It’s been quite a while since I’ve given away a freebie on my blog so I’ve decided to kick off the new year with this little gift to you – a new press plate (layered template)!
(you must be logged in to download)
Check out what my fabulous CT gals have done with the template!! (click on image for credits)
Are you inspired yet? I hope so because I want to see what YOU can do with this template!!! And to make things extra fun, I’m running a little contest. TWO winners will receive a $10 gift coupon to my shop. One prize will go to the most innovative/creative use of the template and the other winner will be chosen by random drawing. To enter this contest, create a layout using this template, upload your creation to an online gallery then come back here and post a link to your layout in the comments section below. I will be taking entries until Sunday, January 11th at 11:59pm.
Are you new to digital scrapbooking or aren’t quite sure how layered templates work? Check out the LAYERED TEMPLATES 101 section below and make sure you download the template so you can follow my step-by-step tutorial. note: this tutorial is created for photoshop users.
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Introduction to Layered Templates
Basically, a layered template is a sketch or diagram of a layout. It contains design cues (where to place your photos, title, journaling, embellishments, etc.). The best part about the layered template is that each design cue is housed in its own layer (which can be found in the layers palette – see diagram below) so you can manipulate and customize it to fit your exact needs.
I always include a GUIDE (usually the very top layer) with my layered templates. I like numbering the clipping masks (more about clipping masks later) because it’s easier for me to work with the template and jump between layers when I can easily spot the numbers. So the GUIDE layer is simply a navigation tool.
2. HOW TO HIDE/DELETE THE GUIDE
When you are finished with your layout (or simply consider the GUIDE a nuisance and want to get rid of it), you can do it one of two ways: (a) DELETE THE LAYER – click on the GUIDE layer and then click on the trash icon at the bottom right hand corner of the layer palette or (b) HIDE THE LAYER – click on the eye icon next to GUIDE (see below). I recommend hiding it while you are working the the layout and deleting the GUIDE layer after you have finished designing your layout. This way, if you forget which clipping mask corresponds with which layer during the design process, you can always click on the eye to make the GUIDE visible again.
3. TEXT LAYERS
The design cues for title placement and journaling placement are usually included in a layered template as an editable text layer (you can tell if the text layer is editable by the “T” icon).
5. LINKED LAYERS
Notice how several LINK icons appear when you click on the 1 – CLIP PHOTO HERE layer? This means that these layers (the clipping mask, the photo mat and the photo mat drop shadow) are meant to function together as a unit. That is, if you click one of these linked layers and move it around on the template, all of the other layers that are “LINKED” to that layer will automatically move with it. Neat huh?
1. DOWNLOAD THE TEMPLATE
Download my freebie layered template Press Plate No. 13 (you must be logged in to the store to download). Unzip the downloaded folder so you can access the files.
2. OPEN THE TEMPLATE
Open the template in photoshop. File > Open > navigate to where you saved paislee-pressplateno13.psd and click on it. (mac users: simply drag the paislee-pressplateno13.psd icon and drop it onto the photoshop icon found on your navigation bar)
3. SAVE AS
Before you do any work on the template, it is always recommended that you first create and work in a duplicate copy of the template so your original template file stays intact. You can do this one of two ways: (a) SAVE AS – FILE > SAVE AS > type in a new name for your file. I named mine 1-celebratingone or (b) DUPLICATE FILE – IMAGE > DUPLICATE > type in new file name.
4. OPEN YOUR PHOTO FILE
There are many different ways to use a layered template – depending on style and how you approach “building” your layout. I am a photo-centrist scrapper so I usually start with the photos. Open up the first photo you want to add to the layout (FILE > OPEN). Your workspace should now have the following files open: the template, your photo, and the layers palette open as shown below. (Note: if you don’t see your layers palette, go to WINDOWS > LAYERS > and make sure LAYERS has a check mark next to it).
5. ADD A PHOTO TO THE TEMPLATE
Before we add the photo to the template, we need to do a bit of “prep” work. Find the CLIPPING MASK layer (1 – clip photo here) that you want to attach your photo to and select it (you can tell which layer is selected because it is highlighted as illustrated below).
This is an IMPORTANT step because when you introduce a new element to your template, it will automatically go ABOVE the layer that you currently have selected. By selecting the CLIPPING MASK layer before you drag your photo onto the template, you will ensure that your photo always ends up as the layer ABOVE the CLIPPING MASK. This works out perfectly because in order to “clip” your photo to the clipping mask, the PHOTO LAYER must be directly above the CLIPPING MASK LAYER. Make sense?
