Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Selectively Colouring your Photos

This month’s Color Challenge is a bit different; instead of being presented with a swatch and asked to use those colours, Ivonne (Craft-tastrophic) has asked for layouts in black-and-white, with just some pops of colour. The examples she shows in the Forum are great inspiration, but what if you don’t know how to achieve “selective colour” in your photos? That was what Glee asked me. I thought I had a tutorial on the subject, but turns out I didn’t. So I set out to remedy that. I’m going to show you three different ways to accomplish it, at least one of which should work for you regardless of which version of Elements you have.

Some advice: This task is a lot easier if you have a photo with a lot of contrast between the item(s) you want to colour and the rest of the image. Let’s get started!

I chose this Pixabay photo for my example, a choice I came to regret just a little. More about that later. The first method I’ll show you is the Guided Edit version. I tried to find out when it was added to Elements, but didn’t succeed. I think it was likely Elements 14 or 15, but can’t confirm. I tried it first using the B&W Color Pop edit, which allows you to select a colour from the photo and it’ll automatically convert the rest of the photo to black-and-white, but it’s a lot restrictive. Super easy, but only good for a single colour. So I went on to use the B&W Selection edit.

The Edit comes up with this interface, and it literally tells you what to do first. The B&W Selection brush goes on the part of the photo you don’t want to stay in colour. For this step you can use a pretty big brush to make quick work of the bulk of the background.

The cool part of this Edit is that if you oops and accidentally desaturate some of the part you want to stay coloured, you can toggle from Add to Subtract and just return the colour to the image.

Yep, I got carried away with my big brush and messed it all up.

With a smaller brush I put the yellow back into the chick. But it’s not quite getting all the details… those darned little feathers! So I’m going to go on to Refine Edge.

You’ll be able to see what effect the Edge Dectection slider makes on the photo. Did you notice there’s one fingertip in colour?

Next I’ll use the B&W Detail Brush to fix up the beak and feathers.

I ZOOMed in a LOT so I could be more precise, and used a small brush.

If you want to check your results, you can Invert the effect and it’ll show you where you’re still not quite there. When all the details have been fine-tuned, revert it so your coloured area is the actually desired area, and click on the Next arrow. Then you can Save it for later, or Continue Editing.

The second method I want to show you uses the Magnetic Lasso Tool, first seen in Elements 12. It’s a bit less automatic, but can give you great results. Not familiar with the Magnetic Lasso? It looks for contrast between the object you’re selecting and what’s beside it. Pick a spot to start from and click on the edge. You don’t have to hold down the mouse button, just draw a line around the edge of your object. Elements will add attachment points as you go. It won’t be perfect, but it’ll be pretty good. When you get back to your starting point, you’ll see the marching ants appear around the outline of your object. As you can see in the Tool Options box, there are many ways to tidy things up. I Added the tiny feathers into the selection area using a smaller tip.

The next step is to Invert the selection. Select>Inverse or CTRL/CMD>SHIFT>I will move the edges of the selection to the background, ignoring the chick in the centre.

To change the background to black-and-white, click Enhance>Convert to Black and White… or CTRL/CMD>ALT>B. If you don’t have that option in your version of Elements, instead click Adjust Color>Adjust Saturation and pull the Saturation slider all the way to the left.

Did you know there were a variety of B&W styles? If you have the time, try the options. It’s fun! Each of these styles can be further adjusted with the color channel sliders. You can watch what happens to your image in the After pane.

For a quick selection this isn’t too bad! If your object has very smooth edges, this method can work really well and be as effortless as the Guided Edit.

This final method is achievable with all versions of Elements. It’s the most labour-intensive, and if you’ve got a very irregular edge on your desired object, it’s the one that will give you the best results. First things first – make a Copy of your photo and do all your adjustments on the Copy. You can right-click on the photo and choose Duplicate Layer, or click Layer>New> New Layer via Copy or CTRL/CMD>J. Then convert the Copy layer to B&W as I showed you above.

I wanted this B&W layer to have an even higher contrast to make the Selection part easier, so these are the adjustments I made.

ZOOMed in you can see how much easier it is to see those little feathers. Now to add a Layer Mask.

The easiest way to add a Layer Mask is to use the Layer Mask button. (Duh.) It’s the one that looks like a circle divided into two halves, one blue and one white. When you click on it, the mask appears to the right of the photo. To be positive you’re working on the MASK and not the photo itself, look for the blue outline around the blank mask.

