Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Memory-Keeping with Not-So-Great Photos

I don’t know about you, but I’m seriously lousy at getting good selfies. Maybe I’m too critical, or maybe I just don’t look good in photos. But when the only photos I have of an event I really want to scrap about are those nasty selfies, what’s a woman to do? Such was the day I went to the beach on the Wild Atlantic Way… the ONLY day out of the whole two weeks I was in Ireland this time when it rained. It was also the only chance I would have to walk on the beach at Kilkee, where my 3x great-grandparents were born. So I went ahead to walk on the beach (although I didn’t walk the cliffs – I AM a bit of a chicken) and took the nasty selfies, then scrapped them into a minimalist layout for the January Color Challenge.

When I say it was raining, I’m not talking about the soft, misty rain Ireland is usually known for; it was more like a prairie downpour. My hair was plastered to my head and my jacket was soaked through. (And I was freezing… in July!)

If I was going to do something with these photos that I could live with, I was going to have to think a bit. I made a copy of my photo so I’d be playing with it and not the original.

Then I did something I’d never done before… I checked out the possibilities in the Effects menu. I played with each of the options to see what they do, and some of them will be given more attention in upcoming tuts. Imagine my surprise when I found an even quicker-with-fewer-steps sketch effect than we’ve looked at in other tuts.

Just one click and I had a sketch!

The effect produced another new layer.

The details are pretty blown-out, so I thought about how to find them again. (Although I wasn’t really upset that the crowsfeet are gone!)

I used the Levels adjustment (Enhance>Adjust Lighting>Levels or CTRL/CMD>L) to darken the outlines. With Levels, pushing the Input Levels dark value slider to the right as shown and the Output Levels light value slider just slightly to the left allowed some colour to leak back in, but also brought the details and textures back. The raindrops on my glasses are more obvious now.

I wanted a tiny bit more sketchiness so I duplicated the sketch layer (right-click on the layer then select Duplicate Layer or CTRL/CMD>J) then played with the Levels again. Can you see the difference in the histograms between the two images?

Just for fun, I played with some Blend Modes too. Some of them give really interesting results… There are no limits on creativity here!

I chose Pin Light. The only difference it makes is to brighten the image up a bit. And maybe sharpen the sketch effect a smidge.

Lowering the Opacity of that layer lets a bit more colour show through without losing the total sketch effect.

But naturally, I have to play a bit more.

I tried all the Modes then settled on Overlay.

That’s more like it! Some of the gray is gone,, the details are sharper and there’s a hint of colour.

After I Merged all the layers, this is what I ended up with.

And my final layout looks like this… The blended photo in the background is simply clipped to a mask then the mask’s Opacity was lowered a bit to blend the background a bit more.

Sneak Peeks January 10th 2019

Happy Thursday! Tomorrow is jam packed with new releases! Let’s see all the awesome goodies releasing!

From Dagi

From Heather Z

From LDrag

From Tinci

From JB Studio

From CathyK

From Miss Fish

From Aimee Harrison

From Luv Ewe

Have a great weekend!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Any Way You Slice It

After last week’s tutorial went out and I posted my Possibilities layout there were several comments about the photo treatment I used. Well, I actually stole it from a paper layout I saw in an old issue of Creating Keepsakes. Sort of. The digital version is a lot less labour-intensive and creates no mess or destruction. No glue either. So I thought that might make a suitable topic for today’s tutorial!

I started out by adding a new blank layer above my photo layer. That can be done simply by clicking on the little piece-of-paper icon at the top of the Layers Panel. Then I activated the Rectangular Marquee tool. (CTRL/CMD>M)

Next I pulled out a narrow rectangular selection along the left edge of my photo, including the parts of the photo I wanted to keep and excluding the part I didn’t – who wants to look at a roof?

Then I added a narrow white stroke around the selected area.

