Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cup of Joe: Paths for Text

As promised a short how-to on getting text to follow a path. Long time readers may be thinking, didn't she cover this already? And yes in a way I did. Here's the link to a previous post where I discussed creating blocks of text in custom shapes using the pen tool in PS CS or by importing text paths into Elements. So all that is really different today is that instead of a block of text we are talking about a single line of text. The basic concept is the same: use the pen tool to create the path, then type the text onto the path.

The notebook paper in this LO is a digital element that included the I Love You because and the numbers 1-5. I added the sentiments making them follow the ruled paper this way...

Select the pen tool (it looks like the nib of an old fountain pen) then at the top of the page in the tool options bar set the tool to create paths (see the illustration)

That's the hard part, not hard is it? Now simply click two points to create the line you'd like the text to follow. In this case I clicked at the beginning and end of the blue line I wanted my text to appear written on.

Once the path is completed, select the type tool and click on the line. When you do this you will see a slash appear at the bottom of the type tool icon, indicating that your type will follow the path you created. Then type your sentiment and the text will automatically follow the line you drew. How cool is that?

This technique can also be used to create text that swirls or basically follows any path you can draw. For curves you will want to use the free form pen tool and a pen tablet would be a helpful thing to own. So for example you could do something like this:

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ode to a Cup of Joe: Digital Chipboard

This digital scrapbook page is my week four layout for my "Day in the Life" one layout a week 2009 project. [Gosh this project needs a shorter name....ideas anyone?]The page was supposed to be simple and fast, well... The initial idea was: just one photo of my coffee maker on my kitchen counter, some journaling about how much my morning coffee means to me, some quick digital elements and I'd be done. Somewhere along the way I got inspired or carried away, I'll let you decide, and spent way more time on this than I'd planned. But it was a creative and fun journey and I do like the way it turned out. For me, the best part was when I found the little notepaper with the "I LOVE YOU BECAUSE" prompt sitting in my digital stash. Perfect for this project because I do love coffee, maybe even too much, LOL.

I used so many different pieces from different digital kits that the list of credits is going to take me an hour to put together, LOL.

There are also enough how to's in this layout for four different blog posts! So for brevity that is what I will do. They will be, starting today and in order:

* How I made the title look like chipboard covered with the designer paper.

* How I got the text to follow the lines on the notebook paper.

* How I added the Tim Holtz stamped image.

* What I did to the photo, to give it the artsy stamped and painted look.

So on to the first how-to...

1.Copy the designer paper to a new layer and place this on the top. Click on the eyeball to turn off the DP so you will be able see where your title is placed.

2.Open the Text Tool and choose your font. This will work best with a bold thick font.

3.Type your title; Use the move tool to position the title to your satisfaction.

4.CTRL click the thumbnail of the type layer; this is a vary useful keyboard short cut, it creates a selection of whatever is in the active layer. So you should now see the marching ants encircling your type. Okay, I know I am addicted to photoshop because this always thrills me, lol! But I just love how easily you can make some very intricate selections with just a quick click of the mouse!

5.This step can be done two different ways. If you have layer masking available I recommend using step 5A because it will make it easier to edit if you are unhappy with your results. But if you have a version of Photoshop that does not allow you to add a layer mask then step 5B will work just as well.
5A. Keeping the selection active, turn the DP back on by clicking it's eyeball and make it the active layer. Then go to the bottom of the layer's palette and click the layer mask icon [if you don't know it, it is the one that looks like a rectangle with a circle in it]. Voila! Your DP layer is masked so that only your letters remain visible - cool eh? And here is the real power of using the masking tool...if you unlock the mask from the paper by clicking on the little chain thingy that appears between the layer thumbnail and the mask, you can use the move tool to move the paper around to see which part of it looks best on your title. When you are happy with the paper placement on the letters, right click the mask thumbnail and choose "apply layer mask". The mask will disappear and the paper will be cut to the shape of your text.
5B. Keeping the selection active, turn the DP back on by clicking it's eyeball and select this layer to make it the active layer. Now click >Select>Inverse (or Shift+CTRL+I) So that the paper you want to remove is selected instead of the title. You will still see the ants marching around the title but you should also see them marching around the edge of your page as well. Click >Edit>Cut (or CTRL+X) and your paper will be cut to the shape of your Title.

Remember that your title is not a Type Layer so if you want to change the font you will need to start over. Just in case I have second thoughts and want to redo the title I don't delete my type layer [which you really no longer need if you are 100% satisfied with your title] Usually, I just turn it off.