Layer Masks are considered non-destructive edits, because they don’t Erase the image, they only conceal it – even though I’m using the Eraser Tool! If the foreground colour is white, whatever I Erase will be concealed. If I make a misstep, I can toggle the foreground colour to black and un-Erase it. I like to use a Brush tip with the Eraser Tool when working on Layer Masks because the edges are softer. The Pencil tip is more pixelated. I’ve made the original photo layer invisible. See the transparent area where I’ve removed the bird? I prefer to do that for the initial scrubbing, where I can use a big tip and go as quickly as my laptop will allow.

For the detailed areas, having the original layer visible helps to see where more touching up is needed.

I ZOOM right in so I can see exactly what I’m doing, and bring all those darned feathers back into colour. The beak and feet need attention too.

Up this close, I can see a dark edge to the beak and some of the feathers. That tells me I’ve got the precise edge where the chick meets skin. It’s not going to be noticeable when it’s back at a more usual size.

Yes, I used a 3 pixel Brush tip on some of these feathers. I actually went all the way down to 1 pixel, because that’s how I’m made. In later versions of Elements Adobe has introduced a Refine Selection Brush that I haven’t mastered yet, so I still do it the hard way. Later…

Almost there!

And this is the final result. I do like this method best for really detailed images, but isn’t it great to have some options?

As I mentioned in my last tutorial, my laptop is literally crumbling, but it still lets me get things done. I have a new one coming next week; I’m dreading the setting-up but have backed up all my important files so it should be okay. If you haven’t backed up YOUR important files, you might want to do it now, so it doesn’t get forgotten. Who wants to lose everything?!

PDF Link: https://bit.ly/3cM8l6E


Tutorial Tuesday – GingerScraps

New Year, New Challenges!

2021 has gotten off to a smashing start at GingerScraps. There have been a lot of “new” ladies joining our Facebook group and that tells me we’re doing something right. I truly believe GingerScraps IS the “friendliest place in the Digi Scrapping world“. Participation in our Forum has grown so much over the last year, especially in the Welcome! subforum. Of course, each of us is looking for something specific when we embark on a new adventure. For me, I came to GS as a creative team member for one of the GingerBread Ladies; this was my “assigned” store. I spent some time looking around, trying to find a way to engage myself and discovered the GingerScraps Challenges. Bonanza!!!

For those of you who have been GingerScrapping for awhile, you probably already have an established Challenge routine and likely won’t feel the need to read on. That’s cool… no pressure! But if you’re still getting comfortable here, you might not have looked into the Challenges and could maybe use some pointers. AND……. there are NEW challenges beginning this month so I want everybody to know about them.

Let’s begin with some general Challenge info. Challenges are one of the best ways of building your skills, and they also provide a framework to build them on by giving specific guidance such as a topic, a technique, a template or a word art. They’re also a good kick-start when you’re not really sure what you’re going to scrap, or when you’ve lost your mojo. But at GS, Challenges also provide a method of growing your stash! Several of the Challenges include access to high-quality freebies, such as brushes, mini-kits, templates and word art – you just have to download them! Even better than that though is the Challenge Reward! These Rewards are mega-kits created in collaboration by several of the GingerBread Ladies and there’s a new one every month. The January Reward looks like this:

Missi (missdamsel) does a really good job of explaining how Challenge Rewards work in the Cookie Jar – the Challenge tracking thread where you link to the layouts you’ve created for the Challenges. More about that later. But I’ll give you a little recap: You must create a different layout for each Challenge. Your Challenge layouts generally must contain at least 50% GingerScraps content – things available in the GS store – although the Designer Spotlight Challenge has a higher required content rule, 90% to be product from the Spotlight Designer(s) only. Another must is that you also post your layout in the Challenge thread. When you upload your layout to the Gallery, please also include the Challenge category in your description so it goes into that Challenge’s Gallery too. There’s a detailed set of instructions for this process in the tutorial A Road Map for Newbies. (**Just had a thought when I was talking to my hubby about this tut… MAKE SURE YOU’RE UPLOADING TO THE CORRECT YEAR’S CHALLENGE GALLERY!) When you’ve completed TEN Challenges and recorded them in your Cookie Jar, you’ll receive the Challenge Reward kit for the month you hit that milestone. Missi keeps track of all the Cookie Jar entries and sends out a Private Message with the coupon code for the Reward to the scrappers who qualify. One thing that can be confusing is that if you go OVER ten layouts in a given month, those “extra” ones aren’t carried over for the next month. If you create ten layouts every month, you get all the Rewards! Okay, that’s the important 411 on general Challenge stuff. Now let’s talk about some of the new ones!! (Each of the Challenges will be linked in the description so you can just click on the red text and go right to the Challenge. All coloured, bold text in this tutorial has a link attached.)