Then I dragged out another rectangular selection from my photo. See that little dialog box with numbers in it? That’s a great tool! It tells you the dimensions of whatever shape you’ve dragged out, therefore allowing you to keep the width or length of your selection identical. (Or you can just CTRL/CMD>J it and make an identical copy that you can then adjust to whatever dimensions you want…)

These are the settings I used for all my strokes: 5 pixels in width, centered over the selection, white and 100% visible.

I made a bunch of copies of my second rectangle and moved them over, which let me really WSNH (Work Smart, Not Hard) by skipping a lot of steps. I left the width the same but stretched or shrunk heights as I went. Once I had the whole photo “sliced” up, I Merged the frames.

Then I moved back to the photo layer and, still using the Rectangular Marquee, I started selecting the areas of the photo I didn’t want to keep. Then I Cut those areas away. (CTRL/CMD>X)

All that was left was to apply a hint of a drop shadow on the frame layer to give the whole thing a little dimension. The shadow settings I used were Angle: 90°, Size: 16 pixels, Distance: 0 pixels and Opacity: 18% with the colour being black. I didn’t add a shadow to the photo itself.

It’s really that easy!

~~January Featured Designer – ADB Designs~~

Happy 2019!! I’m so excited to bring you this month’s featured designer profile. ADB Designs is one of our newer store designers. Let’s just jump right in and get to know her.

How long have you been designing?

As scrapbook designer since 2012; as designer (marketing and end user products) in a photography studio since 2002.

What made you decide to design?

I retired from a high stress job in IT and found designing to be a powerful creative outlet for my time and energy – AND – it allowed me to create designs that supported my genealogy passion.

What do you use to create your designs (program, additional tools, etc.)?

Photoshop CC & AI; scanner, husband who is professional photographer, LOL!

Describe your design workplace.

I have an office in my home, with windows that overlook a wooded hill on our 5 acre property. It is peaceful and quiet, unless the office cat is demanding attention.

What motivates and inspires you as a designer?

I love history and romantic “things” – I research for my genealogy passion and all of that feeds my designer imagination. I create a lot of Heritage collections designed to assist with telling a family history.

What is your favorite kit currently in your GS store and why?

Patriots & Loyalists Heritage Collection is my current favorite. I loved the challenge of creating a collection to support research in the American Revolutionary War period. I loved the challenge of creating a product that celebrated both patriots and loyalist…all were newly minted Americans at the end of the war.

What was your first job?

WOW that really takes me back. I would have to say babysitter at age 12 for the 3 children who lived next door.

Have you ever met anyone famous?

No, I lead a boring life. LOL

What are you reading right now?

Oh goodness, I read 6-7 books at a time. (I read a lot of non-fiction) I am finishing these:

  • The Last Shogun – the life of Tokugawa Yoshinobu
  • Rosalind Franklin The Dark Lady of DNA
  • I Remember Nothing More – The Warsaw Children’s Hospital & the Jewish Resistance
  • His Brother’s Keeper – A Story From the Edge of Medicine

What is your favorite quote?

“The opposite of hate is not love, it is indifference.” David Wilkerson

What is something you want to do in the next year that you’ve never done before?

Go to Australia and visit my brother Alan and his family.

You have your own late night talk show, who do you invite as your first guest?

Oprah Winfrey

If you had to delete all but 3 apps from your smartphone, which ones would you keep?

Google Drive, Adobe Capture, Google News

If you could have someone follow you around all the time, like a personal assistant, what would you have them do?

Clean & cook — oh wait, my husband does that….I guess help me stay organized.

Would you rather travel back in time to meet your ancestors or to the future to meet your descendants?

Back in time.

What commercial jingle gets stuck in your head all the time.

“Nationwide is on your side” Peyton Manning singing.

If you could turn the ocean into a liquid other than water, which one would you pick?

