Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Clearly Complete – Adding Some Background

Whew… we’re in the 2021 home stretch now! Twenty-three more days and it’ll be over. This last week has been a whirlwind for me! Last Tuesday my daughter and I spent 5 hours – the first 90 minutes in torrential rain! – in a car so we could spend 3 hours with my parents on the day before their 65th anniversary. On the first we set a temperature record, 63°F. Now we have 6 inches of snow! And later today I see the ophthalmologist to find out when he can remove my cataracts. [I thought the dramatic changes in my vision were related to having had COVID in the spring. Surprise!] It’s a good thing I already had a lot of the work done for this tutorial! Today I’m going to show how I added some “wallpaper” in the background behind my glass mixing bowl and made it look realistic-ish. We’ll pick up right where we ended last week.

It was a challenge to find the right paper for this part. I tried a few and didn’t like the results, so let me offer some tips on selecting. Pick a paper with some pattern, but not too small or large. Choose something with colour, but not too light or dark. Texture is good, but only to a point. I think I might try to fake some subway tiles later and see how that goes… The paper I liked best was from ADB DesignsAntiques Emporium. It kind of reminds me of my grandmother’s kitchen. The way I imagine it, not how it really was – she had no running water! As you can see, the paper is behind everything except the original bowl layer.

I was really glad I hadn’t Deleted the original bowl layer when I started figuring out how to make this work, because it DOESN’T work using the glass version of the bowl at all. With the paper layer active, I Selected the edges of the bowl by CTRL/CMD>clicking on the Layer Thumbnail (that little picture of the bowl in the Layers Panel).

Light changes as it passes through glass. This step adds that effect. Enhance>Adjust Lighting>Brightness/Contrast.

When the Tool Options menu opens, adjust the Brightness by INcreasing it to 15, and DEcrease the Contrast to -5.

Now, it could be my eyes, but when I was looking at real curved glass with a pattern behind it as I figured this out, the glass created a slight blur on the paper. So Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. But just a little bit, 1.7 pixels‘ worth. Keep the edges of the original bowl Selected until I tell you to Deselect it!

It looks okay, but there are still a few things it needs. I added a new blank Layer immediately above the paper. Click on the sheet-of-paper icon to the upper left of the Layers Panel.

Next, I Filled the outline of the bowl on that blank Layer with black using the Paint Bucket tool. Looks awful, but it’ll be great! Now you can Select>Deselect the original bowl outline (CTRL/CMD>D).

Don’t worry about that black, and don’t be intimidated by this step either. It’s going to work beautifully, I promise! The black is going to become a shadow, and bowls cast very complex shadows. To make it work, Image>Transform>Distort.

The best thing about Distort is that you can adjust the image in a single dimension, or multiple dimensions, depending on what your goal is. I know the light is coming from the top right part of the bowl because of where that big shiny spot is. For the shadow effect I arrived at through lots of trial-and-error, discarded screenshots and Undos, what worked best was just to pull the lower left “handle” straight out as shown. The image comes out from behind the bowl. I clicked the checkmark.

Then I Rotated the black image to the left, keeping the corners of the bowl and shadow layers aligned. And yes, it looks like it’s just a mess.

But not for long! Remember, the outline of the original bowl is still Selected. So now I’m going to Cut out the black that sits inside the outline. Edit>Cut or CTRL/CMD>X.

That wedge of black has to go too. I used the Rectangle Marquee tool to draw a box around it.


And again, Edit>Cut (CTRL/CMD>X).

Now to soften it up. Clear glass will never cast a harsh shadow. Ever. Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur.

This shadow needs a LOT of softening, so I pushed the Blur all the way to 24.9 pixels. See how it spreads behind the glass a bit? Exactly what I wanted to see.

I know I’ve mentioned why I change the Blend Mode on my shadows to Linear Burn, but I think it bears repeating. The Normal Blend Mode remains opaque and doesn’t allow any of the colour under it to show through. Linear Burn will let both the colour and the texture be visible.

Last step for this shadow is to decrease the Opacity down to about 18%. It’s subtle, but quite nice!

All that’s left is to add a smidge of shadow behind the “dough”. Remember the steps for custom shadows?

1- Select the edges of the object by CTRL/CMD>Clicking on the object’s Layer Thumbnail.

2- Add a blank layer underneath the object. CTRL/CMD>Click the sheet-of-paper icon if you have the object’s layer active.

3- Fill the Selection from Step 1 on the new blank layer with your shadow colour using the Paint Bucket Tool.

4- Select>Deselect (CTRL/CMD>D) the object’s outline and nudge the filled layer so that the light source conforms to the rest of the layout.

5- Smudge the shadow layer to change the contours a bit, making the shadow look more natural. This is based on how the light would penetrate to the background. Thick, flat things will be more snugly connected to the background and the shadows here will be sharper and closer. Thin, curved things might be farther away from whatever is behind them and the shadow would be less distinct.

6- Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur the shadow layer to the degree the object will block passage of the light.

7- Change the Blend Mode to Linear Burn.

8- Decrease the Opacity of the shadow layer until it looks “right” and you’re done!

I really enjoy trying to make two-dimensional images look real, and think it’s worth the effort. My next attempt might be a snow globe. If you choose to give this a try, don’t feel like you have to use exactly the same settings and what-have-you that I’ve used. Play a little so that when you’re finished, it looks good to YOU! Because you’re the only one who gets to have an opinion.

Anybody have a great idea for next week’s topic? Drop a comment below and I’ll see what I can do.

Designer Spotlight: December 2021


Well, here we are at the end of another year. December is probably the busiest month of the whole year for most of us, given there are so many festive occasions on the calendar. I hope you have a few minutes to get to know Christina, who’s nom-de-plume is Wimpychompers. [I wish I would have thought to ask her how she came to choose it! Missed opportunity.] Let’s just dive in!

J: This is probably the one question people are really curious about. What led to you deciding to become  designer?

C: I had started getting interested in digital signatures and started designing those and writing tutorials.  I finally made the switch to digital scrapbooking for my own personal use (it was easier to clean up with little ones).  I loved it and finally became a designer.

J: I think that’s the main reason most of us have been drawn to digital scrapping – the lack of mess! Can you tell us a little about where you do your creating?

C: My couch in the family room with a tv and a laptop desk.  It’s super comfy!

J: Right?! I work in an IKEA wing chair in my living room with the TV on too. I always feel like this question is like asking you which of your kids is your favourite… which of your current kits in the GingerScraps store is your favourite?

C: Just You and Me I think, it’s just sweet and all about love.

J: CUTE!!! Kids on mo-peds, how creative!! This might be a little harder to answer. If time travel was possible, would you go back in time, or into the future?

