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USA Flag Part 2
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USA Flag Tutorial
Part 2
Created by: Brad Kidder
Brad's Home Page


This is Part 2 of a two-part tutorial on creating a flag and flagpole. If you have not done Part 1 go here first. You will need your flag from Part 1. I hope you saved the flag or still have it in PSP. If not, you can go to Part 1 and use Save As... to download the last flag on the page and save it where you want.

This tutorial should work with any flag with similar dimensions to the USA flag we are working with (412 by 216). Anything in that range should work.

To use a different flag, go to Flags Of The World to find a flag. Click on Country and then select the country you are interested in. State flags or Provincial flags are under the country flags. Right click on the flag you want and use Save As... to save it where you want. Then load it into PSP.


Step 1. Increase Colors

Most of the flags at the Flags of the World website will be GIF files and will need to have 16 million colors for PSP tools and effects to work.

Colors || Increase Color Depth = 16 Million Colors.

Flag Border

Step 2. Add Borders

Flood Fill tool:

  • Color palette, Background Styles = Brush
  • Color palette, Background color = Light Green(192,255,192)
  • Flood Fill Tool, Blend Mode = Normal
  • Flood Fill Tool, Match Mode = None
  • Flood Fill Tool, Opacity = 100

Image || Add Borders:

  • Border Size, Top = 70
  • Border Size, Bottom = 200
  • Border Size, Left = 125 (very important)
  • Border Size, Right = 50
  • Click OK

Great Britain

Step 3. Promote Flag to New Layer

Magic Wand Tool:

  • Match Mode = RGB value
  • Tolerance = 15
  • Feather = 0

Click outside of our flag in the light green border.

Selections || Invert Selection [Ctrl+I]. Only our flag should now be "selected".

Selections || Promote to Layer.

Selections || Select None [Ctrl+D]


  • Select the Background Layer (in the Layer Palette ).

Flood Fill:

  • Right click to fill Background Layer.


  • Select the promoted layer (in the Layer Palette ).

New Zealand

Step 4. Guide Lines

In the first tutorial we used Grid Lines. Now we are going to us Guide lines.

View || Rulers:

  • Toggle Rulers On ( click so the button appears to be set in).

View || Guides:

  • Toggle Guides On ( click so the button appears to be set in).

Rulers must be on first, to be able to set the Guide Lines. Guide Lines allow you to line things up; they can also be used with "Snap To" (Guides) to allow snapping of the cursor to the closest spot on the guide.

Notes about Setting Guides:

Setting a Horizontal Guide Line:

  • Click on the top ruler and drag your mouse downward. The position of the Guide Line will be displayed on the status line.
  • In a similar fashion, to set a Vertical Guide Line you would click on the ruler on the left side of your image and drag your mouse to the right.

Now click on the Left Ruler and drag one Vertical Guide Line across to the right, and place it (release the mouse button) at the right edge of the flag.

We need this because we are going to move the right end of the flag and we will want to put it back where it was.

Now Drag another Vertical Guide Line and place it at position 425 (pixels from the left of your image).

Notes on the next few steps:

The Wave Function starts at the left window margin of our image, goes up from the center to the top, then down. We want our wave to start at the top then go down.

The longest wave length that the Wave Function allows is 100 pixels. We need to use 100 or more to get our flag to look good.

By setting the left border to 125, the wave will start at the top of its second wave, and if we set our flag width to 300 pixels, we will get three waves, and our shadows will match the wave, because of the fact that we need to specify them in gradient repeats.

A gradient pattern with repeats starts at the left end of the selection at the left end of the gradient pattern and then goes to the right end of the pattern, then reverses the pattern and goes on from right back to left, then starts over. If we set Repeats to six then it exactly matches the three waves. That is why our flag starts where it does (125) and why we are going to move the flag to (425). The length of our flag will then have a width of 300.


Step 5. Move the right end of the flag

Deformation tool:

  • Grab the center node on the right side and move the right end of the flag to the left to our grid line at 425.
  • Apply the change.

Step 6. Apply Wave

Effects || Geometric Effects || Wave:

  • Horizontal Amplitude = 0
  • Horizontal Displacement = 1
  • Vertical Amplitude = 12
    (Some flags, like the Olympic flag, will not look good with this much amplitude. For the Olympic flag I used a value of 4).
  • Vertical Displacement = 100
    (100 equals the length of one wave in pixels).
  • Click OK


Step 7. Moving the right end of the flag back

Deformation tool:

  • Grab the middle node at the right edge of the flag
  • move it back to the right guide line
  • Tool Option Dialog, Apply.

Step 8. Select the flag

Magic Wand:

Click on the light green border.

Selections || Invert Selection.

Only the flag should be selected now.


Step 9. Prepare for shadows

Adjusting the Color Palette:

  • Color palette, Foreground color = White.
  • Color palette, Background color = Black.
  • Color palette, Foreground Style = Gradient.
    (click and hold the button down for about a second, on the little triangle and select the second from left icon).
  • Click the Foreground color (now its a gradient style) to bring up the gradient style dialog.

Gradient Style Dialog:

  • Style, Liner Gradient = top box pressed
  • Angle = 90°
  • Repeats = 6
  • Invert Gradient = unchecked
  • Click on the image ( located over the Edit... Button ) in the box and select the gradient named
    "#1 Foreground-Background"
  • Click OK

South Carolina

Step 10. Add Shadows

Add a new layer at the top of the list (in the Layer Palette, or go to Layers || New Raster Layer):

  • Layer, Blend mode = Multiply
  • Layer, Opacity = 55
  • Make sure this newly created layer, is the currently selected layer.

