Showing posts with label tutorial. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tutorial. Show all posts
Wednesday, 27 July 2011 3 comments

Tutorial: Realistic Stamping Across Layers

Credits: Digital Papers – Red Ivy Design; Elements – Red Ivy Design paint splotch, paper flower & leaves, Brine Design hanging frame, date stamp, polka dot stamp, & word strips; Rob & Bob alpha stamp; Font – Smiley Monster; Software – Adobe Photoshop Elements & ACDsee Photo Manager.

*This tutorial is written for beginner digital scrapbookers who use Adobe Photoshop Elements, but the basic principals should work on any photo editing software.

By Katharyn Brine,
Brine Design

One of the reasons I was reluctant to get into digital scrapbooking when I first saw it, was the complete and utter fear my pages would end up looking like it was done on a computer – flat, dimensionless, and just downright wrong if there happened to be anything slightly “bulky” depicted on the page.
What I am aware of now though, is that a) I was looking at really bad pages! b) It all comes down to shadowing and your ability to mimic real-life (and often imperfect) craft situations.
Take stamping, for instance. In paper crafting it’s messy, splotchy, and rarely comes out exactly where you planned it – your titles are always a little bit haphazard – and if you stamp across several layers of papers, there is just no way to escape that clean line between those layers of papers where the paint didn’t quite catch. It’s what gives your page the “homemade” look, which I totally support (I mean, who wants it to look like it was done in a factory?).
There is a way to make your digital pages imitate this effect too. Here’s how ...

Step One:
Open Photoshop Elements, then open all the jpeg (papers) and png (elements) digital supplies you will be using on your page (File > Open > navigate to your supplies folder). Create a new canvas to work on (File > New > Blank File. Set size at Width: 12inches, Height: 12 inches, Resolution: 300 pixels/inch, RGB colour, Background: white). Begin creating your page by double clicking on your papers and dragging them onto your canvas (it should be the last white square in your bin at the bottom of the screen).
For my project, I used a background solid colour, and a strip of patterned paper. To “cut” the strip, I double-clicked on the paper so it was in my main workspace. Then I changed tools to the rectangular marquee tool (top left corner of tools palette). I clicked-and-dragged a rectangle shape of “marching ants” over my paper to the size I wanted to cut out. Then copy (Ctrl-C) the selection (whatever is inside the marching ants). Double-click on your project canvas, click on the top most layer in the layers palette, and “paste” your paper strip over the top (Ctrl-V). Drag the paint element onto your project page. Everything looks very flat and dimensionless so far.

Step Two:
Now select your paper strip layer, Ctrl-click on its thumbnail image in your layers palette, so that marching ants surround your paper strip. With your stamp (or painted element) layer highlighted, click on Layer > New >Layer Via Cut. This cuts and duplicates part of your stamp onto a new layer. Now you need to swap your layers around in the layers palette, so the original stamp layer is below your paper strip layer.

Step 3:
Now you need to move your copied part of the stamp just slightly so it appears offset from the remainder of the stamp on the lower layers. To do this, click on the copied stamp layer in your layers palette, select the Move tool (cross in top left corner) and slightly move your copied stamp to the right and up a bit. You may need to zoom in on your stamp to be more accurate. To do this, select the zoom tool from your palette, or use your scroll wheel on your mouse after setting your preferences to do so (Edit > Preferences > General > check “zoom with scroll wheel”).

