Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Brush Basics – Colour

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Stephanie made a comment on the Facebook tutorial post about wanting to recolour brushes. This is a really simple technique and I’m going to show you two ways to do it, as well as give you a couple of tips from my own experience that make life simpler when using brushes. As you may know, there is a Brush Challenge each month as part of GingerScraps’ community rewards Cookie Jar; the hostess for each month provides a free brush or links to a website that provides free brushes, such as Brusheezy. This challenge is hosted by the one and only Rachel PearceSeatrout Scraps – this month, and this tutorial will use the brush she created.

Open up your workspace and pick some papers you want to use in your layout. We’re going to pull colours from these papers. I want to do a Hallowe’en layout so I have 5 papers from Ooh La La ScrapsAll Hallows’ Eve collection selected. I’m planning to use the neutral white stripe paper for my background, so I opened up the gold patterned paper and selected a darker area of the paper with my colour picker (the eyedropper tool).

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Then I opened up the white paper on my workspace. When I use brushes I ALWAYS put them on their own layer. Why? Well, the largest dimension available within the software for brushes is 2500 pixels. If you prefer to work on 12×12 inch layouts, they’re 3600×3600 pixels. By putting the brushes on their own layers they can be resized, recoloured, altered and manipulated in many ways that they can’t be if they’re applied to the paper layer. (More about that later.) There are a couple of ways to open a new blank layer. The quickest way is to click on the icon just above your layers panel that looks like a piece of paper with one corner turned up. I’ve shown that in the screenshot below. Another quick way is to use the keyboard shortcut CTRL/CMD+SHIFT+N. Or, if you prefer, you can click on the Layers menu, select New>Layer.

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So now we’ve got a colour for the brush, a background paper to put it on and a new layer to apply the brush to so we can play with it. I selected Seatrout’s challenge brush from my Brush Tool menu.

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I then adjusted the sliders so the brush is as big as the software will allow and the opacity is 100%. (By putting the brush on it’s own layer, you can later adjust the opacity of the LAYER and see exactly what’s happening to it!) I moved the brush onto the paper and clicked to apply it. See it there?

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It’s easy to change the angle and the roundness of the brush by selecting Brush Settings as shown and playing with the sliders. You can check the angle by hovering the brush over the workspace – an outline will show up that let’s you see what it looks like. I changed the angle of the brush after I added another new layer for my next brush application.

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What you see below is what I ended up with after I selected a new colour from my other papers, changed the angle on the brush and applied the brush onto a new layer. I have four brush layers and four different coloured sequin sets.

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That’s the most basic way of using brushes. Now let me show you how to change the colour of your brush by using a layer mask. With the layer you want to change colour on selected in your Layers panel, click on the Layer menu as shown.

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The pop-up menu looks like the screenshot below. You want to check the Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask box, then click OK.

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Another pop-up menu opens with the Colour Picker. You can put your cursor anywhere on the colour swatch, or click on the rainbow column to change the colour family shown, then select the colour you like.

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To make your new colour fill layer “stick” to your brush and make the brush layer adaptable, merge the two layers together by selecting them both in the Layers panel, right-click and select Merge Layers or quick-key CTRL/CMD+E.

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After I recoloured all four brush layers, I started randomly erasing sequins from each layer with the Eraser tool.

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By turning the visibility of the other layers off and on while erasing, I could see where I still had several different colours on the same sequin. Once I was happy with the way it looked, I turned them all on again.

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Then I merged all four layers into a single brush layer.

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Here’s where the manipulation capacity comes into play. By putting the brush(es) on their own layer, I can now enlarge, shrink, copy and adjust opacity at will. In the screenshot below I’ve enlarged them, but decided it wasn’t going to work for me, so I clicked on the “Null” symbol instead of the check mark and it went back to its original size.

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Another way the layer can be manipulated is to change the angle and move it around, just as you do with your other elements. You can’t do this if the brush is applied right to the paper. And still another way the brush can be altered on its own layer is that you could add a shadow to it so it looks three-dimensional. (I didn’t do that here.) Now that I’m happy with what I’ve done, I can to on to finish my Brush Challenge layout.

