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Tutorial no. 4 of Prof's PSP 8 Intro Tutorials  >
The Materials Palette
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The Materials Palette
Created by: Prof


The Materials palette has been completely redesigned for PSP 8. Now, all the various features and options for setting colors, gradients, textures for both foreground and background styles are available in the Material dialog.


"Colors" tab
"Swatches" tab

Materials Palette - Active Colors

Materials Palette - Materials Box

Materials Palette - All Tools Option

The Materials Palette

The Materials Palette has all available options on the palette.

Materials Palette Color Tab The Colors tab, when active, displays the color wheel and like earlier versions one can run one's mouse over it and select either a foreground (left-click) or background (right-click) color.

A new feature is the black-to-white shades that are also able to be selected from this areas.

Materials Palette Swatches Tab New: The Swatches tab, when active, displays the saved swatches. Swatches will display saved colors, gradients, and textures so that one can just left-click (foreground) or right-click (background) on a swatch to set it in the respective Materials Box. Also, running the mouse over the swatches will show the name and characteristics of that swatch.

Materials Palette: Show All SwatchesMaterials Palette: Create New SwatchMaterials Palette: Delete SwatchMaterials Palette, Swatches tab: More Options The swatches options can be accessed by the icons below the swatches box:

  • Materials Palette: Show All Swatches The first icon determines which swatches are displayed: If you click on it there's a little flyout where you can select whether all swatches, or just the colors, gradients, or patterns are displayed:
  • Materials Palette: Show All Swatches = all swatches
    Solid Color Option = just the colors
    Gradient Option = just the gradients
    Pattern Option = just the patterns
  • Materials Palette: Create New Swatch The second icon allows one to save an existing image as a swatch. A Swatch Name dialog pops up and one just enters a name and then saves it, and it will then be displayed on the Swatches tab.
  • Materials Palette: Delete Swatch A click on the third icon deletes the selected swatch from the Swatches tab.
  • Materials Palette, Swatches tab: More Options Clicking on the fourth icon opens a pop-up menu with more options for manipulating swatches.

The smaller Foreground/Background Color boxes just display the currently selected colors. Clicking in one of these box opens just the Color dialog with the color wheel. Clicking on the double arrow reverses the foreground/background boxes.

The larger Foreground/Background Material boxes are where one sets the Materials to use. Clicking on the double arrow reverses the foreground/background boxes.

The All tools checkbox controls if all tools used will reflect the settings (when checked) or allows for a different set of options for the tool (when unchecked).


Materials Palette - Materials Box

The Materials Boxes

Below the Materials boxes, there's a row with three icons each for selecting the style. Clicking on the first icon opens a little flyout with the following options:

  • Materials Solid Color Option = Color
  • Materials Gradient Option = Gradient
  • Materials Pattern Option = Pattern

Materials Texture Option The second icon turns the current selected texture on or off.

Materials Transparent Option The third icon turns the selected material completely on or off (this was the "None" or "Null" option for the styles in PSP 7). For some tools this option is grayed out, and for the other tools you can only turn off either the Foreground or the Background Material.


Setting Materials

Clicking on a Materials box opens the Material dialog where one can set the colors, gradients, patterns and textures.

On the left side of this dialog, there are three tabs: Color, Gradient, and Pattern.

The Color tab displays the color wheel, the custom color fields, the values for Red/Green/Blue and for Hue/Saturation/Lightness and a field for the HTML code of the color. It's very similar to the Color dialog in previous PSP versions.


The Gradient tab is very similar to the Gradient dialog of PSP 7, however there a number of new features for setting gradients.

One sets the Gradient, Angle, Repeats, Invert and Style of the gradient in the same manner as in previous versions. There are some new gradients in PSP 8. To edit a gradient, one clicks on the Edit button and then sets the options in the same way as in PSP 7.

The new features 'Center Point' and 'Focal Point' are in the lower part of this tab:

  • The 'Center Point' option is not available for the Linear style but for all other styles.
  • The 'Focal Point' option is only available for the Rectangular and Sunburst styles.
  • When the 'Link center and focal points' box is checked, only the 'Center Point' Horizontal and Vertical options are active. As in previous versions one sets these values to move the center point.
  • When unchecked and there are different values for 'Center Point' and for 'Focal Point', the Angle values will rotate around it rather than just around the center point.

The "Edit paths" button allows one to set Gradients that are in folders other than the PSP 8 Gradients folder. This button brings up the File Locations dialog.


The Pattern tab is the same as the Pattern dialog of PSP 7.

On the Pattern drop-down box, click on the down arrow to view and select the pattern to use, then set the Angle and Scale values. There are several new patterns in PSP 8.

To edit the paths (open the File Locations dialog) click on that button and enter the folder you wish to add.


On the right side of the Materials dialog, one can combine a Texture with the selected color, gradient or pattern by first checking the option 'Texture', then selecting the texture one wants (just as in the Texture dialog of PSP 7). Angle and Scale can also be set now, and one can edit the paths to other folders than the default texture folder now.

The Current and Previous materials are displayed below the 'Texture' section, just as the 'New color' and 'Old color' boxes in previous versions.

One also has the option of clicking on the Swatches icon to see the current swatches and can then select a swatch. Clicking on the Add to Swatches button allows to save the current material as a swatch.


Some Illustrations

In the following I'm showing you some illustrations for material combinations. For these examples I filled a 100x100 pixel image, white background, with the Flood Fill tool.

  • Gradient "Landscape Desert", linear
  • Texture "Backdrop", Scale = 50
  • Pattern "Line art Lavender", Scale = 50
  • no texture
  • Pattern "Line art Lavender", Scale = 50
  • Texture "Plastic 3", Scale = 50
  • Gradient "Metallic Gold 01", sunburst,
    Repeats = 1, Invert = checked
  • Center Point: Horizontal = 50, Vertical = 50
  • Link center and focal points = checked
  • Gradient "Metallic Gold 01", sunburst,
    Repeats = 1, Invert = checked
  • Center Point: Horizontal = 50, Vertical = 44
  • Focal Point: Horizontal = 25, Vertical = 90
  • Link center and focal points = unchecked
  Enjoy! – Prof –