Photoshop Elements Tutorials-- Creating a Professional-looking Photo Layout
Creating a Professional-looking Photo Layout with Photoshop Elements
This Photoshop Elements 5.0 lesson will demonstrate how you can create stunning, professional-looking photo layouts using only your own digital photographs and a cool little type trick, courtesy of Photoshop Elements layers and layer styles. The figure below shows the final layout created using the steps in this lesson. Along the way you'll also learn how to use Photoshop Elements Move Tool, how to add text to an image, how to apply layer styles, how to change the blending mode of a layer and how to add frames to photographs. There's a bit to do so let's get started.
|Creating a Professional Layout with Photoshop Elements|
NOTE: This Photoshop Elements lesson was created using Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0, but you can achieve similar results using other versions.
To get started, you'll need to gather a number of your photographs by opening them in Photoshop Elements. You may want to stick to a particular theme, too. For example, I'll be using a number of photographs taken on a recent San Francisco holiday. With the photos you want to use in mind, run Photoshop Elements and choose Edit and Enhance Photos to open the Photoshop Elements Editor window.
Choose File, Open and open the digital photographs that you want to use for your layout. You can see in figure 2.1 that the images I've opened are displayed in the main editor window, and as thumbnails along the bottom of the main editor window.
With the required images open you can shrink them down out of the way by clicking the "minimize" icon in the upper right corner of each image. Note that when you do so the image's icons remain visible along the bottom of the editor window.
Creating the Layout
To create the layout choose Create, Photo Layout… Doing so will open the New Photo Layout dialog box (see figure 2.2).
There're only a couple of options that need to be set here.
First, select a size for your layout. I'll use the default 8.5" x 11" for the purposes of this lesson, but play around with the bigger sizes if you have a printer capable of handling larger papers. You could, for example, create prints that would be large enough to have laminated and used as colorful table placemats.
Next select the layout that you want to use. I'll be displaying three separate images against a fourth image used as the background, and I want the layout to look a little dynamic so I'll select the 3 Tilted option. The fact that the images will be tilted means that the layout will appear more dynamic and less static than if a more traditional layout was selected. I think this layout will work well for the San Francisco holiday photos I've selected, as well.
Because this lesson will demonstrate how you can create your own theme leave that selection unset, and do the same with selection 4. Additional Options:
Click OK to continue.
...and watch as a your layout is built before your very eyes. When the layout image is complete (within a couple of seconds) you'll see that it has a transparent background and three layers named, from the bottom up, 3 Tilted 1, 3 Tilted 2 and 3 Tilted 3 (see figure 2.3).
Add the Background
To add a background image to the layout simply drag-and-drop the thumbnail icon of the image you want to use onto the layout.
A new layer containing the background image you've selected will be added above the 3 Tilted 3 layer, but it needs to be at the bottom of the layers stack. To put the new layer in its correct place simply click-and-drag it from the top of the layers palette to the bottom. If you don' see the Layers palette, normally located towards the bottom along the right side of the editor, choose Window, Reset Palette Locations.
By default the new layer will have the same name as the file. You can, of course, double-click the new layer in the Layers palette to rename it.
You can see in figure 2.4 that my background image isn't exactly the same ratio as the layout. To correct a problem like this is pretty straightforward. Select the Move tool (it's the first tool in the Tool bar). When you do you'll see small points at the corners and middle of the edges of the photograph. Click-and-drag the point in the upper left corner of the background photo upwards and to the left. The cursor will appear as an angled-line with an arrowhead at each end when you are in the right spot (see figure 2.4).
Drag the corner of the image until the background photo meets up with, or passes the edge of the layout. When you're satisfied with the positioning, do the same with the bottom right corner of the background photo, dragging it down and to the right with the Move tool until the background photo covers the entire layout.