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There are lots of ways you can jazz up brushes using layer styles, but that’s a lesson for another day. If you’ve read this far and have any ideas for future tuts, let me know by commenting below. Happy scrapping!

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Let’s Celebrate – Halloween 2016

Good morning all! It is that time of year again. For those who celebrate, Halloween will be here before we know it. I bounce back-and-forth between Halloween and Christmas being my favorite holiday. Looking at my stash, you would think it was Halloween. I just have to have all of them! I keep telling myself, “You have plenty of Halloween goodies, La’Shawn!” Then…I buy more. I am excited to share with you all today the fun Halloween goodies we have here at GingerScraps. I should have posted this on Saturday. The weekend got away from me. So, we get to brighten our Monday with fun Halloween digital scrapbooking supplies.

In case you didn’t know, or that you are new here at GingerScraps. You can find anything you look for by searching in the store. You can also find a lot of holiday goodies in the HOLIDAY section. Of course there is one just for all things spooky and HALLOWEEN! I am going to try not to overload your visual senses too much…I did warn you though it was one of my favorites. (all images linked)

 

Halloween Parade KIT by MagsGraphics  |   Dress up your little ghoulies and ghosties and join in the HALLOWEEN PARADE!

Boo-tiful {full kit} by Little Rad Trio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Baked: October 21, 2016

Happy Friday! We’re already two-thirds through October. The designers are getting into the Halloween spirit and the fall season this week! Lots of templates for scrapping those memories and kits to fit the themes as well!

Remember when you spend $10 in the store, you get a great collab! It coordinates with our MEGA Collab, which if you missed it, is available in the store now!

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http://store.gingerscraps.net/GingerBread-Ladies-Collab-Oh-Snap-Cards-Templates.html

[Read more…]

Designer Sneak Peeks – October 21, 2016

Happy Wednesday!! Hope you are all having a great week. Let’s jump right into our sneak peeks this week.

Don’t these all look lovely? Make sure to check out the store for these goodies.

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Extractions… Choose your method

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When Stephanie first proposed this series of tutorials, we decided to ask the GS community what sorts of things they’d like to learn about. Danica‘s comment was, ” I would like to know the best way to extract things out of photos. I have the worst time doing it to see if there are any tips.” Digital extraction is similar to using cuticle scissors to cut out an image from a magazine or photo print – but it’s much more forgiving. Today, I’m going to show you two ways to do it… one that takes a LONG time, and one that’s a lot quicker. The photo I chose for this demonstration presents some of the issues you might come up against in your own extractions, as you see as we move through the images.

First, the choice of photos will determine how fiddly and time-consuming the task will be. For the easiest, quickest extractions, a strong contrast between the object you want to extract and its background is paramount. This photo I found on Pixabay of a beautiful chestnut horse provided that for me.

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You can open a new file on your workspace or you can create a layer from the background. That’s PSE-talk for opening your photo in PSE then putting a blank layer underneath it. To do that, right-click on your photo in the layers panel and select Layer From Background. That changes the label of the photo from Background to Layer 0. Then click on the New Layer button at the top left of the layers panel – it looks like a sheet of paper with one corner turned up. Once you have that layer in the panel you can move it below your photo, either by dragging it down or by CTLR/CMD+ [ . I like to work on a transparent background, but you should do things the way you usually do. My example below shows the photo on a 12×12 workspace, enlarged to fill most of the width.

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You can remove a lot of the background in the photo fairly quickly by using the Select tool, pulling out a rectangle and then cutting the enclosed section off by clicking CTRL/CMD+X.

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Once you’ve chopped off a lot of the extra stuff in your photo, then you’re ready to start cutting out your image. This first method I’m showing you is quite time-consuming and exacting and will give you the most precise extraction possible. Feel free to skim through or skip over this part completely, except for this important step: make a LAYER MASK! To do that you can go to the Layers menu then select Layer Mask>Reveal All or you can click on the Layer Mask button above the layer panel. It’s the square icon with a circle in it. Your workspace will now have a white rectangle in the layers panel on the same layer as your photo. The reason for using a layer mask is so you can fix oopses. Then select a hard brush from your Brush tool. It can be quite big for this stage.

