Pracken's Paint Shop Pro Tutorials

Chinese Ornamental Design
Part I: Vectors - Draw the Pieces


This tutorial was inspired by a piece of antique Chinese tapestry I came across recently which had beautifully vibrant colors - so I've tried to recreate something similar that captured that style - this tutorial is the result.

This is a tutorial in two parts: vectors and selections. You may choose to do both parts or just one.

Part I: Vectors.
If you'd like to create this image totally from scratch yourself, start with Part I.This is a vector tutorial and you'll create all the pieces you'll need to complete the tutorial. Once you've completed Part I, move on to Part II to create the image.

Part II: Selections.
If you don't want to do the vector version of this tutorial, just skip to Part II where you can use my selections if you wish. If you've completed Part I, then when you go to Part II, you'll use your own pieces in the tutorial. If you'd like to do Part II of this tutorial, click here

For this tutorial, you will need the following:

Paint Shop Pro. I used version 9, but if you are familiar with PSP, you should be able to convert the tutorial without problems. You can download the latest PSP version demo here.

You'll make each individual piece of the tutorial from scratch using vectors. Then, once you have your pieces, you can go to Part II to complete them.

Step 1. Open up a new image 350 x 400, white background.


Step 2. First, you'll draw the pod shape. Set your foreground color to black and background to color #1.

Choose your preset shapes tool, circle, using the settings in the screenshot. [Note: As toolbars can be customized, yours may look different from mine].

Draw a circle approximately 112 x 112 (watch the numbers at the bottom of your screen). [Note: since you're drawing with vectors, the image will automatically be placed on its own layer. It will be very helpful if you name your layers and pieces that you draw. That way, it will be a lot less confusing later on].


Step 3. Now you need to convert this shape to a path so you can edit it [btw, one of my personal pet peeves about PSP version 9 *grrrr*]. Go to Objects>Convert to Path. Your image will look like this.


Choose your pen tool and then click on Mode>Edit Mode.

You're now ready to edit your pod shape. I find it easier to turn the visibility of the layer off so the colors don't show - that way all I see is the shape of the nodes that I need to edit. However, you may find it easier to leave the color on - it's a personal choice. To edit without seeing the color, just turn the layer off on your layers palette. The first picture below shows you how it'll look with the color visible. The second picture shows you how it will look with the color not visible.

[Note: When editing vector nodes, it's also sometimes helpful to magnify the graphic in order to see better].


Step 4. Those 4 little boxes you see are nodes. First, you're going to add two more nodes. Move your cursor to the top left of your circle. Hold down the Ctrl key. You'll see a "+ADD" appear. Click and you will have added a node, like this.

Repeat the process to the other side. This is what you should have so far.

Step 5. Now put your mouse cursor on the center node at the top (in between the two nodes you just added), and move it up a bit, like this.

Step 6. Then move the two side nodes in a bit, like this.

If you want to check your progress, just turn the layer back on (go to your layers palette to do this). Here's how mine looks.

If yours doesn't look the way you want, then go back and edit it some more, just play with the nodes until you get something you like (and remember that you can always use the Undo function - my favorite tool *grin*).

Step 7. When your pod looks the way you want it, just right click on the image and then click "apply." You can turn your pod layer off for the moment - we'll come back to it later.


Step 8. Next, you'll draw a leaf shape. Set your foreground to black and background to color #2.

Add a new vector layer. [Note: You could just continue drawing without adding a new layer, since vector shapes will automatically create new layers; however, if you do this, all of your shapes will be in one big layer. I like to keep the different shapes on different layers, just keeps things a bit more organized].

Choose your preset shapes tool again, same settings as before, but use the oval shape instead of the circle. Draw a small circle approximately 40 x 60.

Step 9. You're going to edit the nodes the same way you did before. First, click Objects>Convert to Path. Then click on the Pen tool>Edit Mode [Note, whenever you're editing preset shapes, you'll always follow these two steps to get the nodes ready for editing].

Ok, ready to edit? (I've turned my layer visibility off again, for easier editing). First, put your cursor on the node at the top and pull it up a bit.

Step 10. Add a new node on the left side (hold down the Ctrl key and click your mouse on the line).

Move that node in just a bit, like this.

Step 11. Move your cursor over the node at the top. Right click then choose Node Type>Cusp.


You see that arrow? You can move either side of it to shape that node at the top. Cusp style will enable each handle of the arrow to move independently of the other side. This way, you can edit the node to a pointed shape for the tip of your leaf. To edit, just grab the left handle and pull it down. Do the same thing with the one on the right side.

