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Using Layer Alignment Tools in Photoshop Elements

When creating your layouts, do you sometimes have elements such as embellishments or alphas that you just can’t seem to line up so they look nice and neat and pretty on the page? Maybe you want to have a row of flowers or a column of stars that you want to create a border with, and you just can’t get them lined up perfectly. Do you want to be sure the edge of a line of text lines up evenly with another element on the page?

Today, I’ll show you an easy way to accomplish those things using the Layer Align tools in Photoshop Elements. I love using the Align tool – and I use it a lot! Though I don’t use the Distribute tool quite as often, it’s good to know it’s there if I need it.

Note: Technically, the Align and Distribute tools aren’t tools at all; they are options. For simplification, I will refer to them as tools in this tutorial. 

When you have the Move tool selected, you’ll see the Align and Distribute tools in the Tool Options bar. The Align section is to help you line up the objects located on the active layers. The Distribute section is to help distribute the spaces between the objects on the active layers.

Here are three important things to remember when using the Align and/or Distribute tools:

  1. The Move tool must be active in order to use the Align and Distribute tools.
  2. These tools work with layers, so you must have each individual item that you want to align on its own layer.
  3. The Align tool will only work when two or more layers are active, and the Distribute tool will only work when three or more layers are active. If the options icons are grayed out, you don’t have two or more layers activated. When selecting layers for alignment, I also find it helpful to have the Show Bounding Box checked. This helps me to see specifically which items will be aligned.

Once you have selected (activated) the layers you want to align, you can hover over each individual icon in the Tool Options bar for a description of what that particular option will do. Now choose the option you want to use and click on the icon. Poof! Like magic, the items (layers) you’ve selected snap into place and align perfectly.

Here is an example:

I have three layers of text. As you can see, in addition to the text being all over the page, the vertical spaces between the layers are uneven.

I want to even up the spaces between the layers, so I will activate all three layers, and under the Distribute section, I see the icon labeled Center. When I click on that icon, it will distribute the vertical center spaces evenly. You’ll see the results in a later screenshot.

Next, under the Align section, I see the icon labeled Left, which will align the edges of all three layers with the leftmost text layer.

After clicking on the icon, I can see that my layers are all perfectly aligned and evenly spaced, and I’m a happy camper!

To gain a better understanding of how these tools work, you may want to experiment with some random shapes, embellishments, or text layers and use the different tool options to see how you can align various elements.

I hope this tutorial has been helpful to you! I would love to see some of your layouts using these tools. Remember to upload your pages to the Scrap Girls Gallery so we can all admire them.

Tutorial written by Theresa Guyer
Created using Photoshop Elements 11 with Windows 7
 

Fun with String Art Spiros

The ScrapSimple Embellishment Templates: String Art Spiros included in this month’s ScrapSimple Club can add some fun dimension to your cards and scrapbook pages. For this tutorial, I’ll show several ways to use them and give you a few tips, too.

For the first project, I created a greeting card using a String Art Spiro as a flower.

When I reduced the size of the flower to fit on my card, the drop shadow on the coloring style included with the club got a bit too big. In the screen shot below, you can see the gap between the pin and its shadow.

To fix this, I opened the drop shadow in the Styles panel and changed the distance and size on the shadows until I got a more natural look.

For the next project, I used a String Art Spiro to frame a photo of my granddaughter. The round frame from ScrapSimple Embellishment Templates: Fall Out Frames made it easy to fit my photo in the center of the spiro and also gave it a pretty, blended look.

Finally, I used String Art Spiros to enhance the letters in my layout title. I simply chose a font that had round capital O letters and then placed a String Art Spiro over each one. I rotated one of the spiros just a bit to offset the pins where the two letters meet. Depending on your font, you may need to adjust the kerning or tracking to get the look you want.

I hope you take some time to play with the ScrapSimple Embellishment Templates: Spiros! We’d love to see your work in the ScrapSimple Club Gallery soon!

An Amazing Deal!
If you were to buy all of the items in the club individually from the Boutique they would cost $19.15 and we offer it to you for just $6.99 a month!
MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION
Want to save even more? Consider a 6 month or 12 month subscription. 
On the Club Product page in the Details section, choose your preferred subscription in the drop-down menu. Then click on the orange Add to Cart button.
Article written by April Martell
Tutorial written using Photoshop CS6 with Windows 7
 

May 29th Challenge Winners & Member Focus

WEEKLY LAYOUT WINNER
Cossett Library by princessrunningfingers
Congratulations! You may claim your gift certificate by emailing prizes@scrapgirls.com.
Want a chance to win Scrap Girls’ Weekly Layout Contest?
Simply post your digital or paper layouts that use Scrap Girls products in our online Gallery; if we choose yours, you’ll win a prize! To be considered, don’t forget to list the Scrap Girls products that you used in your layout.
Want to see past winners of the Weekly Layout Contest? Visit the Weekly Layout Winners Gallery on our Forum!
WEEKLY CHALLENGE WINNER
Last week we focused on designer Veronica Spriggs.
Emma F May by ladyscrapalot
THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE
This week we are focusing on member princessrunningfingers (Joyce)
UPCOMING CHATS & CHALLENGES
Tuesday, May 31st - Member Focus Challenge by Andrea-Rose Hutton
Blending
Weekend Challenge - Wildcard Challenge by Shannon
Twisted template
MAY GAME CHALLENGE
Join us on the Forum in May for a slow scrap, but watch out! Some of the tasks are a little crazy!
SUMMER
June marks the official start of the summer in the Northern Hemisphere. For the summer months we’ll be bringing you a slimmed-down version of our Tuesday newsletter plus you will find the forum winners and challenges post on the actual forum.

