A digital paper tearing???

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You know how so MANY things are SO much easier to do in digital scrapbooking than they are in the “real” paper world? Like, resizing a photo, or making duplicates of a photo, or getting the paper and elements to match accent colors in your photo perfectly? Well, I’m actually confessing that there are a few tasks that are much more challenging in the digital world than they would be in the real world.

Such as … tearing a piece of paper! It is NOT a simple matter of grab and rip! But … let me see if I can help!

Here’s a quick little tutorial and a FREEBIE to get you started!

  1. Begin by finding a “real” piece of cardstock…one that has a white filling and colored outside coatings (pick a piece that has deep, rich colors … not pastel). Lay it on the table.
  2. While holding the paper down with one hand, begin tearing along one edge … make the tear interesting … alternate between pulling the paper up and in (toward your other hand … creating a wider margin of white center showing) and pulling the paper straight up from the table (this will minimize the amount of white center showing).
  3. Place your paper face-down on a scanner and cover it with black paper or cloth.
  4. Scan it at 300dpi and Full color (this way it will be an RGB file format.
  5. Once it’s scanned, import it into Photoshop/Photoshop Elements and select all the colored areas (leaving the white torn area) and delete them.
  6. Crop the image to include only the remaining “torn” edge.
  7. Save the file in PNG format.

For your benefit, I’m giving you a FREEBIE torn edge that I scanned. DOWNLOAD IT HERE.

Now, to use this in a layout:

Open your digital paper.
Open the torn edge PNG file.
Create a new layout file.
Import items 1 and 2 (above) into your layout file.

Make sure the torn edge layer is above the paper layer and that it is the active layer (notice how mine is light grey? . . . over there . . .  the layers palette?)
Get your magic wand and select the area on the side of the torn edge that you’d like to remove
(the part of the paper below that you would rip off if you could!).

NOTE: If your selection includes all the transparent pixels … make sure the “Contiguous” option is turned on (see your Options Bar at the top of the screen). If that doesn’t help, then you may need to “stretch” (resize) the torn paper layer so it is taller than your canvas … zoom way out so you have grey workspace all the way around your canvas, then stretch the torn paper layer to 104%)

Once you have your selection, you’ll need to inverse the selection. (use the menus, use the pop-ups, or use the short keys to Inverse Selection … whichever you prefer)Now, insert a new layer and move it so it is below your paper layer.
With your new empty layer active, FILL the selection (again…lots of ways to fill the area…use the method you prefer!)
You are ready to RIP!  … CLIP, I mean!  Go ahead … group the paper layer to the layer you just made (by the way, the layer you just made is called a “Clipping Mask”)
Your paper will now appear to be RIPPED/TORN. Pretty cool, ay?

Now, let’s say you want to tear all four sides of a piece of paper. Any idea on how to do that?  I shall post another tutorial … just in case you’d like some guidance for that.  Look for a tutorial called, “Totally Ripped!”  … see you there!

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About Linda Jacobson

Wife, Mom, Grama, and Dreamer! I love all things crafty - sewing, pattern making/designing, quilting, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, digital photography, digital scrapbooking, ... see? I really DO love all things crafty! If I listed ALL the crafty things I've done this list would require an entire page!

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