Word Document of this page

Layered Poster

I Taking the Picture: Try to choose a solid color backdrop, a green or blue table cloth works well, like on weather forecasts on the news. You can also use a solid colored wall.

Think about how to photograph your subject, sitting, standing, reading a book. Do they have a special hobby, interest, subject they teach? Have them give a big smile or a surprised look.

II Open Photoshop Elements and select EDIT

Under FILE select OPEN and find your picture that you wish to edit.

Layers are shown on the right. Layers above will hide layers below, they can be moved around.

The first thing I do is make a duplicate of the image.

Right click on the layer with the picture and select duplicate. You now have 2 identical layers. Click on the lower eye, that will hide that layer. I do this to protect the original picture, in case something goes wrong, I can always go back to the original.

Remove the background on the image using one of several methods.

A. Use the Magic Wand Tool. Click on the background. “Marching ants”
will appear, hit backspace or delete to remove that area. Continue until background is removed.
B. Use Magnetic Lasso Tool. Click sowly and carefully around picture to select the picture.
04_magic_lasso.jpgAt the top click on SELECT / INVERSE.
Click on Backspace or Delete to remove the background

C. Use the ERASER tool to clean up any background left over, or any rough areas. I personally use the Eraser Tool for most of the background removal. It takes time and is the most important part of a successful poster. You can change this tool at the top to have a feather brush, it makes the edge softer.

D. Create a new layer, use the Paint Bucket to give it a color and move it under your image. Then you can see any spots you have missed.

Close the eye on the layer or delete it when your are finished checking for spots.


Color palette, foreground and background. Click on the top color
(foreground color) and select something bright.


  • A few key strokes that make things easier:
  • Ctl + zooms in on the image
  • Ctl – zooms out
  • Ctl 0 (zero) – fits the image in the window
  • [ makes the tool smaller
  • ] makes the tool larger
  • Ctl Z – is undo if you don’t care for what you have just done
  • Ctl D – removes the marching ants
  • Remember that the top layer always shows and will cover the layers below.
  • You can turn a layer on or off with the eye by the layer.
  • Layers can easily be moved around.

III Open a blank document.

Click on Image on the File bar / Image / Resize Image
Enter the width and length you would like for your poster.
Select a high resolution for the image (250-300 dpi). This make a huge file but a nice poster!
Open a BACKGROUND image and a READ image if desired. You can also use the text tool and fonts on your computer to create the logo for the poster.
Select WINDOW at the top, IMAGES , CASCADE so you can see all your files.



Drag your picture, READ file and BACKGROUND onto the poster. Maximize the poster view.

Resize each image to fit. Use the shift key to constrain proportions as you resize. Always hit enter after you resize anything to have the program accept the change.

It's best to make images smaller than the original. When making them significantly larger, they become pixelated or fuzzy.

Make the background slightly blurred to have your reader the focal point of the poster. Select Filter / Blur / Gausian Blur.

Remember that Control Z is undo which you will probably need frequently

Try some special effects on the right. A drop shadow or bevel gives the image some depth.


You can move layers around. If something is hidden, it is

because there is layer on top of it.

Drag it above whatever is hiding it.

Be sure to save the file as a .psd, so it can be edited.

It can then also be saved as a .jpg for printing, which is a smaller file.



Add a border or a frame.

Three ways to create a frame

Simple Border

  1. Select the background layer.
  2. Go to Edit / Stroke (Outline)
  3. Select how many pixel wide the border will be and the color and click on OK.


  1. In a new layer use the rectangular Marquee tool and draw a rectangle about an inch or more from the outside edge.
  2. Go to Select, Inverse.
  3. Use the fill bucket to give the frame a color.
  4. Add an effect, a drop shadow and bevel to make the frame more interesting.

Use a frame included in the program

  1. Click on Window, then Content
  2. In the content area on the right, select one of the frames. Drag the frame onto a new image file. Then insert your picture into the frame.