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How to Use Overlays

Some know them as stickers, while others call them clip art. (For all you veteran PicMonkeyers out there: we used to call them overlays in old PicMonkey but we’re calling them graphics in new PicMonkey.) Whatever name you fancy, we think graphic overlays are the greatest thing since buttered toast—and you should too! Whether you’re looking to amp up the silly factor in a photo by putting a mustache on your nephew, or you’re creating a seriously stylin’ graphic design, these versatile building blocks are here to help.

Check out this video tutorial to learn all the ways PicMonkey graphics can up your design game, or skim below to get the highlights.

Overlay Basics

To get started with an overlay, click the Graphics tab (the three shapes icon) on the left-hand side of the PicMonkey editor. From there you’ll find tons of options in our different graphic overlay groups, from plain old shapes to multicolored artist-drawn confections like flowers and facial hair.

Basic controls:

  • To add a graphic to your design canvas or photo, just click it and it’ll appear on your image.

  • To reposition it so that it appears where you want on the canvas, drag it into place.

  • To resize your graphic while maintaining its aspect ratio, pull its corner handles or sides to make it bigger, and push to make it smaller.

  • To change the overlay’s aspect ratio, press the Shift key on your keyboard while you push or pull on its sides. If you change your mind, right-click the graphic and select Original aspect ratio.

  • Use the Layers palette to control how text and graphic elements are layered in your designs.

  • Flip graphics horizontally or vertically by clicking the horizontal and vertical flip buttons in the Graphics palette. Rotate left or right 45-degrees at a time by clicking the rotate arrows.

  • Use the Graphics palette to change the overlay’s color. You can use the Color Grid or Color Spectrum to flip through different colors, enter a hex code, or use the eyedropper to pick a color anywhere in the PicMonkey editor.

Blend modes and more

Every overlay graphic has a Fade slider in the Graphics palette that lets you adjust the opacity. Blend modes can also affect transparency because they change how the graphic interacts with the elements behind it. Depending on what color your background is and what color the overlay is, blend modes might look different each time. We suggest scrolling through them to preview how they’ll look before choosing one.

Right-clicking the overlay will open several new controls, including:

  • Straighten

  • Delete layer

  • Duplicate layer

When you duplicate an overlay, all the changes that you made to the original will be reflected in the duplicate.

Erase overlays

You can always erase parts of a graphic. This can come in handy if you want to create a background erase image or if you want to layer text and images.

To erase part of an overlay graphic:

  • Zoom in so you can see what you’re doing.

  • Select the Eraser tab in the Graphics palette.

  • Adjust your eraser size and hardness and erase away.

  • If you take off too much, click the paintbrush icon to paint it back on.

Add your own overlays

In addition to using PicMonkey’s overlays, you can also add your own and edit them in the PicMonkey Editor. These overlays can be graphic elements like a logo, or they can be images that you want to use in a larger design. Try layering images for a cool photo on photo effect!

To add your own overlay:

  • Click the Add your own image button at the top of the graphics panel.

  • Find your photo and open it from wherever it’s stored.

  • Once you add the overlay to your design, you can edit it just like any other graphic.

Use your overlays in templates

If a template has an image in it, that image will behave like your own overlays. In the Layers palette it will be called an “Image,” but don’t be fooled! It is an overlay.

To replace a template image with an image of your own, right-click it, select Replace image and select the storage option where your image lives. Your image will then be opened within the bounding box of the template image.

To edit an image within a template, select its layer and move it it around, or you can crop it from the Graphics palette.

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This article was written by PicMonkey Staff, a multicellular organism of hive-minded sub-parts who just wanna get you the ideas and information you crave, so you can make powerful images that level up your business.