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treating a group of images as one graphic?


LenaVerbena

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Hi, I hope I am posting this in the correct place-

I have very little knowledge of photoshop and my version is VERY old so very few people will have it but the basics I think are kind of the same (hope so anyway). I am trying to create a background page for a new website I am working on using the Wix platform and templates. I have an image that Iam trying to repeat down each side of the background, so it looks like one long border on each side of the page.

I resized it to make it smaller and have copied it over and over until I have quite a few then I line them up in a column on each side of the "page". I flip them vertically and horizontally so that they join up nicely (they have a design).

I have been trying to create a softened edge of some sort- to soften the edge between the image and the main white background it runs along side of but because my "image" is actually a bunch of smaller images , it puts the border around each little image separately instead of the groups as a whole.

I tried to find some info through google but I kept finding the same sort of thing, to use the rectangular tool to grab the group and then use adjust the feather amount but for some reason I can no do that. It does not work for me. I am guessing I have something clicked that should not be.

What I was trying to do originally was to select the image, then "select all", modify border, then "fill" but that will not work with the whole line of images as one photo.

Can anyone help please and guide me through a possible way to do this? I am in the UK , it's late here so if I do not reply right away it is because I'm in bed! BUT I will check back in the AM. Thank you.
 

MrToM

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From your description it sounds like a simple case of merging the layers.

You could have mentioned 'which' PS version you use.....regardless of age, its useful to know when suggesting a workflow.....no point in getting you to do something your version doesn't support.

Anyway....back to the plot.....you should be ok to just select all the layers on which your 'border' images reside.....split them into left and right or if you just have the one side then select all those.

Once you have those layers selected use either Layer > Merge Layers or right click a layer in the layers panel and choose Merge Layers.

It sounds as if you were trying to add an effect to the 'border' as a whole but it didn't work.....well now it should.

Once you have one side done you can easily copy it and flip it and use it on the other side.

Oh...and if you think this is late....give it a while.....you'll be Photoshopping into the wee small hours soon enough.....just like the rest of us. :thumbsup:

If none of that works for you then tell us your PS version, upload some images to explain what it is you want to do, (Although you gave a pretty good description images are much easier to understand), and someone should be able to shed more light.

Regards.
MrToM.

Also in the UK and a sucker for punishment....amongst other things....so I've been told.
 
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LenaVerbena

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Hi Mr.Tom, thank you for your kind reply. The version ~I am using is Photoshop 7.0 I can hear you giggling from way over here....

I wonder if I should start to make a new background instead of using the one I have already made because I can not seem to get the 2 sides to be separate.

Under the Layers heading I have the option to Merge Down or Merge Visible. Merge down did not seem to do much of anything and Merge Visible made both sides move together, so if I added a softened edge it would go around the whole thing as one...Did that make sense?

I tried to paste a screen shot in case it would help but it came out huge and I had to delete it- I'm not sure how to do it otherwise.

Bye for now.
Kelly
 

MrToM

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No problem at all......and PS 7 is just fine....fortunately I have a copy of it so I can use it to help you on a more 1:1 basis.

Now...to business...

I could really do with a screen shot of the layers panel.....the 'result' looks to be fine so you may already be halfway there but the 'Layers' panel is really the 'heart' of Photoshop and will reveal 'HOW' you get that result.

The layers panel can opened using Window > Layers

layers_panel_MT_01.png

Once I can see that we can go from there as to what you ultimately what to do.

Regards.
MrToM.
 
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MrToM

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...I can hardly believe you have version 7...
For just such an occasion as this! :thumbsup:

So....looking good so far.....you seem to have done a 'merge' already which is fine....you just need to do the same thing for the other layers.....so....

With ref to this image:

layers_panel_MT_02.png

In PS7 its a bit different for merging layers as you cannot select more than one layer at a time so......turn OFF, (the eye icon to the left of the layer), all the layers that are related to the RIGHT of the document.

Then use Layer > Merge Visible to merge the remaining LEFT side into one single layer. (3 visible layers)

Then do the opposite......turn OFF that single layer and turn ON all the others.....you can ignore the blank layer at the bottom. (4 visible layers)

Merge these layers too into one single layer.....Layer > Merge Visible

You should then have only 3 layers.....one for the left side, one for right and a blank layer at the bottom.

You can re-arrange these layers by dragging them if you want to but be careful to only click and drag in an EMPTY part of the layer....NOT on the layer name or thumbnail.

This is stage one.....if you are happy with that we can move on to stage two.

Regards.
MrToM.
 
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MrToM

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...and then they were gone.

Oh well, when you're ready...
Stage two...

