Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Creating ‘Mazing Monograms

Lately I’ve been really interested in designing labels for decorative items I’m planning for my home. It’s a challenge, but it’s also a lot of fun and lets me use my creative eye, PSE skills and a little ingenuity. When my grand-daughter was born late last month, I thought I should design a monogram to use as the title of a layout introducing her to the world. I think we all know what a monogram is. But did you know there are some conventions around them?

Monograms have been used for about 2 millenia. Yep, they’ve been around since about 350BC when they began to appear on coins issued by Greek cities, identifying the coins as having come from there. They’ve also been used as signatures by artists and craftsmen, especially when trade guilds began enforcing their rules about membership and took measures against those engaging in those activities without authorization. They later were used as signatures of monarchs and noblemen to identify their holdings, their armies and their money.

Individual monograms came into use as a natural continuation of their use by Important People. They can be part of the letterhead on personal stationery, to identify one’s luggage, to fancify their handkerchiefs, shirts and ties and oh, yeah… wedding invitations! If the monogram is that of a woman, her surname initial is the central, larger one, with her first initial on the left and her middle initial on the right. For men, that convention is often ignored, and their initial are put in order of appearance in their name. Engaged couples may choose to have their two first initials entwined and newlyweds might have one member’s first initial on the left, their joint surname initial in the middle and the other member’s first initial on the left.

The example below has my grand-daughter’s initials following the first individual convention. I used MainType 7.0 (as described in the tutorial on organizing your fonts) to find the perfect font for the job. The font I ended up using is one I picked up at the FontBundles July $1 event. It’s called Quiska Regular and it’s gorgeous!

Once I’d settled on my font, I opened a new 12×12 document in PSE. I like to work large and then resize because detail is so much more visible. Then I found the font in my Type tool menu. (Keyboard shortcut is just the letter T.) I increased the size of the font to 100 pixels. And last, I changed the colour to that luscious fuchsia.

I put each of my 3 letters on their own layers. I know I’m going to want to make adjustments to one or more letters, but not necessarily all of them at once.

I’m not lecturing you, really… but remember to Simplify those letters as you go along. Elements has a bad habit of messing with your existing text should you decide to change fonts or colours if you don’t take that step. Once the layer is simplified you can’t change the font, but you CAN resize, recolour and play with it.

For that middle initial I changed the size of the font (just by typing in the number I want into the box I’ve circled below) to 150 pixels.

Then I went back to 100 pixels for my last letter. You’ll notice they’re randomly placed, and that doesn’t matter, because Elements has tools to fix that.

While I was playing with the letters, I didn’t like the size differential so I decided to increase the size of the smaller letters by 20%, to 120 pixels. Then it looked right!

By selecting all three layers, I could then use the Align tool to line up the horizontal centres of the letters.

I wanted a little bit of an overlap on the letters to tie the monogram together. So I used the Distribute tool too to shift the letters based on their vertical centres.

All that’s left is to Merge the layers together to make a single object. They’re already all selected; right-click on them and select Merge, or just hit CTRL/CMD>E and they’ll unite.

Those of you who read my tripe weekly will know that I wasn’t serious when I said I was done. I decided to add some flourishes to my monogram. I love brushes and have quite a collection of them that I’ve often downloaded free from Brusheezy.com. The one I opted to use here is part of a collection called 20 Dividers V2. Did you know that if you hover the cursor over your workspace you’ll get a preview of the brush just like I’ve shown you below? You’ll know what it looks like and can then adjust your size and angle before you even use your brush.

I know I sound like a broken record. Good habits are important to streamline your workflow and prevent oopses. If you put your brushes on their own layers, you have total control over them. If you put them right on your paper, you can’t do anything with them – can’t change their colour (easily) or opacity, increase or decrease the size, apply a style, copy them or any other tweak you might decide is needed. So just put them on their own layers!

For balance I want a second flourish; duplicating the layer is the easiest way to ensure they’re identical. Either right-click on the layer and select Duplicate, then click OK in the pop-up menu or simply CTRL/CMD>J to copy it.

Then I flipped the second brush vertically so the two brush layers are mirror images. The easiest way to do that is to grab one of the middle handles on the bounding box then drag the handle in the direction you want the flip to go. (Either horizontally or vertically.) Don’t obsess over dragging it to exactly the same size, because you can simply type -100 into the corresponding box in the tool options below. Then the software does all the work. WSNH!!

