Although it is possible to use the Blade-Pro plugin with PhotoImpact 4, to produce simulated stained glass, this tutorial shows you how to do it without any plugins, creating the leading effect in PhotoImpact, and using glass sample illustrations. The glass samples I have used, and the pattern, came from Spectrum Glass. The patterns at Spectrum Glass are freely available for you to download and use, but if you wish to display stained glass pictures made with images from their glass catalogue samples on a website, you should seek their permission and give them a link on the page where the images are displayed.
Preparing the Pattern
If this is your first attempt at stained glass I recommend that you use a Spectrum Glass pattern because the lines will be even and thick enough to make preparing the leaded glass easy. Any outline pattern may be used, but some may need a lot of preliminary work in closing gaps in lines, using a slight blur to even and slightly thicken them.
Spectrum glass patterns are downloaded as Adobe Acrobat pdf files. Load your pattern into the Acrobat Reader. In the Reader use Tools/Select Graphics. You will be presented with a cross-hair cursor. Place this at the top left corner and click-and-drag a box to surround the pattern. Do not worry if some of the lettering around the pattern is included. When you have placed the box, use Edit/Copy to place the pattern on the clip board.
Load PhotoImpact 4 and use Edit/Paste/As New Image to bring the pattern into PI4. The first job is to remove all the logos and lettering from around the pattern, including the code letters in each sector of the pattern which show what glass should be used.
First, use Format/Data Type and if True Colour is not greyed out, click on it to make this a full 16million colour image. Now set the background colour to white, and with the ordinary selection tool set at rectangle, draw a box around some of the unwanted lettering, being very careful not to include any of the outline. Press delete. Repeat this until all the lettering has gone, and you are left with only the outlines. You may need to zoom into the pattern to delete some of the code letters which are very close to the lines. (Use the +key on the keypad to zoom in, and the -key on the keypad to zoom out again.) Finally, zoom in and check all round the lines that there are no breaks. In the rose pattern I have used here the pattern had obviously been filed in a ring binder and there was a break in the line at one side where the hole had been punched. Use the paintbrush tool set at shape, circular; 5 pixels; colour, black; soft edge, 50; preset, none and correct any lines as needed.
You need to be sure that the background is all an even white, so use the fill tool. Set the fill colour at the top left of the toolbar to white; Similarity, 50; Transparency, 0; Merge, Always; Anti-aliasing, unchecked. Click in every segment of the pattern.
Finally use the ordinary selection tool and crop the pattern as near as you can to the lines.
This is a good time to save your pattern as glass.UFO.
Making the lead
With your glass.UFO pattern as the current image, use Effect/Blur & Sharpen/Find Edges. Your image will look like the picture on the right.
Zoom in so that you can see the outlined lead lines clearly. Select the fill tool, and click on the fill colour at the top left of the toolbar, to open the Ulead Colour Picker. Click on the light grey at the right of the row of colours at the top, to open the grey shades display. Click on the left colour in the bottom row, which looks black but is really a very dark grey. (red 9, green 9, blue 10). Click OK and with the fill tool selected, click within the lead outlines. All the lead lines should be filled with dark grey. Zoom out and check them. If there are any disconnected lines which have been missed, zoom in on them and fill them.
If the whole image has turned grey there is at least one gap somewhere in your lead outlines. Use Edit/Undo to remove the fill, zoom in on the lines and check them till you find the gap. Use the paintbrush set at 1 pixel and the same dark grey to fill in any gaps, then try filling the lines again.
When all the lines are filled, use the Magic Wand tool, Mode, new; Similarity 30; Select by, Line; Search connected pixels, unchecked. Zoom in on your lines and click on a dark grey line. Zoom out again and check that all of your lines have been selected. If any have been missed, change the Mode to Add, zoom in on the areas in question and click on them.
Use Web/Button Designer/Any Shape. Make the following settings on the tab pages:-
Basic: Light angle, 135; Light elevation 50; Bevel size 15; Bevel smoothness 2; Pressed and Outer both unchecked
Bevel: set as shown in the illustration on the left
Light: 1 light operating; the three figures below the light number all at 0; Angle 135; Elevation 50; Light colour white; Light value 50; Specular 10.
Shadow and Warping: both pages unchecked.
Click OK. You will have quite a long wait while the bevel is applied to all your lines, but they will be quite a realistic lead.
Use Edit/Selection/Merge All, and save your image again as glass.UFO.
You can experiment with different shades of grey and different bevel shapes and depths to get slightly different shades and shapes of leading. Play with the settings till you find the one you like best.
Adding the glass
We need to select the glass areas, but if we simply click with the Magic Wand in one of them, all the white areas of the image will be selected. So first, use the fill tool to fill the areas you wish to select together with a distinctive colour. In the picture on the right, I have coloured all the background areas of the image which I intend to fill with a textured clear glass.
Click in one of the filled areas with the Magic Wand tool, and they will all be selected.
Load one of your glass samples into PI4, use the standard selection tool to select an area from it, and use Web/Create Seamless Tile. With the seamless tile the current image use Edit/Selection/All followed by Edit/Selection/Convert to Object.
Place the cursor in the centre of the seamless tile, hold down the T key, and click and drag the seamless tile onto the selected areas of your image. The glass pattern will fill the selected areas. Use Edit/Selection/Merge All.
If you need to use this same seamless tile again, click on it to make it the current image and use Edit/Undo to restore the pattern, which will still be an object and ready to use again. (This will not remove the glass from your main image.)
Repeat the colouring in of related areas, selecting and filling them with glass till your image is finished.
This is my finished stained glass.
© Carol Brooksbank 2003