Paint Shop 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!

The above image on the left is the one 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 Paint Shop Cut Out requires some facility with the Pen Tool in PaintShop (you'll find the basic Pen Tutorial right here).

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

This is a project that is easiest to complete with a graphics tablet, however you can 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 your Paint Shop Cut Out - here are the steps to follow ...

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

This step gives you the ability to change the curves immediately before and after a node and only affecting the side you are on.  Doing it with any other type of node will make you crazy.

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.  

The topmost node is Cusp and the two handles (left and right) 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 Paint Shop cut out ...!

Completing The
Paint Shop Cut Out

Once you've worked you way around the object it's time to do the four step Paint Shop cut out. 

Step 1

In the Materials Palette turn off the transparency of the Background Color by clicking on the little cross hatch on the right side of the Background Color.

This will fill the object you've been working on with the Background Color (white is a nice choice). The nodes you've been adjusting are still visible.

Step 2

The second 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

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

This will give the marching ants around the cut out.

Step 4

Highlight Copy of Background Selections > Invert and press Delete key.  Now turn off the visibility of Vector 1 and the Background Layer.

Up Close View

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

Now you can save the Paint Shop cut out as a .png file because this file type keeps the background transparent.  The advantage of this is that the cut out image can be placed on any background you want 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. 

Paint Shop Cut OUt Video

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