Paint Shop Pro 9 has very powerful materials selection tools. However, these tools come with the price of complexity. The goal of this tutorial is to introduce you to the structure and options of the Materials Palette.

There are three tabs, each giving a means of choosing materials. Frame is new this version. Click on the frame to chose the hue and select the saturation and lightness from within the rectangle. Rainbow allows you to choose the colour directly. Swatches allow direct access to materials that are frequently used.

When using type, the upper swatch is for stroke and the lower for fill. Painting and fill use the upper swatch with left mouse button and the lower with right. Note that modes similar to those of layers can be used for fill and painting as well.

Clicking on the arrows will allow swapping of either colours or materials as above.

Each of the swatches has an icon with a drop-down allowing one to choose either a colour, gradient or fill - as above. There are two more icons to toggle on texture and transparency. Note the ghosted "All Tools" check box. If the user wants the colours to be global with all tools, make sure the square is checked. If not checked, each tool can have its own set of materials.

A left-click on either of the swatches will bring up the dialogues below. A right click will bring up a palette of recently used materials.

Once the dialogue window is open, you can alter your choice to any of the three basic materials - colour, gradient or pattern - by clicking the appropriate tab.

Colour can be chosen as above, by clicking on the ring to choose hue, and then moving the selection point around the square to select the level of saturation and lightness. Colour may also be chosen by clicking on the basic colours rectangle below with primary and secondary colours in several steps of lightness, plus greyscale.

Colours may be chosen by numeric entry into either the RGB or HSL fields or by adjusting the sliders. It can also be set in HTML's hexadecimal format for web use.

By choosing Texture with any of these dialogues, a variable transparent texture is combined with the colour, gradient or pattern.

If the user expects to use a colour or any material frequently, it can be added to the swatch palette by clicking on "Add to swatches".

The gradient dialogue allows one to choose one of four types of gradient - linear, rectangular, circular and radial. Clicking on the window with the little triangle beside it just under where it says "Black-white",, allows the user to preview all the colour combinations installed, with the parameters that are set. Further colour combinations can be set by clicking upon Edit.

The patterns dialogue allows the user to choose any installed pattern, rotate it and scale it from 10% to 250%. The patterns can all be previewed by clicking on the window below the pattern title, as with the gradient window. Any open document will automatically show up at the top of the preview window and can be used as a pattern fill! It can also be saved in the Patterns folder in the Paint Shop Pro folder and will load in ever after.

Now that you have a map of this powerful feature, please check the Help file and PSP manual for further details on using the gradient editor and creating new patterns of your own.

©2005 Larry N. Bolch