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Here is how I made this image; note it has a "soft drop shadow" and is on a textured background matching the background of my home page at http://www.sticksite.com/.
I used Paintshop 8 and a digital camera as well as my laptop. Before starting, I changed the "desktop" on the laptop to solid green. (could use black or white)
1. set up the background; I used some of my Diamond Willow sticks against a green bedsheet (any color is OK)
2. set the laptop 5 feet in front of the sticks, lid open, showing the green desktop and the icons
3. set up the camera on a solid tripod, 8 feet away from the background sticks; 3 feet from the laptop
4. set a light up to light the sticks but not the laptop
5. took a picture ("open.jpg")
6. closed the lid of the laptop
7. took the second picture ("closed.jpg")
8. saved both images on the desktop
9. opened the two pictures ("open.jpg" and "closed.jpg") in Paintshop 8.
10. on the "open.jpg" picture, take the "magic wand" tool (a) and clicked the green desktop (b)
11. Selections | invert (c)
12. Selections | Matte | Remove white matte
13. Edit | Copy
14. Edit | Paste | As a new image (and save with filename, e.g. "transparent.pspimage" (d) on the desktop
15. with "transparent.pspimage" still active, Edit | Copy
16. now click the image "closed.jpg" to make it active
17. Edit | Paste as a new selection
18. move the pasted image around to match up with "closed.jpg" precisely
19. Selections | Select none
20. save the final image with a new name, e.g. transparent.jpg after cropping if necessary.
a. the 'Magic Wand' Selection Tool: the button may have a lasso or a rectangle on it, depending on which
of the 3 you used last; if you want to tweak the settings of this Magic Wand tool:
Bring up the options that go along with this tool: 'View | Palettes | Tool options' and set the "Tolerance"
at 10 and check the "Antialias"
b. Enlarge "open.jpg" so it is easier to work with. Make it active by clicking its title bar and then: 'View | Zoom | Zoom in by 5 steps' or something like that. Click anywhere in the green area around the image. The ants should start running all around the green part of the picture
c. If you get a message popping up regarding "floating" the image, just click "OK."
d. It should have a checkerboard background now instead of the white.
Here is the way I had set up the sticks, laptop and camera (the laptop was, of course, turned ON):