Scrapbooking Techniques & Tips – Photomerge…electronic versions of your paper scrapbook layouts.

A few months ago I discovered the Photomerge function in Photoshop Elements. It was always there I know, but I’m the sort of person who’s a bit slow on the uptake with new functionality.

Anyway, suddenly I was able to make a decent electronic replica of my paper scrapped layouts. No more wonky digital photos. Paper scrapped layouts now have the ‘shareability’ of digi-scrapped ones.

However, one thing I’ve noticed is that the Scanner bed doesn’t cover the full 12″ depth. So the first thing I’d recommend is to ensure that either the top or the bottom half inch of the layout is free from photos or embellishments. Then butt the opposite end of your layout up against the edge of the scanner bed and scan (I recommend 300 dpi in case you need to print it out later). When you have scanned one half of your layout, slide the layout over to scan the other half. It doesn’t matter that there will be overlap. In fact that’s a good thing.

Save the two files that your scanner will have created. Then in Photoshop Elements (I expect the function is similar in PSP) click on File>New>Photomerge Panorama. The two files you have just scanned should appear in the file selection window (if not just click the browse button and select them). Click OK and let PSE work its magic. Save the resulting layout and then you can work on it.

I usually adjust the lighting (Enhance>Adjust Lighting>Levels). As a basic rule of thumb move the end sliders on the lighting graph inwards so that they sit at each end of the black ‘body’ of the graph. Then if you like you can move the centre slider back and forth until the lighting levels reflected on your layout are to your satisfaction.

Then I usually like to sharpen the picture by going in to the Unsharp Mask filter (Filter>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask). I set the Amount to 500, the Radius to 0.1 and the threshold to 0. With the cursor in the Radius field, use the up arrow key to increase the radius by increments of 0.1. You will find that before long the picture will ‘pop’. That’s my signal to stop.

When I finish all that I drag the Crop Tool across the image to cut off the daggy tops and bottoms that were a result of the merge.

coathanger-2.jpg coathanger-3.jpg

And that’s it! An electronic version of your paper layout. Save the file as a JPEG or use the Save for the Web function to compress it still further if you need to make it more email friendly.

By the way, if you have scratchy elements on your layout you may want to protect your scanner bed by putting a sheet of clear acetate down between the layout and the scanner bed.

Other related posts:

Scrapbooking Techniques & Tips – Printing your digital layouts
Scrapbooking Techniques & Tips – Upsizing your digital photographs and images
Scrapbooking Techniques & Tips – Personalising your backgrounds

9 Responses to Scrapbooking Techniques & Tips – Photomerge…electronic versions of your paper scrapbook layouts.

  1. michelle November 23, 2006 at 11:07 am #

    this is wonderful! i have heard of this photomerge, but i am so un-computer friendly, it’s nice to read something and it’s written in “layman’s” terms.. i will definately try that next time i post

  2. leslier November 23, 2006 at 11:28 am #

    this is great. Thanks for the tip. I will definitely have to do this from now on!

  3. butterflygail November 23, 2006 at 11:32 am #

    Very cool! I am anxious to try this!

  4. coonie November 23, 2006 at 5:01 pm #

    Thanks for the tip :)

    (can you delete my previous comment, please? I made a mistake about my blog address as I mentioned the old one… Thanks)

  5. leslier January 11, 2007 at 3:58 am #

    ok, I FINALLY got around to scanning my layouts and using photomerge. I was always too lazy before (the scanner is in the other room and I didn’t want to trek over there) But I love it, it looks great and am currently using it on my posts!

  6. Lynn Ray June 26, 2007 at 4:02 am #

    Thank you so much! I am definitely going to try this today. It is exactly what I have been
    looking for! I have one dumb question though. Why does the unsharp mask sharpen? I have
    been trying to sharpen my pics by choosing sharpen. I realized it just made things more
    blurry. I suppose I could go back and read the stuff that came with PSE4 & learn what
    unsharp mask actually means. Obviouosly not what I thought. However, I thought you might
    have a quick explanation. Again, I really appreciate the help!

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