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Draw one balloon Copy the first balloon Assemble the balloons into a bunch Make a background square Spacing motifs Make each black mark into a white shine To save the simplest tile Make the tile smaller in Paint Turn the tile inside out Add text between the balloons Skew the text and rearrange it
Saving the tile with text How to make a staggered pattern of the balloon motif Testing the tile Selecting the finished tile Save workspace and close Paint
Using sTile Shrinking the tile with sTile Softening colours in the tile
Rotating colours Other modifications and effects Making the stationery
You can produce these bright background tiles using only Windows Paint. It's very easy!
For a quick look at tiles as a complete background, or to make a series of variations, sTile is excellent. Irfanview will also make colour changes or let you apply all sorts of interesting effects.
Once you've made the initial motif you'll have a complete and immediately usable tile.
If you then decide to go a little further—add text, say, or stagger the pattern—it becomes a bit "choose your own adventure" and you may need to hit "top" and bounce up here to the topic list to find the next thing you want to do.OK. Let's get started.
Either re-open "workspace.bmp" or start a new picture at least 400 by 400 and save it as a 16 colour bmp. If you’re re-using the previously saved "workspace.bmp", select the rectangle tool, the "filled shape with no-border" icon and draw a white rectangle over any old and unwanted work.
After hitting the Save button you’ll receive a warning about loss of colour information. Since your painting is at this stage a plain white background, I wouldn't be over-perturbed. Just click Yes.
I've used strong colours because they're easier to work with.
Click on the ellipse tool in Paint's toolbox. Choose the lowest of the three options below the toolbox—the one meaning "filled shape without a border". The dark blue border is the highlight that shows it's been selected.
Click on the pink colour in the palette and hold the Shift key while you draw a circle of colour. Watch the numbers at the right hand end of the status bar—which is right at the bottom of your Paint window—and stop when the circle is about 75x75.
Hold down the Ctrl key while you tap s. This will save your work.
Click the little magnifying glass and zoom in. Using the pencil tool and black, draw a mark similar to that in the picture. That represents the shine on the balloon, but we can't use white at this stage or other colours would show through. You'll change it to white later. top
The next step is to make a bunch of balloons, identical in all but colour.
OK. Click on the transparent option below the toolbox. It's the lower of the two and in this picture shows a dark blue "selected" highlight.
Click also on the rectangular selection tool. Make sure, too, that your right button colour is set to white.
Select the pink balloon and hold the Ctrl key while you drag a copy away from the original.
Save your work.
I've shown the copy very close to the original so that I could make a small picture. In practice, the copy could be dropped further away.
Now click on the flood fill tool and click on red in the palette. Click the flood tool on your original balloon. Your original becomes a red balloon.
Now select and copy those two ballons twice. Using the flood tool and choosing a different colour each time, recolour each balloon until you have a set.
Drag a copy—remember to hold the Ctrl key—of the red balloon and place it so that it's overlapping the pink balloon. Save your work.
Ctrl drag a dark blue balloon onto the other two. Ctrl drag a green balloon onto those you've already assembled. Continue until you have six balloons. Please don't use yellow; we need that for the background. Save your work.
The group would look better if the central balloon were on top. Make a second copy of a red balloon and position it approximately over the first one.
If you want to make any other changes to the stacking order, temporarily colour the replacement balloon grey until you have it in position. Trying to position a replacement exactly on top of something the same colour is just too hard. With the red it didn't matter; you weren't trying to match edges. top
Click the rectangle tool. Click yellow in the palette. Choose the bottom icon under the toolbox—the one that means "filled shape without a border". Hold the Shift key to force a square and drag until the square is at least 200x200 pixels according to the numbers at the right-hand end of the status bar.
Click the rectangular selection tool. Now, after checking that you have white on your right button and that the transparency option is highlighted, draw a selection rectangle around the bunch of balloons.
Hold the Ctrl key so that you are making a copy and drag the copy of the balloons into the middle of the yellow square.
If it turns out that your bunch of balloons overlaps the yellow square, don't worry. You have a copy of the balloons, so you can afford to lose the ones you just pasted. Just drag another square over the top of the old one, making it big enough to cover everything and leave some space around the edges, as in the picture. Since you're probably going to reduce the size of the tile when it's finished, its working size isn't important. When you feel that you have a square of a suitable size, Ctrl drag another copy of the balloons into its centre. top
The bigger the yellow square that you paste them onto, the more widely spaced will be the balloons in the repeating pattern. If you plan to stagger the pattern, or if you're going to add text—such as "happy birthday"—a bigger yellow square will be better.
