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Tips 4 & 5   >    PSP5 Tips
Tips & Tricks for PSP5

  1. How do I make a picture look like it is on linen or on a woven fabric?
  2. Tips 5 index
    From Mardi:   You will need a fabric background tile or texture. Open it. Open the graphic you want to texturize, promote it to a layer.
    Create a new layer, drag it under the graphic layer, and flood fill it with the graphic pattern. Now go to your graphic layer and set the layer blend mode to 'multiply'. That should do it.

  3. A background color tip
  4. Tips 5 index
    From Bob Crispen:   If you put your background color >>>and nothing elseThis is one more reason to learn how to work with layers, and to always save in .psp format so you can apply the above at all times, even after your coffee-break.

  5. Easy single-image tubes
  6. Tips 5 index
    From Cookie Rogan:   An easy way to make a single tube without having to go through all the steps of making grids and setting the background to transparent etc.:
    1. Make the image you want for a tube on a white background. Magic wand > click the background. Selections > invert (now your tube-to-be is selected).
    2. Edit > copy.
    3. Create a new image the size of your future tube with a transparent background. Edit > paste.
    Your image is on a transparent background, ready to be exported as a picture tube!

  7. Exact placement of selections
  8. Tips 5 index
    From Jackie Laderoute:   To center a selection in your image, don't just copy and paste, but copy (or cut) and then paste 'As new layer': it will be correctly centered!
    For exact placement: on floating selections, the shift key used in conjunction with the arrow keys allows you to move the selection one pixel at a time.

  9. Pepping up an image
  10. Tips 5 index
    From Mike:   To add a bit more dimension to an image, duplicate the background layer (via Right-click). Emboss the duplicate layer. Use the overlay blend mode: nothing dramatic, it just gives a bit more oomph...
    Using other blend modes with this technique can yield very interesting results that vary greatly with different sorts of images.

  11. Fluffing up a bad .JPG
  12. Tips 5 index
    From Porter:   
    1. Duplicate the crappy image by right clicking image in the layers palette.
    2. apply gaussian blur (around 3.) to the duplicate layer
    3. set Blend Mode to overlay (you may later experiment with other blend modes here)
    4. now Duplicate the duplicate (optional)
    5. apply unsharp mask (optional)
    If needed, up the shadows in Highlight/midtone/shadow

  13. Use of the Control Key
  14. Tips 5 index
    From Porter:   Did you know that pressing the Control Key turns most tools into instant color pickers??

  15. Testing tiles for a background
  16. Tips 5 index
    From Fried Kampes:   If you are making tileable images, you may want to check once in a while if they do tile alright. PSP doesn't have the possibility to set your image as a background for your desktop, as programs like ACDSee and Thumbs Plus do. But that is not necessary if you just want to check your work! You don't even have to go to the Desktop's properties to set your image as the background from there! The solution:
    1. Open a new, large, image (I usually make it 600X600 pixels).
    2. Now, choose flood fill (the paint bucket on the toolbar), press 'o' for the control panel, and choose 'pattern'.
    3. In the options choose your tile as the fill pattern, fill the large painting with it, and now you can see if it tiles alright!

    From Jan:   If this is not large enough, of course, you can press shift-Ctrl-A, or press the 'full screen edit' button on the toolbar, or choose Menu > views > full screen. Now your tile will appear on your whole monitor which is great for checking those small seams out!
    Pressing Escape takes you back to normal view.

  17. Sharpening a scan
  18. Tips 5 index
    From navyblue:   If you have scanned a photo, and you want to sharpen it, try the following:
    1. Click Image
    2. Select Sharpen
    3. Select Unsharp Mask
    4. Set Radius to 2.00
    5. Set Strength to 150%
    6. Set Clipping to 10
    7. Click OK and see the difference

  19. I wanted to put the toolbar to the side of the screen and it disappeared. How do I get it back?
  20. Tips 5 index
    You can get your toolbar back with a keyboard shortcut: Ctrl - Shift - T. That should center all your toolbars on the screen, including the ones that wandered off.
    Watch it: this shortcut is a different one then the PSP4 - shortcut!

  21. Color accent in greys
  22. Tips 5 index
    From Thom Graff:   Did you see Schindler's List? The film was all in black and white, but when the jews were taken from the ghetto, amongst al those grey figures there was a little girl in a red coat... A very impressive scene!
    You can do that, too, in your artwork.
    1. Open the image you want to work on. Make it 16 million colors, of course!
    2. Now Ctrl-C (edit > copy), and Alt-E, P, N (edit > paste > new image). On the new image, choose Alt-C, G (colors > greyscale), then Alt-C, I, 6 (colors > increase color depth > 16 million colors).
    3. Ctrl-C (edit > copy) the new, image, highlight the window of the original image, and go Alt-E, P, L (Edit > Paste > as new layer). Now you have what appears to be a grey version of the original colorful image, but what is really a grey version sitting on top of the color one.
    4. Now all you have to do is select the erase brush, and erase the greyness from the part(s) of your image you want color-accented. Using this method you can produce a colored rose on a grey bush, or a full-colored person in a grey crowd.
    For variations on this, before erasing parts of the grey, you can colorize (color > colorize) the grey image to make it blue or green or whatever.

