Digital painting is a popular way to add beautiful effects and graphics to scrapbook layouts. Paint Shop Pro has a powerful brush engine with many options to customize any brush tip. The screen shots in this tutorial are from PSP 9, but versions 7&8 has most of the same options. Lower versions have several brush options as well, so experiment with those in the Brushes menu to create a variety of painting possibilities.
This tutorial only shows how to use the Palette and change the various settings in order to follow more advanced brush tutorials and to be able to experiment with the settings.
1. Using Palettes
First create a new image on which to paint. Choose a brush-based tool from the Toolbox like the Eraser, Brush, or any other tool that utilizes brushes. Press B or click the Brush icon to choose it. To view the Brush Variance Palette, go to View>Palettes>Brush Variance, hit F11.
The palette may appear very small, docked at the right edge of the Workspace. To make it bigger, click and drag the line of the title bar up to show more of the contents.
To keep the Brush Variance Palette open all the time,
or "floating" on the Workspace, either click and
drag the title bar out of the docked position at the edge
of the screen onto the Active Image Area, or simply double
click the title bar to undock it. To move the Palette Window,
simply click and drag the Window/Title Bar at the top to reposition
The Brush Tool Options Bar is where to set the various options for the tool like Size, Density, edge Hardness etc. To change the Size in PSP9, Alt-click the mouse and drag up or down to increase or decrease the brush tip size.
The Brush Variance Palette is where to set the range of variation of the averages entered in the Options Bar by adjusting the Jitter.
A Jitter is the range of randomness allowed in the brush settings. For example, change the settings under Size Jitter from 0% to 50% and see how the size can be anything up to 50% larger or smaller than the Size set in the Brush Options Bar. Or for Opacity, if the Brush Options Bar has the brush opacity at 50%, and the Jitter is increased to 10%, the opacity can vary from 40-60%.
All the Options in the Brush Variance Palette have a randomness tolerance, or Jitter available.
Resize the Brush Variance Palette to better view all the options choices by clicking and dragging the lower right corner.
There are many options in the Palette for adjusting the way a brush tip paints. To get back to the Default Variance settings, click the Reset Arrow .
Every Brush Variance Option has the same Setting and Jitter choices. Following are examples of brush strokes using various Jitter values.
Figure 5 shows a Color Blend Jitter of 95%, where the color of the brush varies from the Foreground to Background color.
Figure 6 shows a Hue Jitter of 238%, where the Hue varies
from the Foreground set in the Materials Palette, introducing
a variety of colors.
Saturation randomizes the intensity of the color
Lightness can vary from white to the Foreground color
The Size Jitter varies the size of the brush from smaller to larger by the amount of the jitter percentage.
The Rotation Jitter controls the angle of the brush tip. Using a brush with a definite top/bottom shows how it twirls around with a random angle.
3. Setting Control
Each of the options has a Setting control to further define how the brush will behave when used on an image.
Those with an asterisk are for use with a pressure sensitive pen tablet, and the stylus direction, angle, or pressure determines how much Jitter is on each setting. Most are for professional grade tablets like Intuos or 4D mouse wheel, only the Pressure Setting is for a consumer tablet like Graphire.
Pressure controls the amount of variance determined by the pressure on the stylus. This is especially useful for a Size variance.
The other Settings like Direction force the brush to vary according to the direction of dragging the mouse or stylus. For example, the Rotation angle will follow a path if set to Direction, as in the line in Figure 11:
The Fade In or Fade Out reduces the Option effect leading into or leading out. For Opacity, the Fade In setting has less opacity at the beginning of the brush stroke. Fade In or Fade Out mimics the tablet Pressure setting for a mouse. Oscillating Fade fades in and out repeatedly throughout the brush stroke.
The three options at the bottom of the palette control the rate of the Fade distance for the Fade In/Out/Oscillating. Note the high number in Figure 12 or 1179 pixels. The Opacity Fade In took 1179 pixels to go from 0% to 100% opacity.
The Position Jitter, or scatter, is the amount the brush
stroke follows a straight line. Both top line has 0% Position
Jitter, and the bottom line has 125%, so the brush tips are
scattered on either side of the axis.
Impressions per step determines how many brush tips are put down with each step of the stroke. The example shows 3 lines: the first has 1 Impression per Step, the second has 50, and the last has 96. Note the increasing size/density the more impressions are made. Combined with other factors like Density, Position, the effect can vary greatly.
Using a combination of these Settings and Jitters for the various Options gives an incredible variety and flexibility in digital painting. Experiment with the combinations to get a feel for how they work and create endlessly unique artwork.