Pracken's Paint Shop Pro Tutorials

Country Tree: Vectors and Preset Shapes

tree2front      tree2front

You'll see trees similar to this in many country graphics. Since I've needed a tree like this many times over the last few weeks, I decided to draw one from scratch, and to make a preset shape from it.

Then, I also made an outline from it and a pixel tutorial. If you'd like to do the pixel version, you may find it here.

This is a vector tutorial. While it is a relatively easy vector tutorial (and I provide lots of screenshots), I do assume that you have a basic working knowledge of PSP, its tools, vectors, and layers.

This is a fairly long tutorial, and it uses a lot of layers, just to keep things organized. Don't let it scare you away from trying it though! If you run into trouble, just email me and I'll be glad to help!

In this tutorial, you will:

  • Make a preset leaf shape. You'll use vectors to draw a leaf, then export the leaf as a preset shape to use when drawing your tree.
  • Draw the tree. You'll use vectors to draw the trunk and limbs of the tree.
  • Assemble the tree and leaves. You'll use your preset leaf shape(s) to draw leaves onto your tree.
  • Make a country tree preset. Once your tree is done, you'll learn how to group your layers and export the image as a tree preset shape.
  • Finally, you'll make a completed graphic creation of your tree.

For this tutorial, you will need the following:

Paint Shop Pro. I used version 7.04 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.

NOTE: I wanted two variations of the preset shape as my finished product - one with a black outline, and one in color. There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods.

Sometimes I just want an image in black and white - it's easy to add layers, change the colors, add shading, etc. Also, it's easier to make a pixel image from it later if you want to do that.

When the shape is in color format, it's ready to go and you don't need to color it.

I made both versions of my pieces, but this tutorial is written showing you how to do the black outline version. If you want a colored shape, just change your foreground and background colors when drawing your images.

Draw the Leaf and Make a Preset Shape

Step 1. Open a new image 300 x 300, white background. First, you're going to create a leaf and make a preset shape from it. That will make it easier when you draw your tree.

Step 2. Set your foreground color to black and your background to null. (If you want to make a color version, just change your foreground and background colors to something that pleases you - in my colored version, I used black as my foreground color and #4B7F4B as my background).

Choose your preset shapes tool, ellipse, using the settings in the screenshot. Draw an oval shape approximately 40 x 90 (watch the numbers in the lower left of your screen)

01tree2      02tree2      03tree2

Step 4. Choose your object selector tool 04tree2 and then click on "Node Edit." Your image will change and you'll see four clear boxes.

05tree2  06tree2

Step 5. Click on the box on the top. It'll change to black and you will also see a horizontal line with handles on each end (one's a circle, the other's an arrow). Moving these handles will change the shape at the top.


Step 6. Now pull the left handle down and the right handle down until you have something similar to mine.


Step 7. Right click and choose "Quit Node Editing."

09tree2   10atree2

Step 8. Move the sides in just a bit to make it a bit more slender.

10btree2  10tree2

Step 9. Now your leaf is done and you can save it as a preset shape. I decided to rotate mine to make it easier to use on the tree (just hover your mouse over the shape until you see the two curved arrows - then rotate the image as you wish).


Step 10. Now to make it a shape. Open your layers palette. It should look like the screenshot.


Copy and paste it as a new image (click the icons on your toolbar, or go to edit>copy>edit>paste as new image). Your new image will look like the screenshot below.


Step 11. Rename your layers to whatever you want your preset shape to be named.


Now to export your shape. Go to file>Export>Shape. Type the name of your shape in the box and click "ok."

Now mirror your image (go to image>mirror) and export it as a preset shape as well. You'll now have 2 versions of your leaf and this will make it easier when you're ready to begin drawing.

Now you can close the new image you made your shape from. Return to your original image. You won't be needing the leaf layer again, so you can move it to the bottom of your layers stack and turn it off.

Test out your preset shape to make sure it works. Add a new layer to your graphic. Just choose your preset shapes tool and then navigate to your shape. Draw with it! Once you're done testing, just delete the test layer.

While you made the leaf specificially for this tutorial, you can also use the shape whenever you need a leaf shape of any kind in your work. By changing the foreground and background colors, and varying the size as you draw, you can create unlimited variations of your leaf.


You've just learned how to draw with vectors, and how to export a preset shape tool. Fun, eh?

Next, you'll draw the tree trunk and branches.

Continue to Page 2

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Screenshots of programs used in this tutorial are copyrighted to their respective authors.
This tutorial was created on August 2, 2004.
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