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 (Photoshop Elements)

UnMASKing the MASK

Y’all remember Karyn Concannon‘s comment a few weeks ago where she offered me some topics for discussion? Well, we’ve done some paper-making (with one more version yet in the works) and now we’ll look at making masks. There has been a mask-making tutorial some time ago, but this one will go a little further and in a bit of a different direction.

Let’s get to work! Go big… it can’t possibly hurt. I’m going 12×12 here.

The whole process uses only brushes. If you’re low on awesome and fabulous brushes, there are TONS of free ones online, my favourite source being brusheezy.com where they have a huge assortment and literally something for everyone. Set your foreground colour to black then select your Brush tool.

I love the look of watercolour paint so I have several brush sets of watercolour swashes. This particular set is called 20 Watercolor Masks and they’re truly fabulous. I’ve got my brush size set to 1600 pixels and the Opacity to 100%.

This is the result of a single click with the brush. Looks like a cloud, doesn’t it? And almost as um… ephemeral.

So I made some copies (CTRL/CMD>J) and stopped when I thought it had enough presence. Then I Merged all the copies into one layer.

But unless I use a very long-distance landscape photo, this isn’t going to be enough of a statement. So I added some more substance by choosing another brush from the same set.

(Notice this second brush is on its own layer. If you get in the habit of doing things on their own layer you’ll have infinite control.) Single click. Interesting! But again, light on the weight.

So I made some more copies. And I shifted them around a little to distribute some of the more obvious aspects. Then I Merged (CTRL/CMD>E) them.

Mmmm. Still not quite the look I’m going for. So I made another copy of the FIRST layer. When you think about masks, you’ll remember that the darker (black) the area the more of the photo is revealed. So you can’t get blacker than black. You can always go back and adjust your layers until your mask pleases your eye.

Don’t be afraid to move the brushes around! You’re the only one you have to please, so make it what you want it to be!

If you’re still not happy with the way your mask looks, you can use a big, soft, round Basic brush (from the brush set that comes with Elements) to either darken areas more, or lighten them (if you’re lightening, use the Eraser tool and a low opacity to avoid going overboard).

See how I’ve softened some of the edges? I only used a black brush. No erasing.

Like I’ve said, YOU’RE the boss here, so you can go as far as you want with your mask. I decided to add some paint splatters, again with a free brush.

Oh my!! I LIKE it!! (If I don’t like how the more distant splatters look once I’ve clipped a photo to it, I can erase those parts OF THE MASK and still have the splatter effect in areas of the photo.)

Now I’m happy with the depth and balance of my mask, I can Merge the layers all together. That’s an important step if you plan to do what I’m going to show you next.

Some designers make phenomenally beautiful masks that are out of the ordinary. (Irina from PrelestnayaP is one such.) For this next step I used a brush that was part of a set chosen for the Brush Challenge back in October 2015. You can download these brushes, designed by Lileya Brogu, here. Take note that I’ve got the Eraser tool selected, NOT the Brush tool.

Whatdya think?

And here’s what it all looks like with a photo clipped to it. Pretty fancy!

Just for fun, and to show you haw easy it is to customize your mask, I Undid (CTRL/CMD>Z) that last step and tried a few other brushes.

This one is really creepy. I downloaded the eyeball brushes for a Hallowe’en project.

See? There’s really no limit to the possibilities – other than the limits of your brush collection!

So once I was done playing with it, I decided to Save it for later. I chose Save As (CTRL/CMD>SHIFT>S) because that’s where I can decide what format to save it in. To be a good mask, it needs to be saved as a .png with a transparent background. Then I decided where to save it – into my personal Elements folder, and what to call it.

The last step is to select the .png options. To preserve the most detail, go with the settings shown below.

How much fun is that??

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Repeating Patterns – Part Deux

As promised, here’s the second installment of creating your own patterned papers. (I hope our lovely designers aren’t mad we’re doing an end-run around them… but sometimes the overall design cries out for a paper they didn’t give us.) Today I’ll show you how to create a staggered pattern repeat the quick and easy way. Refresh your memory if you need to… I’ll still be here when you’re done!

If you remember, my first effort was really odd because I hadn’t made the original stamp image small enough to give it a good repeat. So here’s the Resized stamp. I went with (almost) 2 inches square for a six-time repeat across the page, but you can go with whatever makes you happy. After I Resized my stamp I just pushed the bottom of the canvas up to make it a perfect 2 inch square to calm my OCD.

Then I actually shrank the stamp down a bunch more so the staggered repeat would look better. And I filled the background with a solid colour by adding a new layer BELOW the stamp layer then flooding it with white using my Paint Bucket tool for it’s more usual purpose. And I Merged the layers into one.

This step is something we’ve only rarely done, and that’s to Resize the Canvas. What does that mean? (Yes, I heard that!) The stamp is an IMAGE. The workspace behind it is the CANVAS. The keyboard shortcuts are almost identical. CTRL/CMD>ALT>I for the Image and CTRL/CMD>ALT>C for the Canvas. Easy enough to remember, right?

