Exploring the New Brush Features in PSP8 - Part 1

In Part 1 of this 2 part tutorial, explore the paint brush tool and its options.
Create a new brush tip and save it for future use.

A PSP 8 Tutorial for June 19, 2003

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Part 1- Exploring the basic brush options and the Brush Tip preset box. Create a unique Brush Tip and save it.

In Part 2, next week, we will modify the brush tip we make today, explore the Brush Variance Settings and create a Tool Preset from our modifications.

Let's fire up PSP8.

Open a new file with a white background any size you like at 24 bit color,
72 pixels per inch. I am using a 400 X 150 pixel image.



Open the Brush Variance Palette by
pressing F11 on the keyboard or by going to View on the Menu Bar then Palettes >
Brush Variance.

I think by default the Brush Variance Palette docks on the right side of the PSP Window under the color palette.

If you cannot see the Brush Variance Palette, look at the bottom of the right side docker for the little bit of text reading Brush Variance, then press the restore icon to make it visible again. ;)

Press the reset button at the bottom right corner of the palette, restoring all the settings to their zero'd out values.

On PSP's Tool Bar, choose the Paint Brush tool. Or press b on the keyboard.

Notice the down arrow next to the Brush Tool Icon. Clicking it brings up the option to select the Brush, Airbrush or Warp Brushes.
Be sure the regular Paint Brush is selected!

On the Tool Options Palette ( if not visible click F4 on your keyboard), select the default Brush Tip by clicking the down arrow next to the thumbnail


Pick +Default from the flyout box.

Click to select.

Make sure Load Variance is CHECKED near the bottom.

Press OK.

Your Tool Options Palette should resemble mine. See image below.

On the Tool Options Palette UNCHECK Wet Look Paint if it is selected.


On the Materials palette, set the foreground color to Solid and pick some shade of blue.

Click and drag a line in your image.

Here is the very most basic brush stroke.

Let's quickly go over the Tool Options Palette then go on something more exciting. ;)

Shape determinds whether your brush is square or round.

Pick Square and drag a line in the image.

Notice that square doesn't quite square
because of the rest of our settings.

is the size of the brush tip on pixels.

Hardness indicates how hard or soft the edges are.

Change the value to 0 and drag a line.

The Brush Tip should look round again, with very soft edges.

Change the Hardness to 100 and drag a line.

The edges of the paint line are very hard indeed.

No feathering.

Set the hardness back to 50.

Step indicates in percent of brush size how far PSP should go before making the next impression of the brush.

Set the size to 30 pixels.

Set the step to 110 and drag a line.

PSP goes 30 plus 3 pixels (10%) before it makes the next impression.

Set the brush step to 50 percent.

Drag a line.

PSP moves 15 pixels (50 percent of 30 brush size) then makes another impression.

For a smooth continuous line, usually 25 percent works well.

If your image is junking up, go to Edit > Clear from the Menu Bar
or press the Delete Key.

Density is the amount of paint applied with each stroke. At 100 percent, which is usually the default value, the paint covers the surface completely. As the density decreases, less paint is applied.

Reset the step to 25

Set the density to 50 and drag a line.

Then try using 10 percent Density.

Notice the difference.

Set the density back to 100 and set the Shape to round.


Thickness indicates the width, in percentage value, of the brush in relation to the brush size. At 100 percent the brush is as wide as tall.

Change the thickness to 50 percent.
Drag a line in the image.

With the brush thickness set to 50, change the rotation value to 45.
Drag a line.

Notice how the brush tip is cocked at an angle. Rotation is pretty easy to understand.

Opacity is how transparent or opaque the stroke is.
Change the Opacity from 100 to 50 and drag a line.

Notice the blue color is only 50 percent of its original opacity. (Lighter in color)

If you drag a second line over the first, notice how the stroke gets darker as it crosses the first one.

This is called Build Up and happens when the Continuous box is not checked. More on that later.

Clear the image with the delete key.

Blend Mode, like Layer Blend Modes, indicates how the brush stroke will interact with underlying pixels. Two Examples, then you play with it.

Set the blend mode to Lighten and drag a line....

Notice nothing happens in the image because the brush color, even at 50 percent opacity is still darker than the white background.

Set the Blend Mode to Luminance and drag a line.


