Beginner's Guide: 10 Tips for PaintShop Pro Creativity
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Use layers to avoid damaging original images
  2. Master shortcuts for efficiency
  3. Experiment with blending modes
  4. Try different brushes for unique effects
  5. Apply textures for depth and dimension
  6. Use masks to hide and reveal areas of a layer
  7. Adjust opacity for subtle effects
  8. Utilize the History Palette
  9. Play with color adjustments
  10. Try the cloning tool to replicate elements

Brushing up your skills or just starting out with PaintShop Pro? You're in the right spot. Let's chat about how you can get creative with PaintShop Pro. This user-friendly software is packed with tools that can turn your ordinary photos into extraordinary works of art. Here are ten simple tips to help you get started—and don't worry, you won't need to be a tech wizard to follow along.

Use layers to avoid damaging original images

Imagine you're painting a picture. You'd start with the background—maybe a pretty blue sky. Then, you'd add more details, like trees or houses. But what if you mess up? If you're painting, you'd have to start all over again. But with PaintShop Pro, you don't have to. Here's why:

  • Layers are your best friend: Think of layers as digital tracing paper. You can add one on top of your original image and try out new things. If you don't like it, you can just delete the layer—no harm, no foul.
  • Non-destructive editing: When you get creative with PaintShop Pro, using layers means you won't mess up your original image. It's almost like having an undo button in real life.
  • Experiment without fear: Want to try a bold new color or a funky filter? Go for it. With layers, you can experiment all you want and never worry about ruining your photo.

So remember, don't be shy about using layers. They're like a safety net, allowing you to get creative with PaintShop Pro without risking your original work.

Master shortcuts for efficiency

Ever watch a pro pianist at work? Their fingers glide over the keys without them even thinking about it. They're fast, efficient, and they make it look easy. Want to know a secret? You can do the same with PaintShop Pro. It's all about knowing your shortcuts.

  • Quick access: Shortcuts are like a fast-pass at a theme park. They let you skip the line and get right to the fun stuff. Instead of clicking through menus, you can press a couple of keys and boom—you're there.
  • Save time: The seconds you save by using shortcuts can add up. More time saved means more time to get creative with PaintShop Pro.
  • Easy on the hands: Constantly using your mouse can be tiring. Mixing in some keyboard action can give your hand a much-needed break.

Shortcuts might seem intimidating at first, but don't worry. You don't have to learn them all at once. Start with a few that you'll use a lot, like Ctrl+C to copy and Ctrl+V to paste. Once you're comfortable with those, you can start adding more to your repertoire.

The key to mastering shortcuts is practice. The more you use them, the more they'll become second nature. Before you know it, you'll be the concert pianist of PaintShop Pro.

Experiment with blending modes

Remember when you were a kid and you mixed different colors of paint just to see what would happen? Most of the time, you ended up with a strange shade of brown, right? But once in a while, you'd create a color that was just perfect. That's what blending modes in PaintShop Pro can do for your images.

  • Unleash your inner artist: Blending modes let you combine layers in different ways, creating effects that can be subtle or dramatic. It's a bit like mixing paint colors, but without the mess.
  • Explore the possibilities: With so many blending modes to choose from, the possibilities are almost endless. Multiply, Screen, Overlay, Darken, Lighten—each one can give your image a different look and feel.
  • Learn by doing: The best way to understand what each blending mode does is to try them all out. Don’t be afraid to get creative with PaintShop Pro and see what each mode can do.

So go ahead, let your curiosity lead the way. Experiment with different blending modes and see what happens. You might end up with a few strange shades of brown, but you might also discover that perfect effect that takes your image from good to great.

Try different brushes for unique effects

Did you ever play with finger paints as a kid? You know, the kind where you could smear and mix colors all over the page with your fingertips? That's a bit like what you can do with PaintShop Pro's different brushes. But instead of your fingers, you're using a mouse or drawing tablet. And instead of a page, you're working on a digital canvas.

