Let's Cluster!

Vicki

Designing Ninjas
Staff member
Okay, ya'll...I've had multiple requests on help with clustering, so I'm going to attempt a small tutorial. Sorry, no screen shots, I'm not that professional, lol. I have however created my first template to help you get an idea of placement. Let's have a big woohoo for the Vickster! Get it here. I decided to make this template, because that is really a great way to learn. Keep in mind that there are a million ways to approach this skill, but this is the way I do it. Like any skill, it takes practice. Here are the basic principals that I use. Play, play, play and before you know it you'll be clustering like a maniac! Once you get the swing of placement, you will develop an eye for it and can fly on your own. I can't say it enough, practice, practice, PRACTICE!
For me, the basics needed for clustering are: an assortment of long ribbons, strings, foliage, some scatter and a large variety of elements. If I'm looking to purchase a kit and it has all of these, that really blows my skirt up! Just to be clear, this tut is using PSE. Allthough I have CS4, I find that I do 99.9% of my scrapping in PSE, it's just too easy,lol. Open up your photo program, open up your kit, and let's get to clustering! If you're using a template, open it up in your photo program. If not, create a new document at 12 x 12, 300 dpi transparent. Squinch both into a small window. Look in the kit's elements and start dragging interesting stuff into the bin. Heck, sometimes I end up with everything in there! I find it's helpful to start with a light colored background paper, (you can change this later) so find one and drag it into the photo bin. Place your background paper in the document/template. Now let's find the 'bones' of our cluster. I like to start with a long swirly ribbon or foliage. Place in document. Now add some ric-rac(or more ribbon) and some string.Twist, turn and rotate till it looks good. Next, drag in a frame and place it, using the rule of thirds (or on template). Now let's add some stuff! Remember, elements are best clustered in odd numbers(3-5,etc...). When making a frame cluster, i like to use a triangle placement, sometimes it may be really a really woppy one, but it's still a triangle. Here's where it gets tricky, when using the same element over again, remember to change size and rotate. Continue to place your various elements, and then add some scatter behind (scatter is SO cool, and adds the perfect touch!). I don't add shadows until I am through tweaking the placement of everything.
 

crazsquaw

Challenge Master
WOOHOO for the Vickster!!!!!!!!!!!! ;)


The template is a great idea (thanks!), we should post our pages here to show what we have done with it??? ♥
 

Vicki

Designing Ninjas
Staff member
Absolutely excellent idea! Keep in mind that a template is only a guide, if you don't like something, feel free to trash it, have fun and make it yours! :fairy:
 

jenjenjasp

Head Gallery Ninja
good for you, Vicki! i told you this tutorial would be WELL received...by all of us. thank you thank you thank you for sharing your talent with us!
 

Pups_r_Paps

Well-Known Member
Ohhh, thank you for this. I need encouragement to cluster. Love it when a kit has a pre-made one or two!!!! Thanks for the tut and the template.
 
Oh wow, awesome, thank you so much. I am SOOO horrible at clustering, I get far to OCD and overwhelmed, so I need ALL the help I can get.
 

Vicki

Designing Ninjas
Staff member
I was asked if I could explain more about what I meant by triangle placement, so here is a pretty good example. When you start to build your cluster, keep a general triangle shape in mind, or while you're practicing, you could even place a shape in your document and delete it later. Looking at this cluster, you will notice I started out with (3) ferns for the 'bones'. I then added the ribbon bow and (5) assorted flowers. A scattering of the purple flowers added between the ferns and the main flower elements adds the finishing touch. I hope this helps, I'm not very good at writing tuts, so if ya'll have any more questions just give me a holler!
triangleplacementexample.jpg
 
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