The Challenges are listed in the Forum in alphabetical order, so that’s how I’m going to discuss them. First up is Jumpstart Your Layouts: with Jumpstart Designs. GingerBread Lady Sheri provides each Challenger with a free product – this month it’s a really cute mini-kit – and the “rules” for the Challenge, which will change each month. For January she wants each scrapper to scrap their inner thoughts about the coming year, and include a selfie somewhere on the page. For some of us, the selfie IS the challenge!

Connie Prince has changed the focus of her monthly Challenge so I’m considering it to be a new one. Life Chronicled is a way to scrap about the more ordinary parts of our lives to give our future generations glimpses of our lives as they were every day, to let them into our heads a little so they “know” us. She gives some talking points to help decide where the layout will go. She also includes a mini-kit, that coordinates with one of her larger kits, for inspiration. (It’s not a required component, though.)

Marina brings us our third new challenge, Magical Scraps Galore’s Surprise Challenge. Each month the focus of the Challenge will be a complete surprise. For January she’s requiring a ten-item overlapping cluster on your layout with a list of each of the 10 objects included when you post your layout to the thread. Clusters can be really intimidating to new scrappers, and if you need some support, there’s a tut for that: Creating Clusters… Not Clutter

While it’s technically not new, the Mix It Up Challenge is now being hosted by Mish Fish every month. It’s similar to the Surprise Challenge in the sense that every month the goals will be a surprise. For January, Juli has given us a 1-2-3-4 list of ingredients for our layouts. 1 word title, 2 photos, 3 flower/element clusters (clusters again!) and 4 (or more) lines of journaling. Piece of cake, right?

This next one is bound to be a huge hit. My Favorite Things with CathyK is another opportunity for personal layouts, focusing on YOU and what you take pleasure in. Cathy would like us to think about, then scrap, some positive moment from 2020 for her inaugural Challenge. It wasn’t the most uplifting of years for far too many people, but there’s always at least some good mixed in with the bad. When I read Cathy’s post, I knew immediately where my layout will go.

Scraps N Pieces is bringing us a Pinterest Challenge. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to get into Pinterest, she’s done it for you!) Each month she’ll provide a mood board created from images she’s pinned, each with a related theme, to provide you with some inspiration. Your layout can take its cues from any aspect of the pinned images that pop into your head. January’s images are about food and how we relate to it. Who hasn’t started a new weight loss plan in January?

And the final new Challenge for 2021 is the Quote Challenge with BoomersGirl Designs. Each month Lori will provide us with a quotation she’s found meaningful. The challenge is to use it as a basis for a layout, but it doesn’t have to INCLUDE the quote. January’s quote is about the gift of time, and what we do with it. Layouts will end up related, but unique, because our personal stories will take us each in a different direction.

I have my personal favourites when it comes to Challenges and I have my own process for doing them. Having worked as an ICU nurse for 25 years, process for me is like breathing! It helps me organize myself and keep myself on track. I start off at the beginning of the month by looking at each of the Challenges I enjoy doing to see if they spark anything. If they do, I right away create a folder for them. (I have folders for everything!) The folder’s name will include the Challenge name and some clues about the topic so I can see at a glance what I should be looking for later when I’m ready to work. If the Challenge includes a freebie like a brush or a mini-kit, I extract the zipped folder right into my Challenge folder. Then when I’m ready to create, I Copy all the photos, elements, paper and whatever else I expect to use into the folder too so it’s all in one place. Once the layout is finished and I’ve posted it to the Gallery, I change the name of the folder by adding a simple hyphen at the front of it that tells me it’s complete. You can see in the screenshot (you had to know there’d be a screenshot!) none of the folders have a hyphen… I haven’t done any work yet. But I’m going to start right away, because I WANT the Challenge Reward!! You might also have noticed that half of those folders are for the new Challenges. Because they’re awesome!

