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PSP V. 8 - Vectors 201
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Vectors 201 - Node Types
Created by: Prof

PSP v8 Vectors201 - Node Types

In Vectors 101, we explored the new vector features of PSP v8 and created a simple Heart Shape from a circle. We reviewed the four (4) Tools that work with Vectors. We explored the basics on using nodes.

In this tutorial, and subsequent ones, we will work with many of the options for using vectors and nodes and create a number of shapes. This tutorial will explore Node Types and create a Heart Shape from a Square object.



One way to explore Node Types is to create a Shape and then manipulate the nodes using various node types. So, let's begin with a Preset Shape of a Square.

Basic Shape: Create a New Canvas, 300 x 300 Pixels, White Background, and 16 Million Colors.

Draw a Vector Square

  • Use the 'Preset Shapes'
  • Shape = Rectangle
  • Retain Style = Checked
  • Anti-alias = Checked
  • Create as Vector = Checked.
Draw a Square leaving a border of about 1/4 inch.
Note 1: If you use the Shift Key you will draw a perfect Square Shape. Otherwise, you will draw a Rectangular Shape. And, it makes no difference which way you draw the square.
Note 2: If you want to reshape this object, use the nodes like the 'Deform' tool whereby you click on a node and hold down the mouse button and drag it. All the same options are available in terms of using the Control Key and the combination of Shift and Control keys.
Note 3: To 'Rotate' the object you click on the handle in the middle and rotate it up or down.
Note 4: In this or any part of an image, if you make a mistake, you can undo your work using [Ctrl+Z] and then start over.

The Node Types

To activate the node editing options, click first on the 'Pen' Tool. You will then see a handle at each corner.

Then, click on a Node to activate it. Right Click on that node and select 'Node Type' for its Context Menu. Notice that 'Cusp' is greyed out which means Cusp Node Type is active. Also notice that the 'Convert to Line' and both 'Line Before and After' are Greyed out. That means the lines between the nodes are straight lines.

To find the Path Direction (either in a clockwise or in a counter clockwise direction), click on the 'Symmetric' Node Type. You will get a control arm with an arrow at one end and a ball or small circle at the other end. The direction of the arrow indicates the path direction.

Also if you again look at the Node type context menu again you now will see that Symmetric and Smooth are greyed out as are 'Curve Before' and 'Curve After'.

Once again, go into 'Node Type' and click on 'Convert to Line'. Your object returns to the square as both before and after the node the curve becomes a line. Also, when you re-examine the Context Menu it once again has 'Cusp' and the Lines options greyed out.

Activating and Deactivate Nodes

There are various ways to activate and deactivate a single node or multiple nodes.

Single Node

  • Click on the Top Left Node to activate it (turns black).
  • Then click anywhere else in the canvas to deactivate that node. Also, using the Shift Key and clicking on the Node will also deactivate it.
  • Click a second time anywhere in the canvas to turn off all nodes leaving just the shape showing.
  • Click on a line (or curve) of the object to activate the nodes.
Multiple Nodes

  • The basic way to activate more than one node is to use the Shift Key and select the second node and any additional nodes wanted.
  • To deactivate all selected nodes click anywhere else in the canvas.
  • To deactivate a single node from a group of activated nodes, use the Shift Key and click on the node to deactivate.

Shaping the Object by Manipulating the Nodes

First, we will work with the Square and lines and change the shape of it by manipulating the nodes.

Illustration #1:

Activate the Top Left Node. Drag diagonally toward the bottom right node to create a kite-like shape.

Next, activate the Top Left and the Bottom Right nodes. (Use the shift key to select them.) Then grab either activated node and drag it diagonally toward the upper left corner of the canvas. The result is a mirrored image of the kite-like shape.

Illustration #2

  • Activate only the bottom right node
  • In the Node Type Context Menu (Right click and select Node Type) select 'Curve Before'.
  • Drag the Control Arm out toward the right edge of the canvas and make the arm horizontal.
  • Repeat Node Type and select 'Curve After'.
  • Drag the Control Arm down toward the bottom of the canvas and make the arm vertical.
  • Activate the Top Right node and in its node type context menu, select 'Curve Before'.
  • Repeat and select 'Curve After'.
  • Then grab the one end of the Control Arm and drag it out toward the side and in the middle of that side.
  • Repeat with the other end of the Control Arm and drag it as well.
  • You may need to refine the positioning of the arms. Basically they should form a right angle at the node.

  • Activate the Bottom Left and repeat selecting both Curve Before and Curve after.
  • Drag each of the arm ends out toward the side of the canvas.
  • Refine the positioning of the arms also forming a right angle at the node.
The end result is a heart shape though not centered yet.

Centering and Refining the Heart Shape

  • Click on the Object Selection Tool
  • Click on the center node and rotate it until the shape is positioned correctly

  • Click on the Pen Tool again to get the nodes.
  • Refine the shape now by manipulating the nodes until you are satisfied.
Using Node Type options we have created another Heart from a Square Object. Although a very basic exercise, learn to use the node types. In this tutorial we have mainly used the Cusp Node Types. You now are ready to finish up the Heart in any fashion you choose.

Right Click on the Vector1 Layer and select 'Convert to a Raster Layer'. Then when finished enhancing the object with color and whatever you choose, just Merge all Layers and save as a JPEG or GIF file.

Also, experiment with other Node Types to see how they operate. And as always, enjoy. -- Prof --