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Step-by-step examples of creating sticker templates

Creating a basic sticker template

Let’s create a sticker template that will add a sunglasses sticker to a user photo (into the eyes area). You can download graphics for this sample template here. The resulting template can be downloaded here.

Open the Template Creator. Select File menu > Create Project.

New Project window will open. Select the Sticker template type and New PSD document. Then set the path to your project.

It is important to select the correct template type. A peculiarity of sticker templates is that a user photo is never cropped. Although you can also add stickers in other template types, a user photo will not be cropped only if you select the Sticker template type.

The Template Creator will generate the correct structure for a sticker template. Let’s look at the layers arrangement.

You should place graphics for your sticker into the Sticker group.

Each individual sticker that you create in the Template Creator should be placed into a separate group whose name starts with the word ‘Sticker’ (e.g.,Sticker 1, Sticker 2, etc.). If your template contains only one sticker, then the name of the only group can be just ‘Sticker’.

The sticker group contains Rectangle 1 - you need it only to be able to reparse your PSD document in case you forgot to add your sticker graphics into the sticker group. It should be deleted as soon as you’ve added your graphics into the sticker group.

All layers a sticker consists of are rasterized inside its group. You can apply a blending mode to a sticker group (see the list of blending modes), but you cannot apply masks to it. Masks can only be applied to graphics inside a sticker group.

The smart object - SQ Frame Region (Do Not Delete!) [uv] - is used for technical purposes only. You can also put test photos inside the Smart Object to try them with your template in Photoshop.

Place the prepared layer with sunglasses into the group named ‘Sticker [uv]’. Delete Rectangle 1.

If there is not enough room in the canvas for the sunglasses layer, expand the canvas so that you could fit the sunglasses graphics in.

Technically, you could leave the canvas size as is, downsizing the graphics layer instead. However, downsizing a sticker in the PSD document may lead to loss in quality during its automatic scaling or creating subsizes.

Now head back to the Template Creator and reparse the PSD document.

When reparsing the PSD document, the Template Creator will pop up a message saying that unused stickers have been found and will ask you if you want to create Rasterization filters for them. Click Yes (it will become clear later why this filter is necessary).

The panel on the left will now display the sunglasses sticker.

Let’s now position the sticker. Technically, a sticker positioning is performed with the help of the Rasterization filter: its parameters define the sticker position and scaling size.

To access the parameters of sticker positioning in the Template Creator, right-click the ‘Sticker [uv]’ layer to open the context menu, then select Edit rasterization > SQ Frame Region (Do not delete!) [uv] > Rasterization ‘Sticker [uv]’.

You can also access this dialog if you choose Manage rasterizations… from the same context menu of the sticker layer, or via the Filter settings dialog that can be opened from the context menu of the Frame Region layer.

The sticker position editor will open.

The left part of the window displays sticker settings, while the right part shows preliminary results of its positioning.

Let’s start adjusting the sticker by specifying its center point. In the glasses sticker, it is wiser to position it not in its real center but near the nose bridge.

The initial coordinates of a sticker center point are always x=0; y=0. The reference point is positioned in the geometric center of a sticker image. The x-axis is directed horizontally to the right, and the y-axis is directed vertically upward. The center point is defined by the aim icon on a sticker preview.

Now move the aim marker to the nose bridge area or edit the center point position by changing the Y coordinate to 195. After that, the preview will look as shown below

Note that when you reposition the center point, its position does not change in relation to facial features. Its position changes only relative to the sticker image itself.

Before the center point
has been repositioned
After the center point
has been repositioned

The next step is sticker scaling. Guided by anthropological reasons, it is best to set the scaling size of the glasses sticker relative to the head width. Let’s set the size to 100%.

The sticker scaling size is 100% (of the head width)

The next step after adjusting a sticker center point and its scaling is its positioning.

To position a sticker in a certain face area, you need to select one or several marker points on the face scheme and adjust the force of attraction of the sticker to each of them (at least one marker point must be selected).

