Sneak Peeks September 21st, 2017

Happy Last Day of Summer! Are you ready for the leaves to change and the temps to get cooler? Our designers have some great releases this week to get you in that fall spirit!

From Miss Mis Designs

From Miss Fish

From JoCee

 

From Heather Z

From Dagi

 

From Aimee Harrison

From Heart Strings Scrap Art

From Tinci

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

The TutOR Becomes the TutEE

I finally did it. I upgraded from PSE 12 to PSE 15. And discovered there was a significant learning curve to jumping over 2 editions!! But coincidentally it allowed me to figure out a problem brought to me by Lisa (slfam), who uses PSE 14. She had downloaded a free template and was diligently following my instructions for clipping photos and papers to the various shape layers, only it wasn’t behaving for her. I downloaded the same template so I could see exactly what was happening and maybe help her out. Her first question related to this pop-up.

I opened a bunch of photos to play with and started working my way through adding some photos, which was the root of Lisa’s second issue. And almost right away I had a problem. When I dragged my photo onto the template with the layer I wanted to clip to selected in the Layers panel, it didn’t go where I expected, but landed in some random spot nowhere close to its target destination. And it happened over and over and over. Totally random, at least to my eyes. Geez Louise! Off to Google I went. There I learned that in order to have an item go to the layer you want, you have to drag it over the area where that layer shows in the template.  In the screenshot you can see the grayed-out photo sitting over the #6 photo spot. When I did that, it went onto the layer where I expected to find it. The software still dropped it right into the centre of the workspace, but it was on the right layer.

Being a WSNH scrapper, I used the (CTRL/CMD>G) keyboard shortcut  I’ve been telling y’all to use to create a clipping mask, only to have THIS happen. It seems Adobe added some features that have always been available in the full Photoshop to Elements in version 14, and now that shortcut, rather than clipping, creates a “Group” of layers. I wasn’t sure how this was going to make my life better, and for the moment it was really a pain! (I’ll also confess to some confusion – no one had mentioned to me in the comments that there’s been this shortcut overhaul.)

The easiest cure for that was to CTRL/CMD>Z my way back to safety, but I thought, “Why don’t you see what else can happen here?” So I right-clicked on that Group layer.

Faced with the menu shown below, I had to decide how to proceed.

Once I’d gotten rid of the Group, I used the more-steps method to clip my photo to the spot, right-clicking on the photo then selecting Create Clipping Mask. It worked. But I like my keyboard shortcuts, so I went into the Layer menu tab to find it. And there it was, CTRL/CMD>ALT>G … and it worked! So now I need to teach my fingers some new moves.

The next photo I dragged and dropped went to the top of the Layers panel because I forgot to hit the target with it. Heavy sigh.

And look, I’ve got another Group layer in there. So even when I used the CORRECT shortcut, I ended up with something I really didn’t want. Gah!

Time to get serious. Lisa had described using the CTRL/CMD>G shortcut then right-clicked for the Clipping Mask on photos she’d stacked above the Group layer and having bits of other photos overlapping onto several photo spots. To figure out how to correct that, I had to first make it happen.

I did what it sounded like Lisa had done, adding more than one photo to the Layers panel then clipping them. And now I knew what was happening, because it happened for me too.

Once I had it figured out my next task was to figure out a work-around. And that meant a lot of extra steps, moving photos down the stack of layers to the spot I wanted them in and then clipping them. Um. No.

Since I was taking this opportunity to learn some new things, I just kept trying different things. (I play Words with Friends the same way. And make some really weird words just by trying combinations of letters.) I love a good speed scrap and I hate having to start over because something I wasn’t expecting has happened. Neverland Scraps is hosting one on Thursday, so I had to get this sorted out.

Of course, there were bumps in the road that I had to puzzle through. I did some research into Groups and found that they are very useful, especially when you’re working with LOTS of layers. You can select all similar layers – let’s use a paper stack as an example where you’ve clipped papers to shapes – and then CTRL/CMD>G Group them into a folder. They’re all still there but they’re not all individually taking up a spot on your Layers panel. However, in the early stages of working with a template, Groups‘re only in the way.

