Enhancing Your Layouts Part four: Employing the rule of thirds
by Ruby Rynne
In this tutorial I will show you how to balance a layout using the Rule of Thirds.
You may have come across the Rule of Thirds in relation to photography, but you can apply it to scrapbooking layouts as well for a balanced result.
The Rule of Thirds states that a picture can be divided into nine equal sections using two horizontal and two vertical lines. Where the lines meet a ‘power point’ is created which can be used to focus the picture for maximum effect. The centre square is the most powerful of all, and can be used to direct the focal point of the picture. Observing the thirds rule can make a big different to any picture. For example, here’s a snap I took of a sailing boat in St Lucia.
Nice sky, can’t really see the boat. At least I got the horizon straight! But if I crop this picture according to the rule of thirds, getting the midpoint of the land horizon across the lowest horizontal ‘third’ line, and adjusting the size of the photo so that the large hill on the left is one third of the total width of the picture, what a difference it makes:
Now somehow I *can* see the boat, and I can tell it’s going somewhere. I wonder where it is going? Even the sky looks more dramatic. My picture just got a story, and the only thing I changed was applying the Rule of Thirds.
So what about scrapbooking? Well, we can use the same rule to create balance in our layouts. Using the rule to help decide where to place elements and dividers can make a big difference to the overall balance of your layout.
Let’s open the layout we have so far (if you haven’t already, look at the previous tutorials in this series to find out how to get this far). I’ve added some journalling and aligned it to the right to create a block.
I want to start adding some more colour and some elements to this. I’ll start by determining where my ‘third’ lines are. With a 12” square layout it’s very easy, I know each line will be around the 10cm or 20cm mark on my rulers. I’ll go ahead and drag some guide lines into place so you can see.
I’m going to use these guides to help me decide where to place my elements.
For example, I would like to use a different patterned paper on my background, and ‘secure’ it with a ribbon. I’m going to use the guide lines to help me, and place it right across the bottom third of the page.
I also want to use a vertical element, but I don’t want to put it ON a guide line or it will be too dominant. So I’ll put within the left most third of the page.
This is coming together well, I will align the journalling so that it begins on the rightmost guideline, and the top is aligned with the topmost guide line. Then I will move title so that meets up with the journalling. I’m going to tilt the photo slightly to bring both children’s faces into the ‘magic square’ in the very centre of the layout, and to reduce the ‘scaffold’ look that the page can get if everything is too horizontal and vertical.
Almost finished! I just want to add a shadow to the photo to make it pop, but I don’t want to use an uniform ‘default’ Photoshop shadow. Join me in the next tutorial when we’ll look at how to create custom drop shadows that really bring your page to life.
Supplies: Sisterology Page Kit by Ruby Rynne, Sisters photo courtesy of Photoshop Creative.
© 2009 Ruby Rynne