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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?


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.