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Birdhouse: Part I

This tutorial approximates how you would draw a birdhouse in two-point perspective using Layers, Preset Shapes and the Deformation tool.

This is a weathered birdhouse using a woodgrain pattern that I created in PSP. If you choose to use a different woodgrain pattern, make sure that the woodgrain is rather large or tiles seamlessly.

It is recommended that you save your work often in the PSP format or use the "Autosave" feature located under File > Preferences to prevent loss of your work due to program or system crashes.

*Screenshots are greatly reduced in size and optimized for faster download times.



Structure

Right-click on woodgrain thumbnail on the right and choose "Save Target As." You can also click the thumbnail to open the full-sized image in a new window then right-click and "Save Image As." Once saved, open the image in PSP.

Open a new 300 X 300 image with a white background.

Under the "Styles" section of the color palette set the stroke style to "No Style" & the fill style to "Pattern" by clicking the arrow on each button. Click on the button containing the pattern and choose the woodgrain image from the resulting dialog box. Make sure that the size is set to 100% and the angle is set to 0. See screenshot.

The buttons under the "Textures" section should be set to "No Texture" or "Null" and the "Lock" option should be checked.

Throughout the tutorial you will be instructed to switch the woodgrain pattern from a stroke style to a fill style. To make the switch click on the arrows labeled "Style Switcher" in the screenshot.


Figure 1
Figure1

Create two new layers in the layer palette. Name one layer "Front" and the other "Side". Activate the Preset Shapes tool with the following settings & draw a pentagon on the "Front" layer. Activate the "Side" layer and draw a rectangle next to the pentagon. See Figure 1.

Preset Shapes-Tool Options
Retain style: unchecked
Antialias:checked
Create as vector: unchecked
Line width: default
Line style: default

It is important that these shapes are on separate layers before moving on to the next step.

Figure 2
Figure2

Using Figure 2 as a guide make the "Front" layer the active layer & activate the Deformation tool. Hold the Shift key & drag the left-center handle upward until the pentagon is slightly angled along the bottom. Without pressing any keys drag the same handle toward the right to decrease the width of the piece.

Use Colors > Adjust > Brightness/Contrast the lighten this piece.

As you deform the pieces you will notice that the woodgrain loses some of its sharpness. The woodgrain pattern fill was oversharpened to compensate for this, but if you need to sharpen the pieces use Effects > Sharpen > Unsharp mask and adjust the settings to your satisfaction.

Switch to the "Side" layer and activate the Deformation tool. Join the pieces by holding the Shift key and dragging the bottom-center handle to the left. Release the Shift key and pull the top-center and bottom-center deformation handles up or down to align the adjoining corners. Hold Shift + Ctrl and pull the bottom-right corner handle up and slightly inward to create a slight angle along the bottom of this piece. Note that the top edge of this piece remains straight.

Use Colors > Adjust > Brightness/Contrast to darken this piece.

Click on the "Style Switcher" arrows to switch the pattern from a fill style to a stroke style. Activate the Magic Wand selection tool with the settings shown and click on the white area surrounding the birdhouse.

Magic Wand-Tool Options
Match Mode: RGB Value
Tolerance: 0
Feather: 1
Sample Merged: checked

After making the selection you may want to uncheck the "Sample Merged" setting and set the "Feather" to 0, if you are not familiar with using the different options for the Magic Wand tool.

Choose Selections > Modify > Expand with a setting of 1.

Figure 3

Activate the Draw tool with the following settings and draw a line along the right side where the pieces join. Repeat this process toward the back of the birdhouse. This will create the illusion that the front and back pieces are made from wooden planks. See Figure 3.

Draw Tool-Tool Options
Type: Single Line
Width: 9
Line Style: #1 Solid
Antialias: checked
Create as vector: unchecked

Hit the delete key on your keyboard to get rid of an excess line then choose Selections > Select None.

Roof

Create a new layer named "Roof 1." Click on the "Style Switcher" arrows so that the pattern is used as a fill style. Click on the button containing the pattern and change the angle to 90°. Activate the Preset Shapes tool set to "Rectangle" and draw the shape.

Change the roof color to gray by choosing Colors > Colorize with the following settings, then lighten the piece through Colors > Adjust > Brightness/Contrast.

Colorize
Hue: 0
Saturation: 0

Figure 4
Figure4

Using Figure 4 as a guide, position the piece over the birdhouse & lower the opacity of this layer by moving the opacity slider in the layer palette.(see screenshot).

Activate the deformation tool. Hold the Shift key and pull the bottom-center handle to the right to skew the piece. Pull the center-side and the center-top & bottom handles (without pressing any keys) to adjust the height and width of the piece so that it overlaps the edges of the birdhouse to create the eaves. Hold the Shift + Ctrl keys simultaneously while dragging the top-right handle down and slightly inward to give the shape perspective. Reset the opacity to 100%.


