To create your own picture tubes, you must first decide which images you
would like to make tubes out of. The images must have a transparent
background and be 24-bit, with only one layer. Then, you must decide which
ones you want to put together and make them all the same size.

Let's say you have six images of kittens that you want to use, and they are
each 170 pixels across (width) and 190 pixels down (height). You want to
arrange your tube file so that it has three pictures across and two down
(for a total of six). So first, you need to open a new image to copy the
pictures into. Since you have three pictures across, three times, your total
will be 510 (170 x 3), and since there are two pictures down, two times,
your total will be 380 (190 x 2). So you'll open a new image with dimensions
of 510 x 380, with a transparent background.

Next, you need to set your grid to the proper proportions so that you can
space the pictures evenly. Click File, Preferences, General Program
Preferences, Rulers And Units. Under Grid, you will be using pixels for
units. The horizontal (across) spacing will be 170 (each picture is 170
pixels wide) and the vertical (down) spacing will be 190 (each picture is
190 pixels in height). Make sure Grid is toggled on by clicking View, Grid.
You will now see your grid in your new image. Copy and paste one image of a
kitten into each square on the new image. Now select File, Export, Picture
Tube. In the Cells Across box, enter 3 In the Cells Down box, enter
Give the tube a name, and it will automatically add the .tub extension. You
are now ready to use the tube.


So you've created a wonderful texture and you'd like to put it on your
Windows desktop or use it as a background on your Web site. The
problem is that when you try to use it, there are separation lines
Here's what you need to do. Make the new image size large--about 200 x
200 pixels. Next, grab the Shapes selection tool. In the Tool control,
set it at Square, no Feather, and no Antialias. Starting from the
top-left portion of the image, 50 pixels in from the corner, click and
drag out the square. (The square should be about 50 pixels away on all
corners.) If you get too close to the edges, Paint Shop Pro will not
create a seamless pattern. Now go to the Selections menu and choose
Convert To Seamless Pattern. This will open a copy of your background,
which is seamless. To test this, open a new image set at 200 x 200
pixels and Floodfill it with your pattern. Voila!--you should see no


Here's a quick method for creating embossed 3-D text. Open a new file with
dimensions of 300 x 200 pixels--you can crop it later. Using your Text tool,
apply some black text. With the text still selected, use the Flood Fill tool
to fill it with a selected color or pattern. Go to the Item Selections menu
and choose Invert, then flood-fill the outside. Now go to the Image menu and
select Effects and Cutout, making sure Fill Interior With Color is not
checked. Set the Shadow color to black and the Blur to 0. Set Offset
Vertical to 1, and Offset Horizontal to -1. Click OK. Now go to the Image
menu and choose Blur. Finally, add a drop shadow (Image, Effects, Drop
Shadow), and you have some beautiful embossed text!


The Color Replacer tool is the tool located right below the double brushes
(the Clone Brush tool) and right above the pointing hand (the Retouch tool).
It has the capacity to change any color in your image to another color.

Let's say you have an image of a flowerpot with blue flowers in it. If you
want to change the blue flowers to pink flowers, you'd first select the
Dropper tool, then click the blue color that you want to replace. This
selects that color and puts it on your Active Colors palette (the two boxes
of color to the right of your screen). Then, you'd reverse the colors on
your Active Colors palette by clicking on the color switcher (the double
arrow beneath the two boxes) and choosing the color that you want to replace
the blue with by clicking the Dropper tool within that color. Then, you'd
put your cursor back on your image and click once (to replace a small
section) or double-click (to replace every instance of that color in your
image). Of course, if you have different shades of blue, it will replace
only the shade you picked. You can go back and do the same process again and
again, choosing and replacing each shade.


Here's a simple use for the Deformation tool in Paint Shop Pro. Start by
making a simple square on a new layer. Go to the Image menu and select
Deformations, Skew. Set the Vertical measure to 25 degrees. Click OK. Now go
to the Edit menu and choose Copy, then choose Paste As New Layer. Return to
the Image menu and choose Mirror. Now return to the Edit menu and choose
Paste As New Layer. This time, from the Image menu, choose Rotate, click the
Free button, and enter 45 in the text box.

