Paint Shop Hikey Images

A Paint Shop Hikey conversion will create a dramatic image that will garner rave reviews from your viewing audience!  

It's not particularly difficult to complete and it really is easier if you do it with a Wacom tablet and pen (there is a lot of dodging to do and using a mouse to do all of that dodging may be hazardous to your health!).

This tutorial, then, will focus on how to create a Paint Shop hikey image and how useful and effective a Wacom graphics tablet is for you PaintShop Pro fans.

(Mouseover to see before and after)

Now I don't know about you but I really like the end results of a  conversion to hikey with PaintShop Pro (probably because I really like black and white images).

Follow along to learn how to create your own Paint Shop highkey image.

The conversion is a 2 step procedure with an optional 3rd step.

Step 1 - Convert To Black and White

The starting point to a Paint Shop hikey conversion is to create a black and white image from the original color image.

Before you do anything make a duplicate of your background image because you will want it in the final step.  Right click on the background layer and select Duplicate.  Now do all of your work on the duplicate layer.

This is the first step and you can use pretty much any method you wish.  For this tutorial I decided to go with a Channel Mixer adjustment layer.  The problem with Channel Mixer is always how to mix the three channels (Red - Green - Blue).

Well - here's how ...

A color image is made up from three channels - red, green and blue.  The wonderful thing about Paint Shop Pro is that we can look at each channels grayscale image and that will help us choose how to set up the Channel Mixer.

For a Paint Shop Hikey conversion it is preferable to have a nice contrast.

To see the channels go to Image > Split Channel > Split to RGB.  This will give you three new black and white images on your screen in addition to the original RGB image.

Your job at this point is to closely inspect the three channels and decide how they will be mixed in the Channel Mixer.  Rember that for most images you want to keep the three channels in the  Channel Mixer dialogue to equal 100% and they can be in any ratio.

These are my three images ...

hikey red channel Red Channel
hikey green channel Green Channel
hikey blue channel Blue Channel

When you look at the three of them it is easy to see ... 

The Red Channel is both contrasty and nice and light ... a good starting point for a Paint Shop Hikey image ...

The Green Channel is a bit too dark and the Blue Channel is way too dark.

So the Red Channel is the one to use.

To convert the color information to black and white go to Adjust > Color > Channel Mixer ...

You can also add Channel Mixer Adjustment Layer if you like but it is easier to use the Adjust Menu channel Mixer.

When you open the Channel Mixer the default setting is 100% Red, 0% Green and 0% Blue. These settings can be accepted as they are or you can bump up the Red Channel a bit more.  

(I gave you a rule of thumb earlier and now I am breaking it - yikes!)

With this image a setting of Red at 115% works really well.

hikey channel mixer
Channel Mixer - 115% Red
hikey black and white
Black and White Image

Now we have a nice black and white image to start with.

Step 2 - Dodge, Dodge, Dodge

This is where you get in and get busy with the image to create your Paint Shop hikey image.

Grab the Dodge Brush (J), decrease the hardness to 1 and set the range to Midtones.  

If you are using a Wacom Tablet then set the Brush to change Opacity with pressure in the Brush Variance Palette.  If you insist on using a mouse lower the opacity to around 50.

hikey edgesNow start working from the edges into the center of the image.  A large soft brush works the best at the edges of the image and gradually lower the size of the brush as you get closer to the image.

As you come to dark areas (hair, right shoulder, eyes and eyebrows and the bricks on the pavement) zoom way in close and lower the brush size to gradually eliminate the blackest areas.

A note about the eyes and eyebrows - you can fade them like the rest of the image or you can leave them dark as the focal point of the image.

This step will take the longest to complete and make sure you save regularly.

The end result of a hikey image will be different for everyone - when you are happy with the results you can stop there.

Here are two different Paint Shop hikey results ...

hikey hikey

And you can keep working the image until you are happy with your good work!

Strp 3 - Have Fun With The Image

Remember you made a duplicate of the original image way back at the beginning of the tutorial?

This is where you can use it if you want to add some effective adjustments to your Paint Shop hikey image.

Blend Modes

Blend modes determine how pixels in a layer interact with corresponding pixels in underlying layers. The default Blend mode is ‘Normal’ – the pixel in the top layer is superimposed on (and therefore hides) the pixel in the underlying layers (subject to transparency settings).

Does that make any sense?

Without getting into a long and probably boring discussion of the Blend Modes try a couple to see how your image looks.

Here are a few examples of different Blend Modes ...

Blend Modes luminance Blend Modes Screen Blend Mode Hard Light
Luminance Blend Mode Screen Blend Mode Hard Light Blend Mode

These are really nice effects, aren't they?

Effects Options

You can also add some of the fliters in the Effects Menu to your hikey image with fabulous results.

How about this one  ...

hikey effects

This is a combination of Luminance (Legacy) Blend Mode and then Texture > Effects > Texture > Fur.

(Fur?  Yes, Fur).

There are 20 different blend modes and 49 different textures avaialable so you have a lot of options!

The Video

Paint Shop Hikey Conversion

On Page Links

Convert to Black and White

Dodge, Dodge, Dodge

Have fun with the image


Paint Shop Pro
Hikey Conversion

  • Very dramatic.
  • There is no "correct" image - the final result is dependent on individual taste.
  • Extensive use is made of the Dodge Tool.
  • The dodging will be much easier and much more effective if a Wacom Tablet is used (Bamboo or Intuos).
  • Layers are our friends and they work well with this conversion.
  • You can hikey just about anything.
  • AKA - Angel drawings.

Hikey Examples

hikey thumb

hikey thumb
My little girl, Tabitha
the Mini Bull Terrier

hi key thumb
To the limits
Both dark and light

hikey thumb
A nice conversion

wacom tablets devin
A darker image.
Each hikey is different

hikey thumb
Screen Shot

hikey thumb
Work in progress

high key 6
Hi key with Mask Layer and Screen Blend Mode

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