Bonus! Free downloadable PicMonkey alignment grid

PicMonkey Alignment Grid
free downloadable

free downloadable picmonkey grid

 

 

You know how in yesterday’s post I was bemoaning the fact that it’s stupidly hard to align and centre objects in PicMonkey because they don’t offer any tools to do so, or any kind of grid? Well, I’ve fixed that! I’ve put together a really simple tool – a grid as a transparent overlay, marked in convenient halves, thirds and quarters. I’m providing this as a FREE DOWNLOADABLE, so use it for yourself with your next project, and/or you are most welcome to share, share away!

 

How to use it.

1. Download your transparent grid HERE, and save it to your computer in an appropriate folder.
Make sure it’s saved as a .png file, so it retains its transparency (saving it as a .jpg will automatically give it a solid white background).

2. Open your background image in Picmonkey.

3. Click on Overlays, and Your Own. Choose the grid (it’s called “picmonkey alignment grid”), and click on Open.

4. Resize to cover your whole image by dragging the corners to the edge of your background image. My grid is square, but if you hold the shift key down while you drag the corners, you can change the proportions so that it will cover rectangles too.

5. If your background image is dark, the grid might not show up very well – no probs, just play with the Colour settings and Blend Mode in the Overlay pop-up box until it’s got the best contrast against your image.

 

picmonkey tute - alignment grid1

Overlay colour set at black shows the true colours of the grid. Some lines on the grid are difficult to see.

 

 

picmonkey tute - alignment grid2

Overlay colour set at white shows the grid much more clearly.

 

6. Add your other elements, and align them with the grid by dragging them around when you see the four-headed arrow, which should appear when you hover over the highlighted object box.

 

picmonkey tute - alignment grid3

 

7. Delete the grid. You should be able to select it by clicking on the solid circle in the bottom right of the grid.
And there you go! Perfectly aligned text.

(p.s…. You can also download my beach pic as a free stock photo, here.)

 

picmonkey tute - alignment grid4

 

How easy peasy was that!? I’m actually a bit gobsmacked that nobody’s thought of making something like this before. But I’ve searched and searched… aaah well. Now it exists! Hooray!

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Now. I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say if you’d like better alignment tools in PicMonkey, then just don’t. Get yourself onto Canva instead. PicMonkey is set up for photo editing (especially photos of people – and it’s fab for this) but not graphics; it’s unlikely they’ll be adding any alignment tools anytime soon. Canva, on the other hand, is specifically set up for graphics; it has a fabulous ‘snap’ functionality which allows you to have text and images that line up perfectly, every time. It also allows you to put in your own guidelines, display grids, and you can display the pixel position of any element. And it’s free. Yes, there are some things it can’t do (the paid version has more functionality of course), but there are workarounds to just about every shortcoming.

I’ve been teaching people how to use Canva over the past year or so (and no, I’m not affiliated with Canva in any way; I just want people to make better graphics). If you’re interested, my free 5-day challenge to ‘Conquer Canva’ is starting again soon. It’s aimed at teaching you the tech, as well as the design skills you need to create great graphics, so you don’t have to waste time learning everything by trial and error, AND you learn how to create beautiful images your audience responds to and loves. You can find out more about it here – bit.ly/ConquerCanva4.

See you there?

Julie XX

 

Small biz how-to: Make product labels with PicMonkey

Another tutorial on PicMonkey? Yes yes of course! Because it’s easy and it’s free and you can do fabulous things with it for your business 🙂 In this one, I get to grips with making beautiful packaging, as presentation is another indispensable tool for grabbing your customers’ attention and making them fall in love with you.

So without further ado, here’s how to make product labels with PicMonkey.

 

DIY labels

DIY labels with PicMonkey

 

I wanted something a bit more modern than retro, which means I need something clean, flat and fresh. One minimalist trend at the moment is to layer a white shape over a pattern, so I started with this pattern in fresh, clear colours.

 

watermelon stars by tractorgirl

watermelon stars by tractorgirl, made using colourlovers.com

 

 

There are several websites you can download patterns for free – but as always, check the licencing! Some are free only for personal use and not available for commercial purposes. I didn’t want to bother with all of that, so I made my own pattern in ColourLovers, which is also a free online program (and VERY fun!).

 

Step 1. How big does your image need to be?

SO! There’s a bit of maths involved here, but don’t panic. Just make sure you measure and double check everything before you print, so you get the size you’re after. Take it slowly and write it all down logically so you don’t confuse yourself.

Print quality is something you need to consider – a good quality print is at 300dpi (dots per inch), although an OK result can be achieved at 150dpi. What this means is that for an A4 sheet of paper printed at 150dpi, your total image needs to be 1240 pixels x 1754 pixels, and for the same A4 printed at 300dpi, your image needs to be 2480 pixels x 3508 pixels.

How many labels are you going to print onto your sheet? If you’re printing at 150dpi and there are 2 across the page and 3 down, each label image needs to be about 620 pixels by 584.  If you’re going to buy printable sticky labels, the sheets are already precut into various sizes so that will dictate the image size you need to work with.

