My Aquarium

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All the content on my Aquarium Tutorial site is protected by International Copyright laws. If photos or graphics were created by anyone other than Susie, it will be noted and the copyright will remain with the creator. Please respect these copyrights. Any similarity to any other tutorial is coincidental. You may download my tutorials for personal use. You may share them within a group, if you write and ask my permission first. The image you create from this tutorial is yours to do with as you please.

    You may use my supplies of water_ssg.psp, sand_ssg.psp and house_ssg.psp by clicking on My Supplies. I made a couple of sand castles that you may also use for this tutorial. You may use the VSandCastle_ssg.psp and/or SandyCastle_ssg.psp by clicking here. These are all my own psp images. I used PSP version 9, but I am sure all but the supplies would work in 8 through X.

    Open a transparent image 400x400. Save it as aquarium.pspimage.

    Add a vector layer, naming it tank (smaller word to type than aquarium!)

    Click on your shapes tool, choosing the rectangle in the drop down screen from your upper tool bar. Settings: Anti-alias-checked; Create as vector-checked; Width-10. Foreground/stroke - metal steel gradient (or something similar) with angle at 45 and 1 repeat. Background/fill - null.

    Starting at about 30x130, extend your rectangle over to about 300x300. This is the front side of the aquarium. Convert to a raster layer.


    Effects/3D effects/Inner Bevel. Settings: Bevel - 2 (rounded triangle); Width - 1; Smoothness - 19; Depth - 5; Ambience and Shininess - 0; Color - white; Angle - 315; Intensity - 30; Elevation - 70.

    Duplicate your tank layer. Resize your copy layer, using the screen shot for settings.


    Move your copy layer below your tank layer. Using your mover tool, move the copy layer image up and over to give a 3 dimensional look. Note the placement in the screen shot. I have used a background color for ease in viewing the image, but yours will appear on a transparent background.



    With the copy of tank activated (high lighted), add a new raster layer, naming it L side.

    Open your paint brush. Settings: Shape - square; size - 10; Hardness - 25; Step - 1; Density - 100; Opacity - 100. Foreground/stroke - metal sheet gradient, same settings as for the tank.

    Click on the front top left corner with your brush. Hold down the shift key and click on the back upper corner. You now have the top left side edge of your aquarium! Do the same with the other top and the two bottoms.

    Activate your tank layer, add a new raster layer, naming it R side. Do the same as you did to make the left side. Having the two sides on separate layers makes it so we can have our water and sand inside the tank, covering the parts they are supposed to and leaving other areas uncovered.

    You will notice that once you have the right side in, the front ends are on top of the front of the tank frame. Using your push brush, with the following settings: Shape-round; Size- 5; Hardness-100; Step-25; Density-100; Opacity-62 --push a little on the front frame to round that front corner over the tips of the side bars - do this on both the top and the bottom.



    Time to add our water. Open your Freehand Selection tool (lasso). We are going to draw from point to point where we want our water to show up. Settings: Selection type - point to point; Mode - add(shift); Feather - 0; Anti-alias - unchecked.

    Activate your copy layer, add a new raster layer and name it water. Using your Freehand Selection tool, click on the front top left corner of the aquarium frame. Move back to the back frame in a straight line, following the line of the top side frame. Click. Draw across to the right corner, then angle down (while actually on the frame) to the bottom back right corner. Click. Bring your line forward to the front right bottom corner, keeping it on the frame line. Click when you get to the front corner. Lastly, draw it over to the left bottom corner and click, travelling up the frame to where you started and double click. You should see marching ants forming a modified rectangle for your water to be in.



    Open your water psp. There are two shades of the water in the supplies zip. I used the darker water. Edit/copy. Activate the aquarium image. Edit/Paste into selection. Deselect. Your aquarium is now filled with water.

    Go to your layer palette, making sure your water layer is highlighted. Lower the visibility to 50. This method works best on a white background.


    {If you want a darker background, use the following method to lighten your water appearance. Go to the section that says Normal and click on the little arrow to the right of the word. Change it to Soft Light.

Soft Light

    To make sure your water looks all within the tank, your layers should be listed like this, starting from the top: R side, tank, L side, water, copy of tank, raster 1.

    Basically your aquarium is finished. Congratulations! This is what it should look like at this point.



    I added sand to the bottom of my tank and will now show how I did this.

    I used my freehand selection tool and made a selection on the bottom area of my tank on a new layer. Activate L side layer, add a new raster layer named sand.

    Using the Freehand selection tool, draw your area similar to what is in the screen shot.

Sand Area

    Open your sand.psp. Edit/copy. Close the sand.psp. Edit/Paste into selection. Deselect.

    Now the layers have to be moved again, so that little area of the bottom left side is covered by the sand.

    Move your layers so they are in the following order, starting from the top: R side, tank, water, sand, sides, copy of tank, raster 1.

    To be able to see your sand through the water, you might have to lower the visibility of your water. I lowered mine to about 50.

Tank Sand


    Now you can add your fish and whatever else you want. I will add a couple of the fish so that you can see how I did it to get the appearance that I wanted.

    So that whatever you put in the tank - fish, rocks, plants, castles - appears to be in the water, add your raster layers for each of them above the sand layer. I named them fish 1, fish 2, rocks, etc. That way, I could go back and move them as I wanted once I had them all in. Turn off the visibility of your water layer so that you can move them.

    I didn't have a castle other than one that I can't share, so I minimized my beach shack that I made and used it. There are now two sand castles available. I used a scale of about 50 on each of them. For the beach house, I used a scale of 20 to 30, depending what I wanted it to look like. Once I had all in my tank, I went back and applied a drop shadow to the rocks and the house, and then the copy of tank and the sides. Drop shadow settings I used: Vertical: 4; Horizontal: 7; Opacity: 70; Blur: 6; Color: black.

    This is what my layer palette looked like with all my layers added. One layer has three little fish on it - the rocks layer has all three rocks on it.

Final Layers

    If you haven't come to this tutorial from the Vector Fish tutorial, click here to go to there.

    Here is my finished aquarium. I hope you have enjoyed making your own aquarium.

My Aquarium

    This is what the finished tank looks like with the dark background and the soft light blend mode used.

Tank On Grey

    This tutorial was created September, 2006.

      Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions. Send email to susie