Learn how to have fun with your images in Paint Shop Pro 8, including how to rease part of a layer, how to remove unwanted objects from an image, how to create a soft focus effect, and more. This article is from chapter 15 of Paint Shop Pro 8 in a Snap, by Jennifer Fulton (Sams, 2004, ISBN: 0672323893.)
Creating Visual Effects - "Melt" an Image (Page 9 of 11 )
Move, Alter, or Distort a Layer
If you want to give parts of an image a Salvador Dali look, (the famous artist who loved melting clocks, violins, and other household objects, surreal, almost faceless people, and leafless, lonely trees), Paint Shop Pro has several tools you can try. The most powerful of these is the Mesh Warp tool, in which a meshlike grid is placed over the selection or layer. By dragging the nodes located at the grid intersections, you can pull pixels in any direction, warping the image.
If you want to be freer when warping an image, you can paint various warp effects onto an image with the WarpBrush. This tool is especially useful in blending the effect of the Mesh Warp on a selection with surrounding pixels. The Warp Brush is also handy when you want to warp a small area of an image. The Warp Brush features several types of warp modes, including Push (smears pixels in the direction you drag), Expand (pushes pixels out from the brush in all directions), Contract (the opposite of Expand), Right Twirl (rotates pixels clockwise around the center of the brush), Left Twirl (the opposite of Right Twirl), Noise (moves pixels under the brush in a random pattern), Iron Out and Unwarp. (Both remove the warp effect if it has not yet been applied; Iron Out works immediately whereas Unwarp works a little at a time, based on how long you hold the brush over a spot.) All the tools, with the exception of Iron Out, work very slowly; the longer you hold the brush in one spot, the more the effect warps that area.
Tip - There are many distortion filters you might try, such as Wave, Ripple, and Wind; you'll find them on the Effects, Distortion Effects submenu. The filters work on a selection or a layer. In addition, you can have fun with the Smudge and Push tools, which act like a finger smearing pixels of paint.
Select the Mesh Warp Tool
To warp the entire current layer or selection, click the Mesh Warp tool on the Tools toolbar. If necessary, click the arrow on the Deform tool and select Mesh Warp from the list. A mesh grid appears over the image.
In the Tool Options palette, make sure that the Show grid check box is enabled, then adjust the Mesh horizontal and Mesh vertical values to display the number of gridlines you want. To position the gridlines evenly both vertically and horizontally, enable the Symmetric check box.
Adjust the Draftquality setting: High gives you a better quality onscreen while you work, but it takes more time for each adjustment to process. To work faster, choose Low or Course.
Warp Layer or Selection and Click Apply
Drag a mesh node to warp pixels under it. Reposition as many nodes as you like until you achieve the affect you want, then click Apply (the check mark in the Tool Options palette). To abort your changes, click Cancel (the X).
Note - If you save a map of your deformations and reload it on another image, and the map is smaller than the image canvas, the Edge mode you selected when you created the warp tells PSP how to fill the outer area between the map and the edge of the canvas: Background (outer area is filled with the background color if the deformation map is loaded on the Background layer, otherwise this area is made transparent), Fixed (pixels along the edge of the deformation map are duplicated and used to fill the outer area), or Wraparound (the outer area is filled with edge pixels copied from the other side of the deformation map).
Select Warp Brush Tool
To warp selected areas of a layer or selection, click the Warp Brush tool on the Tools toolbar. If necessary, click the arrow on the Paint Brush tool and select Warp Brush from the menu.
Select a Warp Mode. Adjust the Size, Hardness, Strength, and Step as desired. Hardness defines the size of the inner circle, in which the effect is produced at 100% of the Strength setting.
Adjust the Draftquality setting: In most cases, you should choose Medium because it provides good quality and speed. High gives you slightly better quality, but it takes more time for each adjustment to process. To work faster but with lower quality on the warp effect, choose Low or Coarse.
Tip - Press Shift when dragging a node to drag the entire row/column. Press Ctrl when dragging a node to create a gentle curve.
Warp Layer or Selection and Click Apply
Position the brush over an area and click. The effect gets stronger the longer you hold the brush over the same area. When you've warped the image as you like, or if you want to switch settings, click Apply (the check mark in the Tool Options palette). To abort your changes, click Cancel (the X).
View the Result
I had some fun here with an image of my daughter playfully blowing a dandelion at the camera. Using Mesh Warp, I stretched her cheeks to exaggerate her pose. I then painted dandelion puffs on another layer using the Airbrush, and then puffed them out using the Warp Brush set to Expand. Look for this image in the Color Gallery in this book.
Tip - You can also use the Warp Brush and Mesh Warp tools to warp bitmapped (raster) text.
This chapter is from Paint Shop Pro 8, by Jennifer Fulton, (Sams, 2004, ISBN: 0672323893). Check it out at your favorite bookstore today.