Playing with Shapes—Christmas Tree Edition

with 26 Comments

Nannette-200

If you are anything like me, you are super busy with family and Christmas this time of year. You are busy making the memories that you will want to preserve with your layouts.

When you get a little time for yourself, I have a fun quick project just for you. Let me show you how to make your own paper clipping Christmas tree template to add to those fun holiday layouts. You can use some of those pretty patterned papers that you know you want to use but are not sure how to incorporate into your layout.

Ready to play? OK, let’s get started.
Tutorial:

Step One: Prepare the Workspace

  • Create a new 4 x 7 inch document (File > New > Blank File) at 300 ppi with a transparent background. (Photoshop: Choose File > New.)
  • Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the default of black and white.

Step Two: Create the Tree Base

  • Get the Custom Shape tool. It’s nested with the Rectangle tool.
  • Photoshop Elements Only: In the Tool Options, open the Custom Shape Picker and choose Sign 4. The Style should be None. Open the Geometry Options and choose Unconstrained.
    Note: If you do not see the Sign 4 shape, open the fly-out menu and choose Large List. Open the drop-down menu and choose All Elements Shapes.
  • Adobe Photoshop Only: In the Options Bar, set the Tool Mode to Pixels, the Blend Mode to Normal, and the Opacity to 100%. Open the Geometry Options and choose Unconstrained. Open the Shape Picker and choose Sign 3.
    Note: If you do not see the Sign 3 shape, open the fly-out menu and choose Large List. Open the fly-out menu again, choose All, and click OK.
  • On the document, click and drag diagonally downward about three-quarters of the way down the page.

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  • In the Menu Bar, choose Image > Rotate > Flip Layer Vertical. (Photoshop: Choose Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical.)
  • In the Layers panel, while holding down the Ctrl key (Mac: Cmd key), click on the Create a New Layer icon to create a new layer below the tree base layer.
  • Get the Rectangle tool.
  • Photoshop Elements Only: In the Tool Options, click on the Color Chip and choose a different color. The Style should be None. Open the Geometry Options and choose Unconstrained. Click on the Create New Shape Layer icon.
  • Adobe Photoshop Only: In the Options Bar, set the Tool Mode to Pixels, the Blend Mode to Normal, and the Opacity to 100%. Open the Geometry Options and choose Unconstrained.
  • On the document, click and drag out a rectangle shape for the tree trunk.

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Step Three: Add Some Circles

  • In the Layers panel, activate the tree base layer and click on the Create a New Layer icon.
  • Get the Ellipse tool. It’s nested with the Rectangle tool.
  • Photoshop Elements Only: In the Tool Options, click on the Color Chip and choose a different color. The Style should be None. Open the Geometry Options and choose Fixed Size. Set both the Width and Height to 3.5 and check From Center. Click on the Create New Shape Layer icon.
  • Adobe Photoshop Only: In the Options Bar, set the Tool Mode to Pixels, the Blend Mode to Normal, and the Opacity to 100%. Open the Geometry Options and choose Fixed Size.  Set both the Width and Height to 3.5 and check From Center. In the Layers panel, click on the Create a New Layer icon.
  • On the document, click and drag to position the circle as shown below.
  • Photoshop Elements Only: In the Tool Options, click Simplify.
  • Repeat the above steps two more times using different colors for each circle.

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Step Four: Finish the Template

  • In the Layers panel, Ctrl click (Mac: Cmd click) on the thumbnail of the tree base layer to get a selection outline.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Select > Inverse.
  • In the Layers panel, activate the bottom circle layer.
  • Press the Backspace key (Mac: Delete key) to delete the section of the circle that lies outside the tree base.
  • Repeat for the remaining circles.
  • Press Ctrl D (Mac: Cmd D) to deselect.

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Step Five: Crop the Template and Save

As good practice, we will get rid of all the pixels outside the document and save the layered tree file as a template.

  • Press Ctrl A (Mac: Cmd A) to select everything.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Image > Crop.
  • Press Ctrl D (Mac: Cmd D) to deselect.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose File > Save As.
  • In the dialog box, enter a file name such as “layered-tree-template” and choose a location for the file. Set the Format to Photoshop, check Layers, and click Save.

Step Six: Create a Finished Product

You now have a lovely tree template to use on your scrapbook pages.

  • Use the template layers as clipping masks. For more information about using grayscale templates and clipping masks, click HERE.
  • Decorate the tree to your hearts content.
  • Save the finished tree (File > Save As) as a PNG file with a new name. In the PNG Options dialog box, choose None for the Interlace and click OK.

Here is my tree, all decked out!

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Here it is on a layout. I really would love to see how your tree turns out. Post it in the Digi Scrap Tutorial Gallery!

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Credits:
Digi Scrap Tutorial: Playing With Shapes Christmas Tree Edition by Nannette Dalton
Layout: Reason for the Season by Nannette Dalton
Kit: Our Holiday by SMJ Designs
Fonts: I Love What You Do, DJB Sandra Dee

Download this Digi Scrap Tutorial

26 Responses

  1. Lorna Schreck
    | Reply

    I love this little tree. I will adapt the idea so I can use with young children and seniors in art classes – having already cut out the shapes and circles! They will have a blast decorating them. And I’ll give them a variety of embellishments to play with. Great ideas from digital to delightfully paper and glue.

