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Customizing PSP 7

February 6, 2001

Create a custom toolbar to work on a series of photographs
which all need about the same work done on them.
A project oriented toolbar.

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One of the great new features in Paint Shop Pro 7 lets us customize toolbars to suit either the way we usually work or to fit a certain project.

Since I beta test graphics software for several companies, I usually stick with the default interfaces as the software builds change frequently. When the program is finally released, I like to set the program to work the way I work.

For today's example, we will create a custom toolbar with icons, or shortcuts, to the features and effects we use most often to work on photographs, or scans. This will be a project oriented toolbar.

Please click the photo on the left to open a larger version of the image. Save this to your hard drive as Flowerphoto1.jpg then open it in Paint Shop Pro.

As we look at this image we decide it needs to have the following work done on it.


It's blurry, in need of unsharpening, needs cropping, needs a hue adjustment, needs clarifying, and resizing. We plan on putting a furry effect around the edges. It will need a drop shadow on some text we are going to put on it. :)

Here is how to create a toolbar with icons for all theses effects right on it to help us process the photo faster.

In Paint Shop Pro 7, right click on the light grey border of the window, say under the color palette, or on the Menu Bar at the top of the program window.

Listed in the flyout box are all the tool bar choices you have.

Pick the bottom choice, Toolbars... to open the dialog box.

PSP7 doesn't exactly give you the opportunity to make a brand new tool bar, but you can customize one of the presets all you like.

Let's pick the Photo Toolbar for today's example. On the Toolbars dialog box, highlight and click the box next to Photo Toolbar. Notice that it pops onto your screen.

Still in the dialog box, click the Customize... button on the right side to open the Customize Toolbar dialog box. (Below)

Note above) in the left panel are all the available buttons and in the right panel are the current toolbar buttons. Use the scroll bar on sides of the panels to see all the buttons.

Looking through the current toolbar buttons, we see a lot we don't need for this project and notice a lot are missing that we do need. Let's customize!

Don't worry about messing this up! Behold the RESET button on the side of the box! Click it, if you want to restore a toolbar to PSP7 defaults! Nothing you can do can permanently trash PSP7. Be brave and experiment!

Scroll the bar on the right hand panel up to the top, where it says Access Camera. Well, today we don't need the camera, since we already have the images on our hard drive. Click on it to select then click the REMOVE button in the middle of the box.

Poof the button is gone. Leave the separator and remove the following buttons the same way:

Auto color balance, Auto Contrast, Auto Saturation, Deinterlace, JPEG artifact removal, Moire Pattern, Autoscratch.

Leave Clarify, that's one we will use!

Remove Fade, Manual color, Red-eye, Salt and Pepper, Edge preserving smooth, Texture preserving smooth, and Histogram adjustment. Leave the bottom separator.

Your Customize toolbar box should look like mine below.

Note that the Photo toolbar in the PSP window only has one button on it now too. ^

Now add the buttons we need in addition to Clarify. Recall what we want to do with this image and the rest of the images in the series, if there is a series.

It's blurry in need of unsharpening, needs cropping, needs a hue adjustment, needs clarifying, and resizing. We plan on putting a furry effect around the edges and a drop shadow on the text we are going to put on it. :) Then we will export it to JPEG.

From the list in the panel on the right, under Available toolbar buttons, find and ADD each one of the following: Export JPEG, Perform Crop, Resize, Unsharp Mask, Buttonize, Drop Shadow, Fur, and Adjust HSL.

When you finish, there should be 9 buttons (don't forget Clarify which we left on from the original toolbar) with a separator on the top and one on the bottom. (Above)

Let's organize these into a logical sequence.

Probably the first thing we will do is crop out the parts of the image we don't want. On the right panel, select the Perform Crop icon and drag it to the top the list or use the MOVE UP Button on the right side to do the same thing.

Next we will likely adjust the color in the image, so move the Adjust HSL button up to second position from top. Possibly next we will clarify the image, so move that button up to third position. Then I will most likely resize so move that up to 4th from top.

OK, I am leaving the separator in the 5th slot as all my next effects will come after I resize.

Put the following buttons in order under the first separator: Unsharp Mask, then Drop Shadow, then Buttonize, then Fur.

