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Lesson 14 of Zonia's PSP 8 Lessons  >
Creating a Background with the Retouch Tools
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Creating a Background with the Retouch Tools
Created by: Zonia

 
In this lesson we are going to create a background tile using various Retouch tools. Other features used are the Airbrush tool and Seamless Tiling.
 

New Image
Create a new image: Go to File || New (Ctrl+N):
– Width = 200 pixels
– Height = 200 pixels
– Resolution = 72.00 pixels
– Background = Raster
– Color Depth = 16 Million Colors (24 Bit)
– Color = White
 
Airbrush Tool  Preset: Reset to Default Option

Click on the Airbrush tool with default settings except:
– Hardness = 100
– Density = 50

I varied my size from 50 to 100.

Changing Size and Foreground Color as you go, click around making several circles. Try to make sure there is at least a little bit of each color in all the areas. Overlap the colors.

Try experimenting with some of the settings if you want. When you get done you should have something similar to this.

 
Smudge Tool  Preset: Reset to Default Option

Click on the Smudge tool with default settings except:
– Step = 1
– Opacity = 50

Holding down the left mouse button, go in little circles clockwise and counter-clockwise. Release the mouse button every now and then and wait a second to give the computer time to catch up with you.

Keep going over the image until you get a pretty good blend of colors. Try to eliminate the "circle" look as much as possible. You should have something similar to this.

 
Burn Tool   Dodge Tool   Push Tool  Preset: Reset to Default Option

Use the Burn tool with default settings to paint an "S" shape on the image. This will darken parts of the image.

Use the Dodge tool with default settings except:
– Opacity = 50
to paint a backwards "S" on the image. This will lighten parts of the image.

Use the Push tool with default settings except:
– Hardness = 50
– Opacity = 50
to push around the colors a little bit if you need to.

 
Smudge Tool Finally go over the entire image with the Smudge tool, same settings as before.
 

Preset: Reset to Default Option

Now let's make it seamless by going to Effects || Image Effects || Seamless Tiling with default settings.

If you aren't satisfied with the effect press Ctrl+Z to undo the seamless tiling, then go back and use the Airbrush and other tools until you are satisfied and apply the seamless tiling again.

 



Preset: Reset to Default Option

Go to Layers || Merge || Merge All (Flatten).

In case you want to save your background tile as a .gif file: To save space go to Image || Decrease Color Depth || 256 Colors with default settings.

Then go to File || Save, change the Save As Type to CompuServe Graphics Interchange (*.gif) or to JPEG - JIF compatible (*.jpg, *.jif, *.jpeg) – just try out which result you like most and which requires less file space.

 

That's it for the background but if you read on you will learn a little more about the Retouch tools and maybe get a few more ideas.

The tools we used in this lesson are actually Retouch tools intended to fix photographs but as you can see they are very versatile.

 

Soften Tool
When I color line art I usually leave the black lines in and use the Soften tool on them when I am done because to me it looks like a more natural drop shadow. You can also use other tools like Dodge, Burn, Smudge, and even the Airbrush to add highlight and shadows to your images.
 

Saturation Up/Down Tool
Saturation Up/Down tool

Hue Up/Down Tool
Hue Up/Down tool

Just experiment with the different Retouch tools used in this lesson. You may even want to play with the Saturation Up/Down tool and the Hue Up/Down tool (remember to use both the left and right mouse button with these tools as they produce different effects) to see the interesting color changes they produce. After all, if you don't like the effect you can always undo (Ctrl+Z) it.

I didn't use the Saturation and Hue Retouch tools in this lesson because they ruined the pastel look I was after but if you are using brighter colors you will probably love the effects they produce.