    Happy Holidays!

    • Nann
      | Reply

      What a great idea! I would love to see how these hybrid trees turn out.

  2. Beate Baumann
    | Reply

    Thank you very much for the tutorial, I am going to try it. 🙂

    • Nann
      | Reply

      Yippee I’m so glad. Let us all see by posting your layout in the gallery.

  3. Jayne Rose
    | Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial. It’s so easy to follow and as I find video tutorials difficult to follow, it’s lovely to find a written tutorial… I’m so eager to learn!

    • Nann
      | Reply

      Well Digital Scrapper is a great place to learn Jayne and, you are right we all learn in different ways. So glad you enjoyed the tutorial.

  4. KFM
    | Reply

    What a cute tutorial. I am going to have to attempt it. Your written directions look easy enough to follow. Really like your LO. Have a great Christmas!!

  5. Pam Golden
    | Reply

    Love this tutorial. Can’t wait to try it out!

  6. Susan Updegraff
    | Reply

    Thanks for this cute tutorial! Looks like fun!

  7. Pixie
    | Reply

    I absolutely love this tutorial. I’m going to see what else I can make with custom shapes.

  8. Chris
    | Reply

    Wow! What a great peek into the mysterious world of constructing those magical greyscale templates. Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait to try it out but I better prep for Christmas in the real world first, so this year’s photos are something worth scrapping. Merry Christmas!

    • Nann
      | Reply

      I hear you! We will be here whenever you’re ready.

  9. drosegarden
    | Reply

    Nann,

    This is a great tutorial. I am going to use it, not just to make this tree, but to make other things. It is so useful.

    DeAnne

  10. Donna
    | Reply

    Thanks for the tutorial. I, too, love your written instructions and will design my own tree later today. Fun!

  11. Bellalea
    | Reply

    Thanks for the great tutorial! Very useful.

  12. pamroed
    | Reply

    Love the tutorial – just copied your layout Nannette. However, I’m stuck on the part where you curve the lace. Can’t figure out how to do it. Can someone tell me how? Also can’t find the glittery trim in the kit. Is that somewhere else?

    Thanks. Really love it!

    Pam

    • Nann
      | Reply

      Hi Pam, glad you enjoyed the tutorial and what an honor to be scraplifted! To get the lace to fit I used the puppet warp tool in the full version of Photoshop. For the glitter, I made a stroke outline around shape on its own layer then applied a glitter style it it. You can get some free glitter styles from digital scrapper here http://digitalscrapper.com/layer-style-glitter/
      Hope that helps.

  13. jsfare
    | Reply

    Hi Nann,

    Love the tute. I can see a whole forest of these darling little trees :). However, I am perplexed, as Pam was, regarding the stroke outlines. If you make a stroke outline around the shape, what is the correct order of layers? Mine doesn’t show up. Secondly, my stroke outline goes ALL around the shape, not just along the bottom edge. Clearly, I am doing something wrong, but I don’t know what! Thanks for any help.

    Jackie

    • Nann
      | Reply

      Jackie, Glad to hear you are enjoying the tutorial. A forset of trees would be so cute.
      Let me see if I can help you.
      Here is what I do. I make a selection of the shape I want to outline, then in a new layer I stroke that selection. It will go all the way around but since it is on its on layer you can delete the parts that you don’t want. I hope that helps. Sounds like this might be a good idea for another tutorial. Hmm???

  14. jsfare
    | Reply

    Thanks Nann. I’ve been playing with it a bit and I THINK that is what I did ;). I erased the parts I didn’t want on the stroke outline layer. I’m still playing with lace. Since I work in PSE 11, I don’t have the puppet warp tool. However, on a straight piece of lace, I used Filter/Distort/Twirl, then reshaped by using Control and the corner or center boxes on the transform outline. Still tweaking, but I think it will work. I will post a picture in the gallery when I am finished.

    Thanks again.

    Jackie

    • Nann
      | Reply

      Great! I will look forward to seeing it and thanks for the info about the Filter/Distort/Twirl.

  15. janrutti
    | Reply

    I find reading back and forth from photoshop and elements slow going, but since no one else has mentioned it being a bother I’ll shut up.
    I have just upgraded from elements 7, big difference so I will have to ask, where is the ‘create a new shape layer icon’
    Enjoying the tut and can use it in other projects, thanks a lot
    Janice

    • Nann
      | Reply

      Janice, I assume that you have upgraded to Elements 12 they did move things around a bit. To find the new shape layer icon, go to the top of the layers panel and it will be the first icon on the left.
      Hope that helps.

  16. janrutti
    | Reply

    Thank you Nann it was a great help, found it, and now things are returning to some normalcy(after the holidays) I am going to explore Elements 11 to be able to use it to it’s full capacity. I love all the tutorials and have been collecting them since the beginning.
    Janice

    • Nann
      | Reply

      Oh good. Have fun exploring Elements 11 and thank you for the kind words.

  17. Tammy Graf
    | Reply

    Wow, this opens up a whole new world! I love how you used the circles to accent the tree, it made a huge difference. Thanks for the great tutorial.

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