Sunday, May 11, 2008

Using Layered Templates in Photoshop

So you have found a layered template that you love, but have no idea how to use it. I remember that feeling VERY well!! This tutorial will show you that they only *appear* complicated... they are actually really easy to work with.

**First... click HERE to get the template below for FREE so you can follow along step by step!

1.) Open your layered template in Photoshop. The FIRST thing you want to do is Duplicate your file and close your original. This will ensure that you do not accidentally save over your original. So go to Image and choose Duplicate.

2.) Name your duplicated file and click OK.

3.) Now close your original template.

4.) Ok... now lets refer to your layers palette on the bottom right of your screen. This is how we will begin building our layout layer by layer. Here is what the layers palette of this template looks like... it is very simple... some are more complex with tons of layers... but the same principles will apply:

5.) I usually start with my photo, simply because that's where the inspiration for my color scheme and design embellishments will stem from. So go to File and choose Open and find the photo you wish to use. Open it and drag it onto the template. (For instructions on how to do this, you can refer to STEP 4 in The Basics of Creating a Layout Tutorial.)

6.) Now that your photo is on your template, go to your layers palette and drag your photo layer so that it sits right above the layer that says "CLIP YOUR PHOTO HERE".

7.) Now, place your cursor on the line in between your photo layer and your "CLIP" layer and press your ALT key. Your cursor should change in shape and appear as shown here:

8.) Now, continuing to hold down your ALT key, simply click. This should clip your photo to the rectangle provided so that the only visable portion of the photo is the part over the rectangle:

9.) As you can see... there are several things I want you to take note of here.

- On the screen shot above, look for the bracket ( { ) near the layers palette. You will see that the photo layer now appears "indented" and attached to the layer below it. The great thing about this is that the photo layer itself is still editable, which means you can still click on the photo and move it around or resize it, yet the only portion of it you will see is what is clipped to the clipping mask.

- Look for the number 1 on the screen shot above. Make sure that your Show Transform Controls button is checked. This will outline whatever is on your active layer (a layer is made active simply by clicking on it) so that you may resize it or rotate it.

- Now, look for the number 2. This is what your cursor will look like as you place it on the corner of your photo to resize it. Hold down your shift key and click and drag your corner in or out, depending on whether you're making your photo smaller or larger. (Holding down your SHIFT and only using the corners will ensure that whatever you are resizing will maintain its proper proportions.)

- Ok, now I am happy with the way my photo appears within the clipping mask:

10.) Now, once I have my photo placed properly, I will choose my background. You can either fill the background with the color of your choice, or as I did in this case, use paper for your background.

To fill the background with a color:

- Refer to your color boxes as shown below. The square on top is your Forground color. (The one behind it is your Background color.) You want to click on the Foreground color. Now, choose the color you want and click OK.

- Now, choose your Paint Bucket tool (or you can hit "G" on your keyboard, this will also activate your Paint Bucket tool.) (*Note: If the "Gradient Tool" is the icon showing on your Tools palette, simply right click on it as I have done below to see all of your options and then choose the Paint Bucket tool.)

-Then, making sure your "CHOOSE YOUR BACKGROUND" layer is active, place your paint bucket anywhere on the background and click. It will fill it with your desired color.

To use paper for your background:

- On your layers palette, click on the "CHOOSE YOUR BACKGROUND" layer. (This just ensures that once you get your paper on your layout, it will transfer over and automatically take its position behind your photos and text... it just saves you from having to drag the layer down.)

- Now, go to File and Open and choose the paper of your choice. Open it and drag it onto your layout. (**NOTE: If you are working with an 11x8.5 layout, be SURE to resize your paper to fit. You can refer to STEPS 9 & 10 in The Basics of Creating a Layout tutorial for instructions on how to do this properly.)

- Once your paper is on your layout, you can right click on the "CHOOSE YOUR BACKGROUND" layer and delete it.

11.) Now for our text. On the templates I make, I usually leave this layer as an actual "TEXT" layer. This way, all you have to do is quadruple-click (which is just double-clicking twice)anywhere on the text (so that all of the text becomes highlighted as shown below) and begin typing your own journaling. This will ensure that it maintains it's formatting.

If your template that does not leave this as a "TEXT" layer, you can simply right click on the layer that has the sample text on it and choose delete. Then, choose your Text Tool, draw a text box and begin typing your own journaling. (You can refer to STEPS 19-21 in The Basics of Creating a Layout tutorial for detailed instructions for this should you need them.)

