Compositing for Digital Scrapbookers


Lesson Info

Project 1: Fine Tune & Finalize

Now let's add a little bit of dimension to this and make her work into the layout. Now in your notes, I have how to add a drop shadow to it. I'm gonna give you a couple of more extra things that you can do it to make it look pretty fun. So if you guys are watching from home, please take notes on this part, I'm gonna go a little bit overboard, okay? Let's have a little fun with it. Alright. So to add dimension to the silhouette, you can go into your layer styles of course, and just add a drop shadow, not an outer glow my friend, a drop shadow. That looks cool, right? No I lost all of my silhouette. So you can add a drop shadow, maybe that might work for you. My settings are really high, so let me bring down my linear burn, let me bring down my distance and my size. And that is the first way that you can ground something into your layout with a silhouette. There's nothing wrong with doing it that way, adding a blend mode, getting it down. I wanna do a little bit more to it. So this is ho...

w I do some double layer shadowing. We're gonna have fun with this. You can add a standard shadow to the silhouette to pop it. My settings, I have a linear burn. It's set for 74 opacity. I'm not using global light. My distance is set to 15, my size is set to 10. That's just to kind of give it a little pop away from the page, so it doesn't look like she's actually sitting on the page, okay? This is a silhouette, it doesn't have to be grounded, but that's that typical drop shadow. Okay now we're gonna duplicate the silhouette layer. It's Control+J and Command+J, not Control+D and Command+D. And then we're going to reduce the fill opacity of the bottom layer. Okay so now I have two drop shadow layers, okay? And I'm gonna reduce the fill opacity down to zero, you Photoshop Elements guys, remember that. Okay? And then here now, I have this. You guys see that? So the silhouette now just has it's own little drop shadow layer. I wanted just to show you guys this so you can see, this is how I first did my layout, if you don't want it where you can completely see all of that person, increase your size and your distance, reduce the fill opacity, and you're gonna get a look like that. Pretty cool, huh? So in my directions, that's what I'm telling you to do. I decided to add a little bit more color to it, okay? So that one is reduced to the fill opacity. We went to increase our distance and our size here to make it more dramatic, and then click OK. And then if you want, you can come back to the original one, and you can do some funky things with it. How about we create an overlay, and we get that. Let's turn off the drop shadow, we don't need the extra drop shadow. And then let's reduce the opacity or the fill opacity to 38%. That's how you're getting that kind of popped out little blended in look. You could come back and say hey I don't need the drop shadow anymore. I mean you have options. There is no one way to do it. I just wanted to show you guys that you have options with your silhouettes to make them look pretty cool. Another thing is, you can take, let's see this is my drop shadow layer that has a 0% fill opacity, so I'm gonna toggle that one off. I'm gonna come back to this one, I'm gonna duplicate it again just to show you what's going on. And then I'm going to take the drop shadow off. And then I'm gonna blur it, so she looks like she's blurring into the background. So I'm gonna go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and then increase my pixel radius, so she kinda looks like she's just kinda right there. You know? Like a hidden form, a shadow into it. And then click OK, okay? Then behind here I can drag that layer underneath my silhouette, so now she looks even a little bit more hip. Okay? And then for my duplicate, I might say okay instead of an overlay, well let's change you to linear burn, let's just make you darker. And then reduce the fill to give you some of those stars that pop out. So in my individual layer, my printed one that I did, I think I had somewhere near this. (laughs) You guys have the layered file in front of you so you can see where I'm at, but no layout ends up exactly the same as you did before. Art never ends up that way. If you guys have ever tried to reproduce a layout that you've accidentally closed on yourself, and you go oh man I gotta start over. Now you don't know where to go. So those are at least two or three options where we've done a drop shadow. We did a hidden drop shadow effect where it kinda pops it out from the page, go that route. Or you can do an overlay, which was with this one before I added the linear burn, which just kind of makes it really, kind of adding in there makes it really cool. You can do the Gaussian Blur, which just kind of gives you this little focal point part. Or you can have the linear burn, which is going to make it darker and make it pretty cool. So many options that you have for this last and final part here. Okay final part. Let's talk about text. We haven't talked a lot about text, but this is a pretty cool technique. I'm gonna leave it here with my layers. And we are going to add some text. So first I'm going to go to the top of my layers panel and click on my gradient, and then select the horizontal type tool. I'm using Bebas, Bebas Neue Bold. Bebas is a great font. It's free to use. If you can at least find the five top ones I think. So I'm using Bebas Neue Bold and you can choose any font you want. It really doesn't matter, honestly. So I'm gonna click on my workspace with my horizontal type tool. And I got to that really quickly so let me show you what I did. Click on the horizontal type tool that's right here. It's also shortcut key T on your keyboard. And we're going to write, I wrote cosmic. Oh it's so small. Cosmic girl on two lines. And I made them centered. I think it's centered, I can't see 'cause it's so small. Let me increase it. There we go it's all over the place, hold on. Alright. Actually I'm just gonna do the cosmic to save a little time here. And click the check mark. And then I'm gonna change the color of that type to white. Okay now anytime you're dealing with color, I'm gonna increase the size, anytime you're dealing with color, it's gonna change how things blend, which blend modes you use. So if I'm using white, then I might use more of the multiply and darken screen modes. If they're dark, I'm gonna use the lighter screen modes. All of that's going to change. So I'm going to put cosmic in the middle here. And I think the size I used was 115 point. Not a big deal, but if you wanna follow along. So let's just use cosmic. And then use the move tool to intersect your silhouette. That's important because if you wanna do the trick, you need to intersect it with something. Now let's create the visual effect. With the title still targeted in the layers panel, we're gonna change the blend mode to soft light. So there's our soft light, pretty cool. Looks good, nice and contrasted. And then we'll reduce the fill opacity, and I chose a fill about 50%. Okay so it's still kind of in there, you can still see it. Okay? And then what we're going to do is come to our silhouette, which is my layer here. And we are going to Command+Click on the thumbnail of the silhouette to create a selection from that layer. Again, hold down the Command or the Control and then hover your mouse right over your layer thumbnail of your silhouette. And then what we're going to do is come back up to our title text, we're gonna target that layer, okay? And then we are going to add a layers mask. So click on your layers mask. And what it does, is it takes it so all you see is the stuff within that layers mask right here on the white, that's what we're revealing. Let's inverse it so we can see the opposite. I don't wanna see what's in the silhouette, I wanna see what's on the opposite. So use shortcut keys Command+I or Control+I, and now what that has done, if I disable my layer mask is instead of seeing that C going into her finger and all of her parts of her body and stuff, I've basically kinda edited it out. So you no longer see it, okay? Cool. Cool trick, huh? With text, you can do all of those same tricks with text too. And then what we're going to do is let's see where we're at. We are on page 18, number 12, letter B. Command or Control click the thumbnail of the base silhouette, target the title text, and click the add layers mask icon. Target the new layers mask, and use shortcut keys Control+I and Command+I to reverse it. Then we're gonna double click the text layer to open the layer style menu, and we're gonna add a drop shadow to it to kinda make it stand out. And doesn't that look cool? Yeah that's how you get that look. And the drop shadow that I used was a linear burn blend mode, it had an opacity of 60%, boom bada binga. I had a 0 pixel distance, and a 0% spread, and a huge 76 pixels on the size, okay? So that's what's giving you that kind of effect, that little ghosted kind of effect. I love that look. And then click OK, okay? So I don't have the girl up there. But that's how you do that kind of look. And then finally our last little technique that we did, was adding text within the silhouette. That one's really really easy. You would click on your silhouette layer, target the top-most silhouette layer in the layers panel, this would be this one. Select the horizontal type tool again, and then you would draw a box around that silhouette, okay? And then you would type whatever text that you want. So how about hey girl, what's up? (laughs) And to save us time, I'm just gonna copy and paste it and just kinda do one of these things. My text is really super small. But let's just say for purposes it's something like that. And I'm gonna just change it to Courier. And I'm going to increase the size to your average 12, you know 12 point. And then you can clip it to your silhouette. And that's how you get that type look, okay? Another little thing that I did, I do believe I added a layers mask to kinda conceal a portion of that text, so you couldn't see it all, okay?