Step 4:
Now you need to add shadows to each layer of paper to make your stamp appear more realistic. But I’d advise you to go on and complete your layout first, before starting shadowing. If you are anything like me, you’ll be tucking things behind and in front of layers and changing it all about until it all looks ok together. When you are done, assess your page and pick out the bulky elements, such as buttons, chipboard, felt and rosettes – these will need to appear further away from your background, than the thinner papers and journalling cards do.
To add shadowing, you can either use Photoshop’s preset drop shadows (go to “Effects” palette above your layers palette; pick the second icon “layer styles”; choose “drop shadows” from the pop-down menu. Then click and drag an appropriate shadow style onto your element on the canvas.
To make a customised shadow layer for each element (which I thoroughly recommend if you have a little bit more time), do this: Ctrl-click on the element layer’s thumbnail. Ctrl-click on the new layer icon (to create a new layer beneath the element layer). Press “d” on your keyboard to change the foreground colour palette to black. Select the paint bucket tool and, with the new empty layer highlighted, “fill” the marching-ants shape of the element with black. You won’t see anything different on your canvas yet. Still in your layers palette, change the opacity of the black shape layer to about 65 per cent. (You can play with this setting later). Alt-D to get rid of the marching ants. Go to top menu and select Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and choose an appropriate level of blurriness dependant on how far away you want the elements to appear from your background. I chose 20 pixels for my paper strip custom shadow. Now complete for each element and layer on the page!

When you are finished, don’t forget to save your project as a PSD file (if you want to work on it again later), save as a jpeg file (if you intend on printing it out). Close all your digital supplies without saving any changes you made to them, to keep them in the same condition you bought them in!

For more tips, tutorials, and chatter visit my blog:
Tuesday, 14 June 2011 1 comments

Tutorial: Transform Your Handwriting Into A Font

Katharyn here! The only drawback to digital scrapbooking is that it can make your page seem less personnal because it’s all typewritten, rather than handwritten. I remember finding a stash of my mum’s school books when I was little and I sat there marvelling at how neat she had been as a student, and how creatively she signed her maiden name. I loved too, the awareness that she had been there, done this, put pen to paper and expressed herself on this very page - long before I was a twinkle in her eye. Well, now there is a way to get this onto your digital layout. There is a way to preserve old handwritten documents. A way to hand-write your own journalling from your computer keyboard (and delete away any mistakes!) And a way to create your own unique decorative fonts to use over and over.
 I love my son's gawky handwriting atm. His teacher wants him to neaten up, but I secretly hope it stays like this a little while longer!
Credits: Designs by Anita and Siamese Studio Collaboration: Love Notes

Method 1: Scanning and blending. This option is good for preserving children’s handwriting, digitising your late Grandma’s handwritten recipe books, or your old school love notes. It’s the option to use when you can’t get them to fill in a font template. Scan the note in at high resolution (300dpi). Save the file as a jpeg, PNG, or GIF. Open it in Photoshop Elements and place it on your page. You will have a lot of scope to resize, so play around. Add some digital cardstock below your note layer. Then, with the note layer active, adjust the opacity so the background cardstock texture starts to show through. You could even play with blending modes here, such as overlay or soft light. My layout uses normal blend at 35% opacity (with a shadow layer behind it too, which makes it slightly darker.) This gives the effect that I let my child write on a good piece of bazzill cardstock, when actually, it’s just a cheap white printer sheet of paper.  Creased and all!

Method 2: Scanning and extracting each letter manually, or using a pen tablet. This method is good for handwritten titles, or short blocks of text.  Write your alphabet onto a white piece of paper, using a black pen. Fine-point permanent markers work best, but again, you can play around for different effects. Leave enough space around each letter to enable you to “cut” around it digitally, later on. Scan in at high resolution 300dpi and save as a jpeg. Open the image in Photoshop Elements. Also open a new document (file>new>blank file> with these specs: 12inch, 12inch, RGB colour, 300dpi, with a transparent background). Now you need to extract the letters from the background white paper you wrote them on.  With your note layer highlighted in the layers palette, select the magic wand tool and press anywhere on the white of the paper. Marching ants should surround all your letters and the border of your page. Now press select>inverse and then copy it (ctrl>C). Bring your transparent canvas back up into your workspace and paste (ctrl>V) your selection on a new layer. All your letters should appear, but some might have white stuck inside the letters. To tidy this up, click with your magic wand tool on the remaining white pieces and hit your delete button. Of course, if you are lucky enough to have a pen tablet, you can skip the whole scanning and extraction process and write directly onto a transparent canvas.  Now save your new canvas full of letters as a PNG file to preserve the transparent background. To use them, you will need to select each letter with your marquee tool, and copy and paste them individually onto your layout page.

