Cutout Alpha

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I love to work with my hands.

Any DIY project is the project for me — especially the ones that take a basic list of tools and a little elbow grease.

My DIY tool belt includes things like a hammer, a cordless drill or screw gun, and a tape measure.

When I'm working with Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, I find myself generally sticking with the Shape tools, the Type tool and the Marquee tool.

In today's tip we'll add a little elbow grease to the before-mentioned list of tools to create a custom embellishment that is sure to dress up any scrapbook page.
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For Adobe Photoshop Version click here.

Step 1: Prepare the Workspace

  • Create a new document (File > New > Blank File) that is 5x5 inches at 300ppi with a Transparent background.

  • Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the default of black and white.

Step 2: Create a Tile

  • Get the Rounded Rectangle tool.

  • Open the Geometry Options and choose Fixed Size. Enter a size of 4x4 inches.

  • In the Options Bar, enter a Radius of 50 px.
  • Click in the upper left corner of the document to place the shape.
  • Press and hold the Ctrl key (Mac: Cmd key), click inside the shape, and move the shape to the center of the document.
  • In the Options Bar, click on Simplify.

Step 3: Type a Letter

  • Press the letter X to switch white to the Foreground Color Chip.
  • Get the Horizontal Type tool.
    Note: The Type tool will always open with your previous settings — except for the Color Chip. The Color Chip will always match the Foreground Color Chip in the Tool Bar.

  • In the Options Bar, open the Font picker and choose a chunky font. I've chosen Hobo Std.
  • Click on the center of your document to place a text cursor and type a letter.
  • If you need to move your letter more to the center (you do not need to be exact), hold down the Ctrl key (Mac: Cmd key), click inside the Bounding Box, and drag the letter to the center of the document.
  • Click on the check mark at the bottom of the Bounding Box to commit the changes.

Step 4: Resize and Center the Letter

  • In the Options Bar, increase/decrease the Size until your letter is nice and big within the shape. The size of my letter is 250 points.
  • In the Layers panel, Ctrl click (Mac: Cmd click) on the thumbnail of the shape layer to get a Selection Outline.
  • Make sure the type layer is still active.

  • Get the Move tool.
  • In the Options Bar, choose Align > Horizontal Centers and Align > Vertical Centers.

Step 5: Punch Out the Letter

  • In the Layers panel, Ctrl click (Mac: Cmd click) on the thumbnail of the type layer to get a Selection Outline.
  • Activate the shape layer.
  • Press the Backspace key (Mac: Delete key).
  • In the Layers panel, click on the Visibility icon of the type layer to hide it.

Step 6: Secure the Letter Parts

  • Get the Rectangular Marquee tool.
  • In the Options Bar, click on the New Selection icon. Feather should be 0 and Style should be Normal.

  • On the document, draw a thin selection outline through the letter to secure the inside portion.
    If you need to rotate your selection outline, right click (Mac: Ctrl click) inside the selection outline and choose Transform Selection.

  • Press Ctrl Backspace (Mac: Cmd Delete) to fill the selection outline with the background Color Chip.
  • Press Ctrl D (Mac: Cmd D) to Deselect.
  • Repeat if you need to add more bars to "attach" the unconnected portions of the letters.

Step 7: Add a Layer Style

  • Open the Effects panel (Window > Effects).

  • Click on the Layer Styles icon.
  • Open the Layer Styles drop down menu and choose Bevels.
  • Double click on the Simple Inner icon.
  • In the Layers panel, double click on the fx icon in the shape layer.

  • In the Style Settings dialog box, enter 30px for the Bevel Size and click OK.

Step 8: Add a Background Paper

  • Open (File > Open) a background paper.
    I'm using paper 5 from Susan Bartolini's Happy Harvest kit.
  • Get the Move tool.
  • Click on the background paper and drag it onto your document.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask.
    Note: Earlier versions of Elements will say Group with Previous.

 

 

  • Choose Layer > Merge Visible.
  • Click on the tile and drag it onto your scrapbook page.

