In this tutorial we’ll learn how to:
- Create a new blank layout
- Add background paper
- Add embellishment elements
- Add shadows
- Change the view of your layout
- Resize & move elements
- Move layers
- Delete single & multiple, hidden or unhidden layers
- Record kit, font, designer information
- Save your completed layout
- Share your layout with friends, in forums and on social media
Create a New Blank Layout
Start a new blank layout File> New> Blank File> or Ctrl+N
If this is your first layout you need to choose the size. The standard size layout is 12″ x 12″ or 3600 px x 3600 px. Choose the size and click OK.
Verify settings Width: 3600 px, Height: 3600 px, Resolution: 300 Px/Inch, and Background Contents: Transparent. Click OK.
Add Background Paper
You will now need to add a background paper to fill the blank layer. Go to File> Place> then find the kit/background paper you want to use.
Click the check (1) to accept or (2) to reject. Notice you have one layer in the Layers panel and the name of the paper beside it.
Use the same steps File> Place> to add additional elements. Sometimes you may want to flip an element as in this example. Use Image> Flip Layer Horizontal to flip this border to be used on the right edge of the layout. After flipping the element click check to accept.
Add Drop Shadows
I don’t like the default shadows in PSE, they’re far too harsh for my tastes. I use Drop Shadow Styles by Sunrise Studios. This set includes 20 drop shadow styles that will fit most applications. They can be modified if needed There are many other designers with Drop Shadow Styles too.
Change the View
I also like my layout to fill the window. You can accomplish this in several ways. The easiest is to double-click the Hand tool at the top of the Tool box.
An alternative is to use View> Fit on Screen or Ctrl+O. You’ll find there is usually several ways to accomplish any given task.
Move and Resize Elements
Sometimes you have two elements that work as one. You may decide to move and/or resize them. While holding the Ctrl key select the layers you want to resize and move. They will now be surrounded by a “bounding box” with squares at each corner and midway on each side.
Tip: If they are adjacent layers use the Shift key to select. If there are several adjacents layers hold the Shift key then select the top & bottom layer, all layers between will be selected too.
Use the Move tool to click and drag a corner to resize, rotate or move the group. The cursor changes depending on the action you want to take.
Notice the string on the border is under the doodle frame. That’s not right! To move a layer below another element simply click on the layer you want to move and drag it below the other.
Delete Unused (Hidden or Unhidden) Layers
Before finishing a layout, and sometimes in the midst of working on a layout, you’ll want to delete layers. Again, there are several ways to accomplish this. You can Right-click on a layer the select Delete Layer. You could also click the Drop-down menu on the right side of the Layers Panel then select Delete Layer. Or just drap it to the trash can.
Or access Layer on the Menu bar & select Delete Layer.
If your layout is finished and you have several Hidden Layers (a line through the eye) click the Drop-down menu on the Layers Panel & select Delete Hidden Layers. You don’t have to select the layers first when you go this route.
Record All Product Used in the Layout
It’s important to keep track of papers, element, templates, and fonts used in a layout and the designer name. You may need this information later to give credit or for some other reason and it’s hard (impossible) to remember what you used. You can keep it all in File Info.
There is space to record all the important details about the layout here.
Save, Save, Save Your Work
Don’t forget to save your work! When you use Save (Ctrl+S) it saves the psd file. You’ll need to save this psd file to be able to open it later & make changes if needed.
To be able to share your layout with friends, on a social media site or to print you’ll need to save in jpeg format as well. If you’re saving to print save at full size but if you’re saving to share or upload to a website you’ll need it saved at 600 px X 600 px with a file size less than 250 KB. I’m sure you’ve already guessed there are several ways to do this!
This Save for Web Action optimizes the layout. Unfortunately, I don’t think this one is available anymore but I’m sure many designers have them.
Then use File> Save As
Locate the folder (or make a New Folder) on your computer where you want to save the layout. Be sure to change the Save as type: from Photoshop to JPEG.
The JPEG Options box opens. Adjust the Quality until the file size is below 250Kb then click OK.
If you aren’t using a Save for Web Action you can use Photoshop Elements Save for Web.
The Save for Web box opens. Change the New Size to 600 px X 600 px, adjust the Quality until the file size is below 250Kb. Click Save.
Now your layout is perfect for sharing with friends, uploading to forums and social media!
We only added a few elements, for demonstration purposes, but the steps are the same for adding additional elements, resizing, rotating, etc. Even so, it’s a fairly long tutorial with a lot of information. We’ll learn all about adding text and working with templates in other lessons. But for now-practice, practice, practice!