Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Hi everyone…Beckie here! It’s been so very long since I’ve been here last, and I’m so happy to be back! I had to take a bit of a sabbatical from the blog – I had so much going on. I’m so excited to say that I finished up a master’s program, one that had me traveling and quite busy over the past year. It’s such a relief having that behind me! Luckily I’ve been taking tons of pictures still this summer so far, which means I am WAY behind in my scrapping and need to get caught up, LOL. Anyhow, I’m SUPER excited to be back!!
So – on to today’s topic! We’ve talked about ways to use Soft Light a few times in the past: Kylie showed you all the blending modes HERE, and Rosy showed you how to create tone-on-tone papers HERE. Well I’m back with yet another way that a Soft Light layer can help you with your scrapbooking – by giving your photos the perfect “kick”!
It’s hard to describe what a soft light layer does – but to me it just make a photo “more”…more vibrant, more contrast, more depth. You can see from the example above that the photo on the right seems crisper, sharper, more “clear” even. And the only different between these two images is the soft light layer!
So how do you do it? I’m pleased to say it is SUPER easy, and is possible with PS and PSE :)
Let’s see a few more examples!!
…and how about this one! you can see the full effects in the amazing after picture! I left the Soft Light layer at 100% (full strength) in this one!
Thanks so much for stopping by today! Kylie’s sharing a fun & easy hybrid project on Friday…along with a cute little giveaway!
Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Hello Shabby Shoppe readers! This is Rosy, here to talk (write) about a favorite little trick of mine involving blending modes in Photoshop; more specifically, the Soft Light blending mode. This is by far the blend mode that I use the most! Actually, I would be satisfied if there were only two blending modes in PSE as long as they were Soft Light and Multiply! :)
So what do I do with the Soft Light blending mode? First, let’s talk about what this blend mode does. Soft Light will multiply the dark tones and screen the light tones, so any blacks will become a darker version of the background color and whites will become a lighter version of the background color. There are many uses for this in photo editing, but on scrapbook paper this is what it will look like.
I often use this on fonts and brushwork to get a softer look; but that’s not all! This works well to make your own tone-on-tone papers. Sometimes you have a beautiful solid paper that needs just a little pattern for a finished look to your page. Here’s one way to add some pattern to your paper.
(note: these instructions are shown in Photoshop Elements 9)
1. Open a solid (or almost solid) paper and a paper that has the pattern that you’d like to add.
2. Layer the patterned paper on top of the solid paper.
3. Convert the patterned paper to black and white using whatever method you prefer. (I usually adjust it to have more contrast.)
4. With your patterned paper selected, go to the drop down box with blending modes and select Soft Light.
Now your paper has a tone-on-tone pattern!
You can lower the opacity or duplicate the patterned layer, depending on the look you want. Another option is to invert the black and white layer. It’s a great way to stretch your stash of digital papers and use SP’s beautiful patterned papers with any color palette!
Here is a page that I’ve scrapped using this trick. The background paper and the purple patterned paper have been blended and the title and date both have the Soft Light blend mode applied as well!
Thank you for stopping in at the Shabby Shoppe blog and I hope you find this trick useful!
Tomorrow Kylie will be here with the projectSCRAP July templates for us!
Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Hi all! Kylie here…and can you believe that this is my very first focus on photos post! ;o) I do not pretend to have any real talent or technique when it comes to photography…I’m strictly a point-and-shot & hope for the best kind of girl!! So, today my post is all about sharing some cropping tips to enhance your photos post-click! There are so many components in crafting standout digi-scrap layouts…and a good crop can make all the difference!!
Beckie, photographer-extraordinaire, has touched on in-camera cropping in some of her previous photography posts. She said: “Professional photographers get gorgeous results by controlling every aspect of what is in the frame for each shot. Most of the time, the best photos are those with a clear and obvious subject! You can do this through in-camera crop, which means that you “zoom in” on only that subject matter that is important to you. (Click here for more information, from Beckie, on lenses and crop sensors) Often, however, we’re so busy (and hopefully caught up having fun!) that sometimes you’ll need to crop the image later, before you use it.” I agree! And, if you’re like me, generally, there is little time to think about the all-important composition of a photo because, rightly or wrongly, I’m too concerned with capturing the moment…kids move QUICKLY!!! However, thanks to our photo-editing software we can easily crop images in ways that can instantly transform them…making the composition all the more interesting and, at the same time, more appealing to the eye.
