Leaves 1 & 2
Leaves are pretty, they are on most flowers and actually they are easy to make with vectors! This is the first of several various looking leaves. These leaves in this tutorial can be used for any flower as a tulip with long slender leaves, or even wider long leaves. No two leaves look a like in nature, nor are they perfect in shape.
I will write as detailed descriptions as I can so you will be able to do the vectors and the node adjustments, with many screen shots. Please remember that this is the way I do these vectors, and if you know or find a different or better way - feel free. This is more suggestions, not rules.
Please be patient for the page to load as it is graphic intensive with over 50 screen shots.
I did the work for this tutorial in PSP version 9, but I am sure the technique would work in other versions as well. This tutorial uses vectors with node adjustment. I advise to SAVE often, since this will be a lengthy tutorial, you might want to do it in stages, and you will need to save the image to do that. Plus if the fates are against you, you might have PSP crash and then you would lose all your work! So please SAVE often - I will remind you!
To do this tutorial, you will need a basic knowledge of PSP.
You can save it as a pspimage in the folder of your choice. (This is another reason I have a folder with the name of the tutorial, so that I can also put my pspimages in it to save and "play" with later!) I later move the folder to within another folder that I keep all my tutorial folders and other PSP things in.
1. Open a transparent image 300x300. Foreground/stroke: #014f01; Background/Fill: #1b8d20. These are the two shades of green I am using for this tutorial, but please feel free to use what colors you want or feel comfortable with.
2. Activate the Preset Shapes on the tool bar on the left of the workspace of PSP. Use the following settings: Ellipse; Anti-alias and Create as vector boxes checked; Line style: solid; Width: 1.00.
3. Add a new vector layer, naming it leaf 1. Draw an ellipse of about 30x130. Activate the Pen Tool, which is just below the Preset Shapes icon on the side tool bar. Use the following settings: Edit mode; Line style: solid; Width: 1.00.
4. Activate the top node and pull it to the left about 3 1/2 "grids" as in the screen shot.
5. Place the cursor over the right handle end (you will see ( ) of arrows when you have the cursor in the right place) and pull up and to the right slightly, as in the screen shot.
6. Place the cursor over the left handle end, pull to the right. It is difficult to see the handle, so I drew an arrow to point it out.
7. Click anywhere on the image to de-activate the top node. Do this each time you are changing to another node to work on. Activate the right node. Right click on it to change its type - shown in the screen shot from Cusp to Asymmetric.
8. Place the cursor over the arrow at the bottom of the bottom handle and pull to the right slightly.
9. Move the node up as shown in the screen shot.
10. Place the cursor on the end of the top handle and push it towards the node to shorten the handle, then pull it down slightly.
11. Place the cursor similar to the area shown by the arrow in the screen shot on the right side. Hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard and left click with the mouse. This will add a new node. When a new node is added to the basic ellipse shape, it is automatically added as an Asymmetric node. This is what we want so we don't have to change the type of node.
12. Place the cursor over the bottom handle which is to the right and pull it to the left slightly.
13. Add a new node about where the arrow shows in the screen shot on the left of the image.
14. Place the cursor on the lower handle and pull it out slightly.
15. Activate the next node down on the left side, right click on it and change it to Asymmetric.
16. Move the node up with the up arrow key by tapping it about 12 times. Tap the left arrow key also about 12 times.
17. Place the cursor over the end of the top handle of this node, pull it to the right slightly.
18. Add a new node about where the arrow shows in the screen shot.
19. Tap the up arrow key about 6 times, then pull the bottom handle in slightly.
20. Add a new node on the right side about where the screen shot shows.
21. Place the cursor over the bottom end of the handle and pull in slightly.
21. I see I have directed a bit of overmovement, so time for a little fine tuning. Activate the right node, tap the down arrow about 5-6 times, then pull the upper handle up slightly and to the right as in the screen shot.
22. Activate the very bottom node, and pull it down slightly.
23. Activate the node on the left that is closest to the bottom node. Pull the top handle to the right slightly.
24. Activate the next node up on the left and pull the top handle out a bit.
25. As far as I am concerned, the leaf is finished. At least as far as the vector drawing and editing are concerned. It is up to you whether yours is finished or not - play a bit more with the nodes if you want. Once you are satisfied, convert to a raster layer.
26. Finishing touches are next. Add a new raster layer. Activate the Pen Tool again, but this time, activate the Bezier Curve in the upper tool bar. Use the following settings: Draw Point to Point - Bezier Curves; Line style: solid: Width: 2. Materials Palette: Foreground/stroke: #014f01; Background/fill: null.
