DD: MAR 4

https://bit.ly/3bQIgSS

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.

Post expires at 10:00am on Wednesday March 10th, 2021

DD: MAR 3

https://bit.ly/3r1HaKg

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.

Post expires at 10:00am on Tuesday March 9th, 2021

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements+)

Fooling Around With Gradients: Graduated Filters in Elements+

As someone with Irish heritage, March and St Patrick’s Day always makes me think of Ireland. And that makes me pull out the photos I took during my two trips to the Ould Sod. And perusing them makes we wish the sky wasn’t completely blown out in every. Single. Outdoor. Photo. You know what I mean… that almost white, totally featureless sky that definitely didn’t look like that to the eye. Why does that happen? Well, as sophisticated as today’s digital cameras are, they’re still not great at filtering the bright light from the sky while keeping the foreground properly exposed. Landscape photographers understand this principle and carry a selection of neutral density filters they can pop over their lens to improve their shots. Neutral density filters have a section of the glass coated with a smoky transparent film that gradually gets lighter as it approaches the centre. This means that the section of the frame behind the smoky part will see less light than the part of the filter that’s completely clear, making the exposure of that part of the frame less bright. They can be positioned so that the dark section is where it makes the most sense; the resulting image will have a balance between the brightness of the sky or water and the remainder of the scene. So what if you’re not a famous landscape photographer and you have a bunch of photos that could be great, if that balance was there? Elements+ to the rescue!!

For those unfamiliar, Elements+ is an add-on application that allows Elements to do a bunch of things found in the more-versatile-more-expensive-and-more-difficult-to-learn Photoshop. It costs $15 or so and is version-specific. I use Elements 2019, so the version of Elements+ I have is the 2019 one. I wrote a tutorial overview of it last year that you can find here. So let’s see how it can take the place of a neutral density filter.

This photo of the bridge over the River Erne in Beleek, Fermanagh is one that I’ve played with before but I was never totally happy with the outcome. (A little trivia: The border between Donegal, Ireland and Fermanagh, Northern Ireland runs right down the centre of the bridge! It’s one reason Brexit has been so contentious for those living in Northern Ireland and why a hard border would be so difficult to re-establish.) The day I was at Beleek, the sky was cloudy, but not as it looks in the photo.

Once you’ve installed your copy of Elements+, all its awesome power can be found under File>Automation Tools. The graduated filter tool is in the RAW Corrections set, so I went ahead and clicked through.

The Graduated Filter tab is the second one from the left as shown. You can click on the tab, or the icon just above it. Then click on New.

The filter creates a mask over the photo on a separate layer. Click on the Mask tab and you’ll see which part of the photo is being filtered. Those boxes with green sections show you the orientation of the filter, with green being the darker part. The default setting is to place the darker part of the filter over the top half(ish) of the photo. You can already see how the default setting has changed the image. The green line with the big green dot at one end and the red dot at the other is how you control where the filter is actually applied.

My first goal is to make the sky as interesting as possible, so I moved the top slider labeled Zero Effect to the left, past midline, and the red dot moved up past the railing on the bridge.

Now to make some adjustments. I played with the sliders in the Adjustments menu, moving them just a little in one direction or the other and watching my preview image to see what changes. Not surprisingly, the Exposure slider has been moved a good bit to the left, or lower, and I also darkened the Highlights a smidge. All of a sudden, there are layers of clouds in the sky! Clarity adds a hint of detail, while Dehaze changes contrast and overall sharpness. Sharpness adjusts focus and Noise Reduction can minimize pixelation. These two adjustments need a very light touch, because they’ll make your image look really phony if you go too far. The changes should be quite subtle to the eye, but make a big impact all together. I wanted the grass on that little knoll to be a tiny bit more vivid so I added some more Saturation.

The neatest thing about these filters is that you can layer them one on top of another and adjust whole areas of photos quickly and easily. So now I’m going to add a filter to the bridge and water. I clicked New then clicked the second left filter with the darker area at the bottom. The default setting for this filter is as shown.

As you can see, I moved the red dot up so it sits directly over where the other red dot was, using the Zero Effect slider. Then I moved the bigger green dot down to the very bottom of the photo with the Full Effect slider.

