Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Restoring those Vintage Snapshots

Halfway between my birthday and Mother’s Day, I had the most amazing visit with some relatives I’d never met before. One of the ladies I spend the day with is my Grandmother’s first cousin, who is actually only four years older than my mother. This delightful woman brought along a huge collection of vintage photos, some of them well over 100 years old. Today I’m going to show you one of them and take you through a Guided Edit to restore it. (Spoiler alert: This is NOT a quick edit. It took me about 2 hours to get it to the final version.)

The Guided Edit I’m going to demonstrate today is simply called Restore Old Photo. It’s in the Special Edit toolbox. What I love about these Guided Edits is that everything you’re going to need (pretty much) is all in the Edit toolbox. It’s especially helpful for those who are still learning how to use their software, because each tool in the box has a little explanation of how to use it. Like a mini-tut, if you will.

Here’s my photo. The little girl is my first cousin twice removed, Lily Annie Delia. She was nicknamed Laddie (for her initials) and she really didn’t like it! This photo was taken in the fall of 1916 and was sent to her grandmother as a Christmas gift.

This Guided Edit has more tools within it than can be shown all at once, so don’t forget to scroll down and take a peek. Be cautious of that Cancel button I’ve circled. It resets EVERYTHING back to the original.

The tools are listed in the order you’re most likely to use them, but I found I was bouncing between them as the condition of the photo demanded. Zoom in really closely so you can see the imperfections better and what changes the tools create when you use them.

But first… This is a personal preference here. I like to crop off the white paper border before I do anything else. But there may be times when you want to leave it. Here I show you how I cropped this one. The image was printed slightly askew so I straightened the Crop window level to the demarcation between the carpet and the wall.

This is my new starting point.

The Spot Healing tool in the Expert edit mode has a number of options for the tool, but within this Guided Edit, it doesn’t. If you’ve never used it before, you’ll be surprised at how one click can make a huge difference. The secret to a great, invisible edit is to take your time and use a SMALL diameter brush.

See how all that discoloured scratchy stuff is gone now? Typo spotters… that should read “down”. You can move your photo around on your workspace by using the Hand tool.

That scratch and the messy corner will need more help than the Spot Healing tool can provide, so I’ll use the Healing Brush. It’s similar to the Clone Stamp but can be stroked across a blemish like a brush. More details on how this tool works best are to follow.

Now you see it, now you don’t!

This is where I started moving back and forth between the Spot Healing tool and the Healing Brush.

This shows how sometimes there are several types of blemishes in a small area.

The Spot Healing tool is active in this screenshot. I’ve removed most of the discoloured stuff.

It’s very easy to change the size of the brush you’re using in either the Spot Healing tool or the Healing Brush. Those square brackets that don’t have much use outside of algebra are the volume up and volume down buttons for brushes. The [ one makes your brush smaller, while the ] one makes it bigger. I just made my Healing Brush slightly bigger than the scraped area, selected an unblemished area of my photo and painted over it.

These scratches and creases might be erased with the Spot Healing tool, but I didn’t take any chances. I used the Healing Brush.

Here’s the secret to making the Healing Brush and Clone Stamp tools work to their best advantage. (And I literally discovered the trick LAST NIGHT!) If you don’t move the cursor away from your ALT>Click selection before you start using the tool, your “source” point will be… what you’re trying to cover. So always move it, even just a little bit, before you start trying to fix an area. You’ll be able to see where your source is because there will be a little white “plus” sign at the spot where the colour or texture is being sampled. Below I’ve mocked up what you’ll see, but in black to make it more easily seen.

When using either the Healing Brush or the Clone Stamp, work AWAY from your source so you’re moving from clear to unclear. You’re trying to blend away the blotches, not replicate them.

No matter what tool you’re using, when you’re in a spot where there’s lots of detail, you need to slow down and use the smallest brush possible. If you’re too close to an area where the colour or tone is different, your correction will actually only create another flaw.

Hair. It’s one of those love-it-or-hate-it things!

Use the zoom! The keyboard shortcuts – and + make it easy to do. Get in tight where you need to, pull back to make sure it looks right when you need to.

I used the Spot Healing tool, the Healing Brush and the Clone Stamp freely in this area. The Clone Stamp tool is terrific for repeating shapes and sharp edges. By selecting a spot along the edge, for example, I can replicate that perfect spot all the way down the rung.