  • Play with the tools: PaintShop Pro has a whole toolbox full of brushes, each one with its own unique effect. From oil brushes that mimic the look of traditional oil paint to airbrushes that create soft, blended effects, you can get creative with PaintShop Pro by trying out different brushes.
  • Make it your own: One of the coolest things about PaintShop Pro's brushes is that you can customize them. Want a brush with a large tip for broad strokes? You got it. Prefer a brush with a fine tip for detailed work? No problem. With a little tweaking, you can create the perfect brush for any project.
  • Practice makes perfect: Like any tool, brushes take some getting used to. But with a little practice, you'll be creating unique effects in no time. And remember, if you don't like how something turns out, you can always undo it and try again.

So why not give it a go? Grab a brush, dip it into your virtual paint pot, and start creating your masterpiece. Who knows, you might just find your new favorite tool in PaintShop Pro.

Apply textures for depth and dimension

Imagine you're walking in a forest. You see the roughness of tree barks, the smoothness of pebbles under your feet, and the intricate patterns of leaves. These are all textures that add depth and dimension to your surroundings. Wouldn't it be amazing to bring that same depth and dimension into your digital artwork? Well, with PaintShop Pro, you can!

  • Add depth: Textures can give your artwork a sense of depth. For instance, adding a wooden texture to a flat image of a door can make it look as if it's made of real wood. Suddenly, your image isn't just a flat 2D picture; it's a door you feel like you could open.
  • Create dimension: Texture can also add dimension to your work. Let's say you're creating an image of a beach. Adding a sandy texture to the beach area can make it feel as though you could reach out and touch the grains of sand.
  • Get creative with PaintShop Pro: PaintShop Pro has a wide range of textures you can apply to your images. From natural textures like wood and sand to ornate patterns like damask or lace, you can mix and match to your heart's content. Plus, you can adjust the scale, brightness, and contrast of the textures to fit your image perfectly.

So why not try adding some texture to your next PaintShop Pro project? It's a fantastic way to bring your images to life and add a whole new level of realism to your work.

Use masks to hide and reveal areas of a layer

Do you remember playing with masks during childhood play? You would put on a mask and suddenly, you could be anyone, anything, anywhere. The same concept applies in PaintShop Pro, but instead of hiding your face, you can hide and reveal different parts of your image. It's like a magic trick, but for your artwork!

  • Hide and seek: When you apply a mask to a layer, you're essentially playing a game of hide and seek with your image. You can use a mask to hide parts of your layer, revealing the layers underneath. This can create some pretty cool effects, like making it seem as if your subject is emerging from the background.
  • Control is key: The beauty of masks is that they give you total control. You can decide exactly which parts of your layer you want to reveal and hide. And the best part? Your original image stays undamaged, so you can always change your mind and adjust the mask later on.
  • Get creative with PaintShop Pro: One fun way to use masks is to combine them with different textures or patterns. You could use a grunge texture mask to give your image a distressed look, or a floral pattern mask to add a touch of whimsy. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination!

So the next time you're working on a project in PaintShop Pro, why not give masks a try? They're a powerful tool to have in your digital art toolbox, and they can really help you push the boundaries of your creativity.

Adjust opacity for subtle effects

Imagine you're painting a picture. If you could make your paint thinner or thicker at will, you'd have a lot more flexibility to create different effects, right? Well, adjusting the opacity in PaintShop Pro is a bit like changing the thickness of your paint. It's a subtle change, but it can have a big impact on your artwork.

  • Less is more: Sometimes, a lighter touch can make all the difference. By reducing the opacity of a layer, you can create a more ethereal or dreamy effect. It's like adding a soft glow to your images, making them look more magical.
  • Layer it on: One of the best ways to get creative with PaintShop Pro is to experiment with multiple layers at different levels of opacity. You can create some amazing effects by blending several layers together, each with its own opacity setting.
  • Highlight the important stuff: You can also use opacity to draw attention to certain parts of your image. By making the rest of the image less opaque, the parts you want to highlight will stand out more. It's a simple trick, but it's incredibly effective!