These are the adjustments I made to the lower half. Can you see how much brighter and sharper the reflection of the bridge looks on the river? I really cranked up the Shadows.

Here’s the final image. The ripples in the water are much more visible and the reflection of the trees is brighter.

Check out this difference! This is the original.

Let’s talk a minute about some of the other icons on the menu. Up at the top right there’s a drop-down that will show you how many filters you’ve added and which one is currently active for further adjustment. The eye icon lets you turn on and off the filter to better assess whether you’re getting the look you want. And the garbage can – self-explanatory. If you don’t like it and aren’t interested in tweaking any more, just toss it! But… if you have a bunch of photos you’d like to apply the exact same settings to, if you click on the icon I’ve pointed to at the bottom, you can save them as a script and have them readily at hand later!

Let’s do another one. You might look at this photo of Ross Castle in Killarney National Park and wonder what I could possible find faulty with it. Well, maybe I can punch up the blue in the sky a bit more, maybe add a bit more detail to the clouds and to the trees.

So let’s get into the RAW Corrections menu again.

We’ll add a New Graduated Filter. The sky already looks bluer!

Now the sky is closer to the blue Lough Erne is reflecting. But I feel like the centre of the photo is too dark now, so I’m going to adjust the area the mask is covering.

Here’s the default. I want to move that red dot up so that it sits right were the grass meets the castle wall.

There!

After I played with the various sliders, there’s more detail in the clouds, the sky is deep blue, the trees in the background are sharper and so are the stones in the castle walls. I wish the bird in the sky was clearer though!

I added a second mask to the lower part of the photo. It looks pretty awful right now, but I’m going to fix it.

I moved the red dot down to my original pivot point. Isn’t it so accommodating of Elements+ to save that for me?

After looking at it a bit longer, I decided the red dot needed to be lower on the grassy area. And look! I’ve swung the green dot over to the left so the dividing line hugs the edge of the grass better. By pulling the lower slider for the Full Effect mask adjustment over to the left, I can section off just part of the lower half of the photo! All that really needs to be adjusted is the grass, so this should work!

Now the grass is brighter and there’s more detail in the foreground trees and shrubs. Apparently, these last adjustments were made on a thrid mask. Somehow that slipped past my notice!

The final version:

And the original:

What do you think? I know I’m going to be doing this a LOT!!

Have you seen the announcement for the Season 11 of  Digiscrapping Survivor? The new destination theme will be announced and sign-ups start March 5 and I’m so excited!! The prizes are insane. Simply INSANE! I haven’t ever been in a place in my life where I could join in the fun, but this year I am, so I’m going to get my feet wet. I’d love to write a tutorial but I’m a babe in the woods here. If you’ve played along in the past and have any advice for me (to share with the rest of the GS community), send me a private message. I’ll compile all the hints and tips into a post and we can all hit the floor running. You can find a teaser for Survivor here. It’s the sign-up thread for Season 10, and gives a good overview of the competition. But I think the tips will be very useful, so bring ’em on!

Link to PDF download of this tutorial: https://bit.ly/2Oi6w80

DD: MAR 2

https://bit.ly/3r64NBm

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.

Post expires at 10:00am on Monday March 8th, 2021

Designer Spotlight: March 2021

North Meets South Studios!

Well, February sure flew by at our house, and March is upon us. This month’s Designer Spotlight is shining on the creative minds behind North Meets South Studios: Connie Prince and Tracy Anderson, aka Trixie Scraps. Their design styles blend so flawlessly, which only serves to reflect on their very long, strong friendship. Let’s get to know them a bit better. Ladies, get ready!

J: How long have you been designing?

T: I’ll celebrate my 13th year in business this October

C: I began designing digital scrapbooking products in 2004-2005ish, but officially selling in 2006.

J: Ah, so you both came to designing around the same time! Connie, what made you decide to start designing?

C: At the time the offerings were so limited, I was a paper scrapper and want to add unique elements to my layouts which I began to make digitally and print. It didn’t take long to realize I could do the whole thing digitally so much easier!

