• How to Save and Reuse Recolored Embellishments in Photoshop and PSE

    For this tip series, we've been walking though ways to recolor embellishments and template components in Photoshop and PSE. We've used the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer method to customize embellishments in kits and on templates. This week we'll explore a great way to save recolored template components individually so that you can reuse them on other projects.

    The templates at Designer Digitals are loaded with beautiful and exciting embellishments. If you are like me, sometimes you see a page element that really "speaks" to you and you find that you want to use it again and again on new projects. When you find a template component like this, it's handy to know how to save it to its own file so that you can stash it in an easy-to-find place and have it at the ready for your next project.

    Here's how:

    • In Photoshop and PSE, begin by opening a layered template that contains the embellishment you want to save. For the sample, I am using StudioDD Layer Works No. 1153 so that I can grab the cute striped bow in the center block.
    • Using the Move tool, click to select the element. The layer will become highlighted in the Layers Panel.
    • Right-click (Mac: Ctrl click) on the layer in the Layers panel that contains the embellishment you want to save and choose Duplicate Layer from the menu.
    • This brings up the Duplicate Layer dialog box. Give the embellishment a name by typing it in the As: box. Then choose a destination by selecting Document: New. Click OK.
    • The embellishment will populate in a new window. It's likely that the window will be far too large and you'll want to trim it. This helps reduce the size and makes it easier to see in the thumbnail when you are looking for the item. You can use the Crop Tool to trim the background away. Just draw out a box around the embellishment and then hit enter on the keyboard. Be careful not to trim away any shadowing if the element comes with a drop-shadow attached. I sometimes find it helpful to create a new white layer and drag it under the embellishment layer so that I can see the shadow more clearly.
    • A trick for embellishments without shadows (like brushwork) is to use the Stroke function to create a buffer so that you donít accidentally trim away an edge of the image. Just select the image and create a stroke layer style by clicking the fx icon to bring up the layer styles dialog box. Click the Stroke tab and choose a size of 10 pixels with the position set to Outside. Now select Image > Trim > Transparent from the Menu bar. This trims away all the excess document space. Note: this function is not available in PSE. Just use the Crop tool to trim away the excess around the stroked image instead.
    • Next, double-click the fx icon on the right side of the layer and untick "Stroke." This will delete the stroke.
    • With the window trimmed, you can recolor the embellishment one or more times using the method illustrated in the previous two tips.
    • I like to keep a stack of recolored items in one document. I just select the embellishment layer and press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) on the keyboard to duplicate the layer. Then I apply a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer to recolor the copy. Select the copy layer and its Adjustment layer and press Ctrl E (Mac: Cmd E) on the keyboard to merge the layers. Repeat the process until you have a nice stack that coordinates with the project you are working on. Save the document as a PSD (layered) file so that all of the items will remain available.
    • If you want to see all the colors at once, you can create a new blank document and then use the Move tool to drag all the recolored embellishment layers onto the document. Arrange them so that you can see them all at once. You may want to consider renaming each of the items with the name of the color included or the name of the kit that the color matches. When you want to use the embellishment, you can just drag the item from this document onto your project. Save the new document as a layered PSD (Photoshop) file.


    Using these ideas, you can develop a large library of your favorite template embellishments. It's a great way to stretch your scrapbooking budget and reuse your favorite items.