Method 3: Making your handwriting into a True Type Font. Now we are getting more serious, and a little bit professional J. There are programs out there in cyberspace that actually do all of this fiddly stuff for you. And some of them are free! They involve printing out a grid for you to write your letters onto, and scanning them into their software program. Take care to follow their instructions carefully, such as not crossing any lines, keeping your letters within the guidelines. I actually drew some line guides on another sheet of paper and sat it behind my template paper (to see faintly through it) so I could comply with this, because my handwriting is usually all over the place. If there is even a speck of dust somewhere within your template, it will turn out as a letter in your font! So clean off your scanner! The step-by-step instructions are easy to follow. The hardest part is writing out your alphabet in the boxes and trying not to make it too neat and unbelieveable!! But that wasn’t a problem for me, as you can see J. Some of the websites that do this include: (costs $US9 to download your font), (costs $US9 too), and (for making decorative fonts). These programs will copyright your font and turn your file into TTF format, which means you can install it onto your computer and use it the same as you would other type functions, from your keyboard. To install: these next instructions apply to my PC, but I’m confident font installation for Mac, which also uses TTF, will be quite similar. Copy (right click mouse>copy) your font file that you downloaded. Go to your control panel (Start>Control Panel) find the “fonts” folder. Paste your font inside this folder. Restart your computer and you will have your own font installed!

Method 4: Buy a font-creation software program. Now you’re getting professional! These programs allow you to tweak your handwriting, adjust your leading (type thickness) and kerning (spaces between characters), capital letter heights, or manipulate it into something completely stylised, unique and different.  You’d follow this method if you are a serious font fanatic! Programs such as FontLab, FontCreator, TypeTool, Fontographer and Adobe Illustrator vary vastly in price, so it may be a good idea to trial them online before you commit to buying. 

Monday, 6 June 2011 1 comments

Tutorial: Organising Your Digital Stash

Hello Peeps! Katharyn here, from Brine Design. Today I'm going to tell you a bit about organising your digital stash, and I bet I get tons of feedback from people who do it differently!! LOL! There are thousands of different methods and I've only got limited space to present them to you, so I've chosen just a few that might help you out. You'd better go grab your coffee now, because this is a bit lengthy!

Time to Get This Stuff Sorted
By Katharyn Brine
Credits: Papers – Brine Design; Elements - Katie Pertiet (file system & library cards, safety pin tag, chrome button alpha, stacked frames), Brine Design (notecard, ribbon, paisley chipboard heart), Connie Prince (concertina floret, string, pointer sticker), Vinnie Pearce (silk flower recoloured),  Cinzia Loosemore (paper clipper), Mindy Terasawa (paint splat), Michelle Underwood (ticket), Carrie Stevens (glass dots), Shabby Princess (string flower), Pattie Knox (staple). Font – Teacher’s Pet. Software – Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 and ACDSee Photo Manager 2009.

Just like traditional paper scrapping, it’s important to organise your digital scrapbook supplies so you know: 1. what you’ve got; and 2. where to find them. You can feel pretty silly going about your downloads only to find you’ve re-purchased something you’ve already got! It’s worse still to be deep within your creative zone busily making a page, when you discover you can’t find that awesome element you wanted to use, because it’s lost amongst copious amounts of digital folders somewhere on your computer drive. It can turn a 30-minute layout into a 3-hour layout that never gets finished. To speed up your productivity during your valuable, precious scrapping time, there are benefits to keeping everything consistently organised.
There are a few different ways to go about this, depending on your scrapping method, time and budget. There is no right or wrong way to do this – and you will probably try a few systems before you find one that works for you. But the first thing I’d do is sort out where you are going to save your scrap supplies, ie. a specific external hard drive, separate/with your photos, and what program you are going to use to “sort” them, if any.

Method One: Manually finding the files exactly where you saved them in the folder you downloaded them in. If you are a visual person and inspired by more than just the name of the kit, you will need to view them as thumbnails (View > Thumbnail). Not all files will be visible (they will just show a “PSD” icon, for example) from outside Photoshop. Not all designers place their kits into folders before zipping, so you may need to create folders yourself, if you don’t want loose files all over the place. I do not recommend this method because you will be a lot slower at finding stuff than your computer is. Especially when your stash reaches a healthy 500GB! Yes, errr... it happens.