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Make sure your layer mask is selected and start erasing the background, getting as close as you can without erasing anything you want to keep. You can see your progress on the layers panel as a black splotch. BLACK CONCEALS, WHITE REVEALS. If you look at the screenshot below, you’ll see the foreground colour (way over in the lower left corner) is black.

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Oops!

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If you accidentally erase something you didn’t want to erase, change your foreground colour to white and paint it back in. To change your foreground colour quickly and easily, just press the X key. See how I’ve painted back some of my oops below?

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Getting into smaller areas where detail is important, change the size of your brush so you can get into those little spaces. Quick key: [  (In the same way, you can use ] to make the brush bigger.) Zoom in to see what you’re doing… quick keys: CTRL/CMD + +. Zoom back out (CTRL/CMD frequently so you can regain your reference regarding what you’re removing and what you want to leave.

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Again, get as close as you can to the edge without going over it.

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Zooming in lets you see better where you’re erasing. There’s a colour difference that may be subtle, as shown below. You can take the size of your brush down as small as a single pixel to cut those detailed spots as sharply as possible. In the screenshot below you can see each individual pixel. This is an important step if you want to keep things like hair wisps in the image. This horse has a wispy mane and a pretty hairy chin, so the detailed pixel-by-pixel erasing took a long time.

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Here are some little areas of tufted hair on the horse’s ear.

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Once you’ve erased all of the background areas of your photo your workspace will look like this: see the black negative outline of the horse in the layers panel? To finalize your extraction, the next step is to apply the layer mask to the photo. You can right-click on the layer then select Apply Layer Mask and then merge down so you have a single layer. Or you can simply merge the two layers, which automatically applies the layer mask. Remember how to merge layers? Select all the layers you want to merge by holding down the CTRL/CMD key and clicking on them. Then right-click and go all the way to the bottom of the dropdown menu and select Merge Layers or use the quick keys CTRL/CMD+E.

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We pause this tutorial for an important message! When colours are light it’s sometimes impossible to see them against the transparent background and you might have some stray pixels you missed. This isn’t a huge problem unless you’re planning to shadow the image later. Then those stray pixels will show up like a smudge on your layout.

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To make them visible, you can put a white or black fill layer underneath your finished extraction. There are two ways to do that. One is to go to the Layers menu and select New Fill Layer>Solid Color, as shown below, then selecting a white or black from the colour picker that pops up. The second way is to click on the Create Fill or Adjustment Layer button – that circle that’s half blue and half gray above the layers panel then selecting Solid Color from the dropdown menu.

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Then you can easily see your stray pixels and erase them. When you’re happy with your extraction, delete the white/black fill layer, merge down and save your work as a png.

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Okay. That was the long, finicky way. It took me about 3 hours from start to finish. I don’t know exactly how long it took because I stopped to make supper and eat, did a bit more erasing, talked to a friend on the phone then got back to it. The second method I’m going to show you takes a LOT less time! Some tutorials for this technique suggest using the Quick Selection tool as shown below. But that’s a frustrating way to do it. If the little brush icon isn’t exactly in the right spot, it selects a huge area that isn’t what you want. So I’m going to show you how to use the Lasso tool instead.

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It took me a while to figure out how to make this tool my friend, but now that I’ve got that down, I’m going to use it a lot more! The trick to working with it is to make an enclosed shape that overlaps another already enclosed space, as shown below. See the marching ants? That’s the area I’d already included. You don’t have to be too precise with this step, just make sure the edge of the image is inside the enclosed area.

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Keep making overlapping, enclosed shapes over the whole image you’re cutting out. In the screenshot below I show some detail areas where the marching ants aren’t including some of the bridle. I just made some skinny little enclosed shapes to get them into the selection. Go over the edge of the image slowly so you can see what parts aren’t selected. If you accidentally get too much of what you don’t want in the selection you can trim the excess away by selecting the icon to the right of the Add in the tool panel underneath the workspace. (See above, where the Add is selected?) The icon to the right is a Subtract command. In the same manner, enclose the area you want to subtract and close it up. Voilà! Gone! Go back to the Add command and carry on. Once you’re sure you’ve got the whole image inside the marching ants, you’re ready to move to the next step. Notice the hairs on the horse’s chin aren’t included in the selection. That’s the compromise you make with this method.

