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Chapter 4. The Dirty Dozen: More Down & ... > Attaching a Note to a Photo

Attaching a Note to a Photo

If you need to add a caption to a photo, don't just backscreen an area, or create some reverse type, because with this effect you can create some real visual interest for your caption, drawing the reader's eye right where you want it to go.

Quick Tip: Saving time in the Fill Dialog box

In Photoshop 7 (and even earlier) if you wanted to fill a selection, or a layer, with a color like bright red, you'd have to set bright red as your Foreground color before you opened the Fill dialog box. If you forgot to do that first, you'd have to cancel out of your fill, set the color, and then open the Fill dialog again. Luckily, now in Photoshop CS you'll never have to do that again, because now you can choose any fill color from right within the Fill dialog box. Where it says “Use” just choose “Color” from the pop-up menu, which brings up the Color Picker right within the Fill dialog. It's the little things, isn't it?

Step ONE.
Open the photo you want to use in the effect. Press Command-A (PC: Control-A) to select the entire photo, then press Shift-Command-J (PC: Shift-Control-J) to cut the photo from the Background layer and copy it on its own separate layer (as shown here).

© Brand X Pictures

Step TWO.
Go under the Image menu and choose Canvas Size. When the dialog appears, click on the Relative checkbox, and then for Width enter 2 inches and for Height enter 2 inches. Click OK to add some white space around your photo.

Choose Stroke from the Add a Layer Style pop-up menu at the bottom of the Layers palette. Set the Size to 15 (30 for high-res, 300-ppi images), set the Position to Inside (to give your stroke straight corners rather than the default rounded corners), and choose a light gray (like the one shown here) for your stroke Color. Don't click OK yet.

Quick Tip: Layer Set nesting season

If you're into using Layer Sets (to organize documents with lots of layers), then you're going to love the fact that in Photoshop CS you can go Layer Set crazy. That's because you can now nest Layer Sets within other Layer Sets and go up to five sets deep. It boggles the mind!

Step FOUR.
Click directly on the name Drop Shadow in the list of Styles on the left side of the Layer Style dialog box to reveal the Drop Shadow options. Lower the Opacity to 50%, turn off Use Global Light, and increase the Distance and Size to 10. Click OK and it adds a border around your photo, with a soft drop shadow (as shown here). Next, create a new layer by clicking on the New Layer icon on the bottom of the Layers palette.

Step FIVE.
Press the letter “m” to get the Rectangular Marquee tool, and make a rectangular selection (like the one shown here). In the Toolbox, click on the Foreground Color Swatch and choose a “Post-it-like” yellow color in the Color Picker (I used R=255, G=255, B=161). Fill your selection with this yellow by pressing Option-Delete (PC: Alt-Backspace), then deselect by pressing Command-D (PC: Control-D).

Step SIX.
Press Shift-U until you get the Custom Shape tool from the Toolbox. Go up to the Options Bar and choose the third icon from the left so the Custom Shape tool will create pixel-based shapes. Press the Return key (PC: Enter key) to bring up the Custom Shape Picker (as shown here). From the Picker's pop-down menu, choose Objects to load a new set of custom Shapes (click Append in the resulting dialog). Scroll down and click on the paperclip shape (as shown).

Create a new blank layer, and set your Foreground color to gray. Hold the Shift key, and then use the Custom Shape tool to create a paperclip. Position it at the top of your yellow note (as shown here).

Quick Tip: Turn your Layer Comps into their own documents

Photoshop CS has a very slick new feature called Layer Comps that lets you save a version of your document, complete with all the layer attributes (like Opacity, position, Blend Mode, Layer Styles, etc.) within the Layer Comps palette. That way, you can create a layout, save it as a comp (right within your same document), then keep experimenting with different layers. Every time you come up with a layout you like, just save it as a Layer Comp. Then you can compare entirely different layouts with just one click (and when you change layouts, the layers all change back too, so you can pick up right where you left off). But the cool tip here is that there's a built-in Script you can run that will take all your Layer Comps and turn them into separate PDFs (great for e-mailing to clients for proofing). Just go under the File menu, under Scripts, and choose Layer Comps to PDFs.

Change your Foreground color to a dark blue, and press the letter “t” to get the Type tool. Add your message to the note. (The text here is in the font ITC Bradley Hand.)

Step NINE.
Go to the Layers palette and link the paperclip, note, and Type layers together by clicking in the second column (as shown here) of each layer so you can move all three layers as one group.

Step TEN.
Press Command-T (PC: Control-T) to bring up Free Transform. Move your cursor outside the bounding box and click-and-drag upward to rotate the note (like the note shown here). You can click-and-drag inside the bounding box to reposition the note. Press Return (PC: Enter) when it looks about right.

Quick Tip: Replacing color by numeric value

If you use the Replace Color command to select an area of color, and then replace the color in that area with another color, there's a new feature (added in Photoshop CS) that will let you enter a numeric value for the color you want to edit (rather than just clicking around with the Eyedropper). When you open Replace Color (under Adjustments in the Image menu), you'll find a Color Swatch in the Selection section. Click on it, and the standard Color Picker appears, where you can type in numeric values in the RGB, CMYK, etc. fields, or even choose Custom colors as your color to replace. Not too shabby!

Next, you'll add a metallic look to the paperclip. Make sure you're still on the paperclip layer, then choose Bevel and Emboss from the Add a Layer Style pop-up menu at the bottom of the Layers palette. Increase the Depth to around 300%, and lower the Size to 2. In the Shading section, turn on Anti-aliased, then click on the down-facing arrow next to the Gloss Contour thumbnail to bring up the Contour Picker, and choose the Contour named “Ring” (as shown). Also, lower the Shadow Opacity to 50%, and then click OK.

Press the letter “e” to get the Eraser tool. Choose a small, hard-edged brush and erase the inside of the paperclip to make it appear that it's behind the note and photo. To complete the effect, click on the yellow note layer, then choose Drop Shadow from the Add a Layer Style pop-up menu. When the dialog appears, decrease the Size to 4 and click OK to apply a drop shadow behind the note.

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