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October 25, 2011

Layout Tips: Lesson 4

Welcome back to the last little lesson (actually it's a tiny lesson today) in our Layout Tips series. I hope you've learned a little something from them.

Be sure to check out Layout Tips: Lesson 1, Layout Tips: Lesson 2, & Layout Tips: Lesson 3, if you haven't already.

Today I'm just going to share with you a few final tips from my CT that should help you with your digital scrapbook pages.

Tiff: I'm pretty picky with text spacing - the line spacing, especially when it is on top of journaling lines. And I tend to space my lines further apart, especially for handwritten fonts. So in my character window, I play with the leading value until I get it right. And I'll often type in values that are not listed in the pull down menu.

October 18, 2011

Layout Tips - Lesson 3

Welcome back to another layout lesson. This is the third lesson in a little serious I'm doing about making your layouts really look great. Today's lesson is about sharpening your layouts before posting in galleries. You can look back at Lesson 1 here (about photos) & Lesson 2 here (about shadows).

Now onto this weeks lesson. These are all tips from me & my CT. I'll just go ahead and post what they said about sharpening & saving your pages for web.

Kristi: I ALWAYS sharpen my layout after resizing for the web. (in PSE 7: Enhance>Unsharp Mask>use these settings: 85%> radius of 1.0 px>4 level threshold) I learned this trick from Stephanie a.k.a. Nanie's Designs.

Tiff: I have also recently started sharpening my web-sized layouts. I use the procedure in this post from The Daily Digi.

October 11, 2011

Layout Tips - Lesson 2

I'm back to share with you some tips on using shadows on your digital scrapbook pages. These are tips from me & my creative team members. You can read last weeks lesson here: Layout Tips: Lesson 1. That lesson is all about photos on your pages.

I'm just going to go ahead and start & share with you what everyone shared about shadows.

Me: Shadows can make or break a layout. I've read a few tutorials on shadows & this is one of my faves. Tiffany pointed me to Peppermint Granber's shadow tutorial. It really is great & if you want to take it to another level you can taker her class over at Big Picture Classes.  There's also a great tutorial over at the Digi Files about warping shadows. This is a newer tutorial & I haven't been able to implement it because, sadly, I have not scrapped since September 24th but I'm totally going to try it next time I make a page (which will hopefully, be later tonight after I finish this blog post).

Tiff: One tip I might say for shadows, using the smudge tool, is that I've found that I like my results better when I use a larger distance for the shadow but then when I smudge it, I pull parts of the shadow back toward the element. I find this looks better than trying to pull parts of the shadow away from the element. (She's referring to Peppermint's tutorial above).

For those of you who use PSE and you can't get the shadow on it's own layer like posted in the tutorial above. Tiff shared this way of getting your shadow on it's own layer.

1. While your Shadow Settings window is OPEN (and you've selected a size for the shadow) ... take your mouse and move it over into the canvas area. Click and drag your shadow away from the element, so it is a decent distance away. Click ok to close the shadow settings window.

2. Now, the element and shadow are on the same layer, but are far apart.

3. Drag a selection around the shadow to select it. Go the the menu items (or use a key combination) which will cause that selection to be cut and placed on its own layer. This is the part that I'm not sure the exact commands, but I'm sure you can find it with a little experimentation or googling.

4. Now with the shadow on a separate layer, just move it back under the element (and move the shadow layer to be below the element layer). You can now tweak the shadow with the smudge tool. You might even be able to change the blend mode to linear burn, I'm not sure about that, though.

Jenn: I am a fan of shadows. Love that stuff... I have actions and styles that make life easier. When you find a shadow that you created, SAVE IT! I save sooo many... but then it is easier to work off of that base shadow. Really, I have oodles... for different depths, ellies, and even the opposite edges.

Opposite Edges...

On most of my pages... when there are layered papers, I give the opposite side of the paper (the "unshadowed" side) an actual shadow. I put my main shadow on it's own layer, and then add another shadow.

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My shadows then to go down and to the left... (I took pictures of my old paper layouts to see how shadows worked a little, lol!) -- but if you look to the opposite corner, I have a slight shadow to the paper. Paper doesn't sit totally flat like digi, so adding this makes me think it looks a little more realistic.


I hope these tips from me & my CT have helped you. Make sure you come back next week for Lesson #3. It's going to be about sharpening your pages.



October 10, 2011

Hybrid Projects, Sneak Peek & Giveaway

I'm here today to give you a sneak peek, like normal, but I'm also going to show you some hybrid projects I worked on over the weekend.

First the hybrid projects & then the sneak peek & giveaway. I've been seeing all these really cute decorated pumpkins on pinterest & so I thought that this year I would actually try to do something more creative with my pumpkins rather then just setting them on the steps by my doorway. I thought it would be cool to take some of my digi-supplies, print some stuff out & mod podge them to my pumpkins.

This is what you see when you walk in my front door. I used the alpha from All Hallows Eve from Chelle's Creations. It was the perfect alpha for what I wanted to do.
I just printed out the letters W-E-L-C-O-M-E, cut them out & used mod podge to paste them on the pumpkin. I think if I had to do it over again I might shrink the alpha a little bit so you can see the whole word, WELCOME, when you walk in the door. Oh well...there's always next year.