Lastly, select Export JPEG. Let's add a separator just above it. Go back to the top on the left panel, available buttons and Add a separator. It will come in above the highlighted item on the right panel. (Below)

Cool! Now our tool bar is ready to roll. Let's see how it works for us. :) Press the Close button.


On the PSP Window my Photo Toolbar looks like this:

UGH. I wanted it horizontal.

How can it be changed? Simply.

Grab the bottom edge of the toolbar and as the cursor changes to a two headed vertical arrow, drag up until the toolbar is horizontally aligned. (Below)

Placement options:

My toolbar is floating freely in space on the PSP interface and I would prefer to keep it docked at the top of screen, next to the regular toolbar.

Drag the Photo Toolbar by it's title bar up to the light grey toolbar area at the top of PSP. A dark outline changes shape to indicate the toolbar is dockable in that area. Drop the new toolbar next to the main one, it sticks.

On the left side of the custom toolbar is a double vertical line you can click drag to slide the tool bar to the left or right or pull it free altogether.

We are set up. Let's do the work!

In Paint Shop Pro with Flowerphoto1.jpg selected, selected, pick the Crop tool on the Main Tool Box, and drag a cropping rectangle around the basic part of the flower, almost square.

When properly positioned, use the first button on our Photo Toolbar, the perform crop to crop on the image.

Select the Adjust HSL button on our Photo Toolbar. In the dialog that pops up, slide the hue slider for the Master channel to the left until it reads -9.

Press the OK button.

HSL turns the the flower more blue violet than red violet, as it looks outside my window. :)

Pick the third button, Clarify, from the Photo Toolbar.

On the Clarify dialog box set the strength of the effect to 1 and press OK.

Notice that the image is just a bit crisper after clarifying.

Press the Resize button, on the PhotoToolbar, setting it to about 200 pixels for width.

Press OK.

It's smaller but a bit blurrier as happens with resizing down. :0

Use Unsharp Mask on the Photo Toolbar just to the right of the separator, setting the radius to 1, strength to 75, clipping to 0 and pressing OK.

Unsharp Masking revives the detail in a resized image and removes the blurryness.

Now let's add something to drop shadow. Pick the text tool from the Tool Palette and put on any kind of Vector Text. I used a symbol font to add a graphic.

Just pretend it's my company logo. ;)

Resize or move the text symbol around to your liking then convert that layer to raster by right clicking its layer on the layer palette and choosing Convert to Raster from the drop down box. Remember that effects only work on Raster layers!

With the converted layer selected, press the drop shadow button on the Photo toolbar. On the dialog box set the following: Both offsets to 0, Opacity to 100 and Blur to about 7.4. Click the color swatch and change the color to white. Press OK. (below)

Next go to Edit on the Menu Bar and choose REPEAT Drop Shadow to do it again. Now the text has a white halo effect.




Go to Layers on the Menu Bar > Merge > Merge all to flatten the image into its background.

Go to Layers on the Menu Bar > Merge > Merge all to flatten the image into its background.

Use the Rectangular Selection tool to select the inner part of the image, about 1/4 inch in from all edges.

Do a Selections > Invert from the Menu Bar to select the edge area only.

Set the background color to a dark purple. You all know how to that!.

Pick Buttonize from the Photo Toolbar.

(Hint: This effect uses the background color set at the top right of the PSP Color palette)

On the dialog box set the height and width to about 20, the opacity to 100 and click Transparent Edge radio button. And OK.

A bit rough looking sample after running the buttonizer.

Press the Fur button on the Photo Toolbar. Press OK using the defaults, or change variables to suit your taste. Press CTRL + D on the keyboard to remove the selection.

Note: the preview doesn't respect the selection. It will only apply inside the selection though.

That's it except for Saving and JPEGing.

Press the Save Icon on the main Toolbar, saving first in PSP format.

Finally, press the Export JPEG button on the customized Photo Toolbar, the last one on the right. Follow the directions to save the image out as a JPEG. And we are finished!

As a test to prove that using a custom Toolbar is faster, try doing the same exercise without using the custom tool bar, while timing yourself. Then do it again using the toolbar and see which method is faster.

I find using a customize tool bar like the one described in this tutorial saves me many minutes and numerous mouse clicks. When I process a whole batch of Digital Photos, this really speeds things up.

If you have any questions, please e-mail me.

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