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I've downloaded and installed Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo XI (TM), which means I've now got 30 days to learn how to make icons. If only I knew where to start...all this talk of layers, palettes and brushes is so confusing. The comms all seem to assume one is already familiar with the terminology at the first click. Can someone explain it to me in simple terms?


( 17 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
Nov. 11th, 2006 05:01 pm (UTC)
Have you tried icon_tutorial? Some of the turorials in their memories are very simple.

I can help some, but I don't have or know PSP XI (I use PSP8 (PSP9 is crap)).
Nov. 11th, 2006 07:15 pm (UTC)
Yes, I did try icon_tutorial...and as I say, all their archived tuts assume one is already familiar with the basics and just go on to explain about coloring and such.

I don't have or know PSP XI

Well, if I can't get to grips with PSP XI in the next 30 days, perhaps I can look for a PSP8 download and start again? ;-)
Nov. 11th, 2006 05:05 pm (UTC)
Layers: So, you want to add something from another picture to your main picture. You cut it out and drag it over to the picture you're working on. It will exist as a new layer on top of your picture until you choose to "flatten image." This way, you can move it around and manipulate it until you've found the spot you want it to be in.

Also, you can add a tint to a picture by putting a transparent layer on top of it, then use the bucket to fill it with solid color. You can then change the "opacity" of the layer (make it more or less transparent) to put the amount of color overlay you want on the picture.

Layers exist so you can isolate different parts of a picture and work on them without changing anything else.

A "palette" is a group of colors.

Brushes are the shape, texture and opacity of the color your cursor lays down. IIRC, Paint Shop Pro also has a feature where a "brush" can be a stamp, leaving behind pictures where you click it.

I suggest you find a Paint Shop Pro tutorial and work through it. It's all fairly easy to understand when you work with it hands on.
Nov. 11th, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you for taking the time to explain this all to me; I think I'll just have to try and fiddle with it some more in the coming days. Right now, I don't even know how to open or alter an image to make it 100x100 (silly Resizing option seems to work in percentages in PSP XI), so until I've worked that one out, I don't think I need to worry about layers and brushes too much. ;-)
Nov. 11th, 2006 08:46 pm (UTC)
OK, I just downloaded PSP XI and here's how you make the most basic icon:

1. Open a photo you want to make an icon out of.
2. Go to "Resize," under "Image."
3. In the top section of the dialogue, where it says, "Pixel dimensions," use the drop-down box to change from "percent" to "pixels."
4. Change the number of pixels in one of the two boxes to "100." (Icons can be no larger than 100x100 pixels.) For best results, change the larger of the two dimensions to 100, so the smaller one will be less than 100. Click "OK."
5. Under "Image" again, go to "Canvas Size." In the bottom, under "Placement," make sure the center box is selected. Above, change the smaller dimension to "100" pixels. After you click "OK" you'll have a white bar above and below the picture, bringing the total size to 100x100.
6. On the "Learning center" sidebar, choose "Add text and graphics," then "Add Text." In the second level (from the top) tool bar, choose your font and size. I'm going to recomend no bigger than 12 pt. Type a word then position it on your icon.
7. You've got two layers now -- one is the picture and the other is the text. Go to "Layers" in the top menu. Choose "Merge," and "Merge All."
8. Go to "File," "Save As", and make sure the format is "jpg." Give it a name and save it. Voila! You made an icon.

Nov. 11th, 2006 08:54 pm (UTC)
To crop your image rather than resizing it:

1. Find the "Tools" tool bar. It's vertical and usually starts on the left edge of the work area. If you can't find it, look under "View" on the top menu, go to "Toolbars," and make sure it's selected.

2. The crop tool is the fifth from the top of the toolbar. It's sort of a frame looking thing. (Or maybe sort of a protractor looking thing. Shoot, I can't describe it. It's the fifth from the top, and that's the universal symbol for "crop.")

3. Select the crop tool and a rectangle appears over the picture. Adjust it, using the little square nodes on the edges, to frame what you want in your icon. Make it as square as possible. (Same dimensions width and length.)

4. Click the green check mark below it.

5. Now go to "resize" and make it 100x100, as described above.
Nov. 11th, 2006 09:14 pm (UTC)
One final comment: This program has crashed both times I've loaded it now. IMHO, PSP XI is crap.

Nov. 12th, 2006 12:00 am (UTC)
OMG, I don't think I've laughed so much since...well, the last time I laughed so much ;-). Thank you.