[Note: You can check your progress at any time by just making your layer visible again. Here's how mine looks at this point - it's getting there, but still needs a little work].

Step 12. Pull the node at the bottom down just a little bit. Right click on it>Node Type>Cusp. Move the handles up to make a point, similar to this.

Here's what I have. It still needs just a wee bit of work.

Step 13. Finally, we need to make that node on the left side a bit more rounded. To do that, right click on it and choose Node Type>Symmetric. In this mode type, you'll notice that when one handle moves, they both do - this will give you a nice rounded shape.

Pull the top handle up a bit (or alternatively, you could pull the bottom handle down - either way does the same thing). Then move the node in a bit. You should have something similar to mine.


When you like your leaf shape, right click>Apply.

Step 14. Now you need to draw some lines on your leaf. You can do this a couple of different ways. For more control over the lines, use vectors; if you're confident of your freehand drawing abilities, then you could just draw lines on a raster layer (do this later in Part II of the tutorial). I drew mine as vectors, so will show you how to do that.

Set your foreground color to black and background to null. Choose your Pen tool, set to "Draw lines and polylines," using the settings in the screenshot (again, due to personalization of toolbars, yours may look different than mine).

Now draw a vertical line on your leaf similar to mine. Right click on it and hit Apply.

Now just draw "V" shaped lines on your leaf. After drawing each "v" shape, hit the apply button. When done, you should have something similar to mine. [Note: If you need to edit any of the lines, just click on the pen tool>Mode>Edit Mode button and move the nodes around as you wish. When done, hit apply].

Step 15. I decided to make another leaf shape, but that's entirely optional. If you want to do one, just draw another shape and edit it into a shape you like. I made mine a bit longer and narrower. I won't go through all the steps, but here's a screenshot of my nodes and finished leaf. Feel free to experiment and draw your own leaves!



Step 16. Set your foreground color to black and your background to white.

Add a new vector layer. Choose your preset shapes tool, same settings as before except choose the star 2 shape. Draw a star approximately 90 x 80.

Step 17. Click the pen tool>mode>Edit mode.

Make each of your 5 prongs a bit wider by moving the nodes out a bit, like this.

Step 18. You'll edit each of the 5 prongs in the same way. Hold down the Ctrl key and click to add two nodes on the side of the top prong, like this.

Step 19. Move node 1 in a bit and node 2 out a bit.

Step 20. Right click on node 2>Node type>Symmetric. Pull the handles to round it out a bit. Move node 1 up just a bit. Click apply

Repeat this process for the right side. Click apply.

Step 21. Just play with the settings until you have something you like. The flower shape can be anything you want it to be, and it doesn't have to be perfect. Here's my first prong.

Step 22. Ok, now you have some choices about how to finish the flower. If you wish, you can just continue editing the other 4 prongs in the same way you just did the first one. Use this method if you really like adding and editing nodes or if you want each of the flower petals to look slightly different from each other.

Since I wanted all of my petals to be the same, I decided to just duplicate the petal I'd already edited instead of doing each separately. I found this way easier, but you may not - I'll show you how I did mine.

Put your mouse on any node and double click. That will select all of the nodes (another way to do this is to right click>edit>select all). Click Edit>copy.

I found it easier to do this on a new image, but you don't have to do this, you could continue where you are - up to you). Open a new image 200 x 200, white background. Click Edit>Paste>Paste as new vector selection.

Step 23. Now all you need to do is copy and paste this piece for your other 4 prongs. So go to Edit>Paste>Paste as new vector section again. Notice the long line coming out from the shape? If you move your cursor over it, you'll see two arrows that look like they're chasing each other, in a circle. Use this handle to rotate your shape into positon.

Step 24. Edit>copy>paste as new vector selection again. Right click and choose Transform selected nodes>mirror. Move into position.

Step 25. Copy>paste as vector selection. Rotate into place.

Step 26. Copy>paste as vector selection. Right click>Transform selected nodes>mirror. Move into positon. Click apply.

Step 27. Now I've turned off my background layer visibility so you can see what you actually have. You'll see that the center is blank. You could just leave it this way and paint in the center later if you wish; however, I wanted my shape filled in.

To fix it, set your foreground and background colors to white. Choose your pen tool>draw lines, using same settings as you did in step 14 above for your leaf. You're going to draw a center for the flower. Draw lines similar to mine to fill in the center. When done right click >apply.

