sTile Tutorial
Introduction

In this tutorial, I provide the shortcut keys and menu selector key combinations.  The convention is:

Ctrl-Alt-U = This means all keys are pressed at the same time.  First press Ctrl, then add Alt, then add U.

Alt>I>T = This is a menu selector combo (they always start with Alt).  You can press Alt and release it, press I and release it, then press T and release it.  They need not all be pressed at the same time, but must be pressed in the order shown.  The > symbol is the indicator that it's a key sequence.

The lessons will be presented as a series of operations using the keyboard, with the effect name to the side.  There are other means to the same end, but this will help familiarize you with the keyboard operations.   Setup will be presented in the first part, and all operations will use a 256 x 256 image unless otherwise noted.  All effects will use defaults, except where indicated.

NOTE - Ctrl-Z is the standard Windows 'Undo'.   sTile is capable of several levels of Undo, and it can be executed with the Ctrl-Z shortcut or thru the Edit menu. Undo can also be done via the toolbox undo button.

Lesson 1

A Marble texture will be created in this step, and will be used in subsequent lessons.   It's straightforward, and provides a good color for texture mapping operations.

Gradient: Default (VertCenter, Navy/Aqua)

Alt>G>P Paste Gradient to Image (or double-click on the gradient)
Ctl-Alt-S Seamless Rotate
Ctl-D SineWave U/D
Ctl-X SineWave Both
Ctl-F3 Marble
Ctl-C Copy to Clipboard
---- ----  Additional variation:
Ctl-N Negative
Ctl-O (repeat twice)  Color Rotate (Value of 8)
Ctl-C Copy to Clipboard

You should have an image similar to this

Lesson 2

Texture #1 - This lesson shows the basics of image manipulation to create a good 'texture' base.  It assumes that you have an image in the clipboard suitable for texture mapping.  See lesson 1.

Gradient: Default

Alt>G>P Paste gradient to image
Ctl-Alt-X Rotate 90
Ctl-E SineWave L/R
Ctl-E SineWave L/R
Ctl-D SineWave U/D
Ctl-E SineWave L/R
Alt>B>C Copy Image to Buffer
Ctl-V Paste Clipboard to Image
Ctl-F2 Map Texture (Use buffer, then OK)
Alt>I>T Test image as wallpaper

Your work space should now resemble this

Texture #2 - Another texture base, but a bit more complicated.   This gets into more of the controls, and demonstrates the User Input area.  It also demonstrates how to use undo as a shortcut to expose User Input controls without using the treeview.

Gradient: Default

Alt>G>P Paste gradient to image
Ctl-Alt-S Rotate Seamless
Ctl-L Mirror L/R
Alt>I>S>F 4way flip (image doubles in size)
Ctl-R Smooth Resize (to 256 by 256)
Ctl-X SineWave Both
Ctl-Z Undo SineWave Both (user input area now shows the controls for sinewave both)
Edit Change the Peaks U/D to 2, and change the Peaks U/D Height to 90
Click The 'Execute' button for SineWave Both
Ctl-D Sinewave U/D
Alt>B>C Copy to Buffer
Ctl-V Paste Clipboard to image
Ctl-F2 Map Texture (Use buffer, then OK)
Alt>I>T Test wallpaper

If I got the directions right, you should have something like this

Texture #3 - This texture uses a different gradient style.   Design the gradient (Alt>G>D):

Gradient: Radial2
Default colors, Angle 0

Alt>G>P Paste gradient to image
Ctl-Alt-S Rotate Seamless
Ctl-E SineWave L/R (Peaks 2, Height 64)
Ctl-D SineWave U/D (Peaks 2, Height 90)
Ctl-X SineWave Both (2,64,2,90)
Alt>B>C Copy to Buffer
Ctl-V Paste Clipboard to image (this is still the marble from lesson 1)
Ctrl-F2 Map Texture (Use buffer, then OK)
Alt>I>T Test Wallpaper