Method Two: Building an ongoing catalogue of the items you’ve downloaded, sorting and “tagging” into categories that are appropriate for your style of scrapping. To do this, you will need to become really familiar with your particular photo browser, or go out and purchase yourself a software program specifically designed with digital scrapbookers in mind. I’m talking about ACDSee, iPhoto, Adobe Bridge, Picasa, or Shoebox. I currently use ACDSee. This type of program allows you to search by keywords, file size, file type, designer, last time used, chronological order, and more. Sorting by file size means it automatically puts previews up the top, papers in the middle and elements at the bottom. Very convenient. You can adjust the size of your preview thumbnail. You can change the background colour of your thumbnails so white items show up better on screen when you’re browsing through your stash. These programs can also extract a multitude of zip files at once.
If you decide to use Photoshop Elements, be aware that you’ll be tagging both your photos and kits, and both will be mixed in together in your organiser/browser. Most scrappers tend to use different programs for photoand digital supplies.

If you simply scrap with one kit at a time, the only thing you are going to need to tag is the preview image. You might also want to keep a few odds and ends that you use every time you scrap, for instance, stitching, in a favourites folder too. You might also like to organise the kits into themes or colour combinations.

If you like to use bits and pieces of everything you’ve got, you are going to need to tag each item in your kit. Sounds time consuming at first, but when you get into the habit of tagging a kit straight after downloading it, then it just becomes part of your system. If you already have a huge stash that needs taming, consider a tutorial on “batch-processing” – where you can sort and tag a multitude of files simultaneously.
Good categories to start with are:
  • Alphas (if no preview is provided, just tag letters A,B,C)
  • Actions
  • Borders
  • Brushes
  • Colour (red, blue, yellow, metallic, etc)
  • Doodles
  • Embellishments : flowers, stars, charms, flourishes, bubbles, butterflies & birds, food, hearts, jewels, shapes, teddies, trees, etc.
  • Fasteners: staples, prongs, brads, buttons, clips, tape.
  • Favourites
  • Fonts: calligraphic, handwritten, serif, sans serif.
  • Frames: single, clustered, stacked, 3D, storyboard
  • Haberdashery: stitching, ribbon, beads, fibres, string
  • Journalling: labels, tabs, tags
  • Kits
  • Masks
  • Overlays
  • Paint
  • Paper
  • Quick Pages
  • Subjects: Christmas, Birthdays, Easter, Holidays, etc.
  • Stamps
  • Stickers
  • Templates: 1 photo, 2 photo, 3 photo, multi-photo, etc.
  • Tutorials
  • Word Art
Of course these categories will vary depending on your scrapping style. No point tagging alphas if you only ever use text fonts. Another pointer here: don’t bother tagging something you hate – you are never going to use it, you cringe each time you see it – just delete it!
This method is great for those who download about five kits per week. It may be too time-consuming for more extravagant shoppers. It requires discipline.
Yet another tip – don’t make a miscellaneous folder – you’ll end up dumping everything in there. Pick a category, or tag it into two or three categories, based on what you’d be likely using it with.
Remember that tagging an item is not copying it, it’s just providing a handy shortcut, so your computer goes looking for the file instead of you having to do it manually. So don’t go deleting your file folders from your hard drive just because you’ve “tagged” them in your catalogue!

Method Three: Sorting and/or tagging by designer or shop. This is especially handy if you like to participate in online challenges which require their own store product. Also handy if you submit your layout to Scrapbooking Memories and need to provide a list of suppliers!  This method is for scrappers who download about 10-20+ kits per week.

Whichever method you choose, please remember to back up your catalogue as well as your file folders. You do not want to be left re-tagging everything all over again if something goes wrong!
If you've found this at all helpful, please leave me a comment and say so! Or if you've found a better method, post us a link and share :)

Helpful sites:
Friday, 15 April 2011 11 comments

Tutorial for Photoshop CS5 Drop Shadows!

