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Old 09-12-2004, 10:04 PM   #1
Thunder Pickle
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Default Paintshop for Beginners

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Complete tutorial
If I have left something important out, am incorrect about something, or you have something to add please let me know.

Paintshop for Beginners

There are plenty of tutorials about how to accomplish various skinning techniques but none that teach you the program. Pleas keep in mind that this is not a "learn to skin" tutorial. Skinning, like any art form, is a skill that is learned through observation. This tutorial is designed to teach you the basics of Paintshop. There will also be a Photoshop version will coming along soon. As it talks a long time to explain such a program, I will be building this tutorial over time. Feel free to pm me suggestions but please only post questions in this thread.

Last update (11/14/04):

1.The Work Space or "Canvas
2. The Overview Window
3. The Tools
4. The Tool Options Palette
5. The Layers Palette
6. Menus
7. Alpha Channel and Team Color Process
8. FAQ
9. Glossary

The Work Space or "Canvas"
General Skill |

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This is the area in which you work. If you see the grey and white checkers as in the image that means there is nothing painted there or "transparency." The title bar lists info about your current image.

The Overview Window
General Skill |

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Image created by Thunder Pickle. Click for larger view.

This window lets you navigate your image quickly. When zoomed, in a box appears on top of the preview. This shows what you are currently viewing. You can drag the box to another part of the preview to pan around the image. (See tools section to learn how to zoom.

The Tools
General Skill ||

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This is the tool bar. Most of the tools you will work with are available here.

Arrow Tool
Used for navigation. Click and drag to move around the document.

Zoom Tool
Used for zooming. Change out/in in the tool options palette

Deformation Tool
Used to distort a selected area. To distort, grab one of the boxes at the corners, sides, or center and drag. It can distort scale, perspective (hold Ctrl when dragging handles), rotate, skew (hold Shift when dragging handles) and position (click and drag somewhere on the selected area).

Crop Tool
Used to crop an image. Click and drag a rectangle around where you want to crop and hit "Crop Image" in the tool options palette.

Move Tool
Used to move the image or selected area around the work space. Click and drag an object to move.

Selection Tool "Marquee"
Used to select pixels in the work area. When a selection is present (an area of dotted lines or "marching ants," Only pixels with in a selection can be affected. Selections can have special settings in the Selection menu. Shape can be changed in the tool options.

Freehand Select Tool "lasso"
Used like the Selection Tool but used to select non-geometrical shapes. Has a "smart mode" that selects according to contrast changes

Magic Wand Tool
Makes selections based on color. Click on a color and all the connected areas of that color will be selected. Color sensitivity can be changed in the tool options

Dropper Tool
Used to sample colors in an image. When clicked on a color, the selected color is made the foreground color.

Paint Brush Tool
Used to paint an area. Brush size, type, opacity, etc. can be changed in the tool options

Clone Brush
Used like the paint brush but rather then color it paints a selected part of the image. Most commonly used in photo retouching.

Color Replacer
Used to replace color. Any pixel in the image that matches the background color, when painted over, becomes the foreground color.

Retouch Tool
Used like the Paint brush tool to apply an effect such as lightening, darkening, burning, and dodging.

Scratch Remover
Used to remove scratches. Not usually used for skinning.

Eraser Tool
Used to erase pixels.

Picture Tube Tool
Used to paint strings of small images in a larger image. Not commonly used in skinning.

Air Brush Tool
Used like the paint brush for softer, less accurate painting.

Flood Fill Tool
Used To fill areas of similar pixels with a color, pattern, or gradient.

Text Tool
Used to create text.

Draw Tool
Like the Paint Brush but it creates vector lines.

Shape Tool
Used to make vector shapes.

Object Selection Tool
Used to select vector objects

The Tool Options Palette
General Skill ||

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Since the options are different for each tool I will not explain the purpose of each. Most are obvious anyway. Some can be found in the "Key Concepts" at the top of the page.

Cursor options:
Use precise cursors: rather than a picture of a to you get crosshairs.

Show brush outlines: Shows where the tool will have an effect.

Pressure sensitive tablet options: Has to do with a graphic tablet. If you have one you probably already know how to use the program.

The Layers Palette
General Skill |||

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1. Layer Type (vector or raster)
2. Layer Name
3. Layer Visibility (true or false)
4. Layer Opacity (how see through it is)
5. Layer Blend Mode (how it appears above the layers below it)
6. Layer Lock
7. New Layer
8. Delete Layer
9. New Mask
10. Visibility Tab
11. Mask Tab (manage layer masks)
12. Layer Group Tab (manage layer groups)

General Skill |-|||

Basic Save, Open, Import, Export, options.

Basic Cut, Copy, Paste options

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The zoom options will zoom to the noted degree, normal viewing will show the actual size, and the the previews will let you view your work with different methods. Rulers adds rulers along the top and left side of your document so you can measure things on your image. Grids adds a grid on top of your image to help you arrange elements. Guides show and hide guides you have created by clicking on a ruler and draging onto your image. Grid and Guide properties (units, color, snapping options) can be changed in the properties option. Snap to grid and guides makes certain elements of your image (i.e. vector shapes, text, certain tools) follow along the path of a guide or grid. Toolbars lets you choose which toolbars are visible.

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Flip and mirror will flip and mirror (duh) the image or selected area around the x(flip) or y(mirror) axis. Rotate rotates the image or selected area. If there is a selection present the Crop to Selection will crop your image to the area defined by the selection. Canvas size changes the "paintable" area. Resize changes the size of the image or selection. Image information is self explanitory. Arithmetic does various calculations with colors and values. Add border makes a single color border around the image. Picture frame gives a list of premade frames that can be placed on an image. Watermarking adds a watermark to the image.

