Vector Pen – Create Your Own Preset Shape
Written by Jo Dee
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I used Paint Shop Pro 9 for this tutorial, however, you should be able to use version 8 and above
While this tutorial may take quite some time, it is really quite easy to do. I wrote this tutorial to help you understand the use of gradients in vectors. Gradients help make objects look more realistic. Also, you will learn more about making a simple shape into something else by manipulating nodes. This tutorial will also help you learn to save a vector shape you make as a Preset Shape, so you can use it over and over again at different sizes without loss in quality.
This tutorial assumes you have some knowledge of Paint Shop Pro and will not go into things like how to select a layer in your layer palette, how to create a new layer, how to duplicate a layer, etc. It also assumes you can draw a preset shape. We will be using vectors for this tutorial and will save your result as a Preset Shape for later use.
You can find further help on creating gradients in my CD tutorial.
Remember to save often.
1. Open a new transparent image, 100 x 500.
I like to work with the larger size as it is easier to see what you are making. You can always resize later, without losing any clarity, since we are using vectors.
NOTE: All steps should have the foreground set as null, retain style (for the shape) should NOT be checked, and anti-alias should be checked. We will use only the ellipse and rounded rectangle preset shapes. If you are in PSP 8, you will have to check the “create as vector” box. SAVE often.
2. You will need to create a new gradient. Click on the Background Color.
In the Material Properties window that pops up, click on the “Gradient” tab. Below the current gradient, click on the Edit button.
3. In the Gradient Editor window, select “New” to create a new gradient.
Choose any name you would like for this (pen_color or whatever.)
4. You will have two little “pens” showing in the “Gradient” section of the window.
Click on the pen at the left. Check to make sure the location is 0%. You need to change this color. You can do this by clicking on the rectangle below the Location box and to the right of the Custom box. Select a dark shade of the color you want to make your pen and choose OK. I used: #400040.
5. You will now need to add another pen.
Click to the right of the pen you just changed. Either move this pen to location 50% or type 50 in the Location box.
Change this pen’s color to a lighter shade of the color you want by choosing the color rectangle like you did for the previous pen. I used: #800080. See above for clarification.
6. Change the color of the pen on the right (location 100) to the same darker shade of your color.
7. The two diamond shapes above should both already be at location 50.
8. Select the Close button and when it asks if you want to save the changes, select Yes.
9. Back in the Material Properties box, you should have your new gradient shown.
Select the Linear style, make sure Invert is NOT selected, angle 90, repeats 0, no texture. The angle 90 is based on a vertical pen. Should you make a horizontal pen, use angle 0.
10. Draw an ellipse that is long and skinny.
Mine was 30 pixels wide by 440 long. Then center it in the canvas (Objects, Align, Center in Canvas.)
11. Name your vector layer to pen_base or something to help you remember what it is.
12. Round the top of the base, because it looks a bit pointy for the top of a pen.
To do this, you’ll have to select your pen tool:
13. Click on the node at the top of the ellipse:
14. Notice the little arrow pointing straight across.
We will be moving these to round out the top of the pen:
15. Move them about the same on each side.
They should be pulled out a bit:
16. Create the bottom tip of the pen. Since I like to do things the easy way, you can, too.
First, Selections, Select None (Ctrl-D).
17. Duplicate your pen_base layer, twice.
Hide the top layer (we’ll get to this one later.) Rename the duplicate layer not hidden from pen_base to pen_tip.
18. Now drag this layer to your Vector 1 layer group, making sure it is above your pen_base:
19. You may delete your “Copy of Vector 1” layer since there is no longer anything on it.
20. Now we will fill the pen_tip with a gold gradient.
Double click on your pen_tip layer. A box will come up with information, including stroke and fill colors:
21. Click on the fill box.
Again we will be creating a new gradient, this will be a gold. Click the gradient tab, Edit, and New as we did for the pen base. Name it. Just as we added pens and colors, do so again with pens and colors for these locations:
0% – #8b7345
25% – #a89752
50% – #fbf3ab
75% – #a89752
100% – #8b7345
22. Select Close and then Yes to save the changes to your gradient.
23. Choose the same settings as for your base in the Material Properties:
Linear style, make sure Invert is NOT selected, angle 90, repeats 0, no texture. The angle 90 is based on a vertical pen. If you made a horizontal pen, use angle 0.
24. Now to get rid of the excess.
We are going to add two nodes where we would like the tip to end. To do this, make sure your pen tool is selected, in the Edit mode. Hold down the Ctrl key and place the cursor on the side of the pen. Notice where the cursor is on the y-axis and then left click. Place another point, at the same y-axis point on the other side.
25. Now to get rid of that excess.
Find the two middle nodes on the sides of your gold ellipse. Click on one and then hit delete. Click on the other and hit delete. If you need to adjust your tip a bit, just click on one of the nodes and move it to the appropriate place.
26. Selections, Select None (Ctrl-D).
27. Make the top of the pen.
Unhide the layer you hid earlier. Rename this one from pen_base to pen_top. As you did to the pen_tip layer, move this down to your vector 1 layer, making sure it’s above your pen_base, and you may then delete the Copy (2) of Vector 1.
28. Select your Object Selection Tool and make sure your pen_top layer is selected.
29. You need to widen this just a bit by pulling the side out a bit.
Then center the object in your canvas (Objects, Align, Center in Canvas.)
30. Select your Pen Tool again and select the bottom node and hit delete.
You will be left with the top half a bit wider than the bottom:
31. Select None (Ctrl-D).
32. Make the pen decorations next.
With your gold gradient as your background, select the rounded rectangle preset shape. Draw a rounded rectangle near the top of the pen and two near the bottom of the pen_top. Adjust them as necessary with your Object Selection Tool.
33. Name your layers.
34. Select None (Ctrl-D).
35. Make the clip.
Draw a skinny rounded rectangle on the right side of the pen. It should be about even with the top ring and just above the rings in the center of the pen. It doesn’t matter if you get it too far from them pen as we can move it over after you draw it.
36. Name your layer pen_clip.
When making the clip, you may want to zoom in a bit to see what you are doing a bit better.
37. We are now going to move nodes around to make the clip look like a clip, so select your pen tool.
Refer to the graphics below for help. It is zoomed in so you can see better. Take the top left node and move it over, even with the top ring:
38. Select the node on the left that is second from the bottom.
Move the curve arrow up as shown until it looks like a bottom of a pen clip:
39. Select None (Ctrl-D).
40. To save as a preset shape, you need to group all your vector shape layers together.
Select them all by clicking on one of the vector shape layers, then Select All by either right clicking on it and choose Select All, or using Ctrl-A. You can also hold your shift key down and select each one individually.
41. Once they are all selected, right click on one of the layers and choose Group. They will now be all grouped together, probably with the name Group 1.
42. Name your group for what you want to call the preset shape.
NOTE: When naming your preset shapes and file, you may want to use your initials or name with the description, so you and others are able to readily identify it as yours. For example, I may call mine jodee_pen.
43. Now export your shape (File, Export, Shape.)
You will be asked to name your file. Do so and hit OK.
You’re all done.
When you use your preset shape, be sure the “Retain Style” box is checked. To keep the same aspect ratio, hold down the shift key when you are drawing your preset shape. Make them in any size and see how well the quality is maintained.
Hope you enjoyed doing my tutorial, and that you learned something doing it. I had fun writing it.