C: Back for sure, my kids are all teens and I would love to go back and hold them as little babies once again.

J: Omigosh, yes! That would be so wonderful. Mine are all well into adulthood, but I remember when they weren’t. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

C: Swedish Meatballs, our family recipe is a favorite.

J: Hmm. I might have predicted that… being part Swedish myself. But then I don’t know anything about that branch of my family – my great-grandmother is a bit of an enigma, and if time travel was a thing, I’d go back and ask her to tell me all about them! Is there a super power you wish you had?

C: Flight, it would be cheaper to travel.

J: And so much easier! No airports, passports, security pat-downs, middle seats, delays, customs. Yes, please! Although I did meet someone famous on a flight, a country music songwriter who brought his guitar on as his carry-on. Can you play a musical instrument?

C: Yes, I can play the flute!

J: I love the sound of a flute and have an old school friend who plays. Did you want to be a musician when you were small, or something else?

C: I saw myself as a ballerina, a teacher or a children’s book author.

J: Oh, that makes sense! All the little people in your designs… you could have illustrated children’s books too. Now, aside from necessities, what is the one thing you couldn’t get through the day without?

C: My mascara, without it my eyelashes are blond and I look very tired!

J: I wish mascara was all I needed to conceal how tired I look. Last question: If you came with a warning label, what would it say?

C: Warning, tired of people’s crap!  (lol)

J: Have you been stalking my Twitter feed? We could be friends!! Christina, thanks for chatting with me; I know how crazy life is for everybody right now. I hope the rest of December is kind to you.

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Can I Make Something Crystal Clear? (As Glass)

Omigosh. November is over at midnight! For me, December will be even busier than November – and Canada doesn’t have Thanksgiving in November! – has been, and I wouldn’t have thought that possible. But here we are…

Last week I signed off with a promise to show you something really cool, and I hope you’ll be suitably impressed. It all started with a message from Carol (gnana96): “Hi Jan, I have another tutorial suggestion for you. Several years ago I started scrapping family recipes for my kids and adult grandchildren. The first year they got an album and several recipes and every year I give them 7 to 10 more to add to their collection.
This year one of the templates I used was from The Cherry On Top What’s Cookin, template 1. The template has a mixer and a bowl which I thought would be so cute for my 7 minute frosting. The bowl on the template is white and I thought it would be cute to make it a glass bowl so I applied one of Karen Schulz (Snickerdoodle) glass styles to the bowl and my sister Ellen and I both decided that it just didn’t look right so I ended up attaching a patterned paper to the bowl. (The layout was for the bingo challenge and I posted it as # 13)
I’m not sure if I chose the wrong glass style or if my idea itself was flawed. I know Ellen has tried to apply glass styles to something besides a bowl and she didn’t think it worked either so I am hoping you can help us out.
How do we decide which style to apply and what needs to be done to make it look right. How do we make a glass bowl look like a glass bowl and not like a glossy part of the wall.

Well, didn’t I have to right away start playing with those glass styles (after I ran to the store and bought them – how did I not have them in my stash??). Today’s tutorial will look at making a solid opaque object transparent and three-dimensional, and next week I’ll show you how to create a realistic look against some “wallpaper”. [<whispers> I had some issues with Elements and had to reset all my preferences, then it was still giving me a hard time. That’s why the text is a little wonky on the screenshots.] Let’s go!

I started out with this bowl from WimpychompersBaking Traditions (retired). She has a mixer in the kit too, with a metal bowl; I opted to use this one but the technique will absolutely work on pretty much anything. The only alteration I made to the bowl was to make it taller.

For this technique to work it goes best on a Copy of the object, so right-click>Duplicate Layer>OK or CTRL/CMD>J gets that done.

I have several clear glass bowls and the upper edges of them are all thicker than the rest of the bowl, so I decided to make my digital glass bowl the same. I’m going to give that top band a bit more heft later. For right now, I activated the Rectangle Marquee Tool.

Working with the Copy layer, Select the top band using the Rectangle Marquee Tool as shown.

Now we want to make a Copy of JUST THE BAND. To do that you can click Edit>Copy or CTRL/CMD>C.

The band needs a layer of its own, so add a blank layer above the two bowl layers by clicking on the sheet of paper icon.

Now Paste the Copy of the band onto that new layer: Edit>Paste or CTRL/CMD>V.

For right now, let’s turn the Visibility for the band off. It won’t go anywhere.

I was steam-rollering through the technique when it occurred to me that I probably haven’t covered how to load Styles. How remiss of me!! If you’re not a pro at loading Styles, follow along. First, make sure you know where the .ASL file containing the Styles lives on your computer. Click on the Styles button at the bottom right of the Layers Panel. It looks like a deck of cards. When the Styles menu opens, click on the icon that looks like a stack of paper, at the top right of the Layers Panel, up there underneath the Share button. That opens the settings menu for the Styles tool. Click on Load Styles. Then when the pop-up opens, find your .ASL file in your folders and double-click on it. There! The Styles will show up in the dropdown menu now. I rename all my .ASL files for easier recognition, so on my list the glass Styles come up as Glass Karen Schulz. (I’ve linked to the store so you can find them quickly!)

Karen hasn’t used a descriptive name for the Styles, just numbers. The one you want to use is the one I’ve outlined.

In this screenshot, both bowl layers are Visible. Can you see the rounded Bevel and the shine?

Here I’ve turned the original bowl and top band layers’ Visibility off. All that’s left is the shiny clear glass! But it doesn’t look much like a bowl. So let’s play with the settings! Double-click on the fx icon for the bowl’s Copy layer where the Style has been applied. You’ll see this pop-up menu with the default settings for this Style.

It took me some fiddling to get this right. Don’t be afraid to experiment! I increased the Opacity for the Inner Glow to 75% and the Bevel all the way to 250 pixels. Now it looks round!

Next, let’s apply a different Style to the band layer.

Now, we’ll tweak the fx as before, with these settings.

With the Visibility for all layers turned on, this is how the bowl would look as a glossy ceramic. The original bowl layer isn’t needed any more for the technique, but I’m not going to Delete it yet.

Let’s put some cookie dough in the bowl! I turned the bowl Copy layer and band off for this part, leaving just the original bowl visible. This cloud from Lindsay Jane‘s Sunny Days Ahead (retired) looks a bit like dough if you squint. But how can I make it fit into the bowl?

Make sure the cloud is completely covering the bottom of the bowl. Select the edges of the bowl by CTRL/CMD>clicking on the bowl’s layer thumbnail (the little picture in the Layers Panel) with the cloud layer active.

Now it’s time to Invert the Selection by clicking Select>Inverse or CTRL/CMD>SHIFT>I.

