PI6 Marble Hall

You can create an Italianate, marble hall background similar to the ones you see in those glorious paintings by Maxfield Parrish and Alma-Tadema.  Star in your own neo-classical painting, or put your kids and pets in there instead.

Marble Hall Tutorial

This tutorial is adapted, with her kind permission, from Carol Brooksbank's wonderful PSP Marble Hall Tutorial.

Start with a new True Color image 300 X 400 pixels with a white canvas. Select the Path Drawing tool. In the Attributes toolbar, from the Mode dropdown list, select 2D. The color doesn't matter. Click Shape and select Custom Shape. When the Custom Shape dialog box opens, choose Arch 3. Draw an object about this size.

draw arch shape object

Select the Transform tool, Resize option. Drag on the control points to reshape the object, making it slightly taller and more slender, as shown below.

use Transform tool to distort

Select the Path Drawing tool again. From the Mode dropdown, choose Continue Draw. Click Shape and select Rectangle. Draw a large rectangle that goes all the way across the image and down about 2/3 of the way. It will look like this.

continue draw mode

Switch to the Path Edit tool. Click the Toggle button to toggle into path edit mode. Click anywhere in the base image to deactivate the objects. Click on the Arch shape to make it active, then right click and Duplicate. Right click and Duplicate the object 2 more times. Drag the 4 objects so that they are roughly in a horizontal row. Click on an arch object to select it, then Shift+Click to select the other 3 arch objects. In the Attributes toolbar, click Align and choose Align top. Then click Align again and choose Distribute Horizontally. Click the Toggle button to get out of toggle mode and back into 2D mode. It should look like this now.

complex shape with arch windows

Choose Object, Convert Object Type, From Path to Image.

I'm using this pink marble tile for the tutorial. You can use any marble tile you have lying around, or just use one of the marble fills from the PI Texture Gallery.

marble tile

While the object is active, choose Edit, Fill. When the Fill dialog box opens up, click the Image tab, select File and browse to the marble tile. 

fill with marble tile

Click OK to fill the object with the marble tile. Now it looks like this.

marble filled

Right click and Duplicate the object. Click the Quick Color Controls' sun key's minus (-) sign 2X to darken the duplicate object. Right click, Arrange, Send to Back. With the Pick tool, position the darker object under the light one to create a 3D window effect. The darker object will extend a little bit below the light object on top.

darken duplicate, send behind 

To make the floor, create a new image 800 pixels wide X 200 pixels tall. Do Edit, Fill and fill with the marble tile. Right click on the image and select All, then Right click, Convert to object. Select the Transform tool, Perspective option. Drag one of the top control points inward, making the rectangle narrow on top. Drag it into the marble hall image and center it at the bottom of the light wall object.

perspective distortion

Duplicate the floor object 2X. Arrange the 3 floors in a horizontal line across the bottom of the image. Use the Order options in the Attributes toolbar to bring the middle floor object to the top of the stack. Shift+Click the other two floor objects to select all 3, then right click, Align, Top. While they're all active, right click and Merge as Single Object.

marble floor added

Right click and Duplicate the floor and drag the duplicate out into the work space, where it will open in its own window. Right click and Merge All. Choose the Standard Selection tool. Make a rectangular selection about 1/4 inch tall that will be wide enough to stretch across the width of the image.

make a selection

Copy this selection into the Clipboard, and paste it into the marble hall image. Select these step objects, then click the Quick Color Controls' Sun key minus (-) sign 2X to dark them. 

Right click on the original light wall object and Duplicate. Drag the duplicate out into the work space, into its own window. Right click, Merge All. Make another rectangular selection like you did previously from the marble floor. This will be the top of the step. Click the Quick Color Controls' Sun key's plus sign (+) 2X to lighten it. Copy the lightened selection into the Clipboard and paste it into the marble hall image 2X. Arrange the light and dark step objects alternately, starting with a light object on top. Make the bottom step object even with the line at which the wall and floor meet.

alternate light and dark stairs

Hit the space bar to deactivate all objects and select the base image. Select the Path Drawing tool. Click Shape and select Rectangle. Draw a tall, narrow rectangle for a marble column. It should be tall enough to reach from the top of the image to the floor. Choose Object, Convert Object Type, From Path to Image.  Hit Ctrl+F to access the Fill dialog box. Fill with the marble tile.