Put the three shapes together--the first two side by side, the latter on the
top. You'll notice the top piece does not quite fit. From the Tool Palette,
choose the Deformation tool. You should now see editing nodes on your top
shape. Click and drag down to squash the image into a fit, and there you
have it--a simple 3-D box!


You can make custom brushes to suit your every need. You first need to
choose an image from which you want to make a brush. (I chose a feather so I
could get a feather-textured effect when painting a background.) Make sure
the image is 16.7 million colors. Go to the Colors menu and choose Increase
Color Depth, 16.7 Million Colors. Using the Lasso tool, cut out the feather
itself and paste it onto a transparent background. Now go to the Selections
menu and choose Select All. Select the Paintbrush tool. In the Tool Control

click on the little paintbrush, then choose Custom. In the Custom
dialog box, choose Create. Now you have a feather paintbrush!


To create instant vignettes, make use of Paint Shop Pro's Feather
function. Open your image and increase its color depth to 16.7 million
colors. Choose a color that you'd like your image to blend to in the
Background color square. Now right-click on the Selection tool, click
on Tool Options, and select Ellipse in the dialog box that appears.
Set the Feather in the Tool control to about 8. Now start from the
center of the image and drag the marquee out toward the edges. Next,
go to the Selections menu and choose Invert. Press Delete on your
keyboard, and you have an instant vignette!


Layers are fairly easy to understand if you think of them as panes of glass.
You have your background (which could or could not be a layer), and when you
add a layer, you add another piece of glass, which is independent of the
background until it is merged. You can draw and paint and change the
settings of this layer without it affecting the background (or first layer).
It is always best to give each layer a name, so as not to get confused by
"layer 1," "layer 2," and so forth. Toggle the Layer palette on and off by
pressing L on your keyboard. You can save your image with all layer
information intact so that you can work on it again by using the .psp
extension. When you're happy with your image, click Layers, Merge, Merge All


You can change your cursor settings in Paint Shop Pro to get a better idea
of the size and shape of the brushes you're working with. To get a precise
cursor, go to the File menu and choose Preferences, General Program
Preferences. Click on the Cursors And Tablet tab. Click on the options Use
Precise Cursor For Tools Instead Of Standard Cursors and Show Brush Shape
Outline For Brushes. Now when you grab a brush tool, say the Airbrush tool,
your cursor will be in a round shape and in the same size as the pixel size
you chose for the brush tip.


The Capture function can get a little tricky. Here's how to use it: Go to
the Capture menu and choose Setup. If you're looking to capture just a small
area of an image, choose Area. Go to the image you wish to capture and
right-click. A little crosshair appears. Go to the edge of the image, then
left-click. You might assume that you'd click and drag, but you don't. Just
roll your mouse along until you've captured the entire part of the image
that you want, then left-click again. This takes some practice, but you'll
get the hang of it in no time!


When you rotate text that resides in a layer with an image, the text often
ends up kind of blurry. To remedy this situation, move your text to a new
layer. Make sure to defloat text and then, from the Image menu, choose
Rotate. For a nice banner effect, choose 45 Degrees Left. Next, go to the
Image menu and choose Sharpen. Now that your text is on a new layer, you can
position it without disturbing the rest of your image.


We learned the hard way about how and how NOT to use the Multiple
Capture function in Paint Shop Pro. Surfing around the Web one day, we
found an art site with tons of beautiful images. We decided to use the
Multiple Capture function to grab several images without having to
return to the PSP screen. When we were finished, we continued to surf,
forgetting that the Multiple Capture feature was still on. We then
attempted to right-click to open links in a new window, and nothing
happened. Certain that our computer was malfunctioning, we decided to
reboot. We went back to PSP to save what we had captured only to find
about 50 images of various text and art! The moral of this story: If
you use the Multiple Capture function in PSP, make sure to turn it off
when you're finished!


I can never stress this enough: Use your layers.
You should perform any new function--such as adding text, tubes, or effects--on a new layer. This way, you can manipulate your image without destroying your hard work.
Once you've opened a new image in the Layers palette, right-click on the background layer and choose New Layer. Leave the default settings and click OK. Now you can continue with your next function on the new layer.