Now, to add your photo, click anywhere on your photo file to bring it to the forefront. Select the move tool (the crisscross arrows icon in your TOOLS PALETTE), then drag the photo and drop it onto the template.
6. ATTACHING A PHOTO TO A CLIPPING MASK
Right now the photo is just “floating” on the layout. To get it to appear ONLY in the shape of the square clipping mask (1-CLIP PHOTO HERE layer), we are going to “CLIP” the photo to it. To do this, move your cursor so that it hovers between the PHOTO LAYER and CLIPPING MASK. When you see your cursor turn into an overlapping circles icon, click once on your mouse and voila! Your photo is now clipped to the square mask like so:
note: instead ALT+click, you can also press ALT+CTRL+G
7. RESIZING/MOVING YOUR PHOTO WITHIN THE CLIPPING MASK
Now that you’ve successfully clipped your photo to the square clipping mask, your next step is to resize and or move it around so that it is placed exactly as you want it. To resize your photo, please CTRL+T and a BOUNDING BOX will appear like so:
I’m going to reduce the photo down to a size that I can see all four corners of the bounding box. There are several ways to do this and I’m going to show you one. At the top of your navigation bar you will see a W (width) add H (height) box, both with values of 100%. To reduce the size of the photo, simply reduce the value of the percentage (50% and 50%). Make sure the percentage values are the SAME for both the width and the height so you retain the proper proportions of the photo (we don’t want that fun-house, stretched look on our photos!).
Move the photo around until you get the exact image/perspective you want. I ended up moving the photo down and reducing it a bit more so the top of Audrey’s dress shows. In the above step, I showed you one way of reducing your photo – by changing the percentage value. You can also manually reduce the photo by dragging any corner of the photo TOWARDS the center point. This method works well when you need to do minor tweaking. Once you get the size you want, click on the check mark (at the top navigation bar) to accept your changes.
9. ADDING A BACKGROUND “PAPER” TO YOUR LAYOUT
Now that I’ve got both photos on the layout, I’m ready to add my paper. Before we bring up the paper file, make sure you click on the CHOOSE YOUR BACKGROUND layer on your template so when you add your paper, it will be in the right layer sequence. Ok, now we’re ready to introduce a new element! Open the paper file you want to use (FILE > OPEN or drag and drop for mac users). To add the paper, simply drag and drop the paper onto the template. TIP: Hold down your SHIFT key while dragging and dropping and your paper will be perfectly positioned and centered on the template!
You can further customize your text by changing the font, the size, the colors, etc. Your text properties can be found in TWO different places on your workspace. (1) at the top of your navigation bar (only when you have the TEXT TOOL selected) or (2) the CHARACTER PALETTE (WINDOW > check CHARACTER to make this palette visible). Here’s a screenshot of the CHARACTER PALETTE:
This looks ok to me, but I think the titlework will pop more if I change the color to red to match the shoes in the photo. Did you know you can customize the color of your text to match any color on your layout? To do this, highlight the text that you want to colorize, click on the color swatch in the CHARACTERS PALETTE and a separate color palette window will pop up. Using your mouse, move your cursor (which should now look like an eyedrop icon) to grab a color from the shoe. Click on different parts of the shoe until you get the hue you want.
11. FINISHING TOUCHES
Hooray, we’re almost done!! Now we can proceed with adding our finishing touches – adding brushwork or other embellishments to dress up your layout. (I chose to add a watermark brush from Fei Fei’s Stuff Different Strokes 2.) And lastly, I deleted the GUIDE – HIDE WHEN DONE layer.
12. LAST STEP – SAVING THE LAYOUT
To save the layout, I recommend ALWAYS saving two versions – one as a psd file (with the layers) so that you can go back and modify the layout and a flattened jpg version (low resolution for web viewing and/or high resolution for printing).
Saving the layout as an editable psd file
FILE > SAVE
Saving the layout for web viewing
1. IMAGE > DUPLICATE
2. LAYER > FLATTEN IMAGE
3. IMAGE > IMAGE SIZE
4. A new window will pop up. Change the values so that your resolution is 72 dpi and your width is 600 (or 500).
6. FILE > SAVE FOR WEB. Here’s what the layout should look like when posted on the web:
Saving your layout for print
1. IMAGE > DUPLICATE
2. LAYER > FLATTEN IMAGE
3. FILE > SAVE.
note: make sure to check with your printer/vendor (shutterfly, snapfish, kodak, etc.) for their print specifications (color profile, if any) and adjust your file specs accordingly.
That’s all folks! You’ve successfully created your first layout using a layered template! I hope you enjoyed the process and I can’t wait to see your creations.
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