I’ve written before about AZZA scrapbooking. You might remember it’s a European style of scrapbooking which uses very few embellishments. The design of the AZZA scrapbook layout is based on creatively cropping your photos.
To do this you often have to buy special AZZA scrapbooking templates which you can place over your photos to help you cut them into the design you want. And these templates can be quite expensive. Plus, let’s face it, you don’t want all your scrapbook layouts to have the same look to them, so you’ll need to buy quite a few templates to give yourself a variety of choice.
But there’s actually another way you can do this.
I’ve been using the AZZA scrapbooking style to create a digital scrapbook album of a trip I took a couple of years ago. And it lends itself brilliantly to digital scrapbooking.
But if you’re a paper scrapbooker you can use this idea too.
Make your own AZZA scrapbook templates.
Now if you have a photo editing software program such as Photoshop Elements (or Paintshop Pro, or Photoshop or any of the other programs that let you work with layers) you can do this easily:
- Open a file in your editing program that’s the same size as your scrapbook page. I suggest you make the resolution 200-300 pixels per inch for good quality printing. I usually go for 300ppi.
- Now create a new blank layer and fill it with a color. The color doesn’t matter so any one will do.
- Go to you cookie cutter tool and select a shape that you want to use for your AZZA design. It might be a diamond, a star, a hexagon. Whatever.
- Drag the cursor across your colored layer and release when it’s the sort of size you want.
- Now you can duplicate the layers; move the shapes around; change some of the sizes on the shapes; or follow the above steps to add a complementary shape and just play around until you have a design that you like.
- So now you bring your photos on to the file and position each photo layer directly over a shape. You can do this by dragging the layers around in the Layers Palette
- Go to the Opacity Slider in the Layers Palette and reduce the opacity of the photo so you can see the shape behind it.
- You can drag the photo to reduce its size so it better fit the shape you have created or you can position it so your crop only includes what you want.
- When you’re happy with the positioning of your photo bring the opacity back up to 100%.
- Now click on the photo layer in the Layers Palette and crop it to the shape underneath it using the clipping mask. Ctrl+E should do it. If you’ve made a mistake just Ctrl+Z will step you back.
Now all you have to do is print out your pre-shaped photos and cut them out. I suggest you open a new file in a paper size that your printer accepts (eg. A4 or Letter) and the same resolution as your other file. And then drag your shaped photos onto it, print (best quality) on good photo paper and cut out.
By shaping your photos this way you can create as many different shaped templates as you like at no cost. Plus you can make sure that you get the best parts of your photos into the shapes regardless of the size.
And if you save each template as a layered file then you can use them and modify them over and over again.
If you need some extra help in creating your own digital templates pop over to Step by Step Digital Scrapbooking and check out Intermediate Tutorial 11 (you’ll find it at the bottom of the page). This tutorial will show you how to do a number of techniques including how to make a digital template using one of your favorite scrapbook layouts as a base.
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