Beginner Template Tutorial with Photoshop CS5

For the first and most important tutorial, I would like to show you all how to use template. I have updated my template tutorial with a new template and examples but my processes and steps basically remained the same.

If you are new to digital scrapbooking, using a digital scrapbooking template is a great way to start. I remembered when I started, staring at a blank 12 in x 12 in page could feel daunting. How can I fill up all that space? I really almost gave up as I though that it was taking way too much time to create a scrapbook layout. That is until I learned about templates. It’s so much easier to scrap with templates and I don’t feel so intimidated anymore. It gives me something to start and I can change things here and there as I made the layout into my own unique page.

My templates are available in the following format:
– shadowed and without shadow .psd
.psd format is the native format for Adobe Photoshop
– shadowed and without shadow .tiff
.tiff format is a tagged image file format that is supported by wide range of image editing softwares.
– without shadow .png
– without shadow .page (for Storybook Creator 3) and sbpage (for Storybook Creator 4)

There has been some discussions and debates going on about whether to use .psd or .tiff format. You can read more about some of the discussions here.

I personally use Photoshop CS5 to scrap and design templates so that is the program that I will be showing you all on how to make a layout with my template.

Shadowed vs No Shadow

Shadowing is a whole new topic that we could discuss in scrapbooking. I’m not going to go into detail here. If you are beginner it would be easier to use the shadowed version so you don’t have worry about shadowing.

Setting up Photoshop Workspace

Before we start let’s set up the Photoshop Workspace first. For scrapping with template, there are 3 windows that I always have on my workspace: Style, Layer, and Mini Bridge.

To get the style and layer to show up, simply go to the top menu bar and click on Windows –> Layers; Windows –> Style.
To get the Mini Bridge to show up click on Windows –> Extensions –> Mini Bridge.

Here is how I like to arrange the different windows. You can click on the top dark bar of each window and drag it around to the position that you want it to be.


Double click on the template format that you want to use to open it. For this tutorial I am going to use the .psd shadowed file.

If you look at the layers window, you will see that I have named each layer according to its function (paper, flower, photo, etc.). Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up. If the thumbnail size is too small, you can change the size by right clicking on the thumbnail and choose the size that you want. I normally use the large thumbnails size.

On the mini bridge window click on the rectangle on top and choose the directory of the kit you want to use. Here I use Studio Rosey Posey’s Sunshine of your Love.

First click on the bottom paper layer, the active layer will be highlighted in blue; then choose the paper that you want to put in the place of that in the mini bridge and click+hold on it and just drag and drop it to your template. Click shift and then release and the paper will be placed right in the center of the template. The kit paper will be added above the paper layer. Notice that in the layer window the paper you chose is now on top of the template paper layer.

Next choose Layer –> Create clipping mask or (Ctrl + Alt + G) to clip the kit paper to the template paper. Notice that the kit paper will become indented.

Repeat the clipping process for all the papers and photos layer. Notice how I have several “clips” for the papers and photos.

Now let’s work on the embellishments (flowers, leaves, ric rac, ribbon, etc.). Basically you choose the embellishment you would like to use from the kit, put it on the place of the template embellishment, copy the layer style of the template elements and paste it on the kit elements.

First, select the Move Tool (v)

Choose the embellishment that you want and drag and drop to the template. Move it to the position that you want. Here I put the kit flower on top of the template flower. Notice that in the layer, the kit flower is on top of the template flower.

The next step is to add the shadowing. If the shadow style is hidden, click on the triangle besides the (fx) on the template flower layer to show the drop shadow. Right click on the drop shadow and choose “copy layer style”. Then right click on the kit ribbon and choose “paste layer style”. Now your kit flower is shadowed and you can delete the template flower by right clicking on its thumbnail and choose “delete layer”.

Another way to copy the shadow style is to click Alt + click and drag the shadow style that you want to copy to the layer that you want to apply the shadow style to.

Repeat the process for all the template embellishments. If the embellishment is not available in the kit that you use, you can always substitute. Also, you can resize or rotate the kit elements to fit the page best. You can do that by selecting the Move Tool (v), hold Shift down to make sure that the proportion stays the same, click on one of the corner of the embellishment that you want to resize and drag in or out.

Next for the title and journals, select the “T” on the right and click on the “Title Here” on the template and type in your title. You can change the font type, size and color according to what works best with the kit and your design. It’s the same with the journaling, just delete the words in the template and type in with your own journaling.

This is the basic use of a template. Once you get the hang of it you can of course make a lot of changes to it. You can add more elements, delete elements, rotate the template or resize it.

Here is the finished layout. I did add some extra elements and replaced the title with the wordart from the kit.

This is the kit I used to create the layout.

Hope the tutorial help. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask and I’ll help you out the best that I can.

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