5:41 [No Audio]

Note @ ~1:56 I create a straight line with the brush tool.
To do this, click at the start of the line.....HOLD SHIFT and click at the end of the line.

Also note that near the end I had trouble with the colour picker selecting white but this was probably due to recording it at the same time.....the last bit is just to show you that using 'Layer Masks' makes this virtually future proof....in other words if the background ever changes you don't have to worry about it...it will still blend.

I used a fairly narrow 'fade' width.....feel free to adjust this as you need by changing the brush diameter and hardness setting.

Regards.
MrToM.
 

LenaVerbena

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Hi MrTom,

Sorry about the delay in getting back here. Life is very hectic at the moment. Finding it very difficult to find quiet time to work....

Thank you so much for this amazing help. I have always wondered about that panel and the eyes etc and I was really excited to see what I could do there! The whole merging layers etc has gone well although in the end I have 2 layers instead of 3. Is that ok? Is it because the bottom is transparent?

I began the second part but am having problems so I will wait to see from you if it is ok that I only have 2 layers, just in case that causes a problem... (just making sure- should the video have sound?)
 

MrToM

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No worries.

Yeah two layers is fine.....if you 'merged' the transparent layer it doesn't matter....there was nothing in it anyway.

As long as you have everything on the LEFT in one layer, and everything on the RIGHT in another then great!

I assume that you do not need a 'background' to these anyway if you are going to use them 'IN' another application so as you are is perfect....:thumbsup:

Any problems with the next bit just shout....but I doubt you'll have any trouble.

Regards.
MrToM.
 

MrToM

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Sorry for the double post but...

I've just realised that the video looks absolutely terrible if viewed at 'fullscreen'.

I don't know if you can view it on youtube at its real dimensions (you never used to be able to), but ideally you need to view it at 1280x720...then its crystal clear.

EDIT: It should play at 720p HD on youtube.....don't view 'fullscreen'.
You can go direct to youtube by clicking the youtube ICON bottom right of the posted video.

If you can download it and view it locally on your PC then you should be able to view it at this size...it will be much easier to follow.

I wrote some fancy code to always show youtube videos at the size they should be so sometimes I forget that others will need make adjustments.

As to the sound...no...that's why I wrote [No Audio] above it.....:rofl:

Regards.
MrToM.
 
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LenaVerbena

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Oh yeah- No Audio- duh... (blush)

Yes I can view it fine on youtube and even on here though it might be a bit small from the forum to really see the detail...

ok, it is very slow going for me to be able to tell what you are doing and attemtp to follow but I think I have managed to follow along ok until the point where I try to use the brush and instead of a brush tool of some sort I have a sort of "do not enter" sign (circle with diagonal line through it). I must have something "checked" that is blocking it but not sure what?
 

MrToM

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No worries...

The 'No Entry' symbol means you are trying to use the tool on a layer that cannot be used for that particular tool.

It may not be obvious from the video but when using the 'brush' tool the LAYER MASK needs to be selected. (For this tutorial anyway)

The LAYER MASK is the thumbnail next to the layer thumbnail.....you can select either but in order for the process to work you need to have the MASK selected....this is denoted by thin white corners around the thumbnail....

which_is_selected_MT_01.png


It could be a case that NO layers are selected at all....in which case yo get that symbol so you should have a Layer selected AND the 'MASK'.

Regards.
MrToM.
 

MrToM

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Ooooops....forgot you were on PS7.

Doesn't matter though....that white border denotes the 'MASK' is selected so yeah....looking good to me!

One small thing though, (and its my fault for not pointing it out),......when you dragged out the selection....(the marching ants), you may have had some 'feathering' on it.

This is an option at the top of the workspace...

feather_MT_01.png

You would be better to have that set to 0px.

If you look at your screen shot you'll see that the edges of the white area are slightly blurred.....this is 'feathering' and for this exercise you don't need it....you are going to do your own!

You should be able to back up to the point of creating the 'selection' by opening the 'History' panel and clicking on a point just prior to that.

(This is just an example...your panel will have a different history)...

history_panel_MT_01.png

Apart from that.....doing great! :thumbsup:

Regards.
MrToM.
 

LenaVerbena

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I've completely lost my flow and position after having to stop to see that everyone was "fed and watered"...:(

Probably not important but... On the video, when you pull out that line from the side, around 9 seconds in, your line in orange-ish. Mine is blue. Is that ok?

(much time passes)

OK, I have finally done it( !!!) though mine is a bit messy and the sides (masked areas) are not even. I am going to start from scratch I think so that I can try to do a better job. That is an amazing thing it can do. I am impressed. That's called "masks"? I am going to have practise A LOT .

