Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements 14+)

In the RAW!

How many of you have high-tech, high-priced camera gear? How many of you actually use all those fancy features that came with your HTHP camera? Show of hands? How many of you are shooting RAW? (NOT naked…) Anybody?

I’m sure there are more than a few people scratching their heads about now. Let me explain. RAW is a file format that records ALL the data collected by the sensor (creating ginormous files, by the way) that allows for a wide range of adjustments in post-processing. The files it generates are huge for a reason – the image compression ratio is much larger than the JPEG format’s files so there’s more that can be fine-tuned once the images are downloaded. (To understand compression ratio, look at a photo you shot with your camera then posted to Facebook. Examine it in its original state zoomed in 200% then do the same with the FB version. It should be obvious… FB compresses images to a significant degree and they look really awful zoomed.) It’s a great tool for pros, but not necessarily useful for the average soccer mom snapping cell phone photos of the little darlings running with the ball. But what if I told you that PSE 14 and above has a photo editor setting that emulates RAW format editing but without the enormous files? I’m going to show you how it works…

First you need to open your image in the Camera Raw editor. Find the image in your photo folder so you know where it is,  then click File>Open in Camera Raw.

The interface looks like this. Don’t be intimidated! It’s really not that hard to follow. If you look at the photo I’m using, you can see the sky is really washed out but there’s no detail visible in the statue’s face. I’m going to fix that.

The default when your image opens is the Basic adjustment panel. It includes a White Balance setting that you can leave as shot, set to Auto or set to Custom. In the image below I’ve selected Auto. If you look closely you can see that the Temperature slider has shifted a bit to the right, or warmer side. So has the Tint slider.

I changed it to Custom just to show you that all the sliders reset and you’d need to adjust all the sliders to achieve the White Balance you want.

So I went back to Auto, then played with the sliders. Adjustments here, listed in order from just below the White Balance, include Temperature, Tint, Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks, Clarity, Vibrance and Saturation. I moved the Shadows slider all the way to the right; see the change?

The adjustments aren’t individually obvious, but when taken altogether, there’s a significant change. With each image, look at where the sliders are to see what I’ve tweaked.

Each of the controls adjusts a different basic aspect of your image. You can adjust the exposure so that over-exposed, blown-out areas aren’t any more, and so that underexposed areas are suddenly quite visible. And look at the definition suddenly showing up in the foliage!

Once you’ve gotten the exposure and and colour more to your liking you can move on to the Detail adjustments. It can’t correct everything though. It’s not going to magically take an out-of-focus photo and make it tack-sharp.

The adjustments in this panel include Sharpening and Noise Reduction, with some options within each. In this panel, it’s helpful to zoom in on the part of the image that you’re trying to improve on so you can gauge the degree of change you want. You don’t want to overdo it!

And then there’s the split-screen preview option. This is really useful for all stages of adjustment. To get the split screen go down to the bottom right corner of the image and click on the box with the “Y” in it. If you click on it once, you get the side-to-side split shown below. Clicking on it a second time will split it top-to-bottom. That might work better for landscapes. Seeing the before and after lets you control your adjustments even more. (And you know I’m ALL about control!)

So after I’d done some Sharpening and some Noise Reduction in split screen, I went back to the Basic menu to see if there were any other nudges I wanted to add.

Once I was happy with the changes I’d made, I clicked on that Open Image button.

That opens up the more comfortable PSE Expert interface. I think the image looks heaps better, but there might still be some things I can tweak a bit more.

The first thing I did was Crop it to make the overall image more appealing. I like to see the Rule of Thirds grid when I’m cropping. It helps me see where the focal point should be… at a point where two of the lines intersect. You can see that one of the vertical lines passes right through Paul Revere’s head and down the centre of his horse.

Now I decided to adjust the Lighting a wee bit more. Enhance>Adjust Lighting>Shadows/Highlights.