The Template Creator offers a set of pre-configured bindings for some typical cases of sticker positioning. These default bindings can be found in a drop-down menu above the face scheme to the right of the marker points check boxes.

These pre-configured settings do not cover all cases of sticker positioning and cannot guarantee quality positioning for all stickers. However, it is advisable to use them as the starting point and then adjust them for a particular sticker.

In this particular case it is better to create a custom binding. Select marker points as shown on the scheme below:

Note that when you select marker points on the scheme they are outlined with lines. The coordinates of the force of attraction aim icon are: X: 0; Y: 20544. This is its default position for the Forehead binding.

You can specify additional marker points inside the resulting polygon, if needed. They will also affect the sticker positioning. In this particular case selecting additional marker points is not needed.

Judging by the previews, the glasses start falling into place.

However, if we have a look at other test photos, we can see that not in all photos the glasses are directly on the bridge of the nose yet:

To place them a little lower, you need to adjust the sticker force of attraction to its marker points.

Pay attention to the aim icon on the face scheme. Contrary to what one might expect, it does not specify the exact place where a sticker will be positioned. The aim icon is used to define and adjust the force of attraction of a sticker center to each specified marker point. The closer is the aim icon to a marker point, the stronger is the force of attraction of a sticker to this point.

You can move this force of attraction aim icon either by using your mouse to drag the icon to the desired position or by entering its coordinates in the corresponding field manually.

The aim icon of the force of attraction is positioned along the horizontal and vertical axes (X and Y). The axes are directed horizontally to the right and vertically upward, respectively. The origin of coordinates coincides with the bridge of the nose marker point.

The Y-coordinate of the the force of attraction aim icon ranges from -40000 to 40000, the X-coordinate ranges from -26800 to 26800. It is allowed to use whole number coordinates only.

Due to such range of coordinates, it is important to understand that changing the aim position by several units will not result in a notable change of a sticker position in photos with small resolution (including the previews in the sticker position editor). However, changes will be notable in photos with big resolution.

For the current template, you should move the aim icon downward as shown in the screenshot below. Its new coordinates should be as follows: X: 0; Y: 12500. When you move the aim icon down, the force of attraction of the sticker center to lateral marker points (on the left and on the right) becomes weaker; at the same time the force of attraction to the lower marker point becomes stronger

Judging by the previews, the glasses sticker is in its proper place now.

Now click OK to save all sticker settings and test the template. You can go back to any step you want to edit sticker settings, if needed.

The resulting template from this section can be downloaded here.

Creating a sticker template with sub-sizes

Experience has proven that the largest user photos processed by templates have 5000 px on the long side. That’s why it is recommended that the sticker original size should be large enough to look good on photos with 5000 px on the long side. For a sticker to look good on smaller photos, you need to create several sub-sizes.

Sub-sizes are usually created by halving the size values. That is, you can create the following sub-sizes for the original size of 5000 px: 2500 px, 1250 px, 625 px. Also, the following set of sub-sizes is commonly used: 3200 px, 1600 px and 800 px. For some templates you may need to experiment with the choice of optimal sub-sizes to achieve high-quality results of user photo processing. The template Creator lets you edit your sub-sizes at any moment.

When a user photo is processed, the closest sub-size is chosen (a bigger or equal size to a given user photo, on the long side). Therefore, if you’ve created a template with 5000 px on the long side and with the following sub-sizes: 3200, 1600 and 800 pixels, they will be applied to different user photos as shown in the table below:

800 px sub-size A photo with the long side up to and including 800 px
1600 px sub-size A photo with the long side ranging from 801 px up to and including 1600 px
3200 px sub-size A photo with the long side ranging from 1601 up to and including 3200 px
Original template graphics (5000 px) A photo with the long side exceeding 3200 px

So, select the Sticker template type in the Template Creator and use the prepared PSD document with a sticker as a PSD document (download it here). The PSD document should be opened before you open the New Project dialogue.

