Paper Snippets – Free Transformation

with 9 Comments

Barb BrookbankSo, what do you do with all the little extra snippets of paper you have laying around? You know, the pieces you trim off and can’t bear to throw out because they are so pretty and you might need them someday? And there they sit, cluttering up your hard drive…

OK! Yes, you’re right, I’m kidding!! But if you have ever scrapped the traditional way with real paper and glue, you’ll know what I’m talking about. I don’t paper scrap any more, yet I have several boxes of these tiny snippets of paper that I’m quite sure I’ll use… someday…

I thought it would be fun to create a layout with some of these imaginary left-over pieces of paper. And because we’re talking digital here, I want to keep all my options open.

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to turn paper into little lopsided snippets without distorting their patterns. Extra bonus — you don’t even have to cut them!

Tutorial:

For Adobe Photoshop Version click here.

Step One: Prepare the Workspace

  • Create a new document (File > New > Blank File) that is 12in by 12in 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 the Shapes

  • Get the Rectangle tool.

  • In the Options Bar, click on the down-facing arrow to open the Geometry Options. Choose Fixed Sized and enter 2in for both the Width and the Height.

  • Click on the document to create the shape.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Simplify > Layer.
  • Press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) three times to create three more shapes.

Step Three: Position the Shapes

  • Get the Move tool.
  • In the Options Bar, uncheck Auto Select, and check Show Bounding Box.

  • In the Layers panel, click on the second shape down to activate it.
  • On the document, click on the shape and drag it across the page.
  • Repeat with the third and fourth shapes according to the image below. As you can see, they do not have to be perfectly spaced.

Step Four: Add the Papers and Clip Them to the Shapes

  • Open (File > Open) the paper.
  • Try to choose four papers that have small patterns so that they will be in proportion to the small shapes.
  • In the Layers panel, click on the first shape to activate it.
  • Click on a paper and while holding down the Shift key, drag it onto the document.
  • In the Menu Bar, click Layer > Create Clipping Mask. Earlier versions of Photoshop Elements will say Layer > Group With Previous.

  • In the Layers panel, click on the next shape to activate it.
  • Click on another paper and while holding down the Shift key, drag it onto the document.
  • Clip the paper to the shape.
  • Repeat for the remaining papers and shapes.

Step Five: Transform the Shapes

  • In the Layers panel, click on a shape layer to activate it.
  • On the document, while holding down the Ctrl key (Mac: Cmd key) click on a corner handle of the bounding box and drag to transform the shape.
  • Drag a corner handle either up or down, or in or out!
  • Repeat with the other corner handles if you want to.
  • Double click inside the Bounding Box to commit the changes.
  • Repeat with the other shapes.
  • Since you haven’t cut or changed the paper in any way, you can adjust your shapes as you work on your layout to make the snippets fit together in a pleasing way.

Step Six: Save the Document

  • Save (File > Save) as a .psd file using a descriptive name such as “Snippets of Paper.psd.”
And here’s my layout. Notice that I used the same technique to transform my background paper. Repetition is a major principle in effective design. It can be used very subtly but still make a big impact.

Credits:
Digi Scrap Tutorial: Paper Snippets – Free Transformation (Photoshop Elements) by Barb Brookbank
Layout: “Are We There Yet?” by Barb Brookbank
Kit: “Off We Go” by Susan Bartolini, previously available to Premier Members during August 2011
Font: CK Jot
Software: Photoshop Elements 10

Download a PDF version of this “Paper Snippets – Free Transformation” 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 One: Prepare the Workspace

  • Create a new document (File > New) that is 12in by 12in 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 the Shapes

  • Get the Rectangle tool.
  • In the Options Bar, click on the Shape Layers icon. It’s the first icon in the set of three icons to the far left in the Options Bar.
  • In the Options Bar, click on the down-facing arrow to open the Geometry Options. Choose Fixed Sized and enter 2in for both the Width and the Height.
  • Click on the document to create the shape.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Rasterize > Shape.
  • Press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) three times to create three more shapes.

Step Three: Position the Shapes

  • Get the Move tool.
  • In the Options Bar, uncheck Auto Select, and check Show Transform Controls.
  • In the Layers panel, click on the second shape down to activate it.
  • On the document, click on the shape and drag it across the page.
  • Repeat with the third and fourth shapes according to the image below. As you can see, they do not have to be perfectly spaced.

Step Four: Add the Papers and Clip Them to the Shapes

  • Open (File > Open) the papers.
  • Try to choose four papers that have small patterns so that they will be in proportion to the small shapes.
  • In the Layers panel, click on the first shape to activate it.
  • Click on a 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, click on the next shape to activate it.
  • Click on another paper and while holding down the Shift key, drag it onto the document.
  • Clip the paper to the shape.
  • Repeat for the remaining papers and shapes.

Step Five: Transform the Shapes

  • In the Layers panel, click on a shape layer to activate it.
  • On the document, while holding down the Ctrl key (Mac: Cmd key) click on a corner handle of the bounding box and drag to transform the shape.
  • Drag a corner handle either up or down, or in or out!
  • Repeat with the other corner handles if you want to.
  • Double click inside the Bounding Box to commit the changes.
  • Repeat with the other shapes.
  • Since you haven’t cut or changed the paper in any way, you can adjust your shapes as you work on your layout to make the snippets fit together in a pleasing way.

Step Six: Save the Document

  • Save (File > Save) as a .psd file using a descriptive name such as “Snippets of Paper.psd.”
And here’s my layout. Notice that I used the same technique to transform my background paper. Repetition is a major principle in effective design. It can be used very subtly but still make a big impact.

Credits:
Digi Scrap Tutorial: Paper Snippets – Free Transformation (Photoshop) by Barb Brookbank
Layout: “Are We There Yet?” by Barb Brookbank
Kit: “Off We Go” by Susan Bartolini, previously available to Premier Members during August 2011
Font: CK Jot

Software: Photoshop CS5

Download a PDF version of this “Paper Snippets – Free Transformation” 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.

9 Responses

  1. zita b
    | Reply

    THANKS!

  2. RetiredPJ
    | Reply

    Love it!

  3. Nannette
    | Reply

    Your page turned out so cute and whimsical. Such a simple and fun thing…. Why didn’t I think of that? I will be giving this a try for sure.

  4. Sandybee
    | Reply

    Thanks for the easy to follow directions. I’ll be using this technique soon.

  5. May
    | Reply

    Thanks for clear and easy to follow instructions for a semi-beginner. Also thank you for giving the Premier Kit month and year. Made it easy for me to find the elements to practice with.

  6. Jenifer Juris
    | Reply

    This is a great tut! Can’t wait to play with this!! 🙂

  7. Renee
    | Reply

    So fun – thanks for sharing this tutorial! I’ll be trying this one for sure – it adds some cute-ness to a page 🙂

  8. Carol
    | Reply

    Thanks very much for this tutorial. Love it.

  9. shirl
    | Reply

    This is so perfect for the little ones as you so aptly has shown. Love the fun shapes. It is so nice to meet you and to receive this tutorial. Thanks. 🙂

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