Creating Photo Background Layouts using
     Paint Shop Pro

(Same tutorial using Adobe Photoshop Elements click here)

(Adobe® Photoshop® and Photoshop Elements, Corel® PHOTO-PAINT,
Ulead PhotoImpact 7 and higher, and Microsoft® Picture It!® Digital Image Pro would follow similar instructions)

One fun technique available to digital scrappers is making your own background paper out of photographs. You can then make an entire layout using just one photograph.


What you’ll need:
        Jasc Paint Shop Pro 8.0 or higher
        Photograph in digital format 

You’ll learn how to make:
        Shapes (stripes and photo mats)
        Drop Shadows




Open Jasc Paint Shop Pro
Open Photo within Paint Shop Pro

  1. Choose File > Open and browse your system for photo.
  2. Click photo of choice and then choose Open.



Resize Photo
  1. Resize Image: Choose Image>Resize>enter your preferred size and dpi for your finished layout, taking into account the quality of your original image. Note: Because it will be a soft background, you can enlarge it more than if it was going to be a color reprint.
  2. Choose OK.


Create Vellum Overlay

  1. Select Rectangular Shape Tool on Tool Bar.
  2. Choose White Foreground Color (Type X on keyboard to make foreground default to White).
  3. Using mouse draw rectangle to cover photo.
  4. Decrease opacity. Click Layers at the top right of the menu panel so the Layers Palette expands, as shown below.
  5. Choose the white shape layer and at top of layer menu, lower opacity to desired amount; for mine I chose 60%.



Create Focal Photo from Background Photo

  1. Choose the Background photo layer in the layer palette.
  2. Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool on the tool bar.  Using the mouse, draw a shape over what you would like to be the focal point.  I drew a shape to include the boy and the watering can.
  3. Choose Edit>Copy (Ctrl-C) and Edit>Paste>Paste as New Layer (Ctrl-L).
  4. Remove Selection (Ctrl-D).
  5. Move the new focal photo layer up above the vellum layer, by clicking and dragging upward in the layer palette.
  6. Adjust focal photo directly above itself with the Move tool, if necessary.


Add Photo Edge or Photo Mat

  1. I created my photo edge shown in the original layout using Jasc Paint Shop Pro’s Layer Masks function, which is a bit involved for this tutorial.  They also have awesome Frames with messy edges.  Get a free trial version of Paint Shop Pro at

  2. You can also create a simple, rectangular, white mat to accent this focal photo by repeating the steps above to make the vellum overlay (don’t reduce opacity, though). 

  3. First click on the lowest layer in the layer palette (so the new shape will be beneath the photo on the layout – and not cover it!).

  4. Using the rectangular preset shape tool, draw a rectangle to be about ¼ inch larger than the focal photo on all sides.



Add Drop Shadow
  1. If desired, add drop shadow to white shape, for added dimension.
  2. Choose Effects > 3-D Effects > Drop Shadow and set to your preferences.  I used the following:

    Vertical: 4
    Horizontal: 4
    Opacity: 50
    Blur: 5
    Color: Black

  3. Click OK


Add Text
  1. Click the Text tool on the tool bar and set the text options as below:

    Fonts: Garamond, Microsoft; (also used Monterey BT,

    Size: 35 - dependent on size and dpi of your layout (tip: the dropdown shows a maximum size of 72 points for font size, however, just highlight the size with the mouse and type in any size you’d like)

  2. Click the Background Color Box in the Materials Palette.

    Color: Using the color picker tool, click on any color in the photo you’d like for your text color.  I chose white (HTML: FFFFFF).

  3. Place cursor in position on layout where you want title to appear.

  4. Type title, adjust position and size, if necessary.

  5. Add additional text in different fonts and colors, where desired.

  6. Add drop shadow, if desired.


Add Accent Shapes
  1. Using same instructions as for the photo mat, create long stripes around the edge of the layout using different colors for each.
  2. Also, create other accent photos (beneath “child” and “nature”) with white mats and shadowing, by repeating steps above.


Save Layout

You’re done!  Save as a .pspimage file to retain layers (choose File > Save > File Type: >PSPIMAGE).  Save as a .jpg to share on the Internet (resize to 72 dpi for this option).  Good luck enjoying the ease and versatility of digital!


 Michelle Shefveland,, LLC, Copyright 2004, All Rights Reserved