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Frustration with selection tools and layers


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I am new to Paint.NET, having found it on a search for a program with layers. I don't get along with GIMP, nor Photoshop Elements. I deal tolerably well with Irfanview.

 

I had a program which met most of my needs, called PhotoFinish, but it does not work under Windows 7 Pro. Nor did it have layers.

 

I am attempting to design Barn Hunt courses for practice with my Dachshund and my Beagle. The courses are out of straw bales and plywood which is cut to specified sizes.

 

For an example of my Boy, Harper, in action, see here. (Pay no attention to the handler -- just watch the gorgeous hound in action. Warning, my husband is NOT a videographer.)

 

I figured Paint.NET's layers would be ideal, since I have to lay out the levels of a course, and then be able to print them, one level at a time for the course builders to be able to put them together.

 

I have created two files. One has my scaled images for the straw bales (12" x 18" x 36") and the plywood boards, and then a spacer to be sure I have the tunnel wide enough (18" x 18").

 

I am trying to use the Magic Wand (which was one of the features I loved best about PhotoFinish) to select an image, copy it, and paste it into the other file.

 

I paste... and then try to select part of that image, but I can't. I get whatever I pasted. Or I get everything around it.

 

Plus, if I select something with the wand, before I can move it, I have to punch M? And once it's in place, I have to hit Enter to deselect it? And then go back and click the tool again before I can select something else?

 

Why is it, that sometimes, when I select an item, and it's clearly selected, and I copy it, and then go to paste it in the other file, I get a blank selection? Little lines of selection showing, but not the actual item itself?

 

I cannot find instructions for how to name layers. I cannot find a way to re-order the layers.  Layer 2, 7, 5, 6, 4, 3 ? Totally confusing. (Yes, I did find the Help, and read the section on using Layers.)

 

I am starting simple, trying to learn the program before going on to more complex things like trying to put on monorail on stone pilings at the location of Morant's Curve.

 

I know there is always a learning curve with a new program, but right at the moment, I feel as if my learning curve is an Immelman.

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Hi Marilyn and Welcome to the forum.

 

Yes, I understand your frustration at leaning a new program. Just hang-in and all will become clear :) .

 

When you select with the magic wand, watch the tolerance bar (top of the tool bar) for more control.  Then when the area is active, go to:

 

Edit - Copy - make a New Layer - go back to Edit and choose Paste.

 

Voila:

 

soR2nuU.png

 

To reorder the layers, just drag them up and down.

 

To rename the layers, click on the little pencil and label (bottom right) of the layer's window :LayerProperties: , which says Properties, and rename.

 

Hope this helps.

Edited by Pixey

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How I made Jennifer & Halle in Paint.net

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Hi Marilynx and welcome to the forum! I hope I can help you with answering your questions as far as I can :)

I paste... and then try to select part of that image, but I can't. I get whatever I pasted. Or I get everything around it.

Try to lower the tolerance of the selection tool on the Tolerance Meter, positioned below the Effects Menu. You'll be able to select smaller parts of the image you have pasted.

 

Why is it, that sometimes, when I select an item, and it's clearly selected, and I copy it, and then go to paste it in the other file, I get a blank selection? Little lines of selection showing, but not the actual item itself?

Are you sure you have selected the correct layer for what you wanted to copy? That's usually my problem when copying from many layers. 

 

I cannot find instructions for how to name layers. I cannot find a way to re-order the layers.  Layer 2, 7, 5, 6, 4, 3 ? Totally confusing. (Yes, I did find the Help, and read the section on using Layers.)

You can either press F4 on your keyboard or double click on the layer you want to rename to open it. Then it is just to write whatever you want to name your layer in the top box on the menu you have opened by pressing F4/double clicking. 

 

And don't worry, you'll learn this program just fine! Asking questions about tricky things are the best way in improving and becoming even better :)

 

Hope this will be to some help.

 

Oh, because I am allergic to things I do not want to do. *Cough*

- Michael J. Caboose

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You might like to explore the paint.net documentation. Found here: http://www.getpaint.net/doc/latest/

 

Yes, thank you... I have. And will continue to do so. I am one of those very weird people who Read The Flaming Manual. However, I have noted in the past that typically, I do not think the same way document writers do. As noted above -- my question about layers was NOT included in the section on using layers.

