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

For this tutorial you will need:

Paint Shop Pro, which you can get at the Jasc site
A Plug-In or Filter of your choice - I will be using Eye Candy 3.
You can get a free download of Eye Candy 3 at www.skintek.net 


* * *   PREPARATION   * * *

For this tutorial, we will be using vectors. 

Still here?  Good, you didn't close your browser when you saw the *v* word...so you can give yourself a pat on the back to start off.

This will probably be one of the easiest vector tutorials you've ever done...so I'm glad you stuck around.

Here are the icons for the tools we will be using for this tutorial:

   Preset Shapes
  Object Selector
  Flood Fill
  Select All
  Float Selection
  Defloat Selection
  Invert Selection 
  Feather Selection 
  Save (probably the most important of all)
  Undo (this button should be your "best friend")

The best advice I can give you is to SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!!!  There's not much worse than losing all your hard work due to a program or computer lock up or melt down!!!  So...save your work often...I will be putting reminders throughout the tutorial:


As with any of my tutorials, please feel free to use any colors you like to create you own unique image.

This page is graphic intensive - please be patient and give the page time to load.

Open a new image 500 x 500, transparent background, 16 million colors.  Save as "my_vase.psp".  Now you can save at any time by hitting your Save Icon .

Okay, let's get started...




1. Set your foreground color to black and your background color to white.

2. Click on your Preset Shapes Tool:

  • Ellipse
  • Antialias checked
  • Vector checked
  • Line width: 1
  • Line style: solid

3. Starting at 100, 100 draw out a narrow "egg" shape, ending at 300, 400. (This will give you an ellipse that is 200 pixels wide by 300 pixels high.)

4. Click on Objects/Align/Center in Canvas. (Now your ellipse will be centered in your canvas, giving you lots of room to work.)

5. Click on your Objects Selector Tool then click Node Edit in your Tool Options box

6. Activate both side nodes.  There are two ways I know of to do this:

  • Left click on one node and while holding down your shift key click on the other node. (The problem with this method is that I usually move one of the nodes when I click on it.)
  • Left click on your canvas and while holding down your left mouse button "surround" these two nodes as shown below:

7. Left click on either of these nodes and move them both up about 100 pixels - don't worry about being exact. (Since you've selected both nodes, they will move together...nice, huh?)

8. Right click on your top node and change to Symmetric.  Do the same for your bottom node. (Right Click/Node Type/Symmetric)

9.  Click on your bottom node and drag one of your control arms out to give your vase a nice flat base.

10. Here's where you add your personal touch: manipulate your nodes until you get the shape you want.  Here's what I did:

  • I wanted my vase thinner, so I just "scrunched" my vase by using the Object Selector Tool to deform the shape.

  • Now my bottom was too narrow, so I pulled the control arm out on the bottom node 

  • To "define" the top of my vase, I pulled the top node down slightly and pulled out the control arms to just past the "sides" of my vase. This gave me nice sharp corners at the top without having to add any new nodes! (If you changed your node to symmetric, both control arms will move when you drag on one.)

  • Click on Objects/Align/Center in Canvas to re-center your vase.

11. This is what I ended up with:

Tip: notice the little * next to the name of your image in the title bar?
That means your image isn't saved.  

Save now

Did the * disappear?  Yes?   Good job!

12. Activate Layer1 in your layer palette. This will create a new layer for the next vector object we draw...this is the last one.

13. Click on your Preset Shapes Tool:

  • Ellipse
  • Antialias checked
  • Vector checked
  • Line width: 1
  • Line style: solid

14. Draw an ellipse for the top opening of your vase.

15. Use your Object Selector Tool to move it into place.  Use your Node Edit to place your two side nodes at the top corner of your vase and form a nice curve at the top.  Pull the bottom node down just enough so that the bottom of this ellipse is behind your vase:

Save now

16. Rename Layer3 (the top layer) to "vase".

17. Rename Layer2 (the middle layer) to "mouth".

18. We're actually done with our vector objects, but we're not going to get rid of them just yet.  Before we go to the next step, make sure your layer palette looks like this:

19. Add two new raster layers above your vector layers and name them as shown:

20. Right click on the Ellipse shape on your "vase" layer and click on "Create Raster Selection".  

21. Turn off the visibility for your vector "vase" layer.

22. Make your "vase-color" layer active and fill your selection with a gradient of your choice, using the following settings:

23. While still selected, apply the Eye Candy 3 glass filter with the following settings:

  • Bevel width: 34

  • Bevel Shape: Rounded

  • Flaw Spacing: 20

  • Flaw Thickness: 12

  • Opacity: 66% (or whatever looks good to you)

  • Refraction: 34

  • Color: choose a shade from your gradient
    (Slide the Eye Candy window over, click on the color box, then you can use the dropper to pick a color from your image)

  • Highlight Brightness: 100

  • Highlight Sharpness: 35

  • Direction: 45

  • Inclination: 12

I ended up with this:

24. Not sure you like this color?  DON'T USE UNDO!!!

25. Turn off the visibility for the layer you just made, add a new layer and try another gradient. Keep adding layers and trying different combinations of fills and filters.  Sometimes I have 5 or 6 layers before I'm happy!