You must have an image open in order to be able to see all options that are available in the drop-down menus.

Often, when working with Paint Shop Pro, you'll want to perform a certain task but it's not available (it's grayed out). This could happen for several reasons. For instance, if you don't have a layer, you can't delete one. If you haven't created a mask, you can't edit one. And if you don't have a portion of your image selected, you can't add a drop shadow or apply a chisel effect.

A selection is also known as a Marquee--or Marching Ants--and is simply a dotted line around a part of your image. When part of an image is selected, that's the active part of your image, and anything you do to edit that image will be applied to the selection only. This is not true when it comes to adding text, however. You can't add text to a selected portion of an image. Choose Selections, None to remove a selection.


Sometimes a saved picture file does not look as good as it did when you finished making it. And sometimes when you post it, it looks fuzzy. Here's a solution: When you open a new file, instead of the default 72-pixel resolution, change the resolution to 300 or so pixels. After you've finished with the picture, save it as a jpg. In the Save dialog box, click the Options button. Lower the compression to about 10. Now your picture will look as clear as when you made it. Note: Files done this way will load a bit slower on the Web, but for your fine art, isn't it worth the wait?


Sometimes you will want to make an image that has a transparent background, so that you don't see the background when putting it on a Web page, etc.While you are working on your image, you must keep it as a JPG if you want to use 16Mil colors or add any filters. Once you are satisfied with your picture, THEN you must drop the colors down to 256 (Colors, Decrease) and change it to a GIF file (Save As image.gif). Then, to make it transparent, click the Dropper tool and right-click the background of your image to select the color. Make sure the background color is the background and not the foreground, which is located on your tool palette to the right. (Of those two little squares right under the color palette, foreground is on top). Next, you click Colors, Set Palette Transparency. Then, select Optimized Median Cut, Set The Transparency To The Current Background Color. You can check it by clicking Colors, View Palette Transparency. The background should be transparent. Note, however, that the background will LOOK transparent when your picture is a JPG, but when you put it on your page, it won't be.

The requirements for a transparent picture are
- It must be a GIF (256 or less colors).
- The background must be a solid color.


You can position your mouse over a tool on the toolbar to find out what it is. At the bottom of your screen, there will be a short description of what the tool does.
You also have a Help tool, which is depicted by an arrow and a question mark. Click once on this tool, and a question mark is added to your cursor. Then, click any tool or menu item, and a help file pops up explaining what you can do with that particular tool.


There is a ton of information available on the Internet about Paint Shop Pro. You can find free filters, tubes, brushes, and tutorials galore. Many people have spent countless hours of their time to help others. Just open your favorite search engine and type paint shop pro (tubes, brushes, whatever)
You'll soon find yourself overwhelmed with information. There are lots of usergroups, too, along with newsgroups devoted specifically to this wonderful program. A good place to start would be the Web site of the maker of the program:


When you're working on a new graphic and you want to save it, if you choose File, Save, the Save As dialog box will open and Paint Shop Pro will default to the .psp format. This format is used when you want to preserve all layers, masks, and selections so that you can work on the graphic in the future. Clicking the drop-down menu will allow you to change the format you want to save in. However, if you still have separate layers, a dialog box will ask if you want to merge current layers. (Thus, the only way to save an image with layers is in the .psp format.) If you're working on an image that was saved previously, Paint Shop Pro will save the image in the format that it was previously saved in.

If you choose File, Save Copy As, Paint Shop Pro will remember the last format you saved in and the last folder you saved it to. This is a very handy feature if you don't like having to scroll through all the formats and search for the folder that you most often save to.


Paint Shop Pro gives you several choices when you're resizing an image. For best results, try not to make a small image much larger than its original size unless it is a vector image. Otherwise, the image may become pixilated. If you must go larger, choose Bicubic for the Resize Type in the Resize dialog box. For good results in reducing an image, choose Bilinear for the Resize Type.


New with PSP6 is the multiple Gradient function. You can create a neat cylinder effect with the Metallic Gradient. Here's how: Select Rectangle with the Shapes selector tool. Make a tall, thin rectangle, then grab the Fillcan. In the Tool Control, choose Linear Gradient. Click on the Gradient tab and choose Metallic. Set the angle at 90 degrees with zero repeats. Fill your rectangle.


