Paint Shop Pro Layers pg 5: Production Graphics with Wendy Peck at | WebReference

Paint Shop Pro Layers pg 5: Production Graphics with Wendy Peck at


Paint Shop Pro Layers: Layer Effects


Once again, it seems like vector shapes get the hero points for being so easy to work with quickly and with total flexibility. So why isn't Paint Shop Pro just a vector program? Because a shape is nice, but raster effects can bring an object to life.

Effects in Paint Shop Pro are all layer-based. An effect that is applied to a layer will not apply to any other layer in the document. You can use a selection to restrict most effects to an area of a layer, though. Also, make sure you read Masks are Easy ... Really, for an in-depth look at what you can accomplish with layer masks.


Top image has a black rectangle with Layer Opacity reduced to 52. The design in the background is showing through. In the lower image, the same settings were used, but the Layer Blend Mode was changed to Dissolve.

Layer palette effects
To make the contents of a layer partially transparent, and allow the objects on the layer below show through, adjust the Layer Opacity slider in the right section of the Layers Palette to the left. In the sample shown here, I set the opacity of the solid black rectangle to 52, which allows the spotted texture to partially show through. Each layer is adjusted individually, and the effect is seen on the entire layer.

As a variation, you can also set the way that the layer behaves with the Layer Blend Mode. In the next sample, I have used exactly the same settings, but changed the blend mode to dissolve. To bring up a long selection of blend mode choices, click on the flyout arrow and select the desired effect.

Have you ever tried to add an effect to a layer, but found that the effect spilled over the object edges, ruining the look. In the image below, I created a new layer with two lines. In both examples, I filled the layer with yellow. The first one has the Preserve Transparency option activated. Click on the lock to protect transparency, or, in other words, to prevent adding anything to the background of a layer. In the second sample, the preserve transparency was deactivated, and the entire layer filled.



A green rectangle on a layer with Image>Effects>Blinds applied. The gold shapes have had the layer opacity reduced.

Effects menu
I am not going to go into depth on the Effects menu, since there are so many effects in this program, that we could be here next year on the same topic. However, the effects work just as any other layer command. The entire layer is affected if nothing is selected. If a selection is active, the effect will apply to the selected area only. Keep this, as well as the Preserve Transparency option in mind as you experiment with the various effects.

Most of the effects come with several controls for adjusting the appearance. Don't be afraid to test many values for each setting. Also, for the best chance at success, activate the Auto Preview option and move the Effects window away from the canvas as much as possible. It is important to see the effect in relation to the rest of your image, as well as to see a larger version of the effect than the thumbnail allows.

If you have not stretched your knowledge of working with layers, maybe today is the day to start. Many of the techniques can take a while before they become automatic, but the time savings, and quality improvements are well worth the effort. Make those layers work hard for you ... that is why they are there.

Next time we will move to Fireworks layers.



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Paint Shop Pro Layers Tutorial Index

Paint Shop Pro Layers Start
Layer Basics
Working with Layers
Vector Layers
Layer Effects

Front page2345

Created: August 30, 2000
Revised: August 30, 2000