Credits:
Tip of the Week: Cutout Alpha by Jen White
Kit: Happy Harvest by Susan Bartolini
Font: Hobo Std
Software: Adobe Elements 10.0

Download a PDF version of this "Cutout Alpha" tutorial.

Windows: Right click on the link and choose "Save Target As" or a similar command.
Mac: Click on the link to download the file.

Step 1: Prepare the Workspace

  • Create a new document (File > New) that is 5x5 inches at 300ppi with a Transparent background.

  • Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the default of black and white.

Step 2: Create a Tile

  • Get the Rounded Rectangle tool.

  • In the Options Bar, choose the Shape Layer icon.
  • Open the Geometry Options and choose Fixed Size. Enter a size of 4x4 inches.

  • In the Options Bar, enter a Radius of 50 px.
  • Click in the upper left corner of the document to place the shape.
  • Press and hold the Ctrl key (Mac: Cmd key), click inside the shape, and move the shape to the center of the document.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Rasterize > Shape.

Step 3: Type a Letter

  • Press the letter X to switch white to the Foreground Color Chip.
  • Get the Type tool.
    Note: The Type tool will always open with your previous settings — except for the Color Chip. The Color Chip will always match the Foreground Color Chip in the Tool Bar.
  • In the Options Bar, open the Font picker and choose a chunky font. I've chosen Hobo Std.

  • Click on the center of your document to place a text cursor and type a letter.
  • If you need to move your letter more to the center (you do not need to be exact), hold down the Ctrl key (Mac: Cmd key), click inside the Bounding Box, and drag the letter to the center of the document.
  • In the Options Bar, click on the check mark to commit the changes.

Step 4: Resize and Center the Letter

  • In the Options Bar, adjust the size until your letter is nice and big within the shape. The size of my letter is 250 points.
  • In the Layers panel, Ctrl click (Mac: Cmd click) on the thumbnail of the shape layer to get a Selection Outline.
  • Make sure the type layer is still active.

  • Get the Move tool.
  • In the Options Bar, click on Align Horizontal Centers and Align Vertical Centers.

Step 5: Punch Out the Letter

  • In the Layers panel, Ctrl click (Mac: Cmd click) on the thumbnail of the type layer to get a Selection Outline.
  • Activate the shape layer.
  • Press the Backspace key (Mac: Delete key).
  • In the Layers panel, click on the Visibility icon of the type layer to hide it.

Step 6: Secure the Letter Parts

  • Get the Rectangular Marquee tool.

  • In the Options Bar, click on the New Selection icon. Feather should be 0 and Style should be Normal.
  • On the document, draw a thin selection outline through the letter to secure the inside portion.
    If you need to rotate your selection outline, right click (Mac: Ctrl click) inside the selection outline and choose Transform Selection.

  • Press Ctrl Backspace (Mac: Cmd Delete) to fill the selection outline with the background Color Chip.
  • Press Ctrl D (Mac: Cmd D) to Deselect.
  • Repeat if you need to add more bars to "attach" the unconnected portions of the letters.

Step 7: Add a Layer Style

  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Layer Style > Bevel and Emboss.
  • In the dialog box, Style should be Inner Bevel with a Smooth edge. Set the Size to around 30px and click OK.

Step 8: Add a Background Paper

  • Open (File > Open) a background paper.
    I'm using paper 5 from Susan Bartolini's Happy Harvest kit.
  • Get the Move tool.
  • Click on the background paper and drag it onto your document.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask.

 

  • Choose Layer > Merge Visible.
  • Click on the tile and drag it onto your scrapbook page.

Credits:
Tip of the Week: Cutout Alpha by Jen White
Kit: Happy Harvest by Susan Bartolini
Font: Hobo Std
Software: Adobe Photoshop CS5

Download a PDF version of this "Cutout Alpha" tutorial.

Windows: Right click on the link and choose "Save Target As" or a similar command.
Mac: Click on the link to download the file.

 

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