After I deleted the Group layer, taking what I’d learned about positioning my paper/photo/element over the spot on the template where I wanted it to go, I placed all of my photos successfully onto the template.

I was back in charge!

From that point on things went the way I wanted them to, the way I was used to them going. I felt confident that I could go on to work with a much more complex template and git ‘er done.

All my photos are place and cropped to their best advantage and I’m happy. Now I could Group all those photos and photo spots together so they take up less real estate on my Layers panel.

I know there’s a lot more I’m going to learn as I get comfortable with PSE 15; there are new options in the Preferences menu now so let’s look at those. To get there you’ll click on the Edit tab then choose Preferences from the drop-down. In the first General Preferences menu there’s an option that says Disable the creation of Smart Objects when creating new layers. Smart Objects can be resized without losing any of the pixels in the initial image. That’s important when you’re shrinking an object then want later on to enlarge it again. For me though, I found Smart Objects to be a major PITA. Dragging from the Project Bin onto the Workspace in PSE 12 made every item the same size as the canvas… 12×12 buttons, for example. Then I’d need to shrink to fit. The work around for that was to drag them OFF the Workspace and onto the layout in the Project Bin. Extra steps. Most of the time I’m shrinking things and not making them bigger, so in PSE 15, I disabled Smart Objects.

Skipping down to the Display and Cursors menu, another new option appears. It’s for high-density display users. My new laptop has a high-resolution monitor and the recommended setting is 1920×1080 pixels. But software created before the advent of high-resolution monitors shows up with all the text in an itsy-bitsy-teeny-tiny-hard-to-read size that can be a big problem for people not really familiar with their Workspace. (You might have noticed that in last week’s tutorial. I didn’t know how to fix it… now I do.) Adobe added this option to increase the UI Scale Factor to 200% to make the text easier to read. I find the enlarged images worse, so I don’t use this option. I know where things are on the screen so when I’m scrapping for me, I leave it as is. If I’m working on a tut and want you to be able to see what I’m doing, I change the screen resolution in the Control Panel to 1600×900 while I’m working, then put it back when I’m finished.

For the Transparency setting, I chose the smallest grid size available. It’s less distracting and makes a few tricks easier to perform. I always work with a transparent background – you do what works for you.

I still prefer to work in Standard measures for most things; although I’ve almost always lived in Canada and we went officially metric decades ago, I find myself doing conversions in my head all the time. So I’m glad Elements gives me the option of setting my Units and Rulers to inches. I use Points for text because it’s easier to understand than pixels. And Resolution is important for printing when you want the crispest, clearest images possible so most people work at 300 pixels per inch. For working purposes though, 72 pixels per inch – what you see on your screen – is good enough.

This menu is for the more… er… particular scrapper who likes symmetry, geometry and order. It also is handy for speed scrapping where the instructions might say, “Place your large photo 1/2 inch from the left edge of your layout and 2 1/4 inches down from the top.” I’ve shown you how to use the Guide before.

Last but not least, if you’re interested in trying some text modifications, make sure you’ve checked the Show Asian Text Options box. That will let you warp text and also to use the alternate characters included with some fonts.

And then there are the Guided Edits! Even the Basic ones can be quite handy.

These ones offer some quick ways of improving the colour of our photos with only a few steps.

Can’t forget about Black and White! Sometimes a black and white photo has much more visual interest than a colour one. It’s also a good choice when your photo’s colours don’t work with your layout.

More quick-and-easy edit options! Fewer steps, great outcomes… the essence of WSNH!

Stunning visual effects! Awesome for those artsy layouts.

This set of tools will really let your photos shine. They’re especially good for those sightseeing photos where you just can’t keep people from getting into your shot. You can take several shots a second or two apart then merge the unobstructed portions into one clean image. Or you can take those group shots where everybody but Uncle Joe looks good and merge them with that shot where Uncle Joe looks great but cousin Mary has her eyes closed. The possibilities!!

I can see lots of ideas for future tutorials here while I teach myself to use these powerful tools! If there’s something you want me to try, let me know and I’ll take it on.

