What Are Picture Tubes?

Little Red Birdhouse

Little Red Birdhouse

I’m not an expert on anything, especially digital design. Like playing different instruments, I am self-taught. In other words, I do it my way. So it is with digital design.

I wanted to learn digital design so I bought the Corel PaintShop Pro X3 program. From there I kept upgrading till I’m now using the Pro X6. The new X7 is out now, but I haven’t upgraded to that one yet

I studied other people’s work online, bought books, and watched tutorials. Mostly I learned by doing . . . on the job training they call it. And since I’m not there yet, I repeat the process. Again. And again.

So, what’s all that got to do with picture tubes? Nothing. I just like to ramble sometimes.

Since I won’t get the definition right, I copied and pasted this information from the internet:

What are Picture Tubes? What are .TUB and .PSPTUBE files? Can I use Tubes in other software?
Answer: “Picture Tubes”, or simply “tubes,” are a feature of the photo editing software Paint Shop Pro, which was originally developed by Jasc Software and is currently owned by Corel and marketed under the brand name Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo. The Picture Tube is a tool in the Paint Shop Pro software which allows users to “paint” with a series of objects. As the user drags the Picture Tube “brush” across the document, the objects are sprayed onto the page.

Clear as mud, isn’t it? So, as best I can, I’m going to show you what a picture tube is. Unless you know a little something about PaintShop Pro, or Photoshop, it still won’t make much sense to you. But here it goes:

I designed each of these graphics (clip art, embellishments, elements; whatever you choose to call them) and exported them as picture tubes into my PaintShop Pro (psp) files. Here’s how:

1. In order to export a picture into your psp tube file, it must have a transparent background. That’s because a tube can only have one layer. If it has a background color, even if it’s white, it has two layers. To export a picture with a background you must click on Layers in your toolbar, click New Layer, then click Merge Visible. Your picture will still have a background but it now has only one layer.

2. Click File on your toolbar. Go down to export. Click on Picture Tube. A window opens where you will give your picture a name. Click OK. Now you made a picture tube. Wasn’t that fun?

Now it’s always at your beck and call. Just click on your Picture Tube on the left side toolbar. A little window at the top left will open. Click on your freshly made picture tube, click on your layer, and Poof! Keep clicking and you’ll have pictures all over your page.

Once I finally learned how to make picture tubes I didn’t know when to quit. A girl can never have too many picture tubes!

When you get the hang of how the tube thing works, you can turn your photos, drawings, downloads; just about anything into picture tubes. I call it clip art at your fingertips. It’s that easy.

These are cards I designed using picture tubes. The little critters I designed using various shapes and the Rad Warp tool found under Effects in the KPT collection in PaintShop Pro X6.

Well, that’s it for today. If you were looking for help concerning picture tubes, I hope you found it. If you were looking for entertainment, I hope you found that too.

From Photos to Greeting Cards


I was extremely introverted growing up. My favorite place in all the world was my tiny bedroom where I’d sing and play my accordion, write songs and poetry, paint and draw. I had one best friend. That’s all I needed. Anymore than that got too complicated. Too dramatic. Too stressful. I don’t like complicated, drama, and stress. That’s why today I still choose art and music and writing over the noisy world. I don’t even watch much TV. I hate commercials. I hate stupid. And commercials are stupid. Even most of the TV programs are stupid. And if I watch too much of them, I’ll be stupid!

So what’s a senior citizen to do with all her free time? Well this one creates. Not to make money, and God knows I need it. Not to get famous, which would scare me to death! And not to pat myself on the back, because I can’t reach it. But I create because it fills a void. It makes me happy. It helps with depression. It makes me feel close to the Creator. And because I’ve struggled most of my life with low self-esteem and insecurities, I’m thankful to God for His special gifts to me. He knew I needed them.

Below are greeting cards that I designed using photos I’ve taken, as well as photos that Colin, atrampinthewoods.wordpress.com has taken and shares with his readers. Thanks Colin. You are an inspiration to me!

I'm Sorry

I’m Sorry

This is Colin’s little side-kick, Fizz. I just love using her in my digital designs. She is so well-mannered!

The Little Squirrel

The Little Squirrel

This is another photo that Colin posted on his blog. This little guy loves wishing everyone a Happy Birthday! Is today your birthday? Then, Happy Birthday!



Isn’t this little guy adorable? He’s always dropping by to say hello. Thanks to Colin, this little Skipper Butterfly fluttered from his post into my cheery greeting card.

The Lord is My Shepherd

The Lord is My Shepherd

Colin lives on a beautiful farm in the UK. His landlord raises sheep. When Colin posted this beauty I just had to download him. He’s a lovely sheep with a great message.

Thinking of You Birdhouse

Thinking of You Birdhouse

Finally, I chose one of my own photos to use in this greeting card. It’s amazing how many different pictures you can get from one photo. That’s why digital design is so much fun. Many photos wouldn’t be trashed if you could see them as art. It’s only been the past few months that I even considered using my photos in my designs. In the raw, they’re trash. In a digital design, they’re treasures. At least they are for me.

Trust in the Lord

Trust in the Lord

Since I’ve learned to use PaintShop Pro X6 and discovered all the wonderful tools it offers, I enjoy taking pictures. No matter how terrible the shot, I can usually turn it into something worth while. Sometimes I can’t, though. Like when it has too much or not enough exposure. Or if it’s too blurry. Those I consider trash.

Merry Christmas Santa

Merry Christmas Santa

This is my husband’s favorite Christmas decoration. So I decided that when I get too lazy to decorate, I can give him this greeting card to look at. As with all my designs, I began with a picture frame then built around it using lots of layers and texture. Because I play around with different effects trying this or that, a card like this one takes me hours . . . and hours. I’ll keep you guessing just how many hours. I do take a few toilet breaks, though. And eat. And let the dog out. Sometimes I even wash the dishes! So all in all, ten hours isn’t too bad . . . is it?

Thinking of You Watercan

Thinking of You Water Can

Okay. So this isn’t a photo. I designed it using picture tubes. I’ll explain what they are in my next post. But for now, just know that I had just as much fun designing this card as I did all the others. Hope you enjoyed your little tour. Come back and see me again, hear?