One thing you should keep in mind when using this menu is that the default setting is to Lighten Shadows by 35%. Sometimes that’s perfect and sometimes it’s way too much. Or not enough. Watch your image while you’re making these changes so you don’t go too far. I didn’t really want the shadows lightened. I was more interested in bringing back some of the still-blown highlights and some adjustment of the midtone contrast. Did you notice that the steeple on the Old North Church suddenly is more visible? It’s magic, right??

Because this image still looked a little dark in spots but too washed-out in others, I decided to play with the Levels. Enhance>Adjust Lighting>Levels (CTRL/CMD>L)

All I did in this menu was to move the sliders a smidge to the left. That brought out some nice detail in the clouds. Try moving the sliders around in either direction so you can see what happens with them.

And that brings me to another neat feature that has been in PSE since Version 11. It’s called Haze Removal and it’s even more useful than the Noise Reduction options in Camera Raw. So click Enhance>Haze Reduction (CTRL/CMD>ALT>Z) to get into the menu.

Oh look! The steeple is even more in balance with the exposure of the rest of the photo and the clouds look like they mean business. The leaves have some lovely detail that is brought out even more. And I’m thrilled!

Since there was a snowpocalyse this past weekend in areas of North America that haven’t seen snow in decades, I thought it would be a great opportunity, and an obvious one, to show another way these tools are useful. I’m sure most of us (who live in the snow belt) have photos where the snow is gray, or blue, or some other unnatural cast. And Remove Color Cast isn’t always the best way to change that.

I hit the Auto White Balance and the snow looked more white, but not enough. I worked down the list of sliders, moving them a tiny bit at a time.

I wanted the texture of the snow to be more visible so I did some Detail adjustments too.

Then I Opened Image and went into the Enhance>Lighting>Shadows/Highlights menu.

This time I was happy to see the default Lighten Shadows. I just added a little more Contrast.

And then I decided it needed some Leveling, again moving the sliders a bit to the left.

Then I went to Enhance>Haze Removal (CTRL/CMD>ALT>Z) to show you how you can toggle between the Before and After images to decide how much to remove.

And this is where my snow shot ended up. There’s some definite highlights, texture in both the snow and the rock and the icy effect is pretty good!

I think you can really have fun with this. I KNOW you can take some of your ho-hum photos that you’d hoped would be better and make them that way. And great photos make for fantastic scrapbook layouts. So go, give it a whirl! See y’all next Tuesday.

Tutorial Tuesday (Creativity)

Playing on Emotion

December. The “most wonderful time of the year”, right? But not for everyone. Many people struggle with depression, anxiety and physical illness that make “the holidays” a very difficult time for them. Because of how I earn my living, I see the melancholy side of things all too often… when children in my care die in December I know their families will struggle with so many conflicting emotions for the rest of their lives, and I’ll struggle right along with them. So this week my tutorial will take a lightly different approach than usual and focus on emotion. I’ve found that scrapping the emotions I feel helps me process them better and by processing them better, I live with them better. It’s called catharsis.

Art journaling is a perfect method of scrapping emotion. But before you start thinking that only negative emotions qualify for an art journaling layout, let me assure you that ALL emotions are perfect topics for art journaling. Later I’ll show you what I mean. And I don’t want you to panic thinking art journaling is hard, or that it’s so out of your comfort zone that you could never do it. Because I can promise you, it’s there, it’s in you. You might just need a little nudge to find your inner artist.

The basics of art journaling layouts are pretty straight-forward. They can include photos, but don’t have to. They generally need some grunge, either from the kit you’re using or via the use of brushes. Actually, brushes are perfect for this type of layout (just remember to put them on their own layer!!) and the possibilities with them are endless. Doodles or scribbles look great in the background, or even over your journaling or photo. Word art makes short work of the “journaling” part of it. Hardware such as staples, clips, wire, screws and other hard objects help make your statement. Masks are another great AJ tool. You can clip photos to them to reflect a mood, or clip papers to them to make your background more umm… artsy. Which brings me to an opportunity to belabour the obvious: Bryony van Wyk, the creative genius behind Heartstrings Scrap Art, makes it so easy to create a moody, emotionally-expressive layout with her templates. The layout I’m going to share with you in a bit was created using her December Buffet Thoughts in My Head collection, although I didn’t use a template. It’s filled with paint, grunge, doodles, stamps and other artsy items perfect for this technique. Oh, and glitter is also an amazing addition and can totally reflect a mood depending on its colour.

