Cathy's Tube Tutorial

(Click on the above graphic for an 
explanation of the FBN skill ratings.)

This tutorial will show you how to clean up an image and create a tube using PSP6. It should work just as well with PSP7.

To make a good picture tube you must be willing to put in the time and effort required.  Stray pixels can ruin your picture tube, so I will be showing you a method which requires some time and effort, but will result in the cleanest picture tube possible!

As with any project, the best advice I can give you is to save often!!!  There is not much worse than putting in a lot of work to create an image only to lose it in the event of a program crash!  I will be putting in reminders along the way to save your work:


1. Open the image you want to create your tube from.  Copy your image and close the original.  Save your copy in psp format, then save as you go - see the reminders I've inserted.  For this tutorial I am using a picture I took of one of my hyacinths.  You can save this image to follow along with this tutorial.  I chose this image due to the fact that there is a lot of background which needs to be eliminated.  This is the hardest type of image to create a tube from, but often times it makes the most beautiful tubes.

Purple Hyacinth

2. Duplicate this image by pressing "shift + D".  Close your original image.

3. Right click on the "background" layer in the layer palette box and choose "promote to layer".  Your layer will now be renamed "Layer1". Then right click on "layer1" and duplicate this layer.   I like to have this bottom layer as a reference, when I start erasing.  If you have a good eye you may not need this step.

4. Click the glasses for "Layer1" to make it invisible and make sure you are working on the "Copy of Layer1".  You can rename this layer if you wish, I never bother.  Your layer palette box should look like this

Layer palette

5. Click on the lasso tool Losso tool (make sure you have feather set at 0) and draw all around the outside of the main flower and some of the leaves, getting as close as possible. 



6. Invert your selection Invert selection and click on your eraser tool Eraser tool with the size set very large (125) erase the outer portion of your image (you could also hit your delete key):


7. Deselect by hitting Select none/Deselect or choosing selections|select none.

8. Lower the size of your eraser, and clean up the edges as close as possible, as well as any of the background you can see through the flowers.

9. Using your magic wand Magic Wand and holding down your shift key, click some of the remaining pixels around your flower, Then go to Selections|Modify|Select Similar, your image will look like this (I've highlighted the areas I selected with yellow to improve the visibility):



10. With these portions still selected, use your eraser tool and erase them, your image should look like this:


11. At this point your image needs fine tuning. I usually magnify my image a couple of times to make it easier to distinguish the different colors.

12. Click on your eraser tool Eraser Tool with the following options:

Eraser Options

13. Use the eraser tool to clean up the edges of your flower.  When you think you're happy, make Layer1 visible, and slide the opacity down to about 50:

Layer Palette

14. You should have an image that looks like this:



15. As you can see, we've eliminated some areas we want (the leaves) and still have some flowers we don't want (upper right buds belong to the background flower).

16. Switch back to work on Copy of Layer1, while leaving Layer1 visible.

17. Using your eraser tool, set to a size you are comfortable with, start erasing the portions of your image that you don't want. I ended up with this:

Layer1 visibility off:  Image7 Layer1 visibility on:Image8

18. As you can see, we've erased portions of our flower that we really want to keep.  We're also missing portions of the leaves which we want in our image. Now we're going to put these back, or "unerase" them.

19. Click on your eraser tool.  Adjust the size depending on the portion of the image you're working on.


20. Let's put the leaves back - using your right mouse button, with Copy of Layer1 active, go over the portion of the leaves you want back. I worked with Layer1 visible, so I could see the leaves I wanted to "unerase".  While I was putting the leaves back I noticed a few buds that were missing so I "unerased" them, also.  Where I saw buds that didn't belong, I erased them.  I ended up with this:


21. At this point my edges still need a little clean up. Using your magic wand select the blank area outside your flower.  Then go to Selections|Modify|Expand and set at 1.  Now use your eraser to erase these selections. (You can change to a large size on your eraser for this.)  You're image should look like this:



22. Now you can right lick on "Layer1" and delete it, since we don't need it anymore.

23. Now, if my hyacinth hadn't been staked, we'd be done.  However; I want to get rid of that string around the stem.

24. Magnify your image so that you are looking at the stem like this:


25. You can get rid of this in any number of ways.  Use the one you are most comfortable with: the clone brush Clone brush, the retouch tool Retouch tool, or simply paint over it.


26. When you've gotten rid of the white string, choose File/Export/Picture Tube, default settings and a name you'd like.

Here is an image I made using my finished tube:






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Revised: April 06, 2008.