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Paint Shop Pro from Jasc Software, Inc. is a wonderful shareware tool for building graphics to use on your Web pages. A recently added feature of the software is the ability to create cutout graphics. Cutout is a 3D technique that appears to be indented into the page as opposed to raised with drop shadow.

Though most cutouts look better on light colored, grainy backgrounds, as you can see from the title above, the effect even works on a solid black background. Let's see how it's done.

To start, it is extremely important to have your image background match your Web page background precisely. If you use the <font color> HTML tag on your page, be sure that color matches exactly in Paint Shop Pro. If you use a background image on your pages, use the same image for your cutout background.

In the sample title graphic above, I used the PSP text tool to add the "Cutout Graphics" text to the new image. The cutout transformation is most effective with a font that has a wide base. The example uses the Braggadocio font.

Next, choose the cutout tool from the Images/Effects menu in PSP. I used the following settings in the cutout effect: fill interior color=off, shadow color=I chose a very light gray, opacity=100, blur=5, offset vertical=3, and offset horizontal=3.

Then, to harden the edge of the cutout, select the drop shadow option from the Images/Effects menu. Here are the settings I used for the drop shadow: color=white, opacity=255, blur=1, offset vertical=1, and offset horizontal=1. A white drop shadow may seem odd, but it hardens the edge contrast between the background and the cutout text.

I hope these tips are helpful to you. Let me know what you think.


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