Intro to Vector Layers/Bezier Curves
Make a Cherry Preset Shape

For PSP versions 8,9 and X 

© Barb's Playground  02 /20 /06

This tutorial and all images [except the PSP box logo] are copyrighted and belong to ©Barb's Playground. You are free to provide a LINK to my tutorials if you would like to share them. 

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This tutorial was done using PSP X but can be easily done in PSP 8 and PSP 9. It is intended to serve as a learning tool. I encourage you to make it uniquely your own creation. The images on this page are reduced for space.You will need:          
** Paint Shop Pro X - download a trial version here   

** An excellent working knowledge of psp tools and layers.

Getting started

Please do not attempt this tutorial unless you have a "good to excellent" working knowledge of psp tools and layers. You are welcome to attempt it if you don't, because I have provided many screen shots, but with the volume of email I get regarding tutorials, I will be answering beginner questions last. I apologize.

Open a new file 400x400 as a raster layer with "Transparent" unchecked. This will give us room to work with and make seeing the nodes easier.

What are we talking about?                                                                     
When we say "Vector"  layer, we think of the dreaded "thingy" with legs,teeth, claws and total frustration! Ok, I exaggerated, but I bet for most of you reading this agree and could add a few other adjectives!
In truth, "Vector" refers to the type of layer and drawing using bezier curves. For a little history on bezier curves, click here but please come back :)

I draw all of my tubes and sketch out all of my artwork using bezier curves because of the clean lines I can achieve. It took awhile for me to learn how to work with them and I plead guilty to using node types of asymmetric and cusp. PLEASE ! Before you give up, give yourself time to learn how to work with bezier curves. I remember almost giving up and boy am I glad I didn't! I could not do the smooth/clean artwork I do without this knowledge.

Lets Draw.
Select your "Preset Shapes tool, ellipse, create as vector and Anti-alias checked, line style solid, background color #d40000, foreground color null" and draw a small circle. Now select your "Pen Tool". You should see a circle like in the image below.

NOTE: If you are using PSP X see the diagram below because you must select your shape this way in order to see the nodes.


Now left click on the top node. You should see the top nodes handles. See below.

 Place your cursor over the left square handle (or circle pending your psp version) and pull up and out slightly to the left. Now grab the right arrow handle and pull up and out slightly to the right. You should see something like this.

Next, left click on the left node and pull it straight out to the left a little. Do the same to the right node pulling out to the right slightly.

You might see we have drawn the basic shape of a cherry. If you would like to, you can right now do a "File, export, shape" then give it the name cherry. You will now have a preset cherry shape to use when you want to. But a cherry needs a stem right? Well mine does lol. So we want to make a stem. Of course we also want to be able to export this as a cherry preset shape with the stem.

Make a new vector layer. Select your "Preset Shapes tool, rectangle, create as vector and Anti-alias checked, line style solid, background color 
#d40000, foreground color null" and draw a thin rectangle at the top of the cherry where the stem should be. You can center it and then select the pen tool. You should see something like this.
and your layer palette should look like this

Well I never saw a red cherry stem so we need to change that. In your layer palette, click on the plus sign on your stem layer. "Right click" on the rectangle drop down layer, then left click on "Properties". This will bring up a dialog box that will allow us to change the stems attributes. We want to change the stems color. Left click on the color box and change the color to #6a0406 or whatever color you want the stem to be and then click ok and again ok. You stem should now be brown if you used my color. See below.

The stem still looks odd so we need to shape it. Grab the bottom left node and pull it out a little, then do the same to the right. Keep both nodes parallel to each other. Now pull the top right hand node up a little. Grab the top left hand node and "right click on it, then select Node Type and Asymmetric. See below.


Grab the top left hand node square handle and pull it down a little and to the right so that the stem curves in a little. I then move the bottom right node out a little more. I still don't like it so I am going to add a node. In between the 2 bottom nodes, place your cursor and while holding down the "Ctrl" key, left click. This should add a node between the 2 nodes. Pull the node down lower than the 2 side nodes. Then "right click on the new node, select Node Type and Asymmetric. You will see a handle on both sides. Pull each out away from the stem just a little to give it a curved appearance. Now this looks more like a cherry stem!

Now of course we are ready to save this as a preset shape! Later we can digitally paint it and reshape the stem or both too (new tut coming soon!) but first we have to combine the 2 vector layers before we can export it as a preset shape.

In your layers palette, click on both plus signs so that you see the rectangle layer and the ellipse layer. While holding down the shift key, left click on your rectangle layer and then on the ellipse layer. This should make the layer names in bold type. Now while still holding down the shift key, right click and select "Group".

Now in the layer palette, right click on the empty layer and delete it. Then right click on the background layer and delete it.

We need to rename the group (and it MUST be a UNIQUE name from all of your presets) so right click on the group layer, select rename and give it a unique name. I use my initials and then the word cherry "bkcherry". If you want to manipulate the cherry later and re-export it, you either must give it a unique name like "bkcherry2" or delete your original cherry preset first to give it the same name.

You can now do a file, export, shape and call it the same name you renamed it to. Now when you want to use your cherry, you can select it in your presets. If you want it to look exactly as you created it, be sure you check "Retain style" when you select your cherry in your presets.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that it stimulated your creative juices. If you have any questions or problems, don't hesitate to email me.

  © 2004 Barb's Playground All Rights Reserved