Then, go to the Advanced tab, check the Enable Subsizes checkbox and click the Edit button to open the Subsize Editor.

Use the arrow buttons to the right of the specified size to change its value in increments of 100 pixels. If you need to choose a more specific number (like 1920), you can enter it manually. It is allowed to add up to 5 sub-sizes in a project.

Let’s specify the following sub-sizes in the corresponding block: 800 px, 1600 px and 3200 px.

The next steps are pretty much the same as with other sticker templates.

Reparse the PSD document. The Template Creator will automatically create a set of graphics for each chosen sub-size. A set of graphics with the closest size will be used when processing a user photo.

After you have reparsed the PSD document, you need to position the sticker.

These are recommended position settings:

After you have adjusted all the settings, click OK to save them and close the Sticker position editor.

Then test the template using different test photos. In the upper right corner of the Template Creator there is a checkbox letting you filter photos by size.

When filtering test photos, you can choose filter values that coincide with the sub-sizes specified in your template.

After choosing test photos that match the specified sub-size, you can see results of processing with the specified sub-size.

All test photos have pop-up hints showing the size of the photo in pixels, as well as the sub-size that will be used when processing this photo.

Make sure the sticker is displayed correctly in the template. To do so, apply it to several photos for each sub-size (800, 1600, 3200, original size).

Click the ‘Export Results’ button to save the results and then save the project.

To see the difference between sticker templates created with and without sub-sizes, make a template based on the same PSD document, but without sub-sizes.

Process the same user photos (which you processed with a template that contained sub-sizes) and compare the results:

As you can see, the sticker looks low quality and has jagged edges in a template without sub-sizes.

You can edit / add / remove sub-sizes in your existing sticker templates. To do so, go to the File menu, and select Edit Project.

Make the edits you need in the Sub-sizes Editor dialog and save the changes.

You will be given a message saying that you need to reparse the PSD document.

This has to be done to update the list of sub-sizes and generate the updated resources all over again.

The resulting template from this section can be downloaded here.

Creating a multi-layer sticker template

This section demonstrates how to work with several stickers and blendings. We’ll take the template we created in the previous section as an example.

To add a more realistic look to the template, you should make the glasses lenses transparent. In order to achieve that, it is necessary that your template contains 2 stickers: one with the glasses frame, and the other with the lenses (the Multiply blending mode should be applied to the latter one). These 2 stickers, combined together, will look as a single whole (one-piece sunglasses).

Head to Photoshop, make a copy of the Sticker group and name it ‘Sticker with the lenses’. Then rename the first sticker to ‘Sticker with the glasses frame’.

Add masks to the layers with glasses so that the frame is masked in the first sticker, and the lenses are masked in the second one.

Note that you add masks to layers inside sticker groups. You cannot add a mask to a sticker group.

Apply the Multiply blending mode to the sticker with the lenses.

You can see that the two stickers are of different sizes now, because masks have been added to their layers. The sticker with the lenses is now smaller than the sticker with the glasses frame.

The difference in sticker sizes can potentially cause problems when scaling and positioning the lenses sticker. If the two stickers have different original sizes, you cannot apply the same position and scaling settings to them, in order to combine the glasses frame and the lenses into a single whole.

An example of stickers dissimilation: they do not look like a single whole even with the same settings applied to them.

The solution for the problem described above is combining the stickers into a group of stickers.

Groups of stickers are used to solve complicated tasks related to combining different-sized stickers designed to look like a single whole, like the sunglasses sticker. A group of stickers lets you scale and position grouped stickers as a single whole and spares you the time of adjusting their scale and position separately. All stickers inside one group will have the same unified size.

It is important to distinguish between the two terms: ‘group of layers’ and ‘group of stickers’. A group of layers is comprised of several layers combined in Photoshop into a group with a certain name. Each sticker is represented in Photoshop with its group of layers. A group of stickers is a group without a name that contains stickers whose groups of layers are linked together via the ‘Link layers’ command in Photoshop.

