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PSP V. 8 - Vectors 101
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Vectors 101
Created by: Prof

PSP v8 Vector101 Heart

In this tutorial we will explore the basics in using 'Vectors'. There are four (4) Vector Tools (Text, Preset Shapes, Pen, and Object Selection). We will create a simple Vector Heart to become acquainted with Using Vectors.


Introduction to Using Vectors

PSP version 8 has created a very new approach to using Vectors. In PSP version 7 vector tools were located in the Object Selection Tool. In PSP version 8, the vector tools are now located in the 'Pen Tool'.

The Menu Item of 'Objects' is also able to be used to select various Vector Options when the layer is a Vector Layer.


The Text Tool: Text Tool
The Text Tool has a totally new look though basically functions much as it did in earlier version. One can create either Raster Text or Vector Text.
The Preset Shape Tool:
The Preset Shape Tool functions very much the same as in earlier versions. Once can create Raster Shapes or Vector Shapes.
The Pen Tool:
The Pen Tool (in earlier versions was known as the Drawing Tool) is the key tool for working with Vectors. This tool is redesigned and has many new options.

To use Vectors and its Node Functions, one needs to activate the 'Pen Tool'. One can also just use the 'Pen Tool' in a Raster Layer. In this tutorial we will only explore how to use the 'Pen Tool' and Basic Vector Nodes.

The Object Selection Tool:
The Object Selection Tool has been redesigned. It is the tool now that works only in a Vector Layer and is used to Select Objects and manipulate them.
The 'Objects' Menu Item:
The Menu Item 'Objects' also has many of the same options as the 'Pen Tool' and the 'Object Selection Tool'. All of its 'Vector' items are only available when a vector layer has been created and the Drawing Tool is used in its Vector Mode.

Using Vectors -- The Basics

Set Up
  • Create a New Canvas 300 x 300 pixels, as a Raster Background, 16 M Colors, with Color = White.
  • Create a New Vector Layer.
  • Set the Foreground to solid and color = Black.
  • Set the Background to solid and color = Red.
Draw a Circle
  • Create a New Vector Layer
  • Use the Preset Shapes Tool
    • Retain Style = Unchecked
    • Anti-Alias = Checked
    • Create as Vector = Checked
    • Line Style = Default (solid)
    • Width = 1.00
    • Join = n/a
    • Meter Limit = n/a
  • Draw a Circle (about 3/4 of canvas) using the Shift Key and Right Mouse button. Centering Circle is not important right now.

Note that surrounding the circle is a box with handles and a center box handle offset from the center position. This box is a deform box and functions just as the deform tool whereby one is able to change the shape of the object as well as to rotate it.

Vector Nodes

The 'Pen' Tool is used when we want to shape the object in various ways using Nodes. In this example there are four nodes located around the circle.

Rotate the Nodes

Since I want the nodes to be Top/Bottom Center and Left/Right Center we need to rotate the circle. There are two ways this rotation may be accomplished: (1) Using the Object Selection Tool which causes the deform box to appear and then using the center node to rotate the object; or (2) Using the new feature in the Pen Tool which we will do now.

The first step is to 'Select all nodes'. This action may be accomplished either by selecting individual nodes using the 'Shift' Key or by using the Context Menu for nodes.

  • Make sure the Pen Tool is active
  • Right Click on the canvas and select Edit || Select All
  • Then, Right Click again and select Edit || Transform Selected Nodes || Rotate
  • Most likely to get the nodes where one wants them we will need to use the Rotate Command two (2) or three (3) times or more.

Node Menu

Node Edit Context Menu

Node Type Context Menu
Node Types

We are now ready to create a Heart from the Circle Shape.

  • Activate the Pen Tool
  • Click in the middle of the Circle to de-select all nodes or Right Click in Center for the Node Menu Window. Click on Edit and from the Context Menu select none [Edit || Select None].

