Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

WSNH Tips and Tricks

For my 30th (yes, this is #30! I can’t believe it either!!) Tuesday tutorial I thought I’d do a bit of a recap and put my Work Smart Not Hard tips and tricks in one place. We all have busy lives and could use a little help to streamline our workflow. So we can scrap more layouts, right? Can I get an AMEN??

  • Use a template if you’re short on time. They take out the drudgery without eliminating creativity. If you’re like me and have a gazillion templates in your stash, it can be more time-consuming to find the one you want to use than it would be to wing it and build your layout from scratch. I’ve developed a way of expediting my search by relabeling the previews with some key words my file explorer search menu can track down. It was a gargantuan job to go through all of the ones I already had but it was so worth it! What do I do, you ask? I had to decide what system I wanted to use first. To do that I had to think about how I select them in the first place. I usually choose photos first, so my labeling system needed to reflect that. And although I rarely make 2-page spreads, I thought it might be easier to find what I’m looking for by putting that in the label too. My main categories then are “single#” and double#”. Then I thought about some other factors that relate to templates and started adding labels like “large” to templates with large photo spots, “circle” and “square” for those predominating shapes, “blend” for templates with blended photos, and “mask” for those with masks. Your labels should reflect how YOU work, so don’t feel like you need to duplicate what I do, just because it works well for me. Do what works for YOU. If you start with the new ones you download and do it as you’re unpacking your zip files, then gradually work your way through your existing collection, it’ll save you a lot of time in the long run.

This is what a search for a “single3” template in my GingerScraps stash looks like:

With the extra-large view, I can scroll through the whole list in a matter of a couple of minutes and choose the one that fits my desired photo(s) and kit(s) selections. Right-clicking on the preview image and selecting Open File Location takes me to the folder where the template lives. And away we go! (P.S… keyboard shortcuts to follow in a single list.)

  • When working with templates, once you’ve added an item onto your canvas and moved it into position over/under the place-holder template symbol, look for all similar items. Duplicate the one you’ve just added and move it up or down the Layers panel until it’s just above or just below the symbol. Then nudge it into position on the layout over/under the place-holder symbol. **If you’re working with a pre-shadowed template, copy the symbol’s Layer Style and apply it to your element BEFORE duplicating, so you don’t have to do each layer individually.** Do this with each element of your template and all that will be left is to create a title and do your journaling. If you’re not using a pre-shadowed template, you can select all similar layers and shadow them with your drop shadow styles (either default ones that came with your software, or those you’ve purchased) all at the same time. Trust me, this will save you a LOT of time!
  • Speaking of shadows… remember that whatever you’ve typed should never look like it’s floating. Journaling, sub-titles and date labels – anything you use a FONT for – should sit directly ON the paper below it. No shadows. NO shadows. The exception to this rule is if you’ve turned your font into a sticker; then you can apply a very slight shadow to it to show that it’s a sticker.
  • And speaking of text… If you’re going to use more than one font, remember to Simplify your text layers as you go along to prevent the software from changing the font on ALL your text layers. This is more than annoying!
  • I like to create my titles on a separate canvas. That lets me see what I’m doing without any distractions. I have a general idea how I want it to look in terms of shape and size, so I’ll select a canvas size big enough for me to move things around and see it all clearly. I like to use alphas with or without a font, and it’s nice to see what I’ve got going on without trying to take everything else into consideration. Once I think I have it right, I Merge the individual alphas for each word together then Link all the layers together so that when I move the title onto my layout, everything goes, but I still have some flexibility to adjust placement in order to fit it better into the layout.
  • Don’t be afraid to turn off the Visibility of other layers if you’re trying to stitch a ribbon down, apply a staple or brad, or for any reason. Stitches and staples, just like text, should be on the layer immediately above whatever they’re securing. (If you want to turn on or off Visibility for a lot of layers, hold down the left-click mouse button as you move the cursor over those creepy little eyeballs.) Once you’re happy, you can turn all the other layers back on.
  • Make good use of Layer Masks to add more realism to your layouts. The advantage of the Layer Mask is that it’s easy to correct over-zealous erasing by simple toggling the white foreground colour to the background, the black background colour to the foreground and painting back whatever you oopsed on. With this nifty trick you can dangle a charm from a string or a ribbon, make a paper clip look like it’s really holding two sheets of paper together, twine a ribbon or a vine around some flowers and twigs, tuck a flower into a pocket… really, anything your imagination can conjure.
  • If your Panel Options aren’t set to give you a full-sized thumbnail in the Layers panel, you may want to rename your layers as you go along so you know what’s where. Don’t know how to change the layer name? Double-click on the label PSE has given the layer in the Layers panel and type in whatever you want. Want to change your thumbnail size? Click on the little icon that looks like a stack of papers at the upper right corner of the Layers panel right next to the trash can icon. Then select Panel Options>Thumbnail Size>Jumbo. Also make sure Thumbnail Contents>Layer Bounds is selected, otherwise what you’ll see in the Layers panel is a tiny little image in the area where it’s located on your layout inside the thumbnail box. I tried that and hated it!
  • Learn some basic keyboard shortcuts. There are a lot of them, but you’ll probably only use about a dozen with any regularity. Once you’ve incorporated them into your workflow, you’ll wonder how you ever got anything done without them. I find that my fingers just do it automatically. Below is a list of the ones I use most often, roughly in order of use. Windows users will use the CTRL key, Mac users CMD.

