View Full Version : Clustering~ Tutorial

05-05-2010, 07:41 PM
Do you want to learn how to cluster! If you need the basics on how to make a LO (layout) - Please look at Jen's Tutorial on the Basics.
I use Photoshop CS - but you can take these and try to apply them to whatever software you use. Most programs have similar tools.
Ask for help if you need it! Remember there is no such thing as a stupid question!

So now on to the tutorial

I am doing this LO with a very fun and funky kit called Boy Meets Girl- By our very own Scrappy Cocoa.
http://www.gingerscraps.net/shopcart/bmz_cache/9/9b5a3b5838b4225be70b8f5e0a9417ba.image.550x550.png (http://www.gingerscraps.net/shopcart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=104)
Of course I took my photo and edited it- using Rachel's tut from week 1.
And then I arranged my photo - my papers- and a few large elements on my page.
I left plenty of "white space" or empty room. And I also chose a paper that was a plain paper. Not a print. When I plan on making some wonderful clusters- I try to keep my paper toned down. Patterned paper and lots of embellishments can sometimes be too much. And I want to add something to "hold" the photo down- I will "stitch" it on :)

So here is what I have- Step 1-
layers palette for- Step 1-http://www.gingerscraps.net/images/Tutorials/Cluster/1a.jpg

I know from the layout of the page that I will want to build my cluster on the right top corner of the photo. So in order to bring balance to my LO I will place an embellishment in the top -right hand corner of the LO. I just love the little birds in this kit and I wanted a little perch for my bird- so I used the photo prong, re-sized my bird and perched him right up there.
Now I have the basic composition of my LO- Lets check to see if I have good flow with a few basic tips.

*TIP* The Triangle Rule-
The visual triangle rule- Triangles pull all of the items together, while pairs or groups of 4 will separate them into sections. Your eye will follow a visual triangle - this will make the layout have an over all pleasing to the eye look.

*TIP* The "Z" Rule-
The "Z" rule- To keep a nice flow in your layout place items of interest in a Z patters on your page. Trace an imaginary Z on your LO and follow it. This will make your eye follow the Z and make all points of interest Pop.

*TIP* The Thirds Rule-
If you divide your layout into thirds vertically and horizontally, where those lines meet is generally a good place to put the main focus of your layout.

Remember- These rules are NOT hard and fast rules. They are just helpful little guidelines.
A little side note- See how my mini cluster also follows the triangle rule- The bird, perch, and glitter make a triangle.

Now lets get started building the main cluster-

*TIP* Be Odd!
When adding embellishments- odd numbers tend to look better. Like 1, 3, or 5 buttons.

*TIP* Be a CopyCat
Again for the sake of nice flow duplicate embellishments- Like if you have one large circle- have one smaller circle somewhere else on your page.

I like to start my clustering with the largest piece of the cluster first- then I build around it.
In this LO the largest part of my cluster is this blue ribbon.

To bring a little more body to this ribbon I am going to add a ribbon flower under it- and then re-size it to make it look like the bow is tied on top of the flower ribbon.

OK- so lets see, Lets use the Be Odd tip- I will add two more ribbon flowers- to have a total of 3 ribbon flowers.

Now I want some buttons- I am going to use both tips with my buttons- Be Odd and CopyCat. I will duplicate the blue button. Then re-size it to make it smaller- (so I don't have 2 identical buttons)
And be odd- I will add a stripped button as well- Now I have 3 buttons.

*Quick tip* To quickly duplicate using the move tool- Alt click and hold and drag the element you want to duplicate.

*Quick Tip* While re-sizing hold the shift key!! This is sooo important! Some programs this is not needed but others (like PhotoShop CS series) if you don't hold down shift you item will end up looking distorted.

Again I am using other tips to add some more prongs. Duplicated the orange- but re-sized it, then added 2 green (in different sizes) and one very small brown prongs. To make a total of 5 prongs.

Now I have a few spots that look a bit empty- I will Be Odd and just add 1 of a few embellishments. A photo corner- and a paper flower/ circle.
And I will be a CopyCat and copy the glitter trail from my mini cluster up in the top corner.

Look at my LO now. Almost done :)

I need to add a title- some journaling and the date.
Here is my completed Layout!
layers palette- I know it is hard to see, but it gives you an idea of how many layer there are.
And a few close ups:



So remember-

At least 2 clusters (one main and one mini)
Composition tips ("z", triangle, or thirds)
Be Odd
Be a CopyCat

I hope you learned something :)
If you have questions ask me :) If you use this tut to make a LO please post a link so we can all go check it out.

I can't wait to see your Layouts!!!
Now Get Busy!!!!:drop:

05-11-2010, 02:12 AM
YEAH!!! I struggle with clustering all the time!!! Thanks soooo much for sharing!!!

05-11-2010, 04:34 AM
Great tutorial! Wow!
I love clustering.

06-26-2010, 02:35 PM
Thank you SOO much for this tutorial ~ I always struggle with clusters and this will make it so much easier!

06-26-2010, 06:10 PM
Your so very welcome! :)

07-06-2010, 03:31 AM
I just came across this! This is a wonderful tutorial for clustering! I know I have a hard time with clustering so this will definitely help!!

08-06-2010, 09:09 AM
im so glad to have found your tutorial (thanks to Hummie's World for pointing me in your direction)! page design and clustering have forever stumped me...so iv resorted to the QP and frame cluster freebies i find online(posted by generous designers). thank you breaking down the steps and illustrating the "rules" beautifully! maybe i wouldnt be too scared to make my own clusters in the future. please lemme know if you other tutorials, (through ava_zambian@yahoo.com or LifeAsDinkers.blogspot.com). thank you so much!

08-06-2010, 03:01 PM
Well I am so glad you found it helpful! :)
If you go for it and make your own cluster LO... please share your LO with us! I love to see them :)