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Tutorial no. 9 of Prof's PSP 8 Intro Tutorials  >
Brushes: A Relief and Cutouts
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Brushes: A Relief and Cutouts
Created by: Prof

 
PSP 8 has many new features that are very powerful in creating different and unique effects. In this tutorial, I will show you a very simple yet very neat set of techniques to create cutouts and relief images using the brush (Paint Brush or Airbrush).
 

Introduction to Using Brushes

The Airbrush tool and the Paint Brush tool are very similar in their use. We will explore the Paint Brush and its features in another tutorial. However, many of the comments about using brushes and the Tool Options palette will apply to both tools.

 
Reset to Default

The Tool Options Palette

We will begin by resetting the brush to its default values: Click on 'Presets' on the Tool Options palette, then click on the 'Reset to Default' button (bottom right icon).

The values in the image below are the default values:

 
 

In addition to the options that were available in PSP 7 (Shape, Size, Hardness, Step, Density and Opacity) which function in similar ways, there are additional options:

  • Thickness: Changes the thickness of the chosen shape from its default value (usually 100) to very narrow (1).
  • Rotation: Changes the angle of the shape set to its default of zero (0) to any angle of a circle.
  • Blend mode: The values are the same that have been (and still are) available in the Layer palette. Now one can set the blend mode in various tools.
  • Rate: The rate at which the paint is applied from constant (0) to (50) or more paint applied when dragging the mouse or holding down the mouse button (building up the paint effect).

In this tutorial we will only use the brushes which have come with PSP 8. However, if you have other brush tips that you want to use, that is fine of course.

 






New Image


New Raster Layer


Flood Fill Tool


Materials Palette - Active Colors

Cutouts

Let's use the technique to create a cutout. And we will create three layers – unless you have a very accurate hand, since this technique can be used on a single layer.

Create a new image, 300 x 300 Pixels, Transparent Raster Background, 16 Million Colors.

Create two new layers: Go to Layers || New Raster Layer twice. Name your layers: Bottom layer labeled 'BG', middle layer labeled 'Black', top layer labeled 'White'.

Next, flood-fill the 'BG' layer with any color you want. To best see the technique, set it to a light color, e.g. a light blue (Red = 203, Green = 227, Blue = 255; #CBE3FF).

Then, set the Foreground Color to White and the Background Color to Black.

 
Airbrush Tool  Reset to Default

Brush Tip "Rounded Flower"
Select the Airbrush tool and first click on the 'Presets' box on the Tool Options palette, then click on the Reset-to-Default button to just ensure you do not have any variances active. (If you do not understand variances, another tutorial will explore them.) Select a brush of your choice. I am using the 'Rounded Flower' brush.
 
Deform Tool

The Technique

On the 'Black' layer, with a quick push of the right mouse button, paint the brush.

On the 'White' layer, again with a quick push of now the left mouse button, paint the white brush over the black image.

Use the Deform tool and, pressing the Shift key and using the arrow keys, position the 'White' image a bit down and to the right to show some black around the top and left of the white brush.

And, there you have it. Using this technique with various brushes, one can create some very interesting results. Dependent upon where the black shows the image will either be a cutout or will be a raised image. If the black shows inside the white image, the white image will have a raised effect.

 
Layer Visibility Off     Layer Visibility On

The Enhancement

By creating an image of white over black, there will be some grey areas. Thus, using the Colorizing feature allows the creation of colored relief images.

Turn off the bottom layer, highlight a top layer and then go to Layers || Merge || Merge Visible. Turn on the bottom layer.

Now, go to Adjust || Hue and Saturation || Colorize and set the Hue and Saturation values to your liking.

At this point, you could finish off the picture with various options such as a textured background and a frame or whatever you desire.

 

Creating a 3D Planet

In this exercise we will create a 3D planet using the technique with one of the 'Marble' brush tips. We will create a new image with five (5) layers initially. The additional layers are for the cutout shadow effect and the enhancements for the shape to appear as a planet.

 
New Image

New Raster Layer

Create a new image, 300 x 300 Pixels, Transparent Raster Background, 16 Million Colors. Label your background layer 'BG'.

Create a new raster layer labeled 'Planet Background', create another new raster layer labeled 'Black', create a third new raster layer labeled 'White', and finally create a raster layer labeled 'Shadow'.

