PI7 Watermelon Brush Presets

doll with watermelonThis tutorial shows you how to make a country clipart style watermelon graphic, shown held by one of my country dolls at left. At the same time, this tutorial shows you how to import and use paintbrush, fill and lighting presets that take the trial and error out of making your own graphics.

At the end of the tutorial, I'll outline how to save your own brush presets to the EasyPalette for future use. If you write PI tutorials, you'll probably love being able to share your presets with other users.

The first thing you'll need to do is download the watermelon.ZIP file. Unzip the file to a folder on your hard drive. In your EasyPalette, right click on My Gallery and choose Import. When the Import Gallery dialog box opens, browse to and select the watermelon.SMP file. Be sure to select the "Open as a new gallery" option, then click Open.

Import Gallery dialog box

After you import the SMP gallery, you should see it at the bottom of your list of Galleries in the EasyPalette.

added to Galleries

Now that you've imported the presets, make a new True Color file 300 X 300 pixels, with a white canvas. Select the Path Drawing tool. In the Attributes toolbar, select 2D mode and any color. I'm using bright pink, but this object will be filled with a preset gradient later. Click Shape, Custom Shape. When the Custom Shape dialog box opens, select the Half Circle Shape. Draw the first part of the watermelon. It will be upside down, so choose Edit, Rotate & Flip, Flip Vertically. If necessary, use the Transform tool to resize as shown below.

flip vertically

While the object is active, go to the watermelon gallery and double click on the watermelon fill thumbnail. It will be filled with a dark pink to light pink gradient.

gradient fill

Choose Object, Convert Object Type, From Text/Path to Image. In the watermelon gallery, double click on the watermelon airbrush thumbnail. Note that the preset selects the Airbrush for you, with a very wide brush and pale pink paint. Airbrush lightly just along the curved edge of the object. This will make it lighter next to the rind, which we'll add next.

airbrush curved edge

To make the rind object, right click and Duplicate the existing object, then resize it with the Transform tool. Right click on the rind and choose Arrange, Send to Back. In the watermelon gallery, double click on the watermelon rind fill thumbnail to fill the new rind object with pale green. Right click, Select All Objects, then right click, Align, Top.

Here's a fun way to add stripes without painting them on. I've custom edited a Lighting Gallery preset. In the watermelon gallery, double click on the rind light thumbnail. The rays of light will make evenly spaced stripes on the rind.

striped light preset added

Use the Pick tool to select the pink object. In the watermelon gallery, double click on the melon bite eraser thumbnail. This will select the Object Paint Eraser tool with a small, hard-edged round brush. To take "bites" out of the watermelon click (don't drag) 3-4X on the upper right side. It's easier to see what you're doing if you've got your cursor Preferences set to "Precise shape."

eraser "bites"

Use the Pick tool to select the green striped rind object. Select the Object Paint Eraser again; the preset should "stick" to the tool. Erase the green rind object where it shows underneath the pink object.

erase green rind object

While the rind object is still active, in the watermelon gallery double click the clipart poe thumbnail. This will select the Paintbrush with black paint, size=1, soft edge=1. Select the Pick tool and hit Shift+P to apply the Paint on Edges command. You'll get a narrow black line around the rind object. Tap the pink object to make it active, then hit Shift+P to apply the Paint on Edges to the object. Right click, Select All Objects, then right click, Merge as Single Object.

paint on edges

To make the seeds for the watermelon, double click on the melon seeds thumbnail. Doing so selects a brush with black paint. If the Brush Panel isn't open, click Panel in the Attributes toolbar to display it. Note the oval shape of the brush.

oval shaped brush

In the Attributes toolbar, click Mode to enter Paint as Object mode. Click near the center bottom of the pink object to make the first seed. It's important that you only click once to make the oval shape. If you drag, you'll end up with a line.

make first seed

In the Brush Panel's Shape tab, drag the Brush Angle slider slightly to the right to angle the brush. You'll want to get a Brush Angle that tilts the next seed so that it conforms to the shape of the watermelon rind. You can see how editing the Brush Angle changes the direction in which the brush tilts in the preview window. I'm using a Brush Angle of 24 on my image, but yours might be different, depending on how big you make your watermelon.

edit brush angle

Click to the right of the first seed.

add second seed

Continue editing the Brush Angle in the Brush Panel to make two more seeds along the right side of the watermelon. Each time you make a seed, you'll have to drag the slider a little, eyeball the angle, and then click. If your brush angle doesn't look good to you, right click Undo (or hit the Undo button) and try again.

seeds on right side

Continue editing the Brush Angle to make three more seeds on the left side of the watermelon. When you've finished making the seeds, click Mode in the Attributes toolbar to exit Paint as Object mode. Right click, Select All Objects. Right click, Merge as Single Object. Now you can right click and choose Shadow to help your watermelon pop out from the background.

finished watermelon with shadow

If you want to add the watermelon object to another graphic, it's easy to do. I rotated it a little with the Transform tool and put it over one of my country doll objects, then I used the Object Paint Eraser to erase parts of the watermelon to let the doll's hands appear on top, like she's holding it.

The remainder of this tutorial shows how to make your own preset brush (and other) settings, save them to the EasyPalette and Export the presets for sharing with other PI users. It's also a great idea to Export presets to back them up. That way if PI ever crashes on you, you'll be able to Import them back after a reinstallation of PI. If you want to organize presets so you can find them easier, it's wise to create a gallery for them before you begin. Right click on any Gallery and choose Create to open the Create Gallery dialog box. Give your gallery a name (e.g., watermelon) and click OK.

create new gallery

The new gallery will appear at the bottom of your Gallery list. Next, create a custom preset Paintbrush setting. In the Attributes toolbar, click the Add button.

click add button

Doing so will open the Add to EasyPalette dialog box. Give the preset a name (e.g., melon seed brush). Now here's the tricky part, so be careful. Lots of times people save brush presets and then they can't find them! That's because they save to a default Gallery. PI will automatically try to save the preset to your Brush Gallery. If you want it to be in the watermelon (or whatever) gallery, you have to select the Gallery from the dropdown list.

save to the correct Gallery!

You should see a thumbnail for the preset in the correct gallery after you click OK. Continue making your presets for a project, then add each one to the desired gallery.

If you want to share your presets with others, first decide if you're going to share all of the presets in the Gallery, or just some of them. If you want to only Export selected presets, click on a thumbnail in the gallery, then hold down the Ctrl key while selecting others. This will let you select only the thumbnails you wish to Export. If you want to Export all of the thumbnails, you don't need to select them. Right click on the desired gallery and choose Export. When the Export Gallery dialog box opens, browse to the folder to which you want to save the presets.

In the screen shot above, note that "All thumbnails of the current group" is selected, because I didn't select only a few presets for Export. If I had, the "Selected thumbnails of the current group" option would not be grayed out. Give your file a name and click Save. The gallery will be saved with the SMP file extension. SMP files can only be read by PhotoImpact, so you can't share PI presets with users of other graphics programs.

It's a good policy to ZIP up your SMP files to make download easy, and to include with the presets a small text file which tells your name, who to contact if there's any problems, and possibly brief information about how to Import presets into the EasyPalette.


This tutorial uploaded 8/30/02

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