Again, let the software do the work to Align all the layers again. I opted to then select the two brush layers and shrink them somewhat so they were closer to the same scale as the monogram. Then I Merged the brush layers into one.

I might be done… but then again, I might not be done! Let’s see what we can do to really make this monogram pop. I’m going to use a Bevel Style.

I have the letters layer selected and used the Inner Ridge Bevel. It looks like enamel and I love it!

Then I selected my brush layer and hit it with the Scalloped Edge Bevel just to give it a bit more weight and dimension.

Isn’t that amazing?! And so simple!! I saved it as a png file so I can use it as the title for my layout when the time comes. Keep your eye out for it in the Gallery!

I’m departing tomorrow (July 11/18) for a two-week genealogical expedition to Ireland. So there won’t be a tutorial next Tuesday or the Tuesday after. If I’m not totally whipped when I get home again, there MAY be one ready for the 31st. Think about what I can teach you next. Sláinte!!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Still MORE Fun with FONTS!! 

We’ve done a lot of cool things with fonts, but I know there are still so many even cooler things to try. Last week I bought a new font bundle from The Hungry JPEG, a selection of vintage fonts for a smokin’ hot deal. It’s not as if I’ll ever have too many fonts, right?

Anyway, while I was downloading these fonts, several of which were actually font families, I looked at the samples the site uses for advertising and it hit me… Why not try layering two fonts from the same family and see what happens? Font families are a collection of very similar fonts with some subtle differences; there may be a regular, a bold, a light, an outline, a grungy and an italic version, for example. This tutorial was fun for me, because I really didn’t know what it would look like when I was finished, but the idea was firmly in my head and I had to try it. I impressed myself so much I needed to widen the doorways. But… it didn’t turn out the way I expected it to. It’s BETTER!

I went through my fonts, using High Logic’s Main Type, to find a font family that would hopefully give me the look I could see in my head. The one that looked most promising is called Nomos, by Cruzine Design. It has several variations on the basic font, so I went with it. I started with Nomos Regular Regular for my basic title. I selected a medium gray to be my starting colour from one of the papers I used in my layout. And I set the size at 100 pixels, knowing I’d probably resize it to fit my canvas. Remember, I usually create my title on its own canvas, sizing the basic working space to approximate the area I want it to fill. No distractions, nothing to work around. So once I decided on my font and colour, I opened a 5 1/2 x 1 1/2 transparent canvas on my workspace.

I typed out my one-word title, then resized it to almost fit my space. I made a careful mental note of the exact size of the final font so I wouldn’t have any guesswork for the next step.

Then I went back to my fonts and chose an outline version of the same font. It’s called Nomos Inline Inline. (I don’t know why the designer used so much repetition in titling…)

I Simplified the original layer then turned its visibility off. Why Simplify? When working with fonts in PSE, if you DON’T simplify the layer, then select a different font for your next text layer, that first layer will morph to that new font. And you might not notice it until MUCH later and have to go back and fix it. So don’t forget to Simplify once you’re satisfied with spelling, grammar and punctuation. After that, I typed out my title exactly the same as the first layer, only in white this time. And I resized it to the same size as my original layer. Here’s where the people really paying attention can give me the gears. My resized font is 114.31 pixels.

They weren’t in exactly the same place on the workspace, but it looks really cool just like this! If it was what I was after I’d just have gone with it. But I envisioned something more, so I kept going.

PSA: Simplify your text layers!!

I wanted the two layers stacked perfectly, white over gray, so I used the Move Tool Options to Align the layers, first by Center then by Middle.

I turned off the gray layer again and concentrated on the white outline layer. I clicked on the Layer thumbnail to select the edges of the letters as shown below.

I want the white sections to be thinner so more of the gray shows through, so I clicked Select>Modify>Contract. I didn’t want to lose too much, so I went with a single-digit shrink of 7 pixels.

If you look closely you can see where the new lines of marching ants have appeared. I’m now going to DELETE those sections. CTRL/CMD>X

Ah! Not exactly what I was expecting, but really, really neat!

I couldn’t wait to see what it looked like with the gray layer on. I wanted to add some dimension to the white layer, which I did by using a Simple Sharp Pillow Emboss bevel style, one of the integrated styles the software comes with.

It looked really good, but just a little TOO… too. Easily fixed by adjusting the bevel settings.

