Creating an Alpha Channel Canvas


I own the intellectual copyright for the written tutorial.  What you make is yours, but please do not take my tutorial.  Share only my link.

This tutorial is intended for beginners to learn how to create an alpha channel canvas.  If you have any questions, please feel free to Email  me.

To do this tutorial you will also need Paint Shop Pro.  I wrote this with  Paint Shop Pro X2, but the steps may also be done in any version.  You may download a free trial at Corel.

Remember to save as a psp file often!

1.  You will need a simple tube to practice with.  Open the tube in psp.  SHIFT+D to duplicate.  Close the original.

2.  Choose the Freehand Selection Tool

3.  Set the freehand selection tool to point to point, Feather = 0, Smoothing =2 , CHECK Anti-alias.

4.  Study your tube and decide how you want to break it up into pieces.  Here's mine.  So I want a head, hair, hat, dress, boots, hands. 

Draw a selection around one of the body parts.  Left-click, tracing around the body part.  When you're ready to close your selection -- right-click once, and the selection will close.

5.  Selections > Load/Save Selection > Save Selection to Alpha Channel.

6.  Type in a name for the selection.  Mine is TBElf_Face.  Click Save.

7.  Repeat Steps 4 - 6 for EACH body part.  There is no need to create new layers.

8.  For some parts (small parts and shading), the magic wand is a better tool to use.  I want to make selections for the trim on the dress.  Choose the Magic Wand.

9.  Set the magic wand to Match mode = RGB Value, tolerance = about 23 (You may have to play with this number), CHECK Contiguous, Feather = 0, CHECK Anti-alias.

As you left-click with the selection tool, hold the SHIFT key down so that you can select more than one area at a time.

10.  Selections > Load/Save Selections > Save Selection to Alpha Channel.

11.  Use the magic wand to select shading in certain areas.  (Hold SHIFT key down to select more than one area).

12.  Shading needs to blend more, so lets adjust the selection.  Selection > Modify > Contract selection.  Contract by 3 - 5 pixels

13.  Selection > Modify > Feather Selection.  Feather by the SAME amount that you contracted.

14.  Selection > Load/Save Selection > Save Selection as Alpha Channel.

15.  When you are done created ALL of your selections, right-click on the layers and choose Delete.  Delete all extra layers, and delete what's on the last layer.

16.  Delete does not delete the Alpha Channels, only what's there.  Save this canvas, and the alpha channels are saved, BUT it must be SAVED AS A PSPIMAGE.  The canvas will look blank but the alpha channels are there.

17.  File > Save As,   format = pspimage.

Go to Snowman Tutorial, to see how to use an alpha Channel canvas.


Ask questions at

Dragon's Breath Graphics Forums

Tutorial Index


 Please do not remove this tutorial from my site.  Share my url.