This should result in an image much like this one

Texture #4 - Yet another variation on the same theme, uses the Radial2 gradient again:

Gradient:  Radial2
Default Colors, Angle 0

Alt>G>P Paste gradient to image
Ctl-Alt-S Rotate Seamless
Ctl-X Sinewave both
Ctl-Z Undo sinewave both. (user input area now shows the controls for sinewave both)
Edit Change the Peaks U/D to 2, and change the Peaks U/D Height to 90
Click The 'Execute' button for sinewave both
Ctl-D Sinewave U/D
Ctl-Alt-X Rotate 90
Ctl-L Mirror L/R
Ctl-D Sinewave U/D
Alt>B>C Copy to Buffer
---- ---- Variation
Ctl-X Sinewave Both
Ctl-E Sinewave L/R
Alt>B>C Copy to buffer
Ctl-V Paste Clipboard to image
Ctl-F2 Map texture (Use buffer, then OK)

This should create an image like this, or if you continued on to the variation it should look like this.

Texture #5 - This texture is a little different.  We start with a non-seamless gradient:

Gradient: Vertical
Default colors

Alt>G>P Paste gradient to image
Alt>I>S>M>8 Seamless edge merge by 1/8
Ctl-Alt-T Lighten
Ctl-B Brighten
Ctl-Y Soften Less
Ctl-D Sinewave U/D
Ctl-Z Undo sinewave U/D. (user input area now shows the controls for sinewave u/d)
Edit Change the Peaks to 4, and change the Height to 50
Click The 'Execute' button for sinewave U/D
Edit Change the Peaks to 2, and change the Height to 100
Click the 'Execute' button for sinewave U/D
Ctl-Y (twice) Soften Less
Ctl-B Brighten
Alt>B>C Copy to Buffer
Ctl-V Paste from clipboard
Ctl-F2 Map Texture

If you're still using the original marble from lesson 1, your workspace should look similar to this

Lesson 3

Buffer Merge - This demonstrates how to use the buffer in a merge operation.  It also demonstrates the fact that Sinewave L/R and Sinewave U/D are Reversible:  they can be 'undone', and maintain pixel integrity.  More on this later.....

Gradient: Default

Alt>G>P Paste gradient to image
Ctl-Alt-S Rotate Seamless
Alt>B>C Copy image to buffer
Ctl-D Sinewave U/D
Ctl-Z Undo sinewave U/D. (user input area now shows the controls for sinewave u/d)
Edit Change the Peaks to 2, and change the Height to 90
Click The 'Execute' button for sinewave U/D
Ctl-E SineWave L/R
Ctl-L Mirror L/R
Ctl-O Color rotate (makes it 'reddish')
Alt>B>M Merge Buffer with image
Ctl-E Sinewave L/R
Ctl-D SineWave U/D
Alt>I>T Test wallpaper

This is a much different look than the previous exercises produced. Should be nice & smooth like this

Gradient Merge - Similar to the Buffer merge example.

Gradient:  Default

Alt>G>P Paste gradient to image
Ctl-D SineWave U/D (3 peaks, height 50)
Ctl-D SineWave U/D (same, 3 x 50)
Alt>G>M Merge gradient with image
Ctl-M Mirror U/D
Ctl-D SineWave U/D (same)
---- ---- Variation
Alt>G>P Paste gradient to image
Ctl-D Sinewave U/D (2 peaks, height 90)
Ctl-D SineWave U/D (same)
Alt>G>M Merge gradient with image
Ctl-L Mirror L/R
Ctl-D Sinewave U/D (2 peaks, height 70)

Results, or if you tried the Variation

Multi-Color Gradient - Requires a little more work, but can produce interesting results. * Note - there is a multi-color gradient available from the right-click menu, but this method is much more flexible.

