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Using the Rule of Thirds

Lesson 14 from: Layering in Adobe Photoshop for Digital Scrapbookers

Traci Reed

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Lesson Info

14. Using the Rule of Thirds

Lesson Info

Using the Rule of Thirds

So the rule of thirds proposes that an image should be divided up into nine equal sections by two vertical and two horizontal, evenly spaced lines. That, and it's an important competent, are that the important compositional elements should be placed, that they should be placed on these lines or at the intersection of these lines. So how do we do that with scrapbooking? Well, we can actually make it really easy on ourselves. And, um, we can use the grid. So if you double click on your ruler up here, you can access all of the preferences and let's go to the grid. And if we want to be divided up into three equal sections, it's a 12 by 12 layout. So that would mean that each section is four inches. So we want four inches for every grid line, and we want one subdivision, and then we turn on the grid with command and then the apostrophe. I am a keyboard shortcut kind of girl. My suggestion. I need a copy of all these. Yeah, I do. I need a cheat sheet, but they have a line. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, ...

I e I have to use the menu because there is no keyboard shortcut. And even then, if you use something that's on the menu and there is no keyboard shortcut for, you can program. People are short. That's too. I don't. That's part of what saves me a lot of time is that I have all the keyboard shortcuts out. I don't have to go. OK, What was that in the view? Ming Wu. Was it in the select menu? I don't remember where it is. No, I know the keyboard shortcuts. I could just turn the grid on. So back to the rule of thirds. We have this set of photos, and we have these clusters that I have pre cluster just for the class. And so how do we, um, use the rule of thirds to really emphasize specific things? So what we want to do is, you wanna have I'm gonna use both of our move both of these layers together these photos because I want them to be on top of each other. So we wanted to be in the intersection of one of these places, so there's lots of different places that you can put it. You can keep these vertically and put it along this lying, you can center it along this bottom line more the top line. You knew it on the opposite side as well, or you can take them and you can move them next to each other in place along the horizontal lines. It's really up to you where you want it to be. The point is to not center it. The point is to have it off the page somewhere where it creates, um, asymmetrical balance. Because if we just start building in the middle of the layout, it's kind of boring. It's expected. And so the rule of thirds can give us away to be unexpected and to know where to put things, to know where to put the main cluster of our of our embellishments and our photos so that we always have a jumping off point. So I'm gonna put these on top of each other, and I'm going to start building around it now, obviously have made three clusters, so we're working on the rule of threes, and we're gonna make them into a visual triangle as well. So let's put this one up here. Let's put this one well. It's a shoe, so it makes sense to be at the bottom. And then this would actually I'm going Teoh use to move our eye off of the page. So we're gonna put it up here. It creates a triangle up here and, of course, the beauty of digital as we can pull things off of the page and it doesn't make sense. Maybe, but it's fun. So let's rotate it a little bit because I want the button to be a little bit more on the inside. Okay, so now we have the visual triangle going on, and we have, um, the rule of thirds going on. So now we can continue to build our layout. I'd probably use something like a paper strip in this and maybe doing vertically. So try that because actually assume horizontally because what we want is we really want to follow these lines so we could do it vertically. But because we already have photos going vertically, it's kind of repetitive. So what? What we can dio is we can use the paper strips instead to create more of an anchor along the horizontal lines. So then we can just go and replicate it and wanted to stick out. Remember to change the size up. Make sure you change the colors so that we can see it better. And now you can see that all of the visual Wait, let's add one more. All of the visual way is right here, centered on this one intersection of the rule of thirds, which creates a lot more of a dynamically out than, let's say, if we move it to the center of the layout, well, first of all, you have to move these as well, because that's weird. So, yes, this works and it's valid, and we have different design rules going on. We have the rule of thirds, and we have, I mean, the rule of threes, and we have the visual triangle, but it's not as dynamic as it was in the corner. This is much more visually interesting than it was before. So I would start. I would even put my title down here to move it up a little bit and build downwards rather than putting it up here. So that's a lot of Wu up here, a lot of concepts rather than design. So are there any questions? I know that It's just a lot to take in. How about in the studio audience are running in the online audience? While we talked to the studio? Imagine one question coming from photo shop girl. She's saying, Did you say you'd prefer the eight by eight? And that's where you really produce most of your scrapbooks? Or do you often use 12 trials well again and people interested in your particular set? Yeah, I scrapbook at 12 by 12 because all of the everything is designed for 12 by 12. So if I were to scrapbook at eight by eight, I have to make everything smaller. But I do say that eight by eight I prefer that size. It takes up less room on your your shelf. I actually have an eight by eat looking here, you can see how much smaller it is. Then I told by 12 book, which actually ripple brought in. So, uh, that's a big difference. And so I prefer this. And while this is awesome and beautiful and I just don't prefer 12 I told even in my, um, paper scrapbooking I still prefer eight by eight policy, I think, use a lot of color and It's very beautiful the way we're doing. But do you ever work with, like, CPR and black and white? You? Is that a medium that you particularly like? I do in my photos a lot. Um, that's a really great way to make sure that you can use a kit that doesn't necessarily match your photos. You can turn your photos black and white, and we'll be talking about that. So, yeah, I don't use the last CPO, though, but I do run a lot of actions that will change. Like make your photos look vintage and that sort of thing. That's kind of fun. Yeah, I look great in black and white Ugo. Great in Color Day, like I regret that the world ever went into color doesn't even have any questions about any of it. Before I move on. I've always understood the rule of thirds and the triangle, but I mean by that um, the triangle interval of three. But the rule of thirds was a little bit of a struggle for me because yeah, I I know that there's the the intersections, but just such trying to figure out what where the placed photos and using the rule of thirds was was a big struggle for me. Yeah, um, turning on the grid helps for sure, but I think I mean, even if you don't want to turn on the grid and really be really super exact about it, the point of rule of thirds is just just take it out of the center so that things were more interesting if they're offset. So even if you don't want to turn on the grid and make it perfect, you can just offset things. If you're building in the centre, just move it down or move it up. Move it somewhere and it will make your layout more dynamic.

Class Materials

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Shadow Styles
Stitching Brushes
Stitching Styles

Ratings and Reviews


I have recently discovered digital scrapbooking and have been using a great scrapbooking software that I downloaded on-line. There are limitations with the software that prompted me to look deeper for ideas. Traci's course was fantastic! I learned so much from her not only in scrapbooking layouts and using different elements in a page but my level of understanding of photoshop has improved dramatically. The presentation was easy to follow and broken into perfect chunks to go back and review the techniques. Thank you so much Traci for presenting this awesome course. I will look for more of your courses. Your scrapbooking is beautiful and inspiring!


I'm a photographer. I do a lot of graphic design for my business. I feel like I'm fairly knowledgeable. I saw this class being shown for free on Creative Live one day and it wasn't my first choice to watch, but was the best out of the list... I was wrong. This is a great class. I didn't expect to learn that much and I've been learning a lot! Great info!


This course was amazing. I learn some things I didn't know how to do. Traci is simple and straight forward in her teaching. Very easy to understand.

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