Monica's FAQ Page
Frequently Asked Questions
Last updated on August 18, 2005.
As newer versions of PSP are released, some answers in this list of Frequently Asked Questions may no longer apply.
CorelTM has made significant changes to the software between new versions.
They were originally written for PSP7, with some general tips.
Um, where do I find custom brushes in PSP7?
- Click on your brush tool. Now, look at your brush options window. See the little brush icon on the right side of the window? Click on it to reach your custom, default, and other specialty brushes. You'll need to go back and reset the brush to NORMAL when you are done.
Contacting Tut Authors
"I could never bug a tut author!"
- You would not believe how many times I hear this! In over 2 years of learning PSP, I've only found one cranky tut author-probably from hitting her head on the brick wall too much. Tut authors enjoy hearing "Thank you" from folks. They enjoy answering questions. They enjoy cheering you on when you mastered that new feature. Those email addies they post on their pages are not there for decoration or just so they get every spam message in the universe. They are there so you can contact them. For those who are quite timid, try the following :
- For supply issues, were you left-clicking on the folder or right-clicking? Many sites do not allow right-clicking.
- Are you using a download accelerator? Many ISP's sites no longer allow those.
- When you do email the tut author, include the version of PSP you are using, and the tut name/url you are stumped on. Get very specific. Instead of "I'm lost." try "I made it thru step x, I don't understand where to look or what to do for step y." Also, avoid blank subject lines, embedded images and stationery.
- You just saved 5 emails trying to drag the information out of you. You'll get a faster answer and the author will not feel like hitting his/her head on a brick wall.
- If you completed the tut, but noticed a problem with the site-typos, links, etc.- DO drop the author a nice note letting them know. I have been known to correct one problem and create another.
- If you have a tut request or just have a sudden urge to thank the tut author, GO FOR IT!
- Please allow at least 24 hours for a response, you have no way of knowing the author's work schedule, family obligations, sleeping schedule, or vacation. And no I do not publish my vacations on the Internet any more than I would publish the plans in a newspaper. I have yet to meet a tut author that sits at the computer waiting for user email 24/7.
- What bugs tut authors? Not asking them questions and just broadcasting to your group "how hard the tut was and you gave up". A common response: "Hmmm. Guess you really didn't want to learn the technique after all."
- Do not expect a tut author to explain something about PSP beyond the confines of their own tut directions. Allow them to refer you to other sites which can answer your questions, or read the CorelTM help files yourself.
- Finally, few authors respond politely to cussing, ultimatums, etc. Keep that in mind.
Why on earth did PSP8, PSP9, .... create an empty directory in my MY Documents folder? Can I delete it?
- So that if you need to uninstall and reinstall PSP, all your downloaded PSP goodies such as tubes, frames, settings are not deleted. DO NOT Delete that folder named something like "My PSP Files". The file locations area points to it for various things and it is usually the default save area when you save or export your personal creations. In PSP9, it is part of the memory management stuff.
PSP___ didn't have _(insert names of fonts here) installed!?
- This is one of THE TOP 5 Questions posted in the newsgroups by PSP users. PSP does NOT install any fonts to your computer.
Well, how do I use/see more fonts in PSP__?
- You can physically install more fonts on your computer using your version of Windows, but you'll need to check your Windows help files for specific step by step directions relevant to your computer. (Press START key, Choose "Help & Support Center"; type "install fonts" into the search box for Windows help; Follow the directions that appear.) You could also open the specific font file on your desktop; minimize the font window; Open PSP_ and do the activity. You would close the font window only after you are completely finished using the font.
Where do I find free fonts I can use in PSP__?
- Another top 5 question. You could search for "free font" in your favorite search engine but there are likely hundreds of thousands of results. You could check my Font Links Page for a shorter list of places with sorted lists of free font types. Do keep in mind that a defective font file can cause PSP__ to crash at strange times and in strange ways and is very difficult to track down. Older versions of Windows also had limits on the number of fonts you can have physically installed.
I really wish you had a guestbook....
- At one point, I had planned on adding a guestbook to this site. However, some friends had a "stalker" filling their guestbooks with nasty messages and threats. The measures they had to take to protect others and themselves from the "stalker" convinced me to just write tutorials instead of devoting the huge block of time needed for guestbook protections. Now, there are guestbook spiders/robots that exist solely to strip email addresses for sale to spammers. Since I already have proof other email harvesting robots regularly visit this domain, (and deluge me with spam... up to 60% of my email per day) I hesitate to inflict the extra mail on those who would sign a guestbook here. I do enjoy the happy notes people email me.
