Tube Etiquette:
Creating and Controlling Picture Tubes in PSP 7.
Page 2

August 29, 2002

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Section 4: Refining and Resizing the Objects

In order to have most wonderful tubes, we need to start with a most wonderful image. Even though we did a nice job scanning, selecting and creating layers from these rocks, we need to fine tune them.

Always go for quality, folks, even if it involves more time and effort and you will proud of the outcome!

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Enough babble.

Please open or use the stone.psp image, which you saved at the end of Section 3. Turn off the background layer on the Layer Palette by clicking the eyeglasses icon next to the layer name. See below.

Zoom in to 1:1 on your rocks and check the edges.

The stones still have pretty raggy edges and a scruffy bit of black pixels lurking along those edges. If left like this, the tube will be very ugly on light backgrounds! Below.

Let's see just how bad it is.

Select the Background layer on the layer palette and make it visible. Set the background color to a color not in the rocks. Click on the background swatch at the top of the color palette in PSP.

I picked a light yellow from the color dialog box.


Do an Edit > Clear from the File menu to fill the background layer with the bright yeller.

Pressing the Delete Key does the same thing.

This helps show off flaws in your rocks edges.


TRICK: I pick a light color to use if I scanned with the scanner top open and got a black background. Use a Dark color if scanning with the cover closed or if lifting objects off a white or light grey background. You want to "see" those aberrant edge pixels!

Let's fix this problem up.

Starting with the Red Stone, click on its name on the layer palette highlighting the layer.

Choose the Magic Wand tool from the Tool Palette. On the Tool Options Palette, set it RGB Value for type, Tolerance 20, Un Check Antialias.

Click anywhere outside the red stone in the background.

Note that everything BUT the stone is selected.

Invert the Selection to select the red rock. Selections > Invert from the Menu Bar.

Next, contract the selection, pulling in towards the middle of the rock.

Selections on the Menu Bar, Modify > Contract...

On the Contract Selection dialog box enter 3 pixels and Press OK.



The selection moves in from the stones edge by 3 pixels.

Do a Selections > Modify > Feather from the Menu Bar.

Put in 2 pixels on the Dialog box. And press OK.


The selection appears to pop back out towards the edges by 2 pixels.

In actuality, the feather makes those 2 pixels partially transparent but you cannot see it yet.

Invert the Selection. Selections > Invert on the Menu Bar.

Then press the Delete Key ( or use Edit > Clear from the Menu Bar ) Remove the Selection with a CTRL + D.


The edges of our Red Stone are softer and lack the ugly black pixel edge.

I used contract 3 then feather 2 to effectively lose that black pixel edge.

It may be necessary to contract more than 3 pixels if there is a wider black band around the stone. But I suggest only feathering 2 pixels. 2 pixels gives a soft but pretty distinct edge!

Repeat this process for the Grey Stone.

Select its layer.

Use the Magic Wand to select the transparent background.

Invert the Selection.

Contract by the number of pixels it takes go inside any ugliness along the edge.

Feather the selection 2 pixels.

Invert the selection.

Press the Delete key.

I contracted the selection on the GreyStone 6 pixels to get rid of the raggedyest edges but still leaving some of the unevenness found in nature.

Zoom out to about 1:3 and see how both stones look against the yellow background. If the edges are clean and blend in nicely with the yellow, as they do here, the stones are ready to resize and set up for a tube. See below

Do a SAVE AS from File on the Menu bar and give the file a new name. I used StoneWorking.psp.

TIP: Why save as another name? Since we last saved, we wiped out the background and thus the original stones. If we need to back up a few steps, we can open the stone.psp image instead of starting over completely with a new scan! ;)

At full size these images would make an incredibly huge tube! At 1:1 Zoom the Grey Stone won't even fit in my PSP window!

Let's change to a useful image size.

Zoom out until the largest object, the grey stone, looks as big on the screen as you think you would EVER want to spray from a tube.

At 1:4 zoom the Grey Stone appears as big as I would want to spray at 100 percent.



Using this as a visual guide, Resize the Image: Image > Resize...

On the Resize dialog box, click the radio box next to Percent of Original.

Make sure that Resize all layers and Maintain Aspect ration is checked.

I use SmartSize as the Resize type.

Enter 25 percent in the width box and the Height will change accordingly. Press OK.

Zoom in to 1:1. The stones look just right, except for being a bit blurry which we can fix.

Make sure the Grey Stone layer is selected on the layer palette. Do Effects > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask.. from the Layer palette.

On the Unsharpen Dialog box set the Radius to 1, the amount to 50 and the Clipping to 1.

Press OK.

The Grey Stone regains its crisp look.

Select the RedStone Layer and repeat the Unsharpen. Use the Repeat Command by pressing CTRL + Y on the keyboard.



Our image should look like this.

I suggest performing a SAVE AS now, naming the image Stonesmaller.psp.

Section 5. Creating the Pre-tube Image

Pick the Grey Stone layer on the layer palette.

Right Click the image's title bar.

Pick Copy from the fly out box placing a copy of the layer on the windows clipboard.

Right click anywhere in the grey programme background and pick Paste as a new image from the fly out box.


The stone's alone in its own image.