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Now it’s time to refine the edge. There’s a section in the tool panel that says just that. Click on it and you’ll see a menu like shown below. Adjust the edge on your image so there’s some of the background included but not a lot. The settings I ended up with are shown. By selecting Decontaminate Colors you’ll be able to see the edge of the image a little easier. Shift the sliders a little at a time until you’ve got a nice margin of background. I recommend sending the refined edge to a New Layer and then creating a Layer Mask on it, rather than selecting New Layer with Layer Mask because it’s actually easier.

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Below is what you’ll see along the edges of your image. See the area where the transparent layer shows through a little better? That’s to help you know where to cut. Make sure you’ve created a layer mask as described in the first section of the tutorial so you can still fix oopses. Then start erasing your background.

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Here’s another view of the refined edge. Don’t worry too much about the hazy areas on the “good” part. They’re not really visible on the finished extraction. Keep erasing the background until you’re back where you started.

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Now that you’ve erased around the entire edge, you can apply the layer mask then delete the layer with the untouched photo that was created when you refined your edge. Make very sure you’re deleting the correct layer! CTRL/CMD+Z is your best friend! When you’re done, save the image as a png so you can use it in your layout.

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I’ve put the two extracted png images side-by-side here so you can see there’s no obvious difference. The main difference is that the second version, which is on the left below, took about 45 minutes instead of 3 hours. There are some very subtle differences you can see if you zoom in really tightly – the edge on the quick version is a little softer and there’s no hair on his chin- but for most purposes, this second method is more than acceptable.

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Now I’ll put together a layout using my extraction and link it up so you can see it when I’m done. I hope you found some handy tips and tricks in this tutorial. Next week, I think I’ll play around with some fancy brushes.

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In The Spotlight – totallycre8tive

Another Saturday is here, we are heading to the end of October already, and another edition of In the Spotlight. Today’s spotlight will be shining on one of the most busy ladies in digital scrapbooking land. Teresa…otherwise known as totallycre8tive. You can usually find her at a sports event for her kiddos, or behind the scene here. She is a talented scrapbooker as well. Let us take a look at some of her layouts. Some of my favorites from her gallery. All images are linked; and I hope you leave with some great inspiration!

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teresa really knows how to fill a layout out, without it feeling cluttered. I always enjoy her use of papers, especially patterned ones. She also has wonderful and fun photos! There doesn’t seem to be a kit or a theme she cannot scrap. I hope you find inspiration from her gallery as I have! Happy scrapping!

It’s BAKE SALE Time

It’s already the middle of October and you know what that means? It’s Bake Sale time and wow…. have our designers stepped it up this month. Take a look at all these kits available for just $1.

Now, head over to the store and fill up your cart.

Fresh Baked: October 14, 2016

Fall is officially, unmistakably here! It’s chilly outside! Time to grab your favorite hot beverage and enjoy some amazing new products available today! The designers are all ready for Halloween and keeping warm, and now you can be as well!

Remember when you spend $10 in the store, you get a great collab! It coordinates with our MEGA Collab, which if you missed it, is available in the store now!

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http://store.gingerscraps.net/GingerBread-Ladies-Collab-Oh-Snap-Cards-Templates.html

[Read more…]

Sneak Peeks October 13, 2016

Happy Thursday! There’s some awesome goodies coming out tomorrow!!!

From Amy Stoffel

From Laurie’s Scraps

From JoCee Designs

From Dagi’s Temp-tations

From Trixie Scraps

From Little Rad Trio

From Tinci Designs

From Keley Designs

From Neia Scraps

From Miss Fish Designs

From Clever Monkey Graphics

From Bella Gypsy

Check out all the new releases tomorrow! Have a great weekend!

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Designer Sneak Peeks – October 14, 2016

Happy Wednesday my fellow scrappers.  Fall has definitely come to the Carolinas and it’s wonderful. The temperatures are lower (makes great sleeping) and the leaves are starting to turn. Probably my favorite time of year.

Let’s jump right in and see what we have releasing this week.

Some very cute kits coming out. Make sure to shop for these tomorrow and Friday and then watch for the Bake Sale lovelies starting on Saturday.