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Photoshop Elements 3 Tutorial
Vellum - Digital Scrapbooking

One of the easiest kinds of traditional scrapbooking papers you can create for your digital pages is vellum. Basically, you create a shape, change the transparency, tear or outline the edges, maybe add some solid text or a pattern, save it as a .png and you've got vellum you can re-use in all your projects. If you save your original vellum papers as .psd, you can create unlimited variations for your projects from just one file.

Start with the size you want. For the purposes of this tutorial, I started with a pattern background so you could see the transparency and created an area 200 x 200 pixels on a new layer. To save your vellum for re-use, create it on a transparent background and save the finished vellum in .png format.

Then I selected a lighter rose foreground color (you could use white), and using the rectangle tool drew out the shape leaving a border around the edges. Right click on the layer and simplify it and take the opacity slider down to about 50%. You don't have to 'tear' the edges unless you want to. When real vellum is torn in traditional scrapbooking, it makes a thin opaque line along the tear. I'll show you how to do that. I select the eraser tool and erase the edges of the vellum kind of jagged (example 2).



Then, use the magic wand tool to select your vellum and select 'Edit | Stroke (Outline) Selection' from the drop down menu with the settings: 1 px, color white, inside, normal, 100%, and make sure 'preserve transparency is not checked. That will put a thin opaque tear line around the edges as shown below. Now you have your vellum. You can stop there if you want to, but we're going to take it a step further and get a little fancy, so create a new layer and select the text tool. Type your text on top of the vellum layer. Example shown is 'Dauphin' but you can use any pretty text you might have.



You can also use preset shapes and lower the opacity for a subtle print pattern on your vellum and I'm sure you can think of lots more ways to use vellum to add dimension to your scrapbook layouts. Some variations below to get your creative juices flowing:



It's fun to play around with bright colors and learn new things. With digital scrapbooking, it's always best to remember that the photos in each layout are the most important element on the page. Your scrapbooking designs should enhance the your photos and not overwhelm them or be so busy in color and design that they actually compete for attention and take away from the photos you are trying to showcase.

A good rule of thumb is that your digital designs should not be more colorful than the brightest colors in your photos. Scrapbooking pages are at their best when they enhance and support the theme and mood of the pictures you're showing off. If you look at a scrapbook page and don't see the photo first, you probably need to tone it down a little.




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