Tag Archives: graphics



Layer outlines are useful for a variety of reasons to the user. In general though, outlines add some contrast to an otherwise borderless image, making it easier to view. View a version of this tutorial in a video tutorial here,

Using ProShow Gold you can add a simple outline to any layer in your show and change the outline’s color. In Slide Options, select a layer, click on the Adjustments tab and click the check box next to Outline. You can adjust the color and toggle the outline on or off.

ProShow Producer takes layer outlines a step further and offers multiple ways to create an outline around a layer: the outline feature, vignette feature, and manually creating the outline.

Outline Feature

Using this feature, ProShow Producer provides five outline widths and the ability to set the outline’s color. To access the outline feature, open the Slide Options. Select a layer and then select the Adjustments Tab. The outline feature is located under the Editing Tools section. There you can set the function. Set the outline color and size.

PRO’s: Convenient, fast, easy to use. Quickly set the outline width from 1 to 5.

1)   Producer’s narrowest setting, 1, is sometimes too wide.
2)   Producer’s widest setting, 5, is sometimes too narrow.
3)   The outline rests half on and half off the image.
a)   An image cropped by a mask generally hides the outline
b)   When the mask is nearly the same size as the masked layer, a portion of the outline may be visible
4)   The outline is often positioned slightly off-center on the layer.
5)   Outline corners are always rounded.
6)   On masked layers, the outline is usually chopped off.
7)   When a duplicate layer is placed behind the masked layer, sized to match the masks’ size, and given an outline, the outline’s rounded corners do not display well.
8)  If a blur is applied to the layer, it is also applied to the outline. Something that you may not want to happen.

PSP Outline 1
PSP Outline 1
PSP Outline 5
PSP Outline 5

Vignette Feature

ProShow Producer can create an “outline” via a vignette. This applies a color over the inside layer edges. To access the Vignette feature, open Slide Options. Select a layer and then select the Adjustments Tab. The Vignette Feature is located under Editing Tools. Click the Vignette checkbox and then click on the Vignette button or simply click on the Vignette button.. This opens the Vignette dialog.

To create an “outline,” under the Vignette Type, set the Type to Solid Color (then select the desired color).  Under the Vignette Options, set the Vignette Size, to a size of 0 to 100%. Select Solid borders and Fill corners. Leave both Border Size and Corner Size at a setting of 0. If Solid Borders are not selected, the border will start out as a solid color at the outside edge and fade to transparent at the width specified by the Vignette Size. If Fill corners is not selected, the “outline” will have rounded corners.

1)   Quick and easy
2)   Options for rounded or sharp corners.
3)   Faded Outline is possible.
4)   A gradient (or multi-color) “outline” is possible.

1)   Covers part of the image to create the impression of an outline.
2)   Not appropriate for most masked layers. May have an unbalanced in size.
3)   An applied blur applies to the whole image and may not be what you want.
4)   Except for selecting a preset gradient (which you can change the colors/opacity/position/color space of, there is really no control over it. It appears to be a variation of a radial gradient type and you are unable to change it.

Manually Created Outline

Since ProShow lets you add or duplicate layers, it is fairly easy to create a layer that has the same aspect and size as the layer for which you want to create a border. There are a variety of techniques you can use to create this outline. It is possible to create extremely narrow outlines or very wide ones. You can create solid color, multiple color, variations in the opacity, variations in the blur, and multiple variations of the type of outline. The outline may be created with a single layer that is slightly larger than the original or a masked set to create a more complicated looking outline. While this is by far the most complicated approach, it is also the most flexible. However, the extra work involved is well worth it.

No Vignette Image
No Vignette Image
Vignette Outline (White Border)
Vignette Outline (White Border)

1) Extremely flexible,
2) Extremely narrow to extremely wide outlines,
3) Outlines with transparent regions between the layer to which the outline applies and the actual outline,
4) Blur the outside edge or the inside edge of the outline is possible,
5) The outline can be offset from the layer it is outlining,
6) Multiple color/opacity options.
7) Does not require covering any part of the image.
8) The “outline” has sharp corners unless specifically rounded.

1) Requires a modicum of skill with Producer,
2) May require imagination,
3) Extra effort is involved,
4) May require some knowledge of masking,
5) To make it look correct, some math skills are probably required.

