Realistic Stamping on Layered Items
Note: Tutorial shown using Adobe Photoshop CS.
One way to create realism in digital scrapbooking is to step away from the computer and use something many of us take for granted every day - our eyes. If you slow down and really look at the way shadows fall across paper or ink seeps into paper, you have a better idea of how to mimic it digitally.
This tutorial will show you one of the techniques I am asked about most often. It is not difficult, and is one of the most authentic touches you can give your pages. This tutorial is written using Adobe Photoshop CS, but should be adaptable to other programs if you're knowledgeable about the layering system.
Open a new, blank document and layer your papers, photos and elements as desired.
On its own layer, create your type using the Text Tool OR stamp it using brushes. It will look more realistic if your text is distressed, as stamping rarely makes a completely solid impression. If you used the Text Tool, Rasterize your layer ("Simplify" in Elements) before proceeding. If you used brushes, just continue.
Load the selection of the text by holding down the Ctrl key and clicking on the text layer's thumbnail.
Subtract from the selection by holding down the Ctrl and Alt keys and clicking on the layer that is visually the next one "under" your text (not necessarily the next one in your Layers Palette). In this example, I would Ctrl+Alt+Click on my photo's thumbnail in my Layers Palette.
Switch to the Move Tool and using the "nudge" arrows (usually between the alpha keys and numeric keys on most keyboards), nudge the selected portion of the text up/down/right/left, depending on which direction the edge is. (I.E.: The upper edge, nudge up; bottom edge, nudge down; left, nudge left; and right, nudge right). This will create the illusion that the stamp didn't make contact where the edge is, which is what happens in reality. (In the image above, I have hidden the Marquee outline so it's easier to see the effect of the nudge.)
Subtract from the selection again by holding down the Ctrl and Alt keys and clicking on the layer that is visually the next one "under" your text (not necessarily the next one in your layer palette). In this example, it would be my blue spattered paper.
Again, switch to the Move Tool and, using the "nudge" arrows, nudge the selected portion of the text up/down/right/left (depending on which direction the edge is). (In the above image, I have hidden the Marquee outline so it's easier to see the effect of the nudge.)
I usually only nudge by one click of the key. You can also nudge once either left or right to give the illusion that the paper may have shifted slightly since "stamping." The amount you are moving the selected text is very small, but the effect creates tremendous realism.
Continue to repeat these steps on any other "stamped" text until you achieve the level of realism you want.
Extra credit: For areas with edges going in many different directions, you may have to make several successive selections to get just the correct portion selected before moving. You can also use the Magic Wand Tool, and while holding down the Alt key, deselect the areas you don't want to move.
Layout by Tonya Doughty
Tutorial written by Tonya Doughty