 

Step 2. Getting it to the right size

Go into Picmonkey, click on Edit and load up your background pattern. Go into Crop, and get your image to the size you want – either by using Crop, which will cut the edges off, or with Resize, which will simply shrink your image.

 

Step 3. Designing your label

Here’s the simple and fun part! Go into Overlays. Choose whether you want a simple Geometric, or something a bit fancier – scroll down PicMonkey’s list to find Labels and Banners. Click on the one you want, and resize it by dragging the corners.  The default colour is black, but that’s easy to change by adjusting the colour in the pop-up box – I’ve changed mine to white.

Centre your circle (or label shape) within your image. There are no specific tools in PicMonkey to do this (booo PicMonkey – this is a basic thing!), but you can either do it by temporarily overlaying a grid (you’ll have to upload one of these yourself as an Overlay, set the Fade to 50%, align what you need and then delete the grid layer), or by simply by grabbing the nearest ruler out of your kid’s pencil case and measuring the screen.
****Update! I’ve made a transparent grid to help you do this. It’s yours for free here! ****
Don’t try and do it by eye unless you’re a ninja.

Next, pop in your text. Go into Text, click on Add Text, then choose your font/s (I’ve used a PicMonkey font for most of it (Special Elite), and Goblin for tractorgirl, which is a font loaded on my computer). Then click in the box that appears on your image and add in whatever you need – item name, ingredients, etc.

 

tractorgirl - picmonkey tute

 

Finally, flatten your image by clicking on the Combine icon, second from the right on the top of the screen, or simply just hit Save. Name your file, choose the best image Quality (“Sean”) on the right, and then hit Save to My Computer.

 

For the next part, you’ll need to close that image (click on the cross at the top right); PicMonkey will drop you back to the main page.

 

Step 4. Getting your collage sheet to the right size

Click on Collage, and then it will ask you to choose a photo to upload. Choose your label image.

Go into Layouts, and choose the 3 x 3 in Square Deal – we’ll change the dimensions next.

You’ll see the dimensions listed underneath the collage grid. Make sure the proportions aren’t locked – the little lock icon should be grey (click on it to lock – it will show blue). So for A4 at 150dpi, click on the left-hand dimension (width) and put in 1240, and on the right (height), put in 1754.

 

Step 5. Getting the right number of cells and adding images

Click on the Images icon on the top of your left sidebar – it will already show your label image. Click on Open Photos, and add in your label image again – keep on adding in as many copies as you need to fill your page.

If you’ve got too many collage cells (e.g. I just want 2 across and 3 down), just hover over empty cells until the cross appears in the corner and click on that. If you need to add in some more cells, drag one of your label images over and hover in between cells – a blue area will be highlighted where the new cell will be. (If you’re not sure how big/where the new cell will be, drag your image around to different areas of the collage to see what happens with the cell position.)

 

Drag your images one by one over to the empty cells and presto! A page of perfectly sized labels to print.

 

tractorgirl - picmonkey tute - label collage3

 

And as before, when you save your image, do so at the best quality (“Sean”) – every little loss of information from your image means lower print quality. Your products are worth the best, aren’t they!?

 

(p.s. you can download my pattern Watermelon Stars to use as you wish for free! And you can even recolour it. Here.)

 

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Did you like that one? Not too hard really, was it? 😀

If you’ve got any problems, tricky issues or any other questions about PicMonkey, or about labelling your products, I’d love to know! Hit me up with a comment below.

AANNNDDDD…. What would you like to know next? Would you like to have a tutorial about how to make neat-o patterns in ColourLovers? Because that’s awesome fun too. Suggestions please!!!

 

All my best always,
Julie X

 

Small biz how-to : Using Picmonkey to make a retro-style meme for your blog

tractorgirl - picmonkey tutorial

 

Seen all those great memes about these days? Those ones you keep pinning on Pinterest and sharing on Facebook? Yeah, them! They’re a great way to drive traffic to your blog, and they’re easy to make on PicMonkey – a free online image editor, where you can get fabulous-looking images for absolutely nix (although there is a paid version with heaps more features too).

(And even if you don’t need a meme like this, there are plenty of other things you can make with PicMonkey! Stick with through this tutorial and I guarantee you’ll learn something useful.)

In this online world, good images are vital to grab your crowd’s attention. If you’re writing a blog, or you need a new banner for your Etsy shop or Facebook, or any one of a million other applications, PicMonkey is loaded with preset filters, overlays and frames so that it’s perfect for those of you who are less tech-savvy and/or don’t wish to pay for Photoshop to get something that looks good. Of course it’s not endlessly flexible in the same way that Photoshop is, and it does have a few issues, particularly the constant stream of ads (not in the paid version) which tends to slow its performance (quite noticeable with my slow internet connection). Overall however, it’s a great starting point.

 

IMPORTANT: before you start ANY image editing,
you need to decide what kind of “look” you’re after
.

 

Do not just get in there and start clicking, as (a) you’ll spend waaaay too much time getting to the end; and (b) even worse, you will most likely end up with a visual mess. For this one, I’ve gone for a bit of a distressed, vintage look that is pretty popular these days. So, I’ll use stuff like sepia-tone, add in some texture, and use a hand-drawn style font. Let’s get started.

