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!!

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!