Home>Tutorials> PSP 8 Tutorials>
Designer Candles
E-mail this tutorial to a friendEmail to a Friend

Designer Candles
Created by:Prof

In this tutorial we will use a number of different features (Scripts, Mesh Wrap, and Warp Brush) to create a designer candle. This tutorial was inspired by mreighties tutorial on Making Candles taught in the SLP programme. Enhancing the basic candle has been great fun.

To make a designer candle we will use a photograph and then use the various tools to create a stunning candle. Once you use these steps and techniques you will be able to create various types of candles for any project.

Also, using the tools and techniques in this tutorial will provide one with experience in using new features of PSP in this version. In my opinion, the Warp Brush and its modes is one powerful tool and mastering it will give one many ways to enhance images.

Download File #1Download File #1

Download File #2Download File #2

The photograph I am using for this tutorial is a fun one someone sent me. You may use any photograph you wish or download this photograph with the Download File #1 on the left.

The Download File #2 contains the Fire.tub and Rope.tub files from the above mentioned candle tutorial should you need them. Just load them into your PSP program, go to Export || Picture Tube and set the values accordingly.

Open Image

The Basic Candle

Open the file "/tutorial/html/tut8eff/designercandle_photo.jpg" from your Download File #1. First, we need to fix the photograph as it has a black border and a text message underneath which I wish to remove.

The photo currently is 586 x 245 pixels and is a JPG file. The file size is not important as we will be changing it into a candle shape.

Selection ToolSelect Area = Custom Size and Position

First duplicate the picture to save the original: Go to Window || Duplicate (Shift+D). Then click on the Selection tool in your Tools toolbar. In the Tool Options palette, click on the 'Custom Size and Position' button and use these settings in the dialog:
Top = 2
Left = 2
Right = 584
Bottom = 202

Click on Ok and then go to Image || Crop to Selection.

Now resize the image: Go to Image || Resize:
Lock Ratio = unchecked (uncheck this first)
Width = 150 Pixels
Height = the height of our photo (200 Pixels)
Resample = Smart Size
Resize all layers = unchecked

Click on OK. Then go to Adjust || Sharpness || Sharpen.

New ImageCopy

Set the Candle Canvas

I want to have a larger canvas so we can add the various parts to this flat candle.

Create a new image: 300 x 400, transparent background, 16 M colors.

Copy the candle photo with Ctrl+C or Edit || Copy and paste it as a new layer into the new image: press Ctrl+L or go to Edit || Paste || Paste As New Layer.

Label this layer 'Candle'.

Now, your canvas is ready for making the flat candle realistic. And, the image is centered in the new canvas.

Mesh Warp Tool

Apply current tool settings

Fixing the Top with the Mesh Warp Tool

I want to make the top of the candle a bit higher over the head of the middle figure. The Mesh Warp tool is the perfect tool for accomplishing this task.

The Mesh Warp tool is part of the Deformation tools. Click on the right arrow of the Deform tool in the Tools toolbar and in the context menu select the Mesh Warp tool.

The Mesh Warp tool, when visible, has handles on the intersecting lines. When you put the cursor on a handle and then drag it the portion of the image controlled by the adjacent mesh will be distorted.

There are three types of distortions one can use with these handles:

  1. Click on a handle and drag will allow dragging into any area of that grid.
  2. Shift key + Click on a handle will allow the left and right handles to form a straight line and allow dragging in that grid up or down.
  3. Control key + Click on a handle and drag will allow that whole horizontal or vertical line to be distorted.

So, activate your Mesh Warp tool and in the Tool Options palette use these settings:
Mesh Horizontal = 3
Mesh Vertical = 20
Show Grid = checked
Edge Mode = Fixed
Draft Quality = High
Final Apply: Best Quality = checked

For the deformation, hold down the Shift key, click on the middle handle just above the image, and drag the handle up to the top of that grid.

The candle will now extend upward in a straight line. Click on the Apply button in the Tool Options palette to finally apply the deformation.

