Pracken's Paint Shop Pro Tutorials

Nutcracker

(Updated October 2006)

One of the foods that reminds me most of Christmas is a big bowl of mixed nuts. I use one of those metal cracker thingies, but I've always loved these colorful wooden nutcrackers (I'm not sure anyone actually uses them to crack nuts, they're just too pretty for that).

I'm sure someone must have made a nutcracker tutorial at sometime in the past (although I haven't seen them), but I decided to go ahead and make this one anyway. If there are others somewhere, it'll just be another colorful addition.

October, 2006: I'm using this little guy in my Santa's Workshop tutorials, so be sure to check out that series of tuts. This tutorial was originally written in 2003 for PSP7. I've now updated it so users of later versions of PSP (8, 9, X) may also be able to do the tutorial.


For this tutorial, you will need the following:

Paint Shop Pro. You may download the latest version of PSP here. You should have no problems doing this tutorial in Versions 7, 8, 9, or X.

Alien Skin's Eye Candy plugin (you'll use the glass filter). Eye Candy is a commercial filter, and you can download it here. Note: I'm using Eye Candy 4000 in this tut, which is no longer sold at the Alienskin website. The filter has been updated and is now included in the "Impact" set of filters. Below in the tut, I give you the settings for the glass filter, and if you're using Eye Candy 5 Impact, you should have no problem using them (thanks to LaVonne for checking this out for me!). There is an earlier version of Eye Candy that is available for FREE, yes, free! It's Eye Candy 3 and you can download it here. I'm not sure if it has the glass preset in it or not, but regardless, you should go download the filter! [Note: If you don't have (or aren't interested in getting) Eye Candy, you can still do this tutorial. Just use PSP's inner bevel instead].

My canvas with selections saved to alpha channel. You may download it here.

You'll also need my color chart. Right click on it and save to your computer.


Step 1. Open up the canvas with alpha selections you downloaded. The selections that you'll need for this tutorial are all saved to alpha channel and are in the order that you will load them.

Step 2. Open up the color chart you downloaded. Copy and paste it as a new layer onto your canvas. Move it to the top, out of your way. When you need a color, just click on it with your dropper tool.

A few words about organizing your work. I always put everything on its own layer. Sometimes it makes for a lot of layers, but PSP can handle it! And when you have things on separate layers, it makes it so much easier to go back and change things, or to fix errors.

Also, I name each layer. When I'm working with selections, I name the layer the same thing as the selection is named. For example, the layer I add selection 1 on would be named 1, selection 2 would be on layer 2, etc. When you end up with tons of layers, it's really helpful to have taken the time to name them all, so you can easily find what you're looking for.

Step 3. Add a new layer. Load selection 1 from alpha channel (go to Selections>Load/Save Selection>Load Selection from Alpha Channel.

To choose a selection, just click on the box to the left (it's circled in red in the screenshot) and navigate to the selection you want. It'll show up in the preview window on the right. Then just click "Load."

Flood fill with color #1. Apply an inner bevel (effects>3d effects>inner bevel), using settings in the screenshot.

 

Step 4. Add a new layer. Load selection 2. Flood fill with color #1. Apply Eye Candy glass, using settings in the screenshot. (Note: If you don't have Eye Candy, just substitute a PSP inner bevel each time I mention Eye Candy glass).

   

Step 5. Add a new layer. Load selection 3. Flood fill with color #2. Apply Eye Candy glass, same settings as before (except change the glass color to color #2 - see the little dropper and the color squares at the bottom? Use the dropper to select the color).

[Note: each time you use Eye Candy, be sure to change the glass color to match the color of your selection].

Step 6. Add a new layer. Load selection 4. Flood fill with color #3. Apply ECGlass, same settings as before, except change the width to about 15.

Step 7. Add a new layer. Load selection 5. Flood fill with black. Apply ECGlass, same settings (change the width back to 3).

Step 8. Add a new layer. Load selection 6. Flood fill with color #4. Apply ECGlass.

Step 9. Add a new layer. Load selection 7. Flood fill with color #2. Apply ECGlass.

Step 10. Add a new layer. Load selection 8. Flood fill with color #2. Apply ECGlass.

Step 11. Add a new layer. Load selection 9. Flood fill with a gold gradient of your choice (one comes with PSP).

Apply an inner bevel using settings in the screenshot.

 

Step 12. Add a new layer. Load selection 10. Flood fill with black. Apply ECGlass.

Step 13. Add a new layer. Load selection 11. Flood fill with color #2. Apply ECGlass.

Step 14. Add a new layer. Load selection 12. Flood fill with color #5. Apply ECGlass.