I never recommend attempting to resize an image much larger than, or out of proportion to, the original. If you do, you usually get a very fuzzy picture. If you have to resize larger though, here's the cleanest way to do it. Go to the Image menu and choose Resize. Enlarge no more than 110 percent of the original at a time. Use the Bicubic Resize Method and make sure that Maintain Aspect Ratio is not checked. Now click OK. Go to the Image menu and choose Sharpen. If you are not satisfied with the results, you can repeat the process at ten percent at a time.


There are dozens of plug-in filters available free on the Web. A plug-in filter is basically a shortcut to the more complex procedures that can be done with Paint Shop Pro. With plug-ins, you can create professional graphics and special effects with a click of the mouse.

One site that offers free plug-ins (in addition to many tubes, tutorials, and masks) is

If you click on Links, and then on Graphics Plus, you'll find a particularly good set of filters. This set of filters includes a function called page curl, a very interesting special effect that looks like a curled-up page.


You can find many freeware Photoshop plug-ins at

Most of these Photoshop plug-ins work well with Paint Shop Pro (with the notable exception of plug-ins that use Photoshop transparency settings). If you're confused about compatibility issues, the site offers a pretty detailed explanation. This site also offers many filter resources as well as reviews of the available filters.

The site

offers Harry The Raver's filters and the Filter Factory filters, of which there are hundreds. You'll have to convert these filters to 8bf files. Harry also offers the PICO conversion tool, free.

These should get you started. With the help of filters, Paint Shop Pro can perform almost any function that high-end graphics programs can.


When you're working with several layers in Paint Shop Pro, things may get confusing. One way to remedy this is to hide all of the layers except the one you are working with. In your Layers Palette, there's a little icon (glasses) next to the name of each layer. You can click on that icon and the layer will be hidden. Click on it again, and the layer will come back into view.


You can arrange your toolbar any way you want--placing it on the right, left, top, or bottom of your screen. You can also put any tools you want on the toolbar for quick access, or you can remove tools that you don't use. To move the toolbar, click and hold the double line at the left or on the top of the toolbar. Then, you can drag it to where you want it to be.

To add or delete tools from the toolbar, choose File, Preferences, Customize Toolbar. Tools that are not currently on your toolbar will be located on the left, while the tools that are currently there will be located on the right. To add a tool, click once to highlight it, then click Add. The tool will move over to the right. To delete a tool, click once to highlight it, then click Remove. The tool will move over to the left.
You can arrange the tools in any order by clicking the Move Up or Move Down key. You can also add a separator bar by clicking the Separator button. Simply click Reset if you want to restore all buttons and remove any spaces.


Toolbars are your most important allies in Paint Shop Pro. While you're moving them around, they can sometimes dock themselves in a place where you don't want them--they can even hide from you. To get all the toolbars back in order, press Ctrl-Shift-T. The toolbars automatically jump to attention right in the center of your workspace!


The best way to navigate around in Paint Shop Pro is to use the toolboxes. I recommend that you have these boxes open at all times:
- Toolbar
- Tool control
- Color palette
- Layers palette
- Tool palette

It's best if you dock your toolbar at the bottom of your workspace. Click on any non-tool portion of the toolbar and drag to the bottom of the screen. Elongate it to fit all the way across the screen, much like the navigation bar in Windows.

Keep your Tool control box in the upper-right corner of your workspace, but be careful not to cover your Color palette, which is docked at the right portion of the workspace.

The Layers palette can be placed at the bottom of the screen above the toolbar. This is a resizable box, so you can manipulate it to suit your needs.

Finally, reshape the all-important Tool palette into a rectangle and place it below the Tool control.

Once you have your workspace set up, Paint Shop Pro will remember your settings and open them that way every time.


Installation of filters is easy. To do so, make sure you have Paint Shop Pro closed. Open My Computer/C:/Program Files/Paint Shop Pro through Windows Explorer. Make sure that in your Paint Shop Pro folder there is a subfolder called Plugins.

