Pracken's Paint Shop Pro Tutorials

Pinecone with Branch

(Updated October, 2006)

The other night I was out with a full moon, shining through some of the thousands of pinetrees we have here. I decided I would try to draw a pine branch, complete with pinecone. So I drew this. You will use a lot of layers, but don't let that scare you off! It just helps keep things organized.

October, 2006: I'm using this pinecone 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. Note: You just need to make the pinecone, not the branch for that series of tuts, so just work Steps 1-8).

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.

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.

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.

There are 3 parts to this tutorial: a) the pinecone b) the branch and c) putting it together. I'll go through each of these parts in order, starting with the pinecone.

Part 1: The Pinecone

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.

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. Keep selected.

Step 4. Add a new layer. Set your foreground color to color #2, background to color #3. Choose your airbrush with the settings below, and spray some color similar to mine.

Choose your retouch tool> smudge brush, Using settings in the screenshot, and smudge the colors around a wee bit.


Step 5. Hide the background layer and merge visible layers. Apply an inner bevel (go to effects>3d effects>inner bevel), and use the following settings.


Step 6. Add a new layer. Load selection 2. Flood fill with color #2. Keep selected.

Add a new layer. Choose the airbrush (same settings as before), and spray color on as you did in the previous step except use color #4 and white.

Choose your smudge brush again and soften as before.

Apply an inner bevel, same as before, except change the width to about 9.

Step 7. Turn off the background layer and color chart layer. Merge visible layers. Turn the background and color chart back on.

Turn off your merged layer for the moment. Add a new layer. Load selection 3. Flood fill with color #1. This is your base layer and will be on the bottom of your pinecone.

Step 8. Turn the visibility of your merged layer on again.

Now all you will do is copy and paste this over and over again, and place the pieces onto your base layer. I've rotated some, resized some - just arrange them as it pleases you. The main thing to do is cover the outside frame of the base (i.e., you don't want any of the edges showing). You do want some space on the inside on your base showing through.

Start at the bottom of your base and add each piece of the cone on a new layer. That will make it a lot easier to rearrange later. You will have a lot of layers when done, but don't worry about that! When finished, you should have something similar to mine.

Turn the background and color chart layers off. Merge visible layers. Save your pinecone as a psp file.

Part 2: The Branch

Step 9. Turn your merged pinecone layer off and turn your color chart and background layers on.

Add a new layer. Set your foreground color to color #5, background to null. Choose your pen tool>draw freehand, using settings in the screenshot.

Draw a small line for your branch.

Step 10. Add a new layer. Choose your pen tool again (change width to 1), and draw some needles. I made 3 separate layers for these and when done, I changed the opacity of a couple of them, to soften the image a bit and to allow for some of the needles to overlap others. When done, you should have something similar to this.

Step 11. Turn the visibility of the background layer and color chart layer off. Merge visible layers. Hide the merged layer and make the background visible.

Add a new layer. Choose your pen tool, change width to 4. Draw a branch shape.

Step 12. Make your merged needles visible. Copy and paste as new layers and arrange around the branch as you wish. You can rotate/resize as it pleases you. Here's what mine looked like when done.

Part 3: Putting it All Together, Finishing Touches

Step 13. Open your pinecone and copy/paste as new layer onto your branch. You'll need to resize it downward. Be sure to sharpen afterwards. I added a couple of pinecones to mine.

Step 14. When you're satisfied with your branch, delete the color chart and background layers. Merge visible layers. Save as a psp file.

Please let me know if you experience any problems with this tutorial.

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This tutorial was created on December 20, 2003, updated on October 10, 2006.
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