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Lidded Boxes as Preset Shapes (2):
Using the Preset Shape
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Lidded Boxes as Preset Shapes (2): Using the Preset Shape
Created by: Brian

In Part 1 of this tutorial we created a box as a preset shape. We will now use this shape in a variety of ways.

Remember we have identified the panels of our preset shape box with colours that can be changed at any time if you wish. Also, we picked a viewpoint looking from above and from the right:
– top dark blue (this is left transparent for now)
– bottom pink (hidden)
– front red
– back green
– left side pale blue
– right side yellow

If there is no fill we can easily identify which surfaces will be seen when there is a hole in a panel and where we will have to put raster layers for contents in the box.


Any shape is created by clicking and dragging and if you check "Retain style" in the Tool Options palette you use the object properties used by the designer.

See what happens with the basic box shape when you change the starting point and drag directiion.


As shown in part 1 of this tutorial, if you uncheck "Retain style" you use the current Foreground and Background Materials applied to all the panels and outlines.

If you want to change the properties again for all the panels, select the "My_Box" group layer within the vector layer and go to Objects || Properties where you can activate, deactivate and change the Stroke and Fill.


You can also expand the "My_Box" group layer and change the properties of individual objects.

Here I selected the front panel object and, by right-clicking the object name and choosing "Properties" from the pop-up menu, used no Fill for the object property. You now appear to see inside the box through the front.

There are some things that are done with raster layers, but you can't mix vector and raster objects on the same layer. Using raster layers, we can decorate individual panels, make holes in panels and put objects inside the box. This is done by breaking up the shape group layer, putting each object on its own vector layer and then interweaving some raster layers.
New Image     Preset Shapes Tool     New Vector Layer

On a new image, activate the Preset Shapes Tool, check "Retain style" in the Tool Options palette and create a vector My_Box preset shape. The expanded layer palette looks like on the left.

Go to Objects || UnGroup. All the objects are now separated but are still on one vector layer, and all are selected.

Deselect (Ctrl-D). Note the stack order in "My Box".

With 'Vector 1' highlighted in the Layer palette, create a new vector layer 'Vector 2'. Drag the Bottom Pink object onto layer 'Vector 2'.

With 'Vector 2' still highlighted, create a new vector layer 'Vector 3'. Drag the next object from the bottom of the stack – "Left Side Pale Blue" – up onto 'Vector 3'.


Continue this sequence – i.e. top vector layer highlighted, creating a new vector layer and dragging the bottom object in layer 'Vector 1' up to the now top vector layer – until you have each object on its own vector layer, and then confirm that the expanded Layer palette is in the correct stacking order.

Layer 'Vector 1' will be empty and can be deleted. Drag the layers up or down the layer palette if necessary.

Save this image as a .psp file with its deconstructed properties for later use, e.g. "box-separated.psp", then duplicate it and continue your work here with the copy.

We can now introduce some raster layer effects.

Duplicate Layer     Layer Visibility Off     Freehand Selection Tool

Select the Front Red panel (layer 'Vector 6') and duplicate the layer, you'll get layer 'Copy of Vector 6'.

Turn off the visibility of layer 'Vector 6'.

With 'Copy of Vector 6' selected, go to Layers || Convert to Raster Layer.

Activate your Freehand (Lasso) Selection tool, Selection type = Freehand, and draw any shape on the Front Red (nwo raster) panel.

Hit the Delete key.

Now we have a hole in the front of the box and the original Front Red vector layer is still available if we want it.

The Bottom Pink panel is visible for the first time.

The lower image shows the same method developed a bit more.


Now we will put something into the box:

Create a new raster layer named 'Content' and, if necessary, drag it so that it is under the raster layer 'Copy of Vector 6'.

Keeping within the box shape either by being careful or by selecting it, put something into the box.

I used the "Golf balls" tube at a Scale of 15.

New Image   Preset Shapes Tool   Duplicate Layer   Object Selection Tool

Using 2 Boxes to Create a Lidded Box

Create a new image, say 200 x 400 or 300 x 300, and draw a My-Box preset shape.

Duplicate the vector layer and move the second image upwards.

Change the name of the top layer from "My_Box" to "Lid".

If the top box is not selected in the image press "O" (Object Selection tool) to show the bounding box.

Drag the mid top handle down to make a less deep lid.


Right click on the "Lid" group name in the Layer palette, then choose "Properties" from the pop-up menu and uncheck the Fill. This enables us to see through the wireframe lid and in particular, to see the hinge edges.

Click on the wireframe and drag it so that the right back bottom corner of the lid is on the right top-back corner of the box (see top image on the left).

Hold the Ctrl key down, right-click on the central pivot point and drag it over the same box top-back right corner (see arrow in middle image on the left).

Use the pivot point handle to rotate the lid so that the lid hinge edges line up.

You may need to drag the mid-left bounding box handle a bit to lengthen the lid.

Fiddle around with moving, rotating and stretching until you get it right.

Expand the "Lid" group layer, right-click on each object name and replace the colour fill, but this time you can forget the "Back Green", the "Left Side Pale Blue" and the "Bottom Pink" panels because they ae not visible anyway.

Highlight the "Lid" group layer name in the Layer palette. If the lid is not selected in the image, hit "O" on the keyboard to activate the Object Selection tool.

Now you can rotate and move the lid if desired.

You can also change any of the panel properties as desired and introduce raster properties and layers as shown above.


You could also make this lidded box into a preset shape. You cannot have duplicate names in a preset shape, so expand the "Lid" layer and rename the objects by putting "Lid" before each name.

Then take the "Lid" group and move it with all its objects onto the vector layer that holds the "My_Box" group, on top of the "My_Box" group. Delete the empty vector layer and again check the layer stack order.

Select both groups in the vector layer, "Lid" and "My_Box" (hold the Shift key down and click on the group names).

Go to Objects || Group. Rename "Group 1" to "My Lidded Box", this is the name that will appear in the Preset Shapes dialog box.

Leave the "My Lidded Box" group highlighted, go to File || Export || Shape and save your new preset. Activate your Preset Shapes tool, open the Shapes drop-down list and prove that the shape has been saved!

When using the Lidded Box preset shape, you can now even manipulate the box and the lid separately by just highlighting the respective sub-group in the "My Lidded Box" group in the Layer palette. For manipulating the lidded box as a whole you highlight the main group "My Lidded Box". And of course you can also still change the properties of all the single panels.


To include images in the box, the procedure is to separate the vector objects onto individual vector layers. Copy and then convert some of these vector layers to raster layers that can have holes and different properties. Add content to the box by interweaving raster layers.

Draw boxes and put things in them. I have retained the colour scheme used throughout the tutorial to make the panels obvious but your choice will be more artistic.

Download File Download File
A preset shape for the lidded box for you – if you got desperate ...