Most filters come in a zip format. Unzip your new filters to the Plugins directory within Paint Shop Pro. Now, to install simple filters that don't need to be converted (the provider of the filters will tell you if this is the case and direct you to a conversion utility and tutorial for how to use it), open Paint Shop Pro; choose File, Preferences, General Program Preferences; and then click the Plug-in Filters tab.

In the dialog box, check the boxes beside Enable Filters, Include Sub-folders When Searching For Filters, and Enable Plug-in Automatic File Format Identification. In the first text box, click the Browse button, then browse for your Plugins folder (look under C:\Program Files\Paint Shop Pro 5\Plugins). Click OK, and your filters will load. From that point on, you can locate the filters through the Image menu.


Filters are plug-ins that give special effects to your images. For example, you can make a button that looks like glass or wood, or create 3D effects on your text. Paint Shop Pro comes with a few built-in filters such as blur, emboss, hot wax coating, and so on, but you can also buy them or download them from the Internet. Most of them are worth their weight in gold. Two excellent ones are Blade Pro, which you can find at

and Eye Candy, which you can find at

Most filters require that a specific file be added to your Windows System directory (System Folder on the Mac), and you can usually find the file to download at the same place that you find the filters.


OK, so what is that Alpha Channel anyway? The Alpha Channel saves selections for you temporarily. The saves are available only while Paint Shop Pro is open; they disappear into cyberland when you close PSP.

Here's an example: Let's say you wanted to make text out of a picture of rotelli pasta (OK, I happen to like pasta). Anyway, select the Text tool and choose a fat font. It doesn't matter what color. Once the font is on and still selected, choose Selections, then save it to the Alpha Channel. Leave the settings at their defaults for now, and click OK, then Yes. Now, undo your text (from the Edit menu, choose Undo). At this point, you have your plain picture of pasta again. But we're not finished. Go to the Selection menu and choose Load From Alpha Channel, then click OK in the dialog box. Now you have a selection of your text on the picture, which is transparent. You can copy and paste your pasta text onto a bowl of Marinara sauce if you like!


Here's a simple way to make patterned text that looks like it's "cut out."

Open an image with a pattern that you want to use. Press Shift-D to duplicate the image and work with the duplicate. Select the Text tool and type your text. Make sure that the Floating option is NOT selected. Click OK. Now choose Edit, Copy, then Edit, Paste, As New Image. Go back to the original image and choose Edit, Undo Text. Then choose Edit, Paste, As New Selection. Move the selection around to where you want it. Choose Image, Effects, Drop Shadow and add a drop shadow to your text. Click Selections, Select None to see the final effect.


If you're working on an image that is 256 colors or less, Paint Shop Pro offers a neat little tool called an image palette. You can choose how the colors in your image are displayed by palette order, luminance, and hue.

With your 256-color or less image open, click Colors, Edit Palette. All the colors that are currently being used in your image will be displayed. If you want to change a color, double-click on its square, and the Color dialog box will open. You can then pick the new color you want to use.


The Flood Fill tool acts like a can of paint that you can "pour" onto your image. There are lots of different options, such as linear gradient, sunburst gradient, radial gradient, rectangular gradient, solid color, and pattern. In this tip, we'll show you how to use the pattern fill.

To begin, open an image that you'd like to use to fill another. Then, open another image to fill. Select the Flood Fill tool (located just above the Text tool), click the Tool Controls tab in the Control palette, and under Fill Style, choose Pattern. Continue by entering the following values: Match Mode, None; Tolerance, 100; Opacity, 100. Then, click Options. The Fill Style should read Pattern, Blend Mode, Normal. Under New Pattern Source, click the arrow, find the pattern you want to use, then click it. You will now see that pattern displayed in the preview box. With the Flood Fill tool still selected, click the image you want to fill with the pattern. You can fill certain parts of the image by selecting them first. You can also vary the opacity by changing the numbers in the Opacity box (the lower the number, the more transparent it will be).


When flood-filling an image or selection with a gradient fill, you can set options for all gradients except linear. You can set the two colors--for instance, the background color could be the edges of the gradient, and the foreground color would be the starting point--by changing the colors on the Active Colors palette.

You can use the vertical and horizontal slides to set the distance between the edges of the fill area and the gradient origin. The default is 50 percent for each, or in the center.


