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PSP 8 Basics and Options
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PSP 8 Basics and Options
Created by: Zonia

In this lesson we will cover some basics such as opening and saving images and more.
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This zip files contains an image that you can use when we cover opening images. You can, of course, also use an image you already have if you prefer.

There are some basic tasks that will need to be done most every time you work with PSP 8 and we will cover those here.

First you will either have to open an existing image or to create a new image.


Open Image

To open an image click on "File" (in the menu bar) and then click on "Open". A window (dialog) will pop up allowing you to browse to the image you want to open. "Look in:" is the folder (or directory) you are viewing. Under that is the list of files that are in that directory. To select a file just left-click on it and click on "Open".

Note: The Open dialog is a common Windows dialog so we will not be covering how to use it. If you don't know how to browse to a file, e-mail me and I will explain how to use the Open dialog.



Another option for opening an image is to use the Browse feature. Go to File || Browse (click on "File" in the menu bar, then click on "Browse"). This will open the Browse dialog. The drives and directories (folders) are listed in the left section and thumbnails of the files in the currently selected directory are in the right section. Find the image you want to open and click on it, then hit your Enter key. Optionally you can double-click on the thumbnail or right-click on it and select Open in the pop-up menu.

Tip: You can open more than one image at once by holding down the Ctrl key and clicking on the thumbnails of all the images you want to open, then hit the Enter key.

Now open an image and check out the menu bar. You will have more menus now. Click on the Edit menu and you will see that you also have more options. Now close the image by clicking on the X in the title bar of the image or going to File || Close.
New Image Most of the time you will not want to use an existing image so you will need to create a new image. Go to File || New (or press Ctrl+N) or click on the "New" icon in the Button bar. This will bring up the following dialog:

PSP wants to know the Size, Type, and Color Depth of the image you want to create. In most cases if you are doing a tutorial it will give you the settings such as "200x200, Transparent, 16 Million Colors". When you see something similar to the above you put the first number in white box beside "Width", put the second number in the white box beside "Height", make sure "Color Depth" is set to 16 Million Colors (24-bit) and put a check mark in front of "Transparent".

OK, let's explore this window a little bit. There are some things that are not said in "200x200, Transparent, 16 Million Colors" like Units and Resolution. First, units are always pixels unless otherwise stated. As for the resolution, the default is 200 Pixels/inch, however for graphics that are going to be used on the web or in e-mail 72.00 Pixels/inch is the best choice. Another assumed default is the type of layer. Unless otherwise specified the default is Raster Background.


New Image

Now make sure the settings in your New Image dialog are:
– Width = 200 pixels
– Height = 200 pixels
– Resolution = 72.00 pixels/inch
– Background = Raster
– Color Depth = 16 Million Colors (24 Bit)
– Color = Transparent checked.

Click on OK. You will now have a window with a chessboard type background. The chessboard shows transparent (see-through) areas. You can change your transparency options on the Transparency tab in General Program Preferences (File || Preferences || General Program Preferences). Now close the new image: go to File || Close.

Another way of getting an image into PSP is Copy and Paste. Right-click on the butterfly image on the left and left-click on Copy in the pop-up menu. Now go to PSP and go to Edit || Paste As New Image. You should now have a copy of the butterfly image open in PSP.
Special Tip Sometimes you want to work on an image but you want to keep the original. PSP makes it easy: Open the original image (in this case we will use the butterfly image already open) and go to Window || Duplicate (or press Shift+D). You should now have 2 copies of the butterfly image open.

Save Image

Neither of the open images have been saved so when you go to close one of them PSP will ask you if you want to save it. Click on "No" for the first one and on "Yes" for the second one. This will open the Save As dialog (same as going to File || Save As). If you had gone to File || Save, the Save As dialog would have still opened because the image had not been saved previously. If the image had been saved previously then PSP would have saved it (and any changes you made to it) with the existing name and format to replace the previously saved image.

Back to the Save As dialog that is currently open. Browse to where you want to save the file, then type in a file name and click on "Save". Both the Save As dialog and the image close.

Open Image     Save Image Now open an image (File || Open) and then go to File || Save As so we can explore the Save As dialog a little bit. The two parts of the Save As dialog I want to draw your attention to is the "Save As Type" drop-down list and the "Options" button.

If you click on the little arrow beside "Save As Type" you will see a long list of formats you can save this image as. For our purposes we are only going to talk about Compuserve Graphics Interchange, Jpeg - Jiff Compliant, and Paint Shop Pro Image, better known as GIF, JPG, and PSP.

