The Dark Hour


Please do not use any of the licensed supplies without purchasing them first.

Scrap kit: TheDarkHour
Tube: Anna Marine 75-3
Font: Asyiela
Masks: 444 and 438 from Package 9
Pattern: TheDarkestHour-Pattern

First off, unzip all supplies.

There are a couple of way to install a pattern in Photoshop CC.

One: You can drag and drop the pattern file into Photoshop when no canvas is open. This will auto add the pattern into your panel.

Two: Window > Patterns
This will open a panel that contains your patterns. You will see that there are a few already there. You can just ignore these. Maybe they will come in handy later.

Up in the top right corner of the panel, you will see 4 vertical lines. Click on that and choose “Import Patterns…”

Now navigate to the pattern that you unzipped at the beginning of the tutorial. Open those and they will be added to your panel.

We will come back to these later.

Open the mask you would like to use.  You don’t have to use the one I have chosen.

Select > All
Edit > Copy
Select > Edit in Quick Mask Mode
Edit > Paste
Select > Edit in Quick Mask Mode (uncheck)
Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection
Layer > Layer Mask > Apply
Layer > Matting > Remove Black Matte
Right click the layer thumbnail in the layers panel
Select Pixels
Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection
Layer > Layer Mask > Apply
Save this as a .psd on your desktop (or wherever you want)

Open a new canvas.  I always use 800×800 pixels.  Be sure your resolution is 72 Pixels/Inch. This keeps your tag at web viewing standards.

I usually add a color fill layer to the tag so it is easily changed should I use it on a different color website.  Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color…
White usually works with most websites.

You can drag and drop items straight from your file browser into the canvas. This makes it faster to place items.

Browse to the mask that you just saved in your computer’s file browser.
In this case, I am using AoRK-Mask-444 first, and AoRK-Mask-438 on top of that. 
Drag it onto your tag. Don’t forget to set the Transformation by double clicking the layer on the canvas, or clicking the checkbox at the top of the window. Or you can just hit enter. wink

Next, choose the paper you would like to use on your mask. Drag the paper onto the canvas above the masks.
I am using AoRK_DH-Pap21.jpg on top of AoRK-Mask-444. I am using AoRK_DH-Pap16.jpg on top of AoRK-Mask-438.

Now you have 4 layers in your layers panel. (because I totally needed to tell you that)

In your layers panel, right click on the paper layer and choose Create Clipping Mask. Do this for both mas/paper combos.

That’s it! How easy is that?

Your layers panel should look something like this:

Now, time for the elements! This is where the real magic begins.

Instead of telling you exactly where to put what and what size to use, I am just going to show you a animated image of what I did. This way, you can create your own version of the tag without doing exactly what I have done.

When placing your elements, you can transform them again by going to Edit > Free Transform. Just be sure you hold the shift key to constrain the proportions.

As you can see, it is pretty random.  I just place the items where I think they might work.

You will see that some of the elements aren’t that sharp. Let’s fix that.

Highlight the layer you want to sharpen. In this case, I am going to do the Rose and the Piano.

Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask.

Let’s sharpen it just a little more…
Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen

For the piano layer, I only used the Unsharp Mask, since that sharpened it just enough.

You can really see a difference!

Now, back to the frame element layer. You have a frame, right? If not, you can skip this part.  We need to add a fill layer to the picture frame.

Highlight the layer UNDER the frame in your layers panel.  Now drop the paper you would like to use onto the canvas.
I am using AoRK_DH-Pap10.jpg

Grab your selection wand from the tools panel.  If you can’t find it, check out the basics page for a better understanding of the tools layout.

The Selection Wand options should look like this at the top of your window:

Highlight the Frame layer.
Click on the center portion of the frame.
In the upper menu of Photoshop, click on Selection > Modify > Expand…
Expand your selection by 2px.
Now highlight your paper layer. 

Go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection.

Now you have a fill to your frame. Easy Peasy!

We definitely want to add some shadows to our elements.  Without shadowing, the tag will just look flat. The secret to a good tag, is a good shadow effect.

Right click (or ctrl+click) a layer and choose “Blending Options.”
I add a drop shadow and an outer glow.  The glow enhances the effect a bit.