May 22nd Challenge Winners & Designer Focus

WEEKLY LAYOUT WINNER
Smile Big by Boatlady
Congratulations! You may claim your gift certificate by emailing prizes@scrapgirls.com.
Want a chance to win Scrap Girls’ Weekly Layout Contest?
Simply post your digital or paper layouts that use Scrap Girls products in our online Gallery; if we choose yours, you’ll win a prize! To be considered, don’t forget to list the Scrap Girls products that you used in your layout.
Want to see past winners of the Weekly Layout Contest? Visit the Weekly Layout Winners Gallery on our Forum!
WEEKLY CHALLENGE WINNER
Last week was our popular monthly Sketch challenge .
Uncle Butch by ScrapgirlCindy
THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE
UPCOMING CHATS & CHALLENGES
Tuesday, May 24th - Designer Focus Challenge by Valerie
Veronica Spriggs.
Weekend Challenge - Wildcard Challenge by Melanie
White Space.
MAY GAME CHALLENGE
Join us on the Forum in May for a slow scrap, but watch out! Some of the tasks are a little crazy!

Customizing Clusters

I really love this month’s Scrap Girls Club: Boho Chic by Jan Ransley. I love the colors, the patterns, all of it, but my favorite part is the layered clusters. I like clusters in general, but these are extra special. Each one comes as a PSD file with each piece of the cluster as an individual layer, which makes it super-easy to customize the clusters. (They also come as individual PNGs if your program doesn’t use PSD files.)

One way to customize the clusters is by adding letters to make a custom title. Start by opening the PSD file and choosing File > Save As. Name it something new, just so you don’t accidently mess up the original.

Next, move some alpha letters on top of the cluster. Resize them, tilt them, etc., to get the look that you want.

Now start moving the letter files up or down in the Layers Palette, until they look like they belong in the cluster. Keep some cluster elements on top of your letters, while leaving some elements below the letters to get the most natural look. Each of the layers in the cluster file are conveniently labeled, so it’s easy to know which layer you are moving.

Add some drop shadows to the letters and move the whole thing onto your layout. It will look like the designer made a cluster just for you, and it only took a couple of minutes!

I can’t wait to see what creative ways you find to use these clusters – and the rest of this beautiful Club!

"
An Amazing Deal!
If you were to buy all of the items in the club individually from the Boutique they would cost $27.64 and we offer it to you for just $9.99 a month!
MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION
Want to save even more? Consider a 6 month or 12 month subscription. 
On the Club Product page in the Details section, choose your preferred subscription in the drop-down menu. Then click on the orange Add to Cart button.
Article written by Anna Mansfield
Using  Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 with Windows 8
Today’s the last day to join in Syndee’s 10 Year Anniversary celebration SALE! 
Plus receive the kit below FREE with a $10 purchase from her store!

May 15th iNSD Winners & Stacked Photos Sketch

WEEKLY LAYOUT WINNER
John’s Bench by bjc
Congratulations Bobbie! You may claim your gift certificate by emailing prizes@scrapgirls.com.
Want a chance to win Scrap Girls’ Weekly Layout Contest?
Simply post your digital or paper layouts that use Scrap Girls products in our online Gallery; if we choose yours, you’ll win a prize! To be considered, don’t forget to list the Scrap Girls products that you used in your layout.
Want to see past winners of the Weekly Layout Contest? Visit the Weekly Layout Winners Gallery on our Forum!
WEEKLY CHALLENGE WINNER
Last week’s challenge was ‘Picture Within a Picture’ and it was hard to choose just one!
Matt Girls 2008 by pixelpam
THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE
Have fun creating your page with ideas from this sketch:
cluster sketch
UPCOMING CHATS & CHALLENGES
Tuesday, May 17th - Sketch Challenge by Marilyn
Highlighting portions of your photo.
Weekend Challenge - Wildcard Challenge by Theresa
All about you.
MAY GAME CHALLENGE
Join us on the Forum in May for a slow scrap, but watch out! Some of the tasks are a little crazy!
iNSD WINNERS
The winner drawn from those who completed all 7 layouts is scrapgran.
The winner drawn from all the layouts posted is Xana.
Each has won a $20.00 gift certificate to the Scrap Girls store.

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