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Pixey, thank you. I had seen the tolerance "thingy" up at the top, but did not know what it was. I am wholly self-taught on some of this stuff, and do not know some of the terms. For instance, I was reading some of the tutorials, and realized that I need a tutorial to understand the tutorial!

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Limon, thank you for the pointers. Yes, the first thing I did when I got the weirdness with the selection was to check the layers. This was going from a base layer file (single layer) where I had constructed my templates for the scaled figures I was going to be using to a layer in another file. Select, Ctrl+C, click on layer in second file, Ctrl+V.

 

Paint.NET is clearly WAY more powerful than my old PhotoFinish, but it does have some of the features I liked the best about PF. I just wish the hexagons generated with a flat side down, because that is what PF did, and I have a BUNCH of complex designs which will now be a bear to edit.

 

I am admiring some of the things which can be done with P.N and hope I can master some of them, as I not only need to design Barn Hunt courses, I need to do designs for flyers, and architectural and cartographic stuff, as well.

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Yes, thank you... I have. And will continue to do so. I am one of those very weird people who Read The Flaming Manual. However, I have noted in the past that typically, I do not think the same way document writers do. As noted above -- my question about layers was NOT included in the section on using layers.

Within the last few weeks, actually, the documentation has been updated - have you read it recently?  I think it reads a lot better.  In this case, the document writers are Paint.NET users themselves, not the app developers.

 

The Doctor: There was a goblin, or a trickster, or a warrior... A nameless, terrible thing, soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies. The most feared being in all the cosmos. And nothing could stop it, or hold it, or reason with it. One day it would just drop out of the sky and tear down your world.
Amy: But how did it end up in there?
The Doctor: You know fairy tales. A good wizard tricked it.
River Song: I hate good wizards in fairy tales; they always turn out to be him.

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the document writers are Paint.NET users themselves, not the app developers.

I wrote a significant amount of the online documentation. I also wrote the book http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/topic/25384-mastering-paintnet-ebook/:D

If you feel that concepts have not been well explained, please let us/me know so that we can review the subject.

The online documentation is not "cast in stone" - I'm open to making improvements, because in the end the user is who these are for.

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Within the last few weeks, actually, the documentation has been updated - have you read it recently?  I think it reads a lot better.  In this case, the document writers are Paint.NET users themselves, not the app developers.

 

Well, given that I discovered Paint.NET this week, and DL and installed it also this week, unless it has been modified in the last 72 hours, I would say that I am in the process of reading the most current version.

 

My experience is that whether app developers or experienced users are involved in documentation, there is an assumption of knowledge which may not exist.

 

For instance, I work best by DOING things, which is why I dove straight into a project which would have been extremely simple in my old PhotoFinish, had PF had layers. (Since it did not, I'd've needed to make multiple files and then physically overlay them. ) I learned quite a bit -- and the tips I was given in response to my questions improved my knowledge.

 

Today, I thought I would go into the tutorials and work through some of those.

 

The first one which looked interesting was the pinned concrete texture tutorial. Open it, and the first thing is "Required plug-ins" with links to the plug-ins. I know absolutely zilch about P.N plug-ins, so I have to go back to the Help, and hunt for where to find the plug-ins referenced, and how to install them.

 

Now, the directions say,

 

If you downloaded a FileType plugin, move the uncompressed *.DLL to the \FileTypes\ subdirectory.

If you downloaded an Effect plugin, move the uncompressed *.DLL file to the \Effects\ subdirectory.

 

BUT: the first required plug-in for the concrete texture is (per the link in the tutorial) the Displacement and Alpha mask plugin!(07/06/08:v1.4.1.1). So, I follow the link to the plug-in. It's a zip; I can unzip it. I cannot find anywhere in the explanation of what the plug-in is good for whether it is a File Type or and Effect.

 

It's OBVIOUS what it is, says the experienced user.

 

No, it is NOT, says the newbie.