Paint Shop Pro offers a selection method called masking. You can change or remove a background, add fancy edges and frames, and enhance certain colors and sections of an image, all by using the masking method. In the next tip, we'll discuss the dynamics of this method and show you how to create and save a mask.


In our last tip, we discussed some of the ways you can use a mask in Paint Shop Pro. A mask is basically a black-and-white stencil. The black in a mask is the portion that is open for editing, and the white is the part of the mask that covers the portions you don't want to affect.
Let's start out by making a simple mask. Click on the File menu and choose New. In the resulting dialog box, enter 400 for the Image Dimensions Width and 400 for the Height (in pixels). The Background color should be White. Click OK. Now that you have a blank white canvas, it's time to make a black shape. Set the Foreground color in the Color Palette to Black. Click on the Shapes tool in the Tool Palette. In the Tool Options Palette, choose Shape Type: Ellipse, Style Filled, and checkmark Antialias. Place your mouse in the center of the white canvas, then click and drag outward to make the ellipse
shape. Now to finish your new mask, you'll need to save it to disk. Click on the Masks menu and then choose New, From Image. In the resulting dialog box, choose Source Image, This Window and choose Source Luminance and Invert Mask Data. Click OK. Now your black ellipse appears on a transparent background. Click on the Masks menu again and choose Save To Disk. Create a new Masks folder within your PSP folder so your saved masks are easier to find later. To create a new folder,
click on the Create New Folder icon. A folder will appear with the name New Folder highlighted. Simply type
Masks in its place. Now double-click on the Masks folder to open it. Type Ellipse
in the File Name box and click OK. In the next tip, we'll open the Ellipse mask and apply it to an image.


In the last tip, we created a simple mask from a basic shape and saved it to disk. Now we'll apply it to an image. Choose File, Open and then open an image. Click on the Edit menu and choose Copy. Return to the Edit menu and choose Paste As A New Image. This step ensures that you don't inadvertently ruin the original image. Click on the X in the upper-left corner of the original image to close it. Next, click on the Masks menu and choose Load From Disk. Browse for the Masks folder that you created. Click on the Ellipse mask and then click OK. What happened? The image now has a portion of the background removed, with the remaining portion in an ellipse! Now you can copy the shape and paste it onto any background you like. In the next tip, we'll further explore masks.


When you're making a new mask, it's best to make it rather large for generic purposes. The mask, when applied to an image, will adjust to the proportions of the image. Keep in mind that if you have an image that is much wider than it is long, or vice versa, the mask will stretch and appear out of proportion. To remedy this, try making a custom mask for the image on which you plan to use it. To do this, open the image you plan on masking by clicking on the File menu and choosing Open. Browse to the image to which you want to apply the mask. Make a copy of the image by going to the Edit menu and choosing Copy. Return to the Edit menu and choose Paste As A New Image. This step ensures that you don't inadvertently ruin the original image. Click on the X in the upper-left corner of the original image to close it. Next, click on the View menu and choose Image Information. The resulting dialog box will give you the exact dimensions of the image. Now open a new image by clicking on the File menu and choosing New. In the Image Dimensions section of the resulting dialog box, enter the dimensions of the original image and click OK. Draw the black shape onto the white canvas. Click on the Masks menu and choose New, From Image. In the resulting dialog box, you'll see a drop-down menu in the Source Image section. Choose the new image that you made. If you have just the mask image and the copy of your image open in the workspace, then the mask you made will be Image 2. Click OK. Now the mask appears on the image in the correct proportions. The background becomes transparent. Oops, the mask is on backwards. No problem. Just click on the Masks menu and choose Invert Mask. In the next tip, we'll show you how to make special edges with masks.