  23. Adding Tubes to your tubexx.ctl file
  24. Tips 5 index
    From JoFlo:   You downloaded a set of tubes that came with their own tubexx.ctl file. You put them in your tubes folder, but they don't show up in your tubes list in the options window. Now what?
    In your tubes folder there is a file Tubes.ctl, and this file contains the specifications for all the tubes PSP recognises. You can do two things to add the settings for the new tubes:
    1. copy and paste the .ctl settings for the new tubes into your main tubes.ctl (just use any plain ascii text editor to do that), or
    2. ignore the .ctl file you downloaded, open the new .tub file in PSP like it were a common picture, and export it as a picture tube (File > Export > Picture Tube). Now PSP will create the settings for the new tubes within your Tubes.ctl for you, you won't even have to touch it!
    One warning: if the zipfile you downloaded contains a file called 'tubes.ctl', DO NOT unzip that file into your tubes folder: it will overwrite the existing 'tubes.ctl', and in the Options windows for your tubes you will find nothing but the new tubes you just added. You will have to start exporting the old ones as Picture Tubes all over again!!

  25. Customizing your toolbar in PSP5
  26. Tips 5 index
    From Fried Kampes:   An addition I did not find in PSP 4: go to File > Preferences > Customize toolbar. There's a button there that's not on the toolbar yet: a simple arrow pointing upwards. This one is for increasing your color depth to 16 million colors. Add it to your toolbar, and make it a habit to click it each time you open an image.
    If your toolbar gets too crowdy: go to File > Preferences > Customize toolbar, and check for any buttons that you are NOT likely to use. Just remove them from the toolbar and work with only the ones that really will be used regularly...

  27. Pencil Sketch Technique
  28. Tips 5 index
    From Scott A. Munro:   To make a pencil sketch from that great photograph or drawing you got:
    1. Open your image.
    2. Layers > Duplicate
    3. Colors > Negative image
    4. Colors > Greyscale
    5. Open the layers palette, blend mode of top layer to 'dodge'
    6. Image > Blur > Gaussian blur
      Play with the radius, start at about 4, use the 'proof' button to check, then try higher or lower radius. Lower = thinner lines, less shadow, higher = thicker lines, more shadow. Click 'OK' when satisfied.

  29. Quickly deselecting a selection you've made
  30. Tips 5 index
    In PSP 5 you can right click to set your text, or, to deselect a selection.

  31. Change the color of an element in an image
  32. Tips 5 index
    You can change the color of an image, or an element in it using the colorize command. This tool works great for doing things like changing a photo with bad color, or creating the sepia tone found in old photographs,changing the color of a selection to make it color in a black and white image, or creating something entirely different. Don't like the colors you have in an image, play with it here.

  33. Moving the toolbars
  34. Tips 5 index
    You can move toolbars around on your screen anywhere you want them. They don't have to be constantly docked on the top of your screen, or on the right like the color plaette. Just click on an edge or clear spot and drag the toolbar where you want it. To prevent it from docking when you get near an edge, hold down the ctrl key while you drag it.

  35. Changing the opacity of a layer

  36. You can change the opacity of any layer by using the opacity slider bar. That particular layer doesn't have to be selected.

  37. Moving layer elements
  38. Tips 5 index
    From Doug:   When working with layers, especially with overlapping elements on different layers, it's sometimes hard to move the layer you want to move just by placing the mover tool over it and dragging. If you're having trouble selecting the right layer to move, activate that layer and hold down the shift while using the mover tool. Now the only layer that is allowed to move is the active one.

  39. Drawing straight lines in PSP5
  40. Tips 5 index
    From Jaguwar:   To draw a hassle-free straight line with the paintbrush, smudge, and similar "freehand" tools: click at the starting point of your line, then, instead of trying to drag a straight line to the other end, hold down the shift key and click at the endpoint of your line. Voilà! An easy straight line! (Repeat if needed).

  41. Quick fore- and background switching
  42. Tips 5 index
    From Jasc Software:   Using your right mouse button reverses the colors on your palette. So, if you are drawing a line, the left mouse button is your foreground colour, the right the background color -- you can hold down either button for either color. Similarly, if you want to reverse a gradient fill, fill using your right mouse button.

  43. Promote to layer
  44. Tips 5 index
    When you start to work on an image, by default it will be the background layer. Double click on the background layer in the layer toolbar and it will promote it to layer 1, then all of your tools will work.

  45. Saving a selection
  46. Tips 5 index
    This a real handy tip if you are working with a graphic or text and will be coming back to it experimenting.
    1. Select the desired element (text or graphic) and go to Selection/save to alpha channel ... name it and save.
    2. When you want it back .. go to Selection/Load from Alph channel
    This is especially handy if you are working with text .. you don't have to keep selecting the centers of O's and A's etc. This ONLY works in .psp format.