 

My layout is sad and somber, despite the colour palette. Contrast it to this one by catgoddess that has a very hopeful tone to it. Same kit, very different feel.

Then there’s this one by cinderella that is so encouraging! She used Connie Princes All About Fall Daily Download kit for this beautiful example.

 

There are some great options in the GingerScraps store for art journal layouts, reflecting all sorts of mood. Here are a few I found in just a few minutes.

Aimee Harrison

Aimee has a LOT of artsy word art options.

Pretty as a Peacock Quotes can work for inspirational or self-affirming layouts.

Same for Celebration of You Quotes.

And the Celebration of You Word Bits are terrific additions to any layout. Have a look at her other word art packs… there’s something for everything!

 

Aprilisa Designs

Lisa usually creates some paint-splattered, smeared, grungy papers for each of her collections, and has some torn papers too. Whatever colour palette you might choose, you’ll probably find something in her shop to help you out.

Nature’s Beauty is an example.

Free Spirit Torn Papers. Depending on your mood, these could be super!

She also has some fabulous scatters like these Winter Joy ones.

 

Laurie’s Scraps and Designs

Many of Laurie‘s collections include fantastic grungy elements.

Space Wars Grunge could work for a lot of moods.

Ditto for Girl Power Grunge. Ooh, with Aimee’s Peacock word art… YEAH!

I Am Strong Grunge is feminine but powerful. Laurie is your go-to for grunge!

 

Little Rad Trio

Jennifer has some terrific goodies too!

Every Storm could be used for traditional scrapping, but also has a lot of art journal potential too. That alpha, right?? But then you can also include things like flowers and leaves, or flairs, or string, or any of the more traditional scrapbooking elements, as long as they reflect the emotion you’re trying to convey.

 

Ponytails Designs

Natasha too has some inspiring stuff in her shop.

Like Making Your Way word art.

 

Word Art World

Jennifer is the queen of saying what’s one her mind. And grunge is something else she’s got down pat.

The Journey of a Lifetime might be a travel kit, but this grunge is awesome for emotional expression.

Live Out Loud has some possibilities.

And Dare to Dream has a bit of introspection to it.

 

Now that you’ve got some idea of what to look for, you’re more than halfway there. When you’re creating your layout, play with those blend modes on your brushes and word art to see how they enhance or distract from your mood. When I was working on the layout above, I moved things around a lot before I settled on their final location. I moved layers up and down, tried out blend modes and colour overlays, tweaked shadows and just went with what pleased my eye. I changed my journaling more than once to say what I needed to let out. Now my goal is to find something joyous to build an art journal layout around to balance the sadness this one released. I know it’s there, I just have to find it. What emotion do you need to express?

 

Creative Style | The Color Green

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Hello scrappers. Today we are going to take a look at a creative style. Well, let me honest. It isn’t really a style so much as getting some inspiration from color.

There are many things that can make a layout stand out in the gallery. What grabs one person’s attention might not grab another’s. I could write multiple blog posts about what grabs mine. That being said, seeing a layout that has predominantly one color always grabs my attention.  Since we are edging up on St. Patrick’s Day, I thought it would be fun to get some inspiration from the color green.

We are going to take a look at some pretty green images, some great digital scrapbooking layouts done up in green, and round it up with the latest green filled goodies from the store.

