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Chapter 11 and get the knowledge you so desperately need!




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But, what exactly can masking do for you that erasing, selecting, cutting, and
pasting can™t do? Here are a few instances where masking may work better
for you than some alternatives:

Brush rather than cut and paste intricate shapes: Rather than meticu-
lously select the area of an image you want to combine with another and
then cut it and paste it as a layer, do this: Paste the entire image or a
roughly selected portion of it as a layer and mask out the portions you
don™t want. This approach lets you brush an area in or out, which is
often easier than trying to carefully select the area.
Create shapes or letters out of an image: If you put letters or shapes on
a mask layer, the background image is blocked except for those letters
or shapes. This process is much like using a pattern to create nice text
(refer to Chapter 12 for details), except that the pattern is a real-life
photo.
Gradually feather or fade an image into another image: If you fill a
selected area in an opaque layer with a gradient fill of transparency
paint, you fade the overlaid image smoothly into the underlying image.
Brush or spray transparency in a creative way: You can use any of the
painting, drawing, or shape tools on a mask. For example, you can spray
(using the Airbrush tool) creative transparent (or opaque) images.

The following section shows you two quick ways to use masks.



Loading a premade mask
Paint Shop Pro comes with several mask layers already built-in, which allows
you to create cool effects. To use them effectively, you should have two
layers: the primary layer you want up front and the bleed-through image on
the background layer.

For this example, we use a simple set of layers, as shown in Figure 18-2: a layer
with the text Paint Shop Pro and a background layer of a simple gradient.




Figure 18-2:
Two layers,
waiting for
a mask.

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To add a pregenerated mask, follow these steps:

1. Click the layer you want the mask to affect.
Remember that the mask blocks out certain parts of the layer under-
neath, so make sure that you add it to the right layer.
2. Choose Layers➪Load/Save Mask➪Load Mask from Disk.
The Load Mask from Disk dialog box pops up, as shown in Figure 18-3,
and provides you with several options:
Mask: Click the down arrow in the Mask area and then choose a cate-
gory from the drop-down list in the dialog box that appears. Three basic
sorts of masks are stored within Paint Shop Pro:
Edge Mask: Designed to highlight the center of a picture. Think of
this type of mask as sort of a fancy frame.
If you want a real frame ” one that looks like wood ” around
your image, Paint Shop Pro has a tool to do just that. Check out
Chapter 13!
Texture Masks: Overlay an image with some sort of repeating pat-
tern, like a plaid or brick background.
Masks: A central image, like a sunburst or a set of boxes. This type
of mask isn™t terribly useful, but at least it™s free.
In any case, select your pregenerated mask by clicking it. It™s that easy!
Orientation: Here™s where you decide how big you want your mask to
be (and saved masks tend to be on the small side). You can choose to
fit the mask so that it stretches across your selection (that™s handy if
you™re just applying it to a bit of text), have it stretch across the entire
canvas, or leave the mask™s size as is.




Figure 18-3:
This dialog
box allows
you to
choose from
several
premade
masks.

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Create Mask From: This setting controls how the image on your mask
blots out the layer underneath it.
Source Luminance: In this default setting, darker pixels produce
more of a masking effect and lighter pixels let more of the underly-
ing image show through. (The color of the image on the mask,
incidentally, matters not one whit; only the light and dark values
count.)
Any Non-Zero Value: There™s no subtlety with this setting. Any
pixel with a color, no matter how light that color is, blocks out the
underlying layer. Only transparent or nonexistent pixels let the
layer shine through.
Source Opacity: This setting uses the mask image™s opacity, rather
than its color, to control how much of the underlying layer gets
through. Opacity, you may recall, is a fancy word for how dense an
area is; areas of low opacity are near-transparent and show almost
everything, whereas areas with 100 percent opacity (most pictures
by default) block it all out.
Options: You™re given a couple of options to work with, just in case you
feel like getting kooky:
Invert Transparency: If you check this box, Paint Shop Pro
reverses its normal habit of “Dark areas block, light areas show
through” and instead switches to a “Light areas block, dark areas
show through” mode.
Hide All Mask, Yadda Yadda: This area has advanced stuff, and
you really don™t need to know about it. (A quick explanation is that
determines whether the surrounding pixels are white or black or
whether they™re taken from previous mask information. We told
you that this setting isn™t that useful.)
3. When you have selected everything you need, click OK.
The mask is now applied, as shown in Figure 18-4. It™s a simple spiral
mask, but you can see how the spiral mask we have applied to the words
Paint Shop Pro has rendered parts of the words transparent, which
allows the background gradient to show through in a spiral pattern.