Would not want to do that…but if you are asking about other favorite liquids….well a good single malt Scotch makes me happy. 🙂

Thanks Diane!! Make sure to check our her GingerScraps store and her Facebook fan page. Also make sure you are grabbing the daily download every day to get this awesome kit!

Happy New Year everyone!!

Sneak Peeks December 27th 2018


Happy last Thursday of 2018! The year is almost over and a new year is on it’s way! I know one resolution all of us would like to make and keep… More Scrapping! That is a resolution I can definitely get behind! If you want to dedicate a little more time to getting those pages scrapped, maybe one or our designers new releases will ignite your creativity or its just the kit you have been looking for!

From Heather Z

From Mags Graphics

From Aimee H

From JB Studio

Sneak Peeks December 20th 2018

Happy Thursday! We are soooooooooooooooo close to Christmas. It’s just around the corner. Our designers have lots of festive offerings for this last weekend before the holiday! Let’s take a look!

From Ponytails

From Tinci

From Miss Fish

From Shepherd Studio

From Wimpychompers

From LDrag

From Luv Ewe

From Aimee Harrison

Tutorial Tuesday (Back to Basics)

Save me!!

Right after last week’s tutorial appeared, a comment from one of our members, lilholmes6 (aka Lynn), appeared, asking why her layouts were so blurry and the journaling was unreadable. I sent her a private reply and carried on… then Ginger (our genius GingerScraps owner) messaged me. She wanted to know if I’d written a tutorial on saving layouts for the Gallery; she’d also gotten a request for help from a member, apparently one in a long string of them and didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. So today we’re going to talk about saving layouts for our highest possible viewing pleasure.

The first thing to know about saving your layouts for Gallery purposes is that online galleries have a limit on the maximum size an image file can be, most stipulating images 600×600 pixels and a file no larger than 250 KB. Now, to get our images to fit into those parameters, the file has to be compressed a bit. Or a lot… some template designers create absolutely gorgeous templates that stimulate creation of even MORE gorgeous layouts, but they turn into HUMONGOUS files. (Heartstrings Scrap Art is a favourite of mine and a former GingerBread Lady.) What happens when I scrap using one of her templates? Lemme show you…

First I resize the layout to that 600×600 pixel limit and then I try (and fail!) to save the layout as a .jpeg using the File>Save As menu. Because I save my layouts as .jpegs in two sizes, I change the name of the one destined for the Gallery by adding “GS” to the layout’s name as you can see below.

Hmm… At the highest possible quality, this layout weighs in at a ginormous 2.7 MB!!

So I pushed the Quality slider to the LEFT. All the way to 0. Now, I’ve never actually tried to save a layout with a quality of 0, because really, what’s the point?! But what really is interesting here is that this image would still have a file size of 2.2 MB. How is that even possible?

Time for Plan B, the Save for Web option. I don’t use this method for saving my layouts except as a last resort, because there’s a lot more compression of the image, and loss of clarity, or what’s known a pixelation. That’s what makes journaling turn into squiggles.

The user menu looks like this. You have the original on the left, the compressed version on the right and some adjustments you can make on the far right. The default here is a resolution of 72 pixels per inch, pretty fuzzy. (For the best images for printing for example, you’d want a resolution of 300 pixels per inch, which is MY default setting.) Within the menu, just below the compressed image on the right is where you find the file size at that resolution. As you can see here, there’s a little wiggle room.

So I took it! I nudged the Quality slider to the RIGHT until I got the sharpest image that still was under 250 KB. You can see the final version in the Gallery right HERE. Not too shabby!

Now I want to show you my USUAL method of saving my layouts for Gallery posting. This layout is built on a template from our own Aimee Harrison from her Singular Volume 1 set. I select Save As (CTRL/CMD>SHIFT>S), rename my layout and select .jpeg as the format.

Now, this is the real bonus. The file is under 500 KB right off the bat.

Just a tiny nudge of the Quality slider gets me right into the zone. <whispers> (I’ve found these numbers to be a tiny bit inflated, so you might get away with a few KB over 250. But don’t tell anybody.)

