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  1. #1

    Why use a template?

    I've checked out a few tutorials and am just beginning to understand how to digi scrap after years of traditional scrapping but have yet to come across anything about templates.
    Why use one and how do you go about it?
    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    I think templates are awesome because they are a jumping off point on a layout... If you are using PS, you can use clipping masks to cut your photos into new shapes, and to cut your papers into shapes that the template gives you.

    Templates are really great for helping you learn about scale and how large a photo can be or should be. Sometimes they help you achieve cool shapes across a page that you wouldn't have necessarily thought of yourself.

    They also give you a jumping off point!! When I started using templates, I would use all the shapes and strips the template gave me and not much else... but my layouts had better composition than they would had I just thrown a couple photos on a page. Now that I am a much better scrapper and more accomplished user of templates, I take things out and add things in and make things smaller or bigger to match how I feel... These days, I almost always start with a template but by the time I'm done with the page, you can't hardly see any of the template left...

    As far as the how do you go about using them... that really depends on which program you are using to scrap in...
    If you are using Photoshop or PSE, you should be able to place your photo or paper in the layer just above the layer you want it to clip to and hit alt-control-g on your keyboard... This will clip your paper or photo to the shape of the layer of the template. Do this over and over until all the layers have papers or photos clipped to them. Add drop shadows and/or extra elements and you're done!!

    In Paint Shop Pro, this is more difficult but can be done. You have lots of options actually in PSP of how to get the job done. My favorite is this: You can use the magic wand, make the layer of the template you want to clip your paper or photo to the layer you are on, and click your magic wand in a space where there is no shape. This should bring the "marching ants" around the shape of your template layer. In the layer palette, click the layer of the photo or paper you want to clip to make it the active layer and click on your keyboard Control-X for Cut (or go to Edit, Cut). This will cut away your extra photo or paper... Again, do this for all the shapes, and add drop shadows for a completed layout.

    PSP is a little less forgiving than PS for using templates. It won't allow you to uncut a photo or a paper once you have moved on to the next layer. PS and PSE do allow you to undo a clipping mask much later so I prefer using templates in those programs. Either way, templates are an awesome scaffolding to get a feel for scrapbooking and to learn some neat features in your program of choice!!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    OH, USA
    Hi There and Welcome to GDS
    At first I wondered too about using templates.
    I tried them out when I first started scrapping and found them to be a lot of work. But when I tried to do things by myself, I had such trouble with placement and sizing and making a page that looked put together. So I gave templates another shot. Using them really helped me to learn my program because I had to learn things about layering elements, clipping your photo or papers to the template pieces, and resizing. For me it was a great tool to get a page done that looked pretty, I got to play around with different papers and elements with ease, and I learned my program

    I am not sure what program you use for scrapping. (I use Photoshop) Most templates that you buy will usually come with a layered file in a .psd format and the individual .png files for people whose software doesn't use .psd files.

    Since I use Photoshop I tend to use the .psd layered file. It is quite easy to move the layers around, size elements, change direction and more. If you use .png files, you would just drag each .png file onto your workspace and arrange them.

    There is great flexibility in templates. You can use the template as is, and just clip in or layer your own papers and elements. Or you can rotate the template, rotate certain elements and move things around to fit your photos. You can also use templates as a jumping off point -- maybe you have a template that has a fe photo frames and flowers scattered about. You might really want to do a boy page and have no need for flowers. You can replace those flowers with stars or buttons or bugs or whatever and place them where the flowers in the template are. The possibilites are limitless.

  4. #4
    Thanks so much for your answers. I didn't even realize you could change things on the template. I thought you had to use it exactly as it is.
    I am using PSE so hopefully it will be easy to figure out.

    Thanks again,

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Back home in Michigan !!!!
    So glad I found this. I am also new at digi and wondered--"why templates"? Since I don't know PSE (but my class starts Monday!!!) I don't have those capabilities you all spoke about. I just scraplift the template, in other words, following the template as a guide as I do my layout. I guess you would say I just use it as a sketch. But I am looking forward to learning all the stuff you were talking about!!!

  6. #6
    Wow! A very helpful post. Thanks for sharing the information. Looking forward to trying out a template soon.

  7. #7
    Definitely check out the sketch and multiphoto challenges here! They offer beautiful templates and often bonus templates as a posting bonus!

    Proudly CT for:

  8. Sorry for a naive question. I use Photoshop Elements 7. I downloaded a template (.png) file. It's got all these layers. For the layer, I thought I'd be able to apply color to the layer or drop a photo and it would auto-size for the layer dimensions. Maybe I'm spoiled with frames.

    I'm guessing there's a reason to use layers vs frames. Interested in any insights. Thx.

  9. #9
    tk, Have you been using a page layout program with frames for text, photos, etc? Photoshop and Elements are not so much oriented to that metaphor, but allow more flexibility in what you do with the layers. The blending functions, clipping masks, and so forth make PS and PSE much more suited to the stuff we do as scrappers. I think the more you use the program, the more you'll explore those functions it offers and you'll grow to love it!

  10. Help! I am dying here... I have tried so many times to add drop shadows in my template, and it just isn't working. I have watched and read so many tutorials that kind souls here have pointed me to, but they all say, "Add drop shadows as needed." ACK! If I knew how, I would :-)... I have been trying to add it to the template layer (advice I found here) by selecting that layer, then choosing the "drop shadows" in my effects>styles palette, and dragging my preferred button over both the layer in the palette or the actual page in the working space itself. Neither one does anything. I can see the shadow on the unclipped item, but once it is clipped, you can't see a shadow.
    I have tried adding the shadow both before and after clipping, neither one makes a difference. To be fair, I am certainly a newbie, and am just finally feeling like I get how the whole layers thing works. But I have been able to follow every tutorial so far, and every time when I get to the shadows part, they just say, "add as needed". PLEASE, please, please, I beg you, please can you tell me what I am doing wrong?
    I can easily add drop shadows in MDS, and often just create my elements in PSE and import into MDS and add shadows there. I can't import templates there, however, so if I want to use templates and participate in desktop challenges, etc..., I need to figure out how to fix this crazy problem I am having.
    Thanks for sticking with me!

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