I doubled the WIDTH but left the HEIGHT unchanged. I also moved the Anchor point over to left-centre by clicking on it in the diagram. This is the most important part of this step. So many new things we’re trying here!

And it’s time for another new thing! We’ve looked at the Blur filter, and the High Pass filter and we’ve played with some of the others but we’ve never talked about the Offset filter.

Isn’t it awesome that all you have to do is choose it from the drop-down menu and Elements runs with it? Now that there are some terrific staggered stamps here, I’m going to Define the Pattern in the same way we did it last week. Edit>Define Pattern… super simple.

I gave it a name that is different from my other defined patterns so Elements wouldn’t mix them up.

Then I went back into the Paint Bucket and chose the Fill Pattern mode. A single click on my gray paper and voilà! A staggered pattern all over my paper. (Of course, the gray paper is completely hidden by the white fill layer from way back in step 2…)

But that doesn’t matter because if I choose the correct Blend Mode, it’ll show back up with just one click. I went with Linear Burn.

And there’s the gray paper! Now to save my paper for future use. I used the Save As (CTRL/CMD>SHIFT>S) method, which lets me decide what kind of file I want it to be. Papers are always .jpg files, so that’s what I’ll do.

I have a folder on my laptop for “my” papers and that’s where I’m putting this one.

And we’re done!! I’m going to experiment before next week to make papers with more than one pattern. Wish me luck!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Repeating Patterns – Basic

Last week’s tutorial attracted some comments, as they usually do, and thanks to Karyn Concannon I have some topics to work with for the next couple of weeks. She’d like to know how to use repeating patterns to create her own paper – let’s take a look at that one now.

I’m pretty sure this has been covered in a previous tutorial but when I went to look for it so I could link it, I couldn’t find it. So to recap… I think. To create repeating patterns you can use brushes, stamps, elements, shapes – whatever your heart desires. For my example I’m using a tribal-looking stamp from Connie Prince‘s Roar.

The first step is to Define the stamp as a Pattern. Click on Edit>Define Pattern. This is the easy part.

The menu opens up this box, where I named my pattern Connie’s Roar Stamp.

Next I chose a background paper (from Aprilisa‘s All American): neutral, gray with a git of texture.

Next, I chose the Paint Bucket tool (Work Smart Not Hard shortcut is the K key); as you can see, I’ve added a blank layer on top of the paper layer. This is an important step, so don’t leave it out.

The Paint Bucket menu has two options. The one on the left is the colour fill setting, the one on the right is the pattern fill one.

When I click on the little triangle inside the frame for the pattern fill setting, the default patterns open up, and so does the one I just defined from the stamp!

I clicked on the stamp pattern and WHOA! That wasn’t what I was ready for…

It turns out I should have resized the original stamp png BEFORE I turned it into a pattern. That can be accomplished one of two ways: Image>Resize>Resize Image or CTRL/CMD>ALT>I. Then decide how small to make it. Keep in mind your canvas size (3600×3600 pixels or 12×12 inches in my example). Once it’d been Resized, I went back and Defined Pattern with it, giving it a different name.

Then I used Pattern Fill and got what I was expecting the first time.

There are so many ways this can be jazzed up – Blend Modes have a lot of options, texture filters can make your paper look flocked or sponged, the colour can be changed in several ways. Give them all a whirl! For my example below, I changed the Blend Mode to Dissolve and made it look like I’d stencilled it on.

One way to change the colour is to add a Fill Layer using the Layer menu. Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color

By ticking that box, you’re telling PSE to clip the new colour to the layer below it.

When the Color Picker opens up, you get to choose what colour you want to go with. I like this method because it’s much more reliable than using the Paint Bucket to fill the design – that usually ends up being a lot of work for a not-so-great result.

If you want to make further adjustments to the pattern layer, Merge the pattern layer and colour fill layer together. (CTRL/CMD>E)

The merged layers will lose the Blend Mode so I hit it again with Dissolve.

That’s how to make a simple repeating pattern. All the control is in your hands. Next week I’ll show you how to do a staggered repeating pattern. It takes a few more steps and some experimentation…

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 (Photoshop Elements)

I almost didn’t think there would be a tutorial this week. I spent a huge chunk of time going through the paper clutter in my dining room sorting what needs to be kept and what could go to the shredder and at the end of it I was mentally exhausted. So I figured I’d do something fun; we’re redecorating and I want one of those huge farmhouse style clocks to go in the dining room. Bargain shopper that I am and not thrilled with the retail prices on these clocks, I took my $50 Lowe’s gift card and bought an 18″ chunk of stain-ready pine then started looking at examples on Pinterest. I knew I wanted Roman numerals on my clock so those are the ones I concentrated on. But how to get those numerals onto my slice of pine… PSE to the rescue. I thought.