On a more tutorial note, my plan for the coming year going forward is to have the tutorials available as PDF files. It’s a work-in-progress as Ginger and I try to work out the logistics, but we wanted you to know the work is happening to make it a reality! Unfortunately, the amount of time required to convert all 200 previous tutorials would be huge, so they won’t be converted. Stay tuned!


Here is a link to this tutorial in PDF version! https://bit.ly/3biN5FP

Challenge Spotlight: Mini Kit Challenge

Hey there scrappers. How is your iNSD going? Are you enjoying all the fun and games?

Today I’m focusing on the Mini Kit Challenge hosted by Alexis Design Studio. She is providing this gorgeous mini kit to use:

These colors are amazing. Reminded me of spring flowers. Photo credit to my hubby on this one. He loves to take pictures for me to scrap.

And I found these beautiful layouts as well.

From moorefarmcrafts:

From pagefrocks:

And from poki04:

The colors in this kit are just gorgeous.

Remember when you complete 10 challenges, you get this amazing kit:

Challenge Spotlight: Desktop and Inspiration

Happy Monday! Today is the last of my April spotlights. We’re focusing on the Desktop Challenge and the Inspiration Challenge.

April’s Desktop Challenge is hosted by The Cherry On Top. Each month we are provided with a template that can be used as a desktop background on your computer. I LOVE this template. It’s gorgeous.

Let’s see the beautiful layouts I picked from the forum.

From cutiejo1:

From MarilynZ:

From sltppr:

And from constablec:

So lovely.

And finally, the Inspiration Challenge hosted by Sweet Pea Designs. Each month, we are given something to use as an inspiration for our layout. This month, the following picture was the inspiration.

Let’s see what I found.

From 01lousmith:

From alexandergirl68:

From lilholmes6:

And from roxana:

I love all of these.

Remember, 10 completed challenges gives you this kit:

Check back on Wednesday for a wrap up. How have you done this week?


Challenge Spotlight: Template #2 and Signature

Hey y’all. Tonight we’re focusing on two of the favorite challenges in the forum, the second template challenge and the signature challenge.

The second template challenge is hosted by Miss Fish Templates. The following template is provided for you to download and use.

Now here are a few samples from the forum. These are all so lovely.

From digiscrapmomma:

From Jill:

From momto4:

And from Yvonne55:

I love this template.

Next up is the signature challenge hosted by Boomersgirl Designs. Each month the host designer gives us a topic to use. This month, it’s to use animals.

From greenfiend27:

From ktmoonblue:

From rosecca:

And from shawnarenee31:

Remember that when you complete 10 challenges, you get this awesome full kit as a reward:

Let’s {bloom & grow}!!

Challenge Spotlight – Update

Just wanted to pop in with an update. I was doing so well and then I crashed and burned this week. I tried to do to much at once and it caught up with me. So I have a new plan. I’ll have some more spotlights this weekend and then I have a new plan beginning in May.

I hope you are all doing well and staying healthy!

Challenge Spotlight: Buffet and Back It Up with ADB Designs

Happy Monday my friends. It’s hard to believe it’s the beginning of another week. I hope you had an enjoyable Easter weekend.

Today we’re going to start with the the Buffet Challenge. This month the challenge is hosted by Trixie Scraps. The only requirement is that you use kits and/or templates from this month’s buffet. Each month the designers create kits using a color pallet provided to them. By using the same colors, it allows easy mixing of the kits. This month’s colors are definitely Spring inspired:

Let’s see some of the layouts these kits inspired:

From basketladyaudrey:

From Grace.:

From greenfiend27;

And from kimb:

I’m so in love with these colors.

Now for the Back It Up Challenge hosted by ADB Designs. Each month, Diane encourages you to back up those photos on your camera, tablet, or phone so you don’t lose them. Then she gives you a challenge to use those photos. For April the theme is: Spring break, staycation, family vacation, etc.

The layouts for this challenge are gorgeous.

From Elynnia:

From Lisa Campbell:

From msbrad:

And from poki-04:

See what I mean? They are gorgeous.

Are you close to getting your 10 challenges done? If not, don’t fret. For one, it’s not even the middle of  April yet (although it feels like it), and for another, if you don’t get them all done this month, they roll over until the next month until you get 10. Here’s a peek at the reward waiting for you for April.

