Using the Eraser Tool

Hello again people!! I am back with a tutorial about erasing this week. The eraser is a great tool for getting rid of our mistakes I know, but it can also be used in other creative ways! 

In this tutorial I will take you through the steps of erasing parts of a piece of string so that it looks like it has been wrapped around the main page title.

My page:

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Credits: From My Journal: Limed Spruce [Value Bundle] | Quotiety [Kit] | Made To Match: Quotiety [Extras Bundle] | Mish Mash - Edgy Stash 01

Note: Everyone has their own way in doing things, especially when working on these types of techniques, the way I am going to show you is simply my way of doing, it isn't the only way, just one way of doing it.

Steps on erasing parts of the string:

1. Create your title using alpha, resize to fit your needs, then make sure to LINK these layers together (do not merge into one layer!).

2. Open your string or ribbon and position it at the top of your letter/alpha layers.

3. Once you have positioned your string, name it TOP STRING and then duplicate that layer and name it TOP DUPLICATE. LINK the two string layers together.

My layers are looking like this:

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4. Turn the TOP DUPLICATE string layer view off for now.

5. We are now going to 'cut' the shapes out of the TOP STRING layer, starting with the letter L (I want to keep the string as it appears over the top of the letter P).

6. In the Layers palette CTRL+Click on the letter L to put 'marching ants' around it.

7. Now move to the TOP STRING layer and press the Delete key. The string layer will now look like this:

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Move to the next letter in your layers palette and CTRL+Click to select it and then make sure you are on the TOP STRING layer and press the delete key. Do these steps for the other alpha layers.

8. On parts of the alpha I want the string to appear as though it is passing over and through some letters. So create a new layer, grab a pen or pencil and just draw over the parts that you want the string to appear over the front of your alpha. Here is mine, these are the spots that I will bring the string to front of my alpha.

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9. To make it a little less confusing, turn off the view for the TOP STRING layer now and turn on the view for the TOP DUPLICATE layer.

10. Using your Eraser tool we will now erase ALL the string EXCEPT for the bits that appear in the red areas that are marked. Make sure the eraser opacity is set to a full 100% so you don't need to keep rubbing out a spot to get rid of it.Your eraser size can be fairly large to get the bulk of the string erased but then make the eraser smaller and ZOOM in close when you are working near the edges of your letters.

This is what my string looks like with the bulk of it erased.

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Remember you are using the eraser and not a mask, so CTL+Z will become your first best friend in undoing a wrong stroke.

Turn the TOP STRING layer back on and off to help you if you need it, just to make sure that you are not erasing something you shouldn't be.

Switch to a smaller eraser brush to tidy up the edge.

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The main thing to remember here is that we still want to end up with one piece of string on two separate layers. We will be adding a shadow to the string so it is very important that you only have one piece of string, take a look at the screen shot below to see what I mean.

The TOP DUPLICATE string is shown in white but I had to lower the opacity so that you could see a part of the green string underneath it where it come out from behind the letter Y.

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At this point I merged the two string layers together and applied a shadow to it.

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Note: Be careful with your shadow work at this point. It is better to have your shadow on a separate layer so that you can also erase the bits you don't need in certain places. In Photoshop you can create shadows on a separate layer but unfortunately you can't do that in Elements. HOWEVER, I use an action/scrpt from Anna Forrest Designs, which I purchased on Etsy, that can separate the shadow for me. This is the link if you are interested Create Shadow Layer,  Instructions on installing are included.

After creating the shadow I went ahead and created a composite layer of all the alpha layers and string layers by going to the top of the layers and pressing CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+E. From there I copied this composite layer to a new PSD went on to create the page you see above.

The very creative Captivating Sistas have played along as well and I have included the technique that they have used.

Lisa: "My way of creative erasing...I do not like to permanently remove pixels (ie eraser tool), so I use layer masks. Masks are non-destructive. If I make a mistake or I change my mind, I can undo the mask.  I am fortunate to have a Wacom Intuous.  Thus, I can get in close with a lot of control (I do not have the dexterity to do that with a mouse).  On my layout below, I used a layer mask on the blue ribbon to make it look like it was weaving in and out of the balloon string and was under the word art."

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Credits: Walk Away Kit

Suzie: "I use a lot of different ways to erase and used quite a few in this page.

1. The word art. Originally the WA was a whole sentence, I used the Lasso tool to select the "Story of Life" and the circle around it, then deleted the other words using the Eraser tool (I don't use masks unless it's something I've changed already - if I make a mistake I Ctrl+Z and if all else fails I just re-import or re-paste it)  Then with the Lasso tool again I selected the word LIFE and just enlarged it using the Transform function. The word POOL is just new text.

2. The background paper. This being the drips under the frame. I shrank the paper, then had to erase the non-drippy bits by using using the magic Wand tool, clicking on the non-drippy bits and then hitting the delete key. 

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Credits: The-Darkest-and-Deepest-Ocean-Kit.

Ellen: "All I did was erase the string and paper strip in different spots.  I created a separate layer for the shadows and then used the Puppet Warp to manipulated the shadows."

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Credits: Another Man's Treasure

So there you have some different ways of erasing things! Hope you take some time out to play around with these different techniques.

till next time,

Ona xxx