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General PSP Tips
General PSP Tips & Tricks

  1. Talent.8bf, the underestimated plugin
  2. All PSP Versions Index
    In our neverending quest for filters and plug-ins that may make your graphic life easier, our attention was drawn by one plugin that, we found, everybody already has got built into his system, the plugin TALENT.8BF. It may be invisible to you, but you have it, so there's no need to provide you with any link to download it.

    But we do think you should be reminded of some of the requirements in its Readme.txt: "the Talent plugin won't work properly unless you have a large amount of EXPERIENCE installed in your system, and even then the Operating System won't recognize your Experience unless you have, over the time, regularly updated the components STUDY.DLL and PRACTICE.DLL. Without these two, only the most basic features of Talent.8bf are enabled, preventing you from using Talent's full capabilities". The Readme file also states that "Talent, Study, Practice and Experience will only work well together if you have JOY.INI properly installed anywhere in your system".


  3. Never work on the original graphics
  4. All PSP Versions Index
    Did you ever find yourself sobbing over the keyboard, because you ruined that beautiful image you created yesterday but which needed some touching up?

    Make it a rule to NEVER work on the original graphic!! Open PSP, open your image, make a new copy of it by going to Window > Duplicate (or use shortcut Shift-D) and close the original. NOW you can start modifying.

    But still: always SAVE OFTEN (preferably in the loss-less PSP-format) while you work. After you did something you like: save it. Did you really mess up: clear the image and open the last version saved, so you can go on from the moment everything was still OK.

    Be sure you always work with 16 million colors: go to Colors > Increase color depth and when the option for 16 million colors is not greyed out, click it. Most of the efects and filters won't work if you are not in 16 million color mode!


  5. Text on a curve or circle
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    It's great that PSP6 will be giving us vector possibilities. But it's quite possible to create curved text in the older versions, too... with some patience!

    1. Create or open the image with the curve you want your text to follow.
    2. Create a new image, write your text in there in the color you want it to be.
    3. Deselect.
    4. Divide the curve or circle by the number of letter spaces you'll need.
    5. With the magic wand select the first letter, copy, and past in your image as selection at approximately the place you want it to be. Keep it selected!
    6. Now go to image > rotate, and play with the number of degrees until the result is satisfactory.
    7. The 'undo' function is essential here: just keep trying again, and dragging that letter, until it looks OK.
    Now do the same with the other letters, keeping in mind the numbers of letters you'll want to fit in there, until you have your text following the line you wanted it to follow.

  7. Selecting a small object
  8. All PSP Versions Index
    From zygyk:
       To quickly select a small object on a uniform background within a larger image, use the rectangle selection tool to draw a selection encompassing the object, switch to magic wand and, holding down both the shift and control keys, click within the rectanglular selection. Only the object will become selected!

  9. Replacing all instances of a color by another color
  10. All PSP Versions Index
    To replace all instances of one color by another color:
    1. Choose the color picker (the little pipette). Right-click the color you want to change to make that the background color.
    2. Make the color you want to change it to into your foreground color.
    3. Choose the color Replacer tool (the red arrow invading the blue).
    4. Double-click anywhere in the image and voila: the 'old' color is replaced by the new one!
    By playing with the tolerance you may even be able to take along the shadowed part, or the parts being just off color.

  11. Quick background tile
  12. All PSP Versions Index
    From Mari:   
    1. Make a new image, about 200X200. Fill it with any colour you want.
    2. Go to Image > Noise > Add.. (In PSP4: Image > Special Filters > Noise). Choose Uniform, and play around with the amount. Then click OK.
    3. Choose Image > Blur > Gaussian blur (In PSP4: Image > Blur > Blur more).
    Play around with the amounts, and then you'll get a simple, tileable background image.