I clicked on the fx icon on the white layer and made the bevel much smaller. I think it looks like inlaid enamel and chrome, don’t you? Now I’m itchy to try this with other fonts and see what different effects I can achieve just by layering two fonts. Who knew it would be so much fun?

Here is my finished layout. It’s for the Designer Spotlight Challenge this month and was created with pieces of 3 kits by Connie Prince and a template from Trixie Scraps. The people in the photo are my grandparents; it was taken in the summer of 1961. By the following Easter he was gone; this is one of only 2 photos I have of him where he doesn’t have a cigarette in his hand. I see a little bit of my dad in each of them, and my sister’s eyes crinkle in the same way Grandma’s do. I’d never noticed it before, so this was a labour of love.

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Direct Your Own SCRIPT

Wow, it’s Tuesday again already! This has been another one of those no-time-for-anything weeks, between my 48 hour work week, house-training a puppy who likes to get up 4 or 5 times EVERY night and the rest of the usual routine. I’m happy my dogs are bonded to each other, but the running in and out every 10 minutes is making me a little short-tempered. They’re worse than toddlers… but at least I don’t have to put them in snowsuits. I really haven’t had much time for scrapping since we brought this puppy home one month ago today. But I did manage to fit in a quick layout (about my dogs, what else!) for this month’s Font Challenge. I love fonts, and the Font Challenge makes it so easy to pick up new, fun ones. But I gotta tell you, I was a little unnerved that this month the featured font was in script. Don’t get me wrong – script fonts are fabulous, especially for journaling where the text is personal and emotional. But there are some script fonts that just don’t look as good on paper as they do in the font browser. You know the ones I mean. The ones where there are a lot of unnatural breaks in the flow of the text. You look at your journaling and you change the font because it just looks awful. Those of you who’ve been reading my tuts from the beginning will know I’m a little bit Type-A, a little bit OCD… things have to LOOK right to BE right. And those fonts make me totally cray-cray! Well, there’s a way to get around that!

Fortunately, KG Eyes Wide Open isn’t one of those fonts that drive me crazy. It flows nicely, one letter to the next, so I got my layout finished without a melt-down. Beautiful Day Regular is an example of one that sets me right into a tailspin.

See the gaps and malaligned strokes? I like my script text to look like someone took a pen and wrote it out; not too many people have that many breaks in their penmanship unless it’s an affectation.

Elements is great software, but there are some things it can’t do. While it’s possible to set the Leading of one’s text (the space between lines of text) but there’s no adjustment for Kerning  (the space between letters). If I’ve chosen a font that ends up offending my eye (and my personality) I delete the text and start over. The first thing I do is make a new document/project on my workspace.

I pull a Guide down to where I want my baseline to be to make the actual process less work. Elements has Guides that are easily dragged into place; put your cursor into the space at either the top of the workspace or at the far left of it, then click and drag it to where you want it. (My workspace has the Rulers visible, so I just put the cursor on top of the ruler and drag.) Another way of dropping a Guide onto your project is to click View>New Guide. This will allow you to tell Elements where you want the Guide to go. Be aware though that unless you Clear All Guides every so often, you’ll have a confusing array of lines popping up on your workspace seemingly at will.

To make the process as simple as possible, I align the horizontal line of the Text Tool‘s “I-beam” cursor, a facsimile shown below, right on my Guide then click to activate it.

Each letter of my text will go on its own layer. I have my Preferences set so that in the General settings menu, the Select Move Tool after accepting text box is ticked. This setting turns the bounding box on as soon as I Commit current operation. Then I can move that letter into its desired spot immediately.

I keep typing my text out, one letter per layer.

Nudging them into place right away saves a lot of time and effort.

I put just enough space between the last letter of one word and the first letter of the next to make it look right.

If I don’t get the next letter into quite the right place, it’s no big deal.

I give it a little nudge using my right- and left-arrow keys.

Of course, if you’re not all that bothered by script fonts that don’t flow, you’ve already stopped reading.

I’m sure you won’t believe me when I tell you this, but it took me less time to get to this part of my text, typing it out one layer at a time and nudging than it has taken you to read this tutorial up to now. But it’s true. I use the keyboard shortcuts I show you to make it so much quicker. To engage the Text Tool for each successive letter, I click on the “T” – just the “T” – and it opens up. Then I click on my baseline, type my letter, click OK and nudge it. 5 seconds.