Some questions for you MrTom:

1) If I were to start from scratch is it still best for me to create that "border" by making numerous copies of the image and laying them together like I did originally?

2) I find it VERY difficult to get both sides at the same height and width position on the page. Is there an easy way to do that?

3) If I have more questions should I come back to this post and post them here?

You are SUPER! Thank you very much for your help and patience.
 

MrToM

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...I've completely lost my flow and position after having to stop to see that everyone was "fed and watered"...
No worries...happens to the best of us...I loose it in the same minute so your doing well!


...Probably not important but... On the video, when you pull out that line from the side, around 9 seconds in, your line in orange-ish. Mine is blue. Is that ok?...
Not important no.
I use orange because its not a colour I usually have in an image so it stands out better....blue tends to get lost in images with a sky.
You can change the Guide Colour in the preferences but its not a necessity.


...That's called "masks"?...
Yep! Masks allow you to 'hide' pixels on the layer...they don't delete them, just hide them. You can then 'show' or 'hide' any of the pixels just by painting on the mask....or by any other method.
Masks are only ever greyscale, not colour, so anything in WHITE will SHOW the pixels...and anything BLACK will 'hide' them. Anything in-between will give you a varying transparency.
The big advantage to 'Masks' is that you can change them at any time and are easily adjustable.
You'll find once you get to grips with them you'll use them for just about every project.


...1) If I were to start from scratch is it still best for me to create that "border" by making numerous copies of the image and laying them together like I did originally?...
Unless that isn't working for you I see no reason not to do the same, although I'm not sure exactly what you started with so its difficult to say.
You can cut your workload down by half by just doing one side and then duplicating it....flipping it horizontally and moving it to the other side but what you've done is fine...if you're happy with it?


...2) I find it VERY difficult to get both sides at the same height and width position on the page. Is there an easy way to do that?...
Not sure what you mean by this...width and height position? Do you mean the same width AND in the same position or.....erm....I dunno really.....confused!
If you want to, (and can), send me what you are starting with I'll do another video of how I would do it...you can then see if its any better than what you do now.


...3) If I have more questions should I come back to this post and post them here?...
Sure...if they are still 'On Topic' then post here.
If they relate to something totally different then by all means, start a new thread.


...You are SUPER! Thank you very much for your help and patience...
Aw shucks. :redface:

Regards.
MrToM.
 

LenaVerbena

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I re-read my question about height and width etc and can see how you be confused! HAHA! Sorry.

I mean when I am creating something that has a left and right like these borders, I would obviously want them to look the same on both sides of my page.

What I have been doing is trying to count the little squares to position the images on the left to the same position as the ones on the right.

You can probably see from looking at the image I sent you originally , that the right side border has more showing than the left and therefore looks wider- which I would not want in my finished project but I am absolutely sure that even with my antique version of PS there must be a better way to position things than counting those little squares and digging out my old tape measure and holding it up to the screen;)...
 

MrToM

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Ah...right...gotcha!

Yeah you can use 'Guides' along with 'snap'...

snap_MT_01.png

If you make sure you have NO selection and use the 'Move' tool (V) to drag the layer around the workspace it will 'snap' to whatever is chosen in that list...I've never had to have anything different to what you see above.

You can also use SHIFT to constrain moving to a straight line or 45° too when dragging.
Holding ALT will duplicate the layer when you drag and release the mouse.
Holding CTRL allows you to drag pixels without needing to select the layer first...it will auto select the layer depending on which pixel you click on when you start.

When it comes to 'width' and 'height' the advantage of making a 'duplicate' and flipping it and moving it is that both sides will be identical in both 'width' and 'height'.

If you cannot duplicate something but need to change its size you can either copy a part of that layer and paste it in again to add some width or height OR you can transform the pixels by 'scaling'.

Scaling, (transforming), is not really good practice as the pixels get distorted in the process...sometimes it can't be helped and you HAVE to transform it but if you can avoid it then its best to do so.

You can copy and paste using the traditional Ctrl + C to copy and Ctrl + V to paste. You can copy a whole layer (Select ALL) or make a selection and just copy paste that....then move it into position.

Transforming, (Ctrl + T), allows you to pull and stretch the selection at will but you'll see how it distorts the pixels. You can also use the normal 'modifier' keys (Ctrl, Alt and Shift) to constrain the stretching....best to experiment with it to see what that does.

There are also the 'Align' tools, (Visible when the move tool is active), but they are really for aligning layers to each other although if you make a selection you can also align to it too. (So you could select ALL and align to it)

Lots of ways to help you out.

That should keep you going for a few hours! :rofl:

Regards.
MrToM.
 

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