PI6 Importing and Exporting Presets

I've done preset collections for PI4.2 and PI5.0 (both of which are usable in PI6 too), and I feel like this would be a good time for me to do a PI6 preset collection. Here's a look at 20 presets, which you can download here as a ZIP file


These SMP files include 20 presets you can Import into your own EasyPalette. They can be applied to any Text or Path object. Note that these presets include only images and materials from PI6, so there are no extra bump map or reflection files that you have to install anywhere.

To use the presets, unzip the zip file to a folder on your hard drive. I have a folder called "presets" that I save my presets to. Once the file has been unzipped, you'll see that it has Ulead's proprietary .SMP file extension.

importing a preset gallery

Import Gallery dialog box

From the Import Gallery dialog box, browse to the pi6presets.SMP file. You have two choices about how to import the files: "Open as a new gallery" (the default) or "Merge file with the active gallery." If you select the latter option, make sure you've selected the desired gallery before you Import the presets. Select a Merge type from the dropdown list and click Open. PI will whirl for a second or two, and then the new preset gallery will appear in your EasyPalette. As you can see from the screen shot below, I've merged the imported gallery with My Gallery.

preset gallery added to EasyPalette

This simple process of Importing .SMP galleries makes it very easy for you to use other PI enthusiasts' presets. After you Import the Gallery, you may decide that you like some of the presets, but there are others you don't like so well and don't want to keep. Simply right click on the thumbnails for the effects you don't like and choose Delete. You'll get a warning asking if you're sure you want to delete the thumbnail. Click Yes and it will be removed from the Gallery.

Once you get a little experience with PI, you may want to make and save your own presets. To make a new Tab Group for your presets, right click on My Gallery and choose New Group. When the New Group box opens, give the new Tab Group a name and click OK. A new tab group will appear under My Gallery. Alternatively, to create a completely new Gallery, right click on any Gallery and choose Create. Doing so will open the Create Gallery dialog box. Give the new Gallery a name and click OK.

From now on, whenever you create a particularly nice preset with the Material dialog box, or in the EasyPalette's Material Gallery, you can save it to your custom Gallery. When you have a few good presets that you'd like to share with other PI users, select the desired Gallery. If you only want to Export certain presets, select their thumbnails, otherwise all of the thumbnails will be Exported. Then click on the Gallery down arrow and choose Gallery Manager, Export.

Exporting a Gallery

When the Export Gallery dialog box opens, browse to the folder to which you wish to save the Gallery. If you're only Exporting a selected thumbnail(s), choose the "Selected thumbnails of the current group" option. Click Save. Now you can zip up this file and make it available to other PI users, either from your web site or as an email attachment.

Even if you're not sharing your presets with others, you should Export your Galleries regularly to a separate folder on your hard drive. By Exporting Galleries you are backing them up to a non-PI folder. If your copy of PI ever crashes and you have to uninstall and reinstall it, you can get back all of your presets easily by Importing them into PI from your backup folder. You should do this for all of your custom Library objects as well. It will really save you heartache down the road, in the event of disaster.

Finally, if you use your own images as bump maps and reflections when making custom presets, make sure that you include them in a separate folder and that you zip them up with your SMP presets. One of the most common problems with sharing presets is that people forget to include non-PI images that are crucial for the preset to work properly. This wastes people's time and discourages them from returning to try more presets. 

Another good idea is to make a small GIF or JPG image showing the preset as it looks applied to an object, so that others know what the effect will look like before they commit to downloading it from your site. It is a nice idea to include a simple text file, written in Notepad, to include in the preset zip file. In the text file you can put your name, your URL and email address, and any special instructions you think might be helpful.

This tutorial uploaded 2/02/01

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