Step 28. Now you may need to edit the lines just a bit to make them join in the right places. To do that, just click the pen tool>Mode>edit mode and move the nodes around as you need to. Here's my finished flower.

Step 29. Ok, now you need to take this flower back onto your original canvas. So copy it (edit>copy). You can go ahead and close the image now.

Step 30. Go back to your original canvas. Make the layer with your star on it active. Hit your Clear key, since you don't need this image any longer. Now paste your new flower (edit>paste>paste as new vector selection). You should now have your flower on your vector layer.

Ok, still with me? We are almost done!

Small Flower

Step 31. Now you'll draw the small flower. Add a new vector layer. Set your foreground to black and background to white. Choose your preset shapes tool again, same settings, ellipse shape. Draw a small shape 25 x 50.

Step 32. Objects>convert to path. Pen tool>Mode>Edit Mode. Click on the node at the top. Right click>node type>cusp. Pull down the handles to make the shape a bit of a point. Click apply.

Step 33. You just need to made two copies of this. On your layers palette, right click on this layer and choose copy. Right click again and choose paste new vector selection. Repeat. You'll now have 3 of these shapes and you just need to rotate them into positon.

Click your pen tool>Mode>Edit Mode. Then double click on any node to select them all. Now you just need to move them into place. To move the shape, use the box in the center (indicated by the red arrow in the screenshot). To rotate the shape, use the handle (indicated by the black arrow).

Step 34. Move them into position, similar to this. When done, click Apply.

Step 35. Set your foreground color to black and background to color #3. Choose your preset shapes tool again, oval. Draw a small shape approximately 15 x 35.

Step 36. Objects>Convert to Path>Pen tool>Mode>Edit Mode.

Add a node on the right side of the ellipse. Right click>node type>cusp. Pull the handles out a bit. Click on the node on the left and move it outward a bit (to the left), to make the shape a little wider. Click Apply.

You should have something similar to this.

WHEW!!! If you're still with me, WOOHOO! Ya did it! *lol* Ok, so take a deep breath and we'll make your parts ready to use in Part II of the tutorial.

Getting Your Pieces Ready

Now you just need to get all your pieces ready for Part II of the tutorial (where you'll do the coloring and finishing touches).

Step 37.It's always a good idea to save your images as a master psp file with all layers intact. That way, you can go back later and change things around if you wish, so go ahead and do that now.

Turn off all your layers except the background. Now turn your pod layer on. Right click on the layer>convert to raster layer (name it pod).

Step 38. Now to do your leaf. You could just convert the whole thing to a raster layer, but then it'd be harder to add shading later. So you're going to save the leaf and the lines separately, on two layers.

On your layers palette, right click on just your leaf shape>create raster selection. You'll see the shape of your leaf. Add a new layer (name it leaf). Flood fill with black. Contract the selection by 1 (selections>modify>contract). Flood fill with color #2. Deselect.

Now to do the lines. Hold down your Shift key while clicking on each of the lines on your layers palette (they'll all be in bold print). Then right click>create raster selection. Add a new layer (name it leaf lines). Flood fill (or paint) with black.

Now delete the leaf vector layer (right click on the layer>delete).

[Note: If you've made other leaves, repeat this process for them as well].

Step 39. Next you'll do the flower. Make the layer active. Right click>convert to raster layer. Name it flower.

Step 40. Ok, one more piece to go. Make the small flower layer active. Hold down your shift key while clicking the two end petals on your layers palette. Right click>create raster selection.

Add a new layer. Flood fill with black. Contract by 1. Flood fill with white. Deslect.

Make your center flower petal active. Right click>create raster selection. Add a new layer. Flood fill with black. Contract by 1. Flood fill with white. Deslect.

Hide all layers but these two. Layers>Merge visible layers. Name this layer small flower.

Now make the center of the flower active. Right click>create raster selection. Add a new layer (name it small flower center). Flood fill with black. Contract by 1. Flood fill with color #3. Deselect.

Now delete the flower vector layer.

Step 41. You should have the following layers: background, color chart, pod, flower, leaf (or leaves), small flower, small flower center.

Now save your graphic in psp format with all layers intact (save it under a different name than you saved before so you'll have two versions - one with all the vector layers in place and this one with the raster layers).

Whew! Congratulations! You now have all the pieces ready to use. You can go on to Part II of the tutorial.

Go to Tutorial Part II

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This tutorial was created on February 2, 2005.
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