  13. Turning paper art into graphics
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    From Fried Kampes:
       I don't know about you, but people my age started their graphics 'career' using paper and a pen or pencil (yes, computers came later then I did!). And many people still find it easier to make their sketches on a piece of paper than on screen. Well, if you have a scanner there may be a solution to this dilemma:
    1. Scan your original artwork! But don't just save it without further ado, for you want it to be a computer graphic.
    2. Duplicate the picture in a new window, then save the original: you'll be working on the duplicate.
    3. Add a new layer.
    4. Promote the original background to layer.
    5. Now you just need to follow the lines of the original with your cursor to draw (not copy) that on the new layer using line-size and color of your liking (I usually start with very thin and faint lines, after having adjusted opacity to the point where the original is just barely visible).
    Once you're done you can delete the original layer and finish your very own computer graphic.
    Of course you could also use this technique to make any Rembrandt or Michelangelo or Picasso your very own picture!

  15. I want to make a drop shadow behind an image. I hit select all, then set the drop shadow, and nothing happens. What did I do wrong?
  16. All PSP Versions Index
    It is quite simple really: PSP will generate the shadow for the whole of your selection. If you select all, then the drop shadow will be outside the boundaries of your image, so you will not be able to see it. What you have to do is select the part of your image that will have a shadow or, if it should apply to the whole image, make some room at the edges (Image > add borders), and add enough room to accomodate the shadow you want, whatever size you want it to be.

  17. How do I make new papers/textures?
  18. All PSP Versions Index
    Open the file you want to use as a paper structure.
    1. Convert it to gray scale, and save as .bmp to your 'papers' folder.
    2. In PSP4 you now must change the extension to .tex; in PSP5 you don't have to, but you may..
    3. Open PaperNam.idx (it's in the 'papers' folder, too) in Notepad or some other ASCII text editor.
    4. Add two lines to the listing: the first one is what you want to show in the selection menu, the second one is the exact file name and extension.
    Save PaperNam.idx, and you'll have a new texture to play with.

  19. Easy Metal
  20. All PSP Versions Index
    From Pastel/Lisa:
       Choose any pale colour for some text and while its still selected go
    plugins: filterfactory A: pool shadow: default , its a great way to make some EASY metal

  21. Viewing background tiles in PSP
  22. All PSP Versions Index
    From James Elmore:
       I check out my background tiling images from PSP occasionally because it's faster for me than switching back and forth to my browser to see how they will appear. First I create my tiling background (100 x 100), flood fill with a color, add some little dingbats spaced apart with one dropped below the other, add a drop shadow to the dings (do this to each ding separately); then open a new file, 400 x 400, white background, click fill with pattern (using the ding image as the pattern), I set the opacity on the fill to about 35% or so depending on how light I want the background to be eventually. Presto, neat little tiling dingies. (This is convenient for me also if I want to make sure a transparent gif will line up just right with whatever design is on the background.)

  23. Easy Screen Shots
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    From Vianne:
       Don't have a screen capture program, or struggle with the PSP one, you can take simple screenshots using the Print Screen button on your keyboard. This is great if you need to take a screen capture of PSP itself. Open the folder, file or image that you want to capture. Press the print screen button on the keyboard, and paste as a new image directly into PSP.

  25. Zoom tool for precision work
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    From Nanette:
       For precision painting the most valuable tool is the Zoom tool. Click the magnifying glass in the Tool Palette, then click in your image as often as you like: you'll see the individual pixels take shape, and you'll be able to change every pixel as you see fit. This works even better if you have a second window open with the same image, but real size: you'll see exactly how what you're doing in the enlarged image affects the whole.

  27. PSP keeps acting very strange
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    From Willy^:
       Did you really try everything, but your PSP keeps acting very strange? Your toolbars got lost, and they'll not come back by using CTR-Alt-I? You can't use any of your tubes? There's one ultimate way to cure almost every illness: in the other usersgroup it's called Willy's reset.
    Close down PSP, and relaunch it. At the instant it launches, hold down CTRL+ALT (You may have to do this a number of times, because you only have a fraction of a second to grab the keys, and if your late or early PSP launches normally).

    There will be questions about program registries and file associations: say Yes or OK: it concerns the PSP registries, and they may be the cause of your trouble. Let the program load, and just redo your preferences: tubes, plugins, brushes will all be OK now.


  29. Unerase
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    From Cathy:
       When using the eraser tool to clean up an image, you may sometimes accidently erase to much. Sometimes the mouse just jumps a little too much, and you erase a small portion that you wanted to keep...

