Add Movement with Swirls

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Add Movement with Swirls
by Barb Brookbank

When I want to add a sense of movement to my layouts, I like to use swirls and flourishes and scribbles and scratches.

The other day, I was creating an autumn-themed layout, and I couldn’t find just the right swirl. Being the frugal gal that I am, I decided I was going to have to come up with something clever. I didn’t go searching for a new kit—I went searching through Photoshop’s magical toolbox.

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you an easy way to create your own swirls from a common element found in most scrapbooking kits—a leaf!

Step One: Prepare the Workspace

  • Create a new document (File > New > Blank File) that is 12in by 12in at 300ppi with a white background. (Photoshop: Choose File > New.)

Step Two: Choose an Element and Add it to Your Page

  • Choose and open an element (File > Open) that is somewhat long and skinny. I’m using a leaf from Autumn Days by Kristin Cronin-Barrow.
  • Get the Move tool. Click on the leaf and drag it onto your scrapbook page.

Step Three: Distort the Element

  • In the Menu Bar, choose Filter > Distort > Twirl.
  • In the dialog box, check to make sure that you are able to see the element in the Preview. Click the Minus or Plus symbols to zoom in or out.
  • Click and drag the Angle slider to the right. I dragged it right to the end.
  • Click OK.
  • To repeat the same distortion and double up the effect, simply press Ctrl F (Mac: Cmd F).

Step Four: Resize and Transform the Shape

  • In the Tool Options, make sure Show Bounding Box is checked and Auto Select Layer is unchecked. (Photoshop: Check Show Transform Controls.)
  • On the document, click on a corner handle of the Bounding Box and re-size the swirl to about 5″ x 5″. (Photoshop: You will have to click and hold the Shift key to maintain proportions while you resize.)
  • Double click inside the Bounding Box to commit the changes.
  • On the document, while holding down the Ctrl key (Mac: Cmd key), click on the bottom right corner handle of the Bounding Box and drag up and to the left to transform the shape. Double click inside the Bounding Box to commit the changes.
And here’s my layout after I transformed and rotated my swirl!

Digi Scrap Tutorial: Add Movement with Swirls—Using the Distort Filter by Barb Brookbank
Layout: Autumn Memories by Barb Brookbank
Kit: Autumn Days by Kristin Cronin-Barrow
Poem: Elsie N. Brady
Font: Pea Snoflake

Note: Originally published November 2012.

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If you enjoyed this tutorial, you might also like: 

All Season Snow Globe ClassFun and unique ways of scrapping your family photos await you!

This updated class with all new templates will explore many ways to use glass globes to knock your family’s socks off all year round.

Learn more about the All Season Snow Globe Class!



Barb-BrookbankAuthor: Barb Brookbank |
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