Selection Tool

Clone Tool

Save Image

Remove the Staff at the Top of the Candle

When we extended the candle up we also extended the top of the staff. We want to remove that part by using the Clone Brush.

First use the Selection tool with Selection Type = Rectangle and draw a rectangular selection a bit to the left of the staff and over more to the right and above the head.

Use the Clone tool with these settings:
Size = 5
Rotation = 0
Rest of Options = 100

Right-click near the middle/right of the selection. Then drag through the staff until it is removed. Since we have a selection, there is no worry about any other area except that within the selection.

Deselect with Ctrl+D (Selections || Select None).

Save your image as a PSP file and name it something like 'Candle'. (Note: The saved file is actually a .pspimage file.)

Materials Palette - Materials BoxMaterials Solid Color Option

Materials Texture Option

Flood Fill Tool

Set the Background

Highlight the bottom layer and rename it to 'BG'.

Set your Materials to Solid Color:
Foreground = a light steel blue
(Red = 175, Green = 200, Blue = 211; #AFC8D3)
Background = White

For the Foreground Material, set a Texture: Click on the Foreground Material box:
Texture = checked
Texture Pattern = Backdrop

Flood-fill (shortcut = F) your background layer: Right-click to first flood-fill with white (Background Material), then left-click to flood-fill with the textured color (Foreground Material).

Mesh Warp Tool

Apply current tool settings

Shape the Candle

Top and Bottom Shape

We will use the Mesh Warp tool again to shape the candle's top and bottom.

Highlight the 'Candle' layer and activate the Mesh Warp tool. Keep the settings the same as used before.

For the top: Hold the Ctrl key down and grab the top middle handle just above the candle. Drag straight up to the next handle above, then release mouse button and Ctrl key.

For the bottom: Again, hold the Ctrl key down and grab the bottom middle handle just below the candle. Drag down to the next handle, then release mouse button and Ctrl key.

In the Tool Options palette, click on the Apply button (check mark) to set the warp.

Warp Brush ToolWarp Mode = Push

Apply current tool settings

Candle Corners

The candle corners have a bit sharper an edge than I want. To round the edge just slightly we will use the Warp Brush tool.

Use these settings:
Warp Mode = Push (Left Arrow in Square)
Size = about 30
Hardness = 15
Strength = 90
No change in other default settings

Hold down the mouse button and drag inward. Start at a corner and drag diagonally into the corner just slightly. Release the mouse button and click on the Apply button in the Tool Options palette.

If you don't like the result, use Edit || Undo (Ctrl+Z) and start again. Do all four corners.

Give the Candle Dimension

In this set of steps, we will first create an area at the top of the candle to give the impression of having burned down some. Then we will make the candle appear as a 3-D shaped candle. This set of steps uses the Lighten/Darken tool.

Selection Tool

Step 1:

Use the Selection tool with:
Selection Type = Ellipse
Mode = Replace
Feather = 0

Start at the middle of the canvas (coordinate x=150) and about 1/4 way down from top edge of candle (coordinate y = about 95). Draw an ellipse that in the center is about 1/2 inch and at the right and left edges about 1/8 inch.

Do not deselect yet.

Lighten/Darken Tool
In the next two steps, we will use the Lighten/Darken Tool. The left mouse button will lighten the image and the right mouse button will darken the image. Also, when applying the tool it will only affect the area within the selection. First, make sure the 'Candle' layer is still highlighted in the Layer palette.

Materials Palette - Active Colors

CopyNew Raster Layer

Step 2:

Use these settings for the Lighten/Darken tool:
Shape = Round
Size = 6
Hardness = 17
Step = 10
Density = 50
Thickness = 100
Rotation = 0
Opacity = 75
Retouch = RGB

Using a down and up stroke, basically use the Darken tool (right mouse button) and create streaks of dark. Then touch it up with the Lighten tool ever so slightly. Do not deselect yet.

Next, click on the little double-arrow in the Active Colors in your Materials palette to switch foreground and background colors, then go to Effects || Artistic Effects || Hot Wax Coating for a wax look.