In the spirit of the season, here’s a little add-on for you.

As you might remember, I’ve been looking at old scrapbooking magazines and this technique got a ton of attention back in the day. Lots of layouts had papers or photos with only the opposite corners rounded. We’ve looked at how to use rounded rectangles, so I thought I’d take that a step further. Fire up that Custom Shape toolkit!!

My example is more squarish, but that’s cool. I popped another layer just underneath it then made the square invisible.

Then I changed my tool to the Rectangular shape tool and dragged out another squarish shape. That’s what worked for me, but you of course can do whatever makes you happy.

You know how I keep hammering you about Simplifying your text and shape layers? It’s a vital step for maintaining control. When you’re looking at text layers, you’ll know it hasn’t been Simplified if there’s a “T” on the layer in the Layers panel. For shape layers, there’s a little square box in the lower right corner of the image on the layer in the Layers panel. You can see it here.

Now, I KNOW you can see what I’ve done. I simply aligned the top and right edges of the two layers using the Alignment adjustments within the Move tool.

Next I just made a copy of the square layer and aligned the bottom and left edges. All that was left was to Merge the layers and save the resulting shape as a .png so I can use it as a clipping mask later. One thing about this shape though… resizing it will change the contours of the curved corners unless the proportions are constrained (identical). If you want it to be more rectangular than square you’ll need to start there. An oblong rounded rectangle as your base, then two rectangles with squared corners for the rest.

Since next Tuesday is Christmas Day, I’ll be taking the day off to be with my husband and son… as I’m sure all of you will be doing as well. I’ll see you all New Year’s Day with something new for you to do while the men watch bowl games!

Sneak Peeks December 13th 2018

Happy Thursday! We are 12 days away from Christmas! Thank heavens for Amazon! I finished almost all my shopping from the convenience of my couch. This weekend you should reward yourself with one of the new releases our amazing designers created! Take some time this holiday season and enjoy scrapping! Let’s take a peek at some of the new releases!

From Heather Z

From Tinci

From JoCee

From LDrag


From Miss Fish

From Aimee Harrison

Tutorial Tuesday (Tutorials!)

Now Where Did I See That Tutorial About…?

If you read the comments GingerScrappers leave here on the Blog you might have seen a brilliant suggestion from Ellen for a “quick tut” to index all the other tuts I’ve written over the last 2+ years. Lemme tell you, “quick” it ain’t! But it IS brilliant, so that’s what I’m bringing you today. Without further ado, here is a chronological linked index to all the tutorials I’ve prepared for you to date, all in one place.

