Using the Gradient Tool in Paint Shop Pro
Note: PSPX was used to create this digital scrapbooking tutorial; there may be slight variations in other versions. In addition, depending on how you have your workspace set up, it may be in the default settings, your screens may look slightly different from mine. I have customized my workspace to the way I like it, but that is another tutorial!
The gradient tool is a very versatile and customizable tool you can use to create your own backgrounds, papers, elements and alphas. This is the first in a series of tutorials using the gradient tool.
The Gradient Tool can be found in the Materials Palette and is used with the Paint Bucket. In Figure 1, the arrow points to where the Gradient is found on the Materials Palette. By clicking on the left box just under the background or foreground color boxes, you can choose solid color, gradient or pattern. The Paint Bucket is circled in red on the left on the Tools Toolbar.
If you click on the background color box, the Material Properties Box opens. The center tab is where you control your gradients (Figure 2). There are many preset gradients that come with PSP, but you can make custom ones as well. This is most useful when you want a background to complement your photo. Within the gradient tab, you can change the angle, repeats, invert and change the styles. Play with these settings to see what they do.
To access the preset gradients, click on the Gradient Box (Figure 3). Simply double-click the one you want, and play with your angle, repeats and style until you find what you like.
To create your own custom gradient, we will use the edit feature found just under the Gradient Chooser Box (Figure 4). Click "New" and give your gradient a name. I usually use the same name as my layout, so I can find it again. Your editor will now be all white. If you have your photo open in PSP, you can move your mouse over it and the cursor will become an eyedropper to choose colors with. On the photo, right-click for foreground or left-click for background to choose a color you like.
Underneath the gradient editor, little boxes are hanging. As you click new colors, they are added to one of the boxes. You can add more boxes by clicking below the bar, or remove them by dragging them off either end of the bar. If you choose a color you like but it is too dark or light, click the little hanging box and the color box to the left of the bar changes to match it. Click this box and a color box opens, you can change the color by dragging the circle around.
The triangles on top of the bar change the blending of the gradient from soft to sharp.
You can change the opacity of different parts of the gradient with the transparency bar. Play with the settings to see the result in the bottom result bar.
When you have what you like, click "Close." Choose your angle, number of repeats and style from the gradients tab and click "OK." Your gradient should now be in your Gradient Box. If it is not, just click the box from Figure 1 and be sure the center gradient is active.
To use your gradient, activate your Paint Bucket and pour it onto your layer. If you want to put it in just a selection, you can do that too. Activate your Text Tool, and making sure the gradient is the background and fill color, type and the gradient is inside your text!
Things to try:
Example 1 using Lori Cook's Fun Textures 5
Add texture to your gradient with the Texture Tool in the Materials Palette (Example 1).
Create two gradients with coordinating colors. Make two layers, each one with a different gradient. Use your Eraser Brush to "stamp" on the top layer to expose the gradient below.
Example 2 using Lori Cook's Decorative Swirls Grunged 4
Change the Blend Mode and Opacity on your gradient layers. Example 2 uses "Difference" on the lower layer and Opacity of 80 on the top layer.
Layout by Dee-Ann Decker
Tutorial written by Dee-Ann Decker using Paint Shop Pro X