The DailyDigi

Creating a Layout Without a Template Tutorial (my workflow)

Many of us that have been digi scrapping for a long time learned digi without templates. Templates weren’t around until about 2006. Once they took off though, many of us realized that learning to digi scrap by using a template was a super easy way for newbies to learn. For those of us that have discovered the love of templates sometimes wonder why anyone would want to create a layout without a template. But, the reality is that most digital scrappers have, at least once or twice, wanted to create something from a picture they have in their head. A design all their own, inspired by something, or maybe a scraplift. Today, I decided to share my step-by-step process and workflow for creating a layout from scratch without a template. First, go to File>New ScreenClip(169) When the dialogue window pops up, set the resolution to 300 dpi (the standard printing resolution in digital scrapbooking) and the canvas size to 12 inches by 12 inches. I also set the Background contents to Transparent. Click OK. ScreenClip(170) Now, let’s name this file and save it by going to File>Save As...: ScreenClip(171) Navigate to where you want to save your layout. I have a layouts folder and within that folder, I save individual layouts or create a folder for a project and save in there. This happens to be a layout I am doing for an album I’m working on right now, so it is going in that albums folder: ScreenClip(173) The next thing I do is bring my photos into my layout. Currently, I bring my photos in through Lightroom (select the photos, right click and select Edit In>Photoshop), but I know most people probably aren’t using Lightroom, so for teaching purposes, I will show you how to bring them in another way. A different way I like to bring photos into Photoshop (besides going to File>Open and then finding the photos I want to use) is by opening a window in explorer and navigating to the folder where my photos are saved. I then select the photos by CTRL+click on the photos I wan to use. ScreenClip(174) Then, just drag the photos from their directly onto my layout. ScreenClip(175) ScreenClip(176) Depending on what version of Photoshop or Photoshop elements you are using will determine what will happen next. Your images might just show up stacked in layers on your canvas, or one will show up and look like this: ScreenClip(177) When you see the x going through your image like above, Photoshop is creating a Smart Object from your image. A Smart Object means that you can make the object larger, up to its regular resolution, and not have the image lose quality. I really like this feature. It will also auto size the image to fit within your canvas, which is a nice feature when you have a digital camera with high megapixels (note: you will need to simplify the layer if you want to make certain edits such as recoloring. Simplify by right clicking and selecting Simplify or Rasterize Layer). You just need to hit return or the check for each image: ScreenClip(178) If your images come into your program as a Smart Object, they will look like this in your layers stack: ScreenClip(179) There are several ways to crop a photo once it’s on your layout, but I prefer to use the Shape Tool. I’m almost going to create my own template. I really like the look of rounded corners, so I am going to select the Rounded Rectangle Tool (you would use similar steps to these for any of the shape tools listed there): ScreenClip(180) On my shapes, I like to use the “Fill Pixels” (the selected square under Image on the menu below). For my rounded corners, I like to set the radius to 125. The radius just determines how dramatic the rounding will be. You can adjust the settings in the top menu bar: ScreenClip(182) If you are in Photoshop, you will need to create a new layer to put your shape on. If you are in Photoshop Elements, a new layer is created automatically, so you can skip this part. In PSCS, go to Layer>New>Layer. Make sure the new layer is selected in the layers stack: ScreenClip(181)   Now, you can draw your shape. If you hold down the shift key before you start clicking and dragging and let go of it after you are done dragging with the mouse, then you will create a perfect square (or a perfect circle if you are using the Ellipse Shape), or any shape for that matter. ScreenClip(184) Because I know I have three photos, I made the square just under 4 inches. Now, I’m going to duplicate this same shape layer twice by right clicking on that layer and selecting Duplicate Layer (x2): ScreenClip(185) This window will pop up: ScreenClip(186) You can name it something new, I’m lazy, so I usually just click okay or hit enter and leave the name as it is. After duplicating the layer twice, here’s what my layers look like: ScreenClip(187) So that I can get my shapes lined up just right, I am going to create some guides. This is done by clicking in the area where the rulers are and dragging toward your layout. You will see a line appear and your mouse will change shape. I’m going to drag and drop a line on 4 inches and 8 inches dividing my layout into thirds (the blue lines are my guides, they can be removed by going to View> Clear Guides): ScreenClip(188) I selected each shape layer one at a time and used the right arrow key to move it in a straight line to the right. I used my guides to help me get the shapes lined up.  Here’s what my layout looks like after spreading out those shapes: ScreenClip(189) Here’s a closeup of my shape lined up on my guide (see this post for more information on using rulers, grids, and guides): ScreenClip(190) Now, I need all three shape layers selected at the same time so I can move them down and they stay lined up. I click on the bottom layer in the layers stack, hold down the shift key, and click the top shape layer. My layers stack looks like this: ScreenClip(191) Now, I can use those shapes as a "clipping mask” just like I would on a template. I need to drag a different shape layer below each photo in the layers stack so it looks like this: ScreenClip(192) With the photo layer selected I can use my clipping method (CTRL+ALT+G in Photoshop and CTRL+G in PSE) and the photo will take on that shape. Repeat for all photos: ScreenClip(193) Here’s a look at my canvas now: ScreenClip(194) Now, I need to resize the photos so they fit in the squares. This is best done by making sure the move tool is selected. Here’s what the move tool looks like: ScreenClip(195) Click on one of the corner handles (the little boxes in the corners), (in PSCS hold down the shift key) and drag inward. If you don’t hold down the shift key in PSCS you will have loved ones that look like they are in a fun house mirror. Here’s what my canvas looks like after resizing and placing each photo: ScreenClip(196) I want to add a matte behind the photos for a piece of paper, so I’m going to repeat the steps I used with the shape tool before (starting with creating a new layer), but this time, I won’t hold down the shift key. I’ll do the same thing for any other paper layers I want to add. ScreenClip(197) All of my layers have photos or shapes on them, so I need to make room for my background paper by adding another new layer and dragging it to the bottom of the stack: ScreenClip(198) Here’s what the stack looks like after I moved the blank layer to the bottom of the stack (move the layer by clicking on it to select it and then dragging it down and dropping it in place): ScreenClip(199) Now, I’m going to bring my papers into the canvas just like I did the photos above, making sure my bottom, blank layer is selected.  Here’s a look at things now: ScreenClip(201) Time to drag those paper layers above the shape layers so they can be cut: ScreenClip(202) I’m going to use my Title Builder script to add part of the title: ScreenClip(203) I’ll add the rest of the title with a font, using the Text Tool and clicking where I want that part of the title, then I just start typing: ScreenClip(204) ScreenClip(205) I always like to add some texture to the fonts using the steps in our tutorial, “Fonts Don’t Float” ScreenClip(206) Here’s a closeup of that font (Las Vegas) with the added blending: ScreenClip(207) Last, I’m going to add my drop shadows. Here’s a look at my settings I used for the papers on this layout: ScreenClip(208) Once I did the shadow on one layer, I right clicked on the FX icon on that layer and selected “Copy Layer Style”. Then, select each of the shape layers by CTRL+clicking on each layer and then right click and select “Paste Layer Syle”. That’s a fast way to add the same layer style to all of the layers. If I have a button or something larger that I want to add, I will paste the same layer style and then adjust the distance, spread, and size to bigger numbers. Here’s another look: ScreenClip(209) Now, I’ll add a journaling card and some embellishments and place them where I want them and add the drop shadows using the paste method above. Here’s a look at my final layout: image
Supplies used: Freestyle by Sarah Jones (at The Digi Chick and included in The Digi Files 30), doodled journaling card by Kate Hadfield (recolored), fonts: Las Vegas and Fontologie Printing Primer.
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