Cropping is a simple task. All we are really doing is removing part of an image…too easy, huh?!! Most of us should be familiar with the crop tool and how to use it. In most programs it looks like this…
If you’ve never cropped digital photos before here are a couple tutorials provided by Adobe that go through the process step-by-step.
Before we all get a little bit too crop-happy, let’s consider a few things:
ALWAYS CREATE A COPY/DUPLICATE of the original photo first, before you even touch the crop tool. Make all the necessary edits (by tinkering with adjustment layers, the various tools in photoshop or via pre-made photo actions etc) until you are happy with the result…then it is time to crop your image. Saving a separate copy to the original is sooo very IMPORTANT…I think we all understand the need to be careful with this, because once the original or master file is saved-over you can’t go back, can you?!!
Consider the design of your layout and the story you want to tell. Then think about how you can creatively re-work your photo/s to match your design concept and assist your story-telling. A little fore-thought and pre-planning can help you create amazing pages…pages that catch everyone’s eye!!
Choose your focal point and trim away all the distractions and/or empty space…so that your focus really does become your FOCUS!
Choose a photo shape
that complements your layout. Rectangles are our default, but you don’t have to stop there…make the most of that standard rectangle to really focus on the subject of your photo. Or think about squares, circles, ovals, other fun shapes, or even a combination of shapes using your shape tools and clipping masks, or an extraction
…just don’t over do it or your page may end up a complete & utter jumble and the eye won’t know what to focus on!! ;o) And if you work with Photoshop Elements have you tried the Cookie Cutter tool
? Oh…and don’t forget about SP’s Scallops, Shapes & More
set…an array of awesome pre-made shapes to clip to!
Take advantage of contrast! If you are choosing your background papers first, then have a look at the design you’ve picked – circles, polka-dots?? …well, contrast the paper with square photos…and vice-versa!
Use the Rule of Thirds
to guide you…creating focus that is a little off-center! According to the rule of thirds a photo or image is best composed when broken into nine equal parts (three sections and four quartiles). The focal point (for example the subject’s eye, face, or smile) is placed in one of the four quartiles. When used properly, it automatically creates an image that is more visually appealing than one that has the subject placed directly in the center. It gives a photograph motion and energy by drawing the viewer into the picture, instead of the subject of the picture coming straight at them. If you are lucky enough to have Photoshop CS5, or above, it provides a rule of thirds ‘crop overlay guide’ within the crop options tool bar. If you don’t have CS5 our good friend Damien Symonds
has a rule of thirds action for Photoshop
that you can download and use to help you crop to perfection! Also, check if your camera has a rule of thirds guide function?…have a play – it may save you time in post-editing!
Don’t forget to consider balance and proportion when cropping! With digi-scrapping it doesn’t matter so much, but sometimes it’s nice to stick to standard photo sizes…4×6, 5×7 and so on…to add a little more structure, formality and realism to a page! And don’t just concentrate on image size dimensions when it comes to balance and proportion…think also about the space & shapes that have formed within the actual image…negative space vs positive space…triangles…points of interest. Check that you have achieved balance before you apply that crop!! ;o) Oh, and balance does not always mean symmetry.
If you are cropping a number of photos you may want to keep your crop area to the same ratio. You can do this by setting your width and height boxes instead of using the free transform option of dragging the marquee selection handles over the photo randomly. Click on “clear” if you want to change the size or go back to free transform.
Try not to crop limbs (feet, legs, arms, hands etc) in awkward places! There’s no real rule to this…but if the composition looks wrong to you somehow…then it probably is. And if the original shot you captured made the chop - oops!! – attempt to improve the composition by adding a frame or some elements to disguise the awkward ‘amputee’.
Here are some other cool ideas for cropping…just experiment and have FUN!!