GIF images allow you to maintain the transparency of the image but reduce the number of colors to 256 which can reduce image quality depending on the number of colors in the original image. GIF files are also the common format for animated graphics. (Tip: If you want to save as a gif file it is better to use File || Export || Gif Optimizer as it allows you more control and lets you see how your graphic is going to look in GIF format.)

JPG does not decrease your color depth but any transparent areas will be filled in. The default color that is used to fill in transparent areas is White. This type (format) is the most commonly used when you save photos.

PSP will maintain the images transparency, color, layers, and so on however it is not viewable on the web or in e-mails. It is only viewable by people who have PSP or another graphics program that allows you to view PSP files.

GIF and JPG are the most common file types seen on web pages and in e-mails. PSP is best used when you are working on an image and want to save as you go. Tip: Save your image in PSP format when you first start and save it often as you work on it. When you are done if you want to put it on the web or send it through e-mail then save as GIF or JPG or use the File || Export || GIF/JPG Optimizers.


The Options button will show the Options for the currently selected Save As Type. For the purpose of this tutorial I am only going to tell you what the options for JPG and PSP should be.

For JPG Standard, a Compression Factor of 15 is usually the best. The lower the Compression Factor the higher the quality of the image, but the file size is larger. The higher the Compression Factor the lower the quality, but the file size is smaller. It's up to you how much quality you want to lose to have a smaller file size.

The PSP options are optional but I would suggest that you change them to Save as PSP 7 compatible file. PSP 8 files cannot be used in Animation Shop or be viewed by anybody except those who have PSP 8. (Note: You will also want to change the extension from .pspimage to .psp when saving.)


Click on Cancel in the Save As dialog to close it.

Now that we know how to open an image, create a new image, copy/paste an image, and save images let's cover a few more things.


Color Depth seems to be a common problem because if an image does not have the correct color depth several of the PSP options will be grayed out. As I mentioned earlier a GIF has a color depth of 256 colors. To make file sizes smaller there are a lot of images saved with a color depth of 256 or lower. In order for most of the options in PSP to work the image needs to have a color depth of at least 16 million colors. To increase the color depth of an image go to Image || Increase Color Depth || 16 Million Colors.


Another common problem seems to be Presets. Almost every feature in PSP enables you to save/use presets. The problem is PSP always uses the last preset used which can be a problem if you need to use the default preset.

The first item in the Tool Options palettes is Presets. Most dialogs also have presets. Whether it is the presets from Tool Options or the presets in a dialog they all use the same icons, so let's cover those so you know what they do.

Save Preset Option

Delete Preset Option

Preset: Reset to Default Option

The "Save Preset" button beside the preset box allows you to save the current preset; just type in what you want to name it, then click on OK.

The "Delete Preset" button deletes the currently selected preset; just select the preset you want to delete and click on this button.

The most important button though is the "Reset to Default" button which will set all the settings for that feature to what they were when you installed PSP 8.



Since there is a big interest in Plug-in Filters I thought I would touch on how to make them work in PSP. First I would suggest that you create a folder (directory) on your hard drive for filters outside of the PSP folders, however most people put/install the filters into the PSP Plugins folder. Next make sure you have the files "Msvcrt10.dll" and "Plugin.dll" (see download links on the left) in your Windows/System directory (System32 for Windows XP users). Install or extract the filter (depends on the filter, some have to be installed) into the Plugins folder. If you installed / extracted the plugin to a folder outside of the PSP directory go to File || Preferences || File Locations and click on "Plugins" on the left. Click on "Add" on the right, then click on "Browse". Browse to your Plugin folder and select it, then click on OK. Any future filters you put in the Plugins folder will automatically be available in PSP. The main thing here that seems to cause the most problems with filters is not having the Msvcrt10.dll and Plugin.dll files.
Undo Last Action

Redo Last Undone Action
A couple more tips then we will be done. On the Edit menu you will see the Redo and Undo options. The Undo option will undo the last action you performed. If you select it more than once then it will undo more actions. The Redo option will redo the last action you used Undo on. As with Undo, selecting Redo multiple times will redo multiple actions. You cannot Redo something until you Undo it. The number of actions you can undo depends on the Undo settings in File || Preferences || General Program Preferences.

File || Revert will remove all changes performed on an image since its last save. There is not a way to redo them as PSP basically closes the existing image without saving it and reloads the saved one.

That's it! I hope you learned a lot from this lesson without being too overwhelmed.