This tutorial demonstrates how to create photographic cut-outs (or collages), using Photoshop Elements’ Cookie Cutter Tool.
Cookie Cutter Note
The Cookie Cutter Tool crops a photograph into a shape of your choice selected from the Cookie Cutter’s Custom Shape Library. After you have dragged the shape over your photograph, you can Move, Rotate and Resize the Bounding Box until you have just the area you want positioned inside your chosen Shape.
The Cookie Cutter Tool is an excellent and quick way of creating collages from multiple photographs.
To work along, you are welcome to download the Clouds Start Image I am working with Here. Unzip the file and open the image onto Photoshop Elements’ workspace: File then Open - (Ctrl/Cmd then O).
You can step backwards at any time by clicking the top menu’s Undo Tool.
To centralise your photograph - snap it to the top menu’s orange horizontal line, by dragging your photograph towards it.
Elements 11, 12, 13, 14 & 15 - Tool Options Palette positioned at the bottom of the workspace. Although the palettes have been redesigned the tools work in more or less the same way.
Now, from the left-side Toolbar, activate the Cookie Cutter Tool (Q).
And from the Cookie Cutter’s Options Bar, click open the Cookie Cutter’s Custom Shapes Library, then left-click to activate a shape of your choice - as illustrated below.
Feathering softens the edges of the cropped image so that the edges fade out and blend into the background.
Now, hover your cursor over the photograph (the clouds): then left-click and draw a shape over it, as illustrated below.
Constrain The Shape’s Proportions
Pressing the Shift Key as you draw the shape constrains its proportions.
As soon as you release your mouse button, the cut-out will be complete and your Layers Palette will change to the following.
Reposition, Resize And Rotate Tip
By gently tugging the tiny handles that are attached to the large Vector Transformation Bounding Box, (one at a time), you can resize, reposition or swivel the cut-out shape to your liking.
When you are completely happy with your shape’s size and position, complete the change by clicking the following Commit tick.
(Alternatively, press Enter/Return to finish the cropping).
Cancel The Crop
If you want to cancel the cropping operation, click the Cancel button.
(Alternatively, press your Keyboard’s Esc Key).
Feather Setting Set To 4 Example
3/ Apply A Drop Shadow
From the top menu, choose Layer then choose Layer Style then choose Style Settings. From the subsequent Style Settings dialogue box, click a tick into Drop Shadow, set the attributes of your choice, then click OK.
Apply A Texture: Optional Tip
From the top menu, choose Filter then choose Texture then choose Texteriser. From the subsequent dialogue box, enter the settings of your choice, then click OK.
Texture settings are dependent on your photograph’s Resolution; and therefore need to be adjusted according to its size (Resolution).
Create A Fill Layer Tip
Creating a Fill Layer, as demonstrated here, lets you fill the Transparent Background with either a Sold Colour, Pattern or Gradient of your choice.
Alternative to creating a Fill Layer, you can retain the cut-out’s Transparency by saving it as a Transparent Gif.
Congratulations, your cut-out conversion is complete, and is ready to save.
Now you are familiar with this technique, you can have lots of fun converting your favourite photographs into cut-shapes of your choice - or creating collages from multiple photographs.
Wendi E. M. Scarth. Top of Page.