At last the black splodges can come off the balloons! With white on your right mouse button and black on your left, click on the eraser tool. With your right button pressed, drag over the black marks until they all change to white.
Your tile is now ready for you to cut out, save and use as it is, but if you'd like to add text between the balloons, or if you'd like to stagger the pattern, you'll first need to turn the tile inside out to make space.
If you'd just like to make it smaller, that's the next topic. top
With the rectangular selection tool, draw a selection square slightly inside the yellow square—say one or two pixels from the edge.
Click Edit > Copy To on the menu bar. Save the cutout as balloons01.gif.
If you'd like a smaller version of the tile, make a selection a little outside it and go to the menu bar. Click Image > Stretch and Skew.
In the dialogue, type whatever percentage you like, hit tab and write the same number again.
Ignore the lower (Skew) part of the dialogue.
Back in the Paint window, carefully select just the tile, making your selection slightly inside the edges of the yellow square, go Edit > Copy To and save the tile under a slightly different name, such as balloons01_small.gif.
The smaller version of the tile is now ready to be used as a background in stationery.
If you're going to add text to the tile, or if you'd like to stagger the pattern, go on to the next step. top
Before you start doing this, be certain that you have white on your right mouse button and the transparent selection icon highlighted.
Also, Ctrl drag a copy of the tile to the far right of your drawing area. You may need it later.
Make sure that there's plenty of white space to the left of your square. If there isn't, select the whole square and drag it towards the right.
Then select the right half of your square. Don't worry about being precise. Approximately half is fine.
Drag the selected piece across the left half to the white space on the other side. Make it join the left edge. Watch to see that the tops of the two pieces are lined up properly. Be careful not to overlap the edges, but also be sure that no white is showing between the two pieces.
Make sure that there's plenty of white space above your square. If there isn't, select the whole square and drag it down to make room.
Then select the bottom half of the square. Again, precision isn't necessary. Drag the bottom piece up above the top piece, line it up carefully and join it to the top piece. top
If you feel confused, here's a helpful diagram.
You'll need some space now, so, after saving your work, drag a selection rectangle around the inside-out tile that you've just made and drag it to the left, just under your spare bunch of balloons.
Ctrl drag a copy to the top right corner of your drawing area as well. It's good to have a backup!
I've used "Happy Birthday" in this example. Your text could be something different, as could your choice of colours.
You might also have your balloons more widely spaced and so be able to use larger text.
Click on the text tool and drag an area in which to put your text. The picture will give you an idea of the size. If the text toolbar doesn't appear, click on the View menu and click Text Toolbar.
Choose a chunky font. Click on dark blue in the palette. Drag an area in which to type. Type "Happy Birthday".
Click away from the text's marquee, so that it is no longer selected, then click red in the palette.
Click the text tool again and drag an area in which to type. Type "Happy Birthday" a second time. Click the selection rectangle. Save your work.
Check that you still have white on your right mouse button. Drag a selection rectangle around the red text and move it onto the blue text. Let just a tiny bit of the blue text show. Click anywhere away from the text, then drag a selection rectangle around the doubled text. (If you kept the selection rectangle with which you selected and moved the red text, only the red text would be affected by the next operation.)
Click the Image menu and click on Stretch/Skew. Ignore the top part of the box. In the Skew part, type "10" into both the Horizontal and Vertical boxes. Click OK.
Draw a selection rectangle around the word "Birthday" and drag it into a position just under the word "Happy", like this.
Click away to cancel your selection of "Birthday". Draw a new selection rectangle around "Happy Birthday" and Ctrl drag it into position on the yellow centre of the tile. Keeping a copy means that you can easily repeat the operation if you're unhappy with the result. Save your work. top
When used as a background, the edges of this tile have to line up precisely. Therefore, selecting the tile has to be done very carefully indeed.
You may find this easier if you've zoomed in a little.
Having clicked on the rectangular selection tool, position your cursor exactly on the top left corner of the tile.
As you drag downwards and to the right, a dashed line will follow the cursor.
Click when you have the cursor exactly on the very bottom right pixel.The dashed line should be on the very edge of the tile on every side.
The marquee that appears when you release the mouse button will be just outside the square.
Immediately go to the menu bar and click Edit > Copy To.
Save your tile as balloons_birthday.gif.
N.B. When you need a space in the file name of any image, use an underscore instead.
The tile is now ready to be used as a background in your stationery.
If you have sTile on your computer, you can paste a copy into sTile and view the tile as a completed background. top
For this sample I made my original tile with a fairly large yellow area.The larger the yellow area, the more widely spaced will be the balloon motifs.