Only Luminance (Greyscale lightness value shows up)

Y'all can futz with the Blend Mode settings on your own.
When in doubt, set this back to normal. ;)

Set the Thickness back to 100 but maintain the Rotation at 45
and the opacity at 50 percent.

In the Stroke area, checking the Continuous Stroke specifies whether paint builds up as you apply multiple strokes of less than 100% opacity over the same area.

If this check box is marked, paint maintains a continuous color and repaint­ing an area has no effect.

If this check box is cleared (the default), each brush stroke over the same area applies more paint; the color darkens until it reaches 100% opacity.

Notice without continuous stroke checked as in our Opacity example, the paint build up where it crossed the other stroke.

Check the Continuous box and drag two lines, one over the other and see the difference.

The paint doesn't change where it crosses.

This will come in very handy in next weeks tutorial. (If I remember to use it )

UNCheck Continuous. CHECK Wet Look Paint.


Wet Look Paint mimics wet paint, with soft color inside and a darker ring near the edge. This is effective with hardness settings less than 100 percent.

Drag a line in the image.


Here is a neat trick.

With Wet Paint Checked, drag a line. Then CHECK continuous paint as well.

Drag a second line parallel to the first and one that intersects both lines.

Notice how the first line gets darker but the second one does not. Interesting.
Fiddle with this concept some.

Hopefully from this short run through you will have a handle on the Picking the default Brush tip, and changing the BASIC parameters for the Brush.

Now let's venture into the new territory, into the other Preset Brush Tips.

My guess is you will find making new and exciting brushes WAY more fun than making new tubes. I see lots of brush sharing in the future. :)

Leaning over the scrying bowl, checking the future.

Let's go over the difference between the Tool Presets on the Options Palette and the Brush Tips Presets...

When you choose a Brush Tip Preset and modify the options on the Options Palette and/or the Variance Palette, you can save the creation as either a Brush Tip Preset or A Tool Preset.

The difference is simple. If you save under the Brush Tip Preset, the preset will be available under all the tools (Airbrush, Clone Tool, Smudge Brush, Lightness Brush, and the Eraser Tool) that use the brush tips presets.

If you save only under the Tool Presets, that first box on the left of the options palette, the brush variant will only be available for that specific tool, in our case the Paint Brush Tool. It will NOT be available for the airbrush or any other tool.

The Tool Presets MUST have the underlying brush tip present to work.

So, if you want to share a Tool Preset you must provide the Brush Tip Preset if it is NOT based on the standard ones provided with PSP.

If you make your own brush tip from a selection for example.

More on that next week.

Let's explore the standard Brush Tip Variants included with PSP8 how to change the settings then save a new Brush Tip Preset.

Thanks to Mimsy for coming up with this variant!

In PSP, clear your image by pressing the delete key.

Make sure you have the Basic Paint Brush Tool selected on the Tool Bar.



Click the down arrow of the Brush presets and choose the Line Horizontal variant from the flyout box.

Press OK to load the brush tip.


Set the following on the Tool Options Palette to make what Mimsy named a Venetian Blind. Set the Size to 150, Hardness to 50, Step to 200, Density 100, Thickness 1, Rotation 90, Opacity 100 Blend Mode Normal.

CHECK Continuous in the Stroke area adn UNCHECK Wet Paint. See screen shot below.

Drag a line in the image from top to bottom.

A perfectly organized Venetian Blind.

Let's save this as Brush Tip Variant!
Click the Brush Tip preset down arrow next to the icon.

On the flyout box, click the Create Brush Tip
icon at the top right of the box.

On the Create Brush Tip dialog box, Type in a name for your brush tip.

Check the Save Variance box.

Enter the Authors name, add any copyright Stuff.

Give the brush tip an appropriate description. Press OK.


Press the dropdown box next to Brush Tips.

See near the bottom that Venetian Blind tip is choosable.

For grins, try experimenting with color and the brush. Use a gradient in the foreground color. Try a pattern as the foreground color instead.



Here an example
using Gradient (MultiBlue)



And one using a Pattern called Animal Zebra

That's it for today, Folks. Next week we will alter this brush, so go make it and save the Venetian Blind one as described above. We will save some wild Brush Tool Presets next week exploring the Brush Variance palette in the process.

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