digital project life – tips from an expert!
Happy Monday! Today I’m pleased to have another guest post by another invaluable part of our team – Laurie Pecotte! Each person on our team is a dear friend to us and insanely talented. Laurie is no exception. She makes so much magic in the digital department and actually, she runs our sister site – DigitalProjectLife.com. We know thousands of you are really loving having all things Project Life available to you in digital format. You can thank Laurie for making it all possible, and today she’s sharing some awesome digital tips with you!
All you, Laurie.
Today I am excited to share with you a couple of techniques I used on the layout below. Using the brand new Project Life® Days & Arrows Stickers, I created custom labels for my pictures as well as custom arrows for my layout in Photoshop. You can do the same thing on your layouts. These little touches will help to make your layouts truly unique. Follow the step-by-step instructions and screen shots below to create your own.
This layout features Days & Arrows Stickers, Baby Edition for Her, Baby Edition, & Digital Template Design M. Note: The following tutorial was made using Adobe Photoshop Elements 12. You can download a 30 day free trial from Adobe here.
Using Digital Days of the Week Stickers
in Adobe Photoshop Elements
1. With your layout already open, go to File > Open and navigate to where you saved the days stickers. Choose the gray or the tan version of the stickers and click open.
2. Select the rectangular marquee tool from the toolbar on the left. Click down and drag your mouse to draw a rectangle around the sticker you would like to use. In this example I chose the blank sticker so I could make my own title.
3. With your rectangle now drawn around your sticker, make sure that your sticker layer is highlighted in the layers palette. (Side note: if you are not seeing your layers palette on your screen, go to Window >Layers). If your layer is not highlighted, click down on the layer to highlight it. Now type control + c if you are on a PC or command + c if you are on a Mac. This copies the label that you have drawn a selection around.
4. Switch over to your layout. There are a couple of ways you can do this. You can click on the tab with your layout name at the top of the page or you can click on the “Photo Bin” icon at the bottom left of the page. When your photo bin is open, you can click on your layout to bring it up onto your main screen.
5. With your layout in the main screen, click to highlight the very top layer of the layers palette.
6. Type control + v if you are on a PC or command + v if you are on a Mac to paste a copy of your sticker label onto your layout. You will notice that your sticker will come in as a new layer above the layer you had highlighted in the layers palette. Select the move tool from the left toolbar.
7. With the move tool selected, click down on your sticker and drag it to where you would like to position it on your layout. If you would like to resize the sticker label, click on one of the corners of the bounding box around your label to enter transform mode. Click and drag to resize. When you are happy with the size of your label, click on the green check mark to commit the change. Be very careful when you enlarge elements. You can enlarge them slightly without losing quality, but if you enlarge them too much, the image will start to look pixelated.
If you are using one of the days of the week stickers, you are done at this point. You can repeat the process with different stickers and add them to different pictures. If you are using the blank sticker and want to add your own text, keep reading below.
8. Select the type tool from the toolbar on the left. The tool options will come up at the bottom of your screen. In this area, you will need to set your font, font size, and color. When you have done that, click down on your sticker and type your text. Click the green check mark to commit.
9. Select the move tool from the left toolbar. Click on the text and drag it to reposition it over the sticker.
That’s it! You’re done! This technique also works when using alphabets that have been saved onto one PNG document. Just use your rectangular marquee tool to draw a selection over the letter you would like to use. Then use your cut and paste commands to move those letters onto your layout.
Creating Custom Arrows
1. With your layout already open, go to File > Open to open your arrow sticker. Navigate to where you saved your arrows. Choose the color you would like and click open. Also open the patterned paper you would like to use to customize your arrow.
2. Select the move tool from the left toolbar.
3. Click and drag the arrow to your layout. You can either open the photo bin by clicking on the photo bin icon located on the bottom left and then clicking and dragging the arrow down to the layout thumbnail. Alternatively, you can click on the arrow and drag it up to the layout tab at the top of the page. Once the arrow is on your layout, click and drag it into place.
4. Make sure the arrow layer is highlighted in your layers palette.
5. Switch over to the patterned paper you would like to use by clicking on the file tab at the top of the page or by opening the photo bin and clicking on the paper icon.
6. With the move tool selected, click and drag the paper to the layout. Again, you can either do this by dragging the paper down to the layout icon in the photo bin or by dragging the paper up to the layout tab name at the top of the screen.
7. After you move the paper onto your layout, check the order of your layers in the layers palette. Make sure that your patterned paper is directly above your arrow label.
8. Hover your mouse on the line between the patterned paper layer and the arrow layer.
9. Hold down the alt key. Your cursor will turn into an arrow with double circles to the side of it. Once you see the double circles, click down. You have just created a clipping mask! Your patterned paper has now taken the shape of your arrow.
10. Once you have created a clipping mask, you will see that the patterned paper layer is now indented in the layers palette above the arrow layer. You will also notice a little box with an arrow pointing down. This is how you can distinguish if a layer is part of a clipping mask.
11. You can now resize your patterned paper, if you wish, to get more of the pattern included in your arrow. Select the move tool from the left hand toolbar. Make sure your patterned paper layer is selected in the layers palette. Do not select the arrow layer. Click down on one of the corners of the patterned paper on your layout and drag. Once your paper is resized to your liking, click on the green check mark to commit the change.
That’s it! You are done! Now you know how to make a clipping mask and how to make custom shapes. You can do this technique with any PNG shape and customize your layouts even more.
We have an amazing Creative Team at Digital Project Life. I asked them to show you a few sample layouts using the techniques above.
You can purchase the digital Days & Arrows Stickers from Digital Project Life by clicking on the image below.