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Selection Masks Tutorial - PaintShop Pro 6 Tutorial


Vikki Olds

December 18, 1999

First things first. In order to keep the load time down on this page I have included thumbnails of images that had large file sizes. To see the larger image just click on the thumbnail. You will not be taken from this page. The image will open in a new window. To close the window, simply click on the "X" in the upper right corner of the new window.

Creating a selection mask in Paint Shop Pro 6 is extremely easy. I am going to use this mountain image as our tutorial ground. Click on the thumbnail to see the full image.

We will be doing a lot with layers so you should familiarize yourself with the layers palette. Run you mouse over the layers palette to open it. When you have an image open it generally will have only a background layer in the beginning. Something to keep in mind about background layers is that you can alter the transparency on a background layer. If you have an image that you want to alter the transparency on, use the selection menu and select all, then the selection menu again and promote selection to layer. You can then clear the background layer to white or any other color you want. In this tutorial we won't worry about that.

The first thing I always do is create a new layer (on any image I work with, and, I never work with the original image - I always create a duplicate and work with the duplicate). To create a new layer you can click on the new layer icon (upper left corner most icon) on the layer palette. Since this is going to be my mask layer I'll name it "Mask Layer". It is always a good practice to name your layers as you add them so you know what is on them by just glancing at the layers palette.

I'll leave all the default settings after the name and click ok. We now can see the Mask Layer on the palette but it's not a mask yet.

Now, that we have the layer, and the layer is selected, (you can see what layer is selected by the blue highlight on the layer name), I am going to use the selection tool set to ellipse and make an oval selection on the mask layer. Click on the thumbnail below to see the full image.

Since I want my mask on the outside of the oval I will go to the selection menu and invert the selection. I will then choose a couple of dark colors in the color palette, (I chose black and a darker gray), the sunburst gradient from the flood fill tool options palette and set the flood fill gradient to black-white. I want an even fill so the horizontal and vertical centers are set to 50. I'll then flood fill the selected area. Click on the thumbnails to see a larger view.


Now it's time to create the mask. From the layer palette right click on the mask icon located to the right of the trashcan and choose mask from image. A new palette will open. I want the source to be the window I am in so I choose this window. (If I had other images open I would have options for those windows in this palette.) I check source luminance and click ok.

If we look on the layer palette now my mask layer reflects that it is a mask layer by showing the mask icon on the mask layer. I then adjust the transparency of my mask layer to what I like by using the slider on the mask layer.

I want to do something to make the masked part of the image different from the focal point of the image so I am going to add a gausion blur to the outside selection of the oval. When I apply the blur from the palette it shows the whole image blurring but after clicking ok, we see that it only blurred the selected area. Click on the thumbnails to see a larger view.


I now want to add an effect to the selected area and I have chosen to use the flame from the picture tube tool. Because of the size of my image I have made the flame smaller by setting it's size to 45.

Before I start adding the flame I make sure that I have a new layer to place it on. I name the layer Fire Layer. I do this just in case I don't like the results. Instead of having to back out of all the times I use the picture tube using the undo utility I can just delete the layer and create a new one.

Using the picture tube tool with the flame selected as mentioned above I place flames on the flame layer until I feel I have enough flames. Click on the thumbnail to see a larger view.

I've also decided that I want to highlight the selected area so I invert my selection again so that just the oval is selected and I promote that selection to a layer.

I will now, from the images menu, add a red drop shadow. Click on the thumbnail to see a larger view.

I don't feel the drop shadow is quite enough so I'm going to promote my selection again and from the images menu again, I am going to add a red cutout effect.

I now want to add some text, but I don't want it to be a straight line so I'm going to use the line tool set to freehand. And since I want to apply text to the line, I'm going to create the line as a vector line.

Before I add the line I want to create a new layer for it. You can see which layer it is by the "square" next to layer six that lets me know it's a vector layer. I then apply my text to the line.

Click on the thumbnails below to see the vector line and then the text applied to the vector line.


I don't want that line on my image anymore after I put the text on it, so it's a simple matter to get rid of it. I just delete the layer it is on.

Next I'll apply an effect to my text so I create another layer and use the drop shadow effect on my floating selection of text. And since I think it needs a little more, I create another layer and apply a white cutout effect to it.

I'm now done with creating my image. I'll go to the selections menu and select "none". I'll save the image as a .psp file just in case I want to change things later. Then I'll get into the layers menu, merge all the layers and save the file. Below I have used a new tool in Paint Shop Pro 6 to put the picture frame around my image and it's now complete.

I could have used any effect instead of fire, or no effect at all, for the image and I could have set the transparency of the mask to anything I wanted. The mask could have been applied to the oval instead of outside of it. You have many options when creating masks from selections and this is just one easy way to do it.

Have fun creating selection masks!

Copyright 1999 Vikki Olds, All Rights Reserved

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