Learn about the tools and tool options in Paint Shop Pro 8, including, how to select colors, gradients and patterns. Reuse of materials is also covered. (From the book, Paint Shop Pro 8, by Jennifer Fulton, Sams, 2004, ISBN: 0672323893.)
Working with Tools in Paint Shop Pro 8 - Size Tool Option, Hardness Value and More (Page 7 of 16 )
The Size tool option, when available, controls the size of the tool and, of course, the size of the tool's effect on an image. For example, after choosing the Paint Brush tool, you can select a small brush to do fine work on an image or a large brush to make sweeping changes.
Tip - The size you select is based on pixels and not inches or some other measurement.
The Hardness value determines the softness of the tool you select. If you choose the Paint Brush tool for example, and set the Hardness value to 100, you'll create a very sharp-edged stroke of color. If you reduce the Hardness value to 20, you'll produce a very fuzzy, soft-edged stroke.
If you imagine your painting tool as though it were a guy walking along a sidewalk, casting seeds for the birds with each step, you can imagine the Step option as a way to increase the distance between casts. As you move a painting tool along your image, the Step value determines the amount of space (not time) between points at which the tool dispenses paint.
Tip - If you increase the Step value and make the steps far apart, when you drag with the tool, you'll get breaks where the tool has no effect. Make the steps smaller, and you'll get more of a continuous line of effect wherever you drag.
The Density tool option controls the concentration of material on a tool's brush tip. For example, when you're using the Paint Brush tool, the Density setting controls the concentration of paint pixels; the higher the density, the more paint pixels, and thus, the more paint that's delivered each time the brush tip hits the image. Change the Density to a low number to paint with speckles of paint.
The Thickness value controls the width of a tool's brush tip. If you select a round brush, for example, and then change the Thickness value to a high number, you'll get an oval brush tip that's wider than it is tall. Change the Thickness value to a low number, and you'll get an oval tip that's taller than it is wide.
The Rotation tool option controls the angle of a tool's brush tip. Naturally, you should use this option only when you've chosen a brush tip that's not perfectly round or square. You can rotate a tip 360 degrees; the tip rotates clockwise. Thus, a value from 1 to 180 rotates the tip to the right; a value from 181 to 359 rotates the tip to the left.
Tip - To simulate a calligraphy pen with the Paint Brush tool, choose a square brush tip with Thickness set to 25 and Rotation set to 30.
When a tool has to evaluate the characteristics of a pixel to determine whether the pixel can be affected by the tool, the Sample Merged option instructs it to evaluate the pixels from all layers of an image, rather than just the current layer. This option applies only to images that contain more than one layer. For example, if you use the Sample Merged option with the Magic Wand selection tool, you can select pixels based on how they look when blended together in the final image, and not by the actual characteristics of the pixels on the current layer.
The Anti-alias option is used with the vector drawing tools, the selection tools, and the Text tool to smooth the appearance of curves and diagonal lines. With the Text tool, for example, the Anti-alias option adds partially opaque pixels along curves to soften the stair-step effect seen in raster text. With a selection tool, the Anti-alias option softens the edge of a selection, creating a gentler curve to the selection.
The Continuous option is applicable only to the painting tools, such as the Paint Brush, Clone Brush, Dodge Brush, and Lighten/Darken Brush. When the Continuous option is on, you can click and drag over pixels as many times as you want, but the effect caused by the tool is applied to those pixels only once. For example, if you drag the Paint Brush over an area and then drag it again over a neighboring area while slightly overlapping the two areas, the overlapped pixels are only the same color as the nonoverlapped pixels—not twice as dark.
Tip - Using the Continuous option helps you avoid the stripes you might ordinarily see when overlapping your strokes with a painting tool.
Although these are by no means all the options you might find associated with a particular tool, they are the more common ones. Other options will be explained along the way as you learn to use a particular tool to accomplish some task.
This chapter is from Paint Shop Pro 8, by Jennifer Fulton, (Sams, 2004, ISBN: 0672323893). Check it out at your favorite bookstore today.