Using an image as a mask
If the pregenerated masks don™t sound terribly useful (and they™re not), you
can use any old image as a mask. You need three layers in order to create an
effective mask, each containing a separate image:




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The image you want to have masked
The background image that you want to show through the masked
image
The image you use as a mask



Figure 18-4:
The words
Paint Shop
Pro are
overlaid
with a spiral
mask, which
allows the
background
to show
through.



That™s a little complex ” so to show you how it™s done, we put text on a mask
layer to cut words out of a background. Follow these steps:

1. Select the image that you want to have masked.
This image is blocked out by the mask layer and has the background
image show through it.
2. If the image is on the background layer (as most photos are), choose
Layers➪Promote Background Layer to move it to a separate layer.
As we just said, you need three separate layers to create a mask. This
step makes sure you don™t accidentally swap the background image and
the masked image.
3. Open (or create) the background image, and then paste it into the
canvas as a new layer.
Move the layer containing the background image so that it™s underneath
the layer containing the image that is masked. (If you don™t know how to
move layers around, or how to paste images in as layers, Chapter 11
explains it.)
For this sample masking, we mask a picture of an Amish countryside (as
shown in Figure 18-5). The background layer we use is plain white ” but
it could just as well be another photo, or a gradient, or anything else you
can create in Paint Shop Pro. (It could even be transparent, for that
matter.) The important thing is that whatever is on that background
bleeds through the mask.


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Figure 18-5:
A lovely
shot of an
Amish
landscape,
which we
use as a
background
image.



4. On a separate canvas, load (or create) an image to use as a mask.
You can use any image you want as a mask ” words, shapes, even
another picture. Just remember that the dark areas on that canvas
reveal the background layer when it™s used as a mask and that the light
areas reveal the masked layer.
In Figure 18-6, you can see the image we have created for our mask; note
how it™s mostly black, with a fuzzy spotlight effect in the center. That™s
because we want to block out most of the Amish countryside.
To invert a picture™s colors with one click, by turning black into white
and vice versa, choose Adjust➪Color Balance➪Negative Image.




Figure 18-6:
Our masking
image.



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5. Switch back to the canvas that contains the two layers. Select the layer
containing the image you want to have masked.
6. Choose Layers➪New Mask Layer➪From Image.
Paint Shop Pro then asks you which canvas you want to use to create
your mask and lists all images you have open in Paint Shop Pro. Choose
the canvas containing the image you want to use as a mask and click OK.
The image is inserted as a new layer, and the image underneath it is
masked, as shown in Figure 18-7.

If you don™t like the way your mask looks, you can edit the mask directly on
the layer. Select the mask layer, and then use the Eraser to remove parts of
the mask so that the masked image shows through. Alternatively, you can
use the Paint Brush tool to add more blocked-out parts to your mask.

Although your Paint Brush tool keeps whatever colors you have loaded, a
mask cannot contain colors. All it has are shades of gray.




Figure 18-7:
The Amish
countryside,
with the
mask shown
in Figure
18-6 applied.




Drawing Smooth Curves
We show you how to draw single lines and freehand lines over in Chapter 12 ”
but if you™re anything like us, your mouse hand isn™t nearly steady enough to
draw a smooth curve. Fortunately, Paint Shop Pro offers another option for
curve lovers: Bezier curves.

Bezier curves are like a high-tech connect-the-dots ” you click to create a
series of dots, called nodes, and Paint Shop Pro draws nice, neat curved lines
between the nodes. You can use those nodes to adjust the angle of the curve
that connects the two dots, and to change which way the curve turns.
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This capability makes it very easy to create professional-looking curves, and
they™re easily edited, to boot. Is your pretty curlicue absolutely perfect except
for one curve in the corner? Adjusting the one node that controls that corner
section straightens out that segment and leaves the rest of your snaky line
untouched!