And on it goes.

Spot Healing worked well for the cross piece here.

I made my way across the photo from the upper left corner over to the right, dropped my working area down then worked back from right to left, repeating until I’d covered the whole photo.

I could stop here, but I want to show you some more options, so let’s press on.

Even though I think I’ve done a great job, I think I want to use the Dust Removal tool to refine the image even more. It’s one of the hidden ones I had to scroll down to find. Adjusting the pixel size, I can tell Elements to find all the remaining flaws that size or smaller and Elements will fix them.

I wanted the Dust Removed first before I went on to the Blur tool. It does exactly what it says it does. It softens the hard edges of an edited area so it doesn’t stand out. I just brushed it over some of the background.

The next several adjustments aren’t using any of the tools, just adjustment modes, so the Blur tool looks like it’s still active. But this screenshot shows my photo after I used the Auto Levels mode.

Then I let Elements adjust it with Auto Contrast.

And a touch of Sharpening.

When I’ve gone as far as I want to with the Guided Edit, I can click on that Next button and go into the Expert edit mode.

Since I discovered Enhance>Haze Removal, I’ve used it SO OFTEN! It does several things all at once – sharpening details and deepening contrast.

And the effect is fully adjustable. I’ve moved both sliders to the left from the default settings.

Don’t worry that you’ve gone too far… you can ALWAYS Undo it all! CTRL/CMD>Z is a scrapper’s best friend! (CTRL/CMD>Y will Redo, so you’ve got options!)

Don’t foget to save your hard work! I named my new photo Laddie Xmas 16 for ease of finding it later.

What do you think?

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Repeating Patterns, Part Three

In Part One, we built a repeating pattern essentially on a grid. In Part Two, we went a little further and created a repeating, staggered pattern. And now, in Part Three we’re taking all that we’ve learned to create a repeating pattern with multiple options. Ready?

Open up a new canvas 2 inches square with a resolution of 300 pixels per inch.

Then duplicate your blank layer. The reason for this will explain itself.

Now take a look through your brushes or stamps and choose the one you’ll use first. I used a dragonfly from a free set of butterfly brushes (sorry, can’t find a ling to them). Resize it so it fits into a fraction of your square.

You can see that I’ve duplicated the dragonfly and positioned them in opposing corners.

Then I changed my foreground colour and chose a butterfly stamp, adding it to one of the vacant corners.

And duplicated THAT layer then I Merged all the layers.

I think you might remember this part. Edit>Define Pattern will let you save your creation as a pattern for use with the Pattern Fill tool.

You don’t HAVE to give it a name, but it might make it easier to find later.

Now you need a solid paper for your background. It can be textured, or not.

Then select the Paint Bucket tool, but instead of the Color Fill, go with Pattern Fill. Then go find your new creation.

One click on the paper and BINGO!

But wait! There’s more!!

This time I added some glitter to my brush layer.

And then some hearts…

… and some MORE glitter.

I missed a screenshot where I added in the silhouette of a girl jumping for joy, but you can see the result here.

Look at how amazing it looks with the glitter, which is still there.

Let’s try that one in a staggered pattern. I opened a new 2 inch tall, 4 inch wide canvas and applied the pattern to it. Then I deleted the second repeat so I’d have somewhere to put the offset. Filter>Other>Offset.

I used the same settings I had for the first staggered pattern we did back in Part Two. Then I Edit>Defined Pattern with a different name.

Yes, the same steps as before.

And there’s my new staggered-pattern paper! I could learn to love this technique!!

Have you tried any of the parts of this tutorial? I’d love to see yours!

Tutorial Tuesday (Creative Style)

Standing Out in a Crowd

Last night (before I was side-tracked by a bunch of genealogical records) I was thinking about creating a layout for this month’s first Template Challenge. I love template challenges – they couldn’t make scrapping easier! And of course, who doesn’t love free stuff? But on the wings of those thoughts, I found myself pondering how to make MY layout stand out from the rest. When everybody is working from the same template, it’s easy to end up with something very similar to all the others. So that led me to have a look at the layouts already completed and posted to the Challenge thread to see how others have made their layouts unique. And I’m going to show you some of those examples today.