I wasn’t anticipating the number of times I’d have to undo it all and start over. So I thought, “Maybe someone else could learn from my mistakes!” I had already decided I would use the Warp text tool and had to figure out how to bend it to my will.

I tried a couple of options from the menu before settling on the Arc warp. It gives a beautiful curve but doesn’t distort the text too much.

To give myself something to gauge the curve against, I used the Custom Shape Tool to pull out a nice perfect circle. The sliders do some crazy things to text! I went all the way over to the right with the Bend slider, but felt it didn’t leave quite enough space between the 8 and 9 or the 2 and 3. So I adjusted back to 94%

Then I typed out the rest of the numerals and warped them. But something doesn’t look right. I went back to my example on Pinterest and yep… it’s not right. The numerals on the bottom half are backwards.

So I deleted that text layer but while I was trying to figure out how to turn the numerals on the bottom half around, I pulled in some Guide lines to make positioning the 12, 3, 6 and 9 easier.

And I tried it again.

And failed. Again. So I thought, what if I flip the numerals horizontally?

Think it worked? As you can see, the bottom arc is a LOT bigger than the top one, which I did nothing to other than warp it.

Even after I resized and rotated the two halves to a more correct position, it still was wrong. Even after several more tries to get it right, I still didn’t have it.

So I took a break. I went to work, spent the day recertifying my special competencies and writing two exams. I put it out of my mind altogether. Then after I got home and had a nice glass of pino grigio to forget the stress of my math exam, I had a EUREKA moment! Maybe I needed to put the characters in reverse order then spin them around 180°.

Did it work?

YES!! With some caveats.

I adjusted the space between some of the numerals and rotated everything a smidge.

WooHOO! Now I can print it out in the size I want – even if I have to put it on four sheets – and trace them with carbon paper onto my clock. I’m so excited to see it all finished!

So there’s another way to add some originality to your text!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

What the Heck is a Vignette?

It’s been awhile since we did anything really creative using a Guided Edit. Today we’re changing that!

The dictionary has a number of definitions for the word “vignette”.

noun

  • decorative design or small illustration used on the title page of a book or at the beginning or end of a chapter.
  • an engraving, drawing, photograph, or the like that is shaded off gradually at the edges so as to leave no definite line at the border.
  • decorative design representing branches, leaves, grapes, or the like, as in a manuscript.
  • any small, pleasing picture or view.
  • small, graceful literary sketch.

verb (used with object), vi·gnet·ted, vi·gnet·ting.

  • Photography to finish (a picture, photograph, etc.) in the manner of a vignette.

This photo – “a small, pleasing picture or view” – of my cocker spaniel Bailey (who left us 4 years ago) is my most favourite one of her. When I was sorting through a box of stuff I found a frame I had bought for this photo shortly before she died; I decided it was time to print and frame the photo, but wanted to increase the impact of it a bit first.

My first thought was to add a vignette effect to my vignette. Photoshop Elements has one in the Guided Edits menu, so here goes!

This particular effect has quite a few uses, especially when it comes to landscape photos where there’s an element or view that screams for sharper focus (attention-wise). But it would also be stunning with newborn photos, wedding photos and any number of others.

When you open the tool, this is what the interface looks like. Remember, down at the bottom right corner there are two buttons, a Next and a Cancel. The Next button gives you the option of saving, sharing or moving on to the Expert workspace. The Cancel button resets the image. So if you’ve made several adjustments and are pleased with your efforts, take great care not to Cancel it!

Obviously there are two vignette options here, Black and White. I’m showing you the white first, with the software’s default setting. It’s not the look I’m after, but I have some adjustment capability so let’s see what happens when I use them.

By decreasing the Intensity of the vignette effect, I get an effect I like better.

The button bar I’ve circled is the second adjustment tool, which lets the user shift the shape of the vignette and softness of the edges. I’ve shown you the defaults. The marching ants show you where the software has made its selection.

I moved the Feather slider over a bit to the right (to 7.7 pixels) and made the edge softer, then slid the the Roundness handle all the way to the left (-100%). The Roundness tool contracts or expands the selection edge. Can you see what that did to my photo?

This is what I get when I move the Roundness slider all the way to the right without adjusting the Feather. But even with lots of tweaking, it’s not the look I’m after. So I hit the Cancel button.

Then I tried the Black vignette. Here’s the image with the defaults. TOO too…

So I pulled the Intensity of the vignette down to about 55% and like it a lot better.

This time I pushed the Feather slider all the way to the right, 50.0 pixels.

Then I played with the Roundness, moving the slider left to -10%.

There it is! Bailey is the focus, the edges are darker and softer and I’m really happy with the way it looks. I can print it now and get it in the frame. If I wanted to work with this photo more, inside a layout for example, I would go to the Next button and make my choice of subsequent actions. I Saved it to my folder for printing.

Can you think of a photo in your collection that would be even better using this technique? (There’s another way to do this technique that’s a bit more work, and I’ll show you how in another lesson.)

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!