To remove the bits of the cloud hanging over the edges of the bowl, Edit>Cut or CTRL/CMD>X and it’ll disappear.

I nudged the “dough” up a bit to create the illusion of glass walls. You’ll see what I’m talking about in a minute. But before we get there, I want to make my “dough” look like it was made with butter and not shortening, so I’ll need to make a Copy of the “dough” layer. Right-click>Duplicate Layer>OK or CTRL/CMD>J.

I really tried to change the colour on this “dough” using the quick-and-easy Paint Bucket, but it looked HORRIBLE. So instead, let’s add a Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color.

Check that box Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask.

Then pick a colour that looks like “dough”. Or whatever colour you like!

Next, Merge the Fill Layer with the Copy cloud layer.

To preserve the lumpiness of the “dough” change the Blend Mode to Linear Burn.

Et voilà! Cookie dough in a glass mixing bowl!!

Carol, I hope this is what you were expecting. Happy birthday!

PDF VERSION : https://bit.ly/3FXy1cw

Tutorial Tuesday (Individual Style)

November Challenge Spotlight: Template Challenge

Is the timing for our Challenge Spotlight perfect this month, or what? This week nobody has to try following Jan’s twisted and tangled directions! Because who’s got time for that right now? This month I’m shining a light on one of my faves, the Template Challenge. I LOVE templates… and for those who think they stifle creativity… well that’s simply not true. Templates enhance creativity! I look at them as a foundation, not something to follow slavishly; the template designer takes some of the guesswork out of layout creation, but leaves the scrapper in the driver’s seat. Sure, if you love a template exactly as you see it, you can faithfully duplicate the designer’s vision to create a beautiful layout. But if you’re like me, you see a template as more of a springboard; I often flip or rotate my templates, resize or reposition photo spots, add, subtract or substitute elements and make my layout uniquely mine. Let’s look at some examples of what can be done with a single template and how amazing the results are.

Before I forget, I’d like to welcome Dagi back to the family. Dagi has been designing templates for many years; her nom-de-plume was originally Dagi’s TEMPtations, then more recently Dagilicious. She’s taken a couple of sabbaticals from designing when life has required, and now she’s back again with lots of fresh looks. She has provided the November challenge template (did I forget to mention they’re FREE every month?) and it’s fantastic! Here’s a peek, in case you haven’t seen it.

Her Creative Team member Karen took the template and created this layout with it. As you can see, Karen kept her layout true to the template, and it’s gorgeous.

Now on to the Gallery! [PS… Each Challenge has its own Gallery. You can find the Template Challenge Gallery here. Each layout is also linked: click on the scrapper’s username!] First up is a cute layout by Yvonne55. She stayed pretty faithful to the template, but has blended some papers, added a stitched border, substituted some string for wordstrips, stitched down the journal card and added that little clothespin to anchor her single wordstrip.

I’m going to guess that Cinna doesn’t like bows… she’s substituted wings for one and some brass elements for the other. She tossed in some sequins, some scribbles and extra paint, but the bones of the template are easily identified.

KatherineWoodin is a storyteller. Her layouts are daily diary entries and she does a beautiful job of enhancing those stories with her choices. Here, she’s rotated the template 90° to the left. The large photo spot became her notepaper and the journal card is replaced with a photo. She added some scattered flowers and butterflies too. And check out that cool font for her title!

I admire people who can capture good photos of birds. granny5pics subbed a tag for the journal card, some fine curly ribbon for one of the bows and some wooden bird cutouts for wordstrips. She added some twigs behind the paper/photo stack.

Look at this little cutey! Got2Scrap has added a photo in the upper right, a grungy brush behind all the paper and photos, eliminated the wordstrips and perched a cowboy hat on the photo stack. The template is recognizable, but not in a cookie-cutter way.

This layout from Glee is a significant departure, but the bones are still there. She eliminated the paint splatters, going with a patterned paper instead. Her focal photo is long and skinny, and she’s filled the space with doodles. Then she tied the ribbon cluster to the photo/paper stack with a hot air balloon. She’s used word art rather than wordstrips. Very cool!

When I look at Jill‘s layout, the template influence isn’t really obvious, but the more I look at it the better I can see it. She’s made the photo spot smaller and framed it in black rather than white. She moved one of the large clusters to the opposite corner and tucked it underneath. She deleted the journal card, filling it instead with paper. Her stitched border and the addition of a pair of buttons to it is a deft touch. And what can I say about the rubber ducky?

There are SO MANY creative tweaks to the template in cinderella‘s layout. She’s turned the photo spot into a cut-out and has that amazing extracted photo popping up from inside it. The elements in her clusters are positioned with the template’s placement as a guide, but she has a very different look with the die-cuts. Tucking some strong into the background and scattering some beads rounds out a interesting and eye-catching layout.

At the most basic, makeyesup‘s layout has the look of the template, but not. I know that’s not really sensible, but she’s made a lot of choices that really sets her layout apart. Her dark background and muted colours are visually pleasing. Rather than use a journal card, she’s created a dialog box to describe her photo. The primitive bird atop the paper immediately made me think of “plain” folks, like the ones who settled Salem more than three centuries ago.

Derby Wharf

Now, where have I seen that background paper before? Oh yes… in the first layout I showed you. And the template’s form is quite apparent. But the layouts couldn’t be more different! greenfiend127 replaced the journal card with a circular tag and it works beautifully. She replicated the stitched border on each of her papers and her photo, giving the layout such an organic look. Exchanging the zigzag paper strip borders for a narrower papercut border is another way she’s made the template her own.

I hope you’ll find some inspiration in these layouts and begin to see templates with a new perspective. If you see the Challenge layout I’m going to post later, see if you can identify the changes I’ve made. What are some ways you can bring your unique style to a template? Give it a whirl!

Next week I hope to have something really different to show you. If my experimentation works the way I think it will… Meanwhile, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the USA. While y’all are watching football, I’ll be binge-watching Yellowstone. See you soon!

PDF Version : https://bit.ly/3IbAXo7

Tutorial Tuesday (Potpourri)

Holiday Memories Start with Photos – a Review

It seems like we’ve all been through so much the last couple of years. Last Thanksgiving in the United States, with the COVID-19 pandemic raging, a lot of families opted to cancel their usual big gatherings to protect each other from the virus. Others went ahead with their traditions, then wished they hadn’t. Then there were the lucky ones with the best of both worlds. Quite a few things have changed for this year, access to a safe, effective vaccine being a big one. So maybe this year, traditions can be upheld without as much angst, although modifications might still be needed. Our layouts have gradually shifted to more hopeful thoughts, and the pandemic has been interwoven as a part of life as we know it. This run-up to Christmas and then the New Year may take a bit more planning than before, and planning how we’re going to memorialize our celebrations should be a priority too. We’ve played with a lot of techniques for editing our photos to make them worthy of scrapping, but why not skip a step (or ten)? Let’s review some tips for taking better photos. I know we’ve already talked about that before, but a few reminders probably won’t go amiss. Whether your photos are caught with a point-and-shoot, a high-end DSLR or a cell phone, there are some things you can do to get great photos.

