Adding the pictures

Step 7: Cropping to size

We are now ready to add the first picture. Open the image you want to use in the editor, and select the ‘Crop’ tool from the tool palette. At the top of the screen you’ll see windows for width and height, which should be empty. Our document is 1800 x 1200 pixels, and the centre elliptical frame should be about half that in both directions, so if we enter a width of 900 px and a height of 600 px it should be about right. Make sure that you do type in “px” and not the default “cm”, or you’ll enlarge your picture to nine metres across, which could take a while…

Drag the crop marquee around the part of the image that you want to be framed. You’ll notice that the aspect ratio of the box that you drag is fixed. You can position the box and even re-size it by dragging on the move boxes around the edges. When you’re happy with the selection, click on the green tick on the lower right corner of the marquee to perform the crop.

You’ll probably notice that the cropped image is a lot smaller than your original. By adding height and width values, the cropped image is automatically resized to those dimensions.


Step 8: Adding the first picture

Next we need to copy the re-sized image into our postcard. Select the image by either pressing Ctrl-A, or by clicking on the ‘Select’ menu and selecting ‘All’. Press Ctrl-C to copy the selection to the clipboard, or use ‘Copy’ in the ‘Edit’ menu.

You can now close the photograph, leaving your postcard as the active document. Press Ctrl-V or select ‘Paste’ from the ‘Edit’ menu to add the picture from the clipboard into your postcard document.

If you look at the Layers palette on the right of the screen, you’ll see that the new picture has been added as a new layer, and that it appears above the layer with your frame borders. You can simply drag the borders layer to the top, and the white lines will now appear on top of the photo.

By using the Move tool from the tool menu you can now position your first image so that it is neatly centred under the elliptical frame. Note that while Photoshop Elements automatically selects a layer when you click on it, some editing programs do not, and for these it will be necessary to click on the layer you wish to move in the Layer palette.

Once you’re happy with the position, you need to crop off the corners of this first picture so it fits the elliptical frame. Remember that selection we saved in step six? Here’s where we need it again. In the ‘Select’ menu, click on ‘Load Selection…’. In the drop-down box, choose the selection you saved previously, and check the box labelled ‘Invert’.

The same elliptical selection as before should appear, but this time it’s everything outside the ellipse that is selected. Making sure that the layer with your photo is the active layer, press Ctrl-X (or use ‘Cut’ from the ‘Edit’ menu) to remove the unwanted areas.


Step 9: Adding the rest of the pictures.

Add the four remaining pictures in the same way, positioning each carefully so the they fit within the borders of the frame. You don’t need to crop them with the elliptical marquee this time though. If you make sure that the frame is the top layer, and the centre picture is the second layer, then it doesn’t matter what order the rest of them are in since the frame and centre picture will hide any overlap.

If one of your pictures does prove to be too big, you can use a rectangular selection marquee and Ctrl-X to snip off any unwanted areas. In the end you should end up with something that looks like this:

When you’re happy with the arrangement, save the document as a .PSD file, so the layers are preserved. That way if you want to change the pictures you don’t have to make the borders all over again.

When you’ve saved, you can flatten the image ready for the next stage. You’ll find ‘Flatten Image’ at the bottom of the ‘Layer’ menu.


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