This screen shot shows my layer palette. You can ignore the blue background layer. I just forgot to delete it! The next layer is what I will be using as my background for this example. I also brought in a PNG file of a sunburst, which I want to "clip" the yellow transfer to.
With the sunburst layer selected, go to the Select menu and choose Alpha to selection. You'll see the marching ants around the shape.
Now, go to Select>Inverse. Select the image layer that you want to "clip", select Edit>Cut
Here is my result. This is a destructive edit - if you decide you don't like the result, you have to back track and try again. But at least you can alter your PNG files beyond coloring them.
And you can create shapes to "clip" photos to as well. First, I created a new layer, then using the select tool, I drew a rectangle on the new layer. Then I rounded the corners: Select>Round Corners.
I filled it with a color (any will do) using the paint bucket
Then I brought in the photo I wanted to use:
Then I resized and moved it by going Transform selection>Move,scale
I moved the shape mask layer above the image, and reduced the opacity so I could make sure I had the photo placed how I wanted it in the shape.
On the shape layer, go to Select>Alpha to selection. Also do a Select>Inverse. Then select the photo layer and Edit>Cut. That will leave you with everything outside the selection on the photo layer deleted. Then I turned off the visibility of the rectangle layer. It could also be deleted at this point.
I decided to duplicate the photo layer and use Multiply mode on the new layer. I also duplicated the sunburst. and used a Darken blend mode on that layer.
At this point I decided to create a mat for the photo, so I selected the photo layer, then went to Select>Alpha to selection, followed by Select>Expand. I forgot to get a screen shot of that, but you can choose how many pixels you want it to expand. I then created a new layer underneath the photo and filled the selection on that layer with brown using the paint bucket.
I then wanted a drop shadow on that layer, so I went to Filters>Stylize>Drop Shadow.
Here is what those controls look like. Unfortunately, this does not do a live update. You have to kind of guess with the sliders, then select preview to see the effect. But you can keep playing with it until you get what you want before you apply the shadow.
As you can see in this photo, I also added a border. That is done by selecting a layer, then Filters>Border>Add Border and playing with the sliders. This border happens to be on the top photo layer, so the Multiply bland mode also applies to that border. Really, I should have but it on it's own layer, but it'll work where it is.
Now to add a title. Select the text tool and tap on the screen approximately where you want the text to be. This is the window that pops up. This is where you can type your text, select the font, size, and alignment.
I typed each word on it's own layer, resized and moved it where I wanted. I rasterized the text, then did a Select>Alpha to selection as well as Select>Expand (3 pixels) , and created a layer below the word. I then used the paint bucket to fill the selection, and moved it slightly offset. I still wasn't happy with the text, so I once again selected the word, created a new layer below, and filled it with the gradient tool. That was more of what I was looking for.
Along the way, layers have to be combined if you are doing a multi-layer project like this one. Once I was happy with the word Beach, I merged the layers so I still had a few layers to create Naupaka.
So there is a little taste of using PNG files and shapes to "mask". It's not the only way. But that is for another post! Of course I might take this layout further by adding some PNG files behind the photo and maybe bring in some beach elements. But this is where it is right now.