Many scrapbookers love to scrap using templates as they take a lot of the guess work out of creating a layout and offer a quick and easy way to put a page together. Before we look at a template, let’s understand a little bit about them.
What are scrapbook templates?
Templates are the baseline or the foundation of your scrapbook layout. Think of them as a “blueprint” for your page. The template outlines the composition of the page and gives you a guide to the placement of your papers, elements, photos, titles and journaling.
Template designers make the templates available in several formats (.png, .psd, .tif, and some offer .page formats too) so they can be used in a number of different software programs. These are the common template formats:
- PSD: (Photoshop Document) this type of format is a standard in the graphics industry. In addition to Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, many other non-Adobe programs like Paint Shop Pro, Gimp, and Photo Impact can also open .psd files.
- TIFF: (Tagged Image Format File) this type of format is a high quality graphics format. It can be opened with most paint programs including Microsoft Paint as well as with Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. If saved correctly .tiff files are much smaller than their .psd counterparts and so can be handy if your hard-drive space is limited.
- PNG: (Portable Network Graphic) this type of format is usable in all programs. It is a transparent graphic with no background. You will need to open each .png into one document to assemble the template (usually in numerical order) so that the layers are all in the correct place for the completed template.
- Page: this type of file can be used in Forever Artisan and Storybook Creator scrapbooking software.
Photoshop CS/CC, Photoshop Elements, Paint Shop Pro, and Corel all use formats of JPEG, PNG, PSD, and TIFF.
CraftArtist compatible formats are PDF, SVG, PNG, JPEG or TIF
Forever Artisan Graphics compatible formats are PNG, PDF, JPEG and PAGE.
When you purchase a template (or download a free template) do you have to use it as is?
No! You can use the template as it is, or you can use it a starting point for your layout. You might like to flip it, rotate it, only use parts of it, add to it or alter it in whatever you wish to make your page you own.
What is the difference between a “Sketch” and a “Template”?
A sketch is a flattened image that shows a composition for a scrapbook page. When you bring the sketch file into your program you’ll find it is not a layered format, but a flat image. You can make your own “template” from the sketch by adding your own shapes and using the sketch as a guide to your composition.
A template is a layered file that you can manipulate with papers, elements, photos and fonts. You can add your own papers and photos and “clip” them to the layers included in the template to quickly and easily create your page.
So let’s get started with a simple template that we created especially for this tutorial:
(Included in the download are the PNG files, the PSD file, the TIFF file and the PAGE file.)
Open up the .psd or .tiff file in Photoshop CS/CC or PSE. If you are using other types of software that do not support .psd files, open up the .png files into your workspace.
NOTE: you might like to save your page now with a different name so that you don’t overwrite the original template!
As you can see there really aren’t a lot of layers or a lot of complexity to this template. The hearts are placeholders for elements, there is a border that has an inner shadow added above it to give the border a “cut out” feel, there are 2 mattes behind the photograph and then there are some elegant lines added to give the photo cluster some cohesion. There is also a spot for a title and also a spot for you to add some journaling.
This is the “blue print” for our page.
I am scrapping in Photoshop CC 2018; however it works pretty much the same way in Photoshop Elements (PSE). Once I have opened the .psd file, this is what the Layers Palette looks like.
There is an “eye” next to each layer in the Layers Palette. If I do not want to see the layers I can hide them by clicking on the eye and it will go blank. To make the layer visible again, I click in the same square again to show the eye.
NOTE: If you can’t see the Layers Palette go to Window > Layers to open it.
When I scrap with a template I like to start from the bottom up. I will turn layers on and off as I work and build up the design of my page.
How to “Clip” a paper or photo in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements
One of the main benefits to using a layered template to create a scrapbook page is that you can “clip” your papers and photographs to a layer in the template. Your paper / photo will take on the size, shape and style of the layer it is clipped to without you having to cut or edit your paper. Using clipping masks this way allows you to quickly and easily add your layers to the template and to put your page together.
NOTE: If your template contains shadow styles on the layers, your own photos and papers will take on the shadow style of the layer they are clipped to too! This is a great way for beginners to learn about shadowing.
Here’s how to clip your paper or photo to a layer using a clipping mask:
- add a blank layer above the shape or photo layer you want to clip your new layer to
- place your paper or photo you want to clip on to that new layer
- with your paper or photo layer selected in the layer palette you can use any of these methods:
a) Use the shortcut key [holding down the ALT+Ctrl+G (PC) / OPT+Cmmd+G (Mac) . This will clip the photo/paper to the layer below.
b) Hold the alt/opt key and hover between the paper/photo new layer and the layer you want to clip it to. It will show a box with a little arrow. Right click with your mouse and the layer will clip to the one below.
c) Using the top tool bar and choosing layer, select “Create Clipping Mask” from the drop down menu Layer>Create Clipping Mask
These 3 ways will clip a paper, photo or adjustment layer to the layer below it in the Layers Palette.
NOTE: If you add a new photograph or paper layer in the wrong place in the layer stack, you can easily move the layer up and down by dragging the layer in the Layers Palette, by going to Layer>Arrange or by using the keyboard shortcuts (see Layer>Arrange for various shortcuts).
Once the paper or photo is clipped to the layer below, your layer palette will look like the layer palette here with the paper layer indented and the tiny down arrow showing. This shows that the paper is clipped to the gray rectangle below and has taken on the size, shape and position of that layer.
NOTE: If you are using an adjustment layer (for example a hue or a b/w layer) on a photo or paper, make sure that adjustment layer is clipped to the layer you want to alter, otherwise it will affect all layers below it in the Layers Palette.
Using this method, you can continue to add your photos, papers and elements to your template to build up your scrapbook page – clipping your layers to the template layers, or hiding the template layers as necessary.
My finished page
Here is the page I made with the template. As you can see, my layout looks slightly different then the template, but the “base” is still there. (I used Kate’s Scotland the Brave doodles and Weekend at Home Papers for this layout.)
Here’s the template and the finished page:
I replaced the hearts with some doodles, added more journaling and some extra doodles to the initial template design. (I also made the background paper using the thistle doodle and a blend mode to make it light like an overlay.)
As I didn’t use the hearts, I turned them off in my Layers Palette. The green and the blue papers are shown in the Layers Palette clipped to the template layers and then I just added my title, journaling, elements and shadowing.
My Layers Palette was very long so I posted the list here. You can see all the layers where the eye is not showing were the hearts, the title placeholder, the title shadowing and the journaling placeholder. These layers are not being used at all and can be deleted.
The slider is showing that you can use the slider to move down in the layer palette.
The layers with the little arrows show the clipping masks I used to put my page together and clip my papers and photo to the template layer.
One template, five ways
For the most part, I have used the template as is to create my page, but you can also alter templates to create many different designs your layouts. Here are some examples of quick alterations that create different compositions from the same initial template:
As you can see, that is the same template manipulated 5 different ways just by moving around the center items. You can make so many pages with just one template! You can also mix and match templates by taking items from one template and merging them with another to create something completely different.
As you can see from the monthly Template Challenges, there are many ways to use the same template to create different pages. The main thing is that you use templates as an aid to making your pages. Mix and match them and have fun with them!
I do hope that this helps with using templates and different things you can do with them!