    • Cut will Cut or delete the Object
    • Copy will Copy the object to allow Paste to another vector layer.
    • Delete will Remove the Object
    • Select All will select all handles (nodes)
    • Invert Selection will invert the selection of nodes (e.g. If you have only one node active, Inverting will deselect it and select all the other nodes.)
    • Join, Merge, Break, Close, Reverse Contour, Reverse Path, Duplicate Selected, and Duplicate Selected No Offset are advanced features to be explored in other Vector instructional tutorials

  • Right Click and click on 'Node Type' for its context menu.
  • The various options cause the related task to occur on the select node(s).
    • Asymmetric = The heads of the line (ball and arrow) allow for asymmetrical changes of the object at that node. (The Ball is the end and the arrow points in the direction of the action.

      Asymmetrical will allow changing the length of the end or the front of the node line independently of the other. When moving one end of the node the other will move in opposite direction.

    • Symmetric = symmetrical changing of the length of sides node equally. When one selects the end or the head and manipulates it, the other will move equally in the opposite direction.

    • Cusp = independent changes of the end or head from the other both in length and direction.

    • Convert to Line = The curve before and after the node will be changed to a straight Line. Selecting 'Line Before' or 'Line After' just converts the one selected.

    • Curve Before or Curve After will change a straight line to a curve.
  • Click on Top Center Node to select it.
  • Right Click in Center of object and Select 'Node Type'. In the context menu, if 'Cusp' is active it will be 'greyed out'. Otherwise select 'Cusp'.
  • Click on Node and hold down the mouse button. Drag the Node down until the top of circle is more or less flat.
  • Then grab either end and move it up.
  • Grab the other end and move it up.
  • The two arms should form a 'V' and be roughly equal distance from the center point.
  • Activate the Bottom Node by clicking on it.
  • Drag it down some and refine its position to be in a vertical center line.
In the next step there are two ways to get the pointed shape at the bottom.
  1. Use the handles and drag each one up and to the side of the circle and touching the circle. You will also lengthen the arms.
  2. Use: Node Type || Convert to Line.
Now you have a nicely shaped Heart. We just need to center it in the canvas.

There are two ways to 'center' the object. One is to use the menu item of Objects || Align || Center in Canvas.

The other way is to use the Object Selection Tool.

  • Activate the Object Selection Tool
  • In the 'Tool Options' Palette for the Object Selection Tool, there are 'five' icons now active from which one is able to select an alignment option. Running the mouse over each icon will bring up the tag describing the icon's function.
  • Click on the Left Icon which is 'Center on Canvas'.
Now your object is Centered. Click anywhere in the canvas to deselect the deformation box.

In our final exploration of using Vectors we will change some of the color and outline of the heart. To do so we use 'Properties'.

Make sure the 'Object Selection Tool' is active. Again, you have two ways to change the properties of the object; (1) Right Clicking for a context menu and select 'Properties' or (2) in the Tool Options Palette for the Object Selection Tool, Click on the Properties Icon.

A 'Vector Property' popup window appears and the various options available allow changing the object's properties. We are going to use the 'Stroke', 'Fill' and 'Stroke-width' properties.


To create a border for the heart use the following options and settings:
  • Activate the Vector Property Window
  • Make sure the Stroke Box is checked.
  • Set Stroke-Width = 10 (notice you can view the change in your canvas).
  • Click in the color box for the Color Wheel Options
    • Set Style = Pattern and select the 'Relief Squares' Pattern. Set Scale = 20
    • Check the 'Texture' box and select the Bark Texture and set Scale = 10.
    • Click on OK to apply the settings.
To change the inside of the heart again activate the Vector Property Window with these settings:
  • Make sure the Fill Box is checked.
  • Click on the color box.
  • In the Color Wheel Options:
    • Set to Gradient and use the Duotone Red Gradient.
    • Inverted = unchecked
    • Repeats = 0
    • Click on Ok to apply the settings.
Now you have a very nice heart created from a Vector Circle. Just click anywhere on your canvas to deselect the deform box.

At this point you might save your work as a PSP file to preserve the vectors. To use the image you will want to first convert the Vector Layer to a Raster Layer (In the Layer Palette just right click on the Vector Layer and select 'Convert to Raster Layer'.

You then can change the background if you want or just leave it as a white background. When finished save your canvas as either a JPEG or GIF file for use on your Web page or in Email.

The illustration of a background in this tutorial uses the 'Backdrop' Texture and then the Simple Caption Script.

Enjoy -- Prof --