The best investment you can ever make for your blog… well, it’s actually a couple of things. For starters, you need to have beautiful images that keep your reader captivated. Secondly, you need powerful editing software that is capable of allowing you to create those designs, or edit templates created by designers like myself.
I’m a huge fan of Photoshop-Lightroom Creative Cloud because it offers everything a blogger needs to create the best graphics possible. I think some people shy away from it because they think that the program is expensive (Guess what? It’s $10/mo and worth every penny!) or because the features seem overwhelming.
I recognize the learning curve, so I wanted to show you how easy it is to use some of the more advanced features that make Photoshop such a powerful editing tool.
I’m going to show you 3 different features that I use to create easy to edit, professional looking templates: Smart Objects, Clipping Layers, and Text Boxes. Stay tuned, because there’s even a Workshop Template for you at the end so you can test out the features for yourself and get acquainted with them!
Layers that contain preserved image data. You can double click on the layer and it will open a new tab where you can make edits to the image or add your own to it. When you save it, the image in the original file will appear replaced.
I build my templates using this feature because it makes it easy for you to edit without having to worry about adding more layers to an already (to some) complex, layered file. Your image can just take the place of the demo content without having to line anything up or make further selections.
How to Edit Smart Objects
For the purpose of this tutorial, I am using the Mood Board from my Feminine Blog + Social Media Template Package. This is just an example, but it works the same on any template you purchase from me. If the layer is a Smart Object, it will be labeled as (SMART) either on the grouping it belongs to, or on the individual layer.
You’ll see in the above image that I have highlighted the particular image we’ll be working with. To get started with editing this Smart Object, double-click within the image window of that file which I have highlighted for you with a red box. This will bring up a second tab within Photoshop containing all of the information specific to that image. It could be a single image or even layers.
Now you can edit the image however you want, including adding additional layers, images, text, shapes, and even effects (FX). No matter what you add, Photoshop will store this information upon saving. I’m going to add a layer of color, and some text.
Now that I’ve added my layers, I can save the file. It’s important to select ‘Save’ (or Ctrl+S on PC), and not ‘Save As..’ because the file name needs to remain the same in order for the Smart Object to work. Once you Save the image, you can tab back over to the template and the file will now show the new image information.
This layer acts as a sort of mask for the layer directly above it to define the visible boundaries. So if for example, I chose to put a square image on top of a round shape, I could use the round shape to create a mask – thus only showing a round section of the square image.
I use this feature paired with Smart Layers so that the designs can be more interesting and custom, without you needing to add layers or complicate the file. It also means that you don’t have to figure out how to achieve the same look – it’s very click and go.
How to Edit Smart Objects using Clipping Masks
This time, I am going to use my ‘Addison’ 2-Page Media Kit as an example. It utilizes the same Smart Object feature, but also has a great example of using a square image and a round clipping mask to achieve its design results. You’ll use the same steps as above to edit the smart image, but I wanted to show you what files look like so you get a sense for what the clipping layer does and how powerful it can be in templates.
In this file, I’ve highlighted the Smart Object in red like before, and also highlighted the Clipping Layer associated with it in blue. I’m going to edit the Smart Object the same way as before, this time replacing the square demo content with my own square headshot.
This is the square image being magically clipped (get it now?) into a round image in the final product. Because it’s also a Smart Object, I can add layers, text, or effects to it. So I am just going to paste my own picture as a layer, and then select ‘Save’ like before.
Depending on your image, you may need to make some adjustments to make it line up perfectly within the circle. I have designed my templates to utilize a larger square Smart Object in this case to allow room for you to move the image so that you get that perfectly cropped, round image.
A grouping of text that has had its parameters defined. So basically, no matter how large or small you make the text, it will only always show up in that box.
I use this feature to help you continue to achieve the overall look of the design no matter what your Title or Sub-Header text changes to. These are made by using the add text tool, but instead of simply clicking a place within the template to add text, you click, hold, and drag the cursor to create a text box.
Here’s an example using the Product Board from my Blog + Social Media Template Package:
It doesn’t matter how large or small the text, it will only ever stay within the confines of the text box you established. You can easily change the boundaries while in text editing mode if you need to.
Here’s a Workshop For You!
You’ll see these features I’ve shown you in a lot of the templates you buy. In order to familiarize you with them, I’ve created a sample template that utilizes all 3 of them. You can try them out for yourself so you can purchase templates like mine with confidence!
Please note that like with all of my files, this was created with Photoshop and you will need Photoshop CS4 or better in order to utilize it. These features are exclusive to this editing program.
Get the Photoshop Workshop Template and try out my tutorials for yourself!
Did You Love it?
I hope you enjoyed this workshop. Won’t you please give some love and share this with your friends? You can pin that real pretty, large image towards the top of the post or share the love via Twitter.