Figure 5
Figure5

Activate the "Background" in the layer palette & create a new layer named "Roof 2" (this will place the new layer above the "Background"). Activate the Preset Shapes Tool and draw a triangle. Choose Colors > Colorize (use the same settings as in the previous step) and use the deformation tool to shape & align it. Choose Colors > Adjust > Brightness/Contrast to darken this piece. See Figure 5.


Activate the "Roof 1" layer in the layer palette & create a new layer named "Roof 3" (the new layer should now be the topmost layer in the layer palette). Click on the "Style Switcher" so that the pattern will be used for the stroke style and activate the Draw tool with the following settings:

Draw - Tool Options
Type: Point to point
Width: 9
Line Style: #1 Solid
Antialias: checked

*Under the second tab in the Tool Options palette make sure that the "Join" option is set to "Miter".

Figure 6
Figure6

Click each corner along the roofline, as illustrated in Figure 6, then click outside of the image to set the line. After the line is set, you may need to apply a slight deformation by selecting the deformation tool and pulling the top-center handle downward. This adds thickness to the roof so that it looks like it's made of wooden planks.

Colorize this piece with the previously used settings & then lighten the piece through Colors > Adjust > Brightness/Contrast.

To correct any overhang left by the line & give the planks a more realistic angle activate the Freehand Selection tool with the following settings:

Freehand - Tool Options
Selection Type: Point to point
Feather: 0
Antialias:checked

Figure 7
Figure7

Zoom in on the image and, using Figure 7 as a guide, click at intervals to surround the left corner of the roof with a selection. Pay close attention to the angles indicated by the red lines. Double-click to set the selection. Hold the Shift key and repeat this process for the right corner. Once both selections are made, activate each roof layer in the layer palette and hit the "Delete" key on your keyboard.

If you make a mistake when making point-to-point selections, press the delete key on your keyboard to go back the previous point.

Details

Create a new top layer & name this layer "Entrance." Switch the style from "stroke" to "fill" by clicking on the "Style Switcher" arrows located on the left of the style buttons in the color palette. Change the fill style from "Pattern" to "Solid Color" then right-click on the color button & choose black for the fill color.

Activate the Preset Shapes tool and draw an ellipse for the entrance to the birdhouse. Lock the transparency (see screenshot) for this layer then select Effects > 3D Effects > Cutout and apply with the settings shown below:

Cutout Settings
Fill interior with color: unchecked
Shadow color: Click on the color swatch and
use the eyedropper to select
one of the lighter colors
in the birdhouse by clicking on the image.
Opacity: 100
Blur: 0
Offset vertical: 0
Offset horizontal: 9
Figure 8

Locking the transparency for a layer keeps the underlying image data from disappearing when a cutout is applied.

This next step involves creating a styled line with rounded ends. If you have already completed the Basket tutorial then you should have this line and can move on to the next step.

Activate the Draw tool. Click the "Custom" button in the Tool Options palette. When the "Styled Lines" dialog box appears use the following instructions to create the new line style. Change only the options indicated, leaving all other options at their default values.

Styled Line
  1. Click on the Reset button located at the bottom-right corner of the dialog box.
  2. At the top of the dialog box you will see a "Caps" section, click on the drop-down arrow under the area labeled "First Cap" and choose "Round". Click on the "Size" button for this cap and set the Width to 1.
  3. Repeat step two to create a rounded "Last Cap".
  4. Click on the "Save as New" button and name the line "Rounded Ends" and click "OK".

Change the fill style back to "Pattern" then click on the "Style Switcher" arrows so that the pattern will be used as a stroke style. Create a new layer named "Perch" and, using the new line style with the following settings, hold the Shift key and draw a line below the entrance to the birdhouse.

Draw - Tool Options
Type: Single Line
Width: 7
Line Style: Rounded Ends
Antialias: checked

If the angles of your birdhouse do not look quite right, before moving on to the final step, activate the deformation tool and adjust the pieces (this is one reason for working on separate layers). Keep in mind, however, that the deformation tool blurs the image, so you may need to sharpen the pieces as you work.

Figure 9

Activate the Retouch tool with the following settings & work your way through all of the layers in the layer palette, darkening each piece where shadows would fall and anywhere that you need a little more contrast to the image (i.e. under the eaves of the roof and around the entrance). Activate the "Roof 3" layer, decrease the size of the Retouch tool to 2, and create a dark line where the roof planks join at the top. See Figure 9.

Tool Options
Shape: Round
Size: 25
Hardness: 0
Opacity: 8
Step: 1
Density: 51
Setting: Darken RGB

The birdhouse structure is complete. Make the birdhouse unique by colorizing, adding nails, adding a post or hanger...whatever you wish to add.

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