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Paint Shop Pro Picture Tubes – The Basics

written by: •edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 9/16/2009

Picture tubes in Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 Ultimate provide a quick, easy, and fun way to dress up a digital photo. We’ll describe a couple of different ways to use this feature in the opening article of this series.

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    What are Picture Tubes?

    Samples from Picture Tubes Picture tubes are collections of objects in Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 Ultimate that can be used to add artistic effects to your digital photographs. There are numerous groups of picture tubes that come prepackaged with Paint Shop Pro, but you can also download more from third-party sources or even create your own!

    Each picture tube contains several images from one central theme. For example, the St. Patrick’s picture tube that comes packaged with Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 Ultimate includes six different images, all related to Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The number of images in each picture tube varies. While the St. Patrick’s picture tube only has six images, the Autumn Leaves tube has nine.

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    How to Use Picture Tubes

    There are two basic ways that you can use picture tubes to embellish a digital photograph. The first way is to add images from the tube, one by one, to specific areas on the photo. To do this, follow these steps.

    Adding Individual Picture Tube Images

    Step One: Open your photo in Paint Shop Pro and click on the Picture Tube tool.

    Select Picture Tube Tool 

    Step Two: The Picture Tube toolbar will now be present underneath the main toolbar at the top of the Paint Shop Pro screen. By default, the last picture tube used will be visible in this menu. To select a new tube, click on the arrow next to the default image as shown in the screenshot below.

    Choose Picture Tube Category 

    Step Three: Scroll through the available options and pick the picture tube you want to use to embellish your digital photo. You can narrow down your selection choices by first picking a category if you like. For this example, we’ll choose the Hearts picture tube.

    Step Four: Before you start placing images from the picture tube on the photo, it’s a good idea to select what options you want to use for the tube. There are four different items you can customize here: Scale, Step, Placement Mode, and Selection Mode.

    Pick Options for Picture Tube 

    The Scale will determine how large the image from the picture tube will be when you place it in your photo. You may have to play around with this a little bit to get the exact size you want. Since we’re only adding individual images from the tube in this example, we don’t have to worry about the Step option, and we’ll ignore that for now. We’ll pick Random for Placement Mode and Incremental for Selection Mode.

    Step Five: Click on the area of the digital photo where you want the image to appear.

    White Bengal Tiger with Heart 

    Tip: If you don’t like the image from the picture tube or if you want to change the scale and start over, just click the Undo button and try again.

    Painting with Picture Tubes

    The second method of using picture tubes to dress up your digital photos involves using the tube as a paintbrush. Instead of simply clicking on one spot in the photo, you can drag the mouse across an area of the photograph and create a continuous effect. This process of doing this is much the same as using the first method, so we’ll just point out the differences.

    The Step option becomes very important when using picture tubes in this manner. It will determine how close together the continuous images will be as you are “painting” them on the photo. Larger step values correspond to images being placed further apart. For this example, we’ll change the Step value to 50.

    Now, just pick the area of the digital photo where you want your stream of images to begin, and drag the cursor across the photograph with your mouse. We’ve used the X3_Stars picture tube to illustrate this in the photo shown below.

    Painting with Picture Tubes 

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    Experiment!

    As with many features of Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 Ultimate, you’ll have to practice and experiment a little to realize all the versatility that working with picture tubes has to offer. Have some fun exploring the tubes that come packaged with the software, and then check out the other articles in this series when you’re ready to start looking for more picture tubes to add to your collection.

    If you're looking for information on other features found in Paint Shop Pro, browse through the library of tutorials found here on Bright Hub's Digital Photography Channel.

Picture Tubes in Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 Ultimate Series

Ready to find out how you can use the picture tubes of Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 Ultimate to jazz up your digital photographs? In this series, we’ll start with the basics and work ourselves up to learning how to create our own custom picture tubes for the photo-editing software.
  1. Paint Shop Pro Picture Tubes – The Basics
  2. Free Paint Shop Pro Picture Tubes
  3. Accessing Additional Picture Tubes in Paint Shop Pro
  4. Create Your Own Picture Tubes in Paint Shop Pro