I've done various tutorials on using sketch templates before but some of those have gotten lost and some are outdated, some were before I knew certain keyboard shortcuts, or how different versions of Photoshop behaved. So today, I'm posting my most up to the moment tutorial to show you how to use my sketch templates!
PSD or TIFF?
When you purchase my templates you have the option of selecting the PSD or TIFF version of the files. Which should you pick? Well, if you use any version of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, you should definitely choose the TIFF version. Why? Because they are saved with LZW compression turned on which is a lossless compression algorithm that will result in a file about 1/2 the size of the PSD file without a drop of quality loss. When you save your layout you will also want to continue to save it as a TIFF File. Finished digital layouts can be huge (300MB for an unflattened PSD saved layout is not rare in the least) so saving in the tiff format (with LZW Image Compression and Zip Layer Compression turned on) will save you gigs of hard disk space in the long run.
To summarize, if you have the option of choosing TIFF (meaning, if you use any version of Photoshop), choose TIFF!!!!
Who can't use TIFF? Users of other software such as Paint Shop Pro.
Working with the sketch template
Well now that you've decided which file to download, let's open the template of our choice in Photoshop (any version).
- In Photoshop, choose File -> Open and browse to the template you wish to work with.
Here is the template I'm using, it's from Sketch Collection #22:
- To avoid accidentally overwriting your template file, choose File -> Save As, and save the template with a new name (the name of the layout you are working on for instance)
- Open the photos you wish to use on your layout in Photoshop.
- Select the layer on the template that you wish to replace with your first photo (it should be highlighted in the layers palette).
- Select all of the image you want to use in the template (CTRL/CMD-A) and copy it to the clipboard (CTRL/CMD-C).
- Paste your photo into the template (CTRL/CMD-V)
- Your photo should now be on the layer directly above the template piece you are replacing.
- Press your magic key sequence:
- Voila! Just like that, your picture should have conformed to the shape of the template piece.
- Press 'V' to select your move tool and move your photo until it is framed the way you like it. If you need to resize it to make it fit in the template piece better, press CTRL-T (Command-T on a Mac) and drag in the corners (to maintain the correct proportions hold the shift key down while you transform unless you have the "Constrain Proportions" box checked which will do it for you!).
- You can repeat steps 4-9 for every piece of paper and photo that you wish to add to the layout.
- Finish your layout by embellishing, journaling, and adding a title.
Journaling in/on Text Paths
Many of my templates include text paths which are basically shaped journaling blocks. Text paths can ONLY be used in PSE 3+ and PS CS+ so if you are using an earlier version, you will not be able to take advantage of the text paths.
- Double click on the text layer (the T icon).
- You should see all of the text highlighted. Begin typing your own journaling, when you are done, press the Commit button.
- When you have finished typing, consider changing the font-style or size. To do so, select all of the text by again double clicking on the text layer. Now just change the font settings until you get something you like!
Saving your layout
At this point, if you save your layout with all of the layers, even as a TIFF file, it will be fairly large because we haven't merged any of the layers.
Some people don't even save the layered version of their files but I always prefer to in case I need to go change something at a later time (misspellings are a common occurrence :))
To make your file size smaller but still maintain the ability to edit the layout at a later date, do the following.
- For each clipped layer, simply hit CTRL-E (Command-E on a Mac) one time. This will merge it with the template layer below it and thus you will only be saving the part of the photo/paper that overlaps with the template instead of the entire file.
- When you save your layout again you should notice a significant decrease in file size.
Try it yourself!
Well, now that you know how to use the templates, why not try some out? I have plenty of freebies to the right under "Freebies". In addition to those freebies, all of my new freebies are sent out via my newsletter, so be sure you are signed up for that (you will get a confirmation email immediately after signing up - you need to open that and reply to be sure you are subscribed - check your spam box if you don't see it)!
Finally, if the freebies have you convinced you need lots more templates, then hop over to my store at Scrapbook Graphics and pick up whatever you want for 20% off using coupon code jc-tutorial20.
If you have any questions or I didn't cover anything well enough just leave a comment on this post and I'll be sure to come back and answer you!