If you want to save this to your computer just right-click on the image and Save Image As… and then name it something you’ll be able to find later.

Since March has only been over a couple of days, I’ll wait until next week to check the galleries for entries into the Tutorial ChallengeRemember, if you’ve used a technique from these tutorials, post your finished layout in the GingerScraps Facebook Tutorial Tuesday Challenge Gallery for an opportunity to have YOUR chance to challenge me. If you’re not a Facebooker, you can post a link to the layout you’ve created with the tutorial you used in the comments section here on the Blog. I’ll get a notification and will then enter you into the draw. The first week of each month I’ll have a random draw of all entries and the winner will be announced at the end of the first tutorial of that month.
See you all again next week!

 

Challenge Spotlight April 3, 2017

It’s a new month which means there’s a new batch of challenges to scrap in order to receive this fabulous collab for free!!! All you have to do is create 10 layouts for our fabulous challenges!

And this year, there’s new challenges you can do!

Check out the challenge Rachel from Seatrout Scraps hosts every month, A Year of Blessings!

The challenge changes monthly and this month you can grab a free template and scrap it!

Check out some of the layouts that have already been posted:

Don’t forget to log your challenge layouts in the Cookie Jar Thread!

There’s No Fooling You Today!

April Fool’s! No, not really! I promise! Everything you read in this newsletter can be believed!

INCLUDING: the announcement of the winners for Survivor: Digi-Land! Before we announce them, though, I do have to show off all the new stuff! New buffet, new daily download, new monthly mix, new designers, even a new kit you can earn! This is no joke!

65% off 24 hours only (sale ends promptly at 11:59pm EST)
*APRIL 1st* NO JOKE 65% OFF!

It is the First of the month, and that means the revel of our new Buffet!!

Don’t forget to check out the Buffet Bundles, one easy click to add bundles of Buffet goodies to your cart, and an amazing value too!

[Read more…]

DD: Apr 01

There’s no fooling, I promise, with this Daily Download! It’s so stinking cute!

Before I share it, though, I have to share the wonderful kit that was shared in March:

ddmar
http://store.gingerscraps.net/Look-Who-s-Driving-KIT-by-MagsGraphics.html

I saw some great layouts coming out from this kit, from accidents, to road trips, to celebrating firsts! I love it! I’m expecting to see the same with this month’s kit!

dd
http://bit.ly/2omp2Lj

Remember, the download is kept up for 5 days, and then it is taken down. If you miss pieces, the kit will be available for purchase on the first day of the following month.

Fresh Baked: March 31, 2017

Happy Friday! The designers are busy busy busy getting ready for April, but that doesn’t mean you got left in the dark today! Some great stuff has been released!

Remember when you spend $10 in the store, you get a great new collab!

fwp32222 http://store.gingerscraps.net/GingerBread-Ladies-Collab-United-We-Stand.html

[Read more…]

April Buffet Designer Sneak Peeks

Is everyone ready for April and Spring (or Fall for those scrappers in the southern hemisphere)? We have some beautiful kits coming in the April Buffet. Remember these kits are on sale from the 1st to the 5th. Just look at these gorgeous colors:

Now let’s see what’s coming up for us to play with.

Aren’t they just awesome?

And make sure you visit the store on April 1st. You will not want to miss what we have up our sleeve.

 

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Style Savvy!

Over the weekend Marcia posted a question on the Just So Scrappy Fan Group Facebook page. She’s just learning digital scrapping and she wanted to know how and why styles are used. First, let’s talk about WHAT they are. Basically, they’re little mini-scripts that tell Photoshop/Photoshop Elements to change the appearance of an object. The object could be a font, a paper item, a shape or almost anything. It’s a lot easier to understand this concept if you can see it at work, so today’s tutorial was born. I’ll be using some layer styles created by Just So Scrappy‘s alter-ego, Ooh La La Scraps that coordinate with her Take Time to Be Kind bundle. Katie Castillo is the talent behind both design lines and she creates a bundle of styles for each of her collections. So let’s have a look at what they are and how to use them.

