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Let’s get started! First, open a new document 1275 by 1650 pixels. Drag in a background paper and resize it to fit your card.
I use a lot of contrasting borders on my cards. Since it can be a bit tricky to make even borders, we will go over how to create them in a bit more detail.
Note: I create borders using a layer mask to make the layer above the border paper smaller.
1. Make sure the paper you would like to make smaller is selected in the Layers panel.
2. Using the Marquis Tool, select the outside edge of your card.
3. Choose Select > Transform Selection in the top menu bar.
4. Hold down both the Shift and Alt keys while you resize, and the selection will stay centered on your page as you transform it. When you have the selection the size you’d like it, press Enter to finalize the transformation.
5. Click on the Layer Mask Icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to create the mask.
I copied and rotated the border embellishment to create a frame and then added a style from ScrapSimple Tools – Styles: Grungalicious Distress Autumn Biggie 8501 to it.
Fear not, I have three great ways to help you use those gesso pages, and they are all fun and easy! Trust me!
The pages I am mainly referring to are shown below. Some are already masked for you to use, but I wanted to start at the basics and give you three great techniques so you can branch out on your own.
1. Gesso as a Border/Frame
The first technique is the easiest. We are going to use the gesso as a border or frame for our photos. Let’s start by looking at the first two templates shown above. These have the perfect locations already mapped out.
I am going to simplify things a little more and use a Rule of Thirds template I created using the ruler functions to show the places where the eye rests, so photo placement is easier.
There are two ways I like to do this, depending on how it looks after I do each step. The first is to use the Vellum shadow from ScrapSimple Tools – Styles: Shadow Me 6301. This is how it looks when I apply the vellum shadow to the gesso on this page:
It is very subtle and perhaps the other option would be better. Let’s try a bevel.
I tend to use the Simple inner bevel the most as I am not good at bevelling and it appears subtler to me. I even tweak the amount, too; this time taking it down to just 6 pixels. Can you see the subtle lift it gives? To access the option to tweak the level of the bevel, just double-click the italic fx on the gesso line in the Layers panel.
Next, I’ll do a little mix-and-match. I want to add some word art and also frame my pics of the little guy. I’ll use Syndee’s Breathings template and just take what I need.
After adding the frames and the word art, I turned off the Rule of Thirds template.
I used ScrapSimple Tools – Styles: Gold 8501 on the hearts and quote, just to add a little visual interest without distracting from the black and white. Simplifying the layers and using the Darken Blending mode allowed them to appear more a part of the texture than just sitting on top of the gesso.
So this is layout 1 where we used the gesso as a frame:
2. Coloring the Gesso
With technique 2, I am going to show you my favorite way to color the gesso itself. If you were going to use real gesso on a real paper page, you might use a pigment, so I am going to do a similar effect here. Again, I am using Brandy’s Gold Style as I love the ombre it gives, but you could try using a gradient for a similar effect.
I tried adding the style directly to my PNG, but it didn’t give me the option to use the Blending modes I wanted. So instead, I added a blank layer and went to Edit along the top of my screen. From there, I selected Fill Layer and went with 50% gray. I added my style to this page (a blank page has no pigment so a style cannot work on it; you need the 50% gray) and simplified it. Then I played with all the Blending modes until I found I liked Pin Light best. Next, I simplified it all. Now I have this lovely trio of colors to play with!
3. Imprint Your Photo on Gesso
Finally, let’s look at a way to use the gesso as a place to imprint your photo. The image I used took many variations of Overlay and Darken Blending modes at varying opacities to get the look I was after. Every photo will be different, so I will save you an explanation of all the intricate steps I took for my photo. Just jump in and start experimenting!
What I do want to point out here was the use of both the JPG file and the Overlay file. To get the layered effect, I placed the Overlay file directly over the JPG file and used it for extra depth. After getting my photos right, I simply added a colored layer over the entire JPG file. My overlays hid where the color went underneath them. This technique works best for artsy-style images, especially travel prints where you are going for a feel rather than detail. Gesso really needs the Blending modes to show its texture, and this style is best for photos where your use of photos isn’t dependent on showing a lot of detail.
I hope this tutorial has answered a few of your questions about how to use these gesso textures in your next layout!