In the first four tips in this series, you learned how to create simple masks in Paint Shop Pro. In this tip, you'll learn how to make an edge on an image using the Mask function. Let's start out by making an edge mask.
Open a new image. Enter 400 for the Width and 400 for the Height. Choose White for the Background color. Set the Foreground color in the Color Palette to Black. Now choose one of the Paint tools from the Tool Palette. The idea here is to outline the edges of the white canvas on the new image in an abstract fashion. You can paint on a random zigzag edge or a straight edge; the type is a matter of choice. The end result will be a frame of sorts. Remember that the black portion of a mask is the portion you will work with, while the white portion of a mask is the area that is protected. Save the mask by clicking on the Masks menu and choosing New, From Image. In the resulting dialog box, choose This Window for the Image Source, and click OK. Next, click on the Masks menu and choose Save To Disk. Enter the filename Edge and save the file to the Paint Shop Pro Masks folder. The file extension should read *.msk. In the next tip, we'll apply this edge and use some special effects.

Now that you have an edge, you're ready to apply it as a mask to your image. Open the image you plan on masking. Make a copy of the image by choosing Edit, Copy. Return to the Edit menu and choose Paste As A New Image. This step ensures that you don't inadvertently ruin the original image. Click on the X in the upper-left corner of the original image to close it. Now add a new raster layer to your image by clicking on the New Layer icon in the Layer Palette. Choose a color for the final edge. (To best complement a photo or an image, try using the Dropper tool in the Tool Palette and clicking it on one of the dominant colors in the photo or image.) Next, click on the Flood Fill tool in the Tool Palette and click on the image to fill the layer. The image is now one solid color. To apply the mask, click on the Masks menu and choose Load From Disk. In the resulting dialog box, choose the file named Edge and click OK. Now that you have the mask on the image, it's time to create some special effects. Click on the Masks menu and choose Save To Alpha Channel. Click on the Masks menu again and choose Delete. A warning box will pop up asking if you want to merge the mask into the current layer; click OK. Next, add another new layer to your image by clicking on the New Layer icon in the Layer Palette. Click on the Selections menu and choose Load From Alpha Channel. You should now see a selection marquee around your edge. Select Image, Effects, Drop Shadow. Make the Shadow Color black, the Opacity 100%, and the Blur 0. Using the Vertical slider in the Offset section, click and drag to the number 1. Repeat this process with the Horizontal slider. Click OK. Now the edge begins to have some dimension. Finally, repeat this process, but instead of having the Vertical and Horizontal sliders set at 1, set them at -1. The final image should have a three-dimensional edge that looks like a fancy frame!


A mask is a grayscale image that serves as a stencil. Using the Mask function, you can put an image inside a rose. Find a picture of a black rose (clip art). Open it in Paint Shop Pro and make sure that it's set at 16.7 million colors. Choose Colors, Grayscale, then go back and increase the color depth again. Now you have a stencil. You can use this stencil to put your picture inside a rose.

I will not go into great detail about how to make this work--I will instead refer you to a few excellent tutorials available on the Web:


You can't change the size of a custom brush, but you can make it a transparent GIF by itself and then use the Resize feature (Image, Resize) to make it the size that you want. You can create a two-toned effect by left-clicking (thus making it the foreground color), then without moving your mouse, right-clicking (thus adding the background color on top of it).

You can also make the brush as dark as you want by clicking more than once (make sure you don't move your mouse or you'll get a blurred image), and you can make a silhouette by clicking until it is filled with color. A nice effect is to make a silhouette, then click once; the result is an outlined picture that is colored in. You can also position your mouse, take note of its exact position (by using the ruler), and then change the colors in the Active Colors palette to make a multicolored picture with very stunning effects.


Paint Shop Pro comes with several custom brushes. You can also make them yourself or download them from the Internet.

To use a custom brush, first open an image. Click the Brush tool (located between the Dropper tool and the Clone Brush; it looks just like a paintbrush). On your Control palette, choose Brush Tip, then click the small square box to the right that has a brush and an arrow in it. Click Custom to display the Custom Brush dialog box. Next, click once on the brush that you want to use, then click OK. Go back to your image and click once, and you'll have a single-color image of your Custom Brush Tip. You can change the color to any color you wish to use


Ever wonder what the Batch Conversion option is? If you have several files
(pictures) that you need to convert to a certain format for use in other
programs, you can convert one or more with the Batch Conversion tool. Then
you won't have to open each image and do a Save As.... This process will
make copies of the files in the new format while leaving the originals


A few tools in Paint Shop Pro offer an option called Antialias. This option
is mainly used with text, although the Shapes tool and the Freehand tool
also use it.