Flood Fill tool:

  • Click on the flag.
    You should see shadows that line up well with the waves.
  • Selections || Select None

At this time, if you are not happy with the darkness of the shadows, use the layers opacity slider to set a value you like better. After the next step you will not be able to change it.

Step 11. Merge Layers

Layer Palette:

  • Click on the glasses in the background layer to make that layer invisible.
  • Right click on the middle layer and select Merge Visible.
  • Make the Background layer visible again
  • Be sure that the Merged layer is selected


Step 12. Setting Cross Hairs

If you drag a guide line off the ruler it will disappear. If this happens, just get a new one.

  • From the top ruler, drag the right hand Guide line to 450.
  • Drag the other guide line to 420.
  • From the top ruler, drag a new guide line down to 435.
  • From the top ruler, drag another new guide line down to 220.

Deform to cross hairs

Step 13. Shaping the flag

We are only interested in two cross hairs of the guide lines. The one at (420,220) and the one at (450,435).

Because the deformation tool doesn't tell you where your cursor is when you move a node, we will use these two sets of cross hairs to position the right two corners of our flag.

Using the Deformation tool:

Hold down both the Shift and Ctrl keys so you only drag the one Corner Node.

When you select a Corner Node you will see this deformed rectangle symbol to indicate that you are only going to move the corner. If you make a mistake here, click on the Tool Options - Cancel button, then select the Deformation tool again. We don't want the rest of the flag to change shape or move.

  • Drag the bottom right corner node of the flag to the cross hair at (450,435).
  • Drag the top right corner node of the flag to the cross hair at (420,220).
  • Apply the change.

View || Toggle Guides off.

This completes our Flag. Now on to the Flagpole.


Step 14. Flag Ropes

Set Colors:

  • Color palette, Foreground Style = Brush
  • Color = Dark Gray(64,64,64).

Draw Tool:

  • Type = Single line.
  • Width = 2
  • Line Style = ( non custom ) Solid line

Zoom in so you can see the bottom left of the flag and the bottom of our image.

Hold down the Shift key, and click at the bottom left corner of the flag and drag down off the image.

Zoom in 3 = 1 so you see the top of your flag and the corner (0,0).

Shift click at the top corner of the flag and draw a line toward the image corner until you see (20,20) on the status line.


Step 15. Flagpole

We are going to use the Mover tool to position the next three selections, so they can be placed anywhere near where they should end up and we will position them after they have been created. This makes it much easier to get the size right, because you don't also have to worry about where the selection should be placed.

Selection tool:

  • Shape = Rectangle
  • Feather = 0

Start near the left end of the top line you just finished and drag left 20 pixels and then down off the bottom of the canvas. Before you release the mouse button, you may have to move your cursor up and down to scroll down to the bottom of the image. Make sure that your pole is 20 pixels wide by looking at the status bar.

Zoom in so you have a good close view of your selection and the top of your rope.

Click on Mover tool:

Right click somewhere near the top of the pole selection and position your selection so that the top right corner of your selection just touches the end of your rope.


Step 16. Painting the FlagPole

Color palette:

  • Foreground color = gray (128,128,128).

Flood fill tool:

  • Fill the selection gray.

Effects || 3D Effects || Inner Bevel:

  • Bevel = Quarter Round
  • Width = 15
  • Smoothness = 100
  • Depth = 20
  • Ambiance = 0
  • Shininess = 50
  • Color = White
  • Angle = 315
  • Intensity = 50
  • Elevation = 32
  • Click OK

Step 17. Top Ball

Selection tool:

  • Circle

Draw a circle about 30 pixels round near the top of your pole. Not too high or you will cut off the top of the circle selection.

Mover tool:

  • Move it to the top of the pole.

Flood Fill it with color gray (grey ).

Effects || 3D Effects || Inner Bevel:

  • Inner Bevel same settings (settings will be the same as the last used settings).


  • Selections || None.

Flagpole Collar

Step 18. Flagpole collar

Selection tool, Ellipse:

While still zoomed in, draw an Ellipse somewhere to the right of the flagpole. Make it (40,12) by watching your status line.

Mover tool:

Right click near the selection and move the ellipse down over the top of the flagpole so it looks like the rope is attached to it.

Flood fill the selection with gray ( grey ).

Inner Bevel with previous settings.


Step 19. Save the File

Crop Tool:

Crop the flag to eliminate as much of the border as you can. Cut a little off the bottom of the flagpole because Inner Bevel wants to add an end to it.

Resize the flag if you would like.

Set your Colors palette Background color to light green.

File || Export Gif:

Set the Transparency that matches the background color
and tolerance = 10.

Colors Tab:

I just play with all the settings to get the best looking flag at the smallest file size. A lot of it will depend on the use you intend to make of the image.

Click OK and save it where you like.

After cropping and changing file size to width 200, I used 256 colors and dither 0, Optimize Octree and ended up with a file size of 12,250 bytes.

Wow! we are done! Now you can try different flags.

If you would like to try another version of this same tutorial, with all the tools needed placed on the Toolbar, and pictured in the tutorial, and the Control Panel Locked, here is the Flag2 Tutorial