(Click on the above graphic for an 
explanation of the FBN skill ratings.)  

This tutorial was written for PSP7.  It is not for the faint of heart!
We will be using vectors and doing a lot of node editing.
If you're game, let's go!

WARNING - AS WITH MOST OF MY TUTORIALS, THIS ONE IS GRAPHIC INTENSIVE.  I HAVE USED MANY SCREEN SHOTS ALONG THE WAY. PLEASE BE PATIENT AND ALLOW THE PAGES TIME TO LOAD.

For anyone who is intimidated by vectors, I now have another version of this tutorial using selections, which you can access here; however it is my sincere hope that you sill try this version.  I have added many screen shots to make it as easy as possible.  I also hope that you will learn a few tricks about PSP7 along the way!  Whichever version you choose - have fun!

Open a new image: 600x400, transparent background, 16 million colors.  Make your foreground color bright blue (HTML #0000C0) and make your background color white. I have my rulers, grid lines and guides enabled.  My grid is set at 50 for both horizontal and vertical.

Before going any further save your file to your hard drive as "dolphin.psp", making sure that your options are set to PSP7 compatible so that your file will be saved with vectors intact.  Now you can hit Ctrl+S at any point during the tutorial to save your file.  

Remember to save often!  I will be giving your reminders along the way.

We will be creating the different parts of our dolphin on separate layers.  When working with several vector layers, I find it much easier to add the vector layers all at once.  Go to Layers/New Vector Layer and add the following layers, naming them as you add them:

body (this layer should be just above Layer1 in your layer palette)
head
tail
beak
flippers
fin
mouth
eye (this should be the top layer in your layer palette)

Make Layer1 your active layer and flood fill with white to give your eyes some relief.  Click on your Flood Fill tool (paint bucket) and right click within your canvas area. 

Change your background color to null.

The coordinates I will be giving you are just guidelines, not exact, since we will be node editing and moving things all around later. Don't worry if your shapes aren't in the exact spots as my screen shots show - even mine will be moving quite a bit later on.

TIP: if you'd like to use the exact coordinates, you can use your guides, but turn your grid lines off.  

If you haven't done so already, click on View/Guides to activate the guides for your image.  (The graphic next to Guides in the drop down menu for View should be indented to indicate that the guides are active.) You must also have your rulers visible for the guides to work.  Place your cursor just off the edge of your canvas: use the left side for vertical guides and the top for horizontal guides. When your cursor changes to a black cross, click and hold your left mouse button; then drag your cursor out into your canvas.  You will see a black line moving across your canvas as you drag your mouse. When you have this line where you'd like a guide, release your mouse button.  You can watch the coordinates at the bottom to get your guide placed exactly; however, I'm too impatient for that.  Once your guide is within your canvas, you will see a gray marker along the edge of your graphic.  Right click on this marker and change the guide properties:

         

Here is a screen shot showing the guides for my first set of coordinates, for the body layer: 

Make your body layer active and click on your preset shapes tool. Choose ellipse, line width 1, vector and antialias both checked. Starting at 150, 100 draw an ellipse out to 400,200.

Save your image: CTRL+S

Make your head layer active and click on your preset shapes tool.  Choose ellipse, line width 1, vector and antialias both checked.  Starting at 25, 100 draw an ellipse out to 150, 175. (If you're using guides, just left click on your marker(s) and change the guide position to the new coordinates.) 

Rotate your "head" to the left 30 degrees. (Make sure "all layers"  IS NOT CHECKED in your rotate box.) Drag your head down so that the center is located at 100, 185.

Save your image: CTRL+S

You should have something similar to this:


Make your tail layer active and click on your preset shapes tool. Choose triangle, line width 1, vector and antialias both checked. Starting at 450, 275 draw a triangle out to 575, 325.

Rotate your "tail" to the left 30 degrees. (Make sure "all layers"  IS NOT CHECKED in your rotate box.)

Save your image: CTRL+S

Change to your draw tool: Bezier Curve, width: 1, antialias and vector both checked.  (FOR THESE LINES IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU HOLD YOUR LEFT MOUSE BUTTON DOWN WHILE DRAWING YOUR LINE: CLICK AT THE FIRST SET OF COORDINATES AND DRAG YOUR MOUSE TO THE SECOND SET BEFORE RELEASING YOUR MOUSE BUTTON. THEN CLICK ON THE SECOND SET OF COORDINATES.)

Click on coordinates 350, 110 then drag your mouse to coordinates 530, 283. Release your mouse button then click once on each of the following coordinates: 415, 110 and 450, 150. You should now have a nice curved line connecting your tail to the body.  Of course, this is only the first line and we need another for the bottom.

I would recommend using your guides for this section, since you cannot see any coordinates at the bottom of your screen when you release your mouse button. (You will need 8 separate guides for this part, and I recommend using different colors.) See below:

Click on coordinates 330, 195 then drag your mouse to coordinates 492, 300. Release your mouse button then click once on each of the following coordinates: 400, 200 and 450, 250. 

You should have something similar to this:


Don't worry if your image doesn't look like a dolphin yet - that's what the node editing is for! 

Save your image: CTRL+S

Make your beak layer active and click on your preset shapes tool. Choose rectangle, line width 1, vector and antialias both checked. Starting at 25, 220 draw a rectangle out to 50, 275.

Rotate your "beak" to the right 40 degrees. (Make sure "all layers"  IS NOT CHECKED in your rotate box.) Move your beak up and to the  left just slightly to line it up with the end on the head.

Save your image: CTRL+S

Make your flipper layer active and click on your preset shapes tool. Choose rectangle, line width 1, vector and antialias both checked. Starting at 150, 210 draw a rectangle out to 190, 250. Draw another rectangle starting at 150, 150 out to 250, 175. (I know, I know - these don't look anything like flippers! They will - trust me!!!)

Save your image: CTRL+S

Make your fin layer active and click on your preset shapes tool. Choose triangle, line width 1, vector and antialias both checked. Starting at 225, 25 draw a triangle out to 325, 100.

Save your image: CTRL+S

You should have something similar to this:

Before we add the mouth or eye we are going to to some node editing. 

A word of warning here: I am by no means an expert with vectors. If you have an easier way to accomplish the node editing, by all means go with it! I've written the steps I have taken, and I was learning myself as I went!

(This is where I took a break to go and figure out how to make screen captures so that I could actually show you the node editing!)

I'll join you on Page 2.

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