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!!

Let’s Celebrate Spring!

Fall is just around the corner where I live. Of course it will likely stay hot and humid until October or November. Such is the life of the Southern parts of the States. That being said, it is heading into Spring for you guys in the Southern Hemisphere. With that in mind we are going to take a look at a lot of the pretty and Spring-tastic things we have in the store to scrap those layouts.

If you are not familiar with our Let’s Celebrate posts, here is a little information about them. Get ready to be blown away with a lot of great items from the store. These posts are usually image heavy. (I have a hard time narrowing down the items to a reasonable amount for a blog post! They are all just too great). Also all images are linked to their counterpart in the store. GingerScraps has so many great designers; and a lot of them have been here for years. Therefore we have so many great items spanning pages and pages. If you don’t see something you like in today’s post, you can always check out the store for more. In fact there is a section just for Spring related items.

 

GingerBread Ladies Collab: Showers & Sunshine

 

GingerBread Ladies Collab: Renew

 

Springs Whispers – Mini Kit by Kristmess >> This beautiful mini kit was made as part of my Spring Whispers Collection. This beautiful collection is perfect for all your Spring or feminine layouts!

 

Busy Bees – Kit by Connie Prince

 

Spring Cleaning KIT by MagsGraphics >> Open those windows, let in some fresh air, and get ready for some SPRING CLEANING! Be sure to check out the entire collection for you spring, cleaning, home, moving, or garage sale photos!

[Read more…]

Sneak Peeks August 24th, 2017

Happy Thursday! There’s only one more Thursday this month! Fall will soon be here! This week the designers have some great new releases! Let’s take a look at some of the awesome layouts using them!

From Dagi

From JoCee and Blue Heart Scraps

From Miss Fish

From Mags Graphics

I hope you have a great weekend!

 

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

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

I had a mini-crisis on Friday when the screen on my laptop started to fail. Geek Squad guy I’m married to tried to fix it but was unable to so out he went to find me a new one. I spent the weekend transferring files and installing software so I apologize for all the redirects you’re going to find in this tutorial. I try to show every step and explain it all in detail as I go along, but I ran out of time… And I seem to have lost the font I was using to label my screenshots, so I’ve switched to Lumberjack. At any rate, this tutorial builds on skills I’ve already shared with you in past tutorials, so I’m going to link you up where necessary.

I spent some time recently checking out the forum at another shop that had a big event happening. One of the event-related threads asked members to show a layout with a technique the member really wanted to learn. Guess what I’m teaching you today? You guessed it! We’re going to take this:

to THIS!

I used a stock photo I found on Pixabay, along with a mask created by PHOTOCowgirl (former GingerScraps designer), a paper from Just So Scrappy‘s Chasing Rainbows kit (the bundle is on sale right now for the incredible price of $5!) and a frame from the GingerBread Ladies‘ MEGA collab True Friend. If you don’t have a mask that will work with your photo, you can make your own using brushes, varying the opacity from 100% at the center to about 30% at the edges.

I laid down my mask then dropped my photo on top of it. I made a copy (CTRL/CMD>J) of the photo so I could extract the bee and part of the cone on the focal flower.

I clipped the photo to the mask temporarily while I decided where to put the frame. Looking at it now, I might want to move it up a smidge so the cone on the flower just behind the focal point is inside the frame… or I could extract it too. Let me think about that…

Zoom in (CTRL/CMD>+ to enlarge, CTRL/CMD>- to shrink) and out while you’re working so you can see what you’ve done.

I turned off the visibility of the photo to be clipped to the mask and the frame, using the Rectangular Marquee tool (CTRL/CMD>M) to cut away the areas in the background that I don’t want to show against the frame. Then I added a Layer Mask to my cut-down photo.

Working on the Layer Mask I carefully erased the remainder of the background. The basics of this technique can be found in this tutorial. Later I went to the frame layer and masked off the area where the petals extend over the frame.

You can resize and move the mask, clipped photo, frame and extracted bit of photo to suit yourself by selecting all the layers using the click-shift-click method.

Now I wanted to have the cone and bee cast a shadow on the frame and the photo to add some dimension. CTRL/CMD>click on the sheet of paper at the top of the Layers panel to create a new layer underneath your extraction. Or just click on the icon then move the layer down. In case you need some reminders on how to create shadows on their own layer, you can review this tutorial. Make sure your shadow layer doesn’t shadow the photo underneath the frame where the sharp edge is, along the bottom of your extraction.

One step that isn’t always needed is to remove areas of that shadow layer that wouldn’t be there if the image was a real thing. You can just erase those areas.

For the petals’ shadow I used a drop shadow brush that is one of the prepackaged brushes Elements comes with. This too went on its own layer so I could adjust it as much as I needed to.

Shadow the frame and it’s good to go!

Next week’s tutorial is going to blow your socks off, so get ready!!!!

Focus On – Pop Culture

Happy Saturday scrappers! Just as promised in last week’s post with those free pop culture fonts, we are back this week with some digital scrapbooking supplies with the same theme. Now, this is just a tiny glimpse into what the store has to offer. We went along with the themes of the fonts from last week. Check back on later posts for more pop culture fonts and digital scrapbooking supplies. You can also check the store out for more. If these are not what you are looking for.

Galactic Heroes by BoomersGirl Designs >> Don’t go to the dark side! Join these galactic cuties as you celebrate all of the “out of this world” fun in your life. Whether scrapbooking your favorite movies, little (or big) heroes of your own or the magic of the universe, this kit has it all – cute characters, beautiful colors and tons of themed (and non-themed) goodies! The vibrant color palette includes oranges, yellow, green, blues, purple, gray, black and white.

