Negative That Is a Positive

with 12 Comments

Nannette-200 I loved Linda Sattgast’s tutorial, “Double Duty Elements.” It really got me thinking outside the box when it comes to elements.

I have another idea for using your elements in a “non-traditional” way that I hope will spark your creativity. Let me show you how to use your elements in a “negative” way, so you can accentuate the positive . . . and the negative! Is that confusing and cryptic enough?

Let’s get started. Please Note:  This will work best with elements that have a well-defined pattern. I am using the snowflake from the kit, Christmas Lights, by Julie Billingsley, originally included in the December 2011 Digital Scrapper Premier issue.

On this layout, I wanted to use every paper and element that had to do with snow. I didn’t have enough, in my opinion, so that is how this idea to create more was born. dst-negative-01

Step One: Prepare the Workspace

  • Open the layered scrapbook page (File > Open) with which you wish to work.
  • In the Layers panel, activate the top layer.
  • Open the element with which you wish to work. (From now on I will call the element a snowflake, since that is what I am using.)
  • Get the Move tool.
  • On the document, click on the snowflake and drag it onto your scrapbook page.


Optional Step Two: Create a Shape

Note: In this step, I am creating a shape that I can cut my element out of. Instead of creating a shape, you could use elements like journaling cards, tags, etc. that are already found in the kit you are using. In that case, you could skip this step. Make sure that whatever element you use is simplified (Photoshop: Rasterized), or this technique will not work.

  • In the Layers panel, while holding down the Ctrl key (Mac: Cmd key), click on the Create a New Layer icon to get a new layer below the snowflake.
  • Get the Rectangle tool.
  • In the Tool Options, click on the Create New Shape Layer icon and set the Style to None. (Photoshop: Set the Tool Mode to Pixels, the Mode to Normal, and the Opacity to 100%.) Pick a color for your shape.
  • On the document, click and drag to create a shape that is slightly bigger than the snowflake. Hold down the Space bar as you drag to position the rectangle as shown.
  • Photoshop Elements Only: In the Tool Options, click Simplify.


Step Three: Cut Out the Snowflake

Note: If you skipped the previous step, make sure that the element you want to use (i.e., journaling card, tag, etc.) is on your scrapbook page on the layer below the snowflake and in the desired position.

  • In the Layers panel, with your shape (or element) still active, Ctrl click (Mac: Cmd click) on the thumbnail of the snowflake layer to get a selection outline.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Select > Modify > Smooth.
  • In the dialog box, enter 2 pixels and click OK. This will create a smoother selection outline.
  • Press the Backspace key (Mac: Delete key) to delete the selection out of the shape layer.
  • Press Ctrl D (Mac: Cmd D) to deselect.
  • In the Layers panel, drag the snowflake layer to the trash.


Step Four: Finish Up

  • Add a drop shadow to the shape layer. To make my shape look like I have used large pop dots to raise it off the page, I used these drop shadow settings: Opacity: 38%, Angle: 120°, Distance: 60 px, Spread: 0, Size: 35 px.

There you have it—a whole new way to look at the elements in a kit.


dst-negative-05 Here are a couple of other examples using this tutorial and the Sweet Comforts kit from Shabby Miss Jenn. dst-negative-06

Digi Scrap Tutorial: Negative That Is a Positive by Nannette Dalton
Layout: First Snow by Nannette Dalton
Kit: Christmas Lights by Julie Billingsley
Tutorial: A Stitch in Time by Susie Roberts
Tutorial: Reinforcements Are On the Way by Nannette Dalton
Font: LD Cotton Candy

Download this Digi Scrap Tutorial

12 Responses

  1. Mungo
    | Reply

    This effect rounds off a lovely layout, thank you for the tut

    • Nann
      | Reply

      What a sweet thing to say thank you.

  2. janieinMN
    | Reply

    wonderful idea!! THANKS 🙂

    • janieinMN
      | Reply

      AND great layout!!!!!!!

  3. Janine
    | Reply

    What a cute idea. I love how dimensional the new elements look. I will be using this technique. Your page is just beautiful. Thank you.

  4. Barbara
    | Reply

    It is amazing how much that added to your layout, very nice.
    Always nice to see your lovely smiling face on my computer.
    Thanks for the fun.

    • Nann
      | Reply

      Well….you just made my day! Thanks Barbara.

  5. frenchie
    | Reply

    Nann: I love the 3-dimensional effect your technique added to the element examples and have added this to my file of ‘favorites.’ Thanks so much for this idea.

    • Nann
      | Reply

      So kind of you! Thanks for the nice words.

  6. pjscraps
    | Reply

    This is a wonderful idea/techique/trick. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  7. grandmasfine9
    | Reply

    I love the effect.
    Thank you

  8. Tammy Graf
    | Reply

    This is really turning a negative into a positive! I love getting double duty from my supplies and this works great. I’ve done it with paper now I can do it digitally. Thanks for expanding my supplies.

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