Have a great week. I’ll be back on Saturday with more!!

Challenge Spotlight: Brush and Storytelling with Dandelion Dust Designs

Happy Easter!! Today we’re looking at two more forum challenges. I originally thought I would have some days that had only one challenge, but we offer so many in the forum, once I put them all in planner to schedule them, I realized I would have to double them up. I think it’s awesome we offer so many ways for you to earn the free collab.

First up today is the Brush Challenge. This month it is hosted by PrelestnayaP. She’s provided a brush to use in both .png and .abr formats. It’s an awesome paint splatter:

Let’s see what some of our members have done with it.

From AriadnesClue:

From dhariana:

From digiscrapmomma:

And from jjaprice:

It’s always so exciting to see how each scrapper chooses to use the brush in their layout.

Now let’s look at the Storytelling Challenge hosted by Dandelion Dust Designs. If you love to journal, this challenge is for you. Each month you are given a focus word and an optional idea. Here is the requirements for April:

  • 50 Word Minimum with at least 1 photo
  • Focus Word: Outside
  • Idea (Optional): What is your favorite thing to do outside? Walk, hike, go to the park, ride bikes, garden, etc.

Here are some of the submissions from the forum and gallery.

From bkasko:

From emscraps:

From Firstoscartgrouch:

And from ktmoonblue:

Absolutely wonderful.

You only have to complete 10 of these awesome challenges to get the full collab kit. It’s always so beautiful and full of goodies.

Come back tomorrow for two more challenges. Are you finding anything new to try?

Challenge Spotlight: GS Created with Rewards and Font Challenge

Happy ?Saturday. Hope you are all enjoying this Easter weekend. Today I’m here to shine the spotlight on two more Challenges.

First up is the Gingerscraps Created with Rewards Challenge hosted by our own sweet Ginger. The only requirement for this challenge is to use the Free With Purchase kit or the Challenge Reward kit form the previous month.

I have grabbed a few member layouts from the gallery as samples. Let’s see what I found.

From Belis2mi using Bring On Spring:

From shariana using Bring On Spring:

From CathyS using read, learn, know, go:

From ktmoonblue using read, learn, know, go:

Now, let’s look at the Font Challenge hosted this month by Craft-tastrophic. Each month the host designer picks out a free font for you to you in a layout however you wish. This month, the font is called Columbia. I love fonts and this on is super cute.

Le’s see what I found in the gallery.

From Dee H:

From justpennys:

From A-M:

From lm44west:

I love the different ways they have chose to use this font.

Remember, any 10 complete challenges will get you this beautiful kit:

Hope you are enjoying these spotlight posts. I’ll be back tomorrow with more.

Challenge Spotlight: Facebook Header and Let’s Get Acquainted

Before we get into today’s challenge, I have to make a confession. I didn’t do a layout for either of these. My EHD was not playing nice tonight. Actually, I think my computer is just tired of me working from home (haha). But bigger reason is that when I looked in the forum to pick some samples, I knew I wanted to showcase only those. These are amazing.

First is the Facebook Header Challenge hosted by CathyK. This is usually one of my favorites to do. If you are a template junkie (like me), there are templates out there to help. This month’s theme for the header is “HOPE”.

Let’s see a few of my favorites from the gallery.

From honeybee:

From ptktj:

From shawnarenee31:

From pauline:

Aren’t these inspiring?

Second, we’re looking at the Let’s Get Acquainted Challenge with Snickerdoodle Designs. Here is this month’s question:

It’s officially Spring.What is it about the season that calls to you most? Is it talking a walk in the warm sunshine, feeling a cool breeze on your face, or perhaps planting a garden or tending to the flowers in your yard? There are so many things that we can do in the Spring that we can’t do in other months. What is your FAVORITE thing about Spring?

Since most of us are “sheltering in place” or on “lockdown,” feel free to show us what you are doing.

Let’s see what I found in the gallery. This first one spoke to my soul. Nani and I share a love of scrapbooking and baseball. I’ve been blessed to actually spend some time with her (at a baseball game no less).

From keevs:

From 01lousmith:

From Glori2:

Again – these were all so stunning, I decided it was better to share them.

Remember, any 10 challenges gets you this fabulous collab:

Enjoy your week. I’ll be back on Saturday with two more great challenges.