September Bake Sale

Happy Monday!! There is just a few days left in our September Bake Sale. Don’t forget to look in the store and find out all the wonderful kits that our designers have for you this month. Each of these items are only $1 through Wednesday September 20th.

And that’s not all that’s going on this week at GingerScraps. Make sure you are playing along with all the fun sales and games in the forum for our 9th birthday.

Good morning GingerScrap’s scrappers! I don’t know about you, but here in the southern part of the States, it is starting to look a lot like Autumn! It is my favorite time of the year. From cooler weather, changing colors, holidays, and pumpkins. All these things make this season the best! We should of course scrap it, right? Never fear. GingerScraps has so much to offer when it comes to scrapping seasons. Autumn is no exception. There is even a whole category dedicated to it. Today, we are going to take a look at just a few of those items. Get ready for all things Autumn! (items linked to the store).

Crunching leaves beneath your feet… cool, crisp air swirling around… I love Autumn! This Harvest Sunrise Kit has deep colors and beautiful elements that will be perfect for your harvest memories.

 

A beautiful Autumn collection! Autumn Beauty

 

Hello Fall!! Pumpkins, changing leaves, autumn flowers and little woodland animals are here to welcome fall in this digital scrapbooking collection. Everything you need to scrap the start, middle, and end of all things Fall…and more!

 

Leaves changing color, cool breezes, pumpkin-flavored everything for sale… It can only mean one thing: it’s officially fall! Hello Autumn captures the colors of the season perfectly, combining rich reds and oranges with crisp yellows and tans, complemented by subdued green and twilight hues of violet and blue. This bold, celebratory kit welcomes in the new season with thematic elements galore, including changing leaves, pumpkins, and the cutest little owls in scarves. Doodled alphas, playful journal cards, flairs, and flowers galore add an extra pop of fun to your scrapbook pages. Whether your favorite parts of fall are the leaves, the breeze, or the pumpkin treats, it’s time to scrap those stories with Hello Autumn.

 

Fall Fun – Kit by Connie Prince.

 

 

Nothing shouts autumn more than the myriad of colorful leaves that coat the ground each fall. I love the crack and crackle of them as I walk along in the parks and my yard.

 

Autumn Splendour – Digital Scrapbooking Kit by Ponytails Designs It’s the time of year that everything around you turns from verdant greens to the brilliant colours of autumn. Crisp, foggy mornings and warm, golden afternoons… simply splendid!

 

This pumpkin spice themed kit from Joyful Expressions is full of fall fixings that you can use to bake up fantastic fall scrapbooking pages.

 

You blink and it’s suddenly September. Celebrate the joy of the seasons changing, air cooling, and leaves getting ready to fall with My Life… September. The latest installment in the series draws on the rich hues of autumn to perfectly complement this moment in time. Featured motifs include woodland creatures like squirrels, owls, and birds; changing leaves, acorns, and scarecrows; vintage ephemera, butterflies, and flowers. This kit has everything you need to streamline your scrapping too, including perfectly coordinated patterned papers, thematic word strips, and a full alpha. With so much jammed into this kit, you can spend less time searching your stash and more time scrapping.

As you can see, not everything is about pumpkins. There is such a great variety of goods to scrap your Autumn pages. Make sure you check out these past Buffets!  There is so much more autumn goodness to be had. I will link those up for you here to help out.

 

 

http://gingerscraps.net/gsblog/2017/09/21036/

Sneak Peeks September 14, 2017

Happy Thursday! Tomorrow kicks off a TON of awesomeness! It’s Gingerscraps birthday celebration!!! A full week of celebrating sales and fun! Check out what our designers are releasing as part of the celebration!