I’m so particular about how my text looks, I make sure the strokes for each letter line up.

It’s hard to know exactly where to put the Text Tool cursor on the baseline, so it’s a really good thing that it doesn’t matter at all!

Sometimes I get lucky!

Okay, so. If you’re anything like me, you find yourself with not enough room to say what you want to say in the way you want to say it. If you need more room there are two ways to accomplish that. One is to make the canvas wider, the other is to make the text smaller. Image>Resize>Canvas Size or CTRL/CMD>Alt>C will open up the menu to make your canvas bigger, in whatever direction you need it to. Or, you can select all the letter layers in the Layers panel, and shrink them to fit.

After I was finished typing out my text and had it looking the way my mind says it should, I selected all the letter layers and Merged them. That can be done by right-clicking and choosing Merge from the menu, or with CTRL/CMD>E.

Perfect!!

I’m so happy that my tutorial on unzipping files was so well received. When I sit down to write my tutorials, I’m never sure if I’m giving you, the GingerScraps community, information you can use. Sometimes, it seems, I get it right. Please do offer me suggestions on topics for future lessons… I appreciate the feedback!

Tutorial Tuesday (Digital Scrapbooking)

Christmas FONTography

Wow… less than a week until Christmas and Kwanzaa! And only 1 more day of Chanukah. I know there are lots of you who find yourselves right where I am… too much to do and not enough time to do it. So I know you’ll forgive me for scrimping a bit on this week’s tutorial, and I know you’ll understand when I tell you that I’m taking next Tuesday off. Sort of. It’s my turn to work Christmas in the pediatric ICU and on the 25th and 26th, that’s where I’ll be.

Okay, now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about those holiday layouts we’re all going to be creating over the next couple of weeks. I’d like to share some amazing Christmas/winter/elegant fonts that would be fabulous for titles or journaling. I checked out a few online earlier today and found some real gems!

The next few images are all from 1001fonts.com. There are some dingbats in there too – that could come in handy someday… you never know! They are all free, but please consider making a donation to the fontographer if you like their work.

As you can see, there are a variety of styles and moods here.

I just love the titles some of them have, don’t you? Very descriptive.

I don’t know about you but I may never have enough fonts.

Some of these are already in my collection but I need more!!

The images and fonts below are from another of my favourite font sources, dafont.com. You might notice there are some duplicates, but each site has a nice selection of unique fonts.

Santa’s Sleigh has been one of my collected fonts for years. Do you have a favourite?

Some of these make me think of Christmases when I was a kid.

And of course, there’s gotta be some snow in there. And tinsel! City of Light would be awesome for Chanukah layouts, wouldn’t it?

There are some here I’d be hard pressed to find a use for, but there are so many more that I could definitely make work for me.

I’ve barely scratched the surface here. There are hundreds of free and low-cost festive fonts out there if you have a minute to look for them. I’m going back right now to download some more… instead of wrapping gifts or cleaning my house.

Below are some of the fonts I’ve hoarded over the years, both free and paid-for. They’re not all typical Christmas-y fonts, but would absolutely work. I think Peanut Butter Smoothies would be terrific for story-telling.

 

If you need a refresher on combining fonts, you can find that tutorial here.

I can’t wait to see all the special layouts you’re going to create with your family photos. You can be sure I’m going to be looking for some of these fonts. Guaranteed! Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa… Festivus, Alban Arthan, whatever winter festival you’re celebrating… and a Happy New Year!

Fantastic Fonts: Halloween

It is that time of the year again where I live. All things scary, orange and black are coming out. Personally Halloween is one of my most favorite holidays! If you looked at my digital scrapbooking stash, you would agree! I have never met a Halloween digital scrapbooking goody that didn’t holler (spookily I might add. lol) for me to buy it.

That isn’t what we are here for today though. I will showcase the great Halloween goodies in the store in two more weeks. For today…”Something Wicked This Way Comes!”….As the title suggests, we are going to be looking at Halloween Fonts!! All these are free and guaranteed fun! They are a great addition to any digital scrapbooking layout. Be it for a title, added elements, or wordart.  (links to the fonts below image).

Links for Each Font

Free Fonts | Ink and Bones

For Halloween | CF Halloween

Halloween Party

Pumpkins | Pumpkin Hallowen ST

Halloween Spider

One Two Trees

Candy Corn | DJB Candy Corn Font

Link to Blog | Please Write me a Song

Halloween Dingbats | Helloween

Happy Halloween!!!