Make sure you make a note of what you did to the layers you like...you'll have to repeat these steps for the mouth and it's a horrible feeling to create something you like and not remember how you did it!

You can also try other fills and filters to get totally different effects. 

Save now

26. Once you have the "look" you like, repeat these steps for the "mouth" of your vase:

  • Create a raster selection from your vector object

  • Turn off the visibility for all layers this time

  • Make your "mouth-color" layer active

  • Fill the selected area
    (change your gradient direction to: 221)

  • Apply your filter 

27. If you are using Eye Candy Glass, use the following settings: 

  • Bevel width: 10

  • Bevel Shape: Rounded

  • Flaw Spacing: 40

  • Flaw Thickness: 12

  • Opacity: 100% (we want this darker than our vase)

  • Refraction: 20

  • Color: choose a shade from your gradient
    (Slide the Eye Candy window over, click on the color box, then you can use the dropper to pick a color from your image)

  • Highlight Brightness: 100

  • Highlight Sharpness: 35

  • Direction: 45

  • Inclination: 12

28. Rename your "vase-color" layer to "vase front".  (What can I say?  This was easier than going back and rewriting the tutorial...not to mention making new screen shots!)

29. Duplicate your "vase front" layer.

30. Merge your "Copy of vase front" layer and your "mouth-color" layer and rename this merged layer "vase back". 

Save now

31. Duplicate your image by holding down your shift key and hitting "d". Save this copy as "my_vase2.psp".

32. Minimize your original and work on your copy now.

33. Delete all layers EXCEPT "vase front" and "vase back" and "Layer1".

34. Rename "Layer1" to "flowers" and move this layer between your other two layers.

35. Make your "vase front" layer active.

36. We want to select only our vase.  There are different ways to do this, but I like this method because I have these icons already on my toolbar:

  • Selections/Select All

  • Selections/Float

  • Selections/Defloat

37. Invert your selection.

38. Feather your selection by 8 pixels.

39. Click on your Retouch Tool and use the following settings:

39. Carefully go along the top of your vase to darken the edge.  Click above your selected area and slowly move down toward your vase so you can darken the top edge without going down the sides.  This is where the undo button comes in REAL handy!!!

40. Deselect

41. Make your "vase front" layer active.

42. Repeat steps 36 through 39 for the top of your "vase back".

43. With the size of our vase, we'd need an awfully large canvas to put any flowers in it, so let's resize it now.  

44. Make your "vase front" layer active.

45. Click on Image/Resize and enter 60%. Make sure All layers IS NOT checked.

46. Repeat for your "vase back" layer.

47. We need to move our vase to the lower part of our canvas, but we want to keep the front and back lined up when we move them, so.....

48. Click on the "Layer Groups" tab in your Layer Palette and change both "vase" layer to 1 by clicking once on the word None:

49. Use your Mover tool to move your vase down to the bottom portion of your canvas.

50. Now we're ready to add our flowers.

51. You can find lots of flower tutorials to fill your vase with.  I'm using daffodils I made from Hanna's Daffodil Tutorial.

52. Since I had tubes each of my flowers and leaves separately, I placed each piece on it's own layer with each new layer created between the "vase back" and "vase front" layers.  I ended up with this:

53. Turn off the visibility for your two "vase" layers and merge all your flower layers.

54. Now, I don't know about you, but my stems usually don't go through the bottom of my vases...LOL!  So we have a little problem we need to fix here.

55. Make either of your "vase" layers active and:

  • Selections/Select All

  • Selections/Float

  • Selections/Defloat

  • Selections/Invert

  • Selections/Expand (5 pixels)

56. Use your eraser tool with the settings shown below to erase the stems which are showing at the bottom of your vase. Because you're using a selected area, you won't erase too much of the stems, but enough so that it appears that your stems are sitting in the middle of your vase.

57. The finishing touch is to lower the opacity on your "vase front" layer to about 60%.  This makes it appear as though your stems are showing through your vase.

58. Crop your image to size:

 *** Remember the first file your saved?
The "my_vase.psp" file?  
I hope you saved it with your vectors intact.
Open that image and by doing a little 
tweaking and node editing you can create 
a totally different shaped vase.
Play around and see what you can come up with!


All Art Work & Graphics Designed by Cathy
This tutorial originally posted on May 19, 2002
Copyright © 1999 - 2003 by Cathy.
All rights reserved.
Revised: April 24, 2008.