Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday Tutorial: All Lined Up

Good morning digital scrapbooking friends! Today I'm going to share a very useful technique in Photoshop Elements. Have you explored the Options Bar for the Move Tool?  There are many things you can do with the Move Tool besides drag elements around!
I'm going to show you the last two options, Align and Distribute.

I decided to create a paper blocked look with a series of short strips of paper down one side of my layout.  So first I needed to create the shape to which I would clip my papers. I used the shape tool, located near the bottom of the Tool Panel.
If you do not see that blue rectangle in your Tool Panel, right click on whatever shape is there and you will see all the shape choices you have. I also want to point out the color chips here.  When we make a shape, it is created in the foreground color (the front chip).  It doesn't really matter what color you use for this because it will be hidden by the paper you clip to it, but if you're making a lot of shapes it helps to use a color that contrasts with your layout.

After selecting the Shape Tool, click and drag the shape out onto your layout.  Here's what mine looked like.
I had already decided on a piece of Word Art for my title.  It's hiding behind my shape.  I dragged the rectangle to just the right size to eventually frame my title.

Next, so I could manipulate my shape, I simplified the layer by right-clicking on the layer in the Layers Palette and selecting Simplify Layer.

Then I clicked on the layer again and hit Command/Control-J several times to duplicate the layer until I had as many copies of the shape as I wanted.  I decided on 9 because it fit and because odd numbers are more visually interesting in design. Notice I did not worry about lining them up or spacing them.  I have a computer and Photoshop Elements to do that work for me!

Next, I selected all the shapes at once.  I do this by clicking on the top and bottom shape in the layers palette while holding down the Shift Key.  This highlights all of them in the palette.  Then, making sure the Move Tool is selected,  I clicked on Align in the  Options Bar at the top of the workspace and selected Left Edges. Make the choice that best fits the shapes you want to align. (By the way, I want to mention that this is a fabulous technique for lining up alpha letters when making a title!)

After I got the left edges aligned, making sure I still have all the shapes selected (highlighted in the layers palette), I went back up to the Options Bar and clicked on Distribute and chose Vertical Centers.  The program calculates and spreads out the shapes so their centers are evenly spaced along the vertical.

While the shapes are still all selected, it's a good time to arrange them precisely.  I decided to push the strips over behind the the frame a bit.  (You can see my title word art in front of the strips now too.)

Now it's time to turn all those shapes into pieces of paper. This is done by clicking on the shape to select it, dragging a paper onto the layout directly above that shape (so it's immediately above the shape in the layers palette) and then hitting Command/Control-G to clip the paper to the shape.  Here's how my layers palette looked after I clipped my first paper.
See the little arrow that appears on the paper layer, pointing down to the shape to which it is attached?

You can resize and reposition papers you have clipped to a shape.
Here I have clipped my third paper to my third shape.  The snowflake print was so large I wanted to reduce the size of the paper to show more flakes. You do this the same as you would any other time and you'll only see the part of the paper that is clipped to the shape.  In my finished layout you'll see I resized or rotated several of my papers (if you compare to the original papers in the kit), such as making vertical stripes diagonal.

After I clipped all my papers to my shapes just so, I clicked on each paper in my layers palette, one at a time, and hit Command/Control-E To flatten the paper together with its shape.
This makes it possible to rearrange clipped pieces more easily later, if desired.

Then I finished my layout.
created with Jeanine's kit, Twilight Snowfall
Happy scrapping!