First, let’s look at the template Dagi has created for this challenge.

It’s got so much potential!!

This first layout, by basicbear2, has been rotated 180° and she’s spread that cute photo of the boy with the tube over the blended photo spot and the one with the frame. The other cool technique she used is to clip a paper (the rubber duckies) to one of the painted areas.

Next, let’s look at this lovely one from JeannieK. She’s left the template in its original orientation, but by clipping that daisy-floral paper to all the painted areas, securing her photos with the large daisy and adding both the gold paper around the edges and the blue-triangle border, she’s changed it up into something quite lovely.

CherryLej has tweaked the template a lot! The gorgeous watercolour areas elevate the background of her layout and I love the way she’s tied the photos together with the pennant banner. She’s substituted washi tape for the wordstrips, created a matching frame for her square photo and added in a beautiful cluster. Stunning!

knclark has used repeating images to great effect here by clipping a blue paper with puffy white clouds to the painted background in such a way that it blends right into her photos. The sun-and-clouds cluster is the cherry on top.

Pixel Palette has shifted the photo spots around to allow more of her large photo to show.

Keevs has added several papers to her background, popped a stamp into the upper left corner and shifted one of the photo spots to reveal more of her large photo. By really subduing the paint in the background she’s changed the look of the template in a most pleasing way. And all that texture!

jirsev has a fantastic take on the template here, where she’s made the blended photo much larger, she’s added a lot of texture to the background and she’s emphasized her smaller photos with her choice of elements.

This masterpiece is by kabrak1207. It’s impressive how she’s spread her photo over all the photo spots and accented it with the papers clipped to the painted spots.

gmae has taken it a long way from ordinary here, keeping only the painted areas and the general placement of the clusters and title.

As you can see, there are so many ways to make a template look less cookie-cutter and more work-of-art. Now that I’ve completely intimidated myself, I’m off to see what I can do to create something special. Will you join me?

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Stackin’ ’em Up!

I’m seriously in need of a week where I’m actually not scrambling for a tutorial post! I was wide awake at 1 am wracking my brain for a topic. But what do you know… one magically appeared. I remembered there were still some really useful Guided Edits I haven’t shown you yet, so that’s what we’re doing. Let’s look at the Photo Stack, just for fun.

When I tell you that this technique is literally only about a 10 minute job, I know you’re thinking, “She always says that.” But it really is SO much faster even than using a template with photo stack, because with this edit, the software does ALL the copying and stroking. All of it! The hardest part is deciding which of the three options to choose, and I think that comes down to what you want the focus to be.

All I did to get this image was to click just once on the 4 frame spot I’ve shown below.

The very first image has the narrowest border already in place. A single click on one of the border options is the next step.

The medium border is still pretty skinny.

Even the widest one isn’t especially in-your-face. But that’s completely under your control! Before I show you that part, let’s look at the other two stack options.

The eight frame option looks like this with the baseline border.

Beefing up the borders to medium still lets a lot of the original image through.

Then the wider one, still not much of a distraction.

And then there’s the twelve frame option.

Medium

Wide

With this photo I think 4 frames is the right choice. So now I’m going to move to the Expert Editor.

Whoa! Look at all those layers! And each one is another opportunity to fine-tune the final image. (Notice the multiple copies of the photo layer? It’s a GREAT thing!)

Here I’ve selected one of the border layers. The border is actually simply a stroke on its own layer. The default settings are 10 pixels and 100% Opacity.

Pulling the slider to the right makes the border wider. I could also change the colour of the border in this menu if I wanted to.

I’m going to come back to that in a minute. But first, I’m going to unlock the background (original photo) layer so I can edit it. And so I can put a transparent layer underneath it. I right-clicked on the layer in the Layers panel then chose Layer from Background. That makes it like all the other layers, completely editable.

I then added my transparent layer underneath it by CTRL/CMD>clicking on the new layer icon (the blank sheet of paper) at the top left of the Layers panel.

I turned the visibility of the very first black rectangle off and now the original image is visible to the edges and can be erased away, leaving a transparent area instead.

Don’t panic about having to be precise with the erasing. It’s not a problem! All those extra copies of the original photo that are clipped to the stacked layers aren’t going anywhere. You can just use a big eraser and go for it!