Step 15. Add a new layer. Load selection 13. Flood fill with color #3. Apply ECGlass. This is what you should have so far.

Step 16. Add a new layer. Load selection 14. Flood fill with color #5. Apply ECGlass.

Step 17. Add a new layer. Load selection 15. Flood fill with color #6. Apply ECGlass.

Step 18. Add a new layer. Load selection 16. Flood fill with color #2. Apply ECGlass.

Step 19. Add a new layer. Load selection 17. Flood fill with white. Apply ECGlass.

Step 20. Add a new layer. Load selection 18. Flood fill with color #6. Apply ECGlass.

Step 21. Add a new layer. Load selection 19. Flood fill with black. Apply ECGlass.

Step 22. Add a new layer. Load selection 20. Flood fill with white. Apply ECGlass.

Step 23. Add a new layer. Load selection 21. Flood fill with black. APply ECGlass.

Step 24. Add a new layer. Load selection 22. Flood fill with black. Apply ECGlass.

Step 25. Add a new layer. Add a new layer. Load selection 23. Flood fill with the same gold gradient as before. Apply inner bevel, using same settings as Step 11.

Step 26. Add a new layer. Set foreground color to null, background to color #7. Choose your preset shapes tool>circle, using settings in the screenshot.

Draw two small circles for the eyes. Apply ECGlass.

Add a new layer. Change your background color to black. Draw two more circles for the center of the eyes. Apply ECGlass.

Step 27. Add a new layer. Set foreground color to black, background to null. Choose your pen tool>draw lines and polylines, using settings in the screenshot.

Draw a line over each eye and one between the teeth, like this.

Step 28. Add a new layer. Set foreground to color #1, background to color #7. Choose your preset shapes tool>triangle, and draw a shape on his uniform similar to mine. Apply ECGlass.

Add a new layer. Set foreground to null, background to color #3. Choose your preset shapes tool>circle. Draw some circles on both sides of the triangle. Apply ECGlass.

Step 29. Add a new layer. Set foreground to color #1. Choose your pen tool again (same settings as before), and draw a cross shape on both sides of the triangle. Apply ECGlass.

Add a new layer. Set foreground color to null, background to color #3. Choose your preset shapes tool>circle. Draw 4 little circles around your cross. Apply ECGlass.

Step 30. I added some hair and a beard to my nutcracker, but if you don't want to do that, you're done! If you do want to add them, then continue on.

Add a new layer. Put this layer underneath the hat layer. We'll do the hair first.

There are many ways to do the hair, and I'll show you one way that's quick. I used the fire tube that comes with PSP. Apply the fire tube to your new layer - you may have to do this a few times (and undo) before getting one that you like. Here's the one I settled on.

I flipped this one (image>flip) and then copy/pasted it 3 times (as new layers) to get a full look. Then hide all layers except these and merge visible layers. Then turn all your layers back on.

Now you need to make the hair layer whiter. If you have the variations filter you can do it by lowering the saturation (2 clicks) and lightening it (3-4 clicks). If you don't have the variations filter, you can use PSP's color adjustment function. Go to colors>adjust>hue/saturation/brightness, and use these settings: Hue-45, Saturation-39, Lightness-90.

Choose your smudge brush, using settings in the screenshot.

Smudge the hair around until you have something similar to mine (hint: to get the wispier pieces at the bottom of the hair, lower the brush size down to about 10 and pull the color downward. When you have something you like, duplicate this layer, mirror it, and move it to the other side of his face.

Step 31. Paste it again as a new layer (move it underneath the mouth) and smudge it into the shape of a beard (rotate it if you need to using the deformation tool).

Step 32. I applied a drop shadow to the hair and beard layers now, before merging, to give them a bit more depth. If you want to do that, just use these settings: vertical 2, horizontal 2, opacity about 25, blur 2, color black.

Step 33. Now take a look at your nutcracker and see if there's anything you want to change - now's the time to do that. I always save two (and sometimes more) versions of my images. The first copy I save is a PSP file with all the layers intact. I name it something like "nutcrackermaster." It's helpful if I want to go back later and make a different color or change something, I can easily do so with the layers intact.

Once I save the master file, I then save a transparent psp file. To do so, delete the color chart and background layers (you're done with both of those). Merge visible layers. Save as a PSP file (name it something different from your master file). This file is now really easy to use, since it's transparent. You just copy and paste it onto whatever you want.

I know there are a lot of selections in this tut, and that can get really boring. I hope you stayed awake to the end! Hope you enjoyed it.

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Screenshots of programs used in this tutorial are copyrighted to their respective authors.
This tutorial was created on December 22, 2003, updated on October 10, 2006.
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ŠPracken, 2003-2012