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A VECTOR APPLE IN PSP 7
Part 1 of 2

small version of finished apple This is a beginners/intermediate tutorial written for PSP7, but could just as easily be done in PSP6 as long as you know your way around in there.    :)

It uses Vectors (Draw tool, Preset Shapes, Node Edit tool), the Selection tool, the Fill tool, the Magic Wand, Cutout and Shadow Effects, and Layers.


  1. Create a new white canvas, 300x300

  2. Activate the Preset Shape tool. preset shapes tool

    1. Click on the Tool Options palette and use the following settings:
      Tool Options
      Shape type = Ellipse
      Retain Style = UNchecked
      Antialias = checked
      Create as vector = checked
      Line Width = doesn't matter

    2. Choose solid color for your style Set the style for the Preset Shape Tool by clicking on the triangle of the Styles Fill swatch and choosing solid color. Be sure that the Stroke Style swatch is set at Null.

    3. Click on the Color swatch and choose red as your solid color when the color palette comes up. I used #ff0000 If you need help choosing colors go here. A new browser window will open. Just close that to return to this tutorial.


  3. Draw a circle approximately 120x120 in the center of your canvas.
    120x120 circle
    filled red circle It will automatically fill with red and will have a bounding box around it with "handles" at the corners and in the center of all four sides. TIP: You can create a perfect circle by pressing the shift key while you're drawing your circle.

  4. Activate the Node Editor tool. Node Edit tool

    1. Click on the Tool Options palette and then on "Node Edit" or right click on your red circle and choose "Node edit". Your red circle will turn into a black outline with node handles on it.

    2. Place your cursor on the top node, and pull it straight down slightly. pull down

    3. Move your cursor to the left side onto the little circle and pull that up slightly and to the left. Pull the circle handle up and to the left

    4. Move your cursor to the right side onto the little triangle and pull that up slightly and to the right. Pull the triangle up and to the right

    5. Move your cursor to the bottom of the shape touch the square handle. Pull the circle and triangle each down slightly to create a "dip" in the bottom of your apple. make a dip in the bottom of your apple

    As long as you are in the node edit mode, you can keep changing it until you get something you like. If you want your apple to be slightly lopsided, just pull one side or the other a bit farther than the other. You can also grab and pull one of the side nodes out a bit to give it an even more lopsided look.

    When you're happy with your apple shape, right click and choose "Quit Node Editing"
    TIP: You can also just click anywhere else on your desktop to exit node edit mode.

    Remember that you can use the undo feature and start over if you decide you don't like the shape.

    The apple shape You should have something that looks like this now.

  5. Activate your background layer by clicking on it in the layer palette.
    activate the background layer
    We do this to force PSP to create a new vector layer for each new shape. If the previous vector layer is active when we start a new shape, PSP will place that new shape on a sub layer of the same vector layer which means they would all be on the same layer when we convert to raster later. We will want to convert each shape to it's own raster layer.


Add a stem...

  1. Activate the Draw Tool. The draw tool

    1. Click on the Tool Options palette and use the following settings:
      Tool Options - Draw tool
      Type = Freehand Line
      Width = 5
      Create as vector = checked

    2. Make sure the Style Stroke swatch is set for solid (6b1) and change your foreground color to dark brown or black. I used dark brown - #400000 (#1 in 6b2) Make sure the Styles Fill (#2 in 6b2) and Texture swatches (#3 & 4 in 6b2) are set to Null.
      Set the style and Textures

    3. Draw a short line anywhere on the white part of the canvas. Make it big enough to work with. We'll decrease the size once we have our stem as crooked as we want it. Draw a short line


  2. Activate the Node Editor tool. Node tool

    1. Right click on your line and choose Node Edit.

    2. There will likely be only two nodes but we need more, so we'll add a couple. Hold your control key down and place your cursor over the line where you'd like to add a node. The word "Add" will appear. Add a node Click and voila! A node has been added. Add another one or two nodes.

      Pull the nodes to shape your stem Once you've added these new nodes, click on them one at a time and pull them around a bit to make your line crooked like an apple stem would be.

    3. Right click on your stem and choose Quit Node Editing.


  3. The bounding box will appear around the stem and the color will fill back into the line itself. Place your cursor on the top center handle. A double headed arrow will appear. Change the height of your stem Change the width
    Push the top down until the stem is the size you want it to be. Use the side handle to make the stem narrower.

  4. Move the stem over to the apple Move your cursor towards the center of the box until you see a four headed arrow appear. Drag your stem over and place it on your apple. The outline of the stem will move as you drag it. It may look like the stem and bounding box aren't moving, but they are. When you let go of the stem, the bounding box will snap over to where you placed it.

    You can still resize your stem if it seems too big after dragging it over to your apple by following step 8 again.

  5. Activate your background layer by clicking on it in the layer palette. Remember we do this to force PSP to create a new vector layer for each new shape. (See step 5)


Now we'll add a leaf or two...

  1. Activate the Preset Shape tool Preset shape tool

    1. Click on the Tool Options palette. The settings should still be the same as we set them in 2a:
      Shape type = Ellipse
      Retain Style = UNchecked
      Antialias = checked
      Create as vector = checked
      Line Width = doesn't matter

    2. Change your Styles Fill swatch color to green. I used #008000 Set the color for your leaf

    3. . Draw the leaf shape Draw a leaf shaped ellipse shape somewhere on the white canvas. Make it big enough to work with. We can resize it later if we need to. You can also use the Zoom tool zoom tool to zoom in on your leaf to make working easier if you need to.


  2. Activate the Node editor tool Node edit tool

    1. Right click on the green shape and choose Node Edit. Node edit the leaf

    2. . Add 2 new nodes to the top of the shape Add a node to either side of the top node by holding your control key down and placing your cursor over the line where you'd like to add a node. When the word "Add" appears, left click and your new node will appear.

    3. Once you've added the two new nodes, pull the top node up a bit. Pull the top node up to a point This will give the tip of your leaf a pointed look. The two new nodes anchor the rest of the leaf. If we didn't have those there, pulling the top one up would only elongate the shape without giving it a true point.

    4. Now that you have the tip of your leaf finished, pull and push the other nodes around a bit until you get a leaf shape that you like. Add new nodes if you need them to get the shape you want.

    5. When you've got your leaf finished, right click on the shape and choose Quit Node Editing.


  3. When the box appears around your green leaf, use the four headed arrow to move your leaf move leaf to stem and resize over to the stem. Now move your cursor around on the leaf until you see a set of curved arrows. Once that appears, you can rotate your leaf so that it sits naturally on your stem. If your leaf is too large, resize it by dragging the corner handle that is closest to the point down towards the base of the leaf.


When you're ready... Move on to Part 2 and we'll add some depth to our apple. It looks a little flat right now.    :)




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