J: I think that’s fairly common, and it’s definitely part of my motivation to learn digital scrapbooking. What other craft let’s you have your cake (your digi supplies) and eat it too (use the same things over and over!)? Connie, what do you use to create your designs (program, additional tools, etc.)?

C: I use Photoshop CC, Illustrator. I also have a scanner that I use pretty often to scan things to extract.

J: I have 2 scanners and I don’t think I could live without them. Describe your design workplace for us?

C: It’s pretty minimalistic. I have a double monitor setup, that’s the most exciting thing about it lol.

J: I work on a laptop in my living room, about as minimalist as you can get! So, what motivates and inspires you as a designer?

C: I enjoy the process, coming up with an idea and creating it. The most rewarding part is seeing someone else use something that I’ve created to preserve their own memories.

J: That’s how I feel about my tutorials. I love browsing the Gallery and seeing layouts using some technique I’ve written about. Tracy, you’ve been awfully quiet… so it’s your turn! What’s your favourite kit currently in the GS shop, and why?

T: My recent “She Shall Not Be Moved” is my favorite because it speaks to my faith. And I love the colors!

J: What would your perfect vacation look like?

T: Sitting on a beach somewhere next to Connie with our guys. And preferably with some of the “mommy juice” she makes in my tumbler.

J: Hmm, that sounds… interesting! Maybe we need a recipe for that! Tracy, are you more likely to sing, or to dance in the shower?

T: Sing… I love to sing and serve on the praise team at my church monthly.

J: I love music. It’s a big part of my every day. I’m listening to folk music right now in fact! Let’s talk about another favourite of mine… food! If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

C: Chicken wings, hands down I am obsessed! However, if I could only eat at one restaurant the rest of my life it would be Waffle House.

T: Anything Italian, provided I make it.

J: I never used to like wings, and then my friend Patti’s hubby cooked some and I too was hooked. I love Italian food too. While we’re on a favourites roll, Tracy, what are your most and least favourite colours?

T: Least favorite is easy: orange Favorite is harder to choose… I like blue, purple and pink pretty equally.

J: I’m not overly fond of orange either, but yellow… ICK! Connie, what did you want to be when you were small?

C: I can’t really remember wanting to be anything in particular, I played school a lot so maybe a teacher? I did grow up and get a degree in education, but I didn’t really enjoy teaching very much so I retired early 🙂

J: Teachers are so under-appreciated. I think they’re super-heroes! Tracy, if you could have a super power, what would you like it to be?

T: Mind-reading. I am often too trusting and also often unsure of where I stand with people. It would be nice to always know what someone was really thinking!

J: Ooh, I don’t think I’d want that. I tend to think everybody is just tolerating me, and to have that confirmed would be pretty awful. Have you ever met anyone who’s famous?

T: Yes, I’ve met a handful of athletes because my husband owned and operated a sports memorabilia company for over 10 years. Among the list are Joe Frazier, Magic Johnson, Alfonso Soriano, Joe Torre, and Julius Erving. But there were a bunch more, too!

J: Cool! The famous people I’ve met are only famous in narrow circles, but that didn’t stop me from fan-girling all over them. That’s a good segué into this: Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?

C: Cameron Diaz, she’s just quirky enough!

J: And she looks like you a bit, so that would be believable! Tracy, can you play a musical instrument?

T: When the pandemic started, I began taking piano lessons. I’ve come a long way in the last 10 months or so!

J: I took piano lessons when I was a kid, but we didn’t actually have a piano, so practicing was a problem. Same with learning to drive… While we’re talking about celebrities, what celebrity would you like to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee Connie?

C: Dolly Parton, she’s a hoot!

J: She definitely is. I feel like she needs a warning label: Liable to make you laugh and cry in the same moment. If you had a warning label what would it say?

C: I would have a bunch, but definitely: If you leave cookies unattended she will eat them!

J: I’m there with you! Tracy, the last question is yours. Aside from necessities, what’s one thing you couldn’t go a day without?

T: Coffee. I mean, I *could* go without it, but I wouldn’t want to!

J: And why should you have to?? Thanks so much ladies for sitting down and chatting with me. Our GingerScrappers have gotten a glimpse into your worlds and I hope those who aren’t already huge fans are converts now.

