2007 SLP Curriculum Guide #28 Vector Hints and Tips
Curriculum Guide Index

This guide concludes the guides on Vector Drawing. We have covered many of the basics in Vector Drawing and using the various tools and options to create shapes, curves and lines. As often repeated, the more time one takes to explore vectors and its tools and options the more one become adept at Vector drawing. The following are comments that summarize the use of Vector Tools.


  1. Raster vs. Vector
    • Raster graphics is based upon a pixel method for creating images. And, all PSP features (except Vector drawing and Art Media) are available to both create and enhance images and photographs.
    • Vector drawing is based on a mathematical method for creating lines, curves and shapes. The only PSP tools available for Vector drawing are the Shape Tools, Pen Tool and Text Tool.
    • Raster tools does not allow easy ways to modify objects and shapes while Vector tools allows very accurate defining of curves and shapes and has many useful options for manipulating objects.
    • While in the Vector mode changing the size of objects preserves the quality of the lines, curves and shapes while Raster drawings are not preserved as accurately when changing object size.

  2. Basic Vector Drawing Tools
    • There are Three Basic Vector Tools (Text, Preset Shapes, Pen).
    • Text and Preset Shapes before converting the object to a Path can only be manipulated for size.
    • To use the full range of options available one must first convert the object to a Path. Then, one uses the Pen tool to manipulate the object and curves by its Nodes.
    • The Pen tool when used for lines and curves and freehand drawing automatically sets the path and node manipulation is available.

  3. The Properties Dialogue
    • Activate the Properties Dialogue by using the Pick Tool.
    • The Properties Dialogue allows manipulation of the Stroke Size and Fill colors/patterns as well as Line Styles.
    • Stroke and Fill and Line Style can also be adjusted using the Vector Tool Tools Option Palette and the Materials palette for color choice.

  4. Manipulating Objects
    • The Pen Tool is used to manipulate objects.
    • First convert the shape to a path.
    • Nodes are then visible and can be manipulated in various ways.
    • Right Clicking on the object reveals the Edit Context Menu from which many of the options for manipulating nodes can be selected.
    • Adding a node uses the Control key and clicking on the path where one wants a new node.
    • Selecting just some nodes uses the Shift Key and selecting (clicking on) the node(s> wanted.
    • When manipulating nodes it is best to select the Pen Edit mode so as not to inadvertently add nodes or new lines unless wanting to do so deliberately.
    • The Edit Context Menu has powerful options when working with objects from selecting all/none of the nodes, duplicating it, reversing contour or path, manipulating the object such as flip, mirror, contract, enlarge, etc.
    • Unique Shapes (flowers, ribbons, etc) are created by duplicating shapes (objects), reversing contour, and rotating the duplicated shape. The Tools Tool Options Palette has an option where one sets the values for these manipulations of duplicated shapes.

  5. Text
    • Text is able to be added to any vector shape.
    • When the Shape is converted to a path then Text will follow the curvature of that shape.
    • Text can also be converted to a Single Shape or to Individual Characters which then allows further manipulation of the Text (whole or it individual letters) using the nodes.
    • Text options allow where text will be displayed in relation to the curve (above, below) as well as how the text letters display in context with one another (kerning, tracking).
    • To have Text appear at the bottom of a circle or oval one may need to change the path of that shape so text can appear correctly.

  6. Some Hints/Tips and Suggestions
    • Become familiar with the Layers Palette when drawing shapes and curves and lines particularly when adding additional objects to the canvas.
    • Know that one may need to highlight a sub-layer in order to manipulate a particular shape or line, etc.
    • Often moving another shape or object to a new vector layer requires more than one step from copy/paste and then highlighting the new (often duplicated) object to the new layer.
    • Label each sub-layer so that when you have multiple sub-layers you know which one contains which object.
    • Save your work as a PSPIMAGE file to preserve the original set of layers.
    • Convert the image to a Raster Layer when done with vector drawing and wanting to enhance the image created.


Vector drawing takes some practice. However, as one masters it drawing of objects, shapes, curves and lines becomes very easy to do and allows very intricate designs to be created. Click on Thumbnail for full size.

  • The Shapes (flower petals, leaves) were created as vector drawings. The Text also was created as vector text and located below a circle (no longer visible) which path was reversed.

  • The Stroke sizes were large so that ultimately I could enhance them when the vector layers were converted to raster layers.

  • I did not use a fill pattern as once the image was converted to a raster layer I could fill the inside of the outline (stroke) with various colored 'Glass' jpegs I have on my computer.

  • The Strokes for both the flower and the text where selected (at different times) to add textures and sculptures to give a stained glass lead like look.

  • The leaves were created with the pen tool.

  • After the main objects were filled with various glass jpegs, I also used the Cutout effect on individual areas to get some shadings. I also used the Adjust features particularly brightness/contrast to get more brilliant colors.

  • I also lowered the opacity of various petals and leaves to get some of the background (green water like design) to show through.

  • The final touch was to draw a frame with panes and enhance it to create a stained glass like appearance.

  • This image used many layers and require many hours of work to get the shapes I wanted and the look I wanted with the glass jpegs.


  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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