Bear with me on this because I’ve never written a tutorial before. Tubes are such a basic part of using PSP (all versions) that I thought I would start with that. Tubes are cut out images that can be used in collage and various other graphic arts. You can use the tubes created and supplied by Paint Shop Pro, or you can make your own.

There will be ready made tubes in your program. Click on the tube icon (highlighted in white on the left of the screen capture below) and click on the drop down tube menu. Click on a tube to select it – I chose butterflies.

The cool thing about PSP tubes is that you get different image every time you click – so as you see, clicking over the blank page gives you a whole flock of different butterflies. You can get sets of tubes from the Paint Shop Pro website.

butterflies2.jpg

If you want to make your own tubes, that’s not too hard. You won’t get the multiple variety like the PSP tubes, but you will have your own collage images you can use anywhere.

First choose an image you want to turn into a tube. If it has a monochrome background (all the same colour) just click on the eyedropper tool (highlighted in white on the side menu).

colours2.jpg

Click anywhere on the background and you will see the eyedropper tool pick up that colour. Now click on the colour palette (usually on the right side of the screen) and you will see the background colour of the image in the Foreground and Stroke Properties box. Click on that to bring up the colour palette properties box. Highlight and copy the HTML code for that colour – in this case #ffffff. Close this box, go back to the Colour Pallet and click on the Background and Fill Properties box (this will be a different colour). When the Colour Palette Properties box comes up it will show you the colour that is being used in Background and Fill. Paste the code for your images background colour into the HTML field. Now the colour of the foreground and background will be the same.

This is important to know because tubes will only work if the Foreground and Stroke Properties box and the Background and Fill Properties box are the same as the background colour of your image. This can be any colour at all, it doesn’t matter, as long as they are the same. If your image doesn’t transfer to the new canvas as a clearcut image with no background at all, then likely you have odd colours in Foreground and Background properties.

To add your new tube to a collage, right click on it. (Make sure the foreground and background colours in the colour palette are the still the same). Right click on your canvas and you will get a menu – choose `paste’. Paste will offer you a number of options, choose `paste as transparent selection’. Your chosen image should appear as a cut-out on your canvas with no extraneous background. If the original background is still there, right click and cut the image, then check that the foreground and background colour squares in your colour palette are the same.

If your image has a multi-coloured background, this method won’t work at all. You need to erase the background completely. Set both Foreground and Background Properties boxes in the colour palette to the same colour – white or black is easiest because you don’t have to cut and paste the HTML code.

Then click on the eraser tool, resize it to suit and erase the background from your image. Depending on which foreground and background you chose, the erasure will leave a white or black background. To fine tune your erasure, zoom in on the image and lower the size of the erase tool.

eraser1.jpg

Now, since the foreground and background colour are already set to match, you can just right click on your image, click on copy and then transfer it to the new canvas as a transparent image.

Now you can save your tube. You can save it normally as a .jpg image and you will still be able to use it anytime as a tube as long as your foreground and background colours match the background of the tube image. I hope this has been easy to follow – if not, give me a holler. I use Paint Shop Pro 9 so the location of tollbars and the colour palette may be different on older versions.

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