I want to begin by saying “I am not an expert!” at PhotoShop Elements 10 – I just began working in the program in January 2012, after years of working in several versions of Corel’s PaintShop Pro (which I still occasionally use for certain things!) I have done followed lots of other people’s tutorials, and I have learned quite a lot this year … practice, practice, practice! (I work on quite a few Creative Teams, so that gives me lots of opportunity to practice!)
Lynne of Baby Cakes Scraps suggested this article when I asked for ideas for Monday Mojo projects. I was initially “afraid” to tackle a “tutorial” since I really am just a beginner. I offer this as a method that is working for me … there may be a better way to do it. If you know one, please let me know (by PM to poki04 at Berry Sweet Scraps). I would appreciate your input! After many years as a teacher, I must admit that I probably “learned more every day than I taught!”
Now on to my cluster … I chose elements from three of Baby Cakes Scraps autumn kits: AUTUMN BLISS, AUTUMN MASQUERADE, and SHADES OF AUTUMN, all available at Berry Sweet Scraps. Be sure to stop by Baby Cakes Scrap store and check out these beautiful kits, as well as others from Baby Cakes Scraps! Here is a legend of the elements I used in the cluster.
I actually built the cluster completely , and then went back and wrote the tutorial. I hid layers so that I could show you in screen shots how I built the cluster! I used the wonderful new SNIPPING TOOL in Windows 7 to grab the screen shots for this article! I love it!!! (It’s great for grabbing photos that my niece posts on Facebook too!)
1. First I built a circle frame, using a custom shape “ring.” I started with a ring, then clipped the darker paper from AUTUMN BLISS to it. To add a little definition to the ring, you can add some layer styles to it. (My preference: Size 20 px, Distance 15 px, Opacity 50%, Color 555353 – med gray, Bevel up 15 px)
Example 1 - first ring
2. Duplicate the ring, reduce the size, place the new layer under the original ring layer, and clip gold paper from AUTUMN BLISS. Duplicate the original ring again, and this time increase the size so that there are now two rings in gold surrounding the burgundy original ring! Merge the two gold rings together. To add some definition to it I added a bevel only to the gold ring. (My preference: Bevel up 15 px) I didn’t shadow this layer, since I was planning to save the cluster as a *.png file, and I didn’t want shadows in the transparent areas. The entire cluster can be shadowed when you add the *.png to a layout!
Example 2 – double ring
3. To add a little definition to the rings, you can add some layer styles to it. Burgundy ring (My preference: Size 20 px, Distance 15 px, Opacity 50%, Color 555353 – med gray, Bevel up 15 px) Gold ring My preference: Bevel up 15 px) I didn’t shadow this layer, since I was planning to save the cluster as a *.png file, and I didn’t want shadows in the transparent areas. The entire cluster can be shadowed when you add the *.png to a layout!
Example 3a – burgundy ring layer style settings
Example 3b – gold ring layer style settings
4. Now add your flowers and foliage. My general work pattern is from the top layer down to the ring layers. I built this cluster that way. In order to show the shadow process on the cluster, I just had to hide all the layers and work my way back up. I want shadows where one item crosses another, but not any shadows in the transparent areas. This takes a little concentration on my part, but the process is easy. My process: duplicate the layer. Place the lower of the duplicated layers just above the layer where you want the shadow to fall. Shadow the duplicate and clip it to the layer below. Shadows will remain only on the layer it crosses, and not in the transparent area. Original layer will remain unshadowed. You might want to add a little bevel only on the original layers (sometimes I do, depending on the need for more definition) In the case of my leaf that was the layer just above the rings, I had to do the process twice so that the shadow would fall on both the burgundy and the gold ring!
Example 4a – layers palette showing duplicated leaf just above the burgundy ring
Example 4b – layers palette showing duplicated leaf just above the gold ring
Example 4 c – ring layers with shadow of leaf added (at bottom)
5. Continue building your shadows where layers cross other layers, building up until you reach the top layer of the cluster. Some of the layers get very “complicated looking” (or messy, whichever term you prefer) when all the shadows have been applied. Here’s a screen shot of part of my layers palette after shadows have been applied.
6. On my highest layer, I like to make my shadow a little deeper. (My preference: Size 30 px, Distance 25 px, Opacity 50% Color 555353 med gray Bevel up 2 px)
Example 6a – style settings for highest layer in the cluster
Example 6b – completed *.png cluster (This is a screen shot, 72 dpi *.jpg not the actual *.png file)
After the tutorial was planned, and drafted, I just had to use my cluster on a layout … so here is what I did with the cluster I made.