PaintShop Cut Out




Doing a PaintShop cut out is probably the most exact selection you will ever make.  Don't get me wrong here - I still like the Edit Selection method but if you need to be perfectly exact with very crisp edges then making the selection with the Pen Tool can't be beat.

One downside is that it takes somewhat longer to do and the time to complete the task will depend on your ability to manipulate the Pen Tool.

A corresponding upside (other than the perfect cut out) is that you can be happily working the pen tool around a subject and find you have to put your work aside for awhile.

The Pen Tool always works on Vector Layers and if you save the file as a .pspimage then the Vector layer is saved along with the background meaning you can re-load the file and start working where you left off.  

Not a bad deal at all!

PaintShop Cut Out

paintshop cut out carving
This is the image I'm going to work with.

I found this carved creature living in a downtown parkette and it seems to me that something this well done is most respectfully served with a nice or at least different background.

The well worn paths leading up to the carving are a testament to its popularity.

As mentioned earlier this is a technique that favors some facility with the Pen Tool in PaintShop.

If you look closely you'll see some fiddly bits on the right side of the carving - both the wing and the shoulder and back.

This is a project that is easiest to complete with a graphics tablet, however you will be successful with a mouse.  A trackpad will likely be quite a challenge but it will work as well.


OK - so let's get this PaintShop cut out tutorial off and running ...!



The Steps


Just so you know where you are going with this - here are the steps to follow ...

  1. Duplicate the Background Layer (important - don't skip this step - if you do then you'll just come back here to start again - I know because I've done it many more times than I care to admit).

  2. Choose a starting point, zoom in and select the Pen Tool.  You can work around the object you are cutting out by working Point to Point (Bezier Curves) or with the Freehand Pen Tool.  If you've got a steady hand then it may go more quickly using Freehand.

  3. Set the Stroke Width to 0.00 (to avoid distracting lines) and make sure the Background Color is set to Transparent in the Materials Palette.

  4. Make a loose yet close outline of the object to be cut out.  That sounds contradictory, doesn't it?  Don't get tied up in knots trying to get your curves perfectly placed in this step 'cause we're going to fix any inaccuracies in the next few steps.

  5. With the path closed go to Objects > Edit > Select All and then Objects > Node Type > Cusp. You can also right click and Edit > Select All, right click again and Node Type > Cusp.  This step gives you the ability to change the curves immediately before and after a node and only affecting the side you are on.

  6. Choose a starting point, zoom in, make sure the Pen Tool is in Edit Mode and start working your way around the object by clicking on a node and then adjusting the curve to conform to the object you are cutting out.
    This will likely take the majority of your time with this project.  Save your work regularly as a .pspimage file to preserve the vector layers intact.
    If you find yourself with an area that needs a node but there isn't one there you can add one by holding the Ctrl down and clicking on the curve.  A new node will be added.  Right click and select Node Type > Cusp so that it's easy to edit.

  7. Systematically work your way around the object and adjust the curves as necessary.  Depending on complexity you may be finished quickly or in days (remember to keep saving the .pspimage - it might be a good idea to give each save a different name in the unlikely event that you mess something up badly>
Once you've worked your way around the object and you are satisfied then it's time to do the cutout.  Here's how to finish the project.

  1. Turn on the background color (by unclicking the Transparent button in the Materials palette) which fills in the area within the path.

  2. Select the Pick Tool (don't do anything with it - just select it).

  3. Go to Selections > From Vector Object (this is the step that turns the vector curve into a selection).

  4. Highlight the Copy of Background layer, go to Selections > Invert (which changes the selection from the object you just outlined to the background) and press then Delete key.  This will eliminate all of the stuff you want to eliminate (the Background), leaving a nice crisp PaintShop cut out.   You will see the PaintShop cut out when you turn off the visibility of the both the Vector layer and the visibility of the Background layer.
You may, at this point, notice that the Vector layer is a nice silhouette of your object.  Depending on what the object is you may want to save that perfect silhouette.  If not then both the Background and Vector layers are no longer required and they can be deleted.

The Steps in Action

Step 1 through Step 4 Visuals

paintshop cut out layers paintshop cut out transparent background
Background Copied
Background Transparent



paintshop cut out line size
Line Size Set to 0



paintshop cut out loose outline
paintshop cut out outline
Loose Outline
Object Outlined


Step 5 Visuals


paintshop cut out select all
Right Click > Edit > Select All

And then ...

paintshop cut out node type
Right Click > Node Type > Cusp


The cusp nodes makes it possible to adjust each side of the nodes independently and that means the next, and probably longest step,  will be much easier.


Step 7 Visual

paintshop cut out fixingThe topmost node is Cusp and the two handles are independent.

The curve does not align with the object so the handle on the left needs to be adjusted to bring the curve in line with the object.

If the curve won't conform then it may be a good idea to add a node.  To add a node when you are editing the curve press and hold the Ctrl key and click on the curve.  This will add a node and it now needs to be changed to a cusp node by right clicking and then Node Type > Cusp.

Just keep doing this all around the object, over and over and over again until you've finished. 

Now you're ready to make that perfect PaintShop cut out ...!


The PaintShop Cut Out


Once you've worked you way around the object it's time to make the cut out.

Step 1

paint shop cut out step 1










Turn off the transparency of the Background Color.

This will fill the object you've been working on with the Background Color (white is a nice choice but you can use any color you wish).

The nodes you've been adjusting are still visible.















Step 2

paint shop cut out step 2












The next step is to select the Pick Tool - don't do anything with it, just select it.

The Pick Tool gives the bounding box outlining the object.















Step 3


paint shop cut out step 3












The third step is to go to Selections > From Vector Object.

This will give the marching ants around the cut out,
















Step 4


paintshop cut out layers
paint shop cut out step 4
Highlight Copy of Background
Selections > Invert
Press Delete key
Turn off Visibility of ...
Vector 1 and Background


Cut Out Close Up

Here's a close-up of the carving after the PaintShop cut out.  As you can see it is a really precise cut out so the effort was well worth it!


paint shop cut out close up



Now you can save the PaintShop cut out as a .png file.   This file type keeps the background transparent which is a good thing after you've done all the work to cut out the object.

For this cut out the identity of the artist on a gradient background with a drop shadow looks nice. 


paintshop cut out text



The Cut Out Video


The Video



PaintShop Cut Out
Page Links

The Steps

The Steps in Action
Making the Cut Out

Cut Out Close Up

The Cut Out Video









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