    You can UNERASE by using the right mouse button, if you are working with a promoted or transparent image. This really is a lifesaver when you're cleaning up images for tubes. Rather that undo, and start the whole proces again, you can use the right mouse button to get just that small portion back.


  31. Paste into selection
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    When you Paste into Selection the pasted image automatically resizes itself to fit in that selection!

  33. Many of my menu options are greyed out, why?
  34. All PSP Versions Index
    If you find your menu options greyed out, it is dead certain you do not have sufficient colors!

    Go Menu > Colors > Increase > 16M colors, and you should be back in business!


  35. How does Hot Wax work?
  36. Windows Tips Index
    When using the Hot Wax Coating effect, the foreground color determines the color of the wax.

  37. Using the color replacer tool
  38. All PSP Versions Index
    When using the Color Replacer tool, see to it that the foreground color is the color you want to replace (left click that color with the eye dropper tool). The replacement color is the background color. Double right click on the color you want to replace. Watch your tolerance setting: this determines how much of the color will be replaced!

  39. Extra color picker!
  40. All PSP Versions Index
    Press the CONTROL KEY to turn most tools into Color Pickers: when you have a tool selected, press Ctrl and you'll see the tools cursor change!

  41. Chiseled effect
  42. All PSP Versions Index
    From Ramona:
       To get your text to look as if it were chiseled out on a piece of granite, just try this:

    1. place your text as floating.
    2. Leave it selected.
    3. Go to Selections > Invert.
    4. Go to Image > Effects > Chisel.
    5. Now go Selections > Invert again.
    After that apply a slight cutout using the Cutout filter.

  43. Merging into the background
  44. All PSP Versions Index
    You want to merge the edges of your image into the background (say, for your web-page)? This is a very simple way: in the color palette make the background color the color you want (see also the next tip!)
    1. Selections > Select All
    2. Selections > Modify > Contract (try some 10 or 15 pixels)
    3. Selections > Modify > Feather (also some 10 or 15 pixuls)
    4. Selections > Invert
    5. Hit the delete key, repeat if necessary, and admire the result!

  45. Remember your background color
  46. All PSP Versions Index
    If you want your background color to be consistent (like for the previous tip!) why not save a little picture filled with only your background color. If you want to merge anything into your background, all you have to do is load that little picture, right-click it with the Color Picker, and your background color should be just right!

  47. Making thumbnails in PSP
  48. All PSP Versions Index
    All you need to do to make thumbnails from all your images, is to resize them to something around 75 - 100 pixels!

    Go to Image > Resize and in the dialog windows fill in the largest size you want your thumbnail to have, see to it that the 'maintain aspect ration' box is checked, and click OK.

    I'd advise to save the new thumbnail (save AS) with the same name and extension as the original, but with an indication in the name to show it is a thumbnail. You could for instance give the thumbnail of 'flower.jpg' the name 'flower_th.jpg'.


  49. Fast preferences
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    When you have an image open with the rulers showing around it, double-clicking anywhere on that ruler brings up the PSP Preferences box! Handy for changing your grid size on the fly!

  51. Changing colors of the whole image
  52. All PSP Versions Index
    From Vianne:
       If you wish to change the whole image color, use Blend Mode=Hue rather than Colorize, for more accurate coloring.

  53. Previewing an effect
  54. All PSP Versions Index
    From Paul B Mitchell:
       Have you ever applied an effect (like 'buttonize' or one of the others where you get the windows with the 'before' and 'after' view) to a larger area and wished you could see the edge or the area where the effect appears? If you zoom out, you can't really see the details, but you may have seen your cursor change from an arrow to a hand...
    Maintain the size of the preview at 100%, put the cursor over the preview window, left-click and drag: you'll see the image move in every direction you want it to move to!

  55. Making round-edged boxes
  56. All PSP Versions Index
    From Lana Martin:
       Helps to do this in layers, and then merge when complete:

    1. Create your square or rectangle.
    2. Cut a equal-sized square from each of the corners.
    3. Create an equal-sized circle in every corner, align so that the circle does not protrude from the box.
    4. Cut away the bits of the circle that are inside the box.
    May also be done on a rectangle with 2 circles only (having the same diameter as the rectangle) for a 'pill' effect.