  • Right now, right this minute, make sure your camera battery is fully charged. If they’re replaceable batteries, put fresh ones in your camera NOW!
  • Make sure you have an empty memory card (fully formatted, of course!) in your camera and a couple of spares so you won’t run out of space. If you’re using your phone, you should move some photos from your internal storage to your computer so you’ll have room for the new ones.
  • Think about how your typical holiday events usually evolve. There will be some traditions that are carried out no matter whose house you’re having the celebrations at, so plan ahead to capture those moments. Make a list, if you need to.
  • If you haven’t done it lately, review the manual that came with your camera. Review the settings and modes you’re most likely to use for your shots and remind yourself what each is doing while you’re shooting. I use the metadata from my most successful bokeh and full moon shots to set my camera up ahead of time so I don’t miss the shot.
  • Practice a few creative techniques that you can memorize so that when you’re ready to take photos of the candles on your dinner table or that gloriously brown turkey, you won’t have to fumble.
  • Refamiliarize yourself with your tripod, if you use one. I have two – an aluminum ball-head one that allows infinite adjustments but takes a lot of room and needs to be set up ahead of time and a Platypod Max, which looks like a little travel iron but is actually a very clever and sturdy tripod that can be set up in minutes on any surface. Why use a tripod? It lets you take longer exposures while keeping the images tack-sharp and it lets you be in the photo! Use the built-in timer and get in FRONT of the lens for a change.
  • Keep an eye on the lighting. Natural light from a big window is fantastic, as long as it’s not backlighting your subject. This is especially important for those group shots we all love. You want everyone’s face to be evenly lit, without harsh shadows everywhere. So maybe turn on some lamps so your flash won’t be so startling. Shoot a couple of test shots so you can see what needs to be tweaked.
  • Get in close to your subject! This “rule is even more valuable when that subject is a child. Get down on their level whenever possible so you capture their best smiles. Shooting from above should be reserved for those special-effect shots, not photos of kids having fun. For the most natural photos of people though, you can use a telephoto lens and shoot them from some distance. (As long as the light is right!) Some of the most memorable photos are those taken when the subject is unaware they’re being snapped. They’re relaxed, and acting naturally; smiles are genuine and emotion is often quite palpable.
  • Don’t insist on smiles. You know what I mean… those cheesy grins aren’t going to be your favourite images. Rather than having everybody say “cheese” for your group shots, have them say “family” or “money” or “gotcha”. You could go with a made-up phrase, such as “moldy mozzarella”. Another trick is to tell everyone you’re going to shoot on “3”, then count, “1… 2… (shoot) WHOOPS 3!” then shoot a second shot right after that. You’ll get some natural smiles that way.
  • When taking photos of food, again, get in close and vary the angles. Show the flaky texture of that piecrust, the glisten of the done-to-perfection skin on your turkey, the creaminess of your mashed potatoes, the detail of the frosting on your cupcakes. (That reminds me, I need to get some baking done!)
  • Do you take photos of your Christmas decor? If you’re getting harsh shadows and lots of glare, you can drastically reduce the odds of that occurring by using a big sheet of white cardboard as a reflector. (Dollar store foam core board is perfect for this.) It’ll bounce and soften the light in your space to produce much more even lighting and much more interesting images. Hold it at an angle to the source of your light (windows, lamps, even your flash) so the light is reflected at an angle too. If you’re using a flash and find it too harsh, you can wrap a tissue around it or in front of it and diffuse the light that way. Here’s where test shots are really time-savers.
  • Composition is key for any photo. Remember the rule of thirds, but don’t be a slave to it. Decide what your focal point will be and compose your photo to make it so – use leading lines where possible and don’t forget white space. Crop your photos in the viewfinder – so much less work later! And don’t forget the background. Is there anything growing out of someone’s head? Take a step to one side or the other and recompose.
  • Take LOTS of photos. Take several of each subject from different angles and distances so you have a choice of which one is best. More is definitely better!
  • This just popped into my head… Instead of an Ugly Christmas Sweater event, maybe this year you could do Ugly Christmas Masks. We’re still masking indoors in public here, with a government mandate. It’s such a small thing, but with such great potential for safer interactions.
  • We should take a moment to talk about safety. If you’re taking photos of weather phenomena (like the “atmospheric river” that just devastated the Pacific Northwest), landscapes or nature, do it safely!! People have died trying to take that one spectacular photo. I don’t want it to be you!
  • Last but not least, have FUN!

Next week I’ll be compiling a Challenge Spotlight post. Maybe one of your layouts will find its way onto the GingerScraps Blog.

PDF Version : https://bit.ly/3FXyoDW


Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Pleated Paper? Maybe…

The other day I got a private message from Ginger, whose working title is Dandelion Dust Designs. “I’ve had some customers and CT members fall in love with this LO in the GS Gallery and would love a tutorial on how to do that amazing layered/shadow work on the left side of the page, if and when you have time as a future tutorial! Thank you!!” The layout she’s talking about is this one, wvsandy‘s Use It All challenge layout, and it’s FABULOUS! (I’ve linked it there so you can visit the Gallery and leave her some love.)

What follows is part of a literal scraplift of wvsandy‘s layout. As I was putting it together, I learned a few things about how layers work that I hadn’t known before, and so the screenshots are a bit muddled. I’ve tried to work around that to give you the most concise instructions and fewest extra steps that I can. Please tell me if you try this and come up with a better method! First off, I started with a blank 12×12 canvas on my workspace. (Obviously, you can make it whatever size you want. I just like 12×12!)

For best results this technique wants a light-coloured neutral background – otherwise the shadows that make it so awesome will be diminished. I’m using Jumpstart DesignsGood Friends Gather Here for my layout. (Sheri gave me a shout-out in her newsletter! Did you see it?)

Essentially, I’m creating a template for the paper strips/pleats in these next few steps. Looking at the inspiration layout, the paper strips along the left of the page don’t reach to the centre and there are 12 of them. So using the Custom Shape Tool, with the Rectangle shape selected, I set a Fixed Size of 5 inches wide, 1 inch tall for my “cookie cutter”. The foreground colour isn’t important for this but should be something that contrasts with the background. This Tool creates a “Smart Object” which can’t be altered in its original form and must be Simplified. In later versions of Elements, there’s a Simplify button right there in the Tool Options panel. If your version doesn’t have that, right-click on the layer and choose Simplify Layer from the dropdown menu.