First, I had to load the style files into my software. After unzipping the files, I went to the Effects panel in Elements and clicked on the little stack of horizontal lines shown below.

This menu opens up. Select Load Styles and find the folder with the desired styles in it. They have to be loaded one at a time, unfortunately.

When I unzipped these styles files, I decided to rename the files for the purposes of this tutorial. In the Effects panel this is what I see. You don’t have to do that, I just wanted to make everything quite clear.

The screenshots below show what each different type of style does to an object. I used a large, open font, a chipboard swirl, a cardstock tag and some grungy paint from the Take Time to Be Kind elements pack to demonstrate. Each style comes in all of the colours in the palette for the collection. See what effects they have on different objects.

Acrylic Gel (Transparent Blue)

 Acrylic Gel (Opaque Brown)

Cardboard (Corrugated Cream)

Cardboard (Smooth Green)

Felt (Orange)

Cardstock (Textured Pink)

Cardstock (Glitter Edge Yellow)

Chipboard (Nubby Blue)

Chipboard (Beveled Brown)

Chrome (Fat Cream)

Chrome (Thin Green)

Dots (Orange)

Dots (Glitter Edge Pink)

Dots (Acrylic Gel Yellow)

Embossed (Dots Blue)

Embossed (Brocade Brown)

Glitter (Chunky Cream)

Glitter (Chunky Gloss Green)

Glitter (Fine Orange)

Glitter (Fine Gloss Pink)

Plaid (Plain Yellow)

Plaid (Kraft Edge Blue)

Plaid (Gloss Brown)

Stripes (Plain Cream)

Stripes (Glitter Edge Green)

Stripes (Gloss Orange)

Wood (Smooth Pink)

Wood (Bevel Yellow)

That has given you a look at the colours and textures these styles provide. As you can see, grungy paint is fabulous with a glitter style applied but downright ugly with most of the others. The swirl looks great with any of them, the tag takes on a completely different look. The font wasn’t perhaps the best choice for this purpose. I could see myself creating a matching alpha for this collection using a chunky, bold font. But Katie has already included some stunning alphas so I’ll save my efforts for some other purpose.

That was a very simplistic look at what styles can do. But let’s go a step further and COMBINE some styles to really jazz up an object. I’m using the swirl again because it’s pretty great already, but I might want it to be even more eye-catching on my layout. I resized the canvas so I’d have some room to maneuver. [Image>Resize>Canvas Size or WSNH: CTRL/CMD>ALT>C]

You might notice that this swirl has some texture to it. Don’t be concerned, because styles cover that up.

I created a new layer underneath the swirl by clicking on the sheet of paper icon above the layer panel while holding the CTRL/CMD key down. Then, with the CTRL/CMD key still held down I clicked on the swirl thumbnail to select its edges. See the marching ants?

I want to enlarge or expand that selection.

I chose to expand by 10 pixels.

See the space around the swirl? I’m going to fill that, first with a solid colour and then with glitter.

I selected the lower, blank layer for this step.

I used the Fill tool (aka the Paint Bucket) and the colour in the foreground. It doesn’t matter what colour this is.

Before I forgot to do it, I Duplicated the swirl layer (NOT the red, solid colour fill layer) [WSNH: CTRL/CMD>J] and it’s these layers that I’m going to play with next. But first, I turned off all visibility for all but the lowest of swirl layers.

I then went to the Effects panel and selected the OLL Be Kind Glitter style menu. Then I double-clicked on the pink fine glitter style.

And presto! I have a nice glitter edge, the size of which I chose.

Moving up to the first swirl layer, I then selected the OLL Be Kind Embossed brocade style, also in pink.

Moving up to the middle swirl layer, I selected the transparent acrylic gel style.

Whoa!! That looks awesome!! But… the brocade effect has disappeared.

So I decreased the Opacity of the acrylic gel layer. Now I can see the brocade effect but still have some nice gloss on it. (If you think you need to so you’re not confused, you can change the name of the layer to the style you’ve applied.)

On the very top layer, I selected the smooth pink wood style. It adds a little bit of a bevel and a smidge of a shadow. But it also completely covers up everything underneath it.

Decreasing the Opacity lets some wood grain and brocade effects to show through, while keeping the gloss too! If I was moving it onto a layout, I’d select all the layers and either link them together by clicking on the little chain icon, or merge them together [WSNH: CTRL/CMD>E].

I hope this helps you see the potential with styles. They’re an incredibly powerful tool and can really elevate your scrapping skills. It’s a lot of fun to play with them just to see what they do. Don’t be afraid to try different combinations because if you don’t like it, CTRL/CMD>Z will undo it. Really, the sky’s the limit here!

