By Sarah Meyer Creating Digital Scrapbook Pages in Photoshop

Creating Digital Scrapbook Pages in Photoshop
By Sarah Meyer
(Windows version of Photoshop Creative Suite 3 shown in screenshots)
You already know that Photoshop is great for editing your photos, but did you know you can use it to
create beautiful scrapbook pages with your digital images too? It’s easy and quick!
The hardest part is deciding what photo or photos to use, and what sort of look and feel you would like
to your page. With so many digital scrapbook kits available, you are sure to find one that complements
your photo and special memories perfectly.
To create a digital scrapbook page (or layout) in Photoshop, the first thing you will do is open your photo
and the digital paper and embellishments in Photoshop. You can do this from the File >> Open menu in
Photoshop or from Windows Explorer by right clicking on the file and choosing “Open With” and
selecting Photoshop. If Photoshop is already open, you can also drag the file icon right into Photoshop
(you’ll see the arrow icon change and show a plus sign). I like to have Photoshop tile all the windows
so I can see everything as I get ready to arrange it. To tile, go to Window >> Arrange >> Tile
© 2009 Sarah Meyer
Now open a new file (File >> New…) that is 3600px by 3600px and300ppi. This is a12-inch square
canvas that your papers will fit perfectly on! 300ppi is a high resolution image that will give a really nice
result when printed.
Move all your pieces onto the new canvas by holding down the Shift key while you click on the image
and drag it into your new canvas window. You can do this without holding Shift, but when you do, it
keeps everything lined up nicely. Don’t worry about arranging everything just yet. You can close the
individual pieces now to get them out of the way.
© 2009 Sarah Meyer
Save your new file (as a .psd) and now it’s time to arrange everything now and create your layout! One
of the wonderful things about digital scrapbooking is that if you make a mistake or change your mind,
you can always undo your last steps (Ctrl + Alt + Z to back up) or even start completely over, and none
of your pieces have been destroyed by cutting or gluing them down! To make your canvas easier to
see, go to the View>> Fit to Screen (Ctrl + 0). You can zoom in and out through the View menu also, or
use Ctrl + ] to zoom in and Cntl + [ to zoom out. Switch to the Move tool to start arranging your pieces.
The move tool is at the top of your toolbar and looks like a solid black pointer beside axes. You can also
switch to the Move tool simply by pressing V. Roughly arrange your pieces on the canvas as desired.
Pieces that look like they are on top of the stack on your canvas are at the top of the layer palette. To
bring a piece forward or backward, you can drag the layer to a different position in the Layer palette or
use the Layer>> Arrange commands. To switch from one layer/piece to another, just click the one you
want in the Layer palette.
A function you will become really familiar with when scrapbooking with Photoshop is the Transform tool
(Edit >> Free Transform or Ctrl + T). Among its functions, Free Transform allows you to resize and
rotate. For this example I would like to resize the photo to better fit in the photo edge/frame I want to
use. Make sure that the piece you want to edit is highlighted in the layer palette. To make sure you
always keep the proper proportions for your photo and the digital scrapbooking pieces, be sure and click
the chain link icon between the height and width in the transform menu.
© 2009 Sarah Meyer
I also want to rotate the frame, so I selected the photo edge layer and Transformed it, this time changing
the angle of rotation.
For this layout I don’t want the photo extending past the frame. There’s few ways to achieve this effect,
but one of the easiest and least destructive ways is to use the Lasso tool and a layer mask. Switch to
the Polygonal Lasso tool and make sure your photo layer is selected. If you only see the freehand
Lasso tool in the toolbar, right click on the tiny triangle on the lasso button and a menu will pop up for
you to see the other options. You could also use the Rectangular or Elliptical Marquee tool to crop your
photo into a rectangle, square, oval or circle.
© 2009 Sarah Meyer
Now use the Polygonal Lasso tool to select the shape you want to show. Then click the layer mask icon
at the bottom of the layer palette—it looks like a circle in a rectangle. This will create a layer mask on
your image and hide the portion of the image don’t want. A great benefit of the layer mask is that you
can move the mask if you change your mind, and not have to start over with the original image.
© 2009 Sarah Meyer
Remember, if you want to move something, just switch to the Move tool (v). If you want to move two
layers together, just select them both in the layer palette by holding down your control key while clicking.
Also, remember to save your file every so often. Unfortunately computer problems happen, and you
don’t want to lose your work!
You don’t have to use all the pieces you brought it, just hide layers you don’t want by clicking on the eye
icon just to the left of the layer image in the layer palette. Also, you can always change your mind and
bring new pieces in! Just open them in Photoshop and bring them onto your canvas. Once you have all
the pieces arranged as you’d like. I decided to use a second photo, so I duplicated the frame (right click
on the layer and choose Duplicate Layer) and rotated it to a new position.
Add a Text layer by clicking on the T in the tool menu or just click T to switch to it. Draw the text box
wherever you’d like it (but you can always move it later). Choose the font color you want by clicking on
the box of color in the text menu. Choose the font and font size. I always like to date and add a few
details to my layouts, both as protection against myself forgetting and to preserve it for future
An easy step that will add so much to your layout is to add shadows! Shadows really give your layout
dimension and depth, and make it look like a traditionally created scrapbook page. The quickest way to
add a shadow is to use the Drop Shadow feature built in to Photoshop. Double click on your layer in the
layer palette and the Blending Options menu will pop up. You can also access it by right clicking and
selecting Blending Options from the list or clicking the fx icon at the bottom of the layer palette. Then
click on Drop Shadow.
© 2009 Sarah Meyer
You’ll see an instant effect with the default shadow, but I like to adjust the settings a bit more. I typically
use opacity of 50%, distance of 5, spread of 5, size of 9, but play around with the settings and figure out
what effect you like best! If you have Preview checked, you should be able to see the changes as you
alter the values.
You can add custom shadows to each piece in this manner, or you can copy your new custom shadow
and apply it to all the other pieces. Right click on the fx icon on the layer you just altered and choose
Copy Layer Style. You can paste this layer style on to any of the other layers. Select a layer or layers
(while holding Control, click on each layer you want) then right click and select Paste Layer Style.
Depending on the look you want and the type of embellishment, you may want to make further
alterations to the shadow in the Blending Options Menu.
© 2009 Sarah Meyer
You’ve made your first digital scrapbooking layout! Here is my completed example.
Be sure you save both your layered Photoshop file as a .psd so you can go back and make edits (like
correcting misspelled words!) and a flattened .jpg for printing.
Enjoy learning more about Photoshop and creating your own digital scrapbook pages!
© 2009 Sarah Meyer