Hi everyone! Petra here for Brine Design and I have a tutorial for you today on how to create drop shadows and a 'custom' drop shadow on your pages with Photoshop CS5. If you have another photo editing program maybe you can figure it out if you have these options on your software as well. In any case, I have seen many drop shadow tutorials around but all are for older versions of Photoshop and not for CS5 and CS5 has made our life so much easier!

So here I put 2 papers, a journaling tag (that already comes with its own shadows), a ribbon and a bird. All these items are inside Kathy's gorgeous Hot Cross Fun kit.
In the first picture you can see I haven't used any drop shadows and how flat it looks. So we definitely want to change that! Don't mind the 'design' of my page; I didn't focus on that I just want to show what you can do.

To start, I clicked on the blue paper layer in the layer palette on the right of my software. I right click on the layer and choose Blending Options like in the picture below.

Then in the drop shadow box, you can change the Opacity, distance etc. to your personal preference. Each item is different but in case of background papers I change the values to:
Opacity of the drop shadow to 45%.
Change the angle of how the shadow falls from 120 to 55;
Distance to 10
Spread to 2
Size to 10 pixels and click OK.
Now none of these are set rules! You can change this to anything you personally like!
These are just settings I usually use.

Next up is my ribbon and when you place a ribbon on a flat surface, it will not have an even shadow along the ribbon like Photoshop will do for you when you click the Drop Shadow option so you want to adjust it a little bit to make it look more realistic. You may also want to do this with paper, to slightly warp the paper drop shadow to make it look like a corner of a page is slightly standing up or on a flower etc. Just play with it as you like!

Okay so you create a drop shadow on your ribbon like you did the previous layer only this time I made my shadows Distance 12 pixels, spread 2 pixels and Size 12 pixels to have it stand out a little bit more than the paper shadow.

So when you created the drop shadow for your ribbon layer, then right click on the Drop Shadow Layer you will see attached to the ribbon layer and click on Create Layer!

Photoshop will now create a separate drop shadow layer. Make sure you highlight that new Shadow Layer!

When you sure the Drop Shadow Layer is highlighted, click on Edit -> Transform -> Warp.

You will now see this box pop up around the ribbon with dots in several spots. When you drag one of these dots you will see your shadow starting to move.
Well you don't want to overly move it but also keep in mind in which direction you have all your shadows go because shadows going into different directions looks weird when you look at your end result. So in this case I would imagine the ends of the ribbons would stick up a little bit so I am dragging the shadows on each end a little bit away from the actual ribbon to make it look like the ends are sticking up.

You can see here how I dragged the ends a little bit.

So when you have the drop shadow the way you want, click on the Move Tool to Apply your changes. You then want to make sure you link the ribbon layer AND the shadow layer together so they become one layer again.
You do that by holding down the CTRL-key and click on each layer so they are both highlighted. Then click on the chain link icon so they are linked together.

In the picture below you can see that both layers are now linked by the chain icon behind the layer names.

I have also added a shadow to the bird and made the distance further away on that to make it look like it's flying over the page.
And here is my end result. I hope you can see the difference drop shadows make to your page and that you found this tutorial useful!

Again these rules are not set in stone; it's just one other way to do drop shadows!
Happy scrappin'!

Monday, 4 April 2011 7 comments

Tuesday Tutorial: How to Stickerise Your Title

Today's tutorial is also being published at Funky Playground Designs here.

Digital stickers are a hot item in scrapbooking at the moment, and I’m going to show you a way to make them yourself using word art elements from your digital stash, or text you have written as titling. Stickerising (yes, I made that word up!) is great for giving your older supplies a new lease of life, or for making a title really “pop” on your page by giving it a contrasting background.

All steps are depicted using Adobe Photoshop Elements 6, but your own photo editing software should follow the same basic principles.

Step 1:

Open a new blank file in PSE (I sized mine at 12inch x 12inch, 300dpi and white background).