 

The second plug-in required for the concrete is Solarize, from Ed Harvey's Effects. Okay, that tells me the .dll likely goes under effects. But when I open the zip file, I find not only a .dll file, but a ..PDB file. So now what? Do I copy both files to the effects directory? Do I copy only the .dll? Once again,

 

It's OBVIOUS what you're supposed to do, says the experienced user.

 

No, it is NOT, says the newbie.

 

I've just been through this on a special lifestyle list I run. 5000 people, lotsa emails. It's a lifestyle which can remediate symptoms of Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Diverticulitis, etc. I've done this diet for 14 years. It's completely second nature to me. One of the favorite recipes happens to be my Mock Chocolate Cake. I thought I had written the instructions clearly. To me, there is a distinct difference between ounces (mass weight) and fluid ounces (liquid measure). The Mom who wanted to make this for her very sick son for his birthday so for ONCE he could be a normal kid is NOT a cook. My recipe specified 6 ounces (170 grams) of finely ground pecans. She thought that meant 6 ounces (3/4 of a cup) in a measuring cup, or 6 fluid ounces. I told her, no, she needed to first weigh her bowl, then zero the scale, then add ground pecans until she had 6 ounces. She didn't own a scale, something I consider absolutely basic to a kitchen. I ended up going into my kitchen, weighing out six ounces of pecans, dumping them in a measuring cup, and telling her, "Use 2.5 cups of pecans, then grind them into pecan meal." Then I had to tell her how to grind pecans. (BTW, the cake turned out well, and her son had his best birthday ever.)

 

In essence, as far as Paint.Net is concerned, I am that newbie, novice cook.

 

I'm better off than some of my list people since I at least know where to find Windows Explorer and how to extract and copy or move files around. (My first home computer was an Osborne I.)

 

I've spent four hours trying to figure out how to install two plug-ins so I could play with one tutorial.

 

Theoretically, future plug-in installations should go faster, but....

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Do not despair Marilinx. Paint.net is like a new oven. If you want to bake some cookies you have to have all the engredients and know how your oven works best. The best recipes from Betty Crocker will not always give great cookies until you know your oven settings first. Keep baking/painting and you will get them right.  ;)

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I wrote a significant amount of the online documentation. I also wrote the book http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/topic/25384-mastering-paintnet-ebook/ :D

If you feel that concepts have not been well explained, please let us/me know so that we can review the subject.

The online documentation is not "cast in stone" - I'm open to making improvements, because in the end the user is who these are for.

 

Thanks. I have just purchased a copy of the book. I do find the number of blanks in it curious. "Note that you're downloading a ZIP file, so select the option to    or     (depending on your Operating System). You may need to specify a location for the downloaded file - choose          if prompted." Similarly, on mention of colors, there a choice of the     color and the      color. (Apparently, from context, primary and secondary colors.) I am reading it on an Android tablet, using the Kindle ap.

 

I've made some observations in my reply to the person who suggested I should read the documention.

 

Please don't get me wrong: I'm looking over the tutorials and seeing all the really cool things that can be done with PAINT.NET, and I really do want to work with it.  I think this is a spectacular piece of software. It may let me create some of the images I've had floating around in my head for literally years.

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Do not despair Marilinx. Paint.net is like a new oven. If you want to bake some cookies you have to have all the engredients and know how your oven works best. The best recipes from Betty Crocker will not always give great cookies until you know your oven settings first. Keep baking/painting and you will get them right.  ;)

 

Lol! I don't do Betty Crocker recipes -- no sugar, no starch (no grains or potatoes), so I always start out with unusual ingredients. And then I have to adjust the oven to the ingredients!

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Thanks. I have just purchased a copy of the book. I do find the number of blanks in it curious. "Note that you're downloading a ZIP file, so select the option to    or     (depending on your Operating System). You may need to specify a location for the downloaded file - choose          if prompted." Similarly, on mention of colors, there a choice of the     color and the      color. (Apparently, from context, primary and secondary colors.) I am reading it on an Android tablet, using the Kindle ap.

As the author, those omissions concern me greatly Marilynx. I'll contact you via Private Message (PM) to discuss it.

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I do agree that there is an assumption of basic knowledge that must be made in writing documentation.  The big question is, how do we get people from their current level of understanding to that basic knowledge level?  How basic do we make that barrier to entry before we risk alienating more proficient users?