Remember, if you’ve used a technique from these tutorials, post your finished layout in the GingerScraps Facebook Tutorial Tuesday Challenge Gallery for an opportunity to have YOUR chance to challenge me. If you’re not a Facebooker, you can post a link to the layout you’ve created with the tutorial you used in the comments section here on the Blog. I’ll get a notification and will then enter you into the draw. The first week of each month I’ll have a random draw of all entries and the winner will be announced at the end of the first tutorial of that month.

See you all again next week!

Fresh Baked: March 24, 2017

Happy Spring! We might be edging towards the end of March but that doesn’t mean the designers are letting the warming weather and longer days keep them from their designing urges! They’re designing up a storm and there are some great things out this week!

Remember when you spend $10 in the store, you get a great new collab!

fwp3222 http://store.gingerscraps.net/GingerBread-Ladies-Collab-United-We-Stand.html

[Read more…]

Sneak Peeks March 23, 2017

Happy Thursday! There’s a ton of great goodies coming out!

From Miss Fish

From Tinci

From Aimee Harrison

From Ponytails

From JoCee

 

From JB Studio

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Tearing Up the Sheets (of Cardstock)

Have you ever wondered how other scrappers get their torn paper to look so realistic? Let me show you…

If you were to tear a piece of high-quality cardstock, which generally has colour applied to one or both sides with a white core, you’d get a bit of an irregular edge, with varying amounts of white backing paper showing along it. So to demonstrate this, I’ve used an embossed cardstock from Ooh La La Scraps‘ simply gorgeous bundle You and Me. Fortunately for me, there is also a solid white, textured paper in the kit too, so I’m going to use it for the core. (For the first few steps, I turned the visibility of the white paper layer off.) And to make it easier to see what I was doing, I put a piece of gray patterned paper behind it all.

I wanted to have tears along both vertical edges of the paper and I wanted some of the background to be visible. I also wanted to Work Smart Not Hard. So I selected the layer with my pink cardstock on it and using the Rectangular Marquee tool, I selected a portion of paper then Edit>Cut [WSNH: CTRL/CMD>X]I trimmed away some paper from each side. You’ll see why this is a WSNH tip as we go along.

I then selected the Eraser tool and a relatively small brush size. Working along the right side of my canvas, I erased away some of the pink cardstock in an irregular, jagged manner. Don’t try to be too careful because you want it to look… well, TORN. If it might make it easier for you to visualize, take a real piece of paper, any kind, and tear it. For real. Then look at the edge. It’s not gonna be perfect!

Because I wanted both sides to be torn, I repeated the process on the left side of the canvas too. You may have noticed that I broke my own rule of only erasing on a Layer Mask. If you’re wondering why, it’s because it really doesn’t matter if I erase too much of these papers. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s better if it ISN’T perfect.

Once I was happy with the edges of my tears, I turned the visibility of my white paper layer back on and trimmed away some of it along both edges in the same way I did with the pink. It made me so happy to see that the texture of the white paper was the same as the pink – that core layer should have some texture to it too.

The next step was to erase the edges of the white paper just like I did with the pink cardstock. Zoom in close to your work so you can see exactly what you’re doing.

This time I erased close in to the pink paper in some places and veered away a bit in others.

When you zoom back out, there may be some bits of white paper still there. These have to be erased too.

After I had my white edges the way I wanted them, I selected the pink cardstock layer again and went back with the Eraser tool and created some little slivers of torn paper as shown below. This would happen with real cardstock, so I always include a few little shreds.

Here’s a full screen view of the two torn edges.

The last step to ensuring realism is to add a very infinitesimal shadow to the cardstock layer. I like to have shadows visible on both edges, so to accomplish that I duplicated [WSNH: CTRL/CMD>J]the pink cardstock layer before I applied a drop shadow. I used a simple shadow, with the following settings: Size 0, Distance 2 and Opacity 75. (These aren’t hard-and-fast, use whatever settings look the most realistic to you. Just remember them for later.)

When I had my shadow just so, I Simplified the layer. Doing that locks the shadow to the cardstock so it doesn’t change later.

Then I did the same thing with the second pink cardstock layer, with one difference – the angle of the shadow.

After both layers had that little extra definition provided by the shadows, I merged the two pink cardstock layers with the white paper layer. [WSNH: Select all layers then CTRL/CMD>E]

And here’s the finished layout. Can you see what other techniques I’ve shown you have also been used?

Remember, if you’ve used a technique from these tutorials, post your finished layout in the GingerScraps Facebook Tutorial Tuesday Challenge Gallery for an opportunity to have YOUR chance to challenge me. If you’re not a Facebooker, you can post a link to the layout you’ve created with the tutorial you used in the comments section here on the Blog. I’ll get a notification and will then enter you into the draw. The first week of each month I’ll have a random draw of all entries and the winner will be announced at the end of the first tutorial of that month.

TTFN!