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Paint Shop Pro, Like Photoshop, Elements and similar image editing programs, is great for creating cut out shape effects in textured images. Once you've grasped the method you can apply the technique to any background and any cut out effect.
All you need is a texture image and a shape to use as the cut out.
1 First open up the texture image. If you don't have a suitable photo and you have a digital camera you can nip out and shoot one rusty old fence, close up of tree bark, varnished desk, marble fireplace, sandstone slab, textured paper, close up of green leaf...the options are endless. See the article on shooting Patterns and textures for more ideas. Alternatively you can use one of the texture effects supplied within the program (article coming soon for beginners) or download one from a royalty free web site.
2 Resize it to the print size you want to end up with. I'm going to create a 4x6in enprint and have set 240dpi, which is the correct resolution for the inkjet printer I use.
3 The next stage is to prepare the graphic that's going to be used as the cut out. First create a new layer and call it text. The graphic could be done using the paint or airbrush for more advanced users. But to keep things simple select the text tool.
This brings up a palette with many options. The centre areas is where you type and if you key in Shift + J it brings up, as expected, a capital J. If you now change the font to Wingdings the J becomes a smiley face.
4 The size of this needs to be adjusted so that the face fills most of the frame. You will see the face on the canvas is the colour or texture of the foreground colour and it's surrounded by dotted selection lines known as marching ants. In our 4x6in example a font of 800pixels is required and as the option is not available from the drop down list you have to select the number window and key it in manually. Don't worry if it's not exactly the size you want. You can use the deformation tool from the toolbar and adjust the size later. Hold down the Ctrl Key to ensure proportions are maintained.
In the palette also ensure the Floating and Anti alias boxes are selected.
5 With the text still selected drag it into position by clicking within the selection so the mover tool arrow appears and holding down the mouse as you move.
6 Save it as an Alpha channel. This holds the selection in a safe place for use later. GotoSelections>Save to Alpha Channel and click ok then call that channel Cut out thin.
7 With the face stillselectedgotoSelections>Modify>Expand and set 5 pixels in the box. Repeat step 6 with this new enlarged selection and save the channel as Cut out fat.
8 Remove the selection by either holding down Ctrl+DorSelections>Select none from the menu and delete the text layer.
9 Now we need to create a duplicate layer of the background texture layer. We will then use this to cut out the smiley. Go to the layer palette and drag the background layer over the duplicate layer icon to copy it and rename it cut out layer. Then create a new layer and call it drop shadow layer layer.
10 With the shadows layeractivego to Selections>Load from Alpha Channels and select Cut out thin fromthelist.ThengotoEffects>3DEffects>Drop Shadow and in the dialogue box set the Opacity to 100% the Blur to 20% and the colour to white. Make sure offset is set to 10 vertically and horizontally. Click okay.
11 Repeat the drop shadow but this time selecting black as the colour and +10 on the vertical and horizontal sliders.
12 Remove the selection Ctrl+D andgoback to Selections>Load from Alpha Channels to chose Cut out fat from the list. Now Inverttheselection Selections>Invert (hold down Shift+Ctrl+I keys as a short cut). Press deleteorEdit>Clear from the menu.
13 Now we will cut a hole through from the cut outs layer so the background shows through. Make the Cut outs layer active and load the Cut out thin selection fromAlphachannels.ThenchooseEffects>3Deffects>Cut out and ensure the fill interior with colour is not selected. Set the shadow colour to Black with the default Opacity of 80% and blur of 10.
14 Almost done. With the background layer active makeitdarkerColours>Adjust> Brightness/Contrast to make the background darker and become more contrasty against the upper layer. Somewhere between -10 and -25 will be fine.