You are here: Home » Blog » Archives for SnickerdoodleDesigns


Over the past 3 weeks we’ve been exploring Photoshop Masks and how they can help us in digital scrapbooking.

This tutorial will provide an overview of general techniques. For specifics, such as how to apply a mask, please review our previous tutorials:

Masking with the Gradient Tool     PDF     You Tube

Stretching your Digi-Stash using Layer Masks     PDF     You Tube

Using Layer Masks in Photoshop     PDF     You Tube

Today let’s look at 4 different ways to Stretch your Digi-Stash using Photoshop Masking Techniques and/or Photo Clipping Masks.

1. Photo Clipping Masks are great tools that allow us to quickly and easily cause one layer to take the shape of another layer.  Very often we will see photos clipped to Photo Clipping Masks.  Below is an example of a photo clipped to one of my Garden Masks.


Sometimes we might need to tweak a mask, depending upon the photo we are using. In the image above,  I don’t like the positioning of my photo where the butterfly is. A brown branch and the top of the photo itself is showing at the top of the butterfly wings. Moving the photo around in the mask didn’t solve the problem, so modifying the mask was the next step.

I applied a clipping mask to the photo mask, chose a soft-edged brush, and painted away the butterfly.

By using this technique to modify photo masks, you can use them over and over again, without ever having them look the same!



2. Modifying a Mask by adding to it is also a great option when working with certain photographs.  In the image below, I have clipped a photo of my grandson Owen to my Garden Mask 3.  I would prefer not to see the few little “blobs” (transparent areas of the mask) on his forehead.


In this case it is a simple matter of grabbing a brush, choosing a color from the color picker (here I chose black to match the mask), and painting in the areas of the mask that I didn’t want to see.  To make it easy, I made the photo layer invisible, and brushed away the obvious “blobs.”


 I then clipped the photo to the mask (for visibility), and making sure my mask layer was selected, brushed over the finer scratches that were visible on Owen’s face, removing those also.


3. Blend a Photo Mask into a background paper.

Who says we have to use Photo Masks as they are intended? Let’s think outside the box!

Norma, a member of my creative team,  placed Mask #3 on a background paper and changed the mask Blend Mode to Overlay.  She was using the Mask as a “design element” on her page, rather than as a clipping mask.


Here is her final layout (Kits used: Scenic Route, The Long Road Home):


4.  Use only part of a Photo Clipping Mask to create a border design. This works better with some masks than others, but experiment and see what you can come up with! Norma flipped  this Masks – Garden #3 to take advantage of the designs on the left side.


She stretched the flipped mask to 12″ in height, and positioned it on the left side of her background paper.  Norma next clipped her photograph to her newly created mask-border.  She used the original mask in the body of her layout, to create this stunning page. (Kit used: Rocky Mountain Dreams).


Masks.  I love them! Photoshop Masking Techniques and Photo Masks!  We can get soooo much more out of our digi-supplies with using these tools and our imagination!  Just look at the 3 different looks Norma achieved using the same mask!

I created a sampler for you to try some of these techniques on.  Just click the image below to download.


I hope you have found this series on masking helpful.

What should we talk about next? I welcome your suggestions! Just leave them in the Comment area at the bottom of this post!

If you would like to keep this tutorial on your computer for easy reference, you may download a PDF here.



10 comments ... Join the conversation!

Over the past 2 weeks, we’ve been exploring Layers Masks.  As a refresher, or in case you missed those tutorials, you will find them here:

Using layer Masks in Photoshop

Stretching your Digi-Stash Using Layer Masks

Today, let’s take a look at adding the Gradient Tool to Layer Masks and see how that can be helpful.

1.  Compositing Images:

Wikipedia defines this as the process and the result of making a composite photograph by cutting and joining two or more photographs into a new image.”  We see a lot of composite images in scrapbook pages today, most especially in art journaling. It’s a very simple technique and here’s how to do it!

Below are 2 separate photographs that I would like to composite, or blend together.


1. I placed the bird photo on a layer above my beach photo.

2. I applied  a layer mask to the bird photo (Select the layer to make it active, then click on the Layer Mask Icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel.)