Before I sign off for today. I want to make sure you all remember that Connie and Tracy are hosting the Daily Download and the Designer Spotlight Challenge for March. To go along with their month in the spotlight, the North Meets South Studios‘ entire store (bundles excluded) is 40% off the whole month of March!

Fresh Baked: March 1, 2021, Survivor News, NEW Guests, NEW Free With Purchase, Monthly Mix, and More

Hang on to your hats everyone, because this post is full of GingerScraps goodness. It’s such an exciting time of the year. Survivor is almost here. Keep your eyes on the blog, newsletter, and forum because sign-ups start very soon. But First!

Click here for thread in the GS Forum!

Now onto the March goodness.

Don’t forget to check out the Buffet Bundles. One easy click to add bundles of Buffet goodies to your cart.

Look at these wonderful colors for March. So excited to see what the Designers came up with. And check at the bottom to see some samples from our talented store creative team.

Remember any $10 spent in the store gets you this great collab. I love the theme of this one! Don’t you just love a good cup of coffee or tea in the morning?

It’s time for a new Monthly Mix. Perfect for some wet and windy March photos.

Now to the March Sneak Peek. This month’s Daily Download is from North Meets South Studios. It looks magical.

We have several designer announcements too.

I’m excited to announce that Angelle Designs is staying on and becoming a member of the GingerScraps family.

Angelle Designs

I’m also excited to announce that we have TWO guest designers for March!

Designs by Lisa Minor

Bio:

This is Lisa from Designs by Lisa Minor. I am excited about my first guest spot at GingerScraps, however, I am not new to the world of digital scrapbooking. For over 10 years I did paper scrapping before discovering the amazing digital world. I now have more than 20 years of digital scrapbooking experience and 17 years as a designer. I turned from scrapbooking to designing and certainly found my passion. I love designing! My kits are full of elements and papers, because sometimes, I just can’t turn off the creativity. My goal is to make each of my kits the perfect instrument for any occasion. My husband and 4 adult children, 3 sons and 1 daughter, are my inspiration for many aspects of life including digital scrapbooking. My husband and I are blessed to have celebrated 34 years of marriage and to have our children nearby or with us in Texas. As my social media exhibits, my family appears often with glimpses of the 75 page family digital book I design each year. My hope is you find inspiration for capturing the special moments in your life as you browse through my shop. It is filled with wonderful items ready for your enjoyment and creativity!

Lisa Rosa Designs

Bio:

Brazilian introvert, multi-passionate creative soul, mother of 2 ladies and 19 plants, owned by 2 cats.

I think this Challenge Reward theme is perfect for the last few weeks. Several people across the US will need this to showcase their strange weather. Complete any 10 challenges and get this full kit as your reward!

And now let’s see some creations from our store CT. You can see more examples in the Gallery.

Remember to keep your eyes on this space for the Survivor Theme Reveal and signups!

DD: MAR 1

It’s a new month and time for a new Daily Download. Before we get to the new sneak peek, let’s look at the full kit from February.

https://store.gingerscraps.net/Donut-Love-Kit-Scraps-N-Pieces.html

Now to the March Sneak Peek. This month’s Daily Download is from North Meets South Studios (Collaborations by Trixie Scraps and Connie Prince). Looks like some March magic in this one.

https://bit.ly/3q0ZmlU

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.

Post expires at 10:00am on Sunday March 7th, 2021

DD: FEB 28

https://bit.ly/39qZtC1

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.

Post expires at 10:00am on Saturday March 6th, 2021

DD: FEB 27

https://bit.ly/3puAe7I

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.

Post expires at 10:00am on Friday March 5th, 2021

Fresh Baked: FEBRUARY 26, 2021

It’s time y’all. Every year, our fabulous Ginger puts together a friendly scrapping competition. Are you ready to guess 2021’s theme?

Click here to jump to the thread in the forum!

Remember, if you spend $10 in the GingerScraps store, you get this amazing kit for free!

Let’s see what the designers have for us this week!

Have you grabbed the February Monthly Mix Collab? Only a few days left to grab at this great price.

How are those challenges? You get this great kit as a reward with any 10 completed challenges.