Evolution of a Page - Techniques for tearing paper and blending

Friday, October 14, 2011
I've been playing with one of my favorite digi playmate's kits A Walk in the Woods by Aria aka Lynne,   and wanted to experiment with some blending effects and layering elements as it's been a hot topic with my digisister group. >waving<  Hi girls!
By the way, this kit is awesome for Fall layouts and also for any woodsy type of photos you might have. I just loved it and felt honored she let me play with it before it was released!

So here is the page I am making today of my eldest son Adam and his son Ashton.  Perfect pictures for of them to use with this kit.

So I started with two of her awesome artsy papers and brought in one of my town edges from my Beautiful Mess 1 kit as I wanted to quickly tear one of the papers for layering.

The fist thing I do is pull all three into a new canvas with the torn edge on top. I had to size it up slightly using my transform grips to make sure it was over the edges of the canvas so it tore completely down the whole paper.
I used my my Magic Wand tool (W) and selected the area to the right of the torn edge. (see the marching ants around my selection below).
Then I went to the main menu Select>Modify>Expand and enlarged by 2px so that it was slightly larger than my torn edge.

I clicked onto my top paper layer and at the bottom of my layers panel, I clicked the Add Vector Mask icon.   This masked over the part NOT selected, so I simply type Cmd/Ctrl I to invert the mask for the right side of my paper to be masked.

 Now of course, my torn edge does not match the color scheme here.  Easy peasy fix.  I simply applied a color overlay using the Fx layer style by double clicking on the layer grey area.
I picked one of the lighter creamy colors from her paper, changed my blending mode to Overlay to retain some of the texture and clicked ok.

Next I dragged my torn edge layer below my top paper layer and with my Move Tool selected (V), I used my arrow keys and nudged it over 3 pixels by tapping the right arrow key 3 times so that just a tip of the creamy torn edge just peeks out from under the darker paper on top as if it was actually ripped like in real life.

I gave the torn edge a slight shadow, by again double clicking on the grey area of my layer in the layers panel, and setting my shadow setting to be 75%, 3px distance, 5px size and changed the blend mode to Linear Burn, so that it was just slightly lifted from the bottom paper for what I feel is the most realistic look for a paper on top of a paper.

Next I found she had an torn note paper element in her kit, so I brought that in under my torn edge layer. It was a little too busy for my photo, so I duplicated the top paper, dragged it over the torn note paper and clipped it to that to carry the color from the larger torn edge.  Then I applied a drop shadow, created that into a layer by right clicking on the Fx icon on the layer and nudging the shadow layer a tad to make it appear the torn note paper is slightly lifted at it's corners.

I added one of my torn ledger papers, again from Beautiful Mess 1, then my photo on top and one of her element sticks and staples on top of that to ground and attach my photo.
so here is what I have so far.  I'm sure I will tweak all of these and their placements as I develop the page, but this gives me a good visual of what I know I'd like to do.

Lynne has all these awesome fall leaves, some painted leaves and woodsy flowers in her kit, so I know I want to use some of those too.  I'm sure some of them I will simply pull in, cluster or tuck in here or there with custom warped shadows but also wanting to play with another photo I have that I want to blend in here and maybe use some of these leaves to create a photo mask with and also thinking I could create a brush from 1 to blend in my next photo too.
So here was my progression of each added piece and what I did.  It's really about playing with your specific photos and elements to find the arrangement you find most appealing.  Do NOT think that I just simply dropped these in and placed and left them, I think I rearranged this layout 5 times before finding what I liked the most.  That's part of the fun and all the while thinking about my boys and what maybe I will write as journaling on this.

Added some leaves tucked in here and there and peeking out above and beneath papers.

Added a leaf, enlarged and clipped a photo to it and tucked it under my torn paper.

I cut a piece of the background paper out using my marque tool and copying to a new layer. (select your area with the marque tool (M), and then click Cmd/Cntl J to copy to a new layer.)

I gave this a low shadow and added my journaling and turned both the paper piece and the journaling slightly using my transform grips and moving just under the leaf photo.

Then I used the same photo on the top corner, flipped it horizontally, (Edit>Transform>Flip Horizontal), changed my blend mode to Multiply, duplicated the layer, and changed it to soft light to lighten it up, but still blended into the background.

I lowered the Multiply layer's opacity down to 33% to lighten it up a bit and blend in nicer.
I then created a brush from the large leaf.
Select Cmd/Ctrl click on the layer's icon to select, and from the main menu, Edit>Define Brush Preset.

I added a layer Mask to each of the photo layers.
And painted black on the mask with this leaf brush with varied opacities of flow to blend in my photo to the background.

Here was my final result. Added my Title and a date and called this done.

I encourage you to play a little with any of the techniques I have done here.  Each can add it's own uniqueness to your layouts.  Once you master one, add another one.  Then start combining them to create your own beautiful memories.

If you have any questions on any of the items here, please feel free to visit us in the Tech Talk forum at Digitals.  I would be happy to explain in detail on any of these techniques, and you never know, it just may appear in one of our newsletters at Digitals that we will be starting up Oct 22nd on Tuesdays.  I'm calling it "Skill Building with Digitals", so be sure you are signed up to receive these. 

Till next time,


  1. farabee said...:

    Love that layout. Loved watching you build it. Love aria's kits. You are both so professional. Looking forward to seeing more tuts at dugitals!

  1. Joc said...:

    Love the LO, thanks for the step by step, I want to play with this a bit!

  1. LisaTaz said...:

    Really nice tutorial, Cilenia! Beautiful layout, and this is a great example of adding dimensional elements to an artsy/blended layout. I love that photo clipped to the leaf shape! And there's really nice shadowing on this layout, too!

  1. judyinSD said...:

    Super tut, I hope I can translate this to work in Elements, now that we have layer masks I think it will be a go. Beautiful page.

  1. grambie said...:

    Now this is my style of art journaling that I love. You have explained the building blocks of this page so easily with true clarity. You even make me feel as if I can accomplish this artsy technique. I most certainly will try. I know that I am a late bloomer, but I am truly captivated. Thank you for this explicit layout tutorial. God Bless. :)

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