Next step is to make a bunch of Copies of that paper strip template. The quickest and easiest way to do that is to click CTRL/CMD>J as many times as you need copies. Or you can right-click, Duplicate Layer>Ok for each copy.

All the Copies will be stacked up on top of the original paper strip and will need to be moved up or down the stack to create the column of strips.

Because I screenshot as I work my way through the techniques I show you, if I discover I’ve taken the LONG way to get where I’m going, the images won’t sync well with the text. And of course, I figured out after I’d gotten more than halfway through that I wasn’t taking the most sensible route to my destination. (GPS anyone?) Please read the text on the images and the text for each step to see where I’ve messed up. (It’ll be in red here…) I’m going to show you how to quickly and easily Align the edges of all those strips and Distribute them the length of the page. For the shadowing to work best, the strip layer at the BOTTOM of the layer stack goes to the TOP corner of the page. So move that layer into place. 

Now, rather than what the image shows, you’ll move the strip at the TOP of the stack to the BOTTOM corner of the page. The rest of the strips will need to be moved up and down the stack later, but for now they can stay piled on top of each other.

To Align all the left edges of the strips with the left edge of the page, first we have to Select all the pertinent layers. Click on either the top or the bottom layer then hold down the SHIFT key and click on the one at the other end of the pile.

With the Move Tool active, look for the Tool Options at the lower left of the workspace. Click on the Align Left button and Elements will move all the strips so their left edges are aligned. With all the layers still Selected, click on Distribute Center as shown. Elements will move each strip so they’re evenly spaced down the page. If there’s a slight gap in the column, it could be that 3600 pixels isn’t exactly 12 inches. Just close the gap.

Then you can start Clipping papers to your strip templates. I’ll do three strips from each of four papers for mine, but you do you! Drag a paper on top of the first paper strip layer then right-click and choose Create Clipping Mask or use the keyboard shortcut CTRL/CMD>G for Elements versions 13 and lower, CTRL/CMD>ALT>G for versions more recent. You’ll need to move the various layers up or down the Layers Panel to have them in the correct order.  You can drag them up or down or use the CTRL/CMD>[ key to move down, CTRL/CMD>] to move up.

You can shift each paper layer around while it’s just Clipped to the strip template so that the results are pleasing to your eye.

Before going any further, make one more Copy of the original paper strip template. It’s going to be the basis for the custom shadow layers we’ll be creating next.

Some template designers use black for shadows, some designers like a warmer, softer brown colour. Click on the foreground colour and make your choice.

The quickest way to change the colour of the shadow layer strip is to CTRL/CMD>click inside the Layer Thumbnail and use the Paint Bucket. Just click anywhere on the canvas. Or you can click Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color>Use Previous Layer as Clipping Mask.

Before going on, to minimize confusion I suggest Merging each paper to its strip template. Select both layers by CTRL/CMD>clicking on each layer (not the thumbnail though!) then right-click and choose Merge Layers, or simply click CTRL/CMD>E.

Now Move that shadow layer so that it’s underneath the layer at the top corner of the page.

To turn a black rectangle into a realistic shadow, it needs to peek out from under the paper and give the impression there’s space between the paper and whatever is underneath it. You can nudge the shadow layer down and to the right using your arrow keys, but to get a truly interesting shadow, let’s go a bit further. Image>Transform>Distort.

Grab the “handle” at the lower right corner of the shadow layer and click>drag it a bit to the right and down. Don’t go too far! If you did that in the default Move Tool Options, and that Constrain Proportions box is ticked, the shape of the strip won’t be changed, it’ll just be bigger…

To further refine the shadow, let’s play with the Smudge Tool! The icon is a gloved finger. This tool is really versatile, but it’s easy to overdo it and sometimes the preview of it lags a bit behind its action. So a gentle touch is essential. I like to use a large diameter brush for creating a bit of a curve along an edge, then a much smaller one to pull a corner or tip out and over. Think of it like moving a pile of flour on the counter. If you use a glass and push it, you’ll get a curve. If you use a knife to pull it, you’ll get a tail. That’s how this tool works.

So now we have a very sharp, harsh shadow. Ew. Let’s hit it with a Filter! Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur.

The slider adjusts the degree of blur applied to the image.

Achieving realistic shadows also requires a change to the Blend Mode. Why? Well, you want to be able to see what’s underneath the shadow, but you still want it to have good saturation. Leaving it “Normal” means it’s opaque and completely conceals what’s below. Linear Burn and Color Burn both give the layer transparency so pick the one you like.

But it’s still harsh. So I’m going to lower the Opacity of the layer to 45%.

See how the edge of the paper layer below the shadow is visible? That’s the goal!

Now that we’ve made a nice shadow layer, let’s make a bunch of Copies! Same process as for the paper strip template layers. One for each paper strip. CTRL/CMD>J times x.

And just like all those paper strip templates, the shadow layers are piled up. Move them as you did the paper strips so that there’s a shadow layer under each paper strip and nudge it into place.

Again, let’s minimize confusion. If you turn the visibility of all the shadow layers but the one you’re working with off, it’ll make it easier to see what’s happening with it.

Here’s another option for moving layers around in the stack.

Here’s the almost-there arrangement of paper and shadow. It looks good!

Once each layer is shadowed, you might want to further tweak the shadows so it doesn’t look too perfect. Nudge some of them down a tiny bit more. Pull out your Smudger again. But make your changes subtle!

My finished scraplift will be my Inspiration challenge layout. I used some word art from Jumpstart’s Gracious Heart Graced Life (the not-so-secret add-on part!) and used a Gradient Fill layer to make it work better with my photo and papers. I love it!

See you all next week!!

PDF Version : https://bit.ly/32PvjYw


Tutorial Tuesday (Review)

Navigating the Wide World of GingerScraps Digital Scrapbooking

Greetings GingerScrappers! I know you were all waiting patiently for a new tutorial today, but I’m sorry to report the tutorial technique I was creating for you didn’t work! I’ve been playing with it for 2 solid days, can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong and have run out of ideas for getting the thing to run properly. I hate when that happens! Rather than leaving y’all hanging. I thought I’d revisit a previous tutorial about navigating the world of digital scrapbooking websites for our ever-growing family of new members. It’s from May 2018, so it may be a bit dated…

Pickymom is a new member of the GingerScraps family (well, she WAS, in May 2018! She’s a pro now!). She posted a request for help with navigating the various features in the Forum in the Help!! thread and when I read it, I was immediately thrown back nearly a decade to my first feeble attempts at establishing my own online digiscrapping presence. I remembered how it seemed like I was never going to understand how to do things in online forums, despite having been a moderator of an online community for several years already. So, with her permission, I decided it might be a good use of this space to help the new members of our family get their feet wet and start reaping the benefits of our amazing site.

