Paint Shop Pro Tutorials -- Layers Primer
Learn to Use Layers with Paint Shop Pro
Layers add so much power to PSP that it's easy to be a bit confused about how they work and what you can accomplish with them. This tutorial will show you some of the power in layers.
You can think of layers as well... layers. Imagine, instead of having one sheet of paper to draw on you have several. Better than paper, though, you can change some of the properties of the layers. Because of this you can do things like protect a transparent portion of a layer, change the opacity of a layer and apply different blending modes.
I'll use all of these features in this tutorial.
Okay, let's get started. First open a new file and give it 200 as the width and 100 as the height. Also make sure you use 16.7 million as the color depth. Set the background color of the image to white for now.
Create a new layer by clicking on the small icon in the lower-left corner of the layers palette (see figure 21.1).
Select the selection tool and, in the Controls palette, select the Tool Controls tab, set the selection type to rectangle and set the feather to 0.
Draw a rectangular selection as shown in figure 21.2.
Select the Flood Fill tool and fill the selection with black. You can do this by setting the foreground color to black, selecting the Flood Fill tool, setting the Fill Style to Solid Color in the Tool Controls, and clicking within the rectangular selected area.
You'll now have a black rectangle.
Select the Selection tool and set the Style to Ellipse, Feather to 0, and set the Anti-alias option off.
Place the cursor's crosshairs in the middle of the left side of the black rectangle and draw down and to the left until you have an ellipse that covers part of the left side of the rectangle (see figure 21.3).
Set the Protect Transparency Toggle to on. The small green lock next to the layer's name should turn red.
Set the foreground color to a shade of gray, select the Flood Fill tool, set the Fill Style to Solid Color and click in the selected area. Only that part of the area taken up by the button should turn gray (see figure 21.4).
Select the Mover tool, right-click on the elliptical selection and drag it to the right side of the black rectangle. Select the Flood Fill tool and fill the right ellipse with the same gray color.
Select the Selection tool, set the Selection type to Rectangle and turn off Anti-aliasing. Make a rectangular selection that covers about the top third of the button. Set the foreground color to black and the background color to white. Select the Flood fill tool, set the Fill Style to Linear Gradient, the Match mode to RGB, the Tolerance to 0, the Opacity to 100%, and click the Options button.
Set the angle to 180 and click OK.
Click anywhere in the black area within the selection.
Select the Selection tool and position the cursor just at the bottom of the current selection. Make a new selection that covers the bottom two thirds of the button.
Swap the foreground/background colors by clicking on the small bent two-headed arrow at the lower-left of the foreground/background color swatches.
Select the Flood Fill tool and click somewhere on the remaining black area. You should have something that resembles figure 21.6.
Hmmm... This looks suspiciously like my 3D stereo button, eh? Well, of course, it is. We're going to teach it a few new tricks, though.
Select the Dropper tool and pick up a light color from the gradient. Get close to the highlight but don't take the actual highlight color.
Select the Flood Fill tool, set the Fill Style to Solid Color and click on the left side of the button to fill it with a much lighter gray.
Select the Dropper tool and pick up a color from the shadowed area of the button. Use the Flood Fill tool to fill the right side of the button with the darker gray color.
Select the Magic Wand and click outside of the button. Choose Selections, Invert to invert the selection. This is a great way to select an area that has several colors.
Choose Image, Blur, Gaussian Blur and set the value to about 2.00.
You'll now have a great 3D button. Let's see what we can do because of the layers feature, though.
Open a texture file. You can find texture images all over the web or you can invent your own. I have a tutorial or two here that show you how to create wood and metal.
To keep the same size selection choose Edit, Copy with the first image (the button) as current. Make the texture file current and choose Edit, Paste, As New Layer.
Choose the Mover tool and move the button around until it covers that area of the texture that you'd like to copy. Choose the Magic Wand tool and click somewhere outside of the button. Make the texture layer current and choose Edit, Copy.
Make the button image current, choose Selections, None and choose Edit, Paste, As New Layer. If you need to move the texture around so that it covers the button you can use the Mover tool.
With the texture in place, set the texture layer's mode to Overlay (see figure 21.7).
If you find, like me, that the button is a little too bright or that there should be more texture showing, no problem. Obviously we can't add to the opacity of the texture... it's at the max. However you can take away from the opacity of the button layer. Try setting it to about 70%. Hmmm... that doesn't seem to have any effect. Try turning off the background layer. Voila!!! A more professional button would be hard to find (see figure 21.8).
There's only one thing left to do. Set the button layer active, select the Magic Wand tool, click anywhere outside the button, choose Selections, Invert, choose Edit, Copy Merged (this will copy the button layer and the texture layer together). Choose Edit, Paste, As New Image. Voila!!! You should have a button like you see in figure 21.9.
That's it.... Be sure to check out some of our other Paint Shop Pro tutorials.
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