From Mis Miss

From Ponytails

From Luv Ewe

From Dagi

From Tinci

From Aimee Harrison

From JoCee

From Heather Z

From Heart Strings Scrap Art

From Joyful Expressions

From Neverland Scraps

From Lindsay Jane

Enjoy the festivities!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Revisionist History

Do we have any family historians in the house? I’m pretty sure we do. And I bet you’ve scanned a ton of old photos, only to find the resulting images dust-specked, foxed (stained with brown ick), scratched, folded or otherwise flawed. Sometimes that’s a good thing, if you’re going for that vintage, grungy, tattered look. But if you’re not, you might want to clean them up a little. That was my thought when I saw this scan of my mom and her sister, taken in the spring of 1957. I love the subject (yes, my mom was in the air force and was home on leave), but I don’t love that it’s crooked, speckled, stained and scratched. And the exposure is pretty wonky. So I set out to make it better without changing it too much.

First order of business was to straighten my image. Initially, I didn’t plan to crop it, which would have solved my problem in one step. And I do have lots of photos that were scanned crooked (thanks, honey…) that I won’t be cropping so I’ll show you a quick trick to straighten a photo. I right-clicked on the image layer and selected Layer From Background. By doing this, I could then create a blank layer underneath the photo, then Image>Resize>Canvas (CTRL/CMD>ALT>C) let me make that blank canvas a bit bigger than the photo so I could tip the photo without it hanging over the edges.

When you straighten any object in PSE, there are a couple of tools you can use to ensure its actually straight when you’re done. You can eyeball it if you’re not overly perfectionistic, you can drop a grid over it by hitting View>Grid (CTRL/CMD>’) or you can pull a guideline out from either the top edge or the far left edge of your workspace. Then you’d use the bounding box to adjust your photo.

After all that, I decided to crop the photo, so I definitely was working hard, not smart! The crop shield is turnable so I could have saved myself a lot of time.

And then I deleted the totally unnecessary bottom layer!

Once I zoomed in on the image, I could see the scratches and dust motes better.

I started with the scratches. Using a small brush size and the Spot Healing tool set on Content Aware, I carefully clicked-and-dragged my cursor over the big scratch. I could have done it a bit faster with a bigger brush, but then it would have been really obvious.

Make sure you watch what’s happening with your image while you’re tidying it up. Zoom in and out often so you have a clear view of the whole image. This scan is really pixelated when I zoom in close, but that’s okay. It’s not going to be big enough on my layout to be a problem.

When using the Spot Healing tool, it sometimes picks up the wrong content so you could turn a white scratch to a dark blotch. So make the brush size as small as possible to address those areas.

A lot of the time, dust specks are easily seen and Healed just by putting the tool’s cursor over top of them and clicking once. They show up as fairly regularly-shaped bright white spots where the light from the scanner bed couldn’t penetrate. Foxing is the reverse, showing up as brown areas, and can be irregularly shaped because it’s usually caused by moisture. Having said that, when there’s areas of your photo where there are already high-contrast shapes like the grassy part of my photo, seeing the dust specks is a bit harder. So look for those EXTRA-bright white spots and blend them in.

You might not be able to see the flaw I’ve outlined below, but on my screen, it was very distracting – greenish and filled with odd little straight lines. And the area around it is highly textured. So that nice little Spot Healing tool isn’t going to give me the results I want. It would make it more noticeable by blurring the edges.

That’s where the Clone Stamp tool comes into play. Unlike the Spot Healing tool, which blends whatever it touches, the Clone Stamp actually duplicates its target area. Depending on the size of the sample, it could actually replicate entire objects. It’s really great for covering up things you want removed from your image (like the overly large woman in the black swimsuit that was growing out of my daughter’s underarm in one of her beach photos). For this image, I chose to use a soft square drop shadow brush from the default set PSE comes with. To choose the sample for covering up this weird area, I put the brush cursor on an area close to where I’d be stamping, then ALT>clicked. That cloned the small area inside the cursor; the duplicated area is visible inside the cursor and there’s a little crosshiar icon that shows what area of the image is being cloned. Then I just moved the cursor over to the weird spot and click-covered the whole area. You want to make sure your clone sample has the same tonal quality and the same light exposure to minimize the hey-look-at-me effect.

For this area that’s all I had to do… paying attention to the content inside the cursor and where the crosshairs were let me control what sections of the wall I was randomly cloning onto the weird spot.

