Thank you to Ona (wombat146) for this tutorial.


Hi everyone! I had a few moments up my sleeve today so I thought I would take you through the steps I used to create the TODAY layout (shown below) that Diane asked about HERE.

Note: My screen shots may look a bit different to my original layout as I had already merged a few layers together and therefore had to re-create them for these shots. 

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While the steps might look long and involved, the layout itself was very easy to do so I thought I would cover this today, rather than wait till September!  I will detail my steps as I did in the last tutorial as you all seemed happy with that format.

Idea behind the layout:
The main component to this layout are the collages that were created by Tangie Baxter at the The Lilypad, namely the Resplendent Marbled Wings and
Resplendent Floral Collages. Honestly that is the bulk of this layout, two Floral Collages and one Marbled Wings collage!  I just loved the colours that Tangie chose to create these collages so I wanted to use them on a page by themselves. I also had in mind to have a black border around the edge to tie in with the black parts of the butterfly in the Marbled Wings collage I used. I wanted parts of the layout to overlap the border edge as well.

Creating the background:
1. I moved two floral collages and one winged collage onto my A4 paper, on top of a white background. Then I applied a Layer Mask to each layer and used a black soft (airbrush soft) brush to hide the parts that I didn't want, as shown below in the screen shot.

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2. I knew before hand that I wanted the butterfly to overlap the border that I was going to put around the layout so before I did anything else I used the Quick Selection Tool to extract the butterfly from the collage. As you can see it is NOT perfectly cut out but for this layout it didn't need to be as the background was very 'busy', that is, not plain, and the outline wouldn't be readily seen. We don't need the butterfly yet so just hide it for the moment by clicking in the eye symbol on the left hand side of the layer.

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3. The next step was to merge the three collage layers together by highlighting all three layers and using CTRL+E.

4. To create the border I drew a rectangle shape on the merged layer, see 'marching ants' border (below left) and then I used CTRL+X to cut the rectangular shape out and CTRL+V to paste just the cut out section on a new layer (below right).

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5. Now why did I cut this shape out? Whenever you are working in PS or PSE and using photos or other items that overlap your page edges, you need to be aware that even though you can't 'see' them they are there and quite likely adding a lot of weight to your file size. Take a look at the screenshot below, the area bounded by the dotted lines indicated the space that the overlapping collages are taking up. In a lot of instances this will significantly add to your file size!

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In PS there is a command called Trim that can be used to trim off the edges. PSE does not have this feature but I use a plug-in called XXL Elements which gives me this option and so normally I use that tool to get rid of excess pixels. However, be careful with this option if you do have it as once you delete/trim the overlapping area it is gone. I normally trim just before I save my PSD for the final time.

In this instance I wanted to show you that by using the cut and paste option you can now go back to the original layer (the screenshot above) and delete the whole layer which takes care of all the excess pixels.

6. Next thing I did was to create the black border edge. Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool, on a new layer, I drew around the rectangle shape of my merged collage. I then applied the Stroke (Outline) Section (under the Edit menu) in black at 40 pixels, using the 'Inside" setting for Location.

Note: I have reverted back to my original layout so it might look a little bit different to the shots above. 

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7. Because I wanted to use some WA I wanted to partially hide the surface so that the WA could be seen. I created a new layer under the black border layer and used a Gesso png (from Time Out Gesso by LiLi Wee Design at The Lilypad). I used the eraser to just get rid of the bits that had strayed over the border of the merged layer (or you can clip it to the layer ). I reduced the Opacity down to 58% and kept in Normal blend mode. Sometimes I like to add just a bit more texture to gesso and paints etc by sharpening them a bit. To do this I duplicated the Gesso layer once. On the duplicated layer I first went to Filter>Other and then selected the High Pass option. In here I used the slider to apply just a slight sharpening effect, approx 1 - 1.5 and then hit the OK button. I then changed the duplicated layer's blend mode to Linear Light and kept it at 58% Opacity.
That finishes up the background.

Adding everything else:
8. The next thing I did was go to the extracted butterfly and turned the visibility of the layer back on. I positioned the butterfly back over the one in the background and then I duplicated the butterfly layer. On the bottom butterfly I applied a drop shadow and on the top duplicated layer I changed the blend mode to Soft Light. With both butterfly layers selected I dragged them onto the new layers button twice so I ended up with three pairs of butterflies.

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When you are working with duplicated pairs like this it is always a good idea to go back straight away and link the sets together!  Go ahead and hide Sets 2 & 3.

9. I moved the the original butterfly set back over the top of the area where I initially extracted it from. My next step was to move the other two duplicated sets around until I was happy. I also like to change the flight path of my butterflies when I am doing duplicate layers like this, it tends to give the layout a bit more movement I think. Also, change up the sizes as well.

10. I neglected to say in my original credits that the wordart strips I used were from Dawn Inskip's July BYOC Botanical Elements. I cut the wordart strips up and positioned them as shown, placing the bottom one over the border a bit.

11. I used staples form Becca Bonville's July BYOC Fancy Free elements to 'secure' the wordart.

12. For the main 'today' heading I used WA from Paula Kesselring's July BYOC Tropicana elements and recoloured it to match the other WA and I also used the ferny/palm greenery from Paula as well to finish off the page.

That is it!  Really, I think it took me longer to write/type all of this out than it did to actually create the layout! LOL!

In closing:
While I used collages for this background you can also have a go at using various brushes and stamps as well. Just have a play one day with putting collages, brushes, stamps etc on a white background and start moving them around until you are happy with the arrangement and that the white background is covered. Merge the layers together and apply a semi-transparent or vellum type overlay on top so that whatever wordart you use will be visible and not blend too much into the background. I sometimes do this when I don't have any mojo to scrap, I just start to play and if I really like a particular background I will merge and save as a jpeg to use at a layer date. The important thing is to simply PLAY and have some fun!

Looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with!! 

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