After I did that, I decided I wanted to shift the stacked photos so they were entirely inside the canvas. So I CTRL/CMD>Z as many times as I needed to to get back to the black rectangle. Then I resized them a tiny bit, shifted them a tiny bit and rotated them a tiny bit until I arrived at what you see below.

Then I decided to make the borders just a smidge wider. I double-clicked on the fx icon on the first border layer to get into the Styles menu.

I didn’t go overboard, just doubled the width of the border on each one. And then I went back and erased the areas of the original photo layer to make my stack usable.

An advanced version of this Edit would substitute other photos for some of the frames, but it would be almost as much work as using a template would be… the photos would need to be resized and rotated individually then clipped to the spots.

If I was ready to put my layout together, I could just leave it as is for now and come back to it later. But I’m going to save it for later.

In order to be able to use it for a layout, the transparent background is essential. So I’m saving it as a PNG file.

To keep the images sharp I’m using the Slowest setting and Non-Interlaced. I gave it a name and saved it to the folder I’ve created for my (future) layout.

Before I forget, LilyAnn Fisherman left a comment on last week’s tutorial asking me if I couldn’t have made my clock face by texting-on-a-path. So I went back and did it again, using Text on a Shape. It was maybe a tiny bit less work, but I still had to fiddle with the spacing to line the hours up with where they should be on the clock.

And while I was at it, I did a mock-up of what I hope the clock will look like when it’s finished.

Check back in a few weeks to see if I succeed!

Tutorial Tuesday (Fonts)

Fontastic Spring!

Once again I’m apologizing for not having a great tutorial prepared for you. I’ve been caught up in family obligations the last several days and haven’t had time for much else. I didn’t even get my family bible layout done. But I’ve noticed that almost all the comments on last week’s post mentioned the fonts I showed you. And I also noticed that I haven’t done a post about spring-y fonts. So there we’re going!

As I’ve mentioned before, I love dafont.com as a great source of free fonts; their selection is outstanding! I made a quick cruise through there and have found you a baker’s dozen of fonts (and a dingbat set) that would make great titles or subtitles for spring layouts. See if you agree. Each font is hyperlinked to the site; just click on the font name in the description.

Alpha Shapes Raindrops might be what you’re looking for when you scrap rainy-day layouts. If you simplify each letter on its own layer, you can use the Smudge tool to animate your drops.

Floralies is similar to Blomster, but a little “lighter”.

Florality isn’t technically a font, but the viny, leafy look of it is so pretty!

I’m thinking there are so many ways to make Alpha Flowers just POP off the page.

Flower Explosion is a little lighter too, but still really pretty.

Think how beautiful CF Flowers of Destiny would look with a Blend Mode like Multiply! Ooh, and a gradient… smashing!

Nebulo is really gorgeous, just be aware that it’s a mishmash of capital and lowercase letters.

I just love this one! Kingthings Willow has two choices for even more freedom and control.

Black Flowers Blossom is just pretty.

Vanessa is another really pretty font; imagine it clipped to a paper, maybe with a little border around it.

CF Springtime has a nice bit of heft to it, and those sprigs are a cute touch.

This whimsical little beauty would be an amazing addition of layouts with Day Dreams ‘n Designs‘ Daily Download kit Bee Mine. I think we also need to heed the message… Save the Honeybee.

This one doesn’t say spring so much as the name of it does. I like it though. Butterfly

That leaves only the dingbat set. KR Spring Me has LOTS of spring-y images and so many possibilities.

Do you have any favourite fonts that make you think of spring? It looks like spring might actually be on its way to my corner of the world. Our temperature finally got above freezing on Sunday for the first time since January 31. That’s a long time to be cold!

Tutorial Tuesday (Potpourri)

Heritage and History: Recorded

Late last week, I connected with one of my distant cousins on my mom’s mother’s side through Ancestry DNA. I never expect anything to come from my contacting them, and am always so thrilled when they respond. This particular long-distance connection led to an explosion of “new” family members for me and the beginnings of several friendships. But perhaps the best thing that has come from this is that I now have several photos of the old family Bible, that dates back to 1884.

I know there are more than a few of you loyal readers who are also interested in your family history and in recording what you learn for future generations. My family Bible photos are going to make an amazing layout. And GingerScraps has pretty much everything I’m going to need to make it special. And I’m going to let you in on my design process.

