Stripes: Gradient Tool and Wave Filter Fun

with 20 Comments

Barb BrookbankI like stripes. When I go shopping for clothes, I am invariably drawn to the striped patterns. But as soon as I go to wear them I feel so conspicuous that they end up sitting in my closet. It’s the same thing with scrapbook paper. I looove the striped paper, but when I go to use it, I feel that it’s just too much, and it ends up sitting in my folder — never to see the light of day.

I’ve realized that I’m downright fussy about stripes. Not too bold, not too busy, not too big, and not too small. And yet… oh, how I love it when I see stripes used very subtly.

Today I’m going to show you how to create a striped template with the Gradient tool and the Wave filter. By using the same paper twice and adjusting the opacity of one, you can achieve a background that will add a special touch to your layout and not overwhelm it.

Tutorial:

For Adobe Photoshop Version click here.

Step One: Prepare the Workspace

  • Create a new document (File > New > Blank File) that is 12″x12″ at 300ppi with a white background.
  • Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the Default of black and white.

Step Two: Create and Save the Striped Template

  • Get the Gradient tool.
  • In the Options Bar, open the Gradient Picker and choose Foreground to Background. It’s the first box in the top left corner.
    If you do not see Foreground to Background, open the flyout menu, choose Reset Gradients and click OK.
  • In the Options Bar, click on the Linear Gradient icon. Set the Mode to Normal, the Opacity to 100%, and make sure Reverse is unchecked.
  • Position your cursor at the left edge of the document. While holding down the Shift key, click and drag across the document to the right edge.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Filter > Distort > Wave.
  • Choose the following settings:
    • Number of Generators: 100
    • Wavelength: Min: 200, Max: 201
    • Amplitude: Min: 200, Max: 201
    • Scale: Horiz: 100, Vert: 100
    • Type: Square
  • Click OK.
  • Get the Magic Wand tool.
  • In the Options Bar, click on the New Selection icon and make sure that Contiguous is unchecked.
  • On the document, click on a white stripe. You should see marching ants around all the white stripes.
  • Press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) to Duplicate the white stripes to a new layer.
  • In the Layers panel, double click on the name of the new layer and change it to White Stripes. Click anywhere outside the box to accept the name change.
  • In the Layers panel, click on the Background layer to activate it.
  • On the document, click on a black stripe. You should see marching ants around all the black stripes.
  • Press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) to Duplicate the black stripes to a new layer.
  • In the Layers panel, double click on the name of that layer and change it to Black Stripes. Click anywhere outside the box to accept the name change.
  • In the Layers panel, click on the Background layer and drag it to the Trash.
  • Save the template (File > Save As) as a PSD file using a descriptive name such as Striped Paper Template.psd.

Step Three: Add the Papers and Clip them to the Striped Template

  • In the Layers panel, click on the White Stripes layer to activate it.
  • Open a background paper (File > Open) with no obvious patterns.
  • Click on the paper and while holding down the Shift key, drag it onto the document.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask. Earlier versions of Photoshop Elements will say Group With Previous.
  • In the Layers panel, lower the Opacity of the paper to 50%.
  • In the Layers panel, click on the Black Stripe layer to activate it.
  • Go back and click on the paper that you have open, and while holding down the Shift key, drag it onto the document.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask. Earlier versions of Photoshop Elements will say Group With Previous.
  • Leave the Opacity of the paper at 100%.
  • Make sure to save the document with a new name so as not to overwrite the Striped Template.
Here’s what your Layers panel should look like:

And here’s my finished layout!

Credits: Digi Scrap Tutorial: Stripes: Gradient Tool and Wave Filter Fun (Photoshop Elements) by Barb Brookbank
Layout: “Today is the Greatest Day” by Barb Brookbank
Kit: Dad’s Day by Digilicious Designs available to Premier Members June 2012
Font: LDJ What Up
Software: Photoshop Elements 10

Download a PDF version of this “Stripes: Gradient Tool and Wave Filter Fun” tutorial.

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

Step One: Prepare the Workspace

  • Create a new document (File > New) that is 12″x12″ at 300ppi with a white background.
  • Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the Default of black and white.

Step Two: Create and Save the Striped Template

  • Get the Gradient tool.
  • In the Options Bar, open the Gradient Picker and choose Foreground to Background. It’s the first icon in the top left corner.
    If you do not see Foreground to Background, open the flyout menu, choose Reset Gradients and click OK.
  • In the Options Bar, click on the Linear Gradient icon. Set the Mode to Normal, the Opacity to 100%, and make sure Reverse is unchecked.
  • Position your cursor at the left edge of the document. While holding down the Shift key, click and drag across the document to the right edge.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Filter > Distort > Wave.
  • Choose the following settings:
    • Number of Generators: 100
    • Wavelength: Min: 200, Max: 201
    • Amplitude: Min: 200, Max: 201
    • Scale: Horiz: 100, Vert: 100
    • Type: Square
  • Click OK.
  • Get the Magic Wand tool.
  • In the Options Bar, click on the New Selection icon and make sure that Contiguous is unchecked.
  • On the document, click on a white stripe. You should see marching ants around all the white stripes.
  • Press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) to Duplicate the white stripes to a new layer.
  • In the Layers panel, double click on the name of the new layer and change it to White Stripes. Click anywhere outside the box to accept the name change.
  • In the Layers panel, click on the Background layer to activate it.
  • On the document, click on a black stripe. You should see marching ants around all the black stripes.
  • Press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) to Duplicate the black stripes to a new layer.
  • In the Layers panel, double click on the name of that layer and change it to Black Stripes. Click anywhere outside the box to accept the name change.
  • In the Layers panel, click on the Background layer and drag it to the Trash.
  • Save the template (File > Save As) as a PSD file using a descriptive name such as Striped Paper Template.psd.