Then copy the selection with Ctrl+C (Edit || Copy). Then hit the Delete key (Edit || Clear) to remove it.

Create a new layer above the 'Candle' layer and label it 'Top Inner Area'. Then go to Edit || Paste || Paste Into Selection. Now deselect with Ctrl+D (Selections || Select None).

Magic Wand ToolLighten/Darken Tool

Soften Tool

Step 3:

We now are ready to give the candle a 3-D perspective, again using the Lighten/Darken tool.

First set a selection: Highlight the 'Candle' layer and activate the Magic Wand, Match Mode = All Opaque. Click within the candle and go to Selections || Modify || Expand with a value of 2. Then activate the Lighten/Darken tool again.

Top Rim Lighten:

  • No changes in the settings, except Size = 15.
  • Work with left mouse button.
  • Go around the rim of the candle to lighten it.

Darken under the Rim:

  • No changes in settings
  • Work with right mouse button.
  • Draw under the rim to darken using a left to right motion.
  • Use the left mouse button to very lightly spray in spots to give an irregular appearance to the darkened area.

Then darken the left and right sides of the candle drawing into the center.

Then change these settings:
Hardness = 40
Density = 65
Opacity = 80

Again, darken just a little of the sides of the candle to give it a darker and more rounded appearance. Finish up by drawing the brush vertically just along the edges of the candle and horizontally along the bottom and top of the candle. You might want to change your size to about 4. (Note: If you want to repeat your work just use Ctrl+Z (Edit || Undo) to undo and start again.)

Finally, use the Soften tool to soften just the edges of the candle. (Do not soften the center or else your picture will soften.) Now, deselect with Ctrl+D (Selections || Select None).

We have finished the 3-D enhancements.

New Raster LayerPicture Tube Tool

Eraser ToolMove Tool

Add the Wick

Let's now add the wick for a more realistic look.

Create a new layer above the 'Top Inner Area' layer and label it 'Wick'.

Use the Picture Tube tool (shortcut = I), select the 'Rope' tube and set:
Scale = 50
Step = 1

Start above and center to the candle and drag down. Curve it slightly.

Then if there is an edge at the bottom you don't like, use the Eraser tool with a square brush and just erase a bit of the bottom part of the wick.

Use the Move tool and bring the bottom of the wick to the candle rim at its center point.

New Raster LayerPicture Tube ToolMove Tool

Create Wax

To create a wax look running down the sides of the candle we will use the Warp Brush tool and the 'Water Drop' tube.

Above the 'Wick' layer, create a new layer labeled 'Wax'.

Use the Picture Tube tool and select the 'Water Drop' tube:
Scale = 250

Click into the image by the wick. Use the Delete key if you don't like the water drop shape and click again for another water drop. Look for a water drop shape that is an oval.

Use the Move tool to center the drop over the wick.

Deform Tool

Rotate and Shape

In this step we want to have the drop shaped into an oval within the candle. Also we want the darker areas on the bottom of the oval.

Go to Image || Rotate || Free Rotate:
Direction = Right
Degrees = 90
All Layers = unchecked

Use the Deform Tool to shape the drop until it fits within the center area allowing the rim to be seen.

Lighten/Darken Tool

Soften Tool

Set Highlights

Since there is a dark area along one side and the bottom, let's use the Lighten/Darken tool and lighten those areas to make more highlights. Use these settings:
Shape = Circle
Size = 5
Hardness = 100
Step = 10
Density = 100
Thickness = 67
Rotation = 90
Opacity = 100
Continuous = checked
Retouch = Lightness

Lightly draw the mouse over the darker areas using a horizontal motion. Go to Edit || Undo (Ctrl+Z) if not satisfied and start again. You want to create areas of highlights along the edges of the drip.

Then use the Soften tool and draw the cursor over the area a couple of times to soften the white areas.

Warp Brush ToolWarp Mode = Push

Warp Brush ToolWarp Mode = Noise

Lighten/Darken Tool

Create the Wax Drippings

In creating the wax drippings we will basically use the Warp Brush tool. We also will use the Lighten/Darken tool, and the Hot Wax effect.

