Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Faking It! Tuck a Corner into a Digital Slit

Sorry this tutorial was derailed. Who knew changing drivers’ licenses from one province to another was going to be an ALL-DAY event? I’m just happy I was able to lay hands on the 8 pieces of identification we were going for the 3 of us to need to get it done and we didn’t have to make another trip. Our house is still a work-in-progress and I haven’t found the right arrangement for my laptop and seating so I can actually work on the fun stuff. Our living room has floor-to-ceiling windows so the light is either in my eyes or being reflected off my screen into my eyes! And my craft space is packed to the ceiling with boxes so it’s not an option right now either. Oh well, all in good time.

The technique I’m going to show you today is one I thought about some time ago but never actually moved on. Don’t be put off by the number of screenshots to follow, because I’ve literally shown EVERY step, and there will be some you might decide to leave out. As well, this technique uses a lot of the same steps I’ve shown you several times before, so for those who are already doing some of the techniques I’ve shown you, this will be a refresher. So let’s get into it! I’m going to show you how to tuck the corner of a photo, or in this example, a journal card, into a slit in your background paper. I’ve used a paper and card from Just So Scrappy’s She Can kit. (Pretty appropriate – I installed a towel bar today, after putting together our new patio furniture yesterday!)

First thing to do is make a Copy: right-click>Duplicate Layer of the journal card. (or CTRL/CMD>J)

Now turn off visibility of one or the other of the cards. It doesn’t matter which.

Now rotate the card you can see to about 45° from the vertical. This will make clipping the corner of the card off much easier.

Select the Rectangle Marquee tool.

Click and drag out a rectangle over the corner you plan to put into the slit.

Click on Edit>Cut (or CTRL/CMD>X) and the corner will disappear.

Like that!

Turn the invisible card back on so you can align the two cards. Rotate the card with the cut-off corner back so that it sits exactly on top/underneath the UNCUT one.

Like this….

Turn the UNCUT card back off again for now. Time to put the slit into the background paper.

You can do this step with black, but I choose to use a brownish gray colour. I’ll use the same colour later for my custom drop shadow.

Zoom in on the cut corner as much as you can and still see both ends of the cut-off area. Click on the Pencil tool and set the Size to quite small – 5 pixels works well.

Recently I reminded you how to draw a straight line with the Pencil tool. Here’s a reminder for you. Click on where you want your line to start. Then hold down the Shift key and click where the line will end. That’s it. It takes longer to explain it that it does to do it. 😉

I forgot to mention that this step is done on a new blank layer.

There’s the slit!

After looking at it, I decided it was jut a bit too dark, so I dropped the Opacity down to 45%.

Then change the Blend Mode to Color Burn.

Go back and turn on the UNCUT card layer, and turn off the CUT layer. You need to be able to see where the card’s corner is to get this step done.

If you were doing this technique with a real card and real paper, when the corner is tucked, there will be a vague suggestion of the contours of the card visible on the paper layer. This contour will have areas that are highlighted and areas that are shadowed. To make this work digitally, use the Dodge tool set to a small diameter (I used 16 pixels at 50% Opacity) to highlight inside the edges of the corner, working with the background paper layer active. This is done just like drawing that straight line, but you’ll be taking the corner too. Click at the start of the first edge, hold down the Shift key, click right at the corner and then click again at the opposite edge of the card. Click-click-click! Make these Dodged lines just inside the edge of the card.

Then go back over the corner with the Dodge tool and a larger diameter (24 pixels) and lower Opacity (21%). Make your highlights a bit more inside the edges than the first round, which will give the appearance of a gradient to your highlight.

To create the shadowed area where the paper dips over the edges, use the Burn tool. But this time you’ll go just a hair outside the edge of the card.  I used 11 pixels and 21% for this step.

See how the background paper seems to hug the edges of the card?

I went back over the shadowed area again to just add a bit more visual gradient, but you might not see the need for it.

The effect is pretty subtle, but realistic.

Now the UNCUT card layer can be deleted. Either right-click>Delete Layer or use the Delete key.

Last step is to add a custom shadow. This is one of my quick-step custom shadow techniques. Click on the layer thumbnail for the card to select the edges.

The shadow needs to go on its own layer. Here I’ve shown it above the card and will move it down below the card in a second. Using the Paint Bucket tool, fill the selected area with your shadow colour.

Then I moved the shadow UNDER the card. Image>Transform>Skew is chosen to allow for some tweaking of the shape. With this tool you can move all four corners of your bounding box in whatever direction you want.

If you look closely you’ll see I moved the upper left corner out and up, the upper right corner down and in and the lower left corner over and in.

Remember when you’re creating shadows that you’re deciding where the light source is and estimating how much light will be able to get UNDER your object. Where is the object touching whatever it’s sitting on? I use the Smudge tool to further adjust my shadows. I like to use a BIG diameter and a very light touch. This is how I obtain a curved look to my shadow where the card or paper touches down in some spots and lifts away in others.

Once you’re happy with the shape of your shadow, it’s time to soften it up a bit. Harsh shadows aren’t attractive! The best way to do this is with the Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur effect.

If the Preview Pane pops up and all you see is solid colour, you can shift the area in that Preview Pane just by clicking on an edge. Then you can see how much blur is enough.

Almost done! The last task is to lighten up the shadow a bit. I dropped the Opacity to 45%.

Changing the Blend Mode to Color Burn lets more of the underlying paper’s colour show through in the shadow, so that’s what I’ve used.

After looking at the end result for a few minutes I decided the slit needed to be a little longer – it looked really tight! All I had to do with it, since it’s on its own layer, was to stretch the line a bit at either end.

And then I was done! I like how it turned out.

I’m still getting the hang of the new time zone here, and I apologize for being so late! I’ll try for better next week.

 

Comments

  1. Janet Windon says

    Excellent tutorial! Will give this a go and use it! Thanks so much! You hang in there as it takes time to make things functional and normal after a move! Good luck!

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