First, did you know you can search the store using keywords? On the far left of the store’s home page, there’s a search box right underneath the log-in panel. I typed in “heritage” and the search returned THIRTY-TWO pages (more than 500!) of possibilities. I know the right kit for me to use for my special layout will be in there somewhere. Here are some of the options I’m considering.

Many of these kits are part of a larger bundle, which of course is your very best value.

My heritage layouts go in one of two directions; I either focus on a single photo or I go with a collection of them. Because the photos by themselves are just “nice” but don’t tell the story, lots of room for journalling is a must. Our GS designers have so many options for templates that it’s like an embarrassment of riches. Here are some options for multi-photo layouts.

For titles and journalling, there are nearly as many options for (free) fonts as there are days in a year. I like to use decorative fonts for titles, typerwriter fonts for journalling – it needs to be completely legible for the story to be preserved. Here are some that I like.

Now, my challenge to you is to see if you can guess which kit, template set and fonts I will use for my layout. Check in the gallery at the end of the week to see if you’re right!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Magic Eraser!! (Not Mr Clean but close)

I know I can’t be the only one who collects brochures from the attractions I visit when I travel. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who likes to make my own journal cards to go with my photos when I scrap those travel photos. I really wanted to use the Wells House logo somewhere on my layout below and decided this would be a good time to try something new (to me). The template I chose, from the GingerBread Ladies mega-collab Oh Snap! had a journal card spot, and it inspired me. And ADB Designs‘ January Daily Download kit Cozy New Year was the perfect kit to go with my photos.

The logo is pretty well delineated in the image below, and I just want the logo itself. I could put it on a new document and extract it using one of the methods I’ve shown you in the past, but I wanted to try something new. So let’s get to it!

I’d never tried the other options in the Eraser Tool menu and this seemed like a good time to give it a look. That one with the yellow starburst is called the Magic Eraser Tool and it is indeed magical!

There are some settings that are vital to use with this technique. The Opacity has to be 100%, and all three boxes along the right side of the menu should be checked: Sample All Layers, Contiguous and Anti-Aliasing.

The screenshot says it all… I really did just click on the background and it vanished. (See the new transparent background?)

So then I wanted to play! I have a bunch of Bitmoji images saved to my computer and this one, which is pretty much how I’ve looked the whole month of February, was my next victim.

CLICK!

It was so easy, I wondered what would happen if I tried it on a photo. This one looks like a good choice to experiment with.

Oh. Didn’t expect that!

The tool magically erased some of his t-shirt along with the sky. That’s a limitation – the shadow isn’t enough of a contrast to the sky and Elements couldn’t tell

So I combed through my stock photos for one with more obvious contrast.

Now I’m starting to understand how the tool works. I’m going to need to click on every. single. different. colour. variation. Too much work!

So how about this one? Will it work better?

Not so much.

Maybe this one will work.

Or maybe not. Now I had to see what else I could do that would be smart, not hard, to preserve the stuff I wanted and remove the stuff I didn’t.

I went to the Magic Wand tool to see if it would be quick and easy enough to extract the woman and only the woman.

The marching ants surrounded her hair well enough. So I clicked on Select>Inverse (I lie. You know I went with CTRL/CMD>Shift>I.) to invert the selection… to “select” the background and not her hair.

Now you can see the marching ants around the outside of the photo. Back to the Magic Eraser I went.

Much better! The wisps might be a problem.

I clicked on other areas of the background that were still there.

Not bad! The only fiddly part of this is the wispy hair now.

I wanted to try it one more time, with this crest from one of the radar stations I lived on when I was a kid. It’s a fair representation of the place, I’ll say that! And it has a more detailed edge with that wreath of maple leaves.

One click got rid of most of the background, but left the white in the spaces between the leaves. You can see them along the right side of the screenshot. I’d already clicked a few more times in the spaces to the left side. It only took about a minute to go all the way raound and get rid of the rest of the white background.

Sweet!! I’m not sure what I’ll use this for, and I’m going to see what I can do about wispy hair for a future lesson, but I can feel you chomping at the bit to try this one yourself.

Have fun!!

Tutorial Tuesday (PSE-Word Mashup)

A Whole New Meaning to Copy-and-Paste!

