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

Title: Artistic Selections
Skill Level: Beginner

Additional Files:
PhotoImpact Users Photo Gallery
or your own photo

Description: Use a variety of selection shapes to give your photos interesting and modernistic look. Many thanks to Glenda Meeler who introduced this technique and for allowing me to re-write her original tutorial on a beginner level.

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.


Open a photograph of your choice. You'll find a nice selection in the PhotoImpact Users Photo Gallery. If needed, resize the photo (Adjust\Resize) so you can see 100% of the image in your PhotoImpact workspace.


  1. Make sure your image is RGB 24bit color (Adjust\Convert Data Type\RGB 24bit Color).

  2. Click on the Standard Selection Tool. Set the Mode to + (so you can add multiple selections) and select Rectangle from the drop down menu.


  3. Draw a small rectangle somewhere on the upper left corner as shown in the first image below. Add a second rectangle. At the point where the rectangles overlap, they will become one large selection instead of two (example in second image). Switch to the circle selection on the drop down menu and add a circle or two. As with rectangles, the point where they intersect will join them. Make some of your selections as separate boxes (don't overlap).

    Since each image is different, you will have to decide which areas to select. Be creative. Try selecting focal points in the image. You may wish to save your image as a .ufo from time to time. It will retain your selections.

  4. When you've made all your selections, Right-Click\Convert to Object. To insure that you don't, open the layer manager and click on the Lock.


We want to emphasize the edges of the object so it stands out from the background and we'll add some shadows to define it a bit more. Your object should still be selected from the previous step. If not, select the Pick tool then click on the object.
  1. On the menu, click on Object\Shadow. On the Shadow menu, Check the box to apply the shadow. Accept all of the defaults, click OK. Your image should be looking pretty nice - but we're not done yet.

  2. Click on the Paintbrush tool, set the color to black, size =1, soft edge =1.

  3. On the menu, select Effect\Creative\Paint on Edges. This will draw a thin black line around the selection. If you prefer a thicker line, you can increase the size and repeat this step.


Using a nice texture or effect on the background will make your object stand out even more.
  1. Click on the Pick tool , then click anywhere in the image to un-select your object (or press the Enter key).

  2. Any effects you use now will be applied to the background. Open your Easy Palette and select the Galleries tab. Click on the Image Enhancements\Special Effects\Artistic. Double click on an effect you like. Impressionist5, Decoupage 4 & 5, and Brick2 give some interesting results. It depends on your image. Pick the one you like best. When using textures from this gallery, besure to Un-Do between trying the varions ones, otherwise they will build one upon the other. Experiment!

    Try effects from the other galleries and/or those in third party filters such as the Texturizer. The possibilities are endless.

  3. When you're happy with your image, Right-Click\Merge All.

    You may wish to add a small border on the edges (Format\Expand Canvas\Expand all sides equally, color black, 2 pixels. No two pictures will come out alike since each photo is unique. Experiment. Try a white Paint on Edges if your image is dark.

    Don't forget to optimize your image when saving!!

    Here are some other examples of using this technique:

    by Glenda Meeler

    by Debbie Hardisty

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.