I write a lot of tutorials, and have done so for many years working in a variety of settings.  Tutorials are essential in a school setting when working with faculty who may need to learn or review information on their own when I am not present.  Below are several examples of tutorials I created, both as classroom projects and on the job.

Terrific Text Effects with Paint Shop Pro

Since I do a lot of work with graphic arts, and am often asked about working in graphics programs, I created a series of tutorials on using text effects to enhance a document.  In today's highly visual society, being able to handle a graphics program is fast becoming a necessity, particularly when working with teens and children, who may reject information that is not presented in a visually appealing way.  Though these were created in Paint Shop Pro, I am also proficient in Adobe Photoshop, and have some experience with Illustrator as well.

with Paint Shop Pro


This tutorial was written for Corel’s Paint Shop Photo Pro X2.  Photo Pro X3 is the newest version and is currently on sale for $39.99 at http://www.corel.com/servlet/Satellite/us/en/Product/1184951547051 #versionTabview=tab1&tabview=tab0.  Paint Shop Photo Pro is a hobbyist/amateur alternative to Adobe Photoshop, builds similar graphics art skills, and is powerful enough for the casual or beginning user.  It is also far simpler to use than Photoshop, and a decent alternative for those on a tight budget. 

 I do a lot of graphic work, both for my small business and to add some pizzazz to presentations and flyers for work and school.  I thought I would write a tutorial covering some of the basic techniques for spicing up plain text to use as titles and headers in color print and digital work.  This tutorial is written primarily for adults, but could easily be used by anyone middle school and above.

 Creating Text

1. Open Paint Shop Pro.

2. Create a new document (File > New OR Ctrl + N OR the blank page button)

3. The document can be any size you want, but larger is better than smaller – you can always size it down.  For PRINT projects, your resolution should be 300.000 Pixels/Inch.  For WEB or DIGITAL projects, your resolution should be 72.000 Pixels/Inch.  Then select OK.  (Notice that Transparency is checked.)

4. Select the Text Tool and click in the middle of your open document.

5. Look at your color picker on the right side of your screen.  You will see a box with many colors in it, and two boxes each with one color.

6. For now, make sure the Null sign is active on the top box.  If it isn’t, look at the three buttons under the color box: solid circle, splotchy looking circle, and null sign.  Click the null sign button.

7. Make sure the color is active on the bottom box.  If it is not, click the solid circle underneath.

8. Move your cursor over the bottom color box.  It should change to an eyedropper.  Click in the color box.

9. A colorful “Material Properties” popup will appear.  You can select the color you want in several ways.  For now, either click one of the pre-selected color boxes or click and drag the open circle selector on the color wheel and in the big color box to pick a color you want.  Select OK.  Your color should appear in the bottom color box back in the main window.

10. Go to the Font drop down menu at the top left.  Select a font you like from the previews.  For titles and headers, generally a heavy font like Impact, Arial Black or Cooper Black works best.  Note: If you don’t see this, your Text tool is not selected.  See #4.

11. Click the “Text Entry” popup window (it appeared on your screen when you used the Text tool on your new document in Step #4) and type in the text you want.  It should appear in the color and font you selected in your document.

12. Click and drag to highlight the text you just typed.  Go up to the Font Size drop-down menu.  Select the size you want your text to be. 

Note: The default option only goes up to 72 points, but you can click in the size box and enter any custom number you want.  I am using a font size of 100 for this example.

13. When the text looks the way you want it to look, select “Apply.” 

CONGRATS!  You created text in PSP.  Go on to the next lesson.


Bevels and Drop Shadows can be used on any type of text – solid, patterned, thick, thin, etc.  However, it should generally be the last thing you do to the text layer.  (If you are creating text with more than one layer, you can bevel and drop shadow each layer as you go sometimes, but it should be the last thing you do to the layer.)

Bevels give your text the illusion of being three-dimensional.

1. With your text document open, make sure the text layer you want to work on is selected (highlighted) in the Layers palette.

2. Look at the icon next to the highlighted layer.  If it has a teal square and a purple circle, the layer is a vector layer.  If the icon is two pieces of paper, the layer is a raster layer.  Vectors in Paint Shop Pro cannot have effects added to them. 

3. If your text layer has the vector icon, right-click the highlighted layer and choose “Convert to Raster Layer.”

4. At the top of your screen, go to Effects > 3D Effects > Inner Bevel.

5. As with any program, sometimes you just have to play a little to find what you like.  The “Inner Bevel” window is a good place to do that.  Make sure “Preview on Image” is checked.  Then change the settings around until you find a bevel you like, and click “OK.”

Here are a few examples and their settings to get you started:

Congratulations!  You have some snazzy 3D text!

Drop Shadows

To really make your text pop, the last thing you should do to it is add a drop shadow.

1. Make sure your text layer is selected (See Step #1 of Beveling if you aren’t sure).

2. At the top menu bar, go to Effects > 3D effects > Drop Shadow.

3. Again, this is a window where playing around with the settings will give you a huge range of effects.

Offset: Tells the shadow how far away to move from the original object.  Bigger numbers move it farther out.  Negative numbers move the shadow to the top or the left; positive numbers move it to the bottom or right

Opacity: Tells how dark the shadow should be.  Higher opacity creates a darker shadow.

Blur: Tells how sharp or blurry the shadow should be.  Usually the closer an object is supposed to be to the background, the sharper you want to make the shadow.

Color: You can change the color of your shadow but realistic shadows should be black or dark gray.

Click “OK” when you have a shadow you like.

Here are some example settings to get you started:

Just for fun, I added several drop shadows…

And the finished text

 Congratulations!  You have some TERRIFIC TEXT!