Manipulating Images

Often when you are creating new images for your site you already have another image or images that contain elements that you want to have in your new image. Rather than create these elements again from scratch it is often possible to manipulate them from the existing image into the new one. This results in the new image matching more closely with existing ones and also makes the new image faster to create.

In order to better explain what I mean by manipulating elements of existing images I am going to use three examples. These examples will use a variety of the available tools in Paint Shop Pro to demonstrate how you can use them to manipulate images to create new images. Although the tasks that you will want to perform to manipulate your images will be different from what I did here, these examples should give you some idea of what can be done to manipulate images with Paint Shop Pro.

For the first example the image that I require is a map of the UK in solid grey on a white background. I searched through my clipart collection and found a map of the UK tat consists of a black outline with major rivers also marked. This image can be directly manipulated to produce what I require. By zooming in on the image and using the Flood Fill option I can quickly fill all of the interior of the image with black hiding all of the rivers showing in the image. Next I reduce the colour level to just two colours since that is all that I require. Finally I edit the colour palette to change the two colours to those that I require giving me the final image that I wanted.

final image of UK

For the next example I require a view of my head that I intend to insert into the centre of a circular image. What I have to start with is an ordinary photo.

photo of Steve

The first thing that I need to do is to use the Enlarge Canvas option to make the image wider as my head is taller than the photo is wide and I want to cut a circle around my head. Next I use the Selection Tool with the Selection Type set to Circle to select a circular area around my head.

Now I can Copy the selected area and Paste to create a new image. To clean up the background I use the Magic Wand tool to select the areas that are the wrong colour and then delete them to let my selected background colour show through. Finally, I resample the image to reduce the image to the final size that I require. The final result looks like this:

final image of Steve

For the final example I am going to do something more complicated. What I need is a circle of railway track that is similar in appearance to an image that I already have of straight track that looks like this:

straight track image

The place to start in this instance is to create a new image a bit bigger than the size of the circle that I want to create. I also need to make sure that the colour mode is initially set to 24 bit colour as some of the manipulations will affect the colours used (we can reduce the colour depth once we're finished).

The next thing I did was to use the Dropper tool to capture the exact colour of the rail top used in my straight rail image and then used the Shapes tool to draw a circle of the required size in that colour. This would be the outside rail of my circle of track.

Next I used the Selection tool to select one of the sleepers from the straight rail image and then used Copy and Paste as New Selection to copy it to my new image. With it still selected I could drag it to the position I required at the top of the circle and I could then paste and drag again to place the sleeper at the bottom of the circle.

For each of the remaining sleepers that I required I pasted another copy of the selection into the image but instead of immediately dragging it into place I first used the Rotate option to rotate the image left or right by 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, or 90 degrees depending on where on the circle that the sleeper was to go. To fill in the complete circle I needed two sleepers at each angle (to go directly opposite one another) with those rotated right filling the upper right and lower left quadrants and those rotated left filling the upper left and lower right quadrants.

That was as far as I could get with manipulating existing images so now I had to manually fill in the shading on the outer rail as well as completing the gaps in the inner rail between the sleepers. The final step was to reduce the colour depth to a suitable level and save the image. The result looks like this:

final image of circle of track

So there you are, three examples of how you can manipulate existing images or elements of existing images in order to create new images.

If you are wondering what I intended to do with these three images I created then continue to next page.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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