 

Sounds like you've discovered some locations where we need to pull back the curtain a little bit, and for that we thank you!

 

The Doctor: There was a goblin, or a trickster, or a warrior... A nameless, terrible thing, soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies. The most feared being in all the cosmos. And nothing could stop it, or hold it, or reason with it. One day it would just drop out of the sky and tear down your world.
Amy: But how did it end up in there?
The Doctor: You know fairy tales. A good wizard tricked it.
River Song: I hate good wizards in fairy tales; they always turn out to be him.

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I do agree that there is an assumption of basic knowledge that must be made in writing documentation.  The big question is, how do we get people from their current level of understanding to that basic knowledge level?  How basic do we make that barrier to entry before we risk alienating more proficient users?

 

Sounds like you've discovered some locations where we need to pull back the curtain a little bit, and for that we thank you!

 

I've learned that assumptions can, as is sometimes said, make an equine out of U and ME.

 

I was working on a project which was set in 1907. I was delighted to find Baedecker guides for the areas in question, figuring this would give me the information I needed. No... those guides were written with the assumption that the person reading them had the same cultural and educational background as the writer, and a whole lot more research was needed to be able to use them.

 

In the meantime, I have been browsing the pictorium and I am just STUNNED at some of the things which can be done with PAINT.NET.

 

I have a project coming up which has to be finished by 30 November, but I really do intend to work my way through the tutorials, and then see if I can start getting some of my Images on screen.

 

I have no qualms about asking questions!

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I do agree that there is an assumption of basic knowledge that must be made in writing documentation.  The big question is, how do we get people from their current level of understanding to that basic knowledge level?  How basic do we make that barrier to entry before we risk alienating more proficient users?

 

Sounds like you've discovered some locations where we need to pull back the curtain a little bit, and for that we thank you!

 

Just a thought which occurred to me. I am not familiar with the particular software used in the Forum, but I did note (and find interesting) the feature for "hidden content." 

 

Would it be possible to use that to include the probably repetitive basics on the pages so that those individuals who NEED them can find them on the same page (instead of having to jump all over the place), but those who are of slightly more moderate, or advanced skills can simply skip over the hidden basics to the information they want?

 

GIven the number of plug-ins available, it could be a bear to modify all descriptions to say "Put this one in the X Directory after you unpack it," for instance. However, the complete list of plug-ins might be modified relatively easily, to provide a place to look for this information until additional information can be put in place. (I say "relatively" because I know it means some volunteer is going to be a whole bunch of work.)

 

Just a thought.

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Actually, I can solve that pretty simply for you.  They're already so sorted :)

 

Plugins in the "File Types" subforum (here) go in the Filetypes folder; every other plugin goes in the Effects folder.

 

Easy-peasy.  :)

 

The Doctor: There was a goblin, or a trickster, or a warrior... A nameless, terrible thing, soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies. The most feared being in all the cosmos. And nothing could stop it, or hold it, or reason with it. One day it would just drop out of the sky and tear down your world.
Amy: But how did it end up in there?
The Doctor: You know fairy tales. A good wizard tricked it.
River Song: I hate good wizards in fairy tales; they always turn out to be him.

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Actually, I can solve that pretty simply for you.  They're already so sorted :)

 

Plugins in the "File Types" subforum (here) go in the Filetypes folder; every other plugin goes in the Effects folder.

 

Easy-peasy.   :)

 

Yep... now, trying to find the specific plug-ins called for in a tutorial, and determining if it is a file or an effect type....

 

Like that Alpha thingie for the concrete effect tutorial... and what about the other files included in various zips? Where do they go?

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When the tutorial directs you to the plugin, look at the top of the page.  Right under the Paint.NET logo, you'll see a line of text that tells you which forum you're in.  For instance, here's the one for this thread:

 

Paint.NET Forum → Paint.NET → Paint.NET Discussion & Questions

 

As you can see, we're in the "Paint.NET Discussion & Questions" forum.  If it says

 

Paint.NET Forum  → Paint.NET  → Plugins - Publishing ONLY!  → FileType Plugins

 

...those plugins are FileType plugins.  All others go in Effects.

 

Make sense?