Lighten and Darken Tools
I'm using PSP8 and it only lightens things!
- The default settings are left mouse button=lighten, right mouse button=darken.
I really have troubles using this tool in 7 or 8!
- This tool (and the other v7 retouch setting options) require you to trust your own judgement. Since the tool gradually builds up if you go over the same area, you must watch and control your mouse. If you do the same settings on two projects on the same day, you *will* get different results. In my own work, I use low hardness and density settings for the tool (under 50% for both). Some days, I still think I need to soften the resulting effects or smudge them together a bit more. For those working on my bird images, you might enjoy playing with the custom brushes as SarahT did. She used a Cybia brush to lighten/darken the birds and created a feather look.
Will newer versions of PSP overwrite my current version?
- (Another Top 5 question.) No. Each new version installs into its own subfolder named with the version. No need to uninstall any previous versions since they do peacefully coexist. Personally, I have 8 and 9 currently installed with no problems. You can even use file locations to point to the older version goodies in the newer version.
Can I use an older version of PSP to do one of your newest tutorials?
- Usually, yes! However, tools are often renamed or moved; tubes, patterns, and so on may not be present in all versions; some effects have been changed; and new tools are created in newer versions. With a bit of reading in the help files for your version, usually, you can create something similar. As an example, vectors are present in PSP7-9, but the way you edit them changed for each version.
Can you send me the ___(pattern,texture,tube,shape)___ you use in your tutorial since it didn't come with my version?
- Sorry, you'll need to check CorelTM for the relevant files.
If you are using a downloaded version of PSP, CorelTM splits the program into several downloads.
That keeps most folks happy about not taking an eternity to get the software downloaded.
You'll find the relevant links to the additional components listed on my PSP7, 8, and 9 links pages in the menu on the left or bottom of this page.
Additionally, you may also wish to investigate the CorelTM newsletter archives and the CorelTM Picture Tube Download areas for more new free tubes and older free tubes.
.SEL or Selection Files
What are they and why do these authors keep making me download them?
- Selection files are invisible forms to hold your paint, patterns etc. Like a pan holds your cake batter while it cooks. No, you don't HAVE to use them, you can draw the stuff from vectors or otherwise struggle along from scratch on your own.
Er, I wanna use them, but can't.
- Bet you were trying to "File->Open" or "Browse->View" them. Get that scary message when you try that. Proper way to open a selection file is to find "SELECTIONS" at the top of the PSP window and look for the "Load from Disk" option on the drop down menu. It's just a temporary, moving dotted lines shape on your image. Choose the Select None option from the same pull down, and it's gone.
Uh, I don't see all the files in my supply folder....You left some out.
- Before you ask me to send you the files, it could be your computer and not my files. Rather than repeat a wonderful explanation, visit Char for her explanation. Thanks Char!
How do you tut authors make all these .sel files?
- I know some of you saw this mentioned before and then you got distracted by other PSP things.
You can create .sel files from both raster and vector images.
Selections made from vectors produce the best quality .sel files.
For raster images, you would use the Wand, selection tool, freehand tool or the text tool and choose Selections->save to disk. If you are writing a tutorial, you will need to tell your students exactly what image size you used to create the .sel files. If you prefer to learn about creating .sel files from vectors, Char covers the topic very well.
Uh, the alpha channel selections are not working. Now what?
- Open the canvas file in either version 7 or version 8... it will work in either version. [Note you will be unsuccessful if you try to copy and paste the file with selections between versions.] Selections->Load->Load from alpha channel and load the correct numbered selection. Special Note: PSP7 can only see 14 alpha selections per image. Later versions have a higher limit.
How did you start writing tutorials?
- I entered a tutorial challenge in a graphics group. I had people to test my tutorial for me before it went "public" and offer suggestions.
Yup, I was really nervous, too. My husband used to translate my text files into HTML for me and then upload them, but he finally made me learn HTML myself and use FTP. As my site grew, I began to learn CSS and SSI to make the site easier to maintain. As I see something that might help me manage this site, I'll research it online so I can teach myself.
How did you pick a host for your page/site?
Where did you learn all that HTML and other web page stuff?
