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Bird House
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Bird House
Created by: Barbara Townsend

In this tutorial, we will use vectors to create a birdhouse. I have also included a bird, picket fence, and a vine in the download file below that you are welcome to use to enhance your picture.
Download File Download File
The download file contains pictures for tubes and enhancement of birdhouse should you wish to use them.

New Image

Prepare Your Canvas

Start with a new image, 300 x 300 pixels, 16 Million Colors, Transparent checked.


Preset Shapes Tool  Preset: Reset to Default Option
Click on the Preset Shapes tool (P) and reset to default. Then set:
– Shape = Pentagon
– Retain Style = unchecked
– Create as a Vector = checked
– Anti-Alias = checked
– Line Style = default
– Width = 1

Turn on the rulers (View || Rulers), the guides (View || Guides) and the snap-to-guides (View || Snap To Guides).

Set three horizontal guides: Put your mouse into the top ruler area, hold your left mouse button down and drag down to 30, 50 and 150.

Set five vertical guides: Put your mouse into the left ruler area, hold your left mouse button down and drag to the right to 50, 100, 125, 150, and 230.

To check the values, either double-click or right-click on their handles in the rulers. A window with a value will pop-up and you can modify the values if needed.

Materials Palette - Materials Box  Materials Solid Color Option Set your Foreground Material to Solid Color = Black and your Background Material to Solid Color = Off-White (Red = 243, Green = 241, Blue = 241; #F3F1F1).
Left-Side Pentagon

Draw the Left Side of the Birdhouse

Draw a pentagon shape starting at the point where the vertical guide 150 and the horizontal guide 50 cross. Hold down your mouse button and drag to the left to the vertical guide 50 and then down to the horizontal guide 150.

Your vector shape should snap to the guides and be an off-white pentagon with a black outline. In the Layer Palette, rename the layer (a sub-layer of 'Vector 1') from 'Pentagon' to 'Left Side'.

Front Side

Draw the Front Side of the Birdhouse

In the Layer palette, right-click on the 'Left Side' layer and select "Copy" from the pop-up menu. Then right-click again and select "Paste as a New Vector Selection".

Drag this new vector selection to have the top of the pentagon at the vertical guide 150. Click into the image to set the new pentagon which you want to rename from 'Left Side' to 'Front Side' (it should be the top of the two 'Left Side' vector sub-layers).

Highlight the 'Front Side' layer in your Layer palette, grab the top middle node and drag up to the horizontal guide at 30. Grab the right middle node and drag to the right to the vertical guide 230. Grab the left middle node and drag to the right to the vertical guide 125.

Turn off the snap-to-guides (View || Snap To Guides). Highlight the 'Left Side' layer, grab the right middle node and drag it to the right so the bottom right corner meets the bottom left corner of the 'Front Side'. Then highlight the 'Front Side' layer and drag the bottom middle node down just a bit. Finally, turn off the guides (View || Guides). Make sure there are no transparent areas seen between the left and front sides.


Materials Palette - Active Colors  Materials Palette - Swap Materials

Rectangle for Left Roof

Draw the Left Roof of the Birdhouse

In this step we will again use the vectors and the Preset Shapes tool to first draw rectangles and then deform them to become the top of the bird house.

Turn off the rulers (View || Rulers). Then reverse the colors in the Materials palette so black is the Background Color now and the Foreground Color is the off-white (just click on the little right-angled double arrow to swap colors). Finally, in the Tool Options palette of the Preset Shapes tool set the Shape = Rectangle and the Width = 0 (so only the Background Color of black will be drawn).

Draw a rectangle starting at the top-left corner of the left-side pentagon and dragging the rectangle so that its bottom right corner is at the bottom left corner of the front-side pentagon.

Left Roof

Grab the middle of the rectangle and drag it up so the bottom left corner of the rectangle is on the top left corner of the left-side pentagon.