3.  In the Tool Bar on the left, I selected the Gradient Tool, which is nested with the Paint Bucket Tool.

4.  In the top Options Bar, I selected a black-to-white gradient.  Click on the down-pointing arrow to find that option, if it is not currently set as your default.


5.  I next clicked on the Mask to make it active, then moved my cursor into my document.

6.  I clicked on the far right edge of the photograph, and dragged the cursor to about the middle of the photo, then released.




If I wanted more of the beach photo visible, I would drag my cursor further into the photo of the bird. If I wanted less of the beach to show, I would not drag it as far as I did.

When you practice this technique, experiment with how how far and from what direction you drag your line.  Try dragging it from the top, bottom, or in a diagonal direction until you get the look you desire.

Also, you can keep adding to the effect by repeating this process on the same mask, until you are satisfied.

2. Creating layouts:

We can use this same technique to blend photos into scrapbook pages.  Here’s one example from Norma, a member of my creative team.

Norma placed her photograph on a layer above the Follow Your Heart paper. then used the gradient tool, as demonstrated above to remove the defined edges of her photograph.  Once the photo was as she liked, she continued with the creation of her lovely layout! (She also changed the Blend Mode of her black-and-white photo to Multiply, to allow the texture of the background paper to become visible.


And here is one  more example.  This was created by MissPepper, using Follow Your Heart also. Beautiful!!!


 Next week we’ll look at using Masks on Masks. That sounds funny doesn’t it?

Experiment and have fun this week using Gradients and Masks, and I’ll see you next week!

If you would like to keep this tutorial on your computer for easy reference, you may download a PDF here.

If you are a visual learner, you can view this tutorial on SnickerdoodleDesigns YouTube Channel  and on theStudio’s YouTube Channel.

Please head over to YouTube and take a minute to Follow both channels.  Each Channel will have some exclusive videos, so by following both channels, you will be sure not to miss a thing!  Thank you!!


6 comments ... Join the conversation!

Last week we defined and demonstrated how to create and use a Photoshop Layer Mask. (Using Layer Masks in Photoshop).  Today let’s look at one way in which we can use layer masks to stretch our digi-stash.

As a reminder from last week’s tutorial:

When would you use a mask? You would use a mask on a layer when you want to hide portions of that layer and to reveal the layer below.

With this in mind and our  masking skills at hand, stretching our digi-stash becomes an exercise in creative thinking and experimentation.

Here is a paper from Tell Me Again, and I have placed one of JanetB’s Commercial Use Messy Folded Whites on a layer above it, with the Blend Mode changed to Linear Burn. This is just personal preference for this demonstration.


Next I added a Mix and Match Edge Overlay Set 2, Overlay #3.


I changed the Blend Mode of the Overlay to “Overlay”, which gave a softer look, while still allowing the design to be visible. (Need a refresher on Blend Modes?  I’ve added some of our tutorial links at the bottom of this post for your convenience.)


Next I added Mix and Match Edge Overlays Set 2, Overlay #4.  The flower graphic in the lower right corner is hiding the flower from Overlay #3; but I like the text in this Overlay #4.


I changed the Blend Mode of  Overlay #4 to “Overlay.”

Before proceeding with any masking, though, I added the Mix and Match Edge Overlay #2, Overlay 5.  I liked the border edge on this Overlay.  I set the Blend Mode of Overlay #5 to Soft Light.


Now I was ready to do some masking.

I added a Layer Mask to Overlay #4 (flower with newsprint), changed by Foreground color to Black, and chose a soft-edged round brush. (I used a 700 px brush.)

I painted away the floral graphic that was on Overlay #4.  I also painted away the text that was in the middle of the paper, leaving just a nice text border.

Pictured below is the original flower graphic from Overlay #3, the text from Overlay 4, and the nice dark border edge from Overlay #5.


I thought this was looking pretty good, until I noticed how the border was visible through the lower petals of the flower.  I put a layer mask on Overlay #5 (the border edge), reduced the size of my brush, and painted away the border where the flower petals were.


I liked that much better!

And that’s it! That’s how easy it is to use Layer Masks to stretch your digi-stash.

