Paint Shop Pro Free Training Course and Tutorial

Free Paint Shop Pro Training Course: Section 2

In this section, you will learn:

  • Raste
    r and vector graphics
  • Colors
  • Creating common shapes
  • Using the pen tool

Creating Graphics

About Raster and Vector Graphics

In Paint Shop Pro, you can create both raster and vector graphics, as well as images that contain a combination of the two.

Raster images are composed of square pixels arranged in a grid. Each pixel is a specific color, making raster images good for displaying subtle color and tonal shifts, as in a photographic image. However, increasing the size of a raster image can distort its appearance; the more the pixels are enlarged, the grainier the image appears. Bitmaps (files with the .BMP extension) are raster images.

Vector graphics are created using geometric data—lines, curves, and points. A vector object can be resized without any loss of resolution, since the data is recalculated by the computer and redrawn. While vector images are generally smaller in file size than raster images, they require the computer to work harder to draw them, and they aren’t effective for displaying complex color variations. They are, however, easier to edit.

Most of the tools in Paint Shop Pro are specific to raster or vector graphics. Layers, as well, are generally specific to one or the other (or to the Art Media tools); however, Paint Shop Pro will automatically create a new layer when necessary—for example, when you attempt to place a vector object on a raster layer—so you don’t need to worry about placing an object on the wrong kind of layer.

The remainder of this section of the tutorial describes how to work with the most common raster and vector tools.


You use the Materials palette to choose colors and materials for the background and foreground of your objects. The background of an object often refers to the fill, while the foreground refers to the brush stroke, or outline. You can also make either or both of these transparent.

It’s best to select the color and materials for an object when you select a tool, and before you draw the object. However, you can always change the materials of an existing object by selecting the object and then using the color and materials boxes on the palette to make changes.

The Materials palette is composed of three tabs:

  • The Frame tab lets you define a color based on hue (the outer rectangle) and saturation (the inner rectangle).

Clicking anywhere on the outer and inner rectangles changes the hue and saturation, respectively:

The vertical slider (the small triangle on the right) adjusts lightness and the horizontal slider (the small triangle on the bottom) adjusts saturation:

  • The Rainbow tab lets you select a color from the Available Colors panel:

  • The Swatches tab displays styles and materials that can be reused:

A style is a color, gradient, or pattern, while a material includes a texture in addition to the color, gradient, and pattern.

You can create a new swatch at any time by clicking the Create New Swatch button. This opens the Material Properties dialog, which lets you define a color, pattern, texture, and material.

The Materials palette also contains two sets of boxes: the smaller set of boxes displays the current foreground (top box) and background (bottom box) colors, while the larger set of boxes displays the current foreground (top box) and background (bottom box) materials.

Use the smaller color boxes to quickly change an object’s color without altering its gradient, pattern, or texture. Click on the foreground or background color box to open the Color dialog:

Here, you can select a color from the color wheel, or define a color using RGB values, hue, saturation, and luminosity values, or the HTML equivalent.

All the options in the Color dialog are also available in the Material Properties dialog, which you access by clicking the foreground or background material box (the larger boxes):

The Material Properties dialog has three tabs: Color, Gradient, and Pattern. You can use the options on these tabs to transform simple vector options by selecting a combination of materials. For example, a light brown color and a brick texture scaled to 20% transforms a simple triangle into a pyramid:

Note that the active tab in the dialog controls what’s displayed on the object. In other words, if you select the Pattern tab, the pattern will appear on the object. If you select the Color tab and close the dialog, only the color will be displayed on the object. This isn’t as intuitive as it could be, but in general, if you’re having trouble removing a pattern from an object, open the dialog, select the Color tab, make sure the correct color is selected, and then click OK. This should remove the pattern from the selection.

The style, texture, and transparency of the current object’s background and foreground are displayed on the small buttons at the bottom of the color and materials boxes:

The Style button has a flyout menu that lets you change an object’s background or foreground from a solid color to a gradient or pattern. The Texture button toggles the current texture on and off. The Transparent button toggles transparency on and off.

Finally, when the All Tools checkbox is selected at the bottom of the Materials palette, the current materials will be applied to all tools; when the checkbox is cleared, the materials apply to just the active tool.

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