A Far Away Galaxy by Scrap N Pieces >> While some people’s favorite stories start “once upon a time,” other stories begin with “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” If you are already picturing the scrolling crawl, this kit is for you. A Far Away Galaxy pays tribute to Star Wars including light sabers, insignias, and a galactic alphabet. This kit also contains other nods to a love of space, including planets, moons, and galaxies. A Far Away Galaxy also contains traditional elements and patterned papers versatile enough to be used for every occasion, helpijng to stretch your stash. Whether it’s blue milk for breakfast or the Jedi training academy, tell your stories with A Far Away Galaxy…

 

Space Wars by Laurie’s Scraps and Designs >> Cherish those memories from a galaxy far, far away with this intergalactic collection. Perfect for any space layouts!

[Read more…]

Sneak Peeks August 17th, 2017

Happy Thursday! My son went back to school today! I can’t believe summer vacation is done! But now I have more time to scrap! The designers have some great products releasing tomorrow and I have some sneak peeks to show you!

From Love Ewe Designs

From Dagi

From Tinci

 

From Lindsay Jane

From Neia Scraps

From Aimee Harrison

Have a Wonderful weekend!

August Bake Sale

It’s August Bake Sale time!! The designers have picked some wonderful goodies for you this month. All these kits are on sale for just $1 through August 20th.

I can’t wait to go shopping!!

Free Pop Culture Fonts

Happy Saturday everyone! Since you all seemed to really enjoy the last free fonts we found for you, I thought we would do another edition this week. There is a theme to this week’s fun and free fonts we found you. Pop Culture! I thought it would be a fun twist.  So here they are. (links below the image)

Top Title & Bottom Link | Waltograph

Far Away Galaxy | Star Jedi

Catch Them All! |  Pokémon

You’re a Wizard! | Harry P

Grumpy Fowl | Angry Birds

Assemble! | Avengeance Heroic Avenger

I have a 9 year old son who is basically obsessed with all of these. Well, Harry P was for me if I am being honest. 🙂 I had all of these in my font stash already. We would love to see your layouts made with these fonts. Make sure to upload them to the gallery and come back and link us up in the comments.

Check back next Saturday. We will be showcasing some fun Pop Culture digital scrapbooking supplies to go along with these fonts. I also have more of these fun pop culture fonts in my stash. I will be back in the future with some more.

Sneak Peeks August 10th, 2017

Happy Thursday! In my area, the kids went back to school! I can’t believe summer vacation is over! Soon it will cool off and the weather will be nice again. Hopefully with school starting, there’s more time to scrap! This week our designers have some awesome kits and templates!

From Neia Scraps

From Luv Ewe

From Dagi

From Tinci

From Joyful Expresions

From Miss Fish

From CathyK

From JoCee

From Lindsay Jane

From Aimee Harrison

From Heart Strings Scrap Art

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Reflections

Once again, Glee has outed me! She saw my finished layout in the Gallery and just knew today’s tutorial would relate to how I created my title. I used a pretty but fairly simple script font called Black Olives. It’s an upright font so I chose the Italic Text tool option. The colour was pulled from the sky in my photo.

After I had my text the size I wanted it and in the spot I wanted it, I simplified then duplicated the text layer. CTRL/CMD>J, remember. Then I “grabbed” the handle at the top centre of my bounding box – make sure yours is on! – and pulled it straight down. The Move tool options include a spot to Constrain Proportions; if you select that, it will automatically size your image. If you look at the numbers in the boxes, one will say 100% (for example) and the other will say -100%. But for this technique you don’t have to constrain proportions if you don’t want to. You can make it whatever height you want. When you’re happy, hit the check-mark.

The next step I took was to Skew the image. Image>Transform>Skew takes you there. Then I pulled the lower corner handles a bit to the right. You can eye-ball for this step, or you can turn on the grid (CTRL/CMD>’) to help you do it evenly. But only if you’re really… umm… particular.

And I am. I turned on the grid so I could move those handles about the same distance. I also nudged the skewed layer down a little, as you’ll see in the next screenshot.

If you’re a faithful reader you’ll know that I’m rarely satisfied with basic. I went on to jazz things up a little by applying some special effects. I made a copy of the skewed layer then added some panache. The fx button at the bottom of your layers panel includes some basic styles, such as Drop Shadows, Glows and Bevels. By selecting any one of those you’ll have access to all of the default settings as shown below. I used a commercially available style set, but the settings below will give you the same effects. Check the Glow and Inner boxes, with black (000000) for the Colour. Set the Size to about 18 and the Opacity to about 13. Then go down and check the Bevel box, Direction up and Size at 24. You can see that the topmost skewed layer looks a little shiny with some dimension to it.

Then I went down to the original skewed layer and decreased its Opacity down to 28%. I wanted some of the blue to remain, but the shiny dimensional stuff to be most visible.

Then I merged the two skewed layers.

I chose another font, this time a simple sans serif one called Caviar Dreams. I pulled a pink from one of the papers I used then added some special effects to it too. The Glow and Inner boxes are checked again, Size is at 70 and Opacity at 50. The Bevel is set at 24 and Up again.

I decided a little drop shadow on the two fancy layers was needed because of their dimension and the end result looks like this.

You know what’s the best part? You can do this to almost anything! You can create a mirror image of a photo, an element, a brush (on its own layer, of course!), make an object look like it’s casting a really long shadow… so many ways you can make this work for you! Give it a whirl. I know you’ll find some really creative ways to use it and to combine it with other cool techniques. See you in a week.