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Equivalent to Photoshop's filters menu. Because of the large amound of features available via the effects menu I will not explain all of them. the best way to learn each is to use the Effects Browser (top of the menu) and see what each one does. Plug-ins are third party effects downloaded off the internet.

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The adjust menu lets you change hue, saturation, brightness, etc. This is the best place for quick recolors of existing skins. Colorize recolors all of the image or selected area. Greyscale makes the image or selected area black and white. Histogram options make changes to all the colors in the image or selected area based on the highlighs, shadows, and midtones (advanced users). Negative image changes all the colors in the image or selected area to their opposite on the color wheel. I'm not quite sure how to describe polarizes and solarizes; basicaly a tweaked burn and dodge. Split and combine channel options allow you to work with individual RGB or CMYK color channels (advanced users). Palette options let you make custom color palettes. Color depth lets you select the number of colors in an image.

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New vector and raster layers options create a new layer of the specified type. Adjustment layers are layers that will create the effect of an action on any layer below it (good to use for recolors when you don't want to change the origional layer). Duplicate, delete, properties, do as stated to the layers. Matting is used to "crop" unwanted pixels from around a layer (i.e. you cut out a part but it has some white pixels around it that don't let it blend very well). Arrange adjusts placement of layers, view adjusts the view states of layers, and merge lets you combine layers in different ways. Convert allows you to make a vector layer into a raster layer. Promote will turn the background image (uneditable) into a layer.

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Align changes a vector shape's position relative to the image bounderies. Distribute changes a vector shape's position relative to the image bounderies and other vector shapes. Make Same Size changes vector shapes scale according to other vector shapes. Arrange changes a vector shapes depth relative to other vector shapes (top to bottom on the z axis). Group and ungroup does as stated to multiple vector shapes. Fit text to path and Covert text to curves will do as stated to text.

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Select all puts a selection around the entire image. Select none deselects any selections. From mask and from vector object makes a selection based upon a mask or vector object. Invert selects everything but what is currently selected. Matting works just like layer matting (see layer menu) but on a selection. Modify affects the attributes of the current selection. Hide marquee will hide the "marching ants" of a selection from view while still retaining the selection. Convert to seemless pattern makes the current selection into a seemless pattern. Promote to layer makes the current selection into its own layer. Load from disk and Alpha Channel Makes a selection based on a saved selection or alpha channel. Save to disk and Alpha Channel saves the current selection to disk or alpha channel. Float "lifts" the current selection off the image with out changing what is beneath it and allows it to be moved. Defloat places the selection back on the layer.

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New creates a new mask. Delete removes the current mask. Invert switches the colors in the mask for black to white and vice versa. Edit lets you edit the mask using the painting tools and gradients. View mask lets you see the mask over your image in shades of red. Load and save works just like the load and save of selections (see selections menu).

The Alpha Channel Process and Team Color
First of all, Team Color is part of the model, not the skin. Therefore, it cannot be removed with Paintshop. Furthermore, it does not cover the entire model. Keeping that in mind, team color can be masked and unmasked. Team color can be completely covered in a skin and therefore not visible, but it can only be uncovered where it exists. The same goes for transparency. You can make any part of a model that is a flat plane (2D) transparent. Any part of a model that has any depth to it cannot be made transparent; there will still be white colored geometry underneath.

For skins made from scratch:
In the mask menu, go to New>Show All. Now go to View mask and then Edit mask. Now using the painting tools or gratients paint on top of your image with black(masked) white(unmasked) or shades of grey(partly masked). Black would be used to cut out symbols on a cape or wings on a helmet. Greys could be used to add wrinkles to a team colored cape. White is used for areas that should be visible. When you have created your mask, in the mask menu go to Save to Alpha Channel and save the channel as Alpha 1. A Warcraft skin should only have one channel.

For edited skins:
Rather than making a new mask, go to Load from Alpha Channel and choose the Alpha 1 channel. Follow the "from scratch" directions. When finished, save over the existing Alpha 1 channel rathere than making an additional one.


Q: Why do I get an "unsupported compression" error when importing a skin to WC3?
A: This is a very common problem. Every time you save make sure you click the options button and click "uncompressed." For some reason Paintshop doesn't remember this setting from one save to the next.


Brightness - How light or dark a color is.
Contrast - How colors relate to one another.
Density-Whether a brush is solid or speckled.
Foreground and Background Color - Also known as secondary and primary color. The two colors use at any given time.
Gradient - One color blending into another.
Hardness-Whether a brush has a soft or hard edge.
Highlight - Brightest colors in an image
Midtones - Midrange colors in an image
Opacity - How see through pixels are.
Pixel - a dot within an image. The building block of digital art.
Raster - a shape made of pixels. Cannot be resized without loss of quality
Saturation - How much of a color there is. I.e. color or black and white
Shadow - Darkest colors in an image
Step-Distance between brush hits in a stroke. 0 = solid line 25 = brush stroke, empty space, brush stroke.
Vector - a shape that can be infinitely resized without loss of quality. I.e. text and shapes created with the shape tool.

Last edited by Thunder Pickle : 11-14-2004 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 12-17-2006, 10:17 PM   #2
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cool, can i use this to skin? lol
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Old 09-03-2007, 01:10 AM   #3
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I was wondering is there a way to make the backround uneditable layer go back to being layers again?? Cause i know people like to protect their work but i was wondering if theres a way to get rid of it or not
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