Pearls from Phoenix Rising Intermediate PSP Class

Celebrate the Fall Equinox

An Exercise in Layers

Part 2


Add the fall sentiment of your choice. Before you do, create a new layer by clicking the upper left icon on the layer palette, or by selecting "create a new layer" from Layers in the menu. (When you do this, the text will be on its own layer in the end, and will be easier to work with.)

Click on the text tool. Text tool

Click your mouse at the approximate location you want your text to start. Don't worry about being exact -- you'll be able to move it later.

You get a lot of text options to choose from. You also get a preview window to see what the options will look like. So play for awhile, with different fonts and sizes, bold or italic, etc. I only chose Comic Sans because I only just installed my new system, and I don't have all my fonts loaded yet. :-) You all probably have fancier fonts than I do.

You can even make individual letters different sizes.

Individual letter setting

You can move the text dialogue box and see whether the text size you've selected fits in the space.

Watch the text

I select the "Create as Floating" or "Create as Selection" option. We'll get into "Create as Vector" in the next tutorial: don't bother with it for now. Always have "Antialias" ON.

When you have finished creating your text, move it to the location you prefer.

Move the text

Now unselect the text, and it will drop into place in its own layer, or the layer just below the "Floating selction".

Drop the float

Dropped selection

Layer Effects

The leaves and streamers come with their own shadows, but to bring your main figures to life you might want to add a bit of inner bevel and drop shadow.

These are both in the "3D Effects" under the "Effects" menu options.

Select image effect

There are a number of presets that you can choose from; each preset is a combination of settings that produces a particular effect. The one showing here is "Round". That was the closes to what I wanted, but not close enough. So I played with the sliders until I liked the results.

Bevel effect settings

Once you have a setting you like, you might want to save it. I saved mine, so that I could call them up later:

Save image effect

These are the drop shadow settings I chose:

Shadow effect settings

Apply text effects just like any other 3D effects. For the text, I liked the Round preset.

Dropped selection

Optional Final Touch

You can make layers look interwoven, as I did with my text and one of the streamers.

Where I want the streamer to appear to go behind the text, I select the text. This is a little tricky, after we've applied effects: one letter niow has a lot of different colors and light levels in it. But PSP has the solution!

Click on the "Magic Wand" tool. Selection tool

Activate your "Tool Options" palette: just move your cursor over it and it will open up. One of the options of the "Magic Wand" is to chose "All opaque". Here is one of the advantages of having the text on its own layer. The text is the only thing on that layer that is opaque!

Selection options

Click anywhere on the letter to select it. Then open up the layer palette and make sure you have the streamer layer selected! You don't want to accidentally erase text instead of streamer.

Click on the Eraser tool. Eraser tool

Set the eraser options to as small an eraser-head as possible, 1 pixel size.

Eraser options

Erase where the streamer crosses the letter. The selection borders won't let you erase over the border.

You end up with this effect.

The letter a

Select the next letter and do the same thing.

Select the letter l

And it looks like the streamer is winding through the word "Fall".


Saving Your Work

To be able to go back and work on your image some more later, be sure to save a working copy, with layers and all. Choose either "Paint Shop Pro Image" or "Photoshop (*.psd)". Yes, you can read the Photoshop format in PSP. :-)

Save working copy


Select Image/Resize. This time, you want the checkbox "Resize all layers" ON. Resize to 300 x 300 pixels.

This kind of detailed graphic, without sharp lines, will save best as a JPEG. In order to do that, select File/Export/JPEG Optimizing.

Export options

Watch the right window as you increase the compression level. The file size goes down, but so does the picture quality. A lot of pictures are fine at a compression level of 40; some can't take more than 10 before looking choppy. Use your own judgment to find a balance that works for you.

Compression options

THE END! for now :-)

Send your graphic on in to the Phoenix Rising Intermediate PSP Class.

Send any comments or questions to Anitra, GL Phoenix Rising Intermediate PSP

Created by Anitra L. Freeman, © Phoenix Rising September 22, 2002
May not be copied without permission.

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