Grab the top middle node and drag it down so that the top line of the rectangle sits on the peak of the left-side pentagon. Then hold your Shift key down and drag the top middle node to the right until the left side of the rectangle is in line with the top left side of the left pentagon. Release your Shift key, grab the top middle node again and drag it upwards until the top side of the rectangle just covers the peak of the front-side pentagon. There will be an overhang on the right side.

Now, use the Shift key and the Left-Arrow key to move the roof to the left until the overhang is even on both sides. (If the Shift key doesn't work for you try the Ctrl+Alt keys instead.)

Rename this layer from 'Rectangle' to 'Left Roof'.

Right Roof

Draw the Right Roof

Draw another rectangle at the right side of the left roof, make it as tall as the left roof, so that its top left corner touches the top right corner of the roof. It should reach a bit over the right corner of the front-side pentagon.

Then grab the top middle node, hold down the Shift key and drag to the left to form the roof line. Its top right corner should now touch the top right corner of the left roof.

For better refining now, take the 'Rectangle' layer in your Layer palette and drag it below the 'Front Side' layer.

Now you can grab the bottom middle node with your mouse and drag it to the right until you've got a nice roof. Rename the 'Rectangle' layer to 'Right Roof'.

Zoom Tool     Preset Shapes Tool


Draw the Bottom

You may find zooming your image will help you draw the bottom of the bird house.

Draw a rectangle at the bottom of the Front pentagon making it as wide as the front plus a bit more to the right and about 1/4 inch high. Label this rectangle 'Bottom Right'.

Make sure your off-white is your Foreground Color and in the Tool Options palette set the Width = 1.

Then draw another rectangle starting at the front left bottom corner to the back corner of the left side and just a bit more. Also make this rectangle about 1/4 in height. Label this rectangle 'Bottom Left'.

With the image zoomed, alternate between the two bottom rectangles in your Layer palette to get them to meet correctly in their middle area as well as being the same height.

Then on the bottom left rectangle, grab the left-side middle node and with the Shift key pressed pull it up just slightly to get a slight up-angle.


Opening and Perch

Draw the Entrance and Perch

Change the Shape of the Preset Shapes tool to an Ellipse. Start near the top and draw an oval shape large enough to allow a bird to enter. Then move the oval to position it in the center and more to the top than center.

Change the Shape to a Rounded Rectangle. Draw a relatively thin rectangle below the opening and then move it to position it in the center under the opening.


Layer Visibility Off     Move Tool

Birdhouse resized and positioned

Draw the Pole

Before drawing the pole for the bird house, save your work. Then duplicate the image (Window || Duplicate or Shift+D). Turn off the bottom layer. Highlight the 'Vector 1' layer in the Layer palette, right-click and select "Convert to Raster Layer" from the pop-up menu. Label this layer 'Birdhouse'.

If you think you will need more space below the birdhouse, then go to Image || Resize. Set to Percent and set a value. I used a value of 80. Also make sure Resize all Layers is unchecked. If you need to modify your resizing, undo (Edit || Undo or Ctrl+Z) and try again until you get a birdhouse size you think will work with the pole.

Then with the Move tool position the birdhouse near the top of the image.

Preset Shapes Tool     Deform Tool

Birdhouse with Pole

Use the Preset Shapes tool again, set the Shape = Rounded Rectangle and the Width = 0.

Draw a tall thin rectangle overlapping the bottom of the bird house and to the bottom of the image.

Move the 'Vector 1' layer below the 'Birdhouse' layer in your Layer palette.

Using the Deform tool and the Shift (or Ctrl+Alt) key with the Arrow keys, center the pole and move it up if you want to show the pole having a transparent space at its bottom part.

If the pole is too thick, just grab a middle side node and pull it in toward the center of the pole. Then with the Shift and Arrow keys just recenter the pole.

Birdhouse Enhanced

We have finished making a bird house. Beyond saving your work, you might like to have a single layer for the birdhouse and save it as a Tube (File || Export || Picture Tube and naming it birdhouse or something like that).

You could enhance it by adding other pictures such as the bird, wind the vine around the pole, add some sky and landscape and perhaps the fence, or textures to the birdhouse and maybe even a light source. You can add anything you want to enhance this image.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.