Scrapbooking is the experience of pulling together disparate elements of your life and creating stories that could never otherwise exist. And yet scrapbooking in the physical medium still limits your creative scope to what exists in the real world. Digital scrapbooking removes that barrier. By mastering the practice of compositing your personal photos, you can build fantastical, entirely impossible scenes around your favorite subject material.

Join Tiffany Tillman-Emanuel for this intermediate-level class, and you’ll learn:

  • How to develop and digitally sketch a theme for the page.
  • How to find and gather complementary photos for the fantasy theme.
  • How to use graphic design principles to improve the overall aesthetic of the final page.

Fantasy composites are difficult digital effects to create, and require the confident use of a photo editor. Tiffany will walk you through implementing the right kinds of blend modes and adjustment layers for different compositing results. You’ll learn her tips and techniques for creating quality selections and extractions, and applying them to your composited photos. Add new dimensions to your scrapbooking practice. Transform the things you love, and send them into worlds that exist only in your imagination.

Purchase to get the in-depth Compositing for Digital Scrapbookers workbook. The workbook includes step-by-step instructions on digitizing media, altering elements in Photoshop, and so much more!



  • I was in Tiffany's Mixed Media class and was also lucky enough to be in this class. Tiffany is an AWESOME instructor and well organized. Her Mixed Media class was a great building block for this class. The class is well worth the money--well organized workbook and other great bonuses. If you want to take your scrapbooking to the next artistic level, I highly recommend Tiffany's two classes at CreativeLivel.
  • Great course with easy to understand ways of blending more than one photo together for a great composite layout. Excellent materials and workbooks.. Thanks Tiffany for a wonderful class! - Christa (cfile)
  • Tiffany is a great communicator and an awesome instructor. She made the complicated easy to understand, Bravo!!!