Select the Airbrush tool. Select Fat Stroke from the Preset dropdown list. Click in the color box and select the dark brown from the standard colors. Edit the Size to 50 and the Transparency to 75. Lightly airbrush on both sides of the column, creating a rounded, 3D look. Switch to the Pick tool. Right click on the column and Duplicate. Drag the duplicate column over to the other side of the image. It should look like this now.

add 2 marble columns

Hit the space bar to deactivate all objects and select the base image. To add a dramatic sky that you can see through the arched windows, you have a couple of choices. You can choose Edit, Fill and fill with one of the sky textures from the Textures tab. Alternatively, open a sky image like this one from the PI Photo Gallery. Copy it into the Clipboard, then paste it into the image. Right click, Align, Send to Bottom. Then select the Transform tool and Rotate this photo 45 degrees counterclockwise, so the clouds don't march across in a straight line.

finished marble hall

While the cloud image object is still active, you could add a Creative Particle or Lighting effect, if you want an over-the-top look. I really like these marble and sky colors together, so I'm going to just leave it alone. Right click and Merge All. Select the Blur tool and click gently around the bottom of each column to help it blend into the floor better.

Now it's time to add people, a pet, an urn of flowers, or whatever you want to add to your marble hall. I'm adding a PhotoObject ballet dancer and flowers in front of the columns. If you're satisfied with this look, just right click, Merge All, and crop the image.

simple treatment, merge and crop

However, if you'd like to get fancier with this marble hall, add a reflecting pool. Choose the Standard Selection tool, Ellipse shape. Make a selection below the bottom step. Choose Edit, Fill. From the Texture tab, fill with the Water 4 Natural Texture.

ellipse selection, fill with water

Choose Web, Button Designer, Any Shape. When the dialog box opens, leave the default values alone, but edit the bevel size to 6 and select Pressed and Outer. Click OK and you'll end up with a beveled rim around the reflecting pool.

beveled edge added to pool

To add a reflection of your person, pet or whatever, duplicate the object you want to reflect. Choose Edit, Rotate & Flip, Flip Vertically. Right click on the upside down object and choose Properties. When the Object Properties box opens, edit the Transparency to 50-75%, so that it's just visible as a reflection on the water. You will have to edit Transparency to suit the darkness of the object compared to the water.

Position the object so that it fits into the reflecting pool. Choose the Object Eraser tool and erase the parts of the reflection that don't fit into the pool.

erase part of reflection to fit pool

Now all you have to do is right click and Merge All to complete your marble hall image. If you have the Almathera Filters, you can select the water in the pool only and using the Almathera Puddle filter add more ripples to the surface of the water. 

You will have to edit the Reflection value upward and the Displacement value downward to get a reflection that isn't too powerful for the small pool. 

Almathera Puddle filter effect

Alternatively, select Effect, 2D, Ripple. When the dialog box opens, click Options. From the secondary dialog box select Center for the Direction, Frequency=Medium and Amplitude=150. This will make it look like a stone was dropped into the reflecting pond.

Ripple Filter

Or here's the option I used for the image at the top of this page. While the water is selected, choose Edit, Fadeout. Select the radial Fill type, and choose Multiple Colors. Click in the Multiple Colors box and when the Palette Ramp Editor opens, select Palette 8. Click OK to close the Fadeout box. 

You'll see a concentric rings selection. In the Quick Color Controls, click the Brightness Sun key's plus (+) sign 1X to lighten the selection and create a more rippled effect.

radial fadeout, lightened, to create ripples

This marble hall setting would be a fun way to feature one of your children or grandchildren, a wedding couple or your pet. Experiment and have fun with it!

This tutorial uploaded 4/27/01

Do not duplicate, translate, copy, archive, appropriate or redistribute this document.



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