Photoshop Friday!

Ah! Another week has come and here we are for PS Friday! A couple of weeks ago we worked on a technique to highlight the focal point in a photograph by adding a colored overlay. Perfect for both paper and digital pages. Today’s technique is an expansion on the look of that technique, but we’ll accomplish it in a different way, AND throw some patterned paper into the mix.

Here’s an example of the technique we’ll work on:

Photo Overlay Technique #2

The cool part about this technique (as with the one we did a couple weeks ago) is that you don’t have to do any massive cropping of a photo to get the focus where you want it. Context is preserved (a good thing), and nobody’s huge eyeball is staring at you in an over-cropped photo (also a good thing).

For this technique we’ll be adding focus by creating a photo overlay, but the “hole” in the overlay will bleed off of the photo and over onto some patterned paper. I decided to put my journaling on my patterned paper, as well, but what you do with the accent is, of course, up to you.

 Locate a photo that has an off-center focal point. It’s easier to make the overlay go off the edge of the photo if there’s an obvious edge nearby.

1. Create a new blank layout, 12x12, 300 dpi, RGB color, white background. 

2. Open your photo and do any color-correction to it that you’d like.

3. Add a background patterned paper to your layout. I used a pre-decorated paper from Rhonna Farrer’s PeaChy Keen kit. 

4. Drag your photo onto the layout. Position it so  your focal edge is toward the center (my photo’s focal edge - the point of the most interest - is on the left of the photo, so I put the photo on the right side of the layout). This helps in two  ways: First, it keeps the viewer’s eye in the layout rather than trailing off one of the edges, so the direction of movement is inward, and second, this gives us enough space beside our focal area to add the bit of patterned paper that we’ll add for this technique).

5. In your Layers palette, Ctrl-click on the thumbnail of the photo to select it.

6. Create a new layer. 

7. Go to Edit > Fill.

8. In the Fill dialog box, choose Color and sample a color from either your photo or your background patterned paper to be the overlay color. Hit OK.

Your photo should be covered up by a solid block of your selected color.

9. In the layers palette, reduce the opacity of your overlay layer to something like 50%. 

10. Open a patterned paper that will be your accent paper. I chose the lined paper from Rhonna’s PeaChy keen kit, because it has these handy journaling lines built in.

11. Drag the patterned paper to your layout.  Position it just below your photo layer.


Making the Focal Point

At this point you can decide whether you’d like a square/rectangle focus or a circular one. If you’re really adventurous, you can do a compound selection by holding down the Alt and Shift keys while drawing with the marquee tool. I went simple and did a square.

The way this technique will work today is we’ll be using the exact same selection on three different layers - we’ll cut two of them and do an outline stroke on a third. Selections are so COOL I can hardly stand it. Okay. Let’s go. 

1. With your accent paper layer targeted in the Layers palette, draw a selection that covers some of the patterned paper, as well as the focal point in your photo.

TIP: If you are using PSCS/CS2, you can hit the Layer Mask button at the bottom of your layer palette right now to create a layer mask from your selection. Ahh that feature is so beautiful. *snif*. (But remember to save your selection before you do this, since the selection is automatically deselected when you create a layer mask)

If you’re using PSE, for today we’ll just cut out this accent paper, rather than making a mask of it. Just remember that once you’ve cut, if you want to go back, you’ll have to re-do the overlay again.

2. Go to Select > Inverse. This selects everything BUT the original selection.

3. Hit Delete.

4. Go to Select > Inverse. This reverses the selection again, since our next cut will be out of the overlay layer. 

4. Target the overlay layer.

5. Hit Delete. 

Now we have one more use for this selection before we deselect it. Let’s create a white border that goes around both the focal area in the photo and the patterned paper accent. This will help to visually tie these two together.

1. With the selection still active, create a new layer.

2. Go to Edit > Stroke

3. Choose 10 px white, center. Hit OK.

You should have something that looks roughly like this:
Completed overlay + pp accent








You can see that I’ve got my base all set up for journaling, title, and embellishments.

I decided to add a little more punch to my frame by using an edge frame brush from Katie Pertiet. I also added some flowers from the Floral Doodle brush set by Tia Bennett (which I don’t think are available any more.. sorry), and my title is done in 2peas Stopsign.

Here’s a step-it-up idea:

I played up the interaction between the lined paper and the photo by cutting the paper into a wavy line on the right edge. I did this by placing the lined paper on top of the photo, setting my eraser to the wavy-edge brush from Katie Pertiet’s Decorative Edges brush set (p.s. This set includes a corner rounder brush!) and erasing the paper layer.

Here is another look at my final layout:









Here is another idea:

Do a circular frame rather than a square one to really emphasize the focal area.  I did a circular frame on this layout:

Circular Frame
I used the same overlay technique  for this layout as well - just put the paper on top rather than on the left of my photo.

I hope you have a wonderful week! Please let me know if you have questions, and don’t forget to link me up when you get your layout done! I can’t wait to see! :D 


Jessica Sprague12 Comments