Here's a little tutorial with all the information you need to create sketch templates than can be used with the Quick Layouts tool in FxFoto. The templates may be made with any photo editing software including FxFoto and you may find it very easy to just add an FxFoto friendly page to all your current sketch template kits.
In case you haven't used the Quick Layouts tool in FxFoto, it lets users drag and drop papers into a sketch template. The papers and photos are automatically cropped and placed in the page so they are layered without having to learn about using layers. It makes it very easy to create a layout. Elements and embellishment may be added by simply clicking on them and then arranging them on the layout. Text is added in the usual FxFoto way - open a text box and then move it to where ever you want on the page. If you have never seen Quick Layouts in action, there is a video tutorial on the FxFoto website - Creating Layouts Part 3 - Sketch Templates.
So here are the "rules" - not really rules, more like guidelines....
FxFoto uses color matching to drop papers so if a template has the same color in two different areas, the program will drop the same paper in both areas. For example, in this template by Jen Caputo (available at The Digi Shoppe) dark gray is used in several areas.
Since all the dark grays are the same color, here is what happens when I drop a red paper into one of them:
Design-wise you may well want the same paper in multiple ares of you template. But if not, the colors need to be different. You can go wild with the colors or make them more subtle - it's up to you. When I re-color templates, I tend to recolor every piece because I might want to make the different parts different colors. Okay - I will admit to being a bit of a scrapping control freak - lol! But that is just me and you know your customers better than I do.
Here is the way I might recolor it. I could always drop the red paper into every other ray to make a repeating patter or I could make every ray a different piece of paper.
On each paper and photo block there need to be distinct edges. Otherwise FxFoto can't see where the photo block or paper ends and will flood the adjacent areas with the photo or paper. And the edges should not be feathered or blurred.
Let me show you what I mean. A picture being worth a thousand words and all! A big thank you to Cheryl McCain of The Scrapping Garden for graciously letting me use one of her templates as an example. Cheryl was one of the first designers to create templates specifically for use in FxFoto and this template is from her More Than One collection.
In the template above, the right hand photo block is open to the background which is the same color as the photo block. Below, I've circled the area that is open and enlarged it so you could see it better:
Now here is what happened when I put a photo in the right block. It flooded into the background because there is no edge. It is kind of a cool effect but not if what you really want is two photos on a paper background.
Now if I just draw a line to close the box like this:
Then the photos end up as two photos, as they should.
Which brings up another guideline...
They don't have to be square or rectangular but for multi-photo sketch templates, the photo boxes
should be different colors.
Text and Titles
The users of FxFoto will really appreciate if if you don't have writing or journaling lines on the template. Otherwise they may have to first erase the text before using the template. A preview is a great place to note where a title and text should go.
What works best in FxFoto is a TIFF file (sometimes called a TIF or TFF file) because repeated saving of the image will not degrade the quality. A PNG file will work too but if possible, it is best to avoid having your templates as JPEGs. What doesn't works is a PSD file since it is specific to Adobe products. You can find a brief discussion on file types and some of the pros and cons in What's the difference between JPG, GIF, PNG and BMP? What what about TIFF and RAW?"
If you are working in FxFoto software to create templates, the following steps will let you save your template as a TIFF rather than a JPG. JPG is the default file type but in FxFoto you can save as a PNG or TIFF easily. Click on Save and then choose Save As Image. When you get to the dialog box below, choose the folder where you would like to save your template. Now click on the down arrow next to the box marked Default to open the drop menu which you can see below:
In the menu choose TIFF and then click Finish. In case you are wondering, CMYK TIFF refers to a special file type that is used in the publishing world, where CMYK determines the colors. I would not suggest using CMYK TIFF for a sketch template because it is very large.
So, in brief,
- Use different colors for each shape
- Close your shapes with an edge
- Colors for photo blocks
- Leave writing off the template
- Save as TIFF or PNG file