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Lesson 7 of Zonia's PSP 8 Lessons >
Working with Vectors: a Heart Preset Shape
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Working with Vectors:
a Heart Preset Shape
Created by: Zonia


In this lesson we will change an ellipse into a heart using the new PSP 8 vector tools. Features used include Preset Shape, Pen tool, Object Selection tool, Export, and Vector Properties.

PSP 8 changed vectors completely. I must say although it took me a bit to figure out what was going on I like the new way of doing vectors. They added several options but my favorite is that now I can do all my vectors on one layer which is great for exporting shapes. Bottom line is that once you find everything vectors are much easier in PSP 8 than in PSP 7.


New Image
Create a new image: Go to File || New (Ctrl+N):
– Width = 300 pixels
– Height = 300 pixels
– Resolution = 72.00 pixels/inch
– Background = Raster Background
– Color Depth = 16 Million Colors (24 Bit)
– Transparent = checked

Materials Palette - Materials Box  Materials Solid Color Option

Foreground and Background color is your choice. I set my Foreground color to black so that you can see the outline. Normally I would set it to the same color as the Background color. I set By background color to red.

It doesn't really matter because you can go to Layer Properties and change them to any color, gradient, or pattern of your choices as long as it is a vector layer.


Preset Shapes Tool
Select the Preset Shapes tool:
– Shape = Ellipse
– Retain style = unchecked
– Anti-alias = checked
– Create as vector = checked
– Line Style = Solid
– Width = 1
– Join = Miter
– Miter limit = 10

Draw an ellipse roughly as big as you want your heart to be. Go to Objects || Align || Center in Canvas to put your ellipse in the center of your image.

The items on the Objects menu only work on vectors. They are one of the reasons why I use vectors when I can.

Pen Tool  Edit Mode

Now select your Pen tool. This automatically puts you in (Node) Edit Mode. Much quicker than "Node Edit" found in PSP 7.

Click on the left center node (a node is represented by a little box) and hit Delete. You should only have the right half of the ellipse now.


Click on the top node. There should be a line running through the node with a circle on the left and an arrow on the right. Click on the arrow and drag up to make the curve shape for your heart.

The arrow shows the direction the path is going. You can reverse the path which we will be doing later on in this lesson.


Click on the bottom node and drag the circle end up so that it is pointing at the right center node.

If you want to have another little curve right before the point you can always add another node and adjust it and this node until you get the "point" that you want. I am keeping things simple though.


Click on the right center node. This is where you heart will really take shape. Drag both the circle end and the arrow end until you get the desired effect.

If you need to click on the top and bottom nodes to do further adjusting do so.

Keep adjusting the nodes until you get a shape that you like.


Right-click on one of the nodes and choose Edit || Duplicate Selected No Offset from the pop-up menu. Then right-click again on one of the nodes and choose Transform Selected Nodes || Mirror.

As you can see there are lots of options to choose from when you right-click. Be sure to go back and play with them later to see what they do. That is how I do most of my learning.


Now we need to get the path going in the same direction as the first half, so right-click on one of the nodes and choose Edit || Reverse Path from the pop-up menu. You won't see any changes on your screen.

All the nodes of the mirrored half should be selected so left-click on one of them and drag it just to left of the original half.


Click anywhere outside of your heart to deselect all nodes. Now click on the top node of the mirrored half your heart. Holding down the left mouse button, drag it over the top node of the original half until you see the word "Join" next to the cursor, then release the mouse button. Do the same thing for the bottom node. Click on the left center node and drag it in just a hair so that the left side matches the right side.


In your Layer palette, double-click on the Ellipse object layer. You may need to click on the little plus in front of the vector layer to see it. This will open the Vector Property window for the heart shape. Here I changed the Stroke color to the same color as the Fill color.

I also changed the name to "heart1zjh" because when you export a shape although you can name the shape file, when it is displayed in the Preset Shapes drop-down list it would say "Ellipse" otherwise.

Object Selection Tool

Click on your Object Selection tool to select the heart. Go to File || Export || Shape, type in what you want to name it and click on OK.

Now if you click on your Preset Shapes tool you will be able to select your heart.


I know most people hate vectors as they take a little getting used to. Personally vectors is one of my most used tools. I can't draw (honest) so if it wasn't for vectors I wouldn't be able to create many of the things I do. The ability to take a preset shape and reshape it via node editing has enabled me to create a lot of original stuff.

Anyway I hope this lesson put you on your way to discovering the wonderful world of vectors as they are an invaluable tool.