 

The Doctor: There was a goblin, or a trickster, or a warrior... A nameless, terrible thing, soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies. The most feared being in all the cosmos. And nothing could stop it, or hold it, or reason with it. One day it would just drop out of the sky and tear down your world.
Amy: But how did it end up in there?
The Doctor: You know fairy tales. A good wizard tricked it.
River Song: I hate good wizards in fairy tales; they always turn out to be him.

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When the tutorial directs you to the plugin, look at the top of the page.  Right under the Paint.NET logo, you'll see a line of text that tells you which forum you're in.  For instance, here's the one for this thread:

 

Paint.NET Forum → Paint.NET → Paint.NET Discussion & Questions

 

As you can see, we're in the "Paint.NET Discussion & Questions" forum.  If it says

 

Paint.NET Forum  → Paint.NET  → Plugins - Publishing ONLY!  → FileType Plugins

 

...those plugins are FileType plugins.  All others go in Effects.

 

Make sense?

 

Ergo, a plug-in which is in

 

    Paint.NET Forum → Paint.NET → Plugins - Publishing ONLY!

 

is automatically an EFFECTs plug-in, since it does not say File Type?

 

It makes perfect sense -- but this ISN'T mentioned (yet)  in the directions for DL and installing plug-ins at http://www.getpaint.net/doc/latest/InstallPlugins.html

 

And, what about the  .PDB file included in the Ed Harvey zip file? Where does it go?

 

I assume the .dll file for this is also an EFFECTs file, since it is in

 

    Paint.NET Forum → Paint.NET → Plugins - Publishing ONLY! → Plugin Packs

 

and says nothing about File Type?

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These are filetype plugins > http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/forum/46-filetype-plugins/

The unzipped dlls go in the paint.net/Filetypes/ folder. If there are additional files that the plugin requires they go in the same directory UNLESS the author says otherwise.

There is a list of Filetype plugins here:http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/topic/15260-plugin-index/?p=252432

All the plugins in this forum are Effects http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/forum/7-plugins-publishing-only/

They go in the paint.net/Effects/ folder. Same deal with supporting files - put them in the same directory unless told otherwise.

Plugin packs (http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/forum/44-plugin-packs/) may contain a mixture of Effects and Filetypes. Generally the author should specify which are Filetypes - assume all others are Effects.

If you get stuck, download a copy of the Plugin Index and look up the plugin. It tells you which files are required and what type the plugin is.

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These are filetype plugins > http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/forum/46-filetype-plugins/

The unzipped dlls go in the paint.net/Filetypes/ folder. If there are additional files that the plugin requires they go in the same directory UNLESS the author says otherwise.

There is a list of Filetype plugins here:http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/topic/15260-plugin-index/?p=252432

All the plugins in this forum are Effects http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/forum/7-plugins-publishing-only/

They go in the paint.net/Effects/ folder. Same deal with supporting files - put them in the same directory unless told otherwise.

Plugin packs (http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/forum/44-plugin-packs/) may contain a mixture of Effects and Filetypes. Generally the author should specify which are Filetypes - assume all others are Effects.

If you get stuck, download a copy of the Plugin Index and look up the plugin. It tells you which files are required and what type the plugin is.

 

I understand the first two items -- but realize that NONE of this is in how to install plug-ins. Not one word about additional files going in the same directory. There is mention of File type and Effect type and placing them in their respective directories, but not how to tell which is which or what to do with supporting files.

 

The Plug-In Index has the information about each plug-in which I, personally, feel should be on the individual plug-in page when one clicks through from a tutorial to get that plug-in. 

 

I'm heading into Day Three of Fiddling With Plug-Ins and have yet to try ANY tutorials.

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We have little control over how plugin authors use additional supporting files. Where they are used (its reasonably rare) we expect the author to make it clear where the files should be located.

Where it is not clear, mention it in the plugin thread and ask the author to spell it out.

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We have little control over how plugin authors use additional supporting files. Where they are used (its reasonably rare) we expect the author to make it clear where the files should be located.

Where it is not clear, mention it in the plugin thread and ask the author to spell it out.

 

True. That's both the joy and the frustration of a user-supported piece of software. Incredibly flexible, and also incredibly frustrating.

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