Theme Panels

How to Prepare a Themed Panel

This is how to prepare a panel for club submission using Photoshop Elements 11, (it is similar in other versions of Elements). Its all about layers and if you understand them you will probably not need these notes but if you do not understand Layers do not worry this will work for you, just follow the instructions.

The system allows you to be flexible and design your own style of panels and here is how to do it.

1 Choose the photos you want to use and open them up in Editor. Its a good idea to have a plan as to where you want to put each photo and don't forget to leave space for your title.

2 Click on Photo Bin (bottom left of screen) and you will see the thumbnails in a row across the bottom of your screen, if not already there.

3 Open a new blank file as your background i.e.

File>New>Blank File

This will open a box window in which you choose to give it a name such as My Panel. Choose the size, I suggest 1400 px wide x 1050 px high. You can always crop it later if you want, this just gives you ample space to work on. Choose a resolution of 300 and the colour as RGB and the background of white. You can change the background to what ever you want but white is a good colour to work on. Click OK and you will get a white clear panel on your screen.

4 Make sure your cursor is the + mark if not click on the + cursor sign top left of screen

5 It is possible you may have lost the Photo Bin from the bottom of the screen, if you have it is not a problem, you have simply to click on the Photo Bin button at the bottom of the screen.

6 Here is where the interesting bit begins. Make sure your cursor is still the + sign. Click on any one of the photos in the Photo Bin and drag it onto the white area on screen. You will move the image to the centre of the white area. The image will have a little box around it which will allow you to move, enlarge, shrink, rotate, etc. the image. The tools to do this are in the frame or box around the picture. To change the size you drag out or in the arrows in the corners, to rotate go to a corner and a curved arrow appears engage it with the cursor and the image moves. But for the moment just go to the centre of the image click and move it to where you want it in your panel. Repeat with the other images so you end up with all of them on the white screen. If you experience difficulty in placing the picture try reducing it to the approximate size before moving.

This is the point where you position and size the photos as  you want to see them in your panel. Sizing occurs by dragging the corner of the image outwards to increase, or inwards to decrease. If it helps to line them up you can put a temporary grid on the screen by going to View (top bar) and ticking Grid. To remove the grid simply repeat the process.

If you have too much white or background you can crop it off later.

7 If you want to put a border around individual photos, click on the photo then go to Edit > Stroke a new window opens and select the width (this depends upon size of photo) suggest you try 5 pixels to start with and check inside and then choose a colour for your border. White borders will not show if you have a white background. If you want a white border you need to change the colour of the background or put another image as your background.

8 To change the background look to see if you have the layers panel showing on the right side of your screen, if not click on the layers icon at the bottom of the screen. Select the background layer, if you want to change the colour go to the little round circle above and click on it, a drop down panel appears where you can among many things choose solid colour or pattern. Choose what you want and don't forget you can change the strength of the colour by sliding the opacity slider again at the top. If you put an image in as your background you can by clicking on the round circle (where you found the solid colour) find Hue/Saturation, click on this and you can change the effects, to black and white. Again by moving the opacity slider you can make adjustments as to how the background appears.

9 To add a drop shadow, click on FX bottom of screen and in the Effects choose styles and then choose drop shadows. Just click on the effect you want and drag to the image, each photo in the panel will need to be highlighted as you do it.

It is assumed that you want your images not to overlap. However if you do, simply drag the individual photos about to achieve the overlapping you want. If you can not get the correct image on top then got to the layers panel and move the layers around in the panel to get the effect you want. This at first may seem a little difficult but it can be done, I suggest you try it once you have mastered the rest.

10 Hey now you may not have known anything about Layers at the beginning and here you are using them, hopefully without pain.

11 Now its time to add your title. Click on the T in the left panel, this is the Text Tool. Choose the size of your Font and the type of Font. By default the colour is usually black but you can also change the colour of your text. Choose the centre alignment. Then go to the centre of where you want to type your title and just type. If you want to change the size font or colour simply highlight the text and return to the text box at the bottom of the screen and select what you want. Don't forget to click the green arrow to accept the changes or red circle to delete them.

When you have completed your panel you will need to compress all the layers, to do this go to Layer (top bar) and select Flatten Layers. Once you have done this you can not make any changes. Don't forget to save the final image as your titled Panel. If you want a border around your completed panel you will need to do this once the layers have been flattened. To do it simply repeat the instructions of borders to individual photos above.

Don’t forget to check the overall size of your panel for pdi submission……. see separate Tutorial.

Good Luck