Free Pop Culture Fonts

Happy Saturday everyone! Since you all seemed to really enjoy the last free fonts we found for you, I thought we would do another edition this week. There is a theme to this week’s fun and free fonts we found you. Pop Culture! I thought it would be a fun twist.  So here they are. (links below the image)

Top Title & Bottom Link | Waltograph

Far Away Galaxy | Star Jedi

Catch Them All! |  Pokémon

You’re a Wizard! | Harry P

Grumpy Fowl | Angry Birds

Assemble! | Avengeance Heroic Avenger

I have a 9 year old son who is basically obsessed with all of these. Well, Harry P was for me if I am being honest. 🙂 I had all of these in my font stash already. We would love to see your layouts made with these fonts. Make sure to upload them to the gallery and come back and link us up in the comments.

Check back next Saturday. We will be showcasing some fun Pop Culture digital scrapbooking supplies to go along with these fonts. I also have more of these fun pop culture fonts in my stash. I will be back in the future with some more.

Fantastic Free Fonts

It goes without saying more of the time for us digital scrapbookers…We love fonts! I know there are a few of you out there that have thousands! So, let me add to your collection. I love a good script font. They are my favorite go-to when it comes to title work. I thought I would share a few of my favorites with you. They are all free! (the links for each one, including the title work, are below the image).

 

 

Here are the links to these fonts:

Million Notes
Shamber
Nickainley
Marchand De Venise
Elegant And Sensational
Better Together
Free Font For Your -> Playlist Script Font
digital scrapbooking layouts -> Please write me a song

Please write me a son and the Playlist Script Font are use on 90% of all my layouts. They are my favs! We would love to see any layouts you create using these fonts. Make sure you upload your layout to the gallery and link us back up here in the comments!

Free Fonts for your Layouts

Alright you fellow font lovers! I know there are a lot of us out there. It kind of comes hand-in-hand with digital scrapbooking. I looked over the web and found us six fun and free fonts for our digital scrapbooking layouts. So here you go:

Here is where you can find each one. Enjoy!

Lie to Me

Fish & Bear

Marchand de Venise

Mindmonkey

Aldery

Reason

and if you are wondering about the title work on these. Those are:

Playlist Caps

and

Please Write Me a Song

Handwritten Fonts

Good morning scrappers. Team member La’Shawn here to talk about fonts. I think it comes with the scrappy territory…font addiction. I don’t think I’ve met a scrapper who didn’t have more fonts than they could ever use. That being said, if you are anything like me, you never stop to think about adding another font to your collection. I went searching around and found 6 handwritten fonts to share with you. Handwritten fonts are my favorite! One of these days I am going to actually get my handwriting done for my own pages. So, here you go.

handwritten fonts

My favorites are always the ones with the little additions to them. Little hearts and smiles. All these fonts are free. I will link them up below for you. I hope you like them. If you make a page with them, come back and link us up in the comments!

Here are the links:
DeeDee Stretch

I Love Me Some Brook

This Is Me

Little Flying Spider

Roundmarker

Heart Attack

GS_footer_LaShawn

Be Pinspired – Summer Crafts

Summer is in full swing here in the states. I don’t know about you, but I am ready for school to start back. With that in mind, we are going to get some inspiration from Pinterest today. Today’s post isn’t strictly about digital scrapbooking. However, I think you could use just about any of these ideas with your digital scrapbooking stash.

So let us get started! All images are linked. To start out with we are going to take a look at a fun list of scrapbook layout titles. I am awful at titling a page. Here are some great examples to help out!

 

To go right along with these titles, here are some fun fonts to use on your digital scrapbooking layouts about summer (or any layout really!) The “Sunshine” using the Janda Stylish font is awesome and totally going to be on one of my next layouts!

In my search for fun summer time craft and scrapbook ideas, I found this really cool traditional layout with movie ticket stubs! How cool is that? I got to thinking how that could be taken and turned into a digital scrapbooking layout. Here is the pin that got those ideas flowing.

To round things up, here are some fun paper, paint and glue crafts for the summer. Put your gray matter to work and see how you can flip these to digital scrapbooking crafts. I would love to see how you do it!!

 

 

Now, get to scrapping and crafting!