Step Three: Add the Papers and Clip them to the Striped Template

  • In the Layers panel, click on the White Stripes layer to activate it.
  • Open a background paper (File > Open) with no obvious patterns.
  • Click on the paper and while holding down the Shift key, drag it onto the document.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask.
  • In the Layers panel, lower the Opacity of the paper to 50%.
  • In the Layers panel, click on the Black Stripe layer to activate it.
  • Go back and click on the paper that you have open, and while holding down the Shift key, drag it onto the document.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask.
  • Leave the Opacity of the paper at 100%.
  • Make sure to save the document with a new name so as not to overwrite the Striped Template.
Here’s what your Layers panel should look like:

And here’s my finished layout!

Credits: Digi Scrap Tutorial: Stripes: Gradient Tool and Wave Filter Fun (Photoshop) by Barb Brookbank
Layout: “Today is the Greatest Day” by Barb Brookbank 
Kit: Dad’s Day by Digilicious Designs available to Premier Members June 2012
Font: LDJ What Up
Software: Photoshop CS5 

Download a PDF version of this “Stripes: Gradient Tool and Wave Filter Fun” tutorial.

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

20 Responses

  1. pj
    | Reply

    Why didn’t I think of this??!! thank you!

  2. Barbara
    | Reply

    Thank you for this wonderful tutorial! I have been making stripes for the past two hours! I have a question, though. If I wanted thinner stripes, which value would I change in the Wave settings?

    • lsattgast
      | Reply

      Change the Wavelength and Amplitude to increase or decrease the size of the strips. The smaller the number, the smaller the stripe.

      • Barbara
        | Reply

        Thank you for this marvelous tutorial, and the answer to my question! I loved playing with these tools over and over again! I so appreciate your sharing these tips and tutorials with us at no charge. It means a lot.

  3. Maureen
    | Reply

    Hi, When I tried this, I was not allowed to set wave length above 120 or amp above 35. Paper looks more checkered than striped. PSE6. Can you help?

    • shirl
      | Reply

      Maureen, the same thing happened to me, so I used the default and increased the next block by one. I am using PSE 8. For instance, where it put 120, I then typed 121 in the next block. I scrap letters size and the template is as the tutorial described. Barb should get back to you. So nice to meet you. 🙂

      • Barb Brookbank
        | Reply

        Hi Maureen!When entering the numbers for the Wavelength try entering the Max values first and the Min values second – use 200 for the Max and 200 for the Min. Do the same for the Amplitude: 200 Max, then 200 Min. Hope this works for you!

    • lsattgast
      | Reply

      It can make a difference which number you enter first. Your Min. cannot be larger than your Max. number, so enter the number first that keeps within that rule.

  4. miniloudon
    | Reply

    What a great tutorial. I love stripes and this will allow me to coordinate them with favorite papers.

  5. Cathy Vernon
    | Reply

    Great tutorial. Thanks for sharing

  6. Crimson Crow
    | Reply

    Are you kidding me?! This is amazing! It took me three tries (RTFM!) but even my mistakes came out in interesting ways. I am going to be playing with this for days and weeks to come! Thank you.

  7. shirl
    | Reply

    This is a fun-loving tutorial that is really appreciated. I love stripes, but this is the first time using these tools in PSE to create them. Thanks for this wonderful tutorial. 😉

  8. annette
    | Reply

    thanks so much for this simple to follow tutorial

  9. Jo
    | Reply

    Thank you so much for this detailed tutorial. I, like you, love stripes, but if they’re too bold they make me cross-eyed. This is perfect.

  10. Bev
    | Reply

    love this detailed tutorial…Wow so easy to follow the instructions… Thanks Bev

  11. tajicat
    | Reply

    Cool! Thanks so much! 🙂

  12. Christine McCune
    | Reply

    GREAT tutorial! As I went through the steps, it occurred to me that if I rotated one of the layers, I could make a checkerboard design. And then, if I masked one layer and removed alternate overlapping sections, I could make it look like a basket weave! Whoo-hoo! Thanks!!! Three tutorials in one!

    Chris

  13. Carol
    | Reply

    Thank you so very, very much. I have loved trying this and was as happy as a lark that I could actually do it (I’m not that knowledgeable in knowing just what PSE can do). It has been so much fun doing this and then making pages in the colors I wanted to try to use for the stripes by changing page colors with the replace color tool. I truly appreciate your tutorials. God bless you for sharing your skills with us.

  14. Cheryl
    | Reply

    I love stripes! Thank you.

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