Welcome to the tutorial that almost wasn’t! The last week has been a little difficult around our house and the weekend was particularly so. I didn’t have time to put together something to share with you before I had to go back to work yesterday. 12 hour shifts don’t leave a lot of energy, mentally or physically, and I always do two in a row so I was expecting to have to disappoint you all by posting a “sorry…” and a promise to do better. But the over-staffing fairy visited me this morning and I magically got the day off. Not having a topic in mind, I had to do some pondering. And then I learned something myself that I knew would be perfect for this week. So we’ll settle for late, rather than not at all. Here goes!

Have you ever put your heart and soul into a layout, then spent forever coming up with the perfect journaling – only to hate the way the journaling looks, or worse… see a glaring typo? Have you ever wished PSE came with a spell-check? Or that you could copy-and-paste something from a website? Well, have I got the trick for you! Word and PSE work together! And even better… all your fonts are there in Word too!

Your Word version may be different from mine; the interface might look different but this is pretty basic, and all the things I’m going to show you will work with any version. I opened a new blank document in Word, chose a font and set my formatting so that my text would fit inside a border on a beautiful journaling blank I pulled from Ooh La La ScrapsShabby Chic collection.

I love using quotations for a variety of reasons. Like not having to think too hard! I typed out this one in a matter of a few seconds. I changed the size of the font for Mr Bergen’s name.

I just spotted a typo on my screenshot below. RATS! Word’s spell-check wouldn’t have caught it either, but it DOES catch those transposed letters, “e”s that should be “a”s and that kind of thing. It also capitalizes the first word of each sentence for you if you forget.

Then I opened up Elements on my desktop, dropped my journal blank onto a new document and set up the Text tool with the same font settings that I chose in Word. If I skipped this step now, Elements would default to the last settings I used.

Back to Word… I selected the text then right-clicked to open up a dialogue box. It looks like this. I want to Copy the text. (WSNH tip: the same keyboard shortcuts I’ve shown you in previous tuts also work exactly the same in Word, so CTRL/CMD>C will work to copy the text.)

I flipped back to Elements and Pasted my text into the journaling space. That can be done by right-clicking then choosing Paste from the dialogue box, or CTRL/CMD>V. Did you notice that Elements ignored the different text sizes?

Now I have the ability to change it up to suit my layout. I changed the text colour first by pulling the gray from the border.

Then I changed the font size on Mr Bergen’s name again. Now that I know the font size changes made in Word don’t move over to Elements, I can skip that step in the future.

Even better, it’s totally possible to Copy whole sections of text from a web site or other document on your computer and Paste it into Word. As you can see in the screenshot below, I’ve selected a new quote from my favourite quotations site.

Then I Pasted it into Word with a couple of clicks! Yeah. I wasted time resizing Ellen’s name. (Did you catch the typo in this screenshot too?)

Here you can see that I’ve got Elements open and it’s just waiting for me to Copy-Paste Ellen’s words of wisdom over.

Oh, right… I didn’t go to Elements and set up the font. So this is the font, size and colour I used for the last layout I created.

So I just Undid that step and started over. But this time I decided to use a Text Box. This handy tool helps to constrain the text so it doesn’t bleed out into areas where I don’t want it. To create a Text Box, with the Type tool click-and-drag from one corner diagonally to the opposite corner of the area you want to cover with text. This journal blank made it easy by having reference points in the border.

And then I pasted Ellen’s quote into my text box. Notice that it’s now centre-justified, rather than left-justified as it was in Word. I had “Center” selected in the Text tool settings and Elements over-rode Word.

This time I didn’t have too many changes I needed to make, other than shrinking Ellen.

But to show you how easy it is to change it to suit your purposes, I switched the angle from upright to right-italic and changed the text colour. I want to try this trick with texting on a path, but wanted to get you the basics now. Stay tuned!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Fancifying Those Fonts

As promised, today’s tutorial is a demonstration of how to add some variety to your fonts. IceCold had the most options so I went with it for the layout I did up for the Mix It Up Challenge. I used a template from Jumpstart Designs that I’ve had forever and CathyK‘s Aviator kit.

If you’re a faithful reader, you’ll recall that I like to create my titles on their own work space so I can play around without distraction and without messing up anything on my layout accidentally.