1. Turn a Font into a Sticker

2. Use a Basic Template

3. Titles Revisited: Alphas Plus Fonts

4. One Photo, More than One Photo Spot

5. Making Templates Work for You

6. Simple Photo Blending

7. Extractions… Choose Your Method

8. Brush Basics: Colour

9. Playing with Text

10. Shadow Basics

11. Text Talk: LETTERPRESS!

12. Titles with STYLE(s)

13. Word Art Wizardry

14. For all you former paper scrappers: INKED EDGES!

15. Getting More Mileage from Your Templates… Easily!

16. Reverse Stencilling with Brushes

17. Kustomize Your Kits

18. Sizzling Signatures!

19. Journaling INside the Box

20. Yes! You CAN Warp Shadows in PSE!

21. Heritage Photos Get a Makeover

22. Only the Shadow Knows… Take TWO

23. When is a Square NOT a Square?

24. Creating Clusters… Not Clutter

25. Build-a-Brush Workshop

26. Blend Modes? Say What??

27. Down on the Border (not the Little River Band version)

28. Carol: Objects Inside Other Objects and Going Incognito

29. Tearing Up the Sheets (of Cardstock)

30. Style Savvy!

31. WSNH Tips and Tricks

32. Title Tweaks

33. Get in SHAPE, Girl!

34. Keeping Things in Perspective

35. Can This Photo Be Saved?

36. Behind the MASK

37. Michelle: Finding Font

38. Putting the “OH!” in Your Photos

39. Ellen: Talking about Tools

40. Chalking it Up to Inspiration

41. Becoming an ALPHA Female

42. Over-the-Top TITLES

43. Templates with a Twist

44. How’d You DO That?!! Fontography Demystified

45. A Little Bit Sketchy

46. More Fun with FONTS

47. Dodge and Burn… NOT an Action Movie

48. Reflections

49. The EYEs Have It

50. There’s a Flag on the Play – Out Of Bounds!

51. Abstract Meets Graphic Art

52. Mixing it UP!

53. Revisionist History

54. The TutOR Becomes the TutEE

55. A Few Quick Template and Shadow Tips

56. It’s a PUZZLE!

57. I Feel the Need… the Need for SPEED (Scrapping)!

58. More FUN with FOTOS

59. Turning a POSITIVE into a NEGATIVE

60. Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

61. Scrapping with Heritage Photos

62. You’ve Gotta Know When to FOLD ‘Em

63. More Fun with Fonts – Die-Cut!

64. A(nother) Way with WORDS

65. Playing on Emotion

66. In the RAW!

67. Christmas FONTography

68. Ahead of the CURVE

69. Like Snowflakes… No Two ALIKE


71. More Fun with Photos!

72. Fun with FONTS & FOTOS 

73. First Past the Post(mark)


75. Here’s a Little Clip!

76. The EYES Have It!

77. Facebook Timeline Covers

78. Tiny BUBBLES!

79. Uniquely YOURS

80. DIAMONDS are a Girl’s Best Friend

81. Totally TACKY!

82. UNZIP Me Dahling!

83. Direct Your Own SCRIPT

84. Transforming the Ordinary to the Extraordinary!

85. Making the Most of (inter)National Scrapbooking Day!

86. When SIZE Really DOES Matter…

87. A Road Map for Newbies

88. Throwing the BOOK at Glee

89. Jailbird No More!

90. Alphas Revisited

91. Everything New is Old Again

92. Still MORE Fun with FONTS!! 

93. Where the Boys Are

94. Like a Broken Record

95. Creating ‘Mazing Monograms

96. Vacation Memories Sanitized!

97. Another Way to Have the Photo You REALLY Wanted, Not the One You Got

98. Fontography with Alphas

99. Expanding Your Repertoire

100. Sketchy Simplified

101. It’s Fall, Y’All!

102. Making a Stylish Sandwich

103. Clusters… Have Them Your Way, the Easy Way!

104. Driven to Distraction

105. Are YOU Ready for Digital Scrapbooking Day?

106. Don’t Lose Your Cool… or Your Stash!

107. 8 ball, Corner Pocket!

108. One Hand in my Pocket… and the other one’s holding a Journal Card!

109. Shaving Shadows

110. Cuttin’ It Out – Old-School

111. Let’s All Give Thanks… for AWESOME Photos!

112. Gentle(wo)men, Start Your Ovens!

113. The EYE-lets Have It!

114. Save Me! (methods for saving layouts for gallery posting)

115. What’s Your Super Power (Word)?

116. Any Way You Slice It (quick way to duplicate a multi-strip photo)

117. Memory-Keeping with Not-So-Great Photos

Sneak Peeks December 6th 2018

Happy Thursday!!! We are 19 days away from Christmas! I guess I need to start shopping! While I brainstorm what gifts to buy, I can get in the Christmas spirit by scrapbooking more layouts from last year and our designers are releasing some festive kits this week! Let’s take a look!

From Day Dreams n’ Designs

From Tinci

From Aimee Harrison

From LDrag Designs

From Neia Scraps

From Miss Fish

Come back tomorrow to see even more new releases!