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How to create a Basic Cluster

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How to create a Basic Cluster

Hello Everyone! Monica here, today we are going to be talking about basic clustering. Yes there are many ways to do it and you can get super fancy doing it but I am just going to show you the basics. For this tutorial I’ll be using Photoshop CS 6. I will be using *Field Day Kit and Field Day Word Art* By Connie Prince.


What are clusters? Clusters are a grouping of many elements together. They enhance your page and give your page depth. You can use flowers, leaves, ribbons, string, buttons and many other elements to create a cluster. You can even add cut outs of papers to your cluster. I will show you how I like to make and shadow them and you can build on that! A good rule to remember is to use an odd number of elements in your cluster.

Step One – Getting started

To get started you will want to open your kit and see what elements you want to use. Once you have an idea of what you want to use put them on your layout. I am starting with just a solid paper from the kit so that you can see how I work my cluster.


Now I have added my elements. It looks like a mess but once we arrange them you will see my vision!


Step Two – Arranging your Cluster

I am going to create a cluster around a frame so that I can frame a photo with a cluster. But you don’t have to. I need to move my frame to the back because I’m going to cluster on top of it so I simply drag it down on my layers pallet or I can hit control + shift + [ to send it to the back once I have the frame highlighted.


Now I am going to rotate, resize and duplicate the leaves to the size and placement I want them. I am also going to move them to just above the frame layer. When you are resizing elements remember to NEVER make them larger. If you do that you will loose the resolution the designer has made them and they will start looking pixilated.

I have resized the leaves to 60%


Now I am going to arrange my flowers on top of my leaves. I will also shrink them some. I have resized the flowers to 82%


Now I am going to move the coater to behind the frame so that it shows behind the flowers and leaves. I have also resized it to 90%


For the scatter I want it going up the side of the frame to give a bit more height to the cluster.


I want the strings around the flowers. So I moved them into place.


Now for the bow and the button. I want the button on the top of the yellow flower so that all of the flowers look like they match. So I have resized it to 78% and rotated it some. I have moved the ribbon behind the flowers and above one of the strings and rotated it slightly.


Now that I have my cluster the way I want it I want to resize the frame jut a bit so it’s a tad smaller than it is. I have resized it to 90% and adjusted the scatter so it is not sticking too far above the frame.


Now I am going to move the cluster to the center of my page so I can add some shadows.


Step Three – Shadowing

You want to keep in mind that the elements closest to the page are not going to have a huge shadow because they are sitting on the page.! Also any element that is flat, like paper or frames, will not have a large shadow because they are thin. The ticker elements like beads, buttons, flowers, leaves and strings are going to have more of a shadow because they stand off of the page or are very thick. Now my shadows are my preference. You can use what ever you like. This is just a guide.

So for the coaster and the frame I am going to add a small shadow.

Here are the setting I used.


Here is what the Shadow looks like on the Coaster.


These are the settings for the Frame I used.


Here is what the Shadow looks like on the Frame.


For the leaves and flowers, since they sit on top of the coaster and the frame they are going to be thicker.

Here are my settings for the leaves.


Here is what the Shadowing looks like on the leaves.


Here are my settings for the flowers.


Here is what the Shadowing looks like on the flowers.


Now for the Ribbon Here are the settings I used.


Here is what the Shadowing on the Ribbon looks like.


Now for the Scatter and the Strings.

The scatter will not have a large shadow because it is not a very thick object.


Here is what it looks like.


Now the strings I see them in my head to stand off the page a bit.


Here is what the shadow looks like.


Final thoughts

Now that you can see how basic clustering and shadowing work you can make anything! Just remember to look at the elements as you would in real life. If an object in real life is thick you will want to make sure your shadow suit’s the object. As with all clustering you can do as much or as little as you would like. You can cluster in the corner of a page or up the side. Behind photos or in front! You can use multiple frames or no frames! There really is no right or wrong way!

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial! If you have any questions please message me on Gotta Pixel, I’m sparky_mom there! I’ll be glad to help!

Here is my finished page!


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