PSP9 - Using the Tube Eraser Tool

A Beginner's Tutorial by Joyce Kohl

Written November 16, 2004
About Copyrights

Logo tubed and showing different sizes

Supplies Needed:

Paint Shop Pro 8 or 9. You can download a trial copy of PSP Jasc.
Image to tube. Or you may use this one - taken from a business card. Right click to save to your hard drive. The black border is not on the image - it is added here for you see the actual dimensions.

Project to Clean

Step #1: Set your preferences like this - we need to use precise cursors:

Set Preferences

Step #2: Open the image you want to tube in PSP. This logo image is not as easy as it looks. Maintaining the roundness along with the proper amount of color around the edges will take some practice.

Step #3: On the layer palette, promote the Background layer to a Raster layer by right clicking on the layer, then selecting Promote Background Layer from the pop-up box. Now your image shows Raster 1:

Background Layer  Promote Background Layer  Raster Layer

Step #4: Select the Background Eraser tool:

Background Eraser Tool

Step #5: Use these settings - Size 32 is about right.:

Settings for Background Eraser

Step #6: Place your cursor like this...that is, extend the outer circle over the edge you want cleaned. The cursor on this screen capture does not show the marks - only the circle size, but the ends of the little "X" on mine are touching the edge of the circle. Sometimes you may move it further - with the center of the "X" touching or almost touching the edge of the image. If you go too far and remove anything, then use Edit/Undo or hit Ctrl + Z to undo it.

If the image is too small for you see what you're doing clearly, use the Zoom tool to enlarge it. In this project, I left it as is. Now click to erase. Move the cursor either by lifting it and placing it down again right next to the first erasure, or if your hand is steady, you can drag it. Dragging takes a bit of practice, but don't be afraid. You can always undo if you erase part of the image you don't want erased.

Left image: One click. Right image: two clicks.

NOTE: As long as the crosshairs inside the eraser tool do NOT touch the image, then nothing but the background will be removed. Remembering this will allow you get into angles and clean them without changing the eraser size. Watch the placement of the crosshairs in tight spots - if any part touches the image, change the size. Most of the time you will be able to go completely around an image with just the eraser tool and no manual cleanup will be necessary. But ALWAYS check to be sure as in Steps #11 and #12.

One Click  Two Clicks

Step #7: If you haven't saved yet, do it now. Save in PSP format - and get in the habit of making your psp files compatible with PSP versions 5 through 9. From File/Save As, select the Options button. Select PSP 5 Compatible from the drop-down list, then select a name for your file and click the Save button. The next image is the Save As box; second image is the Options box which pops up when you click the Options button.


Save As

Save Options

Step #9: Continue erasing around the edge of the logo until you have it similar to mine. When working on images with small openings within the image, or close angles, lower the number on the eraser. Sometimes you may need to lower it to 2 and zoom in more. Remember to save along the way so you won't lose your work:

Sample Showing All Erased

Step #10: Add a Raster layer. Make Raster 1, your image layer, the active layer. Click on the Layers icon to create another layer, Raster 2.

Raster Layer 1  Raster 2

Your layer palette should now have two layers now - Raster 1 is your image, Raster 2 is your background. Check this by hovering your mouse over Raster 1 - it should reveal the image.

Layer Palette with 2 Layers

Step #11: Highlight Raster 2. Click, hold, and drag below Raster 1. Your image is Raster 1 and Raster 2 will become your background. You can name them if you like, but we'll only be working with two layers. Click on your fill bucket Fill Bucket Tooland fill Raster 2 with a contrasting color. I used #067b9c. This will show you what's left to clean.

Background Filled

Step #12:Use your Zoom tool Zoom Tool and click it three times [or more] on your image. Now you should REALLY see the pixels left. The next steps will show you how to clean them up quickly and as if by magic. This is where most people who condemn the eraser tool in PSP8 and PSP9 base their misconception that the eraser tool doesn't work and that you MUST in all cases, use the old-fashioned way prior to PSP8. Once you see this process in action, you'll see how much easier and faster it is to clean images for tubes.

Zoomed Image

These next steps are the true magic of tube cleaning. Learn them well if you want to be proficient in cleaning images for tubes. Print them, follow them - practice cleaning tubes until you've memorized all of them. Then and ONLY then, create a script for what I refer to as production cleaning. But first learn to do them manually until you can do them without looking at the instructions.

NOTE: It's best to use the lasso tool, point-to-point, to clear away any big areas of white before starting Step #13. Clear instructions for this process begin with Step #20. The abbreviated printable steps [without images] I use for final cleaning are here. If you download it in the htm format, you can add it to your Quick Guides to pop up for you so you'll have it available whenever you use the eraser tool. See your help for how to install it. I also recorded a script - makes tube cleaning go faster. The download link is at the bottom of this tutorial. But please do the tutorial manually before trying to use the script.

Step #13: Be sure the image layer is highlighted - Raster 1.
Then from the menu, Selections/Select All

Selections/Select All

Step #14: Selections/Float

Step #15: Selections/Defloat

Step #16: Selections/Invert

Step #17: Selections/Modify/Remove Specks and Holes

Use these settings:

Remove Specks

Your image should now look similar to this:

Remove Specks Image

Step #18: Selections/Modify/Inside Outside Feather. Use these settings:

Inside Outside Feather

Step #19:Hit delete key 4 times. This removes most of, if not all the extra pixels needing to be cleared away. You may have to hit it again or even undo time or two. In experimenting with this image, I found a bit too much is cleared away with 4 deletions, but 2-3 left a lot of white pixels. Here's my image... actual size. With this particular circular logo, you will need to use the lasso tool to clean up the white, unwanted pixels. On some images, there won't be any manual cleanup at all.

On my zoomed image, I see these areas needing pixels cleaned away.

Areas to Clean

Step #20: Click on the Zoom tool until you can see the pixels clearly. I enlarged mine to 300%. Click on the lasso tool Lasso Tool, and use these settings:
Lasso Settings

Step #21: I changed the background color so I could see the Lasso's dotted lines. Click outside the pixels to be cleaned, drag the lasso in to the circle and then begin to drag around the edge of the circle, keep the white pixels inside the lassoed area. Drag a little at a time, stop, then drag some more. You want to keep the drag in the circular direction without corners. You may have to do only a couple of pixels at a time. When it looks right, double-click to join the lasso, then hit the delete key to clear the pixels inside the lassoed area. This is my first area to clean - before I hit the delete key. Then right click to deselect the lasso:

Lassoed Area

Step #22: Continue lassoing until you've cleaned away all the extra white pixels.

Step #23: Isolate the logo by lassoing all around it. Double-click to join the lasso. Then click on the image to select it. Here's mine....yours should look similar:

Isolate Image

Step #24: Select Edit/Cut. Then select Edit/Paste/Paste As New Image. Here's my cleaned logo - looks fairly clean. But, is it REALLY clean?

Cleaned Logo

Step #25: From the layer Palette, create a new Raster layer, drag it below your logo image. Fill with other colors and check for any white pixels you didn't see before. If it's still looks clean, delete the color layer. Here's mine on white, green, and black.

White Background  Green Background  Black Background

Step #26: Then select Edit/Copy. Then Edit/Paste/Paste as a new image. This will cut away extra space, and now your logo is ready to tube - File/Export/Picture Tube.

Finished: Left: Finished logo ready to tube;
Right: Logo with drop shadow - a true test of a clean tube.
Final Image Ready to Tube   Logo with Drop Shadow

Here is my script to automate final cleanup steps - it will pause when necessary. Put it in your restricted scripts folder.Download Script

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