Mix and Match Overlays were specifically designed to … well… mix and match. However, you can use masking techniques on ANY overlays, papers, borders, or other graphic designs.  Find some products that you  like, add some masks, grab your brush, and just play!  Sometimes the best results come with experimentation!

This weekend we are having our Valentine’s Day Sale!  Now would be a good time to stock up on products you can practice your masking skills with!

I do have a transparent Overlay for you to practice with.  Drag it onto your paper of choice and mask away what you don’t want.  Don’t forget to experiment with opacity levels of your brush as well as of the Overlay itself!

Just click on the the image to download.


Blending Tutorials for your Reference:

Blending Modes – Just What Are They?

4 Ways to use Overlays and Textures Creatively using Blend Modes

Using Blend Modes in Photoshop

Using the Screen Blend Mode in Photoshop


If you would like to keep this tutorial on your computer for easy reference, you may download a PDF here.

If you are a visual learner, you can view this tutorial on SnickerdoodleDesigns You Tube Channel  and on theStudio’s You Tube Channel.

Please head over to YouTube and take a minute to Follow both channels.  Each Channel will have some exclusive videos, so by following both channels, you will be sure not to miss a thing!  Thank you!!


2 comments ... Join the conversation!

Using Layer Masks in Photoshop

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 7 February 2015
Thumbnail image for Using Layer Masks in Photoshop

Yikes!  This Carnival mask is scary!  If I am totally honest, I have to say that the trepidation I feel looking at this mask equals the fear I experienced when I initially heard about Photoshop masks. I just wanted to look away and pretend they weren’t there.  Since that time, however, I have learned to […]

10 comments Continue reading…

Stretching your Digi-Stash with Premade Borders

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 31 January 2015
Thumbnail image for Stretching your Digi-Stash with Premade Borders

I have always liked using “things,” any things, in ways that are different from their intended use.  For example, my nightstand is an antique children’s school desk.  When the word “repurposing” entered the main-stream vocabulary a few years ago, I thought… “Hey! I’ve been doing that for years!” My interest in “repurposing” includes my scrapbooking […]

13 comments Continue reading…

4 Ways to use Overlays and Textures Creatively using Blend Modes

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 24 January 2015

Last week I was asked by someone new to digital scrapbooking if she, as a personal-use scrapbooker, was allowed to purchase commercial-use products.  The answer is a resounding YES!  Commercial-Use (CU) products are very often created with both the designer and the personal-use scrapper in mind. While, in general, the Terms of Use (TOU) of […]

14 comments Continue reading…

Adjustment Layers 101

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 17 January 2015
Thumbnail image for Adjustment Layers 101

Adjustment Layers in Photoshop offer us the opportunity to make many creative decisions in our work.  They can be intimidating at first; so today let’s take a look at some basic information about Adjustment Layers. For the purposes of today’s tutorial I am using Photoshop CC2014. Please check your own Photoshop version to see how […]

6 comments Continue reading…

Using the Screen Blend Mode in Photoshop

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 10 January 2015
Thumbnail image for Using the Screen Blend Mode in Photoshop

Blend Modes in Photoshop change the way in which layers interact with one another. “(The Blending Mode) Screen brightens by lightning the lower layer based on the lightness of the upper layer. The result is always lighter, and makes it a good mode for correcting exposure in photos that are too dark.”  -Sara Froehlich Let’s […]

8 comments Continue reading…

How to Create a Soft Lantern Glow

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 3 January 2015
Thumbnail image for How to Create a Soft Lantern Glow

Several months ago, we talked about Using the Lens Flare Filter in Photoshop to create a light flare in a lantern. Today let’s look at how to create a soft glow, using a brush. Here is a candle holder that is included in my Woodland Winter kit.  Let’s add a lovely soft glow to it. […]

10 comments Continue reading…

Combining Smart Objects and the Free Transform Tool

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 27 December 2014
Thumbnail image for Combining Smart Objects and the Free Transform Tool

Last week we looked at Creating Perspective Easily with the Free Transform Tool.   We learned how to apply perspective to a photograph in order to match the perspective of a frame.   It was a manual process, but very easy to do. Back in August we looked at Editing Images on the Fly, Utilizing Smart […]

2 comments Continue reading…