How To Get Started With Digital Scrapbooking Using Photoshop Elements
In this tutorial we will examine what is needed to begin digital scrapbooking, how to build a digital scrapbook page, and options for printing or sharing the scrapbook pages you create.
The first thing you need to do is to get organized. Find your pictures, download the background and embellishments if you are using some you found on the internet, and place everything together in a folder on your hard drive. It is much easier to build your digital scrapbook pages if all the backgrounds, embellishments, borders and the photos you want to include are together in one folder.
Most of the backgrounds and images you download from the internet are JPEGs. The compression that the JPEG format uses degrades the image each time it is saved, so after you open the background in Photoshop, save it as a PSD file. This will preserve the quality of the file even while saving it multiple times.
Next, you will need some sort of application to be able to combine the images together. An application that uses “layers” makes it easy to create your scrapbook pages. These tutorials are created using Photoshop Elements, which is a very useful and powerful program for scrapbooking, and can be used for other photo manipulation you may want to do. You can download a trial version of Photoshop Elements which is good for 30 days. You can then buy it after you have had a chance to use it. Photoshop Elements has a lot of features built in for digital scrapbooking. We will be using some of the built in features later in this tutorial.
Start With A Background Now that you have all your files gathered together in one folder, and your software installed and ready to go, you are ready to begin your scrapbook page. Lets start with a background. You can create your own background (see the tutorial on creating a background, or you can download one that is already made. Open your background in Photoshop Elements.
You will notice the background comes into the main window. There is also a thumbnail image in the bottom window, called the Project Bin, where it shows all your open files. The image is also applied to the background layer in the layers panel. Alternatively, Photoshop Elements comes with an assortment of backgrounds, graphics, frames and type that can be used for scrapbooking. These are found under the content tab located toward the upper right of the window. We will use some of the graphics and frames a little later. Once you have the background in place click on File - Save As... to save your file. Save it as a PSD and use a different name than the original photo you brought In. I like to use the original name and add "_working" to the end. That way, I preserve the original with no edits in case I ever need to use it again.
Bring in Additional Graphics Next, lets bring in a border graphic that we can place at the top and bottom of the scrapbook page. You can create one on your own, download one from the internet, or use some of the built in graphics or shapes available in Photoshop Elements.
It added the border image into the project bin at the bottom of the window. Double click on the background thumbnail in the project bin to bring the background into the main window.
Next, click and drag the border image from the project bin to the main window and drop it on the background. A layer is added to the layers panel when the image is dropped.
Drag the border image to the top of the background, and resize it by grabbing the handles and moving it in to fit the background. The corner handles will resize the graphic proportionally, while the handles on the sides, top and bottom will distort the graphic.
Drag another copy of the border image into the main window. Go to Image - Rotate - Layer 180 degrees
Size it by dragging the handles, and move it to the bottom of the page.
Here I opened another image of a heart. There is a heart image available under the shapes pulldown of the Content tab if you can't find one to download. Just drag it onto your scrapbook page and color it. Scale the image by using one of the handles in the corner. Be careful to make sure it scales proportionally in the width and height. Next, rotate the heart graphic by placing the curser over the small circle in the middle at the bottom of the image. When the curser turns into 4 curved arrows, drag the image to rotate it to the desired position. Click Enter or the green check mark to commit the edits.
This needs to be brightened up a little, so lets add a white stroke around the heart image. Select the Heart, then go to Edit - Stroke (Outline) Selection. In the dialog window that opens choose the size and color you want to use for the stroke. I used 40 px, white, center, normal, and 100% opacity. I would encourage you to experiment with the settings to see what you like. If you don't like the result, go to Edit - Undo Stroke and try again.
Lets bring in some graphics that are included in Photoshop Elements. Go to the Contents tab, and use the pull down menu to select graphics.
We selected several flowers from the supplied graphics. Just click and drag them into the main window of your document. Size them and rotate them if needed using the handles, and drag them into position in the document.
Add more graphics if desired. We added a graphic of some balloons. Double click the background image in the Project Bin, then drag the graphic to the main window. Size it and rotate it if desired, and move it into place. I wanted the strings of the balloons to be behind the heart. You can determine the order of your layers by clicking on the layer you want to move, hold down the mouse button and dragging the layer to place it in the order desired. For instance. We clicked on the balloon layer, and holding down the mouse button, dragged it below the heart layer. (For more information on layers, see the tutorial Working with Layers.
Adding Type Add some type by clicking on the type tool. (See the tutorial Working with Type for more information on the type tool).
Select the font, style, size and color for your type, then click in the art to place the type and begin typing. Resize and/or drag the type to the desired position if needed .
Next we can select a frame and bring in a photo. Open the photo file you want to use. It will show up in the Project Bin. Then select a frame you like from the frames included with Photoshop Elements. Go to the Content Panel and choose Frames. Drag the frame into the main window.
Once your frame is in your main window, drag your picture from the project bin to the frame. If you used one of the Photoshop Elements frames, the picture will size and crop itself to the frame. (If you use one of your own, you will need to size it using the corner handles). Then just use the handles to size and rotate the frame and picture and move it to the desired position. (Make sure you select both the picture and the frame by selecting the picture, holding down the shift key and selecting the frame).
Save the working layered scrapbook page file as a PSD. Keeping the layered file allows you the option of going back later to make changes if needed. Then, go to Layer - Flatten Image. This creates a one layer image that you can have printed to create your scrapbook page. Save this flattened image by replacing "_working" with "_flat" or "_final" or something to let you know it is the final file. Check the file size. If you are going to upload the final file to the internet for output, you may want to save it as a JPEG. If so, make sure you use the highest quality to prevent image degradation. If you are burning the file to a disk, or copying it to a thumb drive to take somewhere for output, (Costco for instance), leave it as a PSD file or save it as a TIF file. If you are going to e-mail it or place it on facebook or other social media site, go to File - Save For Web. Save it as a JPEG, medium to high quality.
"That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed but that our power to do is increased".