by Traci Pori

A useful node in Paint Shop Pro 6 is the Cusp node. Creating a cusp changes a curved line into a point. A neat use for the Cusp node is making a heart shape. Draw a vector circle. Next, click on the Vector Selection tool in the Tool Palette. Click Node Edit in the Tool Option Palette. Right-click on the top node and select Node Type, Symmetric. Right-click the node again and choose Node Type, Cusp. Repeat this process on the bottom node. Now you can manipulate the top and bottom nodes into a heart shape.


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're working on an image and you find that your canvas is too small (or too big for that matter), you can resize it. When you're adding to the canvas, make sure that the color of the background in your Active Colors palette is set to the same color of your image background because that's the color Paint Shop Pro will use. Choose Image, Canvas Size, and the resulting dialog box will tell you what size your image currently is. You can then use the scroll bars to put in a new width and height. If you just want to add extra canvas, leave the Center Image Horizontal and Center Image Vertical boxes checked. When you click OK, the canvas will be sized to the dimensions you specified. If you are working with a canvas that is too big, cropping is a better choice for making it smaller.


Did you know that you can scan a portrait and turn it into a charcoal drawing? You can with Paint Shop Pro. First, go to the Colors menu and choose Gray Scale. Then go to the Image menu and choose Edge, Enhance Edges. Return to the Image menu and choose Noise, Add Noise. Click the Random button and increase the noise percentage by sliding the ruler until you get the desired effect in the preview window. Now print the result and tell everyone you've become a portrait artist!


You can draw, paint, airbrush, and even erase in a straight line.
Simply hold down the Ctrl key while applying the effect.


To make a mirrored lake reflection of your text, do the following: With the Shapes selector tool set at Rectangle, no Antialias, and no Feather, select the top half of your image. Make your background and add text. When you're satisfied with the look, choose Edit, Copy. Now go back to the Edit menu and choose Paste As A New Layer. Go to the Selections menu and choose Select None. In the Layers Palette, click on Layer 2. Go to the Image menu and choose Flip. Use the Four Way Arrow tool to place your flipped copy directly under your original. For some added effect, go to the Colors menu and choose Adjust, Brightness, Contrast. Darken the mirror just a bit. Then go to the Image menu and choose Wind from the Deformations submenu. Now you can just picture that cool dark lake!


Paint Shop Pro automatically centers any new layer you paste onto an image. However, creating text in the center is not as automated--the text is created wherever you've placed the cursor on the image. For
perfectly centered text, add a new layer to your image and then enter your text. Now from the Edit menu, choose Cut. Return to the Edit menu and choose Paste As A New Layer. Ta-da! Your text appears exactly in
the center of the image.


Sometimes you might want to copy a part of an image into another image and make it fit exactly. For example, if you have a picture frame and you want to put a picture in it, you would do the following.

First, select the area that you want to put the picture in. Next, select the picture and copy it. Then, make the destination image active again and click Edit, Paste, Into Selection. The copy of your picture will expand or contract to fit exactly into the selection. You can adjust the feather option of your selection when first making it, depending on how "hard" you want the image edges to be.


If you want to add an image of yourself to a luxuriant forest background, here's a way to make the result appear more realistic.

Once you've pasted your image as a new layer, go to the Image menu and choose Drop Shadow. Make the shadow about 30 percent opaque, with a Vertical and Horizontal Alignment of 1 and a Blur of 2. This will help blend your image into the surroundings.


Paint Shop Pro offers a technique commonly known as ghosting, in which one image is faded into another. To make this effect, open the two images you want to fade together. Decide which of the images will be prominent and which will be the faded image. Make sure both images are set to 16.7 million colors. Now select the Lasso tool, choose Point To Point, and enable the Antialias option. Set the Feather option to 1. Then, go around the image you want to "ghost in." Once you've gone all the way around, right-click and your path becomes a selection. Now select Edit, Copy. Make your background image active, click the Edit menu, and paste the image as a new layer.

You'll notice a new layer in the Layers palette. On the right is an opacity slider. Simply pull back from 100 to about 50 with a normal blend mode. Now you have your ghosted image.


To make an odd-shaped selection such as an archway or pear, start with the Shapes selection tool. For an archway, you begin with a rectangle selection, then simply add a Circle selection top. To do this, hold down the Shift key while you add to the selection. Click and drag from the top-center of the rectangle to the edges of the rectangle selection, then release the mouse
button. You've just added to your selection. To subtract from a selection, hold down the Ctrl key while making the selection.


To open more than one image from the Paint Shop Pro browser window, hold down the Shift key while clicking the images you want to open. Here's another neat trick: From the Paint Shop Pro browser window, you can browse your Internet cache and clear out all of those unwanted pictures. To do this, go to the File menu in Paint Shop Pro and click on Browse. A browser window will open in the last directory that you opened. In the right window, navigate to the Temporary Internet Files folder by double-clicking on the C: drive. Now scroll down and double-click on your Windows folder, then double-click on the Temporary Internet Files folder. If you've never looked at what your computer grabs while you're surfing, you're in for a big surprise. You can hold down the Shift key and select the pictures you want to delete. Finally, right-click and choose Delete.


You do not have to export any of the tubes you collect, if you think you'll only use it once or twice. Why clutter your .ctl file with tubes? A tube is basically an image on a transparent background. You can open the file from your browser and copy and paste it onto the image as a new layer. You can resize before or after if you need to. Be sure to sharpen the image if you make it smaller by choosing Image, Sharpen. Then you can toss it when you've finished.


What if you make a complex image in Paint Shop Pro consisting of many layers and functions, and you run out of time? What if your program crashes before you complete the project? Well, depending on the importance of your project, there is an easy solution.

After each function you perform, save, save, save. When you first open an image, go to the File menu and choose the Save As command. Name your file and save it as a PSP file. Now with each layer, choose Save again. When you close your unfinished project and save it as a PSP file, you can reopen it and all the layers will still be intact. In other words, if you have a seven-layer project, all seven layers will appear in the layers window as if you had never closed the file.


Sometimes tubes you download share the same shape and size but are in different colors. What if you really only need one color, a grayscale, or as close as possible? If you lay the tube on a new layer, you can colorize it. To save space, export only one tube in the group. If the tubes are different sizes, export only the largest.


To help with making an image, Paint Shop Pro comes with a ruler and a grid. These are toggle buttons, however, and must be "turned on" in order for you to see them.

Choose View, Rulers or Grid to turn them on (or off if there's a checkmark next to them). You can set the size of these elements by going to File, Preferences, General Program Preferences, Rulers And Units. For the ruler, you can set the size by pixels, inches, or centimeters. For the grid, you can set it any size you want, also in inches, pixels, or centimeters. You can also set the color of the grid lines.


What if you grab a Picture Tube and decide you don't like it? You can't just delete it; you have to also delete it from the Tubes.ctl file. Open Tubes.ctl from Windows Explorer. Find the name of the Tube you no longer want and delete it. Make sure that there are exactly as many spaces between each .ctl as before!