• Creating Peek-a-boo Windows in Backgrounds with Photoshop and PSE

    This week’s on-trend tip is the second in our new series on adding pizzazz to background papers in Photoshop and Elements. In just a few easy steps, you can create windows in your background papers that allow papers, photos and elements to peek through.

    Begin by opening a new document in Photoshop or Elements. For the sample, a 12x12-inch document was created at 300 ppi in RGB color mode with a white background.

    Press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) on the keyboard to duplicate the background.
    Add a drop shadow layer style to the top layer using your favorite method.

    Get a Marquee tool like the Elliptical Marquee or the Rectangular Marquee tool.
    Click the Add to Selection icon and set the Feather to 0.
    Drag out a shape on your top document. Click then hold the Shift key to drag out a perfect square or circle.
    Drag out several more shapes to make windows, then press Delete or Backspace on your keyboard.
    This will cut the window from the top layer, allowing the bottom show through.

    Press Ctrl D (Mac: Cmd D) to remove the selection.

    Next, drag a piece of digital paper between the two layers. Press Ctrl E (Mac: Cmd E) to make this layer the background.

    Drag another piece of digital paper over the top layer. You can move the layers in the Layers panel to position them correctly.
    Hold the Alt key (Mac: Opt key) and click between the top layer and the second layer to create a clipping mask. Your patterned paper will take the shape of the cut-out paper. Using this method is better than cutting holes directly in your digital paper, since you can change out the paper design if you change your mind later.

    To allow digital embellishments and photos to peek through the hole, drag them between the cut-out paper and the background.

    Playing Peek-a-boo with your digital papers is a fun way to add interesting design elements to your digital projects.