I also used the Clone Stamp to overcome this blown-out area of the upper wall. When cloning along an edge like this, centering the cursor over a clear, clean spot when selecting the sample area will keep the line true.

The major positive of the Clone Stamp is also its major downfall. See how there’s a really obvious pattern inside the box in the image below? If you’re seeing that, you can go back over the area with the Spot Healing tool and randomly break up that pattern.

At super-zoom, it’s not perfect, but when I zoom back out, it looks pretty good. I randomly hit it a few more times with a small Spot Healing brush and blended it in a bit more.

Now you can see a little better how the image is improved by what’s already been done to it. A lot of photos only need a little tweaking.

But I wanted to adjust the contrast a bit and see if I could improve detail without sacrificing anything. So I selected Enhance>Adjust Lighting>Shadow/Highlights. Be aware that when you do this, PSE will automatically brighten the shadowed areas by 35%. If the shadows weren’t THAT heavy, you’ll have to scale that back.

These are the settings I ended up with.

But it still wasn’t making me happy, so I went back into Enhance>Adjust Lighting and chose Levels. (CTRL/CMD>L will get you there too.) I LOVE this adjustment mode! You can really adjust the light and dark areas infinitely with this tool.

You can see the changes on your original image as you move the sliders. I didn’t move them much, just a skoosh here and a titch there. The Input levels ended up around 12 at the left side and about 240 on the right. Output was maybe 8 and 242. That improved the contrast and tightened up the details a little. Nothing dramatic, but just right.

Thinking I was done, I zoomed back out to see how great it looked. And then I saw THIS!

So I played with it a little more.

I tried a High Pass filter to sharpen the details a little, but the image is too pixelated for that to look good. So I had to come up with an alternative. And Enhance>Unsharp Mask… was it.

With this tool you can watch what’s happening and fine-tune your results really nicely.

Here are the two images side by side. And I’m really pleased with how my edit looks.

These techniques can be used on colour photos too, in exactly the same way. I have a bunch of new scanned photos my cousin’s son sent me that I’ll need to clean up before I use them for layouts. How about you?

Let’s Celebrate Grandparents!

Tomorrow is Grandparent’s Day here in the state. Let’s be honest though…they deserve celebrating more than just the one day! I can personally say that a lot of who I am today is thanks to the amazing grandmother I had in my life. She is one of my most favorite things to scrap. Which got me to thinking. With that holiday just around the corner, we should showcase some of the great items we have in the store here at GingerScraps to do just that…celebrate our grandparents.

There isn’t a specific section dedicated to just this in the store. However, there is a section for family inspired digital scrapbooking items. That is where I found most of these items. You can view that section HERE if you like. All the images below are linked to their counterpart in the store.

Here are some items that are specifically for grandparents:

 

 

 

Here are a few more items that are not totally for grandparents. However they all are wonderful for scrapping the Grands in our lives (and more!):

 

 

 

 

 

A lot of these items above are geared toward women and Grandmothers. Don’t get me wrong. I am surrounded by males in my life; and they get scrapped surrounded by the typical female colors often! That being said, here are a few items geared towards the men and Grandpa’s!

 

 

 

 

Sneak Peeks September 7th, 2017

Happy Thursday! I hope everyone in Florida is getting ready to hunker down this weekend! Please stay safe! Fall is almost here! Most kids are back in school and everyone is ready for the weather to cool down. Our designers have awesome goodies releasing tomorrow!

From Heather Z Scraps

 

From JoCee

From Miss Mis

 

From Tinci

 

From Lindsay Jane

From Little Rad Trio

From Miss Fish

From Joyful Expressions

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tutorial Tuesday (Windows)

Mixing it UP!

This week’s tutorial is going to take a slightly different path than most of the others. Many of you may not know this about me but I’m NOT a kit-scrapper. I can do it if I must, but I like to pull goodies from several kits for most of my layouts. My credit lists are usually quite lengthy and the September Color Challenge layout I created as the basis for this tut is no exception. Colour challenges are actually the perfect vehicle for mixing up kits; this month’s was pretty straight-forward since it only required shades of blue. But what do you do when the designer has provided a swatch and you don’t have a kit with all the colours in it? You mix a bunch of kits together!

