Tutorial: Scrapping with Multi-Photo Mask Sets

Last month I showed you two processes I use to scrap multi-photo quick pages. For the next two weeks (during my Scrap 15 – 275 Photos Challenge) I’m giving away a freebie sampler pack from the Still Life Collection: 10 + 15 + 25 Masks & Line Frames Pack that includes a photo mask set designed for scrapping 15 photos.

This tutorial will show you how I used this multi-photo mask set to create this layout. 🙂

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Please note – all of my tutorials are designed to be used with Adobe Photoshop.  My screenshots are taken from Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 – though any of the newer editions will have the same tools.  

This photo mask set is from the Still Life Collection: 10 + 15 + 25 Masks & Line Frames available in my shoppe.

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Scrapping with Multi-Photo Mask Sets

All of my multi-photo mask set element packs contain merged mask sets of different numbers and sizes of photo masks.  Your task as a scrapper is to separate these masks onto cascading, separate layers – one photo mask for each layer.  This tutorial will help guide you through this process.

For this tutorial, I am working with the multi-photo mask set directly on a 12×12 background. If you prefer to work with the multi-photo mask set in its original state/file, these steps can be easily applied to that context.

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Open Your Essential Files

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Select a multi-photo mask set and its coordinating line frame (this element is optional), then open this/these file(s) in your Photoshop program.  Next, open a background paper or create a white 12×12 inch background.

Step 2: Paste the Multi-Photo Mask Set onto the Background

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Copy and paste the multi-photo mask set onto the top layer.  If you are using the line frame element, copy and paste this onto the middle layer.  The bottom layer will always be your background paper.

I have decided to center this multi-photo mask set on the page, but this can be easily changed/shifted at the end.

Step 3: Duplicate the Multi-Photo Mask Set 15 times

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This is where we start the task of separating the currently merged multi-photo mask set into separate, cascading layers of single photo masks.  We are working towards the goal of having one unique photo mask for each layer.

To do this you will need to duplicate the multi-photo mask set  as many times as there are masks for photos.  Since we are using a multi-photo mask set of 15, we will need to duplicate this mask set 15 times.

You may keep a copy of the original merged photo mask set hidden at the bottom of your layers palette, but all of the work will involve the duplicated masks.

Once you have duplicated the multi-photo mask set 15 times, you will then hide all of the photo mask sets below the top layer/set.

You will now be working with the duplicate photo mask on the top layer.

Step 4: Isolate your First Photo Mask

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Our goal in this step is to isolate one photo mask for your first photo. Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool, the Polygonal Lasso Tool OR the Eraser Tool/Magic Eraser Tool to delete/erase 14 of the photo masks from this first set of 15.

You now have a single photo mask ready to process your first photo.  At this point, you can choose to begin scrapping your photos, but I prefer to set up my entire page before I start the scrapping process.

Step 5: Isolate your Second Photo

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Our goal in this step is to isolate one photo mask for your second photo.

Keep your first single photo mask revealed.  Now, reveal the next layer containing a duplicate copy of the multi-photo mask set.  All other duplicate multi-photo mask sets should stay hidden, only to be revealed one at a time as you work with each duplicate set.

Just as you did to create the first single photo mask, use the Rectangular Marquee Tool, the Polygonal Lasso Tool OR the Eraser Tool/Magic Eraser Tool to delete/erase 14 of the photo masks from this second set of 15. Remember to delete/erase the photo mask on the second layer that is hidden beneath the first photo mask.

You now have a single photo mask ready to process your second photo.

Step 6: Rinse & Repeat 13 Additional Times

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At this point the steps become repetitive.  Follow the exact same steps outlined above to isolate your third, fourth, fifth, etc., photo mask for each layer.  The formula is simple – first, reveal the next layer and second, erase/delete 14 masks from that layer until you have a single, unique photo mask for that layer.  Remember to always erase/delete any of the photo masks hidden beneath photo masks you have already isolated.

By the end of this process you will be left with 15 cascading layers of single photo masks ready to process 15 of your photos.

Quick tip: Once you have set up the photo masks for this or any page, be sure to save these ready-to-use layered files/templates for future scrapping.

Step 7: Scrapping Your First Photo (first part)

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For most of you this will be the easy-breezy part of the tutorial – scrapping your first photo.

Hide all of the single photo masks except for the top/first layer.  Select your first photo, open it in your Photoshop program, then copy and paste your photo onto the layer above your first photo mask.  To help with judging the position and size of your photo against the mask, I often temporarily reduce the opacity of the photo.

Step 8: Scrapping Your First Photo (second part)

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Once your first photo is clipped, hide your original photo layer + the mask layer.  The opacity of your newly clipped photo should always be set at 100%.You are now ready to move onto your second photo.

Step 9: Scrapping Your Second Photo

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Reveal the second photo mask layer.  Continue to leave all other single photo masks layers hidden.  Select your second photo, open it in your Photoshop program, then copy and paste your photo onto the layer above your second photo mask.  Again, to help with judging the position and size of your photo against the mask, I often temporarily reduce the opacity of the photo.

Once your second photo is clipped, hide your original photo layer + the mask layer.  The opacity of your newly clipped photo should always be set at 100%.

You are now ready to move onto your third photo.  At this point the steps become repetitive.  Follow the exact same steps outlined above to clip your third, fourth, fifth photo etc., to the photo mask for each layer.  The formula is simple – first, reveal the next photo mask layer and second, clip your photo to that mask.  Remember to hide your original photo and the black photo mask for all layers.

Step 10: Completing Your Layout

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By the end of this process you will be left with 15 cascading layers of single photos.  You can now add your own drop shadows, titles, journaling and any additional elements.

In the above screenshot I merged my photos & drop shadows onto single, separate layers just to demonstrate the layering of my page for this tutorial.  Journaling is the top layer, then photos and their individual drop shadows, then the optional line frame and finally, the background paper as my bottom layer.

That’s it!

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This tutorial uses a multi-photo mask set for 15 photos, but you can easily repeat all of these steps for mask sets with a higher photo count.  The more often you use multi-photo mask sets, the more experience and skill you will gain – both of which will help you sail through the page/mask preparation and scrapping process very quickly.

Meet you back at the Scrap 15 – 275 Photos Challenge here! 🙂

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