Gradient:  Default

Alt>G>P Paste gradient to image
Ctl-R Smooth resize:  W=256  H=128
Ctl-C Copy to clipboard
Alt>G>P Paste gradient to image
Ctl-K Erase to Black
Alt>E>P>S Paste as selection.  Move mouse over selection and click to place (don't drag)
Ctl-M Mirror U/D
Alt>B>C Copy to Buffer
Alt>G>D Design gradient, change from color to dark purple, to color to light purple. Change Height to 128.
Alt>G>P Paste to image.
Ctl-C Copy to clipboard
Alt>B>P Paste buffer to image
Alt>E>P>S Paste as selection, move mouse over selection and click to set in place
Ctl-H HarmSwizzle
Alt-B-C Copy to Buffer
Ctl-E SineWave L/R
Ctl-H HarmSwizzle
Ctl-Alt-X Rotate90
---- ---- Variation - more manipulation
Ctl-F2 Map Texture (Use Buffer, then OK)
Ctl-H HarmSwizzle
Ctl-Alt-X Rotate90

Results, or if you tried the Variation

Lesson 4

Paste Transparent #1 - Illustrates the use of the clipboard and the paste transparent function.

Gradient:  Default
Pen and Brush Colors both Black. Pen size 1.
Select the Rectangle drawing tool (Fill Shape should be checked)

Al>G>P Paste Gradient to image
Draw a square Watch X and Y indicators, draw the square from 20,20 to 236,236 (about)
Ctl-C Copy to clipboard
Alt>G>P Paste Gradient to Image
Ctl-Alt-X Rotate 90
Alt>E>P>T Paste transparent (Use pen color for transparency)
Draw a Square Smaller this time, from 40,40 to 216,216
Ctl-C Copy to Clipboard
Alt>G>P Paste gradient to image
Ctl-N Negative
Ctl-W Circular
Alt>E>P>T Paste transparent (Use Pen color for...
---- ---- Variation (continue this theme)
Ctl-Alt-S Seamless Rotate
Alt>E>P>T Paste Transparent (Use Pen color...
Ctl-Alt-S Seamless Rotate
Alt>E>P>T Paste Transparent (Use Pen Color...
et cetera  

This produces an image like this, or the Variation

Paste Transparent #2 - Simialr to previous example, but simpler.  Uses a Circle instead of a square...

Gradient:  Default

Pen/Brush both black. Pen Size 1. Fill Shape Checked.
Select the Ellipse drawing tool.

Alt>G>P Paste the gradient
Draw a circle From 0,0 to 256,256
Ctl-C Copy to clipboard
Alt>G>P Paste the gradient
Ctl-Alt-X Rotate 90
Alt>E>P>T Paste Transparent (Use Pen color for transparency)
Alt>I>T Test Wallpaper

You should see this result

Lesson 5

XOR Pen - This lesson demontrates the XOR Pen mode, how it affects the image, and how to apply it smoothly.

Gradient:  Default

Pen Color Yellow.
Select the XOR Pen from the Pen menu.
Make the Pen size 300.
Select the Line Tool.

Alt>G>P   Paste gradient to image

Position the mouse at the left edge of the image, about half way down.  You can use the X and Y position indicators to get close to 0, 128.

Click and drag (it's a huge line, 300 pixels wide) to the right side, until the entire image is covered, then release the mouse.  The image becomes a yellow/pink gradient.

Repeat the previous step.  The gradient returns to its original colors.

Now, select the freehand drawing tool (the paintbrush).  Try drawing a quick circle on the image. 

Depending on the speed of your drawing, the Pen draws over itself and flip-flops the colors repeatedly, leaving a kind of jagged stain glass effect in its wake.  Part of the image is the original blue colored gradient, while part is the 'XOR' yellow/pink gradient.  Note that the image is no longer seamless at this point.  To regain seamlessness, you would have to use one of the two options for that purpose under the Image menu.

My result is here, yours may be slightly different.

