Tutorial: Quick Start Your Layouts with Templates

Editor's Note:  This tutorial is designed for Photoshop and PSE and should work for all versions.
Using a layered template is a great way to start a layout! The design work is done for you, all you have to do is add photos, papers and elements. But the best part about layered templates is you can change anything you want-- move the photos, change the size of things, replace one element for another--whatever works for your layout!Let’s walk through making a layout with a layered template.Today we’ll use the Fuss Free FreeBee 2 template by Cheryl Ashcraft of Fiddle Dee Dee Designs.  You can download the FREE template here {this download is no longer available} and work along if you wish! fdd ffFreeBee2 preview e1313100088716 Tutorial: Quick Start Your Layouts with Templates
 Step 1 : Get Ready
  • In PS or PSE, go to the Menu Bar and choose File> Open> and navigate to the template file then click Open.
  • Now go to File> Save As and save the template as a .psd file and rename it.  That way you won’t accidentally save over your template and will have it to use again if you want.
  • Locate the number of photos you’ll need and open them the same way. (I like to put my photos in first so I can see how my papers and elements look with them.)
Step 2 : Clipping (or Grouping)To add all the photos and papers to the layout, we’ll use what’s called “clipping” (or sometimes a “clipping mask” or “grouping”).
  • Click on the template to make that the active window, then click on the part of the template where the photo will go. (If you’re not sure, check the Layers Panel, it should be labeled “photo”.) This will make the template’s photo layer the active layer (it should be highlighted in the Layers Panel).
  • Click and drag the photo onto the template. It will make a new layer just above the template photo layer which you will see in the Layers Panel.
  • Hover your cursor over the line between the two layers and hold down your ALT key. When you get exactly on the line you’ll see your cursor change to two intersecting circles with an arrow .
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Your cursor changes to two intersecting circles with an arrow when hovering on the line.

  • Click to “clip” the paper to the template. You’ll see the photo layer move a little to the right and a little arrow appear to the left of the thumbnail. This indicates the photo is “clipped” to the layer below it.
  • You’ll notice that the photo now only shows where there is a something on the template below it!  You can click on the photo and drag it around to move it or click a corner of the bounding box (the lines that show around the photo when you click on it) and re-size it.
  • Once you’re certain the photo is the way you want it, you can merge the two layers. Hold your CTRL key down and click on both layers, then still holding the CTRL key press E.
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Clipping together a photo and template layer.

Step 3 : Adding Papers
  • Look at the template and determine how many papers you want to use.  Open those files by going to File> Open and navigating to them, then click Open.
  • Start with the background: click on the background to make that layer active, then drag the paper you want to use onto the layout. If you hold the SHIFT key as you drag, it will center the paper perfectly over the layout. The paper should appear just above the template layer named ‘background’ in the Layers Panel. You can now delete the ‘background’ template layer.
  • Click on the next paper layer in the template, then drag another paper over. Clip the paper to the template layer using the method described in Step 2.  Repeat for any other paper layers.
  • If you’re certain you’re happy with the papers, you can merge the paper with the template layer as described in Step 2.
Step 4 : Adding Elements
  • Rather than clipping elements to the template, we’ll be replacing the template pieces with elements.  Just because there is a flower on the template doesn’t mean you need to replace it with a flower. You could use a star, a button, a bunny – whatever works for you. The elements on the template are to give you an idea of size and placement.
  • To add an element, click on the template element you want to replace to make that the active layer. Drag your element onto the layout and it will be on a new layer above the template element.
  • DO NOT CLIP or MERGE these layers! You can delete the template layer (with it highlighted, press DELETE) or simply turn it off by clicking on the eyeball to the left of the layer thumbnail in the Layers Panel.
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Do not merge or clip these layers. Simply turn them off.

Step 5 : Title and Journaling
  • Text is handled differently in different templates. On this template it’s just a regular layer (not a Type Layer, so it’s not editable). The template layer is just to give you an idea of size and placement.
  • Choose your Type Tool from the toolbar and click to start a new layer then type your text. Turn off or delete the template’s text layer.
  • If you have a template with a Type Layer (you’ll know because the layer thumbnail will have a big T in it) you can just choose the Type Tool and click and drag to highlight the text on the layer, then replace it by typing your own words.
Step 6 : Save It!
  • Don’t forget to save your layout again to preserve all your hard work.
 
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Credits: Layout by bigscrapkitty. All papers and elements from Kari Henzelt's Ivory Tickle, Urban Organic and Playful Elements kits. Template is Fuss Free FreeBee 2 by Fiddle Dee-Dee Designs.

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  • Dolores

    Thank you!

  • nancyc

    Thank you. Linked to my site here..http://north33rd.blogspot.com/

    • http://www.scrappersworkshop.com SWJenn

      Wow, NancyC, you’re a fast worker! I love what you did with the template, the simple, neutral colors really let the photo pop! Thanks for providing a link, and glad you liked the tut. I’ll make sure FiddleDeeDee knows you loved the template!

  • Cat Slater

    Very nice template. TYVM!

  • JACKIE

    Thank you,nice template.