Software: Ulead PhotoImpact 12
Author: MaryLou White
Home Page: Wishing Well Tutorials

Title: Paint On Edges
Skill Level: Beginner

Description: The Paint On Edges (POE) technique can be used in conjunction with other tools to create some very interesting and dramatic effects. We will explore several different uses for this technique.

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 you to mark your place.


The Paint On Edges tool (more commonly called POE) is located on the menu bar under Effect\Creative\Paint On Edges. It will not be visible until you have an open image. Even then, you must have an object selected before it can be used. The POE effect can be used on any object, but when used on a path object, the path object it will automatically be converted to an image object.

POE and the Paint Brush

In PhotoImpact, you can, of course, create a "border" on a path item simply by checking the border option when you draw the path object.

But, what if your image is not a path object? How can you put a border around it? This is where the POE method comes in. It's great for creating edges on either path objects or image objects so let's give it a try!

  1. Open a new image - 150x150
  2. Click on the Path Tool, Shape Round, Color yellow, Mode, 2D Object. Draw a round circle that fills about 3/4's of the image. Make sure the border option is not checked.

  3. Click on the Paint Brush located on the left tool bar and set the options on the attribute bar as shown. Your circle should still be active (have selection lines around it) You are going to add a 2-pixel border around the circle. Selecting a soft edge of one will make the edge less "harsh" looking. When you're ready, apply the POE effect. Just like magic, you now have a yellow circle with a black edge.

    Now that we have a nice yellow circle, why don't we put it to good use and and make a smiley just for fun! Add two more smaller dark circles for eyes, and two smaller ones for the "dimples" at the end of the smile. For the mouth, use the Line and Arrow path tool. If you don't know how to make it curve, just make a straight line.

    Tip: When making one object on top of the other (such as the eyes), hold down the ALT key while you draw or draw them off the edge of the canvas and drag them into place.

    One great way to use this POE method is to enhance clipart. Look at the examples below. The first one is the original, the second has been enhanced with a black egde which makes it stand out a bit more than the original.

POE and the Air Brush

By using the Air brush tool and the POE effect, you can create some interesting 3D effects without using the 3D options. This is nice when you want a softer look.

  1. Open a new image around 150x150.

  2. Click on the Path tool, Color (your choice) Mode, 2D Object. Click on Shape\Custom. Navigate through the Custom shapes and find shape B49. Draw a shape to fill about 3/4 of the of the image. Hold down the Shift key as you drag your mouse so the shape doesn't become distorted.

  3. Click on the Airbrush tool (it's right underneath the paintbrush) and set the attribute bar with Color Black, Shape 40, and Soft Edge 40. Notice we are using a very large number this time because we want the effect to be much wider than it was in the first exercise. This is because we want a "faded" effect from dark to light and we want it to soften as it goes. A good rule of thumb, set both values the same.

  4. Apply the POE Effect. You should have a nice soft edge around your image. Just for fun, add an eye and a drop shadow and create a Ms. PacMan!.

Try this technique using other shapes from the library. Use a contrasting color for the air brush to give even more incredible results!
POE and the Stamp Tool

This is the most "fun" part of using POE. The possibilities are endless especially when you have a large collection of stamps.

  1. Open a new image around 300x300.

  2. Click on the Path Tool\Path Outline Drawing.

  3. On the Attribute Bar, select a color of your choice, 2D object, Shape Round.

  4. Draw an outlined circle in the center of your image. Not too large, you need room to work. Leave your circle in an active state. We are going to create a garland of pretty flowers.

  5. Click on the Stamp tool and select one of the two flower stamps from the Stamp Menu. Set the scale and spacing as shown in the example below.

  6. Apply the POE effect and see how your plain ring turns into a lovely floral wreath!

Scale and Spacing depend on the image you're using and the effect you want to achieve. It's good to stamp once to check the stamp size, then adjust to suit yourself. The smaller the spacing value, the closer the objects will be to one another. Practice using this tool with other shapes and stamps.

Green Tree: First, Download my greenery stamp and add it to your Stamp Menu. Make a base using shape B50 in the Shape Library. Rotate it using the transform tool with the point up. Add a few vertical lines as shown using the Line and Arrow tool. Remember, to draw an object on top of another one, hold down the Shift key. Right-click, Select all Objects, select the greenery stamp and apply the POE Effect. You have an instant fir tree.

There are many other ways to use this effect so don't be afraid to experiment. To get a "thicker" result when using a stamp, apply it a second time. It will apply the stamp not only to the lines you made but to each of the stamps originally used which makes a very thick effect. Enjoy!

You're invited to join the PIRC Fourm! This is an active PhotoImpact Forum where you'll find a wonderful group of warm, friendly, talented, and knowledgeable people who are ready and willing to share their expertise with you. There are creative activities for all levels of PhotoImpact users. This forum is 100% free and everyone is welcome.

Copyright© MaryLou White.
This document may not be translated, duplicated, redistributed or otherwise appropriated without permission.