Lesson 6

Text #1 - Now we'll look at some text operations.  This example produces raised Gold lettering.

Gradient:  None (not used, doesn't matter)

Select the Text tool.

Ctl-K Erase to Black
Click Anywhere on Image, to invoke the text designer.
Select: Tahoma Font, size 28, Color Yellow.
Click OK
Place the text in the center of the image (doesn't have to be exact for this example)
Ctl-N Negative (Blue text on a white background)
Ctl-Y Soften Less
Ctl-Alt-F Find Edges (Turns black/yellow again)
Alt>B>C Copy to Buffer
Ctl-Z Undo (the Find Edges)
Ctl-P Laplace filter (black with text outline in yellow)
Alt>B>M Merge Buffer with Image
Ctl-Y Soften Less
Ctl-B (twice) Brighten

You should get something similar to this

Text #2 - This will achieve a similar result, but by a totally different means.  It will give the text an embossed look, with a fuzzy shadow.

Gradient:  None, not used.

Select the Text Tool

Ctl-K Erase to Black
Click Anywhere on the image to invoke the text designer
Select Tahoma font, 28 point, White
Click OK
Place the text near the center of the image
Ctl-Alt-H Blur (repeat 10 times)
Ctl-Alt-T Lighten (repeat 3 times)
Alt>B>C Copy to Buffer
Click On image to design more text
Select Same font, just change to Black
Click OK
Place the text in the same spot as before
Ctl-Y Soften Less
Ctl-Alt-D Edge Emboss Less
Ctl-Y Soften Less
Ctl-N Negative
Ctl-F2 Map Texture (Use buffer), then click OK
Ctl-N Negative
---- ---- Variation, add some color
Ctl-Alt-U Tint - Choose a light color, like yellow
Ctl-F2 Map Texture

My Results, and the Variation

Text #3 - This demonstrates a soft shadow - very simple, but often used effect in web banners.

Gradient:  None, not used.

Select Text Tool.

Ctl-K Erase to Black
Ctl-N Negative
Click on image to invoke text designer.
Select any font, fairly large, dark gray
Place at any location that fits, note the x,y position for later.  I used 35, 100
Ctl-Alt-Y (repeat 4 times) Soften More
Click on image to invoke text designer.
Select same text, just change color to black or navy blue
Place Up and left of original text by 3 pixels.  In my case, it was 32, 97
Ctl-Y Soften Less (removes the 'jaggies')

See my Soft Shadow here

Lesson 7

Just some miscellaneous information here.

Sinewave U/D and SineWave L/R can be reversed, without losing pixel resolution.   To try this, use the default gradient.  Then:

Ctl-D
Ctl-D
Ctl-E
Ctl-D

You now have a pretty distorted image.  To go back to the original, you must first mirror the image, then do the operations in reverse order:

Ctl-M
Ctl-D
Ctl-E
Ctl-D
Ctl-D

Back to square 1.  This can be handy, or interesting when used with the merge operations.  The Sinewave Both can't be reversed, although one or the other of the directions can be reversed for an interesting twist.  To see this:

Default gradient.

Ctl-H (harmswizzle)
Ctl-X
Ctl-D (this reverses the U/D direction only)

Another interesting effect can be achieved by making use of the pixel stretching done by Smooth Resize.  Start with a black image:

Ctl-K
Ctl-Alt-P   Add some noise
Ctl-N
Ctl-O (Rotate 4 bits)
Use the selection tool to crop out a tiny little image, about 8 - 10 pixels wide and 3 - 4 pixels high.  You can pick any section of the image for this.
Alt>I>S>F  (4way flip, still a very small image)
Ctl-R  Resize smooth, to 256 x 256

This should produce a multicolor set of gradient lines or blobs - it may take a little practice to get this effect.

End of tutorials, for now.  If you have done all these exercises, you should be familiar with most of the keyboard shortcuts, and how I use them myself.

Thanks for your interest in my program, I hope you enjoy it!