You’ll want to have at least two browser tabs open to GingerScraps so you can move between them as we work through the lesson.

My Profile has a series of options for telling others who you are, and it’s pretty straight-forward so I’m going to skip that part. First I’d like to show you the quickest, easiest and least taxing method of adding a photo to your profile. Since I already have a profile photo, the steps show how to change the photo, but they’re exactly the same for getting one out there for the first time, there just won’t be an image there for you to change. Make sure you’re on the Forum page and click on the Settings button.

On the left side of the Settings page is the menu that allows you to customize to your heart’s content.

Under the My Profile heading, click on the Edit Profile Picture button.

I’m going to pretend that the photos you’re seeing are recent. (They’re REALLY not. 🙁 ) As I said, I already had a profile photo so I changed it to allow you to see how easy it is. You can use photos from a website by using the first box, labeled Option 1. So if you have a photo you like posted to Flickr, (or FacebookInstagram etc) for example, you could copy the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) where the photo is and paste it into that first box. To do that you would open a browser tab to the place where your photo is, highlight the text in the address box at the top of your browser screen then right-click and select Copy (CTRL/CMD>C); then go back to the tab with your Settings menu open, put the cursor in the first box (If you have a photo online…), right-click and select Paste (CTRL/CMD>V). Alternatively, if you have a photo on your computer that you’d like to use, then you’d use Option 2. Click on Choose File next to that second box (If you’re uploading a photo…), then find the photo on your computer.

I’m giving you a peek into my cluttered mind and messy desktop here. Yep, I have LOTS of browser tabs open, all the time, and I have a long list of links on my Toolbar. I’ve found the folder with my photo in it, then chose the photo I want to use. As the screenshot says, SIZE MATTERS. For profile photos, which are the ones people will see when they look at your PROFILE, not your Forum posts, your photo must be no larger than 300 x 300 pixels or 976.6 kilobytes, whichever is smaller. You can hover your cursor over the image in your folder to see the dimensions of your photo so you won’t make the mistake of choosing a photo that will be rejected.

After you’ve clicked on the thumbnail image of your photo, click on Open.

Once you’ve opened your photo you can see how it’ll appear on your profile. I decided I didn’t like this one after all. But if I had liked it, I would have clicked on Save Changes and carried on.

I just followed that first step again to choose a different photo, Opened it and Saved the Changes.

Yes, that’s what I like!

Now we can work on the photo people see in the Forum when you post questions, comments or layouts. This photo is called an Avatar. It doesn’t have to be a photo of you, it can be anything you want it to be. I’m rather partial to Bitmojis myself.

In the same Settings menu, click on Edit Avatar. Here again, you can use an online image, say from FacebookInstagram or Pinterest. The steps to do this are exactly the same as for the Profile Picture… with one significant difference.

As you can see in the screenshot, I have photos of me, flowers from my garden and memes I found online and saved for later. The photo I chose to use for my Avatar for this lesson is one that was taken at a wedding in Jamaica 3 years ago. I checked to make sure it would work as an avatar by hovering my cursor over it.

Here’s where that significant difference comes in. The MAXIMUM size for avatars is 150 x 150 pixels, or 1.91 megabytes, whichever is smaller. Since I’d already checked that out, I knew this photo would be fine and I clicked Save Changes.

Let’s do a Signature now. A while back I wrote a tut about creating original signatures for the Forum; you can find it here. I always save my signature files as .pngs so if I have rounded corners, elements extending out from the main part of the siggie or I want a transparent background, it’ll look the way I want it to when I use it. I also save them slightly smaller than the maximum size allowed because I want it to be a footnote, not the focus! For this feature, you will need to post your signature image to the Gallery, where you’ll get the image location data to put it into your profile. Have that Gallery tab open to your siggie. The screenshot below shows the existing signature and the Editor.

I like my signature to be centered at the bottom of my posts, so I click on the icon shown below. To remove my old siggie from March’s Signature Challenge, I clicked on the image that is now blue in the screenshot. Then I hit the Delete button on my keyboard and it went away.

Then I went to my Gallery tab and right-clicked on my May Signature Challenge signature itself. This option box opened up, where I chose Copy Image Address.

Moving back to the Settings menu browser tab, I clicked on the Insert Image link as I’m showing you below.

Then I pasted the data I copied from my Gallery image into the box and clicked OK.

In the screenshot, you can see both the old siggie and the new one. You have the choice of Previewing it or just Saving it.

Here’s a Forum post with both my new Avatar and my new Signature on it.

These methods work identically when you want to post a layout to a Challenge thread in the Forum. I highly recommend having two GingerScraps tabs open in your browser and simply moving back and forth between them, Working Smart, Not Hard. Go to your layout in the Galleryright-click the image, Copy Image Address then navigate back to the Challenge thread. Select that Insert Image iconpaste the Image Address into the box and click OK. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the first page of a thread or the last, you can compose your post at the bottom of the screen and the site will automatically move it to the end of the thread.

These Tutorial Tuesday Blog posts are all tagged with Tutorial Tuesday. If you don’t want to bookmark them (or aren’t sure how) for future reference, you can always just type Tutorial Tuesday into the search bar up in the right corner of the main Blog screen and the site will find them all for you, in reverse order. If you know a key word that appeared somewhere in the post, you can also use that to find the post again. As with everything else in life, the more you do a task, the easier it becomes and the less thought you have to put into it. But… update for late 2021… Ginger has been converting each new tutorial into PDF files that can be downloaded and saved to your computer for posterity! Those of us who’ve been here for a long time sometimes forget how lost we felt in the beginning; as Pickymom said in her initial post, technology is still a challenge for people who grew up without it. But the best part of the GingerScraps community is that help is always a couple of clicks away!

PDF Version : https://bit.ly/3k7B9dn

Designer Spotlight (November 2021)

Jumpstart Designs!

How the heck is it November already? Before we know it, Christmas will be here… and Jan won’t be ready. Given! New month, new Designer Spotlight. This month I’m chatting with Sheri, the creative mind behind Jumpstart Designs. Sheri is a relative newcomer to GingerScraps, but I’ve known her for years and was so happy when she joined our little digi-family. (She might not remember, but once upon a time I was on her creative team.) Our chat went sort of like this…

J: Sheri, let’s get the business part of this out of the way first. Tell me how long you’ve been designing.

S: Ten years this last July!

J: Wow, you’ve done a TON of designing in that time. Your (amazing) portfolio is HUGE! Where do you do your best work?