Caveat: This is my workflow and you might have a method that will work better for you.

I like to use templates, not gonna lie. They make scrapping so much easier. And I like to use folders. For me, they too make scrapping easier. For mixing kits, folders are a HUGE help. I have folders for each store I frequent, each of the kits I’ve added to my stash and I have folders for every layout I’ve created. It helps keep me organized. I’ve read posts from people who go through all of their kits and individually tag EVERYTHING. That’s a ton of work, and for the most part, it’s unnecessary. Designers usually label everything in a kit in some way, so why duplicate their efforts? Work Smart, Not Hard!

So let’s talk about folders. At the beginning of every month, I create a Challenges folder. And in this folder I add subfolders for all my favourite challenges. Into those folders, I copy my photo(s), template, papers and elements. After I’m happy with the layout, have ensured I have no bloopers and the layout is posted, I empty the folder of everything but the PSD of the layout and 2 JPEGs. That keeps the space taken up by the layout to a minimum but lets me find them later. The image below shows some of my folders in the list to the left. My first step is to select a template to use. In the tutorial on organizing your stash, I talked about labeling template previews in some fashion so it’s easier to find what you’re looking for later. My system, borrowed from someone else but modified to suit my workflow, is to label with whether the template is for a single or double spread, the number of photo spots and sometimes the shape/mask/blend the photo spots assume. The screenshot below shows a Windows File Explorer search for a single spread with 1 photo. (The icon for this utility is the file folder… super simple!) I had chosen a cute photo to build my layout around, so I opened my GingerScraps digikit folder then in the search box shown on the upper right, I typed in “single1“. After a few minutes, Windows had found all the template previews so labeled and showed them to me. (The actual search time will depend on the size of the folder you’re searching and the number of like objects to be found. It may only take seconds.) Now I could look at them and pick a template that would work for my layout.

Now, how did I find the actual template, you ask, since all that’s displayed are the preview thumbnails? I right-clicked on the preview and selected Open file location from the menu window. That takes me right to the folder that holds the template. Then I copied the template file into my challenge folder. For other searches this step won’t be necessary, because you can just copy the objects right from the search pane.

Next, I opened the template preview thumbnail in a photo viewer so I could see what supplies I needed to find next. I counted up the different papers the template employs and went on to my next search.

For this search, I put “paper blue” in the search box, as I’ve shown below. And Windows found all the papers labeled with those two words. Results will show both folders and individual images, which makes it easy to see just what you’re looking for.

I copied each of the blue papers I might want to use into my GingerScraps Challenges> September 2017>Colour SHADES OF BLUE folder so I could see them all in one place. That helped me determine if they’d work together or not. They look pretty good!

I worked my way through the different items used for the template one at a time to find things I wanted to include. There was a circular element I decided must be a flair, so I did a “flair” search.

Remembering that templates don’t necessarily have to be duplicated exactly, I chose to add some string to it. The search showed me a blue string right near the top that would work beautifully!

Once I had chosen all the things I thought I might use (substituting flowers for the stars) I could see everything in one place and knew they’d all work well together. I had pieces from FOURTEEN kits!

Once I was ready to build my layout, I opened Photoshop Elements and went to the Colour SHADES OF BLUE folder and opened all the items onto my workspace. From there it was zip, zip, zip!

And this is where I ended up. (Once I post my challenge layout, I add a hyphen to the beginning of the folder name so I know it’s done.)

Another way this method is useful is for speed scraps. You can have Windows searching for things while you work on the previous steps. That’s sort of where I came up with my system. I used to partake of monthly speed scraps at another site that is no longer around and I wanted to be sure I was finished my layout with time to spare in order to win the prize.

This screenshot shows how CathyK has labelled the items in her kit Aviator. This is for GingerScrapper Karen who had some questions about metadata.

