Technique Thursday - Creating Photo Corners

Thursday, September 09, 2010
Each Thursday we will bring you a new post on a little something to learn.  Some weeks will be kewl tips and tricks, some will be scrapping techniques, and some will be more in-depth designing techniques... like today's.

Create realistic photo corners
Let's create a digital version of a traditional photo corner.  The photo to the right shows the look I wanted to create for a photo corner . . . yes, it’s a woodworking brass corner, but as many of you know, I LOVE old things and this was a perfect shape to me.
While the photo corner design looks intricate, I was able to digitally create it using only two basic shapes: a square and a circle.  Ready to get started?
If you haven’t done so yet, see “Getting your workspace ready to design”. 
Create a working document:
Open a new file, with a size of 3” x 3”, a resolution of 300 pi and a transparent background. 

Create the base shape:
We will be using the shape tools to create our photo corner. Note that I use the shape tools because they are vector based and you get better quality than using the marquee tools, which are pixel based.
1. Select the Shape Tool (U), Rectangle. Hold down the Shift key and drag a square approximately 2” x 2” in the center of the canvas. This is Shape 1.
2. Create a copy of this shape layer (CMD-J/CTRL-J). Rename to Shape 2.
3. Doubleclick Shape 2ʼs layer icon to change the color of to a contrasting color (this is just to make it easier to work with).
4. Rasterize both shape layers. (PSE-Simplify Layers). 

Create a shape to use as a cutting mask:
1. With a contrasting color, create a circle using the Shape Tool (U), Ellipse, approximately 3.5” in size. Position as shown. Donʼt worry if itʼs not the correct size or position initially; Transform and move CMD-T (CTRL-T) to resize and move it into position as needed later. Rename to Shape 4.
2. Make a selection of Shape 4:
PS: CMD-click (CTRL-click) on the circle's shape mask (not on the layer icon; see example on right with the red arrow).
PSE: CMD-click (CTRL-click) on the Shape 4 layer.

3. Target the Shape 2 layer.
4. Press Delete. The circle shape will be cut out of the Shape 2 layer.
5. Deselect (CMD-D/CTRL-D).
6. Duplicate the Shape 2 layer and rename it Shape 3 (CMD-J/CTRL-J).
7. Select the Shape 2 and Shape 3 layers. Resize (CMD-T/(CTRL-T) the shapes to about 1/2” wide.
8. With the two layers still targeted, rotate them 180 degrees.
9. Position the cut-out shapes over the Shape 1 layer. See the examples to the right for guidance.
 Note: Your shapes do not need to be in the exact location as the example. You can move them around to make your own unique cutout.
10. Resize or reposition the circle if needed; just make sure the edges touch so you get one continuous shape later. Zoom in to be sure.
11. Select the Shape 2, Shape 3 and Shape 4 layers and merge them.

Use the cutting mask to cut the base shape:
1. Make a selection of the merged shape by CMD-clicking (CTRL-clicking) the layer icon.
2. Target the Shape 1 layer.
3. Press Delete. The cutting mask shape will be cut out of the Shape 1 layer, leaving you with a photo corner shape!
4. Deselect (CMD-D/CTRL-D). 5. Click the eyeball icon next to your newly created merged shape layer to turn off the visibility.
Save and use:
1. Size down to a realistic size, approximately 1/2”.
2. Crop your canvas to just outside your edges, not AT them.  Leave a little room.
3. Choose File-Save As and save as a png file.
4. To use in your creations, clip a textured paper to the photo corner and add a shadow.
    Congratulations!  You have just created your very own photo corner shape!
    Take it up a notch:
    Want to play more?  Try adding depth with dodge and burn on your paper and/or shadows, additional stroked outlines inside for embossing or carving out, or anything you like.   Experiment with bevels or contour adjusting. Play with different shapes and positioning of the shapes when creating your cutting mask.
    Here’s my finished product and some other examples using the suggestions above.


    Want a PDF for today's Technique?  Find it here in our Gallery Album Tutorials and Examples.
    If you need more detailed instructions we have a PDF in the shop here for only $1.50. 

    Hope you enjoyed and learned something today.  Join us each week for your Tips and Techniques.


    1. Laurie said...:

      Way cool, Cilenia!

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