Creative Lettering: Changing Text Colors in Paint Shop Pro

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Creative Lettering: Changing Colors

Creative Lettering: Changing Colors

This tutorial will walk you thru the vector tools in Paint Shop Pro to design some unique and creative lettering using two, three or even more colors for each letter of the word. Of course you can create words where each letter is a different color by entering one letter at a time, but there's a much easier and faster way! Using PSP's vector tools, we can change the color of each character within a word or add a pattern fill to just one letter. We can also change size, shape and alignment.

Items needed:
Paint Shop Pro
This tutorial was written for Paint Shop Pro version 8, however, many versions of PSP include vector tools. Users of other versions should be able to follow along, however, some icons, tool locations and other features may be slightly different than what I've described here. If you run into a problem, write me or visit the graphics software forum where you'll find lots of help!

Optional fill patterns for your creative lettering.

This tutorial might be considered 'advanced beginner' level. Some familiarity with the basic tools is all that's needed. Vector tools will be explained.

In this tutorial we will frequently use right click to access commands. The same commands can be found in the Menu Bar. The Objects menu contains commands specific to vector objects. If you prefer to use keyboard, choose Help > Keyboard Map to display the shortcut keys. that we've got those details out of the way, let's get started…

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Setting Up Your Document

Open a new image.
Use a canvas size a bit larger than the lettering you wish to create (to give yourself some 'elbow' room!). Color depth must be set to 16 million colors.

The other New Image settings can vary depending on the intended use of the lettering:
Resolution: 72 pixels/inch for use on webpage or email; a higher resolution if you will be printing a card or scrapbook lettering.
Background: Raster or vector. Color or transparent. If you select 'vector' background, it will be transparent. I prefer using a solid white raster background instead of working with the checkerboard (transparent) pattern. It can always be changed later if all work is done on layers separate from background layer.

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Raster vs. Vector Objects

Computer graphics are of two types: raster (aka bitmap) or vector. With PSP, we can create both raster and vector images. It's important to understand the differences between the two. Jasc describes the difference as follows:

  • Raster images are composed of individual elements, called pixels, arranged in a grid. Each pixel has a specific location and color. If you magnify raster data, you can see the individual pixels as squares of colors. Raster images can display jagged edges if magnified on screen or printed at a large magnification.
  • Vector graphics or images use geometric characteristics-lines, curves, and their locations-to define objects. Vector graphics do not lose clarity or detail when scaled to any size or printed at any resolution.
  • In Paint Shop Pro, you create and edit raster and vector data on separate layers. With some tools you create raster data, and with other tools you can choose whether you want to create raster or vector data.

The techniques we will be using today require vector objects, so first we must create a new, separate, vector layer. Select the New Vector Layer icon on your Layer Palette (2nd from left) and give layer an appropriate name.

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Creating Basic Text

Creating Basic Text
Next select the Text tool and select your color and settings.
In PSP 8 and newer versions, the setting options appear in a Text Toolbar above the workspace. In older versions, the setting options are in the Text Entry dialog box.

In the text toolbar, Create as: Vector should be checked. Select your font and font size. Anti-alias should be checked. Fill color can be anything you prefer.

Enter your text in the Text Entry dialog box.

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Converting and Editing Text Characters

Converting and Editing Text Characters
To edit vector text, it must first be converted to 'curves'. Once we do that, the text becomes a vector object and we can edit nodes, change the properties of individual letters and other things to create some interesting text!

Right click your text and select Convert Text to Curves > As Character Shapes.

On the Layer Palette, click the + sign to the left of your vector layer to reveal the sublayer for each individual character shape.

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Selecting Individual Letters

Selecting Individual Letters
To edit each letter seperately, the letter must first be selected. To select just one character, use the Object Selector tool to select/highlight its layer on the Layer Palette. The vector selection bounding box should appear around the character selected. Now you can now change color by clicking the Materials Palette and selecting a new fill color. Continue selecting each letter and changing colors as desired.
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Adding Outlines and Fills to Individual Characters

Adding Outlines and Fills to Characters
In addition to changing the color of each character, we can also select a gradient or pattern fill or add some texture.

To add an outline, just select a stroke color (foreground) from the Materials Palette. To change the width of the outline, select the entire word or just one letter and right click to choose Properties. Change stroke width in Vector Property dialog box.

In the image above, I added a rainbow gradient fill to the letters with a different angle chosen for each letter in the word.

To further customize our Creative Lettering, we could also change the size and shape of each letter. We'll cover that topic in more detail in another Creative Lettering lesson!

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Finishing Touches

Finishing Touches
• As a finishing touch, add some drop shadows or clip art that fits with your theme.
• Create a custom sig tag for yourself with some custom lettering!
• For scrapbook lettering, try printing out your creative lettering on transparency film for an 'invisible' background.

Many effects may only be applied to raster layers, so, before adding a drop shadow, convert the vector layer to raster. Right click the vector layer button on the Layer Palette and select Convert to Raster Layer.

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Save Your File

Save Your File
If saving for use on the web, be sure to use PSP's optimizing tools. File > Export > GIF Optimizer (or JPEG Optimizer; or PNG Optimizer).