Once you've stretched the background photo past the visible boundaries the points for the Move tool may no longer be visible making it tough to make any further adjustments. A simple solution is to stretch the viewing area of the image so that you can see the points, as seen in the figure below.
|Stretching the image's viewing area|
Create the rest of the Layout's Theme
With the background photo in place it's time to create the rest of the theme. Because I'm using vacation photographs I'm going to use the Snapshot frame for the photos going into my layout. Here's how you can add this frame to your layout's images…
Open the Artwork palette if it's not already open (you will find it above the Layers palette, by default) by choosing Window, Artwork and Effects.
From the pull down menus choose Frames and Professional. The Snapshot frame is 3 rows down on the right. Click its icon to make it the active choice.
Select the "3 Tilted 3" layer by clicking its entry in the Layers palette and click the Apply button in the Artwork palette. Doing so will give that layers photo, even though there's no photo in place yet, a border that resembles a Polaroid Snapshot (see figure 2.5).
Repeat the same process for the other two layers, 3 Tilted 2 and 3 Tilted 1.
Before we get into adding the individual photographs it would be nice to add some text to the layout. It will give some balance to the final layout and add a professional-look.
To add the text, click the bottommost layer in the Layers palette. Doing so will activate the layer with the background photo on it, and that means the text layer will be above the background, but below the Tilted layers that will contain the photos.
Select the Horizontal Type tool, (see figure 2.6).
In the Options bar set the Font Family to the font you'd like to use and set the color to white. Don't worry too much about the size of the text, for now. The text will be resized to fit the image a few steps down…
Click anywhere in the image and type in the text you want to use. I'll type in "San Francisco" using the Minion Pro font.
For this layout it would be nice if the text could run down the left side with room for the images towards the middle and right. To tilt the text into place select the Move tool and move the cursor near one of the corner points until the cursor changes into a curve with arrowheads at both ends (see figure 2.7).
When the cursor changes, click-and-drag to rotate the text. Holding down the SHIFT key will help get the angle correct. When you're done you should have something resembling the image in figure 2.8.
We're not quite done with the text yet, though. To help with the aforementioned professional-look we'll need to make a couple of changes to the text.
First, set the Artwork and Effects palette to "Apply Effects, Filters and Layer Styles" (see figure 2.9).
In the pull down menus choose Layer Styles and Inner Shadows.
Choose the "Low" setting from the Special Effects palette and click Apply. Doing so will add an inner shadow to the text.
To get the text to blend in more with the background image set the Blending mode for the Type layer to Soft Light. You can set the blending mode from the pull down menu in the Layers palette.
As a final touch, set the layer's Opacity down to about 70%.
That should do it for the text. Now some photos can be added to the layout.
Add Photos to the Layout
You can see that the gray boxes are all set to accept the photographs that you want to use. To add a photo, simply drag its icon from the bottom of the editor window into the placeholder in the layout.
When you drag the photo into place and release the mouse there may be a short pause while Photoshop Elements sets the photo into place. When it's done you will see a slider and the usual bounding box with the points at the corners and middle of each edge (see figure 2.10). You can use the slider to resize the photo to fit the placeholder and you can click-and-drag the points to do the same. As well, you can click-and-drag the image within the placeholder.
When you've got the first image settled into place add the remaining images and get them into place.
When you've added all of the images you can drag the images, and their frames around to get them into a better layout relative to each other, the text, and the background photograph. As well, you can re-arrange the order of the images in the Layers palette so that you can change how the images overlap. This can be accomplished by dragging-and-dropping the layers in the Layers palette.
My final image can be seen in figure 2.11.
To finish up save your layout as a .psd (Photoshop) file so that you can edit it if necessary in the future.
I invite you to play with the various settings I've mentioned in this lesson until you have exactly the results you want and don't hesitate to e-mail us questions about this tutorial.
That's it for now... Be sure to check out some of our other Photoshop Elements tutorials.
We'd like to hear from you... If there are any Photoshop Elements techniques you'd like to see covered, send us an e-mail.
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