Creating A Simple Outline

To create a simple layer outline, assume the outline layer has an aspect of 3:2 and a scale of Fill Frame. Add a white gradient layer of 1200×800. The mask is the layer 1 gradient. The masked image layer is layer 2. Both layers’ zoom is 65. Duplicate the gradient layer and move it below the image layer. Create the outline by changing its zoom-x to 60.5. Now, calculate the zoom-y amount. Start with the difference in zoom-x: (65.5-65.0)/65.00 =0.5/65=0.00769. Next, calculate the required zoom-y change by multiplying this difference by the mask layer aspect: 0.00769(3/2)=0.0115. Now, multiply that value with the starting zoom-y: 65*0.0115=0.75. The final zoom-y is 65 + 0.75= 65.75. So, zoom-x = 65.5 and a zoom-y = 65.75. The border/outline around the image should look equal on all sides.

Simple Outline
Simple Outline

Create A More Complicated Outline (A Transparent Region Between the Image and Outline)

Duplicate the Simple Outline as given above. Then, duplicate layer 3, the outline layer. Set layer 3 zoom-x to 66.0 and zoom-y to 66.5.  Set layer 4 zoom-x to 67.0 and zoom-y to 68.0. Set layer 3 as an inverted grayscale mask. Set layer 3 blur to 20. You should now have an outline with sharp outside edges and soft inside edges. The outline should have a transparent region between the image and the inside edge of the image.

Variations on this more complicated layer outline are very numerous and relatively simple to modify once the initial outline setup is created. I’ve used this type of outline for in my own shows for a number of years. Generally though, I use the simple outline.

Keep these tips in mind when manually creating your outline:

•         Calculate the proper zoom value increases from the starting zoom value for each axes.
>         An outline with all sides the same size generally looks more pleasing to the viewer.
•         Ensure all layers have the same scale type (e.g., Fill Frame).
•         Ensure the mask and outline layers have the same aspect.
>         For example, if the mask has an aspect of 3:2 then the outline layer should too.
>         It isn’t strictly required but is highly recommended

Complicated Outline
Complicated Outline

Method for Calculating the Proper Size Increase for Manually Created Border/Outline Layers.

  1. Subtract Starting Zoom from Ending Zoom (This calculates the amount of change)
  2. Divide the result by the Starting Zoom (Gives the decimal value of the Size Change)
  3. Multiply the result by the image aspect to get the size change for the other orientation
  4. If step 1 was for the horizontal axis (zoom-x)
    • Multiply step 2 value by the layer’s horizontal axis value, then
    • Divide the result by the layer’s y-axis value
    • Add the result to the Starting Zoom value
  5. If step 1 was for the vertical axis (zoom-y)
    • Multiply step 2 value by the layer’s y-axis value and then
    • Divide the result by the layer’s x-axis value
    • Add the result to the Starting Zoom value
  6. Change the outline layer’s zoom values to the values calculated in step 3

Note: if the layer aspect is 3:2, then the x-axis value is 3 and the y-axis value is 2. If the layer has an aspect of 4672:3104, then the x-axis is 4672 and the y-axis is 3104.

Using Graphical Layers for Outlining

Often, the quickest way to create a border/outline of a non-masked layer is to simply duplicate it. Then, move it from its default location from above the original layer to below the original layer. Resize the lower layer relative using the technique describe above. The next thing you want to do is to change the image layer to a color other than the default colors. In Slide Options, go to the Adjustments tab. This is where adjust the layer’s color(s).

•         To make the image layer black, set the white point to -100.
•         To make it white, set the black point to 100.
•         To set the layer to any other color,
>         Click on the Auto button to automatically set Brightness, White Point, & Black Point
>         Set the contrast to -100.
>         Select the Colorize tool and set the desired color.

Video Tutorial Version



ProShow has a unique ability to link layers. You will notice this feature after applying a style that duplicates layers as part of its effect. It is a feature that templates and styles use. You can see this in action when one of the duplicate image layers is replaced with a different image (via select or by a drag-and-drop). When that happens, you will notice that the new image replaces all of the associated duplicate layers.

NOTE: THIS IS NOT the layer Linking typically associated with modifiers (where a subordinated layer’s feature settings reflect any changes made on a master layer).

If you wanted to use a different image for one of those duplicate images, however, you are out of luck. That is because there is no direct way to break the link between those layers. If you duplicated one of those layers, the linkage to the other similar layers remains. But, all is not lost. For those times when you must remove the link between one or more of those linked layers and rebuilding the style’s effect is not an option, what can you do?

