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Digital Scrapbooking Tutorials – 5 key tips for working with layers

December 6, 2007

One of the key features of good digital scrapbooking software is the use of Layers. In this digital scrapbooking tutorial we’ll take a look at some of the basic features of the Layers Palette that you should know to make your digital scrapbooking life easier. This article focuses on PhotoShop Elements but you can apply the same principles to all software that uses layers.

  1. Always make a copy of your original layer before modifying it. Then if you don’t like the way it’s turned out you can discard it and easily start again on another copy of the original.
  2. To create a new empty layer, click on the New Layer icon at the top left of the layers palette. A new layer will appear immediately above the layer you currently have active. And if you want to duplicate one of your existing layers, activate the layer by clicking on it in the layers palette and drag to the New Layer icon at the top left of the palette
  3. View and hide your layers by clicking on the Eye icon beside the layer thumbnail in the layers pallet. This is handy if you’re trying to decide on the merits of different elements on your layout. You can just toggle their visibility and invisibility so you can easily compare the look of different options.
  4. Group layers that go together (eg. photo, matt, frame and accent) consecutively in the layers palette (just click on the layers and drag them up and down). Then you can easily select all of them with the Shift key and link them together by clicking on the little chain link icon at the top of the layers palette. If you do this then you can change the position and size of all these elements together and maintain your proportions easily.
  5. Keep each individual element on a separate layer. Each time you drag a new element into your layout PSE will automatically put it on a new layer. But if you create your own elements (eg. using the Select tool to make a journal box which you can fill with colour before adding your text) make sure you do so on a new layer. That means you can move them about the page and resize them without affecting other elements.

In future digital scrapbooking tutorials we’ll look further at the layers palette and some of the other good stuff it holds.

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