 
Materials Palette - Materials Box  Materials Gradient Option

Flood Fill Tool

The Background Layer (Bottom Layer)

Although one could use any background from a picture, a textured background or just a solid color, it is best when starting to begin with a lighter colored background. I am using the 'Duotone Light Blue' gradient as a sky background:

In the Materials palette, set the Foreground Material to Gradient. Then click into the Foreground Materials box and set:
– Gradient = Duotone light blue
– Style = Sunburst (3rd button from the left)
– Repeats = 0
– Invert = unchecked
– Horizontal Center Point = 75
– Vertical Center Point = 25

Click on OK and flood-fill the 'BG' layer with this gradient. Then set your Foreground Material back to the white Solid Color.

 




Selection Tool


The Shadow Layer

Because the brush tip we're going to use does not create a perfect circle when using the Magic Wand, we need to first create that circle:

Highlight the 'Shadow' layer in the Layer palette and activate the Selection tool. Using the Status bar for the coordinates, draw a circle from (150, 150) to (210, 210).

Go to Selections || Load/Save Selections || Save Selection To Alpha Channel and click on OK to save the circle outline.

Then go to Effects || 3D Effects || Cutout with these settings:
– Vertical and Horizontal Offset = 0
– Opacity = 100
– Blur = 100
– Shadow color = a dark Blue (R=0, G=22, B=62; #00163E)
– Fill interior with color = unchecked

Click on OK and set the Blend Mode of this layer to "Overlay".

Do not yet deselect.

 



Airbrush Tool  Reset to Default

Deform Tool


Creating the Planet

We will now use the technique described above to create a planet:

Select the Airbrush tool, click on 'Presets' in the Tool Options palette and then click on the Reset-to-Default button.

Click on the Brush Tips drop-down list and select the 'Marble3' brush tip. In the Tool Options palette, change the Size to about 130-140.

Highlight the 'Black' layer in the Layer palette, center the mouse cursor into the selection and right-click with your mouse to fill with Black.

Highlight the 'White' layer and left-click with your mouse to fill with White.

Now deselect (Selections || Select None or Ctrl+D).

Use the Deform tool and move the 'White' layer to create the relief or 3D appearance of the planet land. To deselect just click on another tool in the Tools toolbar.

 







Layer Visibility Off

Layer Visibility On

Enhancing the Planet

At this point, one could leave the planet as is which is a globe that is semi-transparent. Thus, one could change the background color and the planet will change accordingly. However, I want a more solid looking planet.

Turn off all layers except the 'Black' and 'White' layers, highlight one of those two visible layers and go to Layers || Merge || Merge Visible.Rename the merged layer to 'Planet' and turn the other layers visible again.

 

Enhancement #1 – Colorize

Because we have used a white and a black brush on separate layers, once we merge them, there will be grey layers. Thus, we are able to use the Colorize feature to colorize those areas to create a subtle colorful relief.

With the 'Planet' layer active in the Layer palette, go to Adjust || Hue and Saturation || Colorize and set the Hue and Saturation values to your liking. My values were:
– Hue = 144
– Saturation = 64

 





Flood Fill Tool

New Raster Layer

Enhancement #2 – 3D Appearance

In addition to the shadow effect, one can also create a 3D effect using textures.

Go to Selections || Load/Save Selection || Load Selection From Alpha Channel and load your circle selection.

Highlight the 'Planet Background' layer in the Layer palette and flood-fill it with blue (Red = 64, Green = 64, Blue = 255; #4040FF).

Create a new layer above the 'Planet Background' layer. In the Materials palette, set the Foreground Material to Gradient, click into the Foreground Materials box and set:
– Gradient = Duotone light blue
– Style = Sunburst
– Repeats = 0
– Invert = unchecked
– Horizontal and Vertical Center Point = 50
– Texture = checked: Backdrop
– Angle = 0
– Scale = 100

Flood-fill the new layer with this textured gradient. Do not yet deselect.

 
Layer Visibility Off

Layer Visibility On

Turn off all layers except the 'Planet Background' layer and the new layer above it with the textured gradient, highlight one of the visible layers and go to Layers || Merge || Merge Visible. Rename the merged layer to 'Planet Background'.

Go to Selections || Modify || Contract and contract your selection by 1. Then go to Selections || Invert and press the Delete key (Edit || Clear). Now deselect (Selections || Select None or Ctrl+D) and turn all layers visible again.

Your planet is completed. You should now save your work as a .pspimage or .psp file. Then you can continue to enhance the image any way wanted. You might first turn off the 'BG' layer and merge all the other layers so you have only two layers to work with.

 

Some Final Comments

Experiment with this technique using different brush tips. You will find that you can create some very interesting cutout and relief images. Below is a brief gallery of images I have created using this technique.

Enjoy – Prof –