Now that I’ve outlined a few cropping tips, to be honest, I don’t technically use the crop tool as much as you’d think…I fake it!! First, I create a photo shape layer, using the rectangle tool for example, and then clip my photo to the shape (you can go with your preferred method of creating a shape layer and if you need help with clipping then you’ll find help right here in the Shoppe Tutorials for both PS and PSE!). In a way it’s the same as using a layered template! I then re-size and position the photo exactly where I want it. I consider this a faux-crop as I haven’t actually removed/trimmed away any of the photo. I prefer this way because I already have my “photo area” locked-in as far as my page design is concerned, but I still have the freedom to move the photo layer around until I’m 100% happy with its position within the shape (my “photo area”). Just be careful, going back to your photo and moving it round & round and re-sizing up & down within the shape, will cause the photo’s resolution to deteriorate. My advice is to play with your positioning until you are happy and then grab the original photo file again, place it over the other photo, in it’s final position…then delete the first photo layer -> in other words: the one that has lost some of it’s resolution and is now a bit on the fuzzy side (you can tell this easily by zooming in at 100%)!! Of course if you get the photo in the right spot on the first move you don’t have to worry about that last step.
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post…and it has given you a few fun ideas to play with next time you edit your photos for a layout! If you have any questions, please leave a comment on this post and I will do my best to answer it!! :o)
Thanks for stopping by…I’ll be back tomorrow with your JUNE projectSCRAP templates!! :o)
Photography, Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Hello everyone. Jenelle here with some quick tips for using the Text Tool in Photoshop (and Photoshop Elements, as I believe it is quite a similar process). I love playing around with type and fonts ~ I probably spend the most amount of time on my layouts choosing the right font! What about you? Are you a font junkie like me?!?! LOL!
I do have a lot of fonts installed on my computer, so it is hard for me to remember them all. However, I recently discovered a neat little trick to make the sample size larger in my preview screen. Now, I can get a good look at all the font styles I have available. It is as simple as tweaking a few settings in your Photoshop program.
- From the Menu Bar, choose Edit>Preferences>Type
- Check the ‘Font Preview Size’
- Choose ‘Large’ or ‘Extra Large’ from the drop-down menu (options will depend on your version)
- Click OK
Now you can really see all those font styles you have on your hard drive!! I find it much easier to browse through them when they’re set at the largest size.
Also, have you noticed that some fonts come ‘packaged’ in sets with further options to make them bold and italicized, while others don’t offer you these options? Never fear! Your Photoshop and Photoshop Elements programs give you these options – even when the font package doesn’t.
In Photoshop, all you have to do is :-
- Click on the Text Tool
- Highlight the text you’d like to alter
- Click on the Toggle the Character and Paragraph palette icon in the options bar
- Choose from Faux Bold, Faux Italics, Underline, Strikethrough, All Capitals (+ more) options. They are each represented by the row of ‘T’ icons
- Then tick the check mark in the options bar to confirm your alterations
To undo the effect, simply highlight the text and click on the corresponding icon again.
Thanks for stopping by today ~ I hope this post has given you a few more tricks to add to your digi-scrapping repertoire!
Please join us again tomorrow, when Kylie will be sharing our newest Template Challenge. We’re up to number 24 already! Until then, happy scrapping everyone!
Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Hello everyone. Jenelle here with a super quick and simple shortcut that I have only recently discovered and can’t believe I ever scrapped not knowing this!!!
A little birdie recently told me, that when scrapping using PSE, you can click anywhere on your layout with your move tool and it will automatically highlight that layer in your layers palette. Oh, not fair for me who uses Photoshop – this would save me so much time!! I am forever getting lost in my layouts, scrolling up and down trying to find the right layer for an element I want to move/edit etc. I am so bad at naming all my layers (I usually do the first few and then forget!!!) so this can be really frustrating. I end up ticking/checking the auto-select box to find the layer I want but then I forget to go back and uncheck it and I end up moving things I didn’t want moved!!!
But alas, this happens to me no longer. I have discovered a neat little trick for all the Photoshop users out there, like myself. All we have to do is select the move tool and then right click directly on the element in our layout we are trying to locate (command-click on a Mac I believe also works). A little dialog box then comes up with the names of all the layers involved in the specific area we’ve clicked on. From there, we can then left click on the name of the layer we want and it will highlight that layer in our palette. Oh the time I have saved using this trick!!
Here is a screenshot to illustrate.
I hope this little trick has helped some of you Photoshop scrappers out there and saved you some time when creating your layouts. I use it all the time now and, if anything, it encourages me to name layers, even if it is just with abbreviations.
Thanks for stopping by. Please check back tomorrow when the wonderful SP brings you the next instalment of our Project Scrap Check-In. Until then, happy scrapping everyone!
Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized