Stroke? What’s That?

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Jenny BinderThe Photoshop Elements 7.0 help file says this about “stroke,” “An outline around an image or part of an image created with the Stroke command…” 

and

The Photoshop CS3 help file says this about “stroke”, “You can use the Stroke command to paint a colored border around a selection, path, or layer. When you create a border this way, it becomes a rasterized part of the current layer.”

I think you might understand better what a stroke is if we just do one. I'm going to start with this cute scalloped mat by Heather Roselli, which was included in May's Premier Kit called Recess. What I'd like to do with this mat is put a thin white line (in the shape of a box) towards the edge to accent it.

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Step 1:

Choose the Rectangular Marquee tool from the Tool Bar to the left, and make sure Feather is 0, and Mode is Normal.

stroke01el1

Step 2:

Draw out a selection where you want the line to be. Press the Space Bar to reposition as you are dragging if you need to.

stroke02

Step 3:

Click the “Create a new layer” icon at the top of the layers palette.

stroke03el1

Step 4:

Choose Edit>Stroke (Outline) Selection…

In the dialog box, choose your desired settings. I chose Width: 20px, Color: white, and Location: Inside. I left the Blend Mode as Normal and the Opacity at 100% (and I rarely change these two settings.) Click OK.

stroke04el1

Here are a couple of things to remember when choosing your settings. The width seems to always be a “try it and see” kind of thing for me. Of course, sometimes I want it thicker, sometimes thinner, but it will also depend on the resolution of your document. If you don't like what you just did, simply press Ctrl Z (Mac: Cmd Z) to undo, then start this step over. Also, for crisp, sharp corners, always choose Inside for the Location.

Step 5:

Press Ctrl D (Mac: Cmd D) to deselect (get rid of the selection).

stroke05

PART 2

This looks very nice, but let's go one step further and create a second stroke outline just inside this one. I could go back and re-do all of the steps I've taken here to create another stroke, but there's an easier way.

Step 1:

Start by making sure your stroke layer is the active layer in the Layers palette. Then press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) to duplicate that layer.

Step 2:

Press Ctrl T (Mac: Cmd T) to get a transform outline. Press the Alt key (Mac: Opt key), and click and drag one of the corner handles to resize the duplicate stroke smaller. When you get it the right size, release the mouse first and then the Alt key (Mac: Opt key), and double click inside the outline to accept the transformation. (In case you're wondering, holding down the Alt key [Mac: Opt key] causes the resizing to occur proportionately from all sides when you use a corner handle.)

stroke06

Here's my finished mat, ready for journaling!

You can use the Stroke command on any selection, not just squares. If you can create the selection, you can stroke it! Here are a couple of other examples of how I've used the Stroke command.

stroke07

Credits: Tutorial by Jenny Binder, www.HeirloomScrapbooks.com. Mat by Heather Roselli from her kit Recess, Scrapper's Guide Premier kit for May 2009. Font: Mia's Scribblings. Twill tag by Cori Gammon, Clothesline kit. Font on twill tag is PegsannaHMK.

Step 1:

Choose the Rectangular Marquee tool from the Tool Bar to the left, and make sure Feather is 0, and Style is Normal.

stroke01ps

Step 2:

Draw out a selection where you want the line to be. Press the Space Bar to reposition as you are dragging if you need to.

stroke02

Step 3:

Click the “Create a new layer” icon at the bottom of the layers palette.

stroke03ps

Step 4:

Choose Edit>Stroke…

In the dialog box, choose your desired settings. I chose Width: 20px, Color: white, and Location: Inside. I left the Blend Mode as Normal and the Opacity at 100% (and I rarely change these two settings.) Click OK.

stroke04ps

Here are a couple of things to remember when choosing your settings. The width seems to always be a “try it and see” kind of thing for me. Of course, sometimes I want it thicker, sometimes thinner, but it will also depend on the resolution of your document. If you don't like what you just did, simply press Ctrl Z (Mac: Cmd Z) to undo, then start this step over. Also, for crisp, sharp corners, always choose Inside for the Location.

Step 5:

Press Ctrl D (Mac: Cmd D) to deselect (get rid of the selection).

stroke05

PART 2

This looks very nice, but let's go one step further and create a second stroke outline just inside this one. I could go back and re-do all of the steps I've taken here to create another outline, but there's an easier way.

Step 1:

Start by making sure your stroke layer is the active layer. Then press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) to duplicate that layer.

Step 2:

Press Ctrl T (Mac: Cmd T), hold down the Shift key and the Alt key (Mac: Opt key), and click and drag one of the corner handles to resize the duplicate stroke smaller. When you get it the right size, release the Alt key (Mac: Opt key) and double click inside the outline to accept the transformation. (In case you're wondering, holding down the Alt key [Mac: Opt key] causes the resizing to occur proportionately from all sides when you use a corner handle.)

stroke06

Here's my finished mat, ready for journaling!

You can use the Stroke command on any selection, not just squares. If you can create the selection, you can stroke it! Here are a couple of other examples of how I've used the Stroke command.

stroke07

Credits: Tutorial by Jenny Binder, www.HeirloomScrapbooks.com. Mat by Heather Roselli from her kit Recess, Scrapper's Guide Premier kit for May 2009. Font: Mia's Scribblings. Twill tag by Cori Gammon, Clothesline kit. Font on twill tag is PegsannaHMK.