Preparing your base

The vast majority of bases available online are saved as .gif files. The problem with gifs is that they are limited to a 256 colour palette on a single layer, so before you are able to use all the neat features in PhotoShop Elements, your have to get the base to a point where it's millions of colours & on a layer all of it's own!
1. Save the base from the base creator's site by right-clicking on the image & choosing Save Picture As.

If you use a lot of bases from different sites, it's probably worth saving them into different folders with the base creator's name so that you don't forget who made which.

2. Open PhotoShop Elements.

Open your saved base.

If the base was saved as a transparent gif, the image will have a chequered background, indicating transparency.

3. If the base creator cropped their image, it's probably a little small to work comfortably on.

To correct this, go to Image/Resize/Canvas Size.

You may need to play around with the sizes depending on the size of the base. As a general rule, I like to leave myself with about 50 pixels around each size.
Under Anchor, click in the middle to centre the base on the canvas.

Click on OK to action the changes.

4. Your base should look something like this. 5. Now we need to increase the colour depth as it is currently set to 256 colours.

Go to Image/Mode & select RGB Color.

6. I always prefer to work on a doll with a white background, I find the little grey & white squares a little distracting.

Create a new layer underneath the base layer called Background.

7. Click on the Flood Fill Tool. 8. Locate where on the screen it shows your foreground colour.

9. Set your foreground colour to white by clicking on it & using the settings shown above.

10. Click on the image to flood fill the background layer white. 11. Now, we want to save this base in a format that will keep the layers so that we don't have to do this again.

Go to File/Save As.

The file type PhotoShop (*.PSD;*.PDD) is selected default. This is fine as it is the native image format & will preserve layer information.

Give your image a name & press Save

Your base is now ready for use!
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