To play connect-the-dots with Paint Shop Pro, choose the Pen tool on the
Tools toolbar, choose your foreground (stroke) and background (fill) mater-
ial, and then follow these steps:

1. Select Draw mode on the Tool Options palette, as shown in Figure 18-8.
(If you don™t see the Tool Options palette, press F5.)



Figure 18-8:
To create
professional
Bezier
curves, you
need the
Tool Options
palette.



2. Also on the Tool Options palette, click the Draw Point to Point button,
under the word Mode.
By default, Paint Shop Pro assumes that you want to draw a two-node
line ” a single curve between two points. If you want to create a
multiple-node line, like a spiral or a curve with several bends, click the
Connect Segments check box.
3. Set the Width value, still within the Tool Options palette, to the
desired width of your line (in pixels).
4. Set the Background and Fill Properties box (on the Materials palette)
to transparent if you want just a line or outline, or select a material if
you want it filled.
To make the line transparent, click the Transparent button on the right
side on the Materials palette, just underneath the Background and Fill
Properties box.
5. Click and drag to set the node™s properties.
Each click you make creates a node, although you still have to tell Paint
Shop Pro how steep the curve™s angle is and which way it™s pointing.
Click where you want to place the node ” as you drag the mouse, you
pull out an arrow by its tip. Here™s how that arrow works for you:


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• As you drag the arrow farther away from the node and make it
longer, the angle of the curve gets sharper as it approaches the
node. If you make the arrow shorter again, the curve becomes
rounder as it approaches the node.
• As you drag the front end of the arrow around the dot, the curve
follows the arrow™s direction as best it can while still ending up at
the node.
Figure 18-9 shows the effect of dragging the tip of the arrow: Even
though the two dots don™t move, the curve that connects the dots
changes radically. On the left, a curved line is created and the arrow
appears for the latest dot. On the right, the arrow™s tip is being extended
and dragged upward a bit. You can see how the curve broadens and
changes its angle to follow the arrow™s direction.
As you create this line, if you discover that you have placed a node in
the wrong position, you can go back and edit it later. (In fact, we show
you how to do that in the following section.) However, Paint Shop Pro
doesn™t show you all nodes as you™re drawing the line ” only the one
you™re working on. If you want to see all previous nodes as you drag
the mouse, click the Show Nodes check box.
6. If you want a shape (with a closed line), click the Close Selected Open
Contours button when you™re done.
The Close Selected Open Contours feature finishes the Bezier curve by
drawing a line between the first and last nodes, which makes it a closed
shape. Your line now appears in all its colorful glory.
If you have selected Connect Segments and you don™t choose Close
Selected Open Contours, you need to tell Paint Shop Pro when you™re
done drawing this particular curve. Otherwise, when you click a new
node into existence, it™s added to the end of the preceding curve. To
stop drawing when you™re in Connect Segments mode, click the Start
New Contour button.



Figure 18-9:
Making a
curved line.
Even though
the two dots
don™t move,
dragging the
arrow
radically
changes the
curve that
connects
the dots.

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You™re done! Hopefully, your curve looks perfect. If it™s not, you need to edit
your nodes. Read on to the next section!



Editing Bezier curve nodes
Paint Shop Pro users have an old saying: “You can pick your friends and you
can pick your nodes, but you can™t pick your friend™s nodes.” It™s not true, of
course, but that doesn™t keep users from saying it. You can freely pick, or pick
at, all your nodes ” including your friend™s nodes, if that person gives you a
Paint Shop Pro file with vector lines or shapes in it.

If you want to alter a shape or a line after you have drawn it, you need to get
down and dirty and start changing the nodes.

To start fiddling with nodes, you need to select the Pen tool and click the Edit
button on the Tool Options palette.

To enter Node Edit mode, follow these steps:

1. Select the Pen tool.
2. From the Tool Options palette, choose Edit Mode, as shown earlier, in
Figure 18-8.

After you™re in Node Edit mode, you can manipulate your nodes all you want.
Here are some changes you can make:

To select a node for any action (like deleting, dragging, or changing its
type), click it. You know that you can select it when a four-headed arrow
appears under the cursor; you know that a node is selected when it™s
solid black.
To move a node, drag it. You can move multiple nodes at one time as

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