Find your word art element and drag it onto your PSE workspace. Now drag it onto your blank canvas. This automatically copies your word art so you don’t mess with your original file.

Re-colour your word art now (I re-coloured it pink) or leave it as is for a black and white sticker.

With the word art layer highlighted, Ctrl-Click on the thumbnail in the layers palette. This will bring up “marching ants” around the outline of the word.

Step 2:

Now go to the top menu and press Select > Modify > Expand. Type in 10 pixels. Click ok. The marching ants will now surround your text without touching it. Now Select > Modify > Smooth and type 3 pixels. This will soften the curves around your lettering.

Step 3:

Create a new layer beneath your word art layer (shortcut: hold down Ctrl as you press “new layer” icon in your Layers Palette). Change your workspace foreground colour to grey. Select the paint bucket tool on the left hand menu and click anywhere inside the marching ants shape to fill the area surrounding the text with grey. Repeat Step 2 again if you are creating a three-layered sticker like mine, expanding further from your new grey shape and filling with a contrasting colour (I have used white).

Step 4:

Press Control-D to get rid of the ants. Merge all visible layers (except the original white background layer) from the drop-down menu on the layers palette. If you want to save your sticker for future use on another layout, File > Save As > name it and save as a PNG file. This ensures the transparent background. Saving as a jpeg file will cause your sticker to be permanently “stuck” onto your white background canvas – not a good look! Otherwise, it is now ready to click and drag onto your layout page canvas. Make sure to apply shadows behind it to make it appear more realistic.

Whah-La! Finished!

Credits for main layout: Brine Design LT13, Danielle Young Designs Here's To You kit, Amanda Taylor word art.

If you enjoyed this tutorial, please tell me by writing a comment! For further mini tutorials and freebies, tips and inspiration, visit my blog  often.
Tuesday, 22 March 2011 3 comments

Tuesday Tutorial: Saving Sharp Layouts for the Web

So I haven't learned anything new this week in Photoshop, I've just been flat out churning out kits instead! But I'm not going to leave you hanging (been doing that a bit lately, sorry, my baaaad!) and I wanted to share with you a nifty way to sharpen  and resize your layouts for premium web viewing.

  1. Flatten your layout page
  2. Resize it to 600px x 600px (most online galleries go with this size) at 300dpi
  3. Control-J to copy the image on a new layer
  4.  Activate the new layer, then go to topline menu bar. Select Fliter>High Pass>Radius o.3px (or somewhere there, play with it for each image)
  5. Image will turn almost solid grey - don't panic!
  6. Change the blending mode of the layer to "Linear Light"
  7. Save for web > jpeg, under a different name.

Don't do this to your full-size pages that you wish to print out though. It only works well for web-viewing.

 Hope this helps you a bit :)
Monday, 7 March 2011 4 comments

Organising your Digital Stash

The latest issue of Scrapbooking Memories (Volume 13, No.4) is out in newsagents now! In it I have an article about how to organise all of your digital supplies, using several methods. Hopefully one of them should suit your style! You will need to buy the magazine to read the article. After two months, I will post it here on my blog :)

Also, have you voted for me in the 2011 Scrapbooking Memories People's Choice Awards yet? What, no? Well, better do it soon so we can BOTH win some yummy prizes!!! Voting closes TODAY!

It's a bit hard to navigate around the website (in my talent-less opinion, lol) but register or sign in to Craftlovers here, (at the end of the speil) then go here to post a comment to vote for one of the layouts below (copy and paste the layout name & details). Don't forget to also put in your own name and address too. You have a chance to win $100 worth of product just for voting! And I can win $500 if I win, which won't happen unless somebody votes for me ;)

Here are some of my layouts that have been published there lately:

Wonder What Might Have Been, by Katharyn Brine (Vol. 13, Number 1).

So The Story Goes, by Katharyn Brine (Vol. 13, Number 1)

My First iNSD! by Katharyn Brine (Vol. 12 Number 10)

Daughter & Mother, by Katharyn Brine (Vol. 12, No.4)

Thank you, and have a happy day :)

Tuesday Tutorial: How to Make Your Own 365 Challenge Templates + freebie

I've adapted this tutorial from a magazine article I published in Australia's Scrapbooking Memories magazine Volume 13 No. 2.

