Paint Shop Pro Tutorials -- Magic of Masks
Using the Magic of Masks with Paint Shop Pro
As Paint Shop Pro becomes more powerful so do its tools. This power comes with change, though. Certain tools, such as masks, must, necessarily, change their behavior.
Changes, such as these, can be a little disconcerting to users especially with tools as complex as masks.
In version 5.xx, masks have changed quite radically. Part of this change is due to the fact that PSP 5.xx users now have the capability of using layers (for more info on layers, see the tutorial "PSP 5-Layers Primer").
With layers some of the techniques that used to require a mask can now be done more simply using Layer Blending Modes. An example of this is the textured 3D button shown at the end of the Layers Primer tutorial mentioned above.
Without layers, that textured, 3D, button effect would have required a mask.
"So", you're asking yourself, "if Layer Blending Modes can handle some of the tougher stuff that used to require a mask, what can masks do now?"
Masks in PSP 5 are now more like masks in the higher-end programs such as Adobe's Photoshop and Corel's PhotoPaint.
The basics are still similar in that a mask is grayscale and where the mask is white you won't see any change and where it's black you will see change.
The change you will see, though, comes not from applying effects to the image through the mask, but from what's on the underlying layer(s).
To get a quick idea of how this works, look at figure 23.1.
The circle in figure 23.1 appears to simply be a circle filled with a red-to-blue gradient. It is not. The effect was created by drawing a red circle on one layer, a blue circle on a layer above and applying a mask to the layer containing the blue circle to let the red circle show through.
Of course, this particular effect could have been created more easily, by simply filling a circle with a red-to-blue gradient. I chose to create the image in this manner to show you how the new masks work.
The mask I used was a simple black-to-white gradient that runs horizontally across the layer. Where the mask is darker (towards the left side) the red circle in the underlying layer shows through. Where the mask is lighter (towards the right side) the blue remains less affected and doesn't allow the red to show through. Because the mask is a gradient, the red and the blue circles appear to blend together.
This affect can be applied to any two images on different layers enabling one layer to blend into the underlying layer. In fact, because layers can have transparent sections, you can use masks on several layers allowing many different layers objects to show through each other creating awesome effects.
A simple example that is similar to the two circles would be to take an image and copy it. You could then remove the color from the new image (choose Colors, Grayscale) and paste it back over the first image into a separate layer. This would leave you with two layers, one in full-color and the other identical but in grayscale.
If you applied the same mask as with figure 23.1 (i.e. a black-to-white linear gradient) you'd end up with a color image fading into a black-and-white image (see figure 23.2).
Unlike the two circles, this effect would not be possible without the use of a mask.
Now for a little hands-on with masks.
To see exactly how a mask works with version 5 of Paint Shop Pro, try the following exercise:
Open a new 400x200, 72 pixels/inch image with the Background Color set to White and the Image Type set to 16.7 Million Colors (24-bit).
Set the Foreground color to a medium gray.
Select the Text Tool and enter the word "Shadow" in 48 point Ariel Black (use another sans serif, chunky font if you don't have Ariel Black).
Choose Image, Flip to flip the word over.
Set the background color to white.
Select the Flood Fill tool and, in the Control palette, set the Fill Style to Linear Gradient. Click the options button and set the Angle to 180 degrees (the fill should go from gray at the top to white at the bottom).
Click each letter to fill it with a gray-to-white vertical linear gradient.
You should have something that resembles figure 23.3
Select the Deformation tool. Move the mouse pointer over the handle in the lower right corner of the bounding box (the bounding box appears around the image, or selection, after you select the Deformation tool).
While holding down the Ctrl key, click-and-drag the handle to the right until it's right off the image. Release the mouse button.
Click-and-drag the lower middle handle towards the bottom of the image and release the mouse button.
Double-click within the bounding box and, when the dialog box pops up, choose "Yes" to apply the deformation.
You should have something that resembles figure 23.4.
Choose Selections, Select None.
In the Layer palette, click-and-drag the layer with the text on it onto the Add New Layer button in the lower left corner of the Layer palette.
Doing so will duplicate the layer and you'll now have two layers with the linear gradient-filled, deformed text.
Make the lower of the two layers active. You can do so by choosing it in the Layer palette. The one you'll want is the one just above the Background layer.
Select the Selection tool. In the Control palette set the Selection Type to Rectangle.
Draw a rectangular selection around the text. It should start at the left side of the image just above the top of the inverted letters and go all the way to the bottom right corner (see figure 23.5).
Choose Image, Blur, Gaussian Blur and, in the Gaussian Blur dialog box, set the Radius to 4.00.
Choose Selections, Select None.
Create a new layer by clicking on the Add New Layer button in the lower left corner of the Layer palette.
Select the Flood Fill tool and, in the Control palette, set the Fill Style to Solid Color.
Right click somewhere in the layer to fill it with white (the background color should still be white).
Turn off all of the layers except the top text layer and the new white layer. You can turn off a layer by clicking the Visibility button next to the layer in the Layer palette. The Visibility button is the small red, green, and blue icon just to the right of the layer's name.
Only the top two layers should be on.
Choose Layers, Merge, Merge Visible.
If the menu option is grayed-out make sure that one of the two layers is the active layer. If one of the non-visible layers is current the option will not be available.
Turn on the other two layers that you turned off. This is done by clicking on the Visibility icons again to toggle the layers back on.
Select the Selection tool and draw a rectangular selection around the text on the merged layer. Start the selection at the top of the letters just as you did with the previous selection (refer back to figure 23.5).
Set the foreground color to black (the background color should still be white).
Choose Masks, New, Show All.
Choose Masks, Edit.
Select the Flood Fill tool and, in the Control palette, set the Fill Style to Linear Gradient.
Click the Options button and set the angle to 0 degrees.
Click somewhere within the selection to fill it with the gradient. You won't see any fill, though, because you're filling the mask and not the image.
Choose Masks, Edit to toggle off the editing of the mask.
Your shadow should now get lighter and fuzzier as it gets farther away from the top of the text (see figure 23.6).
Only one thing left to do and that's to add some text.
Choose a foreground color for your text and select the Text tool.
Click on the image so that the Text tool dialog box pops up. You should be able to just click OK to use the same text.
Move the new text into place over the shadow. Voila! You've created text with a soft, masked shadow (see figure 23.7).
That's it.... Be sure to check out some of our other Paint Shop Pro tutorials.
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