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“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” Confucius.
“You know my methods, (Watson), they are founded on the observance of trifles”
Sherlock Holmes - (1887 - 1927).
My Paint Shop Pro Survival Tips
This page has been created for students who need a little support, or advice. It comprises of hints and tips I have found useful over the years - and although it is geared towards
Paint Shop Pro novices; more experienced students will find it useful.
If you are brand new - or haven’t yet explored Paint Shop Pro - you may be feeling a little apprehensive, and not sure if it is the right software for you. This is natural, and is exactly how I felt when I first opened Paint Shop Pro. No doubt, fellow beginners will be feeling exactly the same; therefore, you are not alone.
The first thing to remember is like most things in life, (whether you are learning to drive a
car, or sitting an exam), becoming proficient with Paint Shop Pro requires time and experience; this means, acquiring a fair amount of hands-on practise.
You won’t be able to create complex work such as signatures, animations, avatars, or attempt basic photo manipulation until you learn how to utilise the tools needed to produce them - therefore, you need commitment; and you must be prepared to learn the required skills. You wouldn’t expect to step into a car, and drive it with any degree of safety (or confidence) without prior instruction, practical experience and repetition.
Take a little time to familiarise yourself with the Layers Palette: understanding Paint Shop Pro’s Layers Palette and Blending Modes are fundamental to understanding then mastering Paint Shop Pro.
My comprehensive Understanding Layers tutorial can be found here.
My comprehensive Understanding Layer Blending Modes tutorial can be found here.
Becoming reasonably adept with Paint Shop Pro is not the hardest task in the world - however, be prepared to spend a couple of hours a week (or a weekend) becoming familiar with its tools and settings. Spending just a few minutes a day (over the course of a week) will hasten the learning process, and give you confidence to move onto the next stage.
Making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process, don’t worry about errors - try to learn from them. In addition, if you lose your way whilst completing one of my tutorials, return to the start - and follow each step in sequential order. All of my tutorials are comprehensive and step-by-step, and include many helpful screen captures to facilitate the learning process. All tutorials have been tested by independent students.
A good way of familiarising yourself with Paint Shop Pro is to open a photograph onto Paint Shop Pro’s workspace (File then Open). Once you have opened your image; from the top menu, choose Window then choose Duplicate. Now, delete the original image by clicking the x on its top-right menu bar - and work on the Duplicate. By experimenting with different Tools, Filters and Commands, you will discover how they alter your photograph; in addition, you will quickly become familiar with Paint Shop Pro’s interface and navigation system.
Don’t be intimidated by Paint Shop Pro; it is not as scary as it seems, (honest).
After just a few hours experience (spread over a few days - or weeks), you will gain enough confidence and experience to move forward to the next stage, and learn the skills needed to produce complex work such as artistic typography, photo restoration, photo manipulation, graphic design, desktop publishing, signatures, animations - and so much more.
My Paint Shop Pro Survival Tips
Be patient - Rome wasn’t built in a day - ensure you know the basics (for example how the Tools and Commands work), before attempting complex work such as animations, signatures and photo restoration/manipulation.
Take special care when reading tutorials; be sure to follow my chapters
in the correct order.
Try to get organised; ensure you have all necessary start images/materials in one folder, and open them onto Paint Shop Pro’s workspace, ready to utilise.
Choose a quiet time in your day, when you will be relatively undisturbed.
Print a tutorial, and read it through before completing it.
Look at my screen captures, (they are there to help you). If your work - or Layers Palette don’t match the screen captures’; you need to go back a step or two, to discover where you have gone astray.
Save your work often - File then Save As.
Take your time; relax - and try to have fun.
Ensure your chair is comfortable; and positioned at the correct height - and make sure you are not too hot, or too cold.
Create a good lighting environment - ensure your room is not too bright, or too dark; as this can cause eyestrain.
All settings are specific to the image I am working with; therefore, you must experiment with different settings (for example Brush Sizes), when utilising your own images.
Try not to sit too close to your monitor; better still, utilise a larger monitor if you can.
I find the optimum monitor for this type of work is a 22 inch Widescreen;- the larger screen resolution (size) significantly reduces eyestrain - this is because you are not sitting too close to the monitor. If you utilise a Widescreen Monitor and find your images are distorted, it means you haven’t adjusted the Screen Resolution to match your Monitor’s Resolution. To adjust Windows’ Screen Resolution, (using Windows XP), right-click over an empty area of your Desktop; then from the subsequent drop-down list, left-click Properties. Now, from the subsequent Display Properties dialogue box, click the following Settings tab.
Then adjust the Screen resolution’s slider (above-left), until your images display correctly, then click OK. You may need to experiment with different Screen resolutions to find the correct Resolution for your monitor; however, to avoid extreme changes - move the slider in the smallest increments possible. The Screen Resolution above is perfect for my 22 inch Widescreen Monitor.
Don’t overdo your studying - take plenty of refreshment breaks; and stop when you become overtired, lose concentration, develop eyestrain - or become fed up.
Take inspiration from your environment - whether this is indoors, or outdoor; in addition, advertisements are a great source of inspiration; for example, TV, billboards and printed matter.
The best advice I can give you is; be prepared to practise, practise, and practise some more.
Your First Tutorial
If you have yet to complete a Paint Shop Pro tutorial, I recommend that you begin with a simple lesson. One of my easier tutorials is Inverting An Image’s Colours found here. The tutorial produces an instant effect, with very little effort - and will give you confidence to try other tutorials.
I am confident you will enjoy Paint Shop Pro; all it takes is a little determination.
OK, it’s time to begin; therefore, take a deep breath ........ and take your first step.
Good Luck (not that you need it of course).
Wendi E M Scarth
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