Now, here are some lovely images to get those creative juices flowing. Did you know there was a place you could get pretty nice stock photos for free? These images are from Pexels. (All photos on Pexels are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This means the pictures are completely free to be used for any legal purpose.) I use them on my personal blog. I thought I would share with you guys while we get some inspiration for scrapping with green.

Fantastic right? I find inspiration for layouts in all kinds of places. Looking at beautiful photos are one of them. Want a bit more inspiration? Here are some layouts that are predominantly green. You know, to help get those ideas flowing! (all images are linked to their counterpart in the gallery. Go leave some loving!)

by meagan43

 

by LindsayJane

 

by pixleyyy

 

by Jill

Are these not some lovely layouts! I know part of that is the great designers we have here at GingerScraps. These layouts are beautifully scrapped though. I hope you found at least some inspiration from today’s post. I will leave you with some great designs to get those green filled layouts scrapped. As usual, all images are linked to their counterpart. We actually have an entire location in the store just for GREEN items.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If none of these are what you are looking for when it comes to scrapping green, make sure you check out the section dedicated to it. There are hundreds…literally hundreds of pages of choices. Have fun!

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Focus On : Paper Packs

Hello Scrappers! Team member La’Shawn here with another edition of Focus On. That is where we take one thing, that isn’t a kit and focus on it. Our store has amazing designers that work so hard to bring us great digital scrapbooking supplies every week. Sometimes things get lost in the ever changing store. Some people don’t check the new releases every week. Some people are just starting and might not have seen some things from the past. That is where I come in. I am here to go back in the archives and bring you some great stuff.

This isn’t a from the archives post. We do have those! If you are looking for something that was in our store over a year ago, check HERE. This is where we just look at one thing. Today we are going to take a look at some great paper packs. Our designers are some of the best paper designers around! I am going to bombard you with some great examples and tell you how to find more.

There is an entire section dedicated to paper packs in the store. You can find that HERE. Paper packs are a great edition to any digital scrapbooking layout and stash. Sometimes you cannot find that one paper you need. Or it might be made to be an add-on to a collection. You can also mix and match!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was only page 4 into the paper pack section. There are pages and pages of amazing paper packs in the store.  Show us what you have done with an add on or paper pack from the store!

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Creative Style | Scrapping with Hearts

Good morning scrappers. Valentine’s Day is next week. For those who celebrate, or for those who just want to scrap about love and hearts… We are going to do just that today! (If hearts are not your thing, check out scrapping with triangles!) I am pretty much a square and rectangle scrapper. Every once in a while I will throw in a circle…exciting…I know!! lol. I love to see digital scrapbooking layouts that differ from how I scrap. It is a great way to get inspiration. Today we are going to look at some layout examples, template and digital scrapbooking supplies. All to help us get an idea how to scrap with hearts.

 

 

 

 

 

There are so many things you can do with hearts! Huge heart photos, heart patterned papers, papers cut into hearts, and heart elements. The list could go on-and-on. These are just a few examples that I found while looking through just one day’s of layouts on the gallery. If you would like further layout examples, go exploring! 🙂

Now, we are on to look at some template examples to scrap with hearts. There were so many examples. (All images linked!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I told you there were so MANY great heart templates to be found in the store. I know that I have bombarded you with images and ideas. I am not going to stop there though! I showed you some great ideas to scrap your Valentine’s Day layouts the other day. I am going to add a few more items to that list. Mostly geared towards hearts. On to kits and others to scrap with hearts. (images linked)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Celebrate | Snow!

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! I know there are plenty of you out there that are sick of it already. Coming to the end of January and you have seen enough of it. I however live in the southern parts of the states. We hardly see any. We are lucky to get a dusting once a year; and I LOVE snow! I thought it would be fun to showcase some great items from the store to get those snow-filled photos scrapped.

I also enjoyed looking at all things purple last week; and showing you some lovely photos to get those creative juices flowing as well. I thought I would show you some snow photos to do the same thing. These images are from Pexels. (All photos on Pexels are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This means the pictures are completely free to be used for any legal purpose.)