S: Our main family room is kind of long so I use one end of it for my office because I have windows on two sides that keeps this beautiful fall sunshine coming in. I have a desk with three large monitors because I’ve always got Photoshop, Illustrator, multiple folders, and several different browsers and tabs open all the time. I generally have music or television streaming in the background. I just recently purchased a new PC system and a stand-alone disk station. My “techie” son keeps my system in optimal working order, and I have no idea how I would do this without his help because it seems like something is always needing to be fixed or tweaked. I also have a tablet and just recently got an iPad so I can play around in Procreate. I keep my work area very organized because my brain is already in chaos mode, and I need all the structure I can get. Oh look! A shining thing! Or in my case… another email, memo, new event to add to the design calendar, or another deadline I’m running close to. I’m a great planner, but not nearly as good about keeping on top of it.

J: I think you do a brilliant job of keeping all those balls in the air. We’ve got the where, now let’s talk about the why. What inspires and motivates you?

S: Color, and spending time on Pinterest and similar sites. I always have a bunch of ideas of what I’d like to design and do differently but finding the extra time to play around with new ideas doesn’t seem to happen very often.

J: The way you use colour has always drawn me to your designs… which explains why I have a gigantic folder of your stuff. I won’t get into the whole Pinterest rabbit hole! Which of your current collections is your favourite and why?

S: EARLY AUTUMN WHISPERS. Fall is my favorite time of year and I wish it could stay autumn all year long! I try to enjoy every minute of this season before the cold and snow sets in.

J: Ooh, that’s a beautiful one! Oh look… it’s in my Downloads folder. How did that get there? 😉 Tell me, what one word would your family and friends use to describe you?

S: Probably “smart ass”. LOL (oops, that’s two words)

J: Right… okay! So what would you do if you won the lottery?

S: Probably buy just enough property in the mountains to build a few little homes so my kids and grandkids could all live with me forever. If I had my way, they’d be with me no matter how old they get! Oh yeah…. And I guess saving for retirement might also be good idea so I don’t have earn a living until my last dying breath.

J: We did something like that after my mother-in-law passed away. Except that our grandkids don’t live anywhere nearby and we haven’t seen them in a long time. But we have the mountains! And we’re both retired, so there’s that. Next up, a really odd question that I found on a human resources website: Are you more likely to sing, or to dance, in the shower?

S: Neither! I’d probably trip and fall over the edge of the tub, and God help anyone who’d have to hear my voice! That’s one talent I did NOT inherit from my parents. They were both musical and had a country-western band for many years. They were even good enough to play for President Ronald Reagan when he came through town back in the day, but it’s better for everyone if I don’t attempt singing myself! LOL

J: Wow! How cool is that? I love country music. But can you play a musical instrument?

S: I played the piano for many years but haven’t touched one in a long time. I also bang on our bongo drums now and then and have always thought it would be fun to be a drummer.

J: A minute ago you mentioned your parents and your grandkids. Speaking of both previous and succeeding generations, if you could travel through time, would you go forward, or back? Why?

S: BACK IN TIME for sure! I’m not too thrilled with society these days. I think we’ve lost our collective minds and I fear for how things will be for my children and grandchildren. I miss the good old days when most people valued self-reliance, integrity, and knew how to be respectful of others.

J: I hear you. We’ve really lost the best part of our society, where we all looked out for each other. There was a lot to be said for how much more respectful the world was a few decades ago. What has been the best compliment you’ve ever received?

S: That I must be a good mother because my children are awesome! Some days I question my parenting, but I’ll take that compliment any day!

J: Yes! I ‘ve always said our jobs as parents is to raise responsible, independent and genuine adults, with a good helping of courtesy and caring for others. What would your dream car be?

S: I’m an SUV sort of gal but ultimately I’d just like one that’s paid for, haha.

J: Hahaha! No car payment is a good place to be. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

S: Homemade tacos! Actually, anything Mexican with lots of cheese!

J: YUM!! Too bad I took pork chops out for supper tonight. Now, if you could have one superpower which one would you choose?

S: Being able to make time stand still.

J: Just think how much more we could get done in a day! (Or not. I’d probably just curl up with a book!) Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?

S: Hugs from my grandkids!

J: I adore kids. All kids. If you came with a warning label, what would it say? Mine would say “Harmless old woman who WILL talk to your children in the grocery store”.

S: WARNING: Subject prone to sarcasm!

J: Maybe that’s why we get along! Last question, maybe the most difficult. Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?

S: No clue but several years ago I was told that I looked like Jaime Pressly so many times that I finally had to watch that sitcom called “My Name Is Earl” just to see who she was. I think the only resemblance was in the “dumb blonde ponytail” I did sometimes. LOL

I don’t know anything about her, but I’d love to have her figure!

J: I can see the resemblance! I love the role she plays in “Mom“.

So ladies, Sheri’s entire store will be 50% off for the month, on top of her free Daily Download and Jumpstart Your Layout Challenge kit (and I can’t wait for them!!), maybe with some minor adjustments around Black Friday. She has given me permission to share a bunch of links with you, too. She has a highly-talented creative team, and you can see their work in Sheri’s Gallery. [Remember, whenever you see coloured text in my posts and it’s not someone’s name, there’s a hyperlink attached – just click and go!]


Facebook (and TWO freebies!! Here and here.)



Thanks for chatting with me, Sheri! Enjoy your time in the Spotlight!!

Tutorial Tuesday (Individual Style)

Use It All! Challenge Spotlight

The response to my Jumpstart Your Layout Challenge post showcasing YOUR layouts and YOUR individual style was so good, I’m going to choose one Challenge each month and shine a Spotlight on it. It’ll be the last post of the month and I think it’ll be really a lot of fun! This month I’ve chosen another Challenge that includes a FREE mini-kit, the Use It All Challenge with Karen Schulz.

Each month Karen provides a mini kit – shown above – but for this Challenge, ALL the items in the mini MUST be included in your layout. Karen’s Challenge minis are add-ons to larger kits she has in her store, so if you like the mini you’ll LOVE the full collection! (Find Trick or Treat here!) [Pssst… Karen has a little surprise in the download, but I’m not going to include it in the upcoming layout showcase. Only those layouts using the 6 papers, 5 elements and 1 word art in the preview are shown.] Let’s have a look at how YOU have been inspired by this mini!!

In this layout, willow has given us a layout that isn’t about Hallowe’en. I had to really look to see how she blended the arty background paper with the much brighter orange-and-plaid paper, so skillfully was it done. Her beaded flower clusters frame her masked photo and the graffiti piece grounds it.

Sweetpea2020 has used a variety of paper shapes to mat her photos. The pops of orange draw the eye and the curly ribbon provides a frame for them.

Here, Flighty-188 has also blended the arty paper with the brighter orange-plaid paper but in reverse, and she’s given the graffiti the look of an actual piece of screen. Add in the raffia bow in the upper left corner of her photo and the cluster in the opposite corner, and she’s made great use of a visual triangle to create movement around the layout.

