One of the best things about digital scrapbooking is that there are so many options! It seems like there are a million different ways you can create an interesting background, but one of my favorites is to use a sunburst template. The rays of the sunburst can help create background interest, highlight a focal point, or liven up an ordinary layout. Try these three easy techniques to spice up your backgrounds!
Instructions and screen shots are for Photoshop Elements 10, but if you have other versions of Photoshop or Elements, you should be able to play along. Those of you with other programs should have similar functionality, so read on and try!
As an Overlay:
- Select a paper for your background. Using your Move tool, drag it onto your layout, or just build your layout right on top of the paper! (Be sure to save with a different name, so you don’t inadvertently overwrite the paper file.)
- Open the template, and click and drag the template onto the layout.
- At the top of the Layers Panel, pull down the blending mode menu (at the left, will say Normal as the default) and choose Overlay. If you don’t like that look, try the other options in that menu, depending on the colors and textures, different modes could give you the look you want.
As a Clipping Mask:
- Select two papers for your background.
- Using the Move tool, click on one of the papers and drag it onto your layout.
- Open the template, and click and drag it onto the layout.
- Click and drag the second paper onto the layout. In your Layers panel you should see the two papers with the template in between.
- Holding down your ALT key, hover your cursor over the Layers panel in between the top paper and the template. When you are on the line between the layers your cursor will change to two circles with an arrow. When it does, click, and your top paper will now only appear where the template is, letting the paper below show through!
As a Selection with Brushes:
- Open your template and drag it onto your layout.
- Open a paper and drag it onto your layout. It should appear on top of the template in the Layers panel.
- Create a new blank layer on top of the paper by clicking the New Layer icon at the top of the Layers Panel (looks like a sticky note with the corner folded over).
- Holding down your CTRL key, click on the thumbnail image of the template layer in the Layers panel. This will create a selection around the template, you will see “marching ants” (moving dotted lines) appear on your layout in the shape of the template.
- Check the Layers panel to be sure the blank layer is the active (highlighted) layer. If not, click on it to make it active.
- Press the B key to choose the Brush tool, or click on it in the Tool Box.
- Select a brush to use. I chose two: Grunge Floral Brushes from Graphics-Illustrations.com and the Pastel Medium Tip brush that came with Photoshop Elements.
- Brush over your layout. The brush marks will only appear inside the selection.
- Adjust the opacity of the brushed layer until you get a look you like.
Want some inspiration? Check out this Creative Forum thread where we got talking about and sharing our sunburst layouts. You’ll find lots of creative ideas every week in the CF thread, so come join us!
Credits: Layout by Jennifer Creek – template: Resolutions Templates by Connie Prince, kit: Can’t Stop Loving You by Studio Basics Designs, sunburst template: ScrapKitty Design. Overlay sample papers by LHanks Big Boy Pants, Clipping Mask sample papers by eyeinspire.com Crazy Beautiful kit, Brush sample papers by Karen Lewis Designz Linen Crisp Papers paper pack.