When this option is selected, the text or shape will not have as much of a
jagged edge as it would if the option were not selected. Antialiasing will
partially fill in pixels along the edge with a semitransparent color to give
a much smoother look.


Paint Shop Pro offers many ways to get an edge on a photo other than the
plain, sharp, "boxy" edge that most unretouched photos have.

Here are a couple of ways: First, open a photo that you want to change.
Choose the Selection tool and pick which shape you want to use. On the
Control palette, set the Feather option to 20. Make your selection, copy it,
and paste it as a new image. This will give a blurred, softer edge to your
photo. Another way is to make a selection, invert it, and apply any of the
many different filters available.


The PSP 6 Picture Frame function is great, but it has one pitfall--it will
crop off parts of your picture. To remedy this, go to the File menu and
choose Open. From the resulting list, select the file you want. Once your
file is open, make sure that your rulers are open, then measure the top,
bottom, and size of the actual frame (the colored part). Now go back to your
image and, from the Image menu, choose Add Borders. Make the border size the
same as the pixel size of the frame. Now you can add your frame and keep all
of your picture!


Sometimes, you may want the text on your image to stand out a bit. To
accomplish this, you can outline the text. Simply click on the Text
tool (represented by the letter "A") in the Tool palette, and click
anywhere inside the image. In the resulting Text Entry box, check the
Floating option under Create As. Enter the text and click OK. Move
your text onto the image while it is still floating. From the
Selections menu, choose Save To Alpha Channel, click OK, and name the
new channel. Now click on the Selections menu and choose Promote To
Layer. Click on the Selections menu again and choose Load From Alpha
Channel. Click the Selections menu one more time and choose Modify,
Expand. In the resulting Expand Selection box, enter 2 for the Number
Of Pixels. Click on the Flood Fill tool and fill with the color of
your choice in order to outline the text. You can even make the
outline several colors by increasing the Expand Level with each new


Here's a great tip from Tomi on a newsgroup:

You may open PSP at the same time you are reading the newsgroup. If you see a tube title you like, but no preview, you can drag and drop the tube file on your PSP button to open. Once you have viewed it, you can save as you wish.
Neat tip Tomi, thank you!

Here's another, posted by Jessica:

Another way to open a tube without a preview is to open your message to full size by double clicking on it. Then click on the 'attachment' bar on top that has your tube name. Highlight that, hold your mouse down until you get a circle with a cross through it. Drag it to your PSP button on your task bar. You can let go when the PSP window opens and your tube will appear...voila!
This is like magic, thank you Jessica!


by Traci Pori

When you right-click on a node point in a vector image, the Node Edit menu will pop up. Notice that the menu offers several options. For now, let's look at the node types. The first type presented is Asymmetric. When you manipulate an Asymmetric node, each side of the node changes independently. When you choose Asymmetric, a handle will appear on the node. If you pull on one side of the handle, it changes the line before the node independently of the line after the node. Each line can be sized and shaped without the other being changed.


by Traci Pori

To determine a node type before you edit it, try running the mouse over it. Look in the Status bar in the left corner of the Paint Shop Pro workspace. As you move your mouse over the node, the status bar displays the node type and the X (distance from the top horizontally) and Y (distance from the left vertically) coordinates of the node in relation to the entire image.


by Traci Pori

Converting a curve to a line is easy with the Vector tools in Paint Shop Pro 6. If you want to make text along an obscure path, such as a butterfly shape, you can do it using the Draw tool set at Freehand and Vector. Choose the Draw tool from the Tool Palette and trace around the image/path as closely as you can. Now you can edit the nodes to get the shape precise. Click on the Vector selection tool in the Tool Palette and, from the Options Palette, choose Node Edit. Click on a node. If the node is a line and needs to be more of a curve, right-click and, from the Node Edit menu, choose Node Type, Curve Before or Curve After. The line converts to a curve. If a curve needs to be more of a straight line, right-click on the node and choose Node Type, Line Before or Line After from the Node Edit menu. To smoothly blend a curve with a line, right-click on the node, then choose Node Type, Smooth/Tangent from the Node Edit menu. Once you've modified all of your nodes, you're ready to add the text.