-You can follow the same steps for the "DATE IT HERE" layer to place the date on your layout.

12.) Now for the title. In this case, there is an "Optional Title" included in the template. If you want to use this title, there is nothing you need to do. If you would like to change it, simply right click on the "OPTIONAL TITLE" layer and choose delete. Then, again, choose your Text Tool, draw a text box and type in your desired title.

13.) Last... add any additional embellishments you wish to incorporate into your layout. In this case, I kept it really simple and only added a small heart by the title. (I also changed my photo to a sepia tone to go with the sort of vintage feel of the paper.) Again... here is our finished layout:

That's it. We're done!! Now simply save your layout! (For GREAT tips on saving your scrapbook pages, please refer to the end of The Basics of Creating a Layout tutorial!)


For my layout I used:

PAISLEE PRESS+TAYLORMADE: paper from the B-Side Collaboration (

SUSAN BOHANON: Heart stamp (available at Scrapfree)


I would LOVE to know what you think of this tutorial!!! Feel FREE to leave comments! If you have any questions regarding this tutorial, you can certainly email me at Also, I would LOVE to see any layouts that this tutorial helped you with!!! Come on over to the Oscraps Gallery and post your creation there!!!!

And don't forget to stop by the TaylorMade shop while you're there!!!!

You can find more of my tutorials in the Tutorials Section at the top of this blog or by visiting the Tutorials Section of Oscraps!!


Pat said...

All of you at TaylorMade Designs and Paislee Press are amazing. Thank you so much for your tutorials and "freebies" too!
I can't think of any other enterprise/business that appreciates their customers as much as this industry does.

Som said...

Amanda, you ROCK, girl! No wonder you're alway soooooooo busy!! Your tutorials are awesome, I am sure it will help many people out. I'm going to link it from my blog too, so hopefully it'll help as many people as needed! =]

babiche40 said...

Merci beaucoup pour toutes ces informations qui seront utiles à beaucoup.... J`ai enfin compris!

Thanks a lot for all these informtions. A lot of us need that.... Yehhhh, I understand how to do ! :0)

Vanessa said...

WOw, it's wonderful! I was looking for something like this: a simple explain about how to use a template! Thanx

margote05 said...

Thank you so much for your tutorials and your freebies. Wonderfull

PhoebeJo said...

I absolutely love everything that you do!! And your freebies and tutorials are amazing!! Thanks so much for taking the time to make the tutorials and for making them so detailed and easy to follow. You rock!! :-)

carol9999 said...

WOW! Way to easy to seem when it seems so complicated. Thanks

Helen Hancock said...

OH are my saviour! Frantically searching for tutes....our very own Amanda comes to this dumb Aussie's rescue. Now if you could just take my kids for a few hours and I will be all set! hehehehe! Thanks A! I will be back to work through them all.

Wookies Mama said...

Thank you so much for doing this tutorial! I can't wait to try it out!

Scrapaholic said...

This is great, thanks .... I have a bunch of templates I've been saving the layers as individual PNGs to use in my more familiar program (even though I have photoshop!) This will make it much easier, thanks!!!

Mchilly said...

Great tutorial, but you can also make your own template in photoshop, it's a bit easy to create though

The Riggle's said...

Thank you so much for this. I take forever on my layouts because I've been doing it harder ways. I made it work but it takes longer. I know your tutorials are here but I forget to check them out. Hopefully I will remember that they are here more often. Thanks.

Jeni said...

Thanks for this tutorial. It was very clear and helpful.

byjulie said...

thank you so much for this tutorial Amanda, all is clear, it becomes very simple to scrap with you !

Elizabeth said...

Thanks! Great tutorial and template.

Cristin said...

This is a great tutorial on how to use templates! Thanks so much for putting this up - I haven't seen the rest of your site, but I'm definitely going to look now to see what other useful tips and info you have!

Anonymous said...

This is the first tutorial that I've been able to follow through to a finished layout - I wish I had of found your awesome site many (many) hours ago...THANKYOU!!!

clipping path services said...

I love the amount of details you gave in your instructions through this tutorial. Thanks!!

rosy said...

Very informative article, thank you for your suggestions and tips.
Web Designer Web development

willowthewysp said...

Thanks for an easy to follow tutorial. I have several layered template albums that have been sat on my desktop doing nothing because i couldnt quite work out how to use them properly! Now i might be able to start using them!

Cinthya said...

thanks so much, i love all you tutorials!!! we're fantastic and to easy to follow step by step.

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