Creating a Tube - a Tutorial

Geoff_the_Beard

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#1
Creating a Tube – a Tutorial

I use PSP9. Other versions will show slightly different screens, but the features I use are available in all versions. For most of this it is worthwhile working at fullscreen to make positioning of the cursor easier. The pictures shown here are only at a smaller size for illustration purposes.

A tube is a picture without a background. It does actually have one, that is transparent, so when it is placed on top of another picture that shows through. It is used by copying it, then pasting as a new layer onto the background picture of your choice.

This tutorial uses as an example this picture of a car:


Since this is a small pic, zoom in to 200%. (I change the number in the preview pane, mid right). Select the “Crop Tool” and reduce the overall size to remove most of the background, in this case mainly at top and bottom. The selection rectangle can be altered using the ‘handles’, shown here adjusting the top.


Click on the “Apply” tick/checkmark to confirm the crop.


With the cropped image, zoom in on that to 400% (or larger, to enable greater precision) and select the “Freehand Selection Tool”, making sure that “Feather” and “Smoothing” are set to 3 (tubing other originals may work better with different settings for these). It doesn’t matter where you start, but I like to pick a ‘corner’, so I can remember where I did start. The cursor is shown here at the bottom left of the windscreen.


Click at several points around the car following the outline you want to create. As you move the cursor close the edge of the window it will auto-scroll. Be careful doing this; if you make a mistake it is best to start over. I used around 40 clicks to follow the exact shape of the car, and chose to include the original shadow. Different originals will require different numbers of clicks, e.g. a full length person might need hundreds.


When you get close to the start point double-click to finish the selection. The selection dotted line shows larger than the multi-part line you just clicked.


Copy the selection (right-click on the title bar)


Paste …As New Image (right-click on the title bar)


Voila! The car is tubed! :teeth:
Note that the background in the new image is shown chequered, meaning it is transparent. To save this image, make sure you select “Portable Networks Graphic (.png)” as the type. Saving it as .JPG will turn that transparent background white! As a rule, I save most of my images as .png; the only significant difference from .jpg is that it supports transparency.




There are many other ways to create a tube, but this is the method I like.

The same technique is useful for creating parts for an animation, e.g. to make an arm wave. That is a whole new ball game, that I won’t attempt to explain here.
 

druid627

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#2
Thanks Geoff. I took your technique and tried it in GIMP, and it works there, too. However, I just wanted to note that the freehand tool in GIMP is not as forgiving as it is in PSP. It does not give any extra pixels when you go to copy, so where you have the line is what is copied. Also, one needs to make sure that they open a new image with a transparent background and paste as layer. other than those things, the operation is the same, as are the results. Great information.
 

Geoff_the_Beard

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#3
Thanks for telling us about the differences in a different program. The 'forgiving' part in PSP is the Feathering, which gives a degree of fuzziness to the edges, hiding small errors. I often set that higher when tubing a head (e.g. for SexyLady007's Head Thread) because it is often difficult while doing it to tell the hair from the background. In a similar way, Smoothing adds a slight curve to the click positions so there aren't hard angles which might attract the eye to errors rather than the overall picture.
 

druid627

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#4
I just tried another tube after reading your last and found the feathering and the sharpness buttons under the Select tab. I am just beginning to get back into this utility, and I had no idea to make a tube come out right until you explained it. I was just pointing out that if someone was using GIMP, it works the same as PSP, but you got to look for some things...

and if someone is using Linux, PSP isn't really an option without emmulators, whereas GIMP comes with most distros, and will work on Macs as well as Windows machines.