To group stickers together in Photoshop, press and hold the CTRL key, select the needed groups of stickers and right-click one of them to open the context menu. Select the ‘Link layers’ command.

Linking layers and groups of layers in Photoshop has some peculiarities: if you select several groups of stickers using the Shift button, all layers inside them will also be selected (even if groups of sticker layers are collapsed). Thus, the inside of each group (except for the last / lowest one) will be affected, and all contents inside linked layers will be modified.

Alternatively, you can select groups of layers using the Ctrl button, thus their contents will not be affected, and only groups of layers will be linked. Then if you need to move, rotate or scale all of them together, you can do so by selecting only one group of layers. That said, the contents of each particular sticker can be modified individually.

You can learn more about selecting and grouping layers in Photoshop User Guide: https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/selecting-grouping-linking-layers.html

After you have grouped the stickers, head back to the Template Creator and reparse the PSD document. After the document has been reparsed, go to user photo region filters. We already have 2 Rasterization filters - one for the glasses frame and the other for the lenses. Since we have combined the stickers into a group, we can open the position editor for either of the two stickers - all the settings regarding the stickers scale, bindings and the force of attraction will be applied to both stickers.

Now go to the sticker position editor. To do so, click the Position parameter in the first rasterization filter.

You will notice that the name of the dialog is now ‘Sticker group position editor’, not the ‘Sticker position editor’. When you make changes regarding sticker scaling size and positioning, they will be applied to both grouped stickers.

If you hover the mouse over the vertical button on the right named ‘Visibility of the group elements’ you will see the control block that lets you manage grouped stickers.

This block lets you control visibility and blendings for the stickers inside the group. If you switch the parameters on and off, all changes will be shown in the previews.

Judging by the test photos in the sticker group editor, the glasses sticker is positioned and scaled correctly.

Click OK to apply changes and process the test photos. If any edits are necessary, go back to any step you need and make adjustments.

You can download and check the resulting template from this section here.

If you try to re-use a sticker that is already included into a group, a conflict will arise, because a sticker cannot be used both in a group of stickers and individually at the same time.

If you need to use a sticker that is already used in a group of stickers, create its independent copy in Photoshop and work with it individually.

If a conflict of stickers arises, you can solve the problem using the ‘Visibility of the group elements’ control block we talked about earlier. It allows you to switch on/off positioning/scaling, visibility and blending settings of a sticker and a group of stickers that conflict with each other. More information about all possible reasons of conflicts regarding groups of stickers can be found here.

Creating a template with symmetrical stickers

Sometimes you need to position stickers symmetrically relative to the vertical axis of the face.

This can be done in two ways:

Method 1: Place both objects into one sticker and position / scale it only once relative to a marker point on the centre line.

This method does not work properly in cases when the face in a user photo is asymmetric (e.g. due to strong facial gestures - eyewink, raised brow, etc). In such cases images placed into one sticker will not be positioned correctly in relation to face features.

Method 2: Place each image into a separate sticker. Position one sticker first, then mirror its position settings in relation to the vertical axis and transfer them to the other sticker.

The 2nd method lacks the limitation mentioned before, as each of the two stickers will be positioned individually, using its own binding points. That’s why this method is advisable.

How to use this method:

  1. Adjust the first sticker center point, set its scaling size, select the marker points and adjust the force of attraction. Save the changes.
  2. When you are content with the results of adjusting the settings mentioned above, open the position editor of the second sticker. Copy the settings using the Copy from... menu.
  3. Set the marker points for the sticker in the mirror image.
  4. Enter the coordinates for the force of attraction of the sticker center to the marker points. Note that the x-coordinate (the horizontal axis coordinate) should be entered with the opposite sign (e.g., if the coordinate was ‘1010’, then you should enter ‘-1010’).