  47. General fix it
  48. Tips 5 index
    From Willy^:   When things get odd in 5 ... try starting PSP and as it is loading, hold down CONTROL-ALT it will ask you to delete all program registries. ( scary huh) Say yes. It MIGHT solve your problem. Definitly won't hurt. You'll have to do your preferences again.

  49. Saving image information
  50. Tips 5 index
    From MomJ:   There are two ways to save notes (font, size, references,etc.) for a graphic.
    1. View/Image information /Creator Information.
      This info will only be saved with your .psp file.
    2. Add a layer to your graphic and put the information there. You can keep it invisible by clicking on the color box to hide it.
      It too is only saved with the .psp file and the layers not merged. Delete, or copy and paste the layer to a new file before you merge the layers.

  51. Fixing edges
  52. Tips 5 index
    Sometimes we get those annoying extra pixel edges.
    1. First make sure that you have antalias unchecked and zero in the feather control.
    2. Select everything outside of the object with the pixel edges.
    3. Selections/modify/expand the # of pixels necessary and clear or delete.
    This works great for tube graphics, buttons, etc.

  53. Texture for a brush
  54. Tips 5 index
    From Steffie:   
    1. Create a texture for a brush by taking your original image of the texture you want .... resize it to 255x255 pixels or smaller . (bigger won't work)
    2. Select all.
    3. Click on any brush.
    4. Go to the brush control box , click the little button with the brush on it.. click custom/create. There you have it.
    There are already other custom ones there to check out too.

  55. File Association
  56. Tips 5 index
    From Charith:    Quickly associate image file formats with PSP5 by doing the following:
    1. Click on File
    2. Click on Preferences
    3. Click on File Associations
    4. Check the file formats you want Windows to use PSP5 to open on default

  57. What does resize & resample mean?
  58. Tips 5 index
    From Jasc Software:   
    1. Smart size: Picks the best method based on your image and what you are doing. Paletted images get method 4, 2 or 3 is chosen based on the change in size of the image.
    2. Bilinear resample: What the old "resample" was. Does a great job at shrinking and a fair job at going larger. Greyscale and 24BPP only.
    3. BiCubic resample: New - best at enlarging the image. Greyscale and 24BPP only.
    4. Pixel resize: What the old "resize" was. Duplicates or removes pixels as needed.

  59. Centering text or a new selection
  60. Tips 5 index
    From Porter:   If you add text, or a new selection, to your image and it is not centered, leave it selected. Just CUT and then Paste as New Layer to center it perfectly!

  61. Cropping a series of images
  62. Tips 5 index
    From Yvonne (quiltress):   If you have to crop a series of images (say, for an animation sequnece) at exactly the same place. it is wise to crop your first images the size and place you want, and then for each following image double-clicking the crop tool button. This will bring up a dialog box with your dimensions and settings in it. Don't change anything, just click OK and you will have the same cropping all over the sequence!

  63. Keyboard Shortcuts
  64. Tips 5 index
    From Fried Kampes:   They're so much help really:
  • after you load an image do Shift-D to give you a copy to work with. Just close the original so you can't overwrite it by accident!
  • after finishing work on selections Ctrl-D will deselect all (in PSP4 that would be Shift-N)
  • to invert your selection: Shift-Ctrl-I
  • if you're not happy with what you just did: Ctrl-Z is the magic combination to back up!
These are the ones I use most. But hey, they're all in the Help File!

  • I used to have seperate cursors for the different tools like paint brush, tube etc. All of a sudden I only have a cursor that looks like a + sign, and I can't get rid of it
  • Tips 5 index
    From Bill S.:   On the tool options palette, click on the tab that has the brush and question mark, and uncheck 'Use Precise Cursors'.

  • What font did I use on that image?
  • Tips 5 index
    From Fried Kampes:   Are you, like I am, one of those who always forget what font you used for a special occasion?
    Here's one solution: assuming you put each element of an image on its own layer (as you should), and save the image in PSP format, you could add the name of the font used to the name of the layer you used it on. The layer's name might, for instance, be 'background - Helvetica 16'

  • Keeping them tubes in order
  • Tips 5 index
    From Olamee McKeever:   This one is nice for a day off, or when you're ill and have all the time in the world! As you know PSP only knows one folder for its tubes. Now as your collection grows, you may want to bring some order in the chaos.
    1. Move all your tubes to the temp directory, and clear (or move, to be on the safe side) the tubes.ctl file. So now you have no tubes.
    2. Make a key, like 'A=animals, B=flowers, C=people' etc.. The re-install the tubes (you know, open them and 'file > export as picture tube' adding the key letter in front of each tube's name, like 'Awolfgrey' and 'Cbabysleeping'.
    Now when you want to use a picture tube in the future, you dont have to wade through the whole list of tubes in the 'options' windows, you can just browse the list till you reach the keyletter you are looking for.
    PSP6 doesn't use a tubes.ctl file, here it is enough to just rename the tubes! (I did, and it works OK!)