Creating a Basic Digital Layout

To help my Pink Pineapple girls out a bit as well as any others curious about digital, I decided that I would post a little tutorial on some basic digi scrapbooking tips.  Hopefully, as time allows I can add to my "tutorial arsenal" here:)  Let's get started with making your first digital layout!   You can click on all of the small images here to get a larger image to view.

You will first need to grab some software.  The most widely used program I think is probably "photoshop".  You can either download a free trial at Adobe OR you may even have Photoshop software and you didn't even know it!  If you have purchased a digital camera, printer, scanner, etc. recently, check the software included in your box.  Often times, companies are including a version of Photoshop Elements for you :)  Whichever version you can get your hands on, open up that program and let's get the show on the road!


In your Photoshop program, look at the top of your screen and go to FILE > NEW.  Follow the settings here to create a 12" x 12" layout.  Make sure that the resolution is set to 300 pixels/inch.  This will ensure that your layout is large enough for beautiful printing.




You will now need to grab your digital kit and choose a background paper.  You can open the file in your program by doing 1 of the following:

A. Go to FILE > OPEN .  Then locate the file/background paper you would like to start with.  Once located, click OPEN

B. With your program "minimized" on your computer, locate your digital files on your computer.  Go ahead and open the folder that contains your papers.  Select the background you would like to use.  It should now be "highlighted".  To get it IN your program to use, simply DRAG (use your mouse to grab the file) the paper onto your program screen.

Your program/screen should now look like this:




Now you will need to DRAG your paper onto the new canvas that you first created.  To do this, select your MOVE TOOL in your tools pallette:


With the MOVE TOOL, hold the SHIFT key down, clk down your mouse (keeping it "clicked" down), and DRAG the paper onto the new canvas/layout.  The background paper should now be centered for you on the new canvas (NOTE: holding the SHIFT key down while dragging ensures that is is centered).  You can now close the original paper file by clicking the red X in the top right corner.

If you look at your "layers" pallette (bottom right of your screen).  Your layout should now look like this:




As a beginner, it's always a good idea to rename your layers just so you can keep track of what is what.  Once we get to adding elements, seeing each piece in the pallette may not be as easy to do.  This won't effect the layout itself, but just keep things a bit more organize for you.  To do this, double click the layer you want to rename.  In my case, I will double click right on top of "Layer 2" then a cursor will appear for you to type in whatever you like.  I will rename mine "BACKGROUND PAPER".







Now you can start to build your layout just as you would in traditional paper scrapping.  Add mats, elements, etc. and each time you add a layer, you can rename it…. believe me, I have had layouts with 30 layers in it and being able to see what each layer is will help save on time!!! 





-to reposition an element you have dragged onto your layout, simply use your MOVE TOOL.  With that particular layer in your layers pallete ACTIVE (highlighted in BLUE), click your mouse down and move your element wherever you like.

-to resize your elements and/or papers, in your TOP TOOL BAR, go to IMAGE > TRANSFORM > FREE TRANSFORM (in Photoshop Elements) OR EDIT > FREE TRANSFORM (in other Photoshop programs).  While holding the SHIFT ket down and pulling 1 corner in and out, you can resize anything on your page.  Using the SHIFT key ensures that the proportions are maintained and not skewed.

- add depth and realism to your layout by adding drop shadows.  You can create your own or easily installed purchased shadows that you an find right HERE.  Traci's shadows come with instructions for whatever program you use and if all else fails, my girl can always help you out via email!  Just use the contact button in the store if you need help!  If you want to play on your own with shadows, Photoshop Elements users click your STYLES and EFFECTS pallette under your LAYER STYLES.  In other Photoshop software, you can double click the layer in your layers pallette you want to add a shadow to (click on the image rather than the text).  This will bring up a "LAYER STYLES" box like this:










Check the "drop shadow" box and you can start playing around with the setting.  Just by manipulating the distance, spread, and size you can create as much or as little depth as you like.  Click OK once you are happy with what you have for that particular layer.

- rearrange the layers on your layout by moving them up or down in your layers pallette.  For example, you have a couple of flowers on your page and instead of the pink overlapping yellow, you want yellow overlapping pink…. simply grab the pink flower in the layers pallette and move it UP above the yellow flower.


Once you are happy with your layout and are ready to add a title and/or journaling, you can either use digital alphabets that come with many kits OR you can simply use your TEXT TOOL.  There are already a ton of fonts already on your computer as well as thousands of free fonts that can be found on the internet.  To add a title, look in your TOOLS BOX on the left side of the screen and grab the "T" tool.  Decide where on your page you would like to add the title (just approximately since you will be able to easily move it around and/or resize as you like).


The top of your screen will look similar to this once you have clicked the TEXT TOOL:



From this top bar, you can choose your font, pt size, color, etc.  Go ahead and pick whatever you like.  Once those settings are complete, just click on the spot in your layout you want text to go.  A cursor will appear for you to begin typing.  I added a very simple, fun one for "blake".  Go ahead and add whatever journaling you want as well!


Once you are happy with your layout, you of course will need to save it for printing.  To do that you will need to first merge/flatten all of those layers.  In your TOP TOOL BAR, go to LAYER > FLATTEN IMAGE .  Then go to SAVE AS > place in whatever folder you want (I have all my digital layouts in folders named after the MONTH and YEAR then a description i.e may-06-blakeskateboard) > in the JPEG options, click anything higher than 9.  Be sure click JPEG in the format drop down box!!!


Welcome to the mysterious digital world!!!  Be careful…. digital scrapbooking is addictive, easy, cost efficient, and most importantly FUN!!!  I hope these instructions were easy enough to follow and understand.  The best advice I can give ANYONE is PRACTICE, practice, practice!  The more you use your software, the more you will get comfortable with it.  Everyday you will learn a neat new trick! 

EDITED…. If anyone has ANY requests on tutorials I might be able to help with, I would soooo totally be happy to try!  Just let me know if you have any special requests and I will get on it for ya!  I did have one request for using TEMPLATES  so this week I promise to get a brief one up!

Kathy - June 20, 2008 - 9:48 am

You are amazing in everything you do!

malin - June 20, 2008 - 3:24 pm

HI :)
Just wanted to stop by to say that i finally had the oppertunity to work with the dude papers it was included in my kit from studio calico!
And i loved it i love your papers, you are such an amzing designer!!

Anna - June 23, 2008 - 9:58 am

I don’t care what tutorials you have here, the more the better! These are very helpful to anyone just starting out. Thanks so much for taking the time to do these!

Anne - June 29, 2008 - 2:27 pm

More, more more!!! I’d love to see more tut’s on editing photos and stuff also!

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