Paint Shop Pro 101
This is a graphics altering program much like Photoshop and other similar programs.
Originally Paint Shop Pro was quite a step up from Paint included in the Windows Operating System in Accessories; Paint is a nice program but very limited in possibilities as far as creating email graphics.
To answer the many requests for a stand alone program that offers users flexibility and inspire endless possibilities, Jasc created a wonderfully complete program and later bundled it with Animation Shop. Graphics artists found Paint Shop Pro (PSP) delightfully complete and customizable for creating unique graphics using pictures and, as the popularity of the program reached creators far and wide, tubes, filters and other goodies were added as the users of the PSP program perfected their creations. Many opened websites that not only displayed their talents but afforded the opportunity to put up for sale or for free their creations and/or any PSP related filter, plug in or script for other users.
In October of 2004, Corel acquired Jasc, a move that saddened the avid PSP user, and, with the sale Corel “un-bundled” PSP and Animation Shop and re-designed PSP to be more of a photographer’s program.
PSP followers were able to keep the earlier versions bundled with Animation Shop and happily continue to use them just as Jasc intended.
Language of Paint Shop Pro (PSP)
Some of the language used in PSP is confusing. If you were to hear 2 people totally engaged in conversation about PSP, you’ll hear terms like: layer, filter, deformation tool, magic wand, pattern, duplication, brushes, masks, background among other terms.
Merely looking up these terms in the dictionary would cause more confusion. Here is a Glossary of common terms and what they mean:
Tube: A graphic on a transparent background used in Paint Shop Pro for creating graphics. It could be anything, flower, animal, object. Tubes have .psp or .pspimage as the format.
*Preview* A preview is a tube that has been made into a jpg by adding a background to it. It’s not a usable image, it only represents what the tube contains. Tubes cannot be shown as they are in email or in viewers. The only way to view what the tube is is by creating a graphic from it, usually has the name of the tube, where it came from, any copyright information on it; size perhaps and a watermark.
Watermark: A very light mark placed on a made graphic from it’s creator. Can be anything, but usually is an identifying mark to prevent the image from being stolen and used or sold for profit by another.
Layer: If you remember school when the teacher used the overhead projector and would put overlays on the glass which blew the image up on the wall or ceiling: layers used in PSP is similar, difference is, when you first select it from the Layer menu, there’s nothing on it, a clear blank sheet or overlay. On that you can then put an image on it. The reason for layers in PSP is to allow the creator to add or remove objects and then be able to move the object around the graphic without disturbing the main image. There are Raster Layers and Vector Layers. Raster is the most commonly used layer.
*Example:* Say you wanted to add your name to the graphic you’re working on, so you’d select Layer and then select Raster Layer; add your name to the image. BUT say you didn’t like where you placed your name. Having it on a layer allows you to move your name anywhere on the graphic, up, down, left or right or even centered.
Merge: Think of merging in PSP as a copy machine. You must make 1 copy of every page x 20 pages, collated or into slots on a copy machine that separates the pages. Merging here simply means combining all the pages into one unit. There is Merge Visible, or combining temporarily (stapling the pages together) or Merge Flat or combining permanently (adding all the pages by copying everything on the other pages onto the main page). You can undo any of the merging back to separate layers while the graphic is still open on the work area, once you save to your computer, you lose the ability to do anything more with it.
Filters: Filters add or subtract from an image. They can change the color, appearance or the texture of the graphic. PSP comes with basic filters, you can do a lot with those already installed with the program, but, some tutorials call for specialty filters. Some are free, some are pay to use (PTU). Depends on what you are needing to accomplish that determines whether or not you can substitute a ptu filter with a freebie one or a substitute.
Tutorial: Think of tutorials like recipes. You get a list of ingredients needed and then are told how to make the dish. Same with PSP tutorials (affectionately called tuts). Usually comes with a grouping of items you’ll need for the tut along with the directions. Like recipes, you can play around with the graphics and filters. Tuts are nothing more than guides like recipes to the finished project.
Brushes: A tool used to add to the main graphic. Could be anything, usually a faint graphic overlay so that you can then build on it. There are artistic brushes which add graphics and brushes that change the appearance of the main graphic (such as smudging brush which softens lines or the cloning brush which clones areas to fill in flawed areas or correction brushes that remove scratches or red eyes in photographs).
Masks: Masks take away from the graphic using a type of stencil graphic. Portions of the main graphic are then “cut away” in a decorative manner to enhance or to change the appearance of the original graphic. For example, you can create a drape affect for a window by applying a mask of drapes to a layer colored black. The part left behind will appear as black drapes for the graphic’s window. One example of many. Some masks can be used to frame a graphic or give texture to the main graphic.
Background: Usually the main image being worked off of. Everything else is added by layers (as in overlays) until the desired graphic is achieved.
Fonts: The appearance and shape of a letter is a font; can be a letter, ding or small picture. In PSP, usually adds to the graphic or embellishes the other layers.
A more detailing of these areas will be discussed in future articles.