Good morning fabulous people!
By now you would have heard about the 365 Challenge, where you commit to taking at least one photo each day of the coming year.

It’s developed into something of an annual scrappy diary for me, and I’ve practised, lamented and eventually honed it down to being just what I want as a momentous record of the year that was. I’ve been keeping it since December 2008. Sometimes successfully! Before that, I was writing onerous Christmas letters - during late December - and calling it a yearly round-up! Pfftt!

A lot of people get turned off by the overwhelming chore of it all. And that’s such a shame, because it makes such a beautiful, detailed keepsake for your children and grandchildren. Imagine how interested you would be to read and view the daily happenings of your ancestors, in “real time” as it happens!

Well, I’ve developed a way to make it slightly easier (I hope!). I think if you stick to a sketch or digital template each week, and get into the habit of decorating or embellishing and updating it every Sunday night (for example) then it becomes easier to just slot in your photos/ journalling whenever your inspiration hits. No creativity required, just pure unadulterated recording. And it does pay off – when your children or friends glance through your 365 Challenge albums and actually reminisce about the occasion depicted, it reminds you what scrapping is all about. Recording the memories. In such a way that they need no explanation from you. They just browse through that album & get a great sense for who you are as a family. Where you are up to in this phase of life. Ok. So I admit I can get a few months behind sometimes, but the joy of recording our year is what drives me to keep at it. And when I’ve pre-prepared pages like the one I’m about to show you, it is so much easier to catch up!

This tutorial is written for beginners using Adobe Photoshop Elements. The names of various actions may vary from one program to another, but the basic functions are the same across most photo editing software.

Step 1:

Open a blank canvas (file > new blank file) measuring 24inch wide, 12 inches tall with 3000dpi on a white background. This is our double page, which we can later crop into two 12 x 12 inch pages when our layouts are finished and we are ready to print.

Step 2:

Turn on your workspace grid (view > grid). Create a new layer. Select your rectangular marquee tool from the left-side menu and draw your photo shape. I take a lot of portrait-orientated photos, so I’m going with a tall rectangular shape. Select any colour other than white as your foreground colour, and click inside your marching ants shape to fill it with colour.

Step 3:

Control-D to get rid of the ants. Select the move tool (cross at top left menu). Press Alt and hover your mouse over the shape until the cursor changes to a double arrow. While still holding Alt, click your left mouse button and drag away to create a copied shape. Continue for the seven photos of the week, positioning them as per your design. They will automatically all be on their own layer. If you run out of space for all your shapes, there is a way to move and re-size them all together. Activate all the shape layers in your layers palette (control > click on each separate layer). With your move tool on, drag a corner in/out to resize, or move the whole lot by clicking anywhere within the bunch of rectangles and drag your mouse to their new position. Make sure a photo mask doesn’t cross the 12inch crop line in the middle of your canvas.

Step 4:

With your photo masks in position, add text boxes for journalling later on. You will need to add some “blah blah blahs”. Add your title, in this case “Week 1”. We can change this each time we make a new layout. I also like to include the actual dates. Save as a PSD file. Your template is now ready to use week after week by simply adding some digital paper and embellishments after you’ve clipped your photos to the masks. To do this, activate the layer the mask is on, drag your photo onto the canvas, and press Control-G. The photo layer slips into the shape. You can move the photo around or resize it as long as you have the photo layer active. Remember to save your completed 365 page as a different name and a jpeg file, and close your PSD template file without saving changes.

** There are a range of 365 Challenge template sets available in my shops at Funky Playground Designs shop, and Two Little Pixels. Some of them are:

I'm also giving away the tutorial template! Yay!

Credits for Tutorial Layout: Brine Design patterned paper (365 Challenge kit), date tab, circle stamp, sticky notes, floss stitch; Siamese Studio staples; Traci Reed stitching (altered); Misty Mareda doodled camera sticker (First Day kit); One Little Bird “Smitten” alpha (altered).


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