27. Place the cursor near the top of the leaf image - see arrow in screen shot. (It doesn't have to be exact.)
28. Click for the second point near the bottom of the leaf - see the screen shot - don't release the mouse button yet!
29. Pull the mouse down in the direction of the lower handle shown in the screen shot until you get a curved line similar to the one shown in the screen shot or to what you want the line to look like. Now you can release the mouse button. This is the center vein on the leaf.
30. Go to Adjust/Blur/Gaussian Blur: 1.00.
31. Activate the Lighten/Darken Brush - which is on the left side of the workspace. Use the following settings: Shape: round; Size: 10; Hardness: 18; Step: 18; Density: 100; Thickness: 100; Rotation: 0; Opacity: 62; Swap mouse buttons box: checked. This setting of the Swap mouse buttons box will make the left mouse button be the darken brush.
32. Activate the leaf 1 layer, and apply the darken brush on the edges and down the center under the line/vein we just drew. I enlarged the image to 200% to make it easier to see where I wanted the darken brush applied, and also to make it easier for you to see the screen shot.
33. I next activated the Soften Brush, which is on the left side of the workspace. I used the following settings: Shape: round; Size: 15; Hardness: 22; Step: 26; Density: 100; Thickness: 100; Rotation: 0; Opacity: 100.
34. I went over the areas that I had darkened with the Soften Brush.
35. Right click on the line layer and Merge/Merge down.
Congratulations, you have finished your first leaf! Next I will give directions for a second leaf in the same style but shaped a bit different. The first leaf was drawn to the left, and this one will be drawn to the right, but they can always be reversed on the image you decide to put them on.
36. Add a new vector layer, naming it leaf 2. I will also show directions for this leaf with the same colors and the same settings. (Foreground/stroke: #014f01; Background/Fill: #1b8d20.)
37. Draw another ellipse (same settings), to the right of the first leaf - about 30x130. Activate the Pen Tool, Edit Mode with the same settings we used earlier.
38. Activate the top node, and pull it to the right slightly as in the screen shot.
39. Place the cursor on the end of the left handle and pull up and out, similar to the screen shot.
40. Place the cursor on the end of the right handle. Pull it down slightly and to the left.
41. Convert the left side node to Aymmetric, and move up slightly.
42. Place the cursor on the end of the top handle and move it down towards the node - to shorten the handle. Move the node up about 2 grid boxes.
43. Place the cursor on the end of the bottom handle and pull to the left slightly.
44. Activate the bottom node, and pull the left handle almost straight up, but only lengthen it slightly.
45. Place the cursor on the end of the right handle and pull it up slightly and towards the left.
46. Activate the node on the right side, change it to Asymmetric. Place the cursor on the bottom end of the lower handle and pull it to the right slightly.
47. Add a new node on the right side as shown in the screen shot. Pull the bottom handle slightly to the right.
48. Add a new node on the lower left side of the leaf - in the same area as in the screen shot - and pull the upper handle to the left.
49. Activate the top node. Pull the lower handle to the right slightly.
50. The leaf looks now, how I want it to. If you are satisfied - convert to a raster layer. If you want to play more with the nodes, or even add more nodes and play with them, do it! Then convert to a raster layer.
51. Add a new raster layer. Foreground/stroke: #014f01; Background/fill: null. Activate the Pen Tool - Bezier Curve, Width 2.00 (same as before).
52. Click near the top of the leaf, then near the bottom of the leaf and pull the mouse down and to the right. The following two screen shots show the placement of the nodes for the curve.
53. Activate the leaf 2 layer. Activate the Lighten/Darken Brush - use the same settings as before. Apply the Darken Brush to the areas that are darkened in the screen shot. I enlarged to about 150% to use the brush and also to show the area better in the screen shot. You can also lightly apply the Soften Brush to the darkened areas as we did before. Be careful on the edges of the leaf though, as you want the edges to look fairly sharp.
54. Right click on the line layer and Merge/Merge down once you are happy with the shading.
Congratulations, you now have two finished leaves.
Here are the same leaves with a tulip - the first is how they look with the directions given. The second image shows the leaves after they have been narrowed with the Raster Deform Tool. I also used the Raster Deform Tool to angle the leaves slightly away from the stem.
This tutorial was written July 23, 2009.
All the content on this Leaves 1 & 2 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. I worked hard to create this image and to write the tutorial - it took many hours, so please respect my work.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions. Send email to susie