AlyciaIN‘s layout made me smile. Her little Hermione looks like she’s levitating! The basics of her layout are similar to Flighty-188‘s but with the paper borders’ straight edges, it looks quite different. Can you see a visual triangle here?

This simple layout isn’t as simple as it looks! khoskins has stacked the papers in a pleasing arrangement, and turned the graffiti into a pretty anchor for her photos. I like how she framed her photos with black paper to bring them into focus. She also created her own custom tag using the brighter orange paper and word art very creatively.

By clipping the lighter-coloured paper to a mask on a black background, KatL has cleverly drawn the eye right to that grinning Jack. Placing the beaded flower off-centre on the raffia bow adds interest to the cluster and tilting the word art is a nice, informal touch.


The way galaviktor has spread out the sheets of paper form a pattern that frames her photos nicely. Creating a brushed border for the word art, she’s pulled the colour variations from the arty paper into focus.

Isn’t Zelda just the cutest girl on four legs? For all its simplicity, NHSoxGirl‘s layout is very eye-catching, and the heart paper behind the word art has a lot to do with it.

The interlocking paper-strip squares AJRandom has created here both ground and highlight her photos. I like how she’s tucked the ribbon between the photos and then anchored them with the beaded flowers. I just noticed that she’s positioned the paper with all the eyes on it so that only one set of eyes is peeking at us. LOVE it!!

What can I say about greenfiend27‘s layout? It’s genius! Her paper borders are shadowed beautifully to give the appearance of papers overlying each other. Blending the graffiti into the paper behind it and using it to anchor her cluster shows her creativity. Having the ribbon dangle adds focus to her cat’s beautiful eyes and her clever alterations to the word art is just the right whimsical touch. A+!

Can you believe that October will be over the next time we meet? There’s snow on the mountains already but none here in the valley yet. It’s crazy how quickly time flies. Considering how awful this year has been for so many people, I’m thinking the sooner 2021 is in the rearview mirror, the better.

PDF Version : https://bit.ly/2ZZoWAO


Tutorial Tuesday (GingerScraps)

Giving Credit where Credit is Due

Or: Editing your Gallery images

Hi again ladies! Today I want to talk about something a bit more serious than usual. I’m going to do a Featured Challenge post next week, and have been perusing the Gallery to check out the layouts I want to include. I noticed that there are quite a few layouts that don’t include any credits; whether it’s an oversight or intentional, I don’t know. But I do know this. The Terms of Service at pretty much EVERY digiscrapping website that hosts a Gallery, and the Terms of Use included  by every designer in every kit include a requirement for providing proper credit to the designer(s) of the content the scrapper uses. I know that when I see a layout that’s exquisitely created, I’m going to look at credits to see which kit(s) the scrapper used so I can go shopping! If we think about it, giving credit to someone whose products inspire us and help us improve our skills should be automatic, as a courtesy if nothing else. And really, who wants to be accused of theft of intellectual property? Those who are new to our hobby may not realize they’re missing a step. And then there’s the well-known GingerScraps Gallery glitch that deletes some of the things we add to the first Upload screen that’s easy to overlook. (I think that might have been fixed, it hasn’t happened to me in a while.) But what can you do if your layout posts to the Gallery without that important information? Let me show you!

Here’s the layout I created for the Jumpstart Your Layout Challenge this month. At the bottom of the layout inside the red oval, the only detail that appears is the title I gave my layout. OOPS!

A quick word about titles… if you use a special character like a # or a @ or a ? for example, the Gallery uploader will lose everything you’ve typed AFTER the first of those characters. It’s going to mess up your Member Gallery but if you know ahead of time that will happen you can remember to follow these steps to fix it. Other things that may need to be changed in your layout’s details could be typos, omitted information, or an error on the layout itself that you’ve corrected already but the image you’re seeing is still the one with the mistake. When you click on My Photos and then choose the layout you need to fix, scroll down past the image until you see your avatar on the left, as shown. In that User Options box, click on Edit Photo.

When you upload a Challenge layout, if you want it to count for the Challenge Reward, it must be posted in the current month’s (and year’s!) Challenge Gallery. The website’s uploader default is to place uploaded images in the Member Gallery, which is fine, but not for being rewarded! (It’ll also sometimes default to the last Gallery you chose, or some other random Gallery, so check and see where it’s going!) This first change I’m making is to put my layout in the Jumpstart Your Layouts October 2021 album.

This next (optional) step is especially useful for people who create for designers on their Creative Teams. The layout can be Copied to other Galleries just by making a selection in the second dropdown. There’s also another advantage to using this Edit part of the uploader. If you put your layout into multiple albums when you first upload them, EACH of those copies will count as one of your 8 permitted daily uploads, but if you Copy them with the Edit feature, they only count once! Yeah, it’s an extra step and it’s a bit of a drag, but it’s a lot better than getting told you’ve already used up all your uploads for the day on only 2 or 3 layouts.

Okay, so let’s pretend you spotted a glaring typo in your title – maybe I spelled my title OTCBREO because I was tired, in a hurry and wanted to get my layout into the Gallery so I could go to bed. I get up this morning to several comments on my layout, all of them politely ignoring OTCBREO, but I’m still upset with myself that I didn’t notice it. So I open up my saved PSD version of my layout, fix my title, save it with a slightly different file name (more about that in a second) and now I want to post the corrected version instead of the trashed one. I can click on the Choose File button and select the corrected version to replace the other one. [If I didn’t Save my corrected layout with a slightly different file name, the uploader won’t know the image has been changed, and it’ll use the original one. So if you end up having to do this kind of big correction, add a number to the end of your file name and the uploader won’t be confused.] I can also fix the title if I notice it’s missing some special characters, or if in my addled, sleep-deprived state, I used the mis-spelled title here too. I also have the ability to add my credits here too, in the Photo Description section. Last, if I’ve changed my mind and don’t want to share my layout with the world after all, I can Delete it. It and everything I’ve typed about it will disappear forever. There’s no way to UNDO this step, so be really sure you can’t Edit it before you take this drastic step. When all the needed adjustments have been made, Submit changes.

Now everybody can see which kit and template I’ve used for my layout. The only time it’s not necessary to include credits is if you’re using Commercial Use products. Oh darn… I just realized I forgot one very important credit! Back to the Edit screen…

I neglected to give credit to my dear friend Sandy, the photographer who rescued Beau so that Beau could rescue her. She has graciously given me permission to use her photos for scrapping and deserves to be recognized for her talents too!

Now, which of this month’s Challenges should I Feature next week?

PDF Version : https://bit.ly/3xD8rqw