 

Step 1. Getting an image

If you’ve got a great image of your own, go for it! If you don’t, there are plenty of sites that offer free stock photos, such as Unsplash, GetRefe, or NewOldStock.

 

I have also started offering up some of my own photos as free stock images, and you can browse through them here.

 

So, go to PicMonkey.com, and open your image of choice. I’ve used my pic It’s a big wide world out there.

 

picmonkey 1

 

Step 2. Sepia and colour spot

tractorgirl.com.au - picmonkey tutorial

 

tractorgirl.com.au - picmonkey tutorial

 

Go into Effects and click on Sepia. It will immediately turn your image into an entirely sepia photo. You can use the Fade slider to adjust the amount of sepia over the whole image, or, you can remove the sepia on the parts you choose with the Paint brush tool. Set the size of the brush large to erase out the bulk of the sepia. Then, zoom in to your image, using either the zoom tool on the bottom right of your screen, or if you’ve got a scroll wheel on your mouse, you can use that.

Make your brush smaller, so you can use it to erase the sepia from the details.

You can “grab” the picture and move around by holding down the space bar and the left button on your mouse simultaneously.

 

Step 3. Add some texture

tractorgirl.com.au - picmonkey tutorial

 

Picmonkey has a variety of textures you can add to your pic – you’ll find them under Textures in the left-hand sidebar. But to add your own, you’ll need to go into Overlays, and click on Add Your Own. Upload your file. It’ll show up tiny on your screen, but just resize it by dragging the corners and sides out until it covers your photo.

In the Overlay pop-up box, adjust the Fade to where you’d like (usually around 85% is good). If you’d like to get rid of the texture on some of your image (in this case, I’d like to make the toys ‘pop’ a bit more), click on Eraser in the Overlay pop-up box. Zoom in so you can work on the details, and use the little box on the bottom right to move your picture around.

 

tractorgirl.com.au - picmonkey tutorial

 

Step 4. Flatten your image

When you added the Overlay, that meant that you are now working with two layers. You can have lots of layers if you like, which makes it super easy to move stuff around and put it exactly where you want. However, when you have more than two layers directly above each other you have to click exactly on the thing you wish to move, and this can be a bit tricky if you want to move text around for instance – it just doesn’t have a lot of surface area to grab.

So, for me to add my text overlay and try and get it in the right spot I’ve got two choices – either move the other layer out of the way so the text is the only thing to grab, or else simply flatten the image before I move onto the next step. To flatten, click on the icon at the top of the screen.

 

tractorgirl.com.au - picmonkey tutorial

 

Step 5. Adding text

To go with our retro-distressed look, we need to choose a font with a bit of texture, and to go with the simplicity of the image, an uncomplicated font as well. Like in the image above, choose Text on the left sidebar, click on your font of choice (I’ve chosen Chelsea Market), then click on Add Text. Your text box will appear in the middle of the screen, as well as the pop-up for the text options such as colour, size, left/centre/right justification, etc.

The more you type, the taller your text box will become; but you can change the width of it by hovering over the side until the double-headed arrow and triple lines appear, then just click and drag to your preferred width. I’ve also centre-justified my text, and changed the colour with the hex code – that’s the 6-digit code in the top right corner of the options box (see image above).

***STOP PRESS***
To align the text box in the image, you can use this handy transparent grid I made, here!

I want to also add my name to this image, so click on Add Text again to get another text box. This time, I want to use a font on my own computer, so click on Yours in the box above the list of font choices, and it brings up all the fonts I’ve installed. Unfortunately, Picmonkey seems to mangle a couple of them in the process, so keep an eye out for that when you’re choosing your own. Goblin is still there, so that’s good. Same as I do for all my branding, I pick out a letter or two and change the colour.

 

tractorgirl.com.au - picmonkey tutorial

 

Step 6. Add dark edges

Easy peasy. Go back to Effects in the left sidebar, and scroll down to Dark Edges. Fiddle about with the Size, Intensity and Colour until you’re happy.

 

Step 7. Add a circle under the text

Taking a good look at the image, I think the text at the top is a bit difficult to read with the clouds underneath, so I have decided to put a white circle underneath it.

 

tractorgirl.com.au - picmonkey tutorial

 

Click on Overlay, and in Geometric, click on the circle. Resize it, and change Colour 2 to white (Colour 1 is a line option around the edge, and the default is transparent). Then right-click on the circle, and other options will come up; choose Send Backward. This will drop it one layer, and put it behind the text. (Send to Back will make it the very lowest layer, just above the base photo.) I’d also like the circle a bit translucent so that the clouds show through, so I set the Fade to around 40%.

The last thing to do is to tweak the size of the text so that it fits inside the circle;

et voilà!

 

tractorgirl - picmonkey tutorial

 

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Did you like this tutorial? I’ll be doing another one shortly on making a banner for your Etsy shop, which will also include a style guide and other groovy pointers, but I’d love to hear what you’d like. Is there something specific, for instance your blog header or twitter background that you need to learn how to do? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll get onto it! 

(and don’t forget to join me on the minibus for a regular hit of small biz tips and tricks too) 

Love always,

Julie X