Before I can do anything to the text I first have to Simplify the layer. Right-click on the layer on the Layers panel then select Simplify Layer.

Because I never know where I might go with my experimentation, I like to make several copies of my original layer so I won’t have to recreate it later. Then I play with the copies. CTRL/CMD>J will make one copy for each time you perform the keyboard shortcut. Or you can right-click on the layer in the Layers panel and select Duplicate Layer. (Can you see why I use the WSNH – Work Smart Not Hard – shortcut?)

The first thing that occurred to me was to make the snow caps look like snow caps. I was originally going to just Erase the letter parts but thought better of it.

I added a Layer Mask by clicking on the icon that looks like a square of paper with a circle in the centre, right there in the middle of the icons at the top of the Layers panel. Why? Because if I go too far with my Eraser, I can easily change the tool to a paint brush and paint back the part I should have left alone. It’s as simple as toggling between black and white in the Color Selector. To know which color is the one you want, remember the phrase “White conceals, Black reveals“. Keyboard shortcut? Just hit the X key!

Then I started Erasing away the letters from the snow caps.

This part of my technique is VERY time-consuming. And it causes eye-strain too… but that never stops me from trying new things or writing tutorials about my experiments!

Is it just me or do these look more like eyebrows than snow caps?

Once I had all the letter parts removed, I Simplified the layer. Same like with the font step. Otherwise, unless you’re paying particular attention (and I’m usually not… watching TV while I work is how I roll!) you won’t know what part of the layer you’re working on until you’ve committed some massive blunder and can’t reverse it. (Guilty as charged!)

Now I want to add some chill to my snow caps. In retrospect, I really didn’t need this step, but I have the screenshots so I’m going to show you because it does tie in with a later step.

To quickly and easily change to colour of fonts and text, just create a Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color. It will apply your new colour to everything selected.

When the New Layer menu box opens, make sure the Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask box is checked. If you don’t take that action, the whole canvas will be filled with that new colour.

I know the blue is impossible to see, and as I said, I really didn’t need to do this step. But can you see in the screenshot that I Copied the snow cap layer BEFORE I added the Fill layer to the original snow cap layer? That’s another WSNH tip. Only do things once!

Again, you want to Merge these two layers in the same way and for the same reason you Simplify text and other Layer Masks. It’s to preserve what you’ve already done.

This next screenshot is impossible for anyone to actually read, so I’ve included the pertinent information on it. I’m going to use a glitter Styles set from Just So Scrappy‘s Lucky Me bundle. The fastest way to get to your Styles folder is to just click on the Styles button at the bottom of the Layers panel.

Katie of JSS always includes both chunky and fine glitter in her Styles bundles. I chose the fine white glitter #2 option because my title isn’t going to be huge, and snowflakes aren’t either.

This is the effect it gave my snow caps. Now you can see why I said the colour change wasn’t necessary… you can’t see any of the blue anyway!

On we go to the copy of the snow caps.

The colours in JSS‘s Lucky Me bundle work for this next phase, so I’m using the Chrome set for this. The Style adds a very smooth shiny look to whatever you hit with it.

Again, Katie offers options! There are thick and thin Chrome coatings here. I knew I’d want the thin one so that’s what I used.

It didn’t look quite like I wanted it to, so I right-clicked on the fx icon on the layer in the Layers panel and opened up the Style menu. I adjusted the various sliders to give me more of a chilly, icy look.

Then I lowered the Opacity of the Chrome layer and the snow cap has dimension, some colour and some sparkle.

I could stop here. HA!

I went down to the very first layer where I’d typed out my title, hid all the other layers, and added a Layer Mask to that first layer.

Then I started Erasing the thin lines from the letter section of the title.

Once I got them all Erased, I Simplified the layer.

I also wanted to lose the snow caps, but because I’d already isolated the snow caps, it was a piece of cake to get rid of them. I clicked on one of the snow-cap only layer thumbnails to Select the outlines of the snowcaps – while still on my lowest layer – then Edit>Cut (CTRL/CMD>X) them away.

I knew I wanted to use the Paint Bucket to fill the wide spaces with colour and I knew (from prior experience) that if the areas I was filling were not COMPLETELY enclosed, the whole shebang would be filled, I decided to put a Edit>Stroke around the snow caps’ edges. Just a skinny one, 1 pixel wide. Then I erased the parts that weren’t required.