The only other option that you have is to directly edit the show’s PSH file. Each of these files is ASCII (text) format. So edit it with a text editor. If a word processor is used, make sure to save the edited file in ASCII format. Always WORK ON A DUPLICATE PSH file. That way, recovering from a mistake is easy. Otherwise, the mistake(s) may result in a PSH file that ProShow cannot read.


  • Make no line changes nor add or delete lines until you know exactly what you are doing.
  • ProShow starts its counting from 0, not 1.
  • A slide is referred to as a “cell.” Each “cell” is followed by a bracketed number. So, cell[18] refers to slide 19.
  • Each layer is referred to as “images” (which are either photos, graphics, solid layers, or gradients layers). Like cells, images are identified by a bracketed number.


Layers are linked to another layer by the following code:


Where “templateImageId” is the ProShow function that identifies a link; “####” is a unique ID number (which may have a positive or negative value).

All “images[xx]” that have the same templateImageId number are “linked.” If more than one set of linked layers exists, each set will have a different template image id number.

An example of a linked set of layers is as follows



In this example, layers 1 and 10 on slide 19 are linked. Replace one of the linked image layers with a different image and the other gets replaced as well. While it is NOT advisable, note that it IS possible to link layers across multiple slides. That way, all such linked layers in a show may be changed at once.

Knowing how a layer is linked to one or more layers means that you now also know how to unlink them.


Converting Layer Types

Some time ago, I advised that you create you solid layers using gradient layers. That’s because gradient layers can simulate solid color layers but the reverse isn’t true. This was important because, if you were developing a show using these solid color layers (as masks, borders, outlines, and / or shadows), if you needed or wanted multiple colors in the layer, it was impossible. Whereas you can duplicate the layer to retain all of the keyframes and their settings, you could never change the solid layer to get those multiple colors. Well, that’s not necessarily true.  You CAN change the layer type AND retain all of its keyframes and their settings. This means, for example, that you can do a lot of the initial development work with a solid color layer. You add all of the necessary keyframes and then set the pan and size settings for each keyframe. You intend for this layer to be your layer mask. Now, you can duplicate the layer to retain all of the settings you just made. Now, make it a mask (the duplicate layer is now masking the original solid layer). Finally you can copy the image layer onto the slide. Then you will use the image layer to convert the masked layer to an image. After the conversion you can delete the image. For your result, you will have an image masked by a solid layer and both will have the exact same keyframes and settings. Fast, efficient, easy!

To make the change, you need a source layer and a destination layer. The source and destination layers may be on any slide.Right click on the layer that you want to copy. CopySettings_menuA menu will appear. Hover over the Copy option. A set of copy options will appear; click on Copy Settings. This opens the Copy Settings dialog which has 3 columns: Source Layer, Settings to Copy, and Destination Layers. The source layer is selected. In the Destination Layers section, click on the “+” for the slide on which you’ll copy layer settings to. Next, select the layer that will accept the changes. Now, let’s assume that the source layer is Gradient that is colored bright red to dark red and the destination layer is a white solid layer. So, in the Settings to Copy column, select Gradient under the General Section. When you do that, Enable Layer and Image Type are also selected. Now click on Copy & Close. You are done. If you look at the layer on the slide to which you just copied the settings to, you should see that it is no longer a white solid layer. Instead, it is now a gradient layer that is colored bright red to dark red.

What is really nice about this is that you can convert a gradient to a solid, an image layer, or another gradient. You can likewise convert a graphic or image to a gradient, solid, or another graphic/image. The solid can be converted to another solid color, an image layer, or a gradient. That’s really nice and can prove very handy at times. Further, you can convert multiple layers at the same time.


SettingsCopy_1In this example, I want to convert the blue gradient to the same color as the green gradient. But, I don’t want to mess with the color settings. The easy way is to just copy the green gradient onto the blue gradient using copy settings.

In the graphic below, the Green Gradient is selected as the Source layer. In the Settings to Copy, under the General section, the following are selected: Enable layer, Layer Type, and Gradient (selecting Gradient will SettingsCopy_SelectionMadeautomatically select the other 2).







In the Destination Layers column, I’ve expanded the slide containing the layer I want the settings copied to and I’ve selected the Blue gradient layer. Finally, I’ll select Copy & Close. This following graphic shows the result of what was just done. Note that the last layer is now no longer blue.


Copyright © 130129-1945, Dale Fenimore, FPVP LLC