When I was a paper scrapper, one of my favorite techniques was to take a patterned paper and cut out shapes from the patterns to create beautiful accents for my layouts. Luckily, the magic wand tool, which allows you to select items with ease, makes duplicating this technique a snap and only requires a couple of easy steps.
credits: Monster Jam (papers, word art, stickers) by Spencer Nugent; Rectangular Frames by Spencer Nugent; Organic elements (tied and flat ribbons, tag) by Audrey Neal; Winterberry elements (journal strips) by Audrey Neal
I used this technique to “cut out” or extract a couple of the paint splats from Spencer’s Monster Jam papers to add to the white background on this page. Here’s how to achieve a similar look. (I’m using PSE 5.0.)
1. Open the swirls paper. Use the magic wand tool and click on one of the swirls – it will be surrounded by “marching ants.”
2.Right click and select Layer via copy.
3. Move that layer onto your layout (either drag and drop) or Ctrl+A to select and Ctrl+C to copy, then Ctrl+V to paste onto your layout).
Remember, you don’t want to save these changes to your original paper, so select no when you close the paper selection.
This process works really well when you have a paper with distinct backgrounds and colors, but what about a paper like the orange splat paper? Easy. Just change the tolerance setting on your magic wand tool to a small number, like 5, and repeat the process above.
Occasionally, though, you’ll have a busier paper and you’ll need to take some additional steps to extract the image you’d like to use. Since the magic wand tool only selects one color at a time, it won’t work to select an entire multicolored image. But with some smart Photoshop work, this is easier than you think.
1. Open the mushroom paper. Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool, either by clicking on it in the menu bar on the left side of your screen or typing M.
2. Zoom in on your paper (Ctrl+) and draw a square around one of the mushroom images. To do this, hold down the left mouse button and drag the mouse. You’ll see a square selection appear, created from “marching ants.”
3. Right click and select Layer via copy. This will move the selection to a new layer.
4. Delete the background layer, since we won’t be working with the full paper anymore. To do so, right click on the background layer in the layers palette and choose Delete layer. Select yes.
5. Zoom in on your small image. Use the Magic Wand Tool (the keyboard shortcut is W) and click on the background color. Then hit delete. This will erase the background color on the image. If some portions of the background don’t erase in this manner (there are bits of orange or other colors in the grungy patterns), then select Ctrl+D to deselect the image and use the eraser tool (E).
These simple steps will help you to quickly and easily extract images from your digital papers, thereby extending the usefulness and versatility of these products.