Conflicts that may occur during stickers development and require designer interference

Certain sequences of actions with groups of stickers may result in some unobvious changes in sticker position or its other parameters. Such cases require designer interference and adjusting the position setting. The table below describes possible cases that lead to such conflicts.

# Action Error Warning Solution
1 You have grouped together stickers that already have Rasterization filters with different parameters. - In the following groups of stickers the bounding rectangle has changed. The bounding rectangle determines an area to be exported from the PSD document, that’s why the position of the stickers has changed. You will have to edit their position manually. Check the position of the sticker / group of stickers if the bounding rectangle has changed. *
You have grouped together stickers that already had Rasterization filters. You will have to edit their position in order to synchronize the parameters. Edit the stickers parameters if a position conflict arises.**
2 You have added a sticker that already had a Rasterization filter into an existing group of stickers, or combined several groups of stickers. In the following groups of stickers the bounding rectangle has changed. The the bounding rectangle determines an area to be exported from the PSD document, that’s why the position of the stickers has changed. You will have to edit their position manually. Check the position of the sticker / group of stickers if the bounding rectangle has changed. *
You have grouped together stickers that already had Rasterization filters. You will have to edit their position in order to synchronize the parameters. РEdit the stickers parameters if a position conflict arises.**
3 Stickers have been redesigned or added into a group / removed so that the bounding rectangle of the group has changed. In the following groups of stickers the bounding rectangle has changed. The the bounding rectangle determines an area to be exported from the PSD document, that’s why the position of the stickers has changed. You will have to edit their position manually. Check the position of the sticker / group of stickers if the bounding rectangle has changed. *
4 You detached a sticker from one group, and instantly included it into another group. After that you tried to reparse that sticker layer only. The sticker now belongs to another group of stickers. Reparse the whole PSD document. Reparse the whole PSD document.
5 You detached a sticker from its current group and created a new group for it. After that you tried to reparse the sticker layer. The sticker now belongs to another group of stickers. Reparse the whole PSD document. Reparse the whole PSD document.
6 You detached a sticker from its current group. After that you tried to reparse the sticker layer. The sticker does not belong to a group of stickers. Reparse the whole PSD document. Reparse the whole PSD document.

* Check the position of the sticker / group of stickers if the bounding rectangle has changed.
Open the sticker / group of stickers editor via the Rasterization filter. Check the sticker position. If the sticker position has changed, adjust it and save the changes.

** Edit the stickers parameters if a position conflict arises.
Open the group of stickers editor via the Rasterization filter of any of the conflicting stickers. Use the conflict resolution tool in the upper right corner of the editor window.

Toggle the checkboxes in the Subgroup column in the conflict resolution dialog to select the correct position of the group of stickers. Note that sometimes several stickers will be switched over at once when you toggle the checkboxes. This happens when stickers have the same position parameters.

E.g., in the scheme below stickers highlighted with blue color have the same position parameters. Stickers highlighted with orange and green have their own unique position.

If none of the position settings turns out correct, select one of them and adjust it manually.

When the conflict is solved, save the settings. You will see the following warning:

“You chose to group stickers with different position settings. Their original positions will be lost and replaced with the currently selected one. Do you want to continue?”

Confirm the changes.

Restrictions regarding manipulations with groups of stickers

There are the following restrictions when working with groups of stickers:

  • It is not allowed to group together stickers from different orientations;
  • It is not allowed to add layers or group of layers which are not stickers into a group of stickers;
  • If a sticker has been added into a group, it is not allowed to use it by itself. If you need to use it, create its independent copy, add it into the PSD document and work with it individually.
  • ЗIt is not allowed to include a sticker into several groups at the same time;

Non-obvious aspects regarding groups of stickers

  • A group of stickers can contain more than two stickers;
  • A document can contain an unlimited number of groups of stickers - as many as you need;
  • The order in which stickers are applied to a user photo is defined by the order of Rasterization filters. The order of stickers in Photoshop doesn't affect the order they are applied to a user photo.
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