Scrapbooking With Your Computer : Opening, Recoloring, Adding To A Photo, Loading Brushes

Welcome to Day Three of my week-long series on Scrapbooking With Your Computer.

I had initially planned to write about hybrid elements today but ended up going in a bit of a different direction based on what I have covered so far. Today I am going to walk you through four processes: opening, recoloring, adding a .png to a photo, and loading brushes in Photoshop Elements.

To help all those visual learners out there I have recorded a video tutorial that walks you through each of these steps. I have also included written instructions below. To view this almost-20 minute video tutorial much larger click here.

AE Digital Scrapbooking Tutorial : Opening, Recoloring, Adding To A Photo, Loading Brushes from Ali Edwards on Vimeo.

After downloading and unzipping your digital products you are ready to start using them in your photo-editing program. Here's how to open .png files in Elements and Word:

1. Open Elements.
2. Go to File/Open. (The use of "/" means that the Open option is listed under the File menu). From there you will navigate to wherever you chose to store your digital elements. Select the element you would like to open.

1. Open Word.
2. Go to Insert/Picture/From File. From there you will navigate to wherever you chose to store your digital elements. Select the element you would like to open.

Two of my favorite products to create and work with are brushes/stamps and overlays. When you purchase these products they come in the default color black. Here's how to recolor single-color .png files:

1. Go to File/Open to select the .png file.
2. Go to Edit/Fill Layer. Choose a color (a drop-down menu gives you options for color, foreground color, background color, etc). Make sure that Preserve Transparency is checked to recolor just the element rather than the entire layer.

1. Go to Insert/Picture/From File to open the .png file.
2. With the element selected go to Format/Picture. From the menu on the left select Picture. Find the drop-down menu called Recolor under Image Control. Select the color you want and click ok.

If you are interested in learning other ways to recolor elements go here.

One of the simplest ways to start using digital elements is to add them to your photos before uploading to your photo developer or printing at home. Here's the basic steps for adding a .png file to your photos:

1. Open the .png word art file in Elements (the free element available in yesterday's post will work great for this).
2. Go to File/Open and navigate to your photos. Select a photo to open.
3. With the .png window active (click on it to make it active), select the Move Tool (the black arrow). Click & hold on the .png image and drag onto your photo. This will create a new layer on top of your photo layer.
4. To resize the word art click on the bottom corner (make sure the word art layer is selected in the layers palette) and drag. In Elements (at least in Elements 6) you do not need to hold down the shift key while resizing to keep the proportions correct.
5. If you want to recolor the word art follow the instructions listed above regarding recoloring .png files.


1. Open Elements.
2. Select the Brush Tool from the tool palette. Look towards the top of the window and you will see a few different drop down options related to brushes.
3. From the drop down menu of brushes click on the small double arrows on the right. When you click on these arrows a new drop down menu (also called a flyout) will appear.
4. From the flyout menu select Load Brushes. Navigate to your downloaded .abr file to load. When you re-open your brush window the new brushes will be at the bottom of the list.


Check back later today (or subscribe here to get my posts sent to your email or other reader) for a second post focused on basic product definitions and suggestions for choosing digital products to help you get your stories told.

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