When scrapping, I love to use keyboard shortcuts. They are exactly that – shortcuts – and they are great timesavers. It’s so simple to just press two or three keys to accomplish a task. Easy peasy! The alternative is to get my mouse, go to the menu bar, click on the menu I want, find the specific command I want to execute, then select it to get the results I want. Sometimes, that just takes too long for what I want to do!
You probably know some shortcuts already – like the ever-familiar Ctrl+Z = Undo, but there are many, many other shortcuts available to help you accomplish various tasks. Today, I’ll share a few of my favorites with you. I’ve provided a few screenshots highlighting some of these. Notice that the commands which have keyboard shortcuts will have the shortcut listed next to the command.
Ctrl+N = New Blank File
Ctrl+O = Open File (An alternative to this is to double-click on a blank area of the workspace, which I think works just as well as the keyboard shortcut.)
Alt+Ctrl+B = Convert to Black and White
Ctrl+L = Levels Adjustment
Ctrl+U = Adjust Hue/Saturation
Shift+Ctrl+U = Remove Color
Ctrl+G = Create Clipping Mask
Ctrl+E = Merge Down
A few extra commands that I like to use are the Fill Commands:
Alt+Delete or Alt+Backspace = Fill background with Foreground Color
Ctrl+Delete or Ctrl+Backspace = Fill background with Background Color
There are many more shortcuts and cheat sheets available, including those for brushes, panel bin, rulers, selections, and tools. To learn more about these, do a search for Keyboard Shortcuts or Photoshop Elements Keyboard Shortcuts. Don’t forget that you can always post any questions in the Scrap Girls Forum. Someone is always available and happy to help. Happy scrapping with PSE shortcuts!
- Slide Some Scribbles Behind Your Title
Titles and text can easily get lost when used with patterned papers. You can make the text stand out from the background by placing a highlighter-inspired scribble between the paper layer and your title.
The highlight embellishments are also a great way to emphasize specific words in your journaling. I used the yellow highlight twice, simply rotating it 180 degrees to make the second one look slightly different from the first. The highlight embellishments are somewhat transparent, so your text will show through, just like when using a real highlighter. To get a more realistic look, place the highlight layer below your text layer.
After I finished my layout, I played around with the embellishment set and created a fun greeting card using some of the scribbles as flowers. I simply added paper rosette centers and used stitches for the stems.
Start by clicking on the Gradient tool in the Tools palette. Then up at the top of the screen in the Options menu, you can change the basic shape of the gradient.
Next, click on the Edit button and the Gradient Editor window will open.
To take this to the next level, add a ScrapSimple paper template, and apply your gradient to it by using a clipping mask. I love this wavy paper template from June’s ScrapSimple Club: Beyond the Sea by Laura Louie. A gradient is perfect for this template because it accentuates the movement of the waves.
Grab this month’s ScrapSimple Club and create some waves of your own! I can’t wait to see how you combine gradients with ScrapSimple paper templates to make something totally new! Don’t forget to post your work in the Scrap Girls Gallery!
Paper strips are a fun way to use different patterned papers together. I created each paper strip by making a selection on the paper with either the Polygonal Lasso tool or the Rectangular Marquee tool and then adding a layer mask. Once the layer mask is applied, you can arrange the strips behind the photo to create a border with them. While this layout uses the strips horizontally, the look is just as effective with the strips placed vertically.
We’d love to see your pages in the Scrap Girls Gallery!
The first layout uses a photo of my grandfather holding my dad. Since it is a black-and-white photo, I chose a color palette with subdued neutrals and blues. The flowers have a bit of grunge, and I used them sparingly. The distressed frame and torn paper border add texture which can help create a more masculine feel.
- Choose a more subdued or gender-neutral color palette.
- Distressing and a little grunge can add a more masculine feel.
- Tie the color and style of florals to something in the photo.
- Add some masculine embellishments like metal, buttons, string, or wire in with the flower clusters.
- Try using distressed and frayed flowers or flowers with more texture like those made of burlap or canvas.
Go ahead and give it a try! We’d love to see how you repurpose your floral products for masculine layouts when you share them with us in the Scrap Girls Gallery.
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.
- The Move tool must be active in order to use the Align and Distribute tools.
- These tools work with layers, so you must have each individual item that you want to align on its own layer.
- 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 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.