 

 

 

As well as those gorgeous photos, here are some lovely layouts to help you with some snow-tastic inspiration as well!

 

 

 

As always I will leave you with some great products from the store. There is an entire section dedicated to all things winter. Here are just a few of my favorites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Style | Purple

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Hello scrappers. Today we are going to take a look at a creative style. Well, let me honest. It isn’t really a style so much as getting some inspiration from color.

There are many things that can make a layout stand out in the gallery. What grabs one person’s attention might not grab another’s. I could write multiple blog posts about what grabs mine. That being said, seeing a layout that has predominantly one color always grabs my attention. There really is no reason that I picked this color, except that I like it. Let us get some inspiration from the color purple.

We are going to take a look at some pretty purple images, some great digital scrapbooking layouts done up in purple, and round it up with the latest purple filled goodies from the store. If those do not do it for you, make sure you check out January’s Buffet. A lot of those have purple all through them!

Now, here are some lovely images to get those creative juices flowing. Did you know there was a place you could get pretty nice stock photos for free? These images are from Pexels. (All photos on Pexels are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This means the pictures are completely free to be used for any legal purpose.) I use them on my personal blog. I thought I would share with you guys while we get some inspiration for scrapping with purple.

 

 

Fantastic right? I find inspiration for layouts in all kinds of places. Looking at beautiful photos are one of them. Want a bit more inspiration? Here are some layouts that are predominantly purple. You know, to help get those ideas flowing! (all images are linked to their counterpart in the store. Go leave some loving!)

 

 

 

 

 

Are these not some lovely layouts! I know part of that is the great designers we have here at GingerScraps. These layouts are beautifully scrapped though. I hope you found at least some inspiration from today’s post. I will leave you with some great designs to get those purple filled layouts scrapped. As usual, all images are linked to their counterpart. We actually have an entire location in the store just for purple items.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Style | Project 52/365

Happy 2017 everyone! I got a bit overwhelmed at the start of the year; and I failed to bring you your weekly inspiration. Even though we are two weeks into 2017, it isn’t too late to start on our photo projects. I am talking about Project 365 and Project 52. What are those? According to Google

Simply put, Project 365 is committing to taking one photo a day for a year. Whether you’re using a fancy DSLR, or simply using your phone, there is no wrong or right way to put together your own Project 365.

Basically a photo a day for project 365 and a photo a week for project 52. You can capture it however you want, post it however you want (or not at all)…or scrap it! I personally post them on Instagram with my personal hashtag, as well as scrap them.

To help you on your way (and to keep going) GingerScraps has a challenge area just for this, as well as a section in the store dedicated to the products you can use on your layouts. Today we are going to showcase a few of those items.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Celebrate – Hanukkah!

Hanukkah! Last week we checked out all things Christmas. Merry Christmas Eve btw. However, this time of the year is also Hanukkah! Our store has some wonderful items to scrap those Hanukkah memories. Just last week, this post is image heavy. I am going to let the wonderful digital scrapbooking products do the talking. All images linked to the store.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Celebrate – Christmas!

CHRISTMAS!! It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!! For those of us who celebrate, we are in the full swing of the holiday! Is your tree up? Are your stocking hung with care? How about that shopping? Is it done; and what about…scrapping those memories?!  For me…yes, yes, done, and working on it. 🙂 I am also stopping by to absolutely overwhelm your senses with all things Christmas and digital scrapbooking. By the time I am done, you will either not want to see anything Christmas related; or be ready to scrap-scrap-scrap!

Since this will be a image heavy post, I am going to make the chatter short and sweet. All images are linked; and don’t forget we have a section just for Christmas in the store. You know…in case one of these 100 (joking) I am about to show you doesn’t strike your fancy.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whew. That isn’t even a quarter of the wonderful Christmas goodies in the store. Just some of the most resent. If what I showed you is not what you are looking for, make sure to check out the store. Merry Christmas everyone!