Photoshop scrapbooking opens up all kinds of neat possibilities, but it has a bit of a learning curve. If you can get the hang of Photoshop’s Layer Masks and Selections, you can do just about anything. Really! Old-schoolers know the pain of not even HAVING layers, OR masks … so discovering them opens up a whole new world inside Photoshop. We’ll only touch on basic masking here, but for the adventurous among you, go Google “Quick Masks” for Photoshop…you’ll love it for scrapbooking.
The Art of Selection in Photoshop Scrapbooking
First, lets talk about selections for Photoshop scrapbooking. Sounds sort of mundane, but it’s not. Good selections let you duplicate, adjust, shift colors, mask things, make repairs, clone things, and SO much more with far greater precision than just jumping right in. They also make your work easier and faster – giving you more time for creative play!
See the illustration below of how I made this wedding layout with Photoshop scrapbooking:
Here’s another Photoshop scrapbooking tip for using selections. Don’t want to paint over a certain area, but need to get right up close to it? Make a selection and paint or clone inside that. Simple, easy protection that lets you move more quickly instead of struggling. It’s like “coloring inside the lines” on automatic pilot.
Need to get rid of the jaggies? Always make your lasso selections with a Feather of 1. It’s a feathered selection, but it actually stays pretty sharp and clean without being jaggy when you work at high resolution, rather than 72 DPI. I NEVER work at web resolution for Photoshop scrapbooking if I can help it, even FOR the web. I start big and size it down when I’m done. There’s far more control that way, and of course, the good old Feather 1 setting works like magic.
To use it, just select the lasso tool and put a 1 in the box next to the word Feather on your top menu bar. It should stay set that way from then on. If it doesn’t, try setting it that way with NO document open and then restart Photoshop to force it to hold it as the default setting for your Photoshop scrapbooking. You’ll forget it’s there most of the time, but you’ll notice fairly soon if it goes back to zero for some reason once you get used to it.
The “Tragic Wand” in Photoshop Scrapbooking
Speaking of magic…lets talk about the dreaded Tragic Wand. It’s not magic at all! It ONLY works well on straight clean edges. I do suggest using it to pick up square selections easily, if you know your lines are nice and clean and straight. For anything else, especially complicated cuts in Photoshop scrapbooking layouts…it’s pretty much useless in my book. Except for maybe quick and dirty deletions where any need for precision is completely absent. The magnetic lasso isn’t much better. I prefer to forget they even exist, if possible. I’d rather to do all my selections by hand, using masking and/or quick masks. It takes a few minutes longer, but it’s worth the time and the effort will show in your finished Photoshop scrapbooking projects.