convert is not activated the only changing of shapes is enlarging or making the shape smaller.
    • Use the Pen Tool to work with nodes.
    • Nodes can be made Asymmetric, Symmetric, Cusp which determine how the arms of the node arrows can be moved.
    • When learning to use the Basics, take time to explore and try out things. The more you do, the more familiar you will become with how Vector Drawing Basics work. Then exploring the more advanced options (next guides) will more easily fall into place.
    • Also, don't forget to Center your objects frequently to get the best chance for symmetric shapes.
    • Finally, when you first draw a Vector Shape it may include previous Properties so use Properties to return to just a black Stroke for your shape.


    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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