Enhancing Your Layouts
by Ruby Rynne
Part one: Digital matting
Sometimes you want to add an extra photo to a layout without using two copies of the frame in your kit. Sometimes you want to make a simple layout and don’t want to use a kit frame, but still want to make your photo ‘pop’ on the page. Sometimes you just want to make a photo look like it’s sitting on the page, like an old fashioned photo with a white border. Well you can, here’s how.
In paper scrapping you’d use a mat, and you can do the same in digital scrapping. I’ll show you how, and also show you how to add an old fashioned white border to any photograph.
Digital matting is very simply the use of a background paper to ‘frame’ a photo. Just like in paper scrapping we simply need to cut a piece of patterned paper slightly larger than the photo we want to mat. I’ll be using Photoshop, but the steps are the same in all graphics softwares, so you can adapt the process to suit your preferred program.
First let’s open our layout with the photo in place.
As you can see, I am working on the photograph layer and I haven’t merged it into the background. We’ll be keeping all our layers (page elements) separated until we’re finished with the layout.
Now I am going to make a selection around the photograph, about XX pixels bigger on each side, and create a new layer to make our mat on.
Notice how I have made the new layer underneath the photograph.
With the new layer selected, I will now pick up my paintbucket tool and fill the selection I have made. I can either choose the colour I would like for my mat, or I can use any colour if I am going to use a paper for the mat. I’ll use white, so you can see both methods.
And there we have a simple white mat to our photo. If you use Photoshop, I will show you another way to create this old fashioned white edge on photos of any shape in Part Two. First, though, let’s look at how to make the mat from paper rather than just a flat colour.
With the mat layer selected, I’m going to pull a paper in from my kit to use as the mat. I’ll open the file, and then drag the paper into my layout so that it falls immediately above my mat layer. Then, using Photoshop, I can clip the paper to the mat by pressing the ALT (PC) or OPTION (Mac) key and clicking between the new paper layer and the mat layer (marked with an X on the picture below).
And now we have a patterned paper mat! If you want to change the paper you have used for the mat, just repeat the process, bring in a different paper, and clip it as above to the mat layer.
If you don’t use Photoshop, or another software that supports clipping, here’s how to create a paper mat in a different way.
Just like above, bring your patterned paper into your layout, but position it BELOW your mat layer.
Now you need to select your mat. You can do this by selecting the mat layer, then using your magic wand selection tool, for example. Notice the ‘marching ants’ in the picture? This indicates the object or shape surrounded by the ants is selected.
Make sure you are on the patterned paper layer, and invert the selection (this option will be available through one of the menu bars in your software). You won’t notice a difference in the ants, but now everything except the mat shape is selected. Press Delete (PC) or Backspace (Mac) to cut away the extra paper. Then all you need to do is hide or delete the mat layer, to leave your lovely paper mat visible.
For now I’m going to stick with the plain white border to my photo, and move on to the next stage of making my layout.
In Part Two I’ll show you how to use Photoshop to create a very easy old fashioned white border on any photo, element or text. It’s a technique that is supported in other softwares as well, and can really make a huge difference to your finished layouts.
Supplied: Sisterology Page Kit by Ruby Rynne, photo courtesy of Photoshop Creative.
© 2009 Ruby Rynne