This is where I wound up.

Then I used the Paint Bucket tool to fill in all the spaces inside the letters using the same light blue as before. I decided the dark brown lines were just too harsh, so I wanted to change them to a darker blue/green. So I went to Enhance>Adjust Color>Replace Color.

Another thing I’ve learned form doing it wrong a thousand times is to make sure the colour I WANT is the BACKGROUND colour. Then I clicked on the colour swatch at the top of the menu – the colour I want to replace – and used the eyedropper that popped up to click on the dark brown.

Then I clicked on the lower colour swatch to make it active. If I had a colour on my canvas that I wanted to use, I could then click on it with the eyedropper, but I don’t so I clicked on the background colour swatch where I have my darker blue-green. And bingo! the dark brown is now dark blue-green.

I could stop here. But you know me… I didn’t. I felt like the letters needed some sheen to make them look icy. I opted to use the Wow Plastic Styles that were already in PSE when I bought it. There are 10 options in that set. If you hover your cursor over the little blocks it’ll tell you what each one is.

As you can see, it changed the colours quite a bit while adding that shine I was after. I played around with the fx menu a bit.

Then I checked to see if the title looked the way I wanted it to. And it didn’t.

I went back to the title canvas and Copied the white glitter layer, moving the copy layer to the very top, above the shiny blue Chrome layer. Then I Erased some of the top white glitter layer to make it look like freshly-fallen snow on top of some older, crusty stuff. (Those of you who live in the snowbelt know what I mean.) Then I opted to play with the letters layers again. I tried one of the Glass Buttons Styles, which also are integrated PSE styles.

Only snag? All that work I did with the stripes went bye-bye. Boo! But wait… There’s a tweak for that.

And back they come! Almost happy…

I still had some snow-cap-less layers there in the middle so I went to one of them and erased everything but the skinny lines.

Quick change to the colour – Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color in white.

It’s pretty subtle, but it’s there and I like it! So let’s see how it looks on the layout.

YES!! I think it’s a lot closer to the colours in the photo and I’m very happy with the outcome!

See you all next week!

Tutorial Tuesday (Fontography)

Fancy and Fun Fonts for Wintery Layouts

As much of the Northern Hemisphere is being walloped by heavy snow, high winds and frigid temperatures (which basically would be Wednesday here in northern Alberta 😉 ) I thought I’d compile a collection of free fonts y’all can use for your winter layouts. Sound good? Each of the fonts I show you will be linked to the source so you can find ’em quickly!

My favourite go-to website for free fonts is dafont.com. They have such a huge assortment of fabulous fonts and dingbats!

Like Snowtop Caps, which also includes numbers and punctuation.

Winter Fall is a rounded font that would be great for a wintery title, but it only includes a small number of special characters and no numerals.

Iceberg is chunky but still rounded. It also only has a few punctuations and no numerals.

Winter Flakes has it all! It includes some dingbats too, so it’s pretty much perfect.

Igloo Laser is a modern-looking all-caps font with numerals and a few punctuation characters.

Snowflake Letters would look smashing with a bevel and a clear, glossy style on it. It’s all-caps, with numerals and punctuation.

You could use Snowhouse for journaling; it’s a script font with numerals and some punctuation, and includes a large variety of special characters.

Snowinter is another super-title font, with all the goodies one would need.

I like Kingthings Christmas a lot. It’s a complete package with awesome potential.

I think I’m going to build a tutorial about how to use Ice Cold to its best advantage. It’s got some serious title charm!

CF Tuques is just a fun font for winter. (I’m super-happy the designer spells “tuque” correctly!) No numerals or punctuation though.

 

Now how about looking at some dingbats. Don’t know what a dingbat is? Basically, it’s a symbol, shape or drawing accessed through your alpha keyboard.

Winter has a collection of line drawings of winter things, like snowmen and snowed-in houses. It’s pretty cute!

DH Snowflakes could be used for borders, dividers or backgrounds. Lots of possibilities!

Faux Snow is another snowflake dingbat set with unique shapes.

And so is WW Flakes.

KR Snowpeople has an assortment of snowmen and snow-women.

I invite you to check out the vast collection of fonts and dingbats at Dafont. I know you’ll find lots of inspiration there!