I'm presuming that you have a spare copy of the tile somewhere on your drawing area. If you haven't, make a copy now.
To begin, turn the tile inside out, as explained here.
Go to your copy of the original tile. Select the motif in the centre, with just a little yellow around it. Hold the Ctrl key and drag a copy of the motif to your inside-out tile. Let go of the Ctrl key and position the motif at what you judge to be the centre of the inside-out tile. Release the mouse button and you're done.
Make a precise cut-out of the completed tile. Follow the directions for saving the tile with text, and save it as balloons_staggered.gif. (N.B. When you need a space in the file name of a gif, use an underscore instead.) Then, if you like, you can proceed to test and modify it in sTile. top
With sTile you can have a look at your tile as a seamless background.
Still in Paint, and using the rectangular selection tool, outline the tile. You'll find it easier if you click the little magnifying glass in the toolbox and click it over the tile. Make sure that all of the tile is showing in the window; Paint does not scroll while you're selecting.
Put the crosshair cursor exactly on the top left hand corner of the tile. One line of the cross should be in the top line of colour, one should be in the leftmost line. Colour should show through the little eye of the crosshair. Drag to the bottom right corner.
As you drag, a heavy dotted outline will appear and you can see whether or not this is exactly on the outside edge of the tile. If it's further out, the dashes will all be black. When the dotted outline is exactly on the outside of the tile all the way around, click on Edit on the Paint menu bar. Click Copy on the menu that appears.
Minimise the Paint window by clicking the in the top right corner. Double click the icon for sTile. When the program opens, click on the Edit menu, then on Paste and choose Replace Image. The main window will fill with your tile image.
At the right hand end of the sTile toolbar you'll see this icon. Click it once and you'll be given a preview of your tile as a background. You're looking to see whether the tiles join correctly and whether you like the overall effect. If there are any white lines showing, the tile needs to be copied again.
If there are white lines showing, restore the Paint window by clicking its button on the taskbar and try again.
When sTile shows you a perfectly matched background, click OK to come out of the tile display window, click File > Save As on the sTile menu bar and save your tile as, say, balloons01.gif. The gif format is important because at this stage you don't want any blending or smoothing to happen between areas of different colours. top
Click on the Paint button at the bottom of your window to restore Paint. Click the File menu and click Save As, type "balloons" into the save box and click OK. This means that you'll have preserved a copy in case you want to work on it later, while "workspace.bmp" can be cleared next time you want to use it. You can close Paint.
Working in sTile, you can reduce the size and make other changes as well. A really nice thing is that, after you've saved something you like, you can click undo as many times as you like.
With the tile open in the sTile window, click on Size/Aspect in the Effects Tree at the left. (If you prefer, click Effects > Size/Aspect on the menu bar.) Choose ReSize Smooth from the next branch or menu. With a check mark in Pixels, change the number in both the width box and the height box to 100. Click OK, then click File > Save As and save this smaller tile as balloons02.gif.
Click on Size/Aspect > ReSize Smooth and choose Percent. Type whatever percentage you fancy into both the Width and Height. top
With a tile open in the window, go to the Tree or to the Effects menu, click on Color and choose either Lightness or Brightness.
If you can't see the sliders, click the three coloured crayons button and they'll appear. Drag the Lightness slider towards the right. The image in the window will change.
When you think you like the degree of lightness, click the big green tick to agree to the change and click the Show Tiles icon. Don't miss this step, because it's hard to judge how a background will look by looking at a single tile. Go to the File menu and click Save As. This version can be balloons03.gif. Once you've saved, you can, if you wish, click the Undo button until balloons02.gif is once again in the window, then go back to the lightness slider and make a different adjustment—either lighter or darker than the previous one. Save each changed tile with the next consecutive name (balloons04.gif balloons05.gif balloons06.gif etc.).
For the very last save of a particular tile, you may wish to save as jpg, thus smoothing edges just a little. top
On the sTile Color menu you'll find an item Color Rotate. Double click it once and you'll see colours rearranged. The next double click gives a third variation.
Irfanview offers a similar effect, under Image > Swap Colors and more than two colour changes are available.
While you have your tile open in sTile, try other effects. Some are great, and some you probably won't like one bit. Everything can be undone, so experiment a bit! Save the ones you like.
That's it. All that remains is to use one of these tiles in a piece of stationery, write an email and send it to the birthday person.
Here are suggestions about how to make up the stationery, together with templates for you to copy, save and change.
Questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you. My email address is here.
please use the links here.