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Using Photoshop Blending Modes to Create Designer Papers

In the last tutorial, we learned how to create designer papers for digital crafting and scrapbooking in PhotoshopR CS3. You discovered that you can start with any foreground and background colors, add a little noise and then apply different filters from Photoshop's Filter Gallery to get many design variations. In this tutorial, we will start with that digital paper design from the last tutorial and create a new design using Photoshop brushes on a transparent layer above the original design. Then we will experiment further using Photoshop's Blending Modes in the Layers Panel.

  1. Open your paper design from the last tutorial into Photoshop and change the name of Layer 1 to "paper". Click on the New Layer icon to add a new layer in the Layers Panel. Change the name of Layer 2 to "test". This will be the layer that we will use to test the Blending Modes.

  2. We will use the Brush tool to add a design on this new transparent layer. Choose one of the Preset Brushes in the Brushes Panel or use a custom brush that you have created yourself. In the example, I am using the pumpkin brush that I created in a previous tutorial.

  3. Your digital paper is either 8 1/2 x 11 or 12 x 12 inches. Use the Master Diameter slider in the Brushes Panel to set the brush size for your design. In the example, I could use a small size to create a design with many small pumpkins across the paper or I could use a larger size to add only a few pumpkins for an entirely different design.

  4. Click on the Foreground Color in the Tools panel and choose a new color that will work with the color scheme of your design. Then using the Brush tool like a stamp, click once to stamp an image over the paper. Repeat this as many times as you like to create a design over the entire paper.

  5. Before we experiment with the Blending Modes, save your new paper design.

  6. You should still be working on the "test" layer. In the Layers panel, try each of the Blending Modes from the drop-down menu. Your results will vary depending on the colors in your original paper design layer and the color that you chose for your brush. What the Photoshop Blending Modes do is control how the colors in these two layers mix together. When you find a Blending Mode that gives you a nice result, right-click on the "test" layer and choose Duplicate Layer from the pop-up menu.

    In the Duplicate Layer dialog box, use the name of the Blending Mode as the name for the new layer. This is an easy way to identify each Blending Mode layer. While still on the newest layer, click on the Visibility icon to turn off the visibility for this layer.

  7. Return to the "test" layer and continue to experiment with the other Blending Modes. Save the ones that give you a nice design variation.

  8. Save your image in the default Photoshop file format. Now you have one file that contains several variations of the same design. You can use any variation by turning off the visibility of the other layers.

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