With the New image selected, take note of the pixel dimensions, 218 X 184, in PSP's grey status bar at the bottom right corner of the programme window. The dimension shown in your case will be important for setting up the tube image.

On two stone image, select the Red Stone layer on the layer palette, right click the images title bar, pick copy from the fly out box. Right click on the background of the PSP windows pasting again as a new image. Both stones are stones are separate images.

SAVE then close the image with the two stones on it.

Time for some critical planning, essential to good tubing! Don't worry, its easy math!

Decide how many Rocks you want on the tube image. Since we have a GreyStone and a RedStone, let's plan on 2 of each in the tube file 4 a total of 4 images available to spray from the tube. We will modify at least one of each stone to end up with 4 unique stones.

Use the biggest image as the Cell Size guide. This is critical.

In order to fit 4 cells of EQUAL Size on the tube image, plan on 2 cells wide by two cells high.

Create a new image with a transparent background.


On the Menu Bar, File > New.

On the New Image dialog box, set the image width to TWICE the width of the widest individual object, in this case the GreyStone. 218 X 2 = 436, and TWICE the height, of the Longest image. Again, the grey stone. 184 X 2 = 368.

Set the background color to Transparent from the drop down box.

Press OK. The image will be the checkerboard transparent layer 1.



SET UP THE GRID: A visible grid is almost essential in help position the images in their respective cells.

On the Menu Bar go to View > Grid.

Notice the grey gridline visible on all open images.



Let's change the grid properties to match the cell size for the tubing image.

Go to View > Change Guide and Grid Properties from the Menu Bar.

On the Grid and Guide Properties dialog box, set Units to pixels. Set the Horizontal spacing to the 218, the same size as the widest individual object (Grey Stone). 218.

Set the Vertical to 184, or as long as the longest individual Object. (Grey Stone)

Change the Line Color from the light grey, which, in my opinion, is too hard to see on the transparent background to another color by clicking on the color swatch.

I set the grid color to red. Grid lines do not become part of the image, nor do they print, or export. They are for placement only.

Press OK to change the grid properties.

The new image should have red grid lines dividing it into 4 equal boxes.

Think of the lines as "cell" borders and the space in the middle as "cells".

Do a SAVE AS on the blank image naming it PretubeStones.psp

Right click on the title bar of the Grey Stone image and pick copy from the fly out box.

Right click the title bar of the PretubeStones image picking Paste as a new layer from the fly out box.


A grey stone plops into the middle of the image.

With the Mover tool, drag the grey stone into the middle of the upper left "cell" so its edges do not touch the red lines. A tight fit which we will compensate for later.

Right click again again on the Pretubestones image and paste as a new layer.

Move the second Grey Stone to the bottom right "cell".

Right click the title bar on the Red Stone image > Copy then paste as a new layer on the PreTubeStones.

Move this stone into middle of the top right "cell".

Repeat the Paste as a new layer and move this red stone into the middle of the bottom left "cell".

With the 4 images set up, let's vary the look of at least two of the stones.

With Mover tool, click on the red stone layer in the upper right corner. Mine is layer 4 on the layer palette.

Alter the color of this stone and rotate it just a bit.

Go to Color on the Menu Bar, then Colorize..



Set the Hue to 35 and the Saturation to 78 on the Colorize dialog box and Press OK.


The stone goes yellow green.

Press the Deformation tool button on the Tool Palette placing the grey outline box around the Yellowy stone.

Pick the node at the end of the center stick and swing rock around to about 135 degrees.

On the Tool Options Palette, Press Apply.

Bring back the detail in the yellow stone fuzzed by rotating.

Effects > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask... from the Menu Bar. I used at 50 percent. Now it has enough of a different look to be considered a unique stone.

Pick the Grey Stone on the bottom right with the Mover tool.
( Layer 3 on my layer palette)

Let's tint this grey stone with a color and make it smaller.

Go to Colors > Colorize.. from the Menu bar.

Set the Hue to 10 and the Saturation to 35 for a subtle reddish look. Press OK.

Click the Deformation tool on the Tool Palette.

Dragging the corner and side nodes, make the stone smaller and flatter. Rotate it 180 degrees with the node-on-a- stick in the center.

Do all your deforming BEFORE pressing the Apply button on the tool palette.


Apply the Unsharp Mask filter again, at the same 50 percent.

If you want, deform the Grey Stone in the upper left corner, sizing it a bit smaller to fit in its "cell" better. See below.

I sharpened this grey stone AND the red stone in bottom right "cell", so when I scale the tube small, they won't blur as easily.

Use the Mover tool to re center each rock in its "cell" and make that no rock touches the red grid (cell block) lines.

The PreTubeStone image looks like this. Save it now.

Almost ready to tube.

Tube images must be one layer with transparent background. As shown on the layer palette, we have 5 layers. 4 Stones and the Transparent background, aka Layer 1.

Right Click on any layer name on the Layer Palette. Choose Merge > Merge Visible from the fly out box.

Although nothing happens visually in the image, the layer palette reflects the change showing only the Merged Layer.

With the image ready to tube, I suggest a SAVE AS choosing a new name for the image first. I chose PretubeStonesMerged.psp.

Save and close all images except the PretubeStonesMerged image. We will use this image in the next section.

For the next part please go to Section 6: Tubing... at Last! on Page 3

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