  57. How to blend a part of a photo into the background?
  58. All PSP Versions Index
    From JoFlo:
       Promote the image you want to blend to a layer. Then, with the selection tool set to 'freehand' and feather at 20, outline the area of the image you want to blend. Invert the selection, and hit delete. Now you can copy and paste the result into another background, and it will blend in perfectly!

  59. Good way to make it glow
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    From Stephan Ahonen:
       To get a glow effect in PSP:
    1. Select what you want to glow.
    2. Go image > Effects > Drop shadow
    3. Set shadow color to white, blur to 25 (of less for a tighter glow) and both offsets to 0.
    4. Gamma correct the results by a high number
    That should do it! (Shows best, of course, on a darkish background!)

  61. How do I center my text?
  62. All PSP Versions Index
    If you want your text to be centered: Click the text tool, type your text, click OK. Your text is added to your image now. While it is still selected (floating with marquee) cut the text from the layer, and than Paste As New Selection (Ctrl-E).

  63. Adding simple watermark
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    From Cheryl:
       To create a watermark, a text or image that overlays an existing image for copyright protection, add a new layer to an existing image.
    Add text or paste a copyright image into the layer. Now right-click on the floating selection in the layers palette, and choose Defloat.
    In the layers palette, turn down the layer opacity slider until your watermark is only barely visible. Now go layers > Merge > Merge all.

  65. When I make my gifs in PSP they look nice and clear. When I view them after putting them on a page they get spotty. What's happening?
  66. All PSP Versions Index
    From Leftie:
       You [could be] choosing the wrong options in the GIF Optimizer. I would suggest, without seeing the originals, that you need to change the method of color selection to Optimized Median Cut, set the colors to about 100 and dithering to 0. If that doesn't work, play around with the settings until the image looks good in the preview pane.

  67. Is there a way to change your psp graphic to a JPG and still keep the transparent background?
  68. All PSP Versions Index
    From Mary-Ann:
       No, you can't keep transparent background to a JPEG. You need to save as a GIF. Remember: don't use Blur, Antialias or Feather if you will save as transparent GIF.

  69. Removing the bands from a gradient fill
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    From Mike:   
    This so simple it's almost surprising. If you've ever done a gradient fill using black and white, odds are you've seen the bands of color. On my monitor they show up too well, but on darker screens they can hardly be seen at all. How you remove those bands, no matter the colors used, is easy. Effects - Noise - Add and throw on 3% uniform noise. It won't alter the image any, but if you've got any banding of colors it'll remove it entirely. Works just like magic!

  71. I need help please, I received a wonderful old photo of my parents when they were young, but its so tiny ! Is there a way I can re-size it larger, and save it large ? I viewed it with the magnifier, and it looks wonderful, but it won't let me save it large. Is there any way I can do it ? effects
  72. All PSP Versions Index
    From Liz:
        ***** As far as I know, resizing larger is all but impossible. Here is a statement I have saved for just such an occasion. I cannot take or give credit for it, because I do not recall where I got it from, but here it is: "Bitmaps are not scalable. If you increase the scale of a bitmap, the image degrades because the computer does not have enough information to create the new image. It merely takes the existing pixel information and translates one pixel into multiple pixels when you increase the scale of a bitmap engine. For instance, if we scale our 20x20 image to 40x40, each individual pixel in the image in its original state becomes four (4) pixels in its scaled state. This results in jagged edges."

  73. At some point, I noticed that when I would go to apply a fill,
    doesn't matter what type, etc....I would only get a partial fill. I
    have to apply the fill 20-30 times to get it to completely fill the
    area/selection, whereas before it would take just one click. I'm sure
    I've altered some setting but have no idea where to look.
    Any thoughts?
  74. All PSP Versions Index
    From Mike:
        Most likely, you have the flood fill tool set on a low tolerance. To get the entire selection to fill with one click, set the tolerance to 100 or set the match mode to "none." You should be able to find these settings in the tool option box as usual.. Hopefully this will fix the problem.