photo-i DVD
a guide to digital



Down the Tube…


There is no doubt that digital photography can open up many new and exciting avenues. Aided by applications such as Paint Shop Pro 7, you can really paint the town with your imagination.

Some of PSP 7’s painting tools have limited use for digital photographers - I don’t know many photographers who use the Paintbrush or Flood Fill on a regular basis, designers and artists make more use of these. For photographers, the Clone Brush is probably the most useful tool, but hidden in PSP is a brush that can be used effectively on digital pictures. This tool is the Picture Tube and with this you can add some spectacular enhancements to an image.

A good selection of predefined tools are available with PSP 7

Let’s take a look at the tool’s capabilities and pre-defined Tubes first and then we will show you how to make your own custom Tubes. Create a new blank document of 800 x 600 pixels at a resolution of 150 dpi. Select the Picture Tube brush (press . period for quick access) then press the letter O to open the Tubes Options palette. On the options palette click the small arrow next to the preview window to reveal the full selection of pre-defined brushes. Experiment with a few of the brushes - in our header example we have used cards, coins, and dice to create a gambling theme. All the tubes can be found in PSP. Draw across the image area to place a Picture Tube image, each of the Picture Tube image sets will have a predefined value which affects the way its pictures are placed on the screen.


You can customize the way the Picture Tubes images are placed through the tubes Options palette. On the first tab next to the current tube picture are the scale and step values. The scale refers to the original size of the Tube image, this will normally be set to 100%. Changing this to 50% will halve the size of the Tube image etc., the Picture Tube can be 10% to 250% of its original size. The step value is how often the Picture Tube image will place itself. On the Coloured Tubes image this is set to 180 by default, this is because each Picture Tube image occupies a 180 x 180 cell. If you alter the value to 90 then the Picture Tube will overlap itself. Experiment with different values.

The second tab has two drop down boxes, the first Placement, has two options Random or Continuous, which control the interval at which the Picture Tubes appear. The Selection mode drop down list lets you have some control on how the images are selected. Random mode selects images at random, Incremental paints with all the images in the same order and repeats the sequence after the last. Angular selects images based on the direction you paint. Pressure mode uses pressure from a graphics tablet to chose which image to select. Velocity selects images based on the speed which you draw. The last button “Options” opens a palette which will allow you to change and save the settings associated with the current Picture Tube.

January 5, 2008

© Vincent Oliver 2008
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