Software: Ulead PhotoImpact 12
Author: MaryLou White
Home Page: Wishing Well Tutorials
Title: The Bezier Tool
Skill Level: Intermediate
The Bezier tool, named after the French mathematician, Pierre Bézier, is a curved line defined by mathematical formulas. This is a powerful but seldom used tool because people don't understand how to use it.
PhotoImpact 12 has several preset work modes. For this tutorial, we will be using the Full Edit mode so all of the tools in PhotoImpact will be available to you.
As you work, use your mouse to drag this along with with you to mark your place.
LET'S GET STARTED
The Bezier tool is associated with the Path tool.
A Bezier curve always consists of at least two anchors (nodes) and a set of handles. Before you can make anything with this tool, you need to understand how it works. It can be used with the Path Tool, the Path Outline tool, the Selection tool, and the Line and Arrow tool. We'll be working with Path tool Bezier.
We're going to practice for a bit before going on. It's important to get the hang of this tool in order to use it effectively. Open a new image about 400x400, white background. Select the Path Tool, Bezier, Mode 2D, color of your choice.
Practice this a few times until you can do it with ease. Remember the sequence, Click to set first anchor, Click and hold to set second anchor, keep holding and drag the mouse in an upward direction, Release mouse, go back to first anchor and double-click. If you make a mistake, don't worry - hit the Backspace key go to back a step. This tool lets you make perfect shapes.
You can create many different kinds of shapes with the Bezier tool. As long as you don't double-click to end the curve, you can keep on making many different shapes. For this tutorial, we're going to stick with the simple "petal" but you can experiment and see what you come up with.
SIMPLE BEZIER FLOWER
You could use the petal you made and do copy and rotate to make a flower which would make each petal perfect. With the Bezier tool, you can achieve a more natural look since each petal is made separately. This technique takes a little practice. For the first time around, let's use an existing object as a guideline.
Start a new image, 400x400. Use the Path tool, Color = gray. Select the custom shape shown below:
Hold down the shift key and draw the shape in the size you want for your flower, merge all. This shape will be used as a guideline to help you get the petals similar in size, but not exact.
Now comes the fun part. Using the guideline, make your flower into one continuous object. Remember the sequence. Select a color of your choice - gradients are nice and you can also use a border if you like.
- Using the Bezier tool, click the left mouse button once in the center of the image to set the first anchor point.
- Move the mouse toward the end of the guideline image.
- Click and hold the mouse button to set the second anchor point.
- Drag the mouse upward to create the curve.
- Release the mouse button and move mouse back to the center of the guideline image. Click ONCE, then repeat from step 2 all the way around. When finished, double-click.
Try this a few times. You will soon be able to do it without a guideline.
Now that we have the petals , let's make them into something useful. Open a new image around 400x400 or so. Drag your flower to the new image.
To add a center to the flower, open the Easy Palette Brush Gallery\Paint Tools. Select the Pepper Dot Brush. Then pick a color for the center of your flower. Click on the Paint as Object icon and paint the center. This example uses an orangish color first, followed by yellow.
Add a stem using your choice of tools (this example used line and arrow), add some bezier leaves and you have a pretty flower! Here are some examples of finished flowers.
Don't be afraid to experiment with this tool. It can be used to create many interesting objects with a little practice.
If you're doing this tutorial as part of the Beginners Workshop, please complete the following exercise. Make a bouquet with at least 3 flowers using the Bezier tool. You might like to make a bouquet for your mentor since this is the last graphic you will create before making your web page. Some tips for making your bouquet:
- While your petals are still a path object, use the Virtual Track Ball to change the angle. Don't panic - here's how to use the trackball. Select your petal, then click the Transform tool and select the Virtual Track Ball. Click on your flower somewhere around the middle of the image and drag in the direction you want the flower to turn.
- You can duplicate your first set of petals, then make them smaller so they fit nicely on top of the original set.
- You might want to use the dodge and burn tools to give it more depth.
- Adding a shadow to a completed object is a nice touch.
The flowers below were made by various Workshop Mentors
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Copyright© MaryLou White.
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