Building a digital scrapbook page means that instead of layering physical photos, papers, and embellishments to form a page, you’ll be layering digital papers, photos, and embellishments on an empty canvas in Photoshop. The best part? You don’t need adhesive, and you can re-arrange and change the layers as much as you want!
Being as this is the extreme INTRODUCTION to layers and I’m going to talk about the Layers Palette and all its functions in the next post, let’s just cover some basics before I walk you through a layout.
You can add as many different layers, one on top of the others, as you want within a document. (Drag and drop! It’s easy! If you can't figure out Drag and Drop, you can also Copy and Paste.) Each layer can still be modified, even once it’s part of the bigger image and no longer its own file. Layers can even be deleted once they have been created. You can rearrange the ORDER of the layers (top/bottom/middle, etc) with the click or a mouse. Elements can be size modified before OR after being added as a new layer to another document (although sometimes it’s easier to size it down approximately and then just make small adjustments once it’s a layer.)
Let me walk you through a layout to give you a general understanding about layers. There are MANY different ways of creating layouts, this is just once example. I’ve given you a full screen shot to look at for the first few, so you can see how the Layers Palette (that box to the right of the scrapbook page) looks and changes as your layout changes. The pictures will all open for easier viewing if you click on them. You will need to open each picture up and look at them to understand the tutorial.
Most digi-scrappers start by picking out the photos they want to use for a layout, then the kit they want to use. You know how in paper scrappin’ you use a piece of cardstock or patterned paper as a BASE for the layout? Same concept with digi’s. Usually, I open a new document with the dimensions I want my completed layout to be (in this case, 12x12 inches, 300 ppi), and I let that be my base. This is technically the “background layer.”
Next, I drag and drop my photos on to my base, and arrange them in the approximate places I want them to be (2nd picture.) The 4 photos will be layers 1, 2, 3, and 4. (All of the photos, and all the elements I will add to this page, are ALL 300 ppi. If you don't understand why or what that is, go back and read "Picture/Layout/File Size.")
Now I’m going to browse through my kits to figure out which paper and elements I want to use on this layout. I remember that there are some primary-colored kits from Shabby Princess' Shoppe that will work great with these pictures, so I minimize Photoshop while I browse around my Shabby Princess folder and look around (see picture at right.) Once I’ve made a decision, I go back to Photoshop to open the files I want to use. I like to open up several papers to try as the background and have them available to look at, right next to my pictures. It’s nice that in Photoshop you can have several files open all at once! In this picture I have 5 background papers open to experiment with. (Aren’t they pretty?! Sometimes the choices of which to use is overwhelming!!!)
I decide on the circles paper for the background, and drag and drop that paper to my layout as a layer. Then I move it to be behind my pictures (it’s easy to rearrange the placement of layers.) The circles paper is now my 5th layer added to this page.
Now to fill in those blank spaces. Two more pieces of paper (well, pieces OF pieces of paper!) are added – the yellow is layer #6, the stripes is layer #7. These will be my title and journaling blocks.
Next I brought over part of a piece of plain white paper, to use as vellum over the stripes. (Gotta make that journaling stand out! “Vellum” is easily made by adjusting the opacity slider in the Layers Palette. We’ll talk about that later.) The white layer is #8. The journaling is #9, and the title is layer #10. At this point I realized my bottom picture was a little dark, so I lightened it, and I also added drop shadows to the pictures to give them a little dimension (compare this picture to next for those changes.)
I have a brad/eyelet obsession in paper scrapping, and it has followed me to digi. Even in my digi-pages, sometimes I like to make it look like there are brads holding down pieces of paper. Those red brads in the yellow title block were layers #11, 12, 13, and 14! (This is the point in every layout where I add finishing touches like eyelets, ribbons, staples, whatever.)
At this point the layout is pretty much finished, but I decided I wanted the page to look like it was “mounted” on some solid red paper. So I saved the file – both as a Photoshop document, in case I needed to make changes, and as a JPEG. I then opened the JPEG image, used the color dropper to pick a red from the layout, and opened a new document (12x12 inches) with that color. I added some texture to the red so it would look like cardstock, then dragged the JPEG over. Technically the red is the new background, but for argument’s sake, it’s layer #15. I sized down the JPEG of the page so there would be an even border of red all around, and I’m done! Here’s my finished product!
So there we are: I took 15 different elements – pictures, papers, brads, and text – and stacked them all on top of each other and rearranged them to make a scrapbook page. Easy, right? (Don’t worry, I’m going to explain how to do each of these steps and how to use all the tools in the toolbox as you keep reading through more entries. But are you *kind* of getting layers now?)