Wednesday, 16 January 2013

how to maximize the use of your pink reptile 'outlined' alpha's

I am re-releasing my  Outlined Alphas and Numb3rs Kit today and I thought it might be neat to show you some ideas on how you can get more out of this alpha set then to just use them as they are which of course looks fabulous on a page but there's so much more you can do with them!

I am mostly familiar with Photoshop so I can only hope that you can also use this tutorial in other programs. A special thank you to Nadine Fenchak for test driving and now let's get started!

1. Pick the alpha you want to use and 'write' your title or word. I chose to work with 'hello'.
Once you have all the letters then select all the layers with letters and merge them to one layer by choosing layers > merge layers or by using the shortcut ctrl E (if you're on a Mac you'll need to use cmnd wherever it says ctrl in these tutorials).

2. Once you have one layer create a new layer below it that we will name 'colour' because this will be a fill layer for our title.

Then take your colour picker and pick a colour that you would like to fill your title with. Then select the layer with your title and grab the magic wand tool that you can find almost at the top of your tool bar [the colour picker is the one 2 steps below].
With the tool activated click in each open space within every letter of your title [in elements you need to hold shift while clicking in each letter].You should have something similar to this [marching ants in every letter]:
3. Now go to the menu bar and choose select  > modify > expand

and choose expand by 2 pixels
If you look carefully you will see that your selection has grown and is just hitting the outline of the letters.

4. With the expanded selection activated select the colour layer and fill it with the colour you picked at the beginning of this step by choosing edit > fill > foreground color [you can choose that option in the dropdown menu under the little arrow] or use the shortcut alt backspace. Deselect the layer by choosing select > deselect or using the shortcut ctrl D [in elements you will need to uncheck preserve transparency].

Voilá! Now your title should look similar to this:

5. To give it a bit more pizzaz I am adding a shadow to the first layer. The one with the alpha and then it will look like this:

Pretty neat huh? If this is the look you want to go for then you can now merge the title layer and the colour layer so they are just one layer by selecting them both and choosing layers > merge layers or by using the shortcut ctrl E before you do though....There's more you can do!

You could also use the layer called colour as a clipping mask to clip your favorite papers to and give it a whole other look!

All you need to do is paste the paper of your choice on a new layer in between the title layer and the colour layer. Then clip the paper to, in my case, the orange filler letters. You can do so by selecting the paper layer and choosing layer > create clipping mask or you can use the shortcut ctrl alt G and there even is a 3rd way of doing this: aim your cursor exactly between the paper layer and the colour layer while pressing alt [you will see this cursor appear that looks like 2 rings overlapping each other, a black and a white one] once you see the ringed cursor click between those layers.

Then you'll have something similar to this:

Again, if this is the look you were going for then select all layers and merge them down to 1 layer as described above [under point 1].

Instead of using the colour layer as a clipping mask for your paper you could also use it as a template for some fabulous brush work, which will make your title even more customized!

For this option we also need to make a new, empty layer between the title layer and the colour layer. Select that new layer and while pressing ctrl and left click on the thumbnail of the colour layer. This will activate the selection and look like this:
As you can see I hid the colour layer* [you can easily hide a layer by simply clicking on the image of an eye next to the layer's thumbnail and the layer will either show or hide].

So with the new layer activated select a colour and a brush and just start stamping. You will see that only what you stamp within your selection is visible.

Now you decide whether you want to use more colours and or brushes. Once you are finished merge everything down to one layer and you could end up with something looking similar to this:
I used: wood grain texture brushes and doily print brushes by Just Jaimee which are CU brushes then are also okay to use for your personal projects, and some splatter brushes I made myself that I [note to myself] really need to prepare and put up in the store.

* You can use a plain background [hide the orange coloured layer by clicking on the eye icon in front of the layer] or you could go for a coloured background like the one I showed in the 1st tutorial or you can choose a paper background under your brush work, like shown in tutorial 2. That's totally up to you!

Have fun, experiment and make your own custom alpha. The perfect fit for your page! Feel free to ask any questions if I wasn't as clear as I hoped I was an if you feel like it link me up to your take on this alpha. I really would LOVE to see what you made!

Happy Scrappin'! 


  1. thanks so much for these tips. theyre really great. and i love that these ways are also applicable in other things.

  2. I had a BLAST playing with these based on your tutorial!! Thanks so much for the shout out - you are so sweet!