Making the Most of a Few Elements
Welcome to another installment of the Winter Magic collaboration brought to you by Scrapaneers. It is one awesome collection and you should definitely be sure to pick up all the contributions from the fabulous designers. Today I am highlighting the contributions from Crystal Livesay and Red Ivy Designs. I think you are going to love them. Along with these gorgeous pieces, I’ve got a few tips on making simple changes to your elements to add some variety and making them fit in your layout. It is absolutely (and even encouraged) to alter your digital supplies.
I just loved the sparkle of this background paper from Red Ivy Designs and I have a single photo that I’m wanting to scrap. It was an easy decision to start with Crystal’s template1 and start building from the background up. Here is my finished creation. Keep reading for the tips used to modify the elements.
Extract parts of elements
Sometimes, you see something as part of an element and you just want a piece of it. That was true for both the bead scatter and the “Magical Winter” word art. I wanted a single bead to re-purpose as a brad and I was focusing on the “Magical” for this layout of my daughter’s recent engagement.
To keep just a part of an element, select the element layer, use one of the selection tools (I favor the elliptical marquee tool and the lasso tool) and draw around the pieces you want to keep. (For a refresher on selection tools, check out this post.) On the layout, right click on the element within the selection and you will get a menu pop-up, select layer via copy.
This will create a new layer with just those pieces that you want. I only wanted the word Magical in the word art, so I used this same technique to extract it out. Turn off the original element layer. I typically wait until my layout is finished to delete the originals.
Add a style to elements
This is a quick way to alter an element and give it your own twist. Especially, when you have styles that are created as part of the collection. Here I used one of Mommyish’s glitter styles (from the Winter Magic collection) on the Magical word art to add a bit more sparkle and to fit in with the sparkle border of the background paper.
Add a layer mask to conceal parts of elements
Layer masks are one of my favorite tools for concealing parts of elements. The leaves, the stitching, and even the painted shadowed overlay have layer masks applied. For concealing, add a layer mask to the element, choose a hard round brush and paint in black to hide parts of the element. You could certainly use the eraser tool, but by using the layer mask, the original is preserved, which is great when you are reusing within the same layout. (If you need a refresher on using layer masks, check out Favorite Uses for Layer Masks)
The stitching is from Allison Pennington’s contribution to the collection and here the layer mask is concealing the tails of the stitching element. As I was putting the final details on my layout with the title, I opted to use a layer mask on the painted overlay element to allow my title text to show through a bit better. I switched to a soft brush and lowered the opacity to around 20%.
Resize (smaller only) elements
This is a great way to add variation when you are reusing elements. I shrunk the size of the “brads” created from the scatter, and varied the size of the flowers and leaf elements. (Be careful of sizing up, in general, it is better not to increase the size of elements.)
Rotate and/or flip elements
You don’t want your leaves to all be laying exactly the same, so rotate them, flip them horizontally and/or vertically. I used the same set of stitching for all three stitch guides in this layout, by flipping them and rotating them (and using a layer mask to remove the tails) I have a bit of variation for the overall layout.
In PS, go to Edit -> Transform -> Flip horizontal (or Flip vertical). In PSE, you’ll want Image -> Rotate -> Flip layer horizontal (or Flip layer vertical). In PSE note that there is a Flip horizontal — but that will flip your entire layout, not just the layer, so be sure and get the Flip layer menu items.
Reduce opacity of an element
It can be fun to incorporate vellum like pieces into your creations for a little added interest. For the paper piece in this layout, I used the striped paper, but reduced the opacity. For this, you will need to cut out the paper to the desired shape so that your mask doesn’t show through.
Hold down ctrl (cmd) and click on the thumbnail of the paper guide to get a selection of that guide; make sure to select the layer of the paper you want to cut, go to Select -> Inverse on the top menu bar, hit delete. Now that you have your trimmed paper, reduce the opacity (I ended up at 64%). Be sure to turn off the visibility of the underlying paper guide. Now some of the underlying sparkling snowflake is subtly visible.
You’ve learned a lot of skills, put them all together and made the most out of a small collection of elements.
The Winter Magic Giveaway
A huge THANK YOU goes out to all the amazing designers who contributed to this Mega Collection. Winter Magic is perfect for your winter and holiday photos, but it also has a gorgeous color palette that is fitting for memorializing those everyday moments too. Ready for a peek at what you can collect during the month of December?
Winter Magic downloads are no longer available.