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© 2002-07 AFHS
21 Mar 2005



Using a Graphics Package for Your Family History Work


by Judith Rempel, 8 June 2002


Paint Shop ProPaint Shop Pro - from Jasc (ca $150 CDN)



  • .gif - 256 colours - good for drawings
  • .jpg - 16 million colours - lossy - good for photos
  • .tif - 16 million colours - lossless - good for varied uses


  • 72 dpi for screen
  • 300-600 for print
  • 600-1200 for press

Height & Width

  • 100 pixels is approximately 1 inch


Vector graphics (vs raster graphics)


Applied to following photos: Gerhard, Ruth, Anna. Not all tools will be demonstrated, but those in bold are more likely to be illustrated and are the ones I use much more often. Keystrokes are noted as series separated by commas (sometimes there are simultaneous keystrokes - they're shown with a plus-sign between them). Menu Bar selections are separated by the right-caret (>) symbol.

Skills Used

  • Selecting
  • Cropping
  • Feathering
  • Colour-Adjusting
  • Grey-toning
  • Annotating
  • Image-Cloning
  • Inverting
  • Adding 3D (e.g., drop shadow)


  1. Crop out a small section of a photo
  2. Crop out an oval-shaped photo
  3. Crop out a soft-edged, oval-shaped photo
  4. Crop out an irregular, soft-edged photo
  5. Reveal details hidden in a scanned image
  6. Stitch together two photos
  7. Make something new - a postcard
  8. Annotate a photo


Magnifying Glass
Magic Wand

These tools are used to identify or clarify the part of the image that you want to work with.

A. Crop to a small rectangular head - Select, Shift+R

B. Change shape of selector tool (elipse) to crop to a old fashioned oval portrait - Select, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V

C. Change feathering of selector tool (10) to crop to a soft look oval portrait - Select (Feather=10), Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V

D. Want an irregular soft portrait - use the magic wand to select the image - Magic Wand (Feather=10), Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V

E. Want to lighten & reveal details. Crop to size (Select, Crtl C, Ctrl+V), then from Menu, select: Colour > Adjust > Brightness/Contrast (here used 60 - 20)

Colour Picker
Clone Brush
Colour Exchanger

F. I've used these tools to create this merged photo of Gerhard & Anna with her family. First I copied a feathered irregular selection (Ctrl+C) from Gerhard's photo (see above) & pasted it into a new layer of Anna's photo (Edit > Paste > As New Layer).

First both images were made to be the same kind of colour - they were made into grey-tones ( Colors > Greyscale)

Then, I used the color picker to determine the colour of his suit (this loads the colour into the "brush"). then I SET the clone brush's memory (select the clone brush, right-click and drag some 'material' with a NW to SE motion), then with the clone brush I 'painted' more suit (again with a NW to SE motion).

Then, I oriented to the background layer (Layers > Layer 1) and did the same set of steps to pick up "material" from the son's coat and cover up the awkward pale area.

Scratch Remover
Honestly - I never use these!
Picture Tube
Paintcan (floodfill)

Picture tubes are just too much fun - you HAVE to try them and FIND a reason to use them.

G. Here's a sample postcard made in just a few minutes that used a feather-cropped photo that was colourized (select colour to apply, Color > Colorize), and then pasted onto a new canvas (600 x 425 px to fit on 1/2 sheet). the Shape-drawing tool (see left & below) drew a rectangular empty box onto the card and then the picture tube dropped two kinds of 3-D images onto the card. Top it off with something nice to say (text tool, drop shadow effect from below) and you have a more celebrative tribute.

Text tool
Line-drawing tool
Shape-drawing tool
H. Combine the Text tool with Effects to annotate your photos: Text Tool (click on Standard Text), Effects > 3D > Drop Shadow (do twice with some negative values to get shadow all around text)