 

Please feel free to adapt this however it will work for you!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Abstract Meets Graphic Art

On August 30, 2016 I posted my very first PSE tutorial here on the GingerScraps Blog. It’s hard to believe it has been a year already! Inspiration for many of my posts have come from you, the GingerScrappers who read my posts and for that I thank you. Today I want to give you something really cool to try that once again builds on some of the other things we’ve looked at over the last year. We’ll be creating something really individual and artistic from a photo. If you really can’t wait, go ahead and scroll down to see the final image…

To begin, you’ll need a great photo with a relatively plain background, because the image will be extracted. This photo of a skateboarder from Pixabay was a great choice for my example since my inspiration for the tutorial came from an image of a skateboarder. I dropped it on a white paper for the initial steps to make extraction easier.

I used the Magic Wand tool to extract my image. This tutorial will provide a refresher for you if you’re still getting the hang of extracting images. You can duplicate your photo now, or wait until you’ve got your extraction complete or the line of marching ants in place. But you will need to duplicate your photo. Make your duplicate layer invisible.

Working on the extracted photo, I clicked on the Filter menu, selected Stylize and Find Edges as shown. Remember when I showed you how to do this?

Once the image has been filtered, some of the colour from the image is still visible. Right now, I don’t want that. It looks a bit odd.

So to remove that hint of colour, I chose Enhance>Adjust Color>Hue/Saturation (CTRL/CMD>U) and pulled the Saturation slider all the way to the left. That leaves only the sketch.

We didn’t do this in the Sketchy tutorial, but for this one it’s a vital step. Enhance>Adjust Lighting>Levels will take you to the menu shown. What this step does is dramatically darken the lines in the sketched image.

The histogram shown below is part of the adjustment menu. You can adjust both sections simply by pulling the sliders. Make sure you can see your image so you know when you’ve gone far enough. If you need to move the dialog box, click and hold the gray bar at the top of the box then drag it up, down or to one side so you can see what’s underneath it. I wanted my background area to stay bright white and my sketch to be darker and more detailed. The changes I made are shown in the dialog box.

Now I have what looks like a charcoal drawing of the skateboarder. I want to have some of the colour from the original image in there, so I selected the topmost layer and added an adjustment layer mask by ALT>clicking on the Layer Mask icon (the divided circle icon above the Layers panel). The image disappeared but was really still there. I just had to reveal it.

I used a medium-sized soft round brush from the default brushes PSE comes with to paint back the colour, working on the Layer Mask. By using a low opacity (20%) I was able to build up colour where it naturally would appear darker and keep other areas much lighter. When you hold down your mouse button as you paint, you can overlap your brush strokes and have no visible overlap. Once you release the mouse button, the tool resets and areas of overlap will be darker. You want to brush over the whole area in one step to avoid those overlap spots. Keep that in mind as you go so you don’t end up with streaks.

Once I had the colour the way I wanted it, I Simplified the layer. (Right-click on the layer in the Layers panel and select Simplify Layer.) That step merges the mask with the image and prevents me from messing it up.

Now for the really fun stuff! I added a new blank layer underneath the sketch layer then used a watercolour brush at 100% Opacity from my collection of free brushes. I had an idea what colours I wanted to use so I just played around with both colour and brush selection until I liked what it looked like. By putting each brush on its own layer I can resize it, reposition it, decrease the opacity of it, increase the opacity by duplicating the layer, position it above or below my sketch and photo layers and whatever whim enters my head.

I experimented with lots of different watercolour and grunge brushes, deleting the layers that just didn’t work.

If you look closely you’ll see I’ve made a lot of changes by adding and subtracting, shifting and overlaying layers. You might also notice that the original photo colours are darker in this image. I duplicated the topmost simplified colour layer from the Layer Mask step then adjusted the opacity of that duplicate layer until I liked it.

To add a little more grunge and graphic feel I chose a gray colour and used a free graph paper brush that I duplicated and rotated. One layer is above the sketch and one is below it.

For the finishing touch I added some tiny gray splatters on top of all the layers and some below.  The process is one of playing with your stash and experimenting with things you never thought you could do.

I saved the finished image as a .png file for even more versatility. This is what it looks like with no paper behind it.

I can’t WAIT to see how you use this technique!!