Remember, creativity is about experimenting and having fun. So don't be afraid to play around with the opacity settings in PaintShop Pro. You might be surprised at the results you can achieve!

Utilize the History Palette

Imagine this. You're in the middle of creating a masterpiece when you decide to add a new effect. But, oh no, it didn't go as planned. Your once beautiful image now looks like a toddler's finger painting experiment. In the real world, you might have to start all over again, but not in PaintShop Pro. Here's where the History Palette becomes your best friend.

  • Undo and Redo: The History Palette in PaintShop Pro is a bit like a time machine. It allows you to go back to any previous step in your editing process. Made a mistake? Just click on the step before it in the History Palette, and it's like it never happened.
  • Revisit Your Steps: Ever looked at your own work and wondered, "How did I do that?" The History Palette can show you every step you took, allowing you to replicate your own work and learn from your past successes—and mistakes.
  • Experiment Without Fear: Want to try something wild but worried it might ruin your work? With the History Palette, you can get creative with PaintShop Pro without worrying. If you don't like the result, you can always step back in time.

So, next time you're exploring new effects or trying to replicate a past success, remember to make use of your History Palette. It's like having a safety net, allowing you to take creative leaps without fear of falling.

Play with Color Adjustments

Color is the life of an image. It can set a mood, make a statement, or tell a story. But what if the colors in your image aren't quite right? Maybe the sky isn't as blue as you remember, or the grass isn't as green. Well, with PaintShop Pro, you can change that. Let's see how you can get creative with PaintShop Pro's color adjustments.

  • Hue/Saturation/Lightness: This tool can make your colors pop, or perhaps create a more subdued tone. Want to make your sunsets more spectacular? Enhance the reds and oranges. Need your forest to look more lush? Boost the greens.
  • Selective Color: This one's a game-changer. It allows you to target and change a specific color in your image. So, if your sky looks a bit gray, you can select the blue and make it more vibrant without affecting the other colors.
  • Color Balance: This tool can help you correct or adjust the overall color of your image. It's perfect for correcting those photos that come out too warm (yellow) or too cool (blue).

In the world of PaintShop Pro, you're not just a photographer—you're a painter, too. So go ahead, play with your colors. Make the sky a little bluer, the grass a little greener. After all, your world is what you make it.

Try the Cloning Tool to Replicate Elements

Ever wished you could duplicate something in your image without making it look copied? Well, PaintShop Pro's cloning tool allows you to do just that. With this tool, you can seamlessly replicate elements in your photos to get creative with PaintShop Pro.

  • Pattern Clone Brush: This tool isn't just about copying and pasting. It's about replicating patterns in a way that looks natural. For example, if you have a photo of a beautiful brick wall but there's a distracting graffiti on it, you can use the Pattern Clone Brush to replicate the clean bricks over the graffiti.
  • Regular Clone Brush: This is your straightforward, no-nonsense cloning tool. Spot a stray hair across a face? A bird photobombing your perfect sunrise shot? Use the regular clone brush to sample from a clean section of the image and paint over the unwanted element.
  • Smart Clone Brush: This tool is like the Pattern Clone Brush's smarter sibling. It understands the texture, light, and shadow of your sample area and applies it intelligently to the cloned area. It's perfect for complex patterns where you need a little extra help to make the clone look natural.

Remember, the key to successful cloning is patience and practice. Start with small, simple areas before moving on to more complex ones. And don't forget - the goal isn't perfection, but believability. So go on, give the cloning tool a try and see how it can let you get creative with PaintShop Pro.

If you enjoyed our "Beginner's Guide: 10 Tips for PaintShop Pro Creativity" and want to expand your digital art skills even further, consider checking out the workshop 'Animating with Procreate and Photoshop' by Nyanza. This workshop will help you learn how to create stunning animations using two popular digital art programs and elevate your creative projects to the next level.