Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Basic Adobe Photoshop Tutorial (Conte Crayon)

I've decided to post my first basic Adobe Photoshop tutorial, but first, a story.

John and Linda Williams have just welcomed a new baby boy into their family.  They are smiling from ear to ear when they look into his sweet eyes and want the world or at least close friends and family to meet their little bundle.  They decide to send out a baby boy birth announcement.  Sue has a version of Photoshop Elements that she purchased from Costco.  She's not an expert of this program but can get her way around.  She doesn't have the time, being a new mom and all, to come up with a new design all on her own.  She heads on over to and looks through the baby boy birth announcements and finds the layout she wants.  She purchases the .psd file (as it is a photoshop file).  She adds her photos to the template, changes the font, and a color or two and prints her now customized birth announcement, ready to send to her loved ones. 

Ta Da!  Ok while that isn't what happened with this particular announcement it could.  My brother and his wife recently had a baby boy and a pretty darn cute one at that.  Being the talented (and humble) older sister I am, I had the opportunity to customize one of my templates for them (another option on my website). We talked about a few changes they would like and my creative juices started flowing.  Before I knew it I had 7 or 8 different variations for them to choose from and still had more ideas.  

By this point I was actually on the phone with my mom, who was working on her own project with her fairly early version of Photoshop Elements.  She asked me if there was anything she could do to make her  background color not look so flat.  She wanted some pzazz.  "That's easy," I say as I introduce her to filters.  As I'm talking her through the steps I'm actually putting the filter on the plain grey background I had on my brother's announcement.  The above is the product and I think it looks pretty darn cool.  That's when I had an idea.

*Cue Basic Adobe Photoshop Tutorial*

Why not teach everyone how I got this textured background, aka... Conte Crayon?

Step 1:  Choose your colors.  I chose a light grey for the top layer and white for the color that peeks through.

Step 2:  Draw a rectangle, with your rectangle tool, that covers the entire page.  Before you can make adjustments you may need to "rasterize" your shape.  The layer will probably look something like the photo above it this is the case.  

How to Rasterize:
                Option 1:  Right Click on the blue area of the layer.  It should pop up
                                            a pull down menu with the option to "Rasterize Layer"

                Option 2:  On your top menu you should have a pull down titled "Layer"
                                Once you find this  you find the following: "Rasterize" "Shape"

Now you should be ready to edit your rectangle.

 Once again go to your top pull down menus.  Find the "Filter" menu and hover over the "Sketch" option.  From there you will select,  "Conte Crayon."  This should pull up a screen to show you an example of what you have selected.  Play with the different options on the right like the Foreground and Background.  You can make the pattern scale larger, more pronounced and decide how much of grey and white you will see.  Then select "Ok"  When you are done.

That's it.  Your background now has some Pzazz.

Be sure to check back here for more basic Adobe Photoshop tutorials and if you have any questions in particular please don't hesitate to contact me at  


  1. How adorable Sarah! Love the Baby announcement and pictures. Great tutorial too! Lisa

  2. Yay! I got PSE for my birthday. I'm excited to get a few tips on using it. :)