I've been fiddling with the PSP for a couple of hours and have basically found how to do a simple icon, but must agree with you on your last comment: it is rather crap, isn't it? I'll see about downloading something a bit better.

Once again, thank you for being so very helpful -- at least now I feel like I have a proper understanding of the basics involved in iconing.
Nov. 12th, 2006 12:45 am (UTC)
Good, free image editing program: http://gimp.org/windows/

Nov. 12th, 2006 08:42 am (UTC)
I had the GIMP for ages. I couldn't do anything with it, as I didn't understand it at all, not even after having printed and read the entire User Manual from cover to cover. Then someone recommended PSP saying it was much easier to get your head round, and this thread was the result!

Avtually, I think I may reinstall the GIMP now -- the basic principles must be similar to what I've learned last night in PSP.
Nov. 11th, 2006 06:35 pm (UTC)
I can supply you with a key generator if you'd like to have more than 30 days?
Nov. 11th, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks...but what is a key generator?
Nov. 11th, 2006 07:55 pm (UTC)
I have Photoshop so I'm not really familiar with PSP, but some of the elements are the same or similar. Basically I'm going to try to keep it pretty simple since I'm assuming most of the features opperate similarly on a basic level in both programmes, but keep in mind that since I' have v. little experience PSP there may be some differences! It looks like elsaf has also given you some info, so I'll just try to add to what they've given.

Layers are seriously the best thing in the world. The more that I work with them, the more that I adore them and cannot live without them! Seriously, I am not a Photoshop expert by any means, and I just keep discovering things that I can do with layers to make me happy.

An easy way to think about layers might be to think of a collage - You start with a basic picture and you put one thing on top of another down on top of that picture to enhance it, create interest, or alter what the viewer sees when they look at the picture. Of course, unlike a collage, the layers in a photoediting program like this can be different layers of opacity, they might add a different colour, or overlay a pattern, it might be a second layer of the exact same picture set on a different filter to create an effect or with elements of that layer erased so the other layer shows through (this is an easy way to create those icons where everything is black and white except for one or two objects - for example).

Because each layer exists separately if you decide six or seven layers into your project that you want to delete something, you just delete the layer you don't like rather than having to change the entire project. I've gotten to the point that even though there are things that you can do to your original picture and you don't have to create a layer to do it, I almost always DO create a layer because I know then that I can go back to my original photo easily if I end up not liking what that effect or change was.

In short, layers - once you get used to them - totally and completely rock!

Brushes are a shape laid down on the photo as mentioned before. Usually the default ones in the program aren't that interesting for icon making. If you want some that are specifically for icons, check out the community 100x100_brushes. They've got photoshop and PSP brushes in there so you'll have to watch for compattability. Even if you don't want to add any right away, it'll give you an idea of what can be done with brushes. You can also, once you get to that point, make your own brushes. I've done that some, but mostly I find that most of the things I'd do are in 100x100 - so I use those rather than go through the process of making my own!

Hope that helps, cause as mentioned, not as familiar with PSP!
Nov. 11th, 2006 08:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you -- that's really informative! I will definitely check out the comm you mention...I've just succeeded in making a very crude 100x100 image that if I can polish it up might even develop into an icon at some stage, and already I've discovered that the programme's default brushes aren't going to work.
Nov. 11th, 2006 09:14 pm (UTC)
Since I've only got photoshop brushes, I don't think reccing the makers of those will help too much, but you should definitely have some fun browsing the entries in that comm. There's just a little bit of everything. I tend to go with borders and/or decorative ones myself, but there's a lot of choice there.

Have fun!
Nov. 12th, 2006 10:20 am (UTC)
Thinking of a brush as a stamp is more helpful too, you don't wave it around like you'd imagine a brush to do.

If you're loking in the brush communities, you'll find most are for Photoshop, but look for the one that offer image packs, because you can use those images to make brushes. In PSP8 (and 9 I believe, so it may still be the same in X), you make a brush by:

1, make sure the picture is selected and under 500x500. It's a good tip to make sure that there is as little 'white space' as possible, because this will become part of the brush and will just get in the way.

2, Selecting the brush tool

3, In the top left corner of the brush tool bar (the third one down), there is a box called 'presets', next to that is a preview box with a drop down menu. Click on the arrow and you should get a panel full of all the brushes available. There are some boxes down the side, we need the second one 'create brush tip'.

4, give the brush a name, press ok and select the brush from the selection panel. Done!
Nov. 12th, 2006 10:47 am (UTC)
Thank you; I'll certainly look into it.
( 17 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
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