There are multiple ways to achieve the wax drippings. Though I will provide some settings, you will want to experiment with your settings and different effects to achieve a desired outcome. Use the Undo function for any effect you don't like.

The basic technique is to use the Warp Brush tool with the 'Push' mode. Hold down the mouse button, draw from the center of the drip and draw down over the top edge and down the candle. Use small strokes to build up the wax look. The settings are:
Size = 10
Hardness = 15
Strength = 80

Use the Lighten/Darken tool to lighten any area of the drips you have drawn. You will want to experiment with the size. Smaller sizes for streaks and larger size for greater area coverage.

Periodically, use the Sharpen Effect (Adjust || Sharpness || Sharpen) to sharpen the effect.

Also, use the Warp Brush tool with Noise mode once you have a basic set of drips. The noise mode will cause the drips to distort. Try different settings:
Size = 40
Hardness = 100
Strength = 92
Noise = 100

When you have a look you like, try the Hot Wax Effect (Effects || Artistic Effects || Hot Wax).

Alternate between these various brushes and tools until you have almost a final product that you like.

Finish up by setting the layer Blend Mode to "Hard Light". Then use the One Step Photo Fix (One Step Quick Fix, which uses the auto Adjust || Color Balance, Brightness/Contrast, Hue/Saturation and Clarify effects) on the Photo toolbar (View || Toolbars || Photo).

Layer Visibility OffLayer Visibility On

Move ToolNew Raster LayerPicture Tube Tool

Warp Brush ToolWarp Mode = NoiseWarp Mode = Push

Add the Flame

Now it is time to add the flame.

First, turn off the 'BG' layer, highlight a top layer and go to Layers || Merge || Merge visible. Then turn on the bottom layer again.

Use the Move tool and move the candle much closer to the bottom of the canvas.

Create a new layer and label it 'Flame'.

Use the Picture Tube tool (I) and select the 'Fire' tube. (Note: If you do not have the Fire tube, you may either download it (above) and put it in your Picture Tubes Directory, or you can access it in your PSP 7 program by using the Folders Location and Picture Tubes and add the directory in your PSP 7 program.) Set
Size = about 50

Then click over the wick. Go to Edit || Undo (Ctrl+Z) until you find a flame you like.

Use the Warp Brush tool Noise mode to add a little motion to the flame. Use the Push mode to fix any area of the flame.

Materials Palette - Active Colors

Materials Palette - Materials BoxMaterials Gradient OptionMaterials Texture Option

New Raster Layer

Airbrush Tool

Warp Brush ToolWarp Mode = Noise

Add Some Smoke

Let's add some smoke above the flame.

Set your Foreground Color to White. Click on Foreground Materials box and set to
Gradient = Fading Foreground

Check the Texture option and set
Texture = Crumpled Paper

Create a new top layer labeled 'Smoke'.

Use the Airbrush tool:
Shape = Circle
Size = 20
Hardness = 0
Step = 1
Density = 50
Thickness = 100
Rotation = 0
Opacity = 50
Blend Mode = Normal
Rate = 0

Draw the Airbrush from the base of the wick upward two or three times. Then go to Adjust || Blur || Motion Blur:
Angle = 5
Strength = 100

Use the Warp Brush with Noise mode to give the smoke some character. Then use the Warp Brush with Push mode to move parts of the smoke in at the base of the candle.

Finish up with the Noise mode very quickly applying it.

If the smoke is too sharp, lower the opacity of the 'Smoke' layer to a point where you like the effect.

Enhance the Picture

Now that you have finished making a candle, you might want to enhance it some. Consider using a frame. In my example here, I used the "Simple Caption" script, added some more smoke at the top, used the Colorize funtion on the bottom layer, merged the layers and finished up with the Clarify effect.

These techniques will provide you with an idea of how the Warp Brush and other tools have many incredible possibilities for creating unique images.

Enjoy Prof