Now after you have hit OK, right click the layer again and choose “Copy Layer Style.”
Highlight all of your element layers (click the top one, then shift + click the bottom one) and right click again.  This time, choose “Paste Layer Style.”

It makes a HUGE difference to add shadows:

As you can see, the very bottom of the tag has the shadow cut off… Pay close attention to the next instructions!

Highlight all of your element/frame layers. This includes all layers EXCEPT the background, masks, and the papers that are clipped to the masks.

Layer > Group Layers

You can see that little arrow beside the group folder? Click on that to expand the group again.

After you have expanded the group, right click the thumbnail on the bottom-most layer INSIDE the group. Choose “Select Pixels.”

This will add the “marching ants” around that layer’s contents.

Right click the thumbnail of the layer above it and choose “Add Transparency Mask.”

This will include the layer to the selection.

Repeat this for all of the layers inside the group EXCEPT the paper layer inside the mask. When dealing with the paper layer, you must right click on the MASK that is attached to the paper layer in the layers panel (the black and white thumbnail portion). If you choose the paper thumbnail, it will select the entire canvas. We don’t want this…

This is what your selection should look like:

It should go around your elements without including the masks in the background.

Highlight your GROUP layer in the layers panel. Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection

This will remove the selection but add a mask to your group. The group will now hide the shadows outside the boundaries of the elements.

If you would like to add a shadow to the elements, then now you can add it to the group!

Right click the group and choose “Blending Options.”

Choose these settings:


This makes a more subtle shadowing that won’t go outside the bounds of your tag! How neat is that?

Muuuuch better, right?

Now that we have all of that done, time to add the next details.  Tube and text.  Fun!

Choose where you want your tube to be placed.

Now drag and drop your tube onto the canvas. Resize and adjust it to your liking. Always make sure you constrain your proportions while resizing.  Hold the Shift key while you drag the corners.

Be sure to keep enough of the frame visible for our animation to be seen.

You can move it around in the layers panel by simply dragging and dropping.

Add the same drop shadow you did to the other elements. 

Don’t forget your copyright text!

Highlight the group in the layers panel.

Grab your text tool and add the name you would like.  Position it just where you want it. You may need to drag it up out of the layer group in the layers panel. Add a layer style.  This is mine:

This particular tag doesn’t really look right as a jpg, so we are going to skip the part where I tell you to save it as a jpg.

Here’s where it starts getting complicated.

Make sure your Animation Panel is open.  Window > Timeline (or Animation, if you are on earlier versios)

You will need to click the “Create Frame Animation” button. If you do not see this button, please refer to THIS page for more information about the timeline.

Highlight the paper layer that you put inside your frame.

Layer > New Fill Layer > Pattern

This will add the “default” pattern to your tag. Double click on the thumnail of the pattern layer and choose the pattern that you downloaded earlier. If you only see the folder, be sure to click on the little arrow icon to expand the group.

You will now have the downloaded pattern on your tag.

Right click the layer and choose “Create Clipping Mask.”

Duplicate the pattern layer.

Here… here is the complicated part.

Highlight the original pattern layer and go to your animation panel.

Down at the bottom of the panel, you will see a “+” icon. Click this to duplicate the frame.

Make sure you are DEFINITELY on the second frame.

Grab your move tool from the tools panel.

Now… carefully and precisely, use the move tool to move the pattern downward. You will reach a point where the pattern will line up again. Zoom in if you need to!

Once you have it aligned, delete the pattern layer copy. This was only a placeholder so you could line up your pattern properly.

Highlight the first frame in the animation panel again.

At the bottom of the panel, you will see what looks like fading circles. Click on that to set a Tween of the animation.

Tween settings:

Highlight the last frame in your animation panel and then click the little trash can icon at the bottom of the panel.

This should leave you with 15 frames to your tag.

Oh, right!  Don’t forget to set your frame delay.

Highlight all of your frames in the animation panel. Highlight the first frame and then hold shift. Click on the last frame. Now all frames are highlighted.

Click on the little arrow beside the time of the last frame. This will bring up a popup for more “delay” options.

Now you will need to save your animation as a gif file.

In your animation dialog, use these settings:

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial! If you would like to have another tutorial with something specific, them please let me know by using the contact form of this site.