Lace and Netting in PSP 7

Now that you know how to make continuous tubes in PSP, what if you want to use a piece of lace that has lots of little spaces and (gasp) netting?

This tutorial will show you how to get rid of all those little spaces and get a not too bad piece of lace in Paint Shop Pro 7; PSP8 version is in work.

First, find some lace, lace with some netting maybe or lots of spaces that need the background removed. There are plenty of images on the web, just be sure you ask for permission before you use them for commercial purposes and don’t share them without permission either. Go to a fabric store and buy six inches of a lace or ribbon you like. Just make sure that the entire pattern is on that six inches (get more if you need to).

The image needs to be of sufficient size to give you some nice details.

The image will also need to be as straight as possible, so whether you find a photo of one or take a photo or scan of your own, keep this in mind. White/light lace/ribbon should be on a black background, black/dark lace/ribbon should be on a white background. But we can fix that if the background is say, red.

(75% of original size)
The first thing you need to do is make sure that the image has sufficient colors to do the job.

Choose Colors > Increase Color Depth > 16 Million Colors (24 bit) from the menu.

Now, if the background color isn’t black or white, select your eyedropper and click in the background to change the foreground color to match.
Now, choose Selections > Select All from the menu or press Ctrl-A.
Zoom in to the image so you can quickly check what is going on.

Choose Selections > Modify > Transparent Color from the menu.

The Remove Selected Color panel will come up. Select your background color from the Transparent color pull-down menu. Hopefully it is black or white, but if you set the foreground (or background) color to the image background color, then choose the appropriate menu item.

The trick now is to get the tolerance setting correct. Let’s start out with, say 25, and see how that looks.

Set the tolerance to 25 and click on OK. You’ll see the marquee dancing around the lace and since you zoomed in, you can see what was selected.

Umm, nope, I think we can do better, so press Ctrl-Z to undo the selection and choose Selections > Modify > Transparent Color from the menu again.

This time, choose a higher tolerance level, say 35 or 40 and click on OK.

At this point, its probably a good idea to check how much cleanup will need to be done if you stick with the current selection.

With the selection still active, copy it and paste into a new image.

Create a new layer and move it down to the bottom.

Select a hot pink foreground color and fill the bottom layer with it so you can see what needs to be done.

This is better than the 25 setting, but we’d still have quite a bit of cleanup to do if we stick with this one, so go back to your original image, undo, and go back to Selections > Modify > Transparent Color.

I find that a tolerance level of 65 is the best for me, but you need to find the level you are most comfortable with and stick with it. Of course, the exact level depends on the amount of colors in the lace and contrast.

This is pretty good, with minimal cleanup required.

With the selection still active, copy it and paste into a new image.

Create a new layer and move it down to the bottom.

Select a hot pink foreground color and fill the bottom layer with it so you can see what needs to be done.

Use the eraser tool to clean up any areas you’re not happy with.

Okay, I promised to show you what to do if the lace didn’t have a black or white background, like the example to the right.

First thing, set your hot pink layer to invisible so you can see a little better.

Here you can see what the lace looked like after I did the selection, deleted the areas, and cleaned up anything left.

Notice the red around the lace areas.

Choose Colors > Greyscale from the menu.

Notice how the red areas turned a grayish color. When the lace image is set to 100%, this gray is barely noticeable and perfectly acceptable.

To check, turn the hot pink layer back on and check how the lace looks. You might also want to fill it with another color to see how it shows up against various colors, like white, black, pastel yellow, etc.

Delete the background layer when you are done.

Now, you can create a tube using the lace or if it’s an applique, then just save it as a file that will preserve the transparency, like .psp, .psd, or .png. When you need to use it, just open the file, copy, and paste where you need it.