- My patient husband gave me a tiny O'Reilly book, HTML Pocket Reference, and told me to read, but I didn't stop there. He agreed to check my pages only after I had read and tried to solve any problems myself. (Mean, wasn't he? ;))Please learn the correct usage of the various HTML codes, your life will be much easier as browsers grow closer to the official HTML standards and your pages will be legible for those using gadgets other than computers to view your pages. (PDA's, phones, watches, etc.) You'll also avoid the huge task of redoing 50+ pages every time a new browser appears or a software company changes how their browser handles specific HTML codes.
- You can find quite a bit of free information to help you get started online creating webpages:
- For those wondering what I use
- Crimson Edit (free)
- HTMLkit (free)
- NoteTab Lite (free)
- CuteFTP ($)
- CoreFTP (free)
How do you tut authors make all these .sel files?
- I know some of you saw this mentioned before and then you got distracted by other PSP things. You can create .sel files from both raster and vector images. Selections made from vectors produce the best quality .sel files. For raster images, you would use the Wand, selection tool, freehand tool or the text tool and choose Selections->save to disk. If you are writing a tutorial, you will need to tell your students exactly what image size you used to create the .sel files.
- If you prefer to learn about creating .sel files from vectors, Char covers the topic very well.
How do you make those screen shots?
- You use the PrtScrn button on your keyboard and then Edit->Paste new image in PSP.
How do you add supplies folders for people to download your supplies?
- For my typical sentence in the Sources area that reads "Please download my supplies here." Where "here" is a link, the html code would look like this:
hp>Please download the supplies <a href="MWtutnamesupplies.zip"> here </a>.</p>
- You should use Winzip or another .zip/unzip program to create the zip file.
- Name the file with your tut name- had complaints from some about accidently overwriting my various "MWsupplies.zip" folders from previous lessons.
- The file name must match exactly and shouldn't have any spaces or other odd characters in the name. Some host servers freak at the spaces.
How I do get the files up to my host?
- This can vary with your host. Check with your host. Some provide a spot to click buttons and automatically upload the files for you, others let you choose your own FTP software. Many of those HTML editors include an FTP client (program) but you can choose to use any other program you wish. Yes, you can find free FTP programs as good or better than the paid software. Just check your favorite software site or computer magazine site. Those needing an "easy for beginners" program might consider SmartFTP (FREE) works similar to CuteFTP and allows whole folders to be clicked and dragged for upload.
What tips do you have for me creating my first tut?
- Think twice before you offer for download any filter, plugin, image, sound, font or other file you did not create from scratch or camera yourself. Check for copyright owner's TOU and get their written permission first. And just because something is on a site, doesn't mean that person always created it themselves from each note or pixel. Many sites require, at a minimum, same page link backs, but many others are quite restrictive.
- Always have a copyright statement on every page.
- Spend the time designing your page, site look, and navigation. Harder to change later.
- Always have an email addy on every tut so those who are lost/confused or successful can contact you.
Many graphics groups avoid tuts without that simple item.
- ALWAYS backup your site/pages and keep those backups current.
- Find an online website spell checker and use it on your pages.
- Make sure you included all the supplies.
- Make sure all page images are showing and not broken.
- Make sure all your links work on every page.
- If you do screen shots of various tool settings, use a very large arial font in black for visitors' ease of reading of those tiny setting values.
- Include a finished image at the beginning of your tutorial because many folks want a quick look before they try the tut without scrolling thru various multi-paged tuts.
- Name the PSP tools correctly. Hover your mouse over the PSP toolbar to find the correct tool name.
- Remind your visitors to reset the custom tool options back to the previous pre-tut settings.
- If you are building a domain, think ahead for future space, mail, and other possible business needs. You actually save money by planning ahead.
PSP7 tool icons are from MaMaT's icon tubes.
"PSP" refers to
CorelTM Paint ShopTM Pro®.
The individual creators own the copyrights and/or trademarks on their respective software filters, fonts, presets, Quick Guides, scripts, magazines, and images/banners which are mentioned or appear on these pages.
Customizable layout provided by Blue Robot CSS layouts. Note that I changed the colors, background and customized the CSS for my site.
© Copyright 2001-2011, Monica Wallek, All rights reserved.
Using my tutorial, means you agreed to these usage terms. All page elements, tutorials, and explanatory and sample graphics belong to me except where otherwise noted.