Then I also decorated some smaller pumpkins. I used a retired kit from Tracie Stroud for the little decorations on those pumpkins...but seriously you could mod podge anything from your digi-supplies onto pumpkins, just make sure it's not too tiny to cut out. Forgive me for my poor dying plant there in the picture but I have to have something green in my house even if I can't keep it alive. I try, really I do.

 
Now onto my next project.  We have a plain, white bench down in our basement that our girls sit at when they are doing their schoolwork (or playing) on the computer. It's a long bench so they can all three sit on it.  Anyway, this white bench has been staring at me for several months, saying, "Do something, I'm soooo boring & plain."  So, again, I saw some ideas on pinterest (can you tell that I love pinterest) showing how people have used Mod Podge & scrapbook paper to fix up old bookcases & such. I thought that would be perfect for this bench. So I went searching for the perfect paper. I finally found some over at Scrap Matters, it's from the paper pack called Dandelion Dream by dream BIG designs. I printed out about 5 sheets on normal paper & then just mod podged them to the top of the bench. Seriously, it was soooo easy. The Mod Podge did discolor the paper a bit. I don't know if it was the cheapo paper or just that I used paper I printed myself. I don't know if it would be different if you went & bought traditional paper. Either way, it still looked nice. At least I think it does.  


I had to make them get off the bench so I could take a picture.


Finally time for the sneak peek. I have something hybrid for you this week. What a coincidence? Now, don't worry, if you don't really do hybrid I'll have some new 12x12 templates for you next week & they are awesome. One of my faves yet. Back to this week though. These new hybrid templates are going to be awesome....especially great for the holidays. That's all I'm going to say.

If you want a chance to win them, just leave me a comment here letting me know if you've done a DIY project lately & what it was. I LOVE hearing about other peoples projects. I think that's why I like pinterest so much. You have until 11pm EST on Wednesday 10/12/11 & I'll announce the winner here in the comments & then on my facebook page on Wednesday night.







October 4, 2011

Layout Tips - Lesson 1

We could all use a little help making our digital scrapbook layouts really pop in the galleries, right? I had asked my creative team to give me some of their tips telling me what made their layouts pop & I shared some of my tips with them. There were so many great tips being shared that I thought it would be great to share them with you here on the blog.

I decided to split this post into a few different "lessons" since there were so many great tips being shared....it would be too long if I tried to share it in one post.

I'm just going to share what my CT & I shared with each other.

This week's lesson is about photos, photos, photos.

Me: Make sure you use awesome photos or do a little photo editing to make your photos look really nice With some photo editing you can make a bad photo look pretty good.  I will either run an action on my photos to give them a special touch or I will just brighten them up a bit (Image>Adjustments>Brightness Contrast) or I play with the curves a little bit (Ctrl+M). Some of my favorite actions sites are My4Hens, MCP Actions & Indie Actions. Sometimes these places have free actions....so keep your eyes out. Oh & I just discovered the MCP Actions have some GREAT video tutorials.

Here's a great tip from Tiff about including pics of yourself in layouts & maybe a more comfortable way to do that.

Tiff: I know a lot of people don't like to take pictures of themselves, or are not usually in pictures. I have found that I'm a lot happier with pictures taken of myself in the mirror. I think it's because the mirror image is what I'm used to seeing, so I feel more comfortable with that.

Oh & did you know Tiff has a photo-editing tutorial right here on the blog?

Christine: I always, or at least 95% of the time, use some sort of action on my photos. If I don't I will play with the lighting/contrast a little bit. I have a lot of old photos that I scanned and there is only so much you can do with those...I really need some good tips of fixing those. (Anyone have any good tips for Christine?)

Dagi: I use PS lightroom for editing my photos and I love it! There are so many free LR presets out there.
(Hmmm, I need to check this out!)



Some great tips & thing to try out. Let me show you a little example of a simple photo edit that you can do to make your photo stand out. I'm going to just brighten up my photo with the technique that I shared at the beginning of this post. You can either do this to the photo before you add it to your digital scrapbook page or you can edit the photo as it is on the page you are working on. Sometimes I'll think a picture looks okay but after I add it to my page it just needs something extra to make it pop out. You can easily do this photo edit as it is on your page, just make sure you are on that photos layer. Go to Image>Adjustments>Brightness Contrast & you'll adjust the brightness & contrast there.

Here is the photo before any edits:

Without any edits.
Here is the photo after I brightened it up a bit. I set my Brightness to 40 & my Contrast to 30. The settings won't be the same for every photo. I play around with it on each of my photos. Be sure to turn the preview button on and off so you can see the before & after. It really can be a lot of fun!

Image>Adjustments>Brightness>Contrast
40 brightness, 30 contrast
Now here is the photo again with an action. I used the Indie Kick Color Action from Indie Actions. Actions are super fun, super easy ways to edit your photos. You simply download & install the action into photoshop & then run the action on your photo. Just a click of a button & you'll have a super awesome photo. Make sure you run the action on the photo before you add it to your page though, otherwise all sorts of crazy might happen on the page you are working on.
Edited with Indie Kick Photo Action.

Okay, that's all I have time for now but be sure to come back next week for a little lesson on shadows! The CT had a LOT to say about this subject!


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