6. Finally I applied a bevel and a drop shadow. The full version of photoshop gives you greater ability to play around with the characteristics of the bevel and shadow, which I did a little but the default settings will still give you a pleasing result.

That's it for today's tutorial. Email me if yu have any questions, I'd be happy to answer if I can! Tune in next time [Okay that phrase dates me] for Using the pen tool to create a text path, or how I got my journaling to look like it was written on the notebook paper lines.

Now for the credits:
Digital Paper:The beige background was created using an Overlay by BannerWoman Designs; the darker brown paper is from J Hansen: In the Groove as is the plaid matt behind the photo. To the brown dotted paper I added a pattern overlay to give it the woven look.
The Notebook paper and the staples are from Jenn Reid: Cinnamon
The photo prong is by Coreen Silke We Escape. The coffee cup was found at a free image site I can't remember now. I used a google image search, copied to my hard drive and then deleted it's white background. The grungy border around the whole page is another Bannerwoman Overlay, the one around the brown paper I created using a brush I customized.
Links for Digital papers and Elements
www.ComputerScrapbook.com for Coreen Silke and Jenn Reid
www.Deco_Pages.com for J Hansen
www.commercialuse.com. for Bannerwoman designs
And finally as I said earlier the splatter and coffee rings are a Tim Holtz rubber stamp from a set called Spills and Splatters.

So did I get carried away or what? LOL!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Another Restoration Before & After Story

The photo above was the only picture of my mom with her parents that she had. It was tiny and in sad condition. All she asked me to do was make a 5x7 copy of it. I decided to restore the picture as well and gave it to her as a present this past Christmas. I also gave her a pancake griddle (which she asked for) but which gift do you think was enjoyed more by both of us?

This was an extensive restoration and I lost track of how many hours I spent on it, but every minute I felt close to Mom and happy to be doing something uniquely special just for her.

The missing areas of the photo presented some fun challenges. The part of my Grandmother's elbow that is missing was replaced with my own elbow lifted from a recent photo. To replace the other areas of the photo took extensive and creative cloning and in some cases drawing in of details. To make the final picture fit a 5x7 frame without cropping out any of the details (that is my mother's chilhood home in the background, a detail I didn't think she'd want to lose) I added the textured gray border.

This is the picture of me from which I took the elbow:

Here is the final result:

Here's a Before & After look:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Stealing time for a Technostamper Challenge

I didn't find the time to make this card, I stole it. I am being so irresponsible today...teehee. I will be a good girl again once Obama's speech is over. But for now I have the TV on and I am taking a break from the dreaded to-do list. This is an historic day, so perhaps I felt I needed to mark it by taking a step away from my usual. In any case I was reading my blogs while listening to all the TV talking heads, which reminded me that I've been wanting for a long time to do another Technostamper challenge. The beauty of sketch challenges is they do the hard part for me. Layout is always where I spend a lot of time struggling. The rest comes easier for me.

So I share with you the results of my misbehavior ;-) and my prayers that President Obama will be inspired by God as he has inspired the nation and that the Hope he has aroused will not be left unfulfilled.

BTW I hear his speech will be about personal responsibilty, ironic eh? Perhaps I really will behave myself when it's over,lol.

Stamps used: SU French Script; CTMH Post Marked
DP: Basic Grey Scarlet's Letter
Ink: Color Box Ruby and Black

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Photoshop, stamping, photos and scrapbooking: Woohoo!

This scrapbook layout has it all. My own photo "art", if you'll allow me to call it that, stamping, photoshop effects & editing, oh and even some Close to My Heart product as well. And to think I didn't set out to make it this way. All I wanted to do was create a layout about the ice storm we had on January 7th for my 2009 project that I have started in response to a challenge.

It is a cool challenge. Maybe you've seen people doing 2009 one photo a day challenges. Well I could never commit to a challenge like that! But my dear friend Pat challenged her Yahoo group, Stamping Scrapbookers with a modified version. Just one layout a week. Now I think I can keep up with that, I hope. Yeah I know my New Year's resolution about shedding and here I am taking on a new project, am I off the wagon already? I have taken lots of "day in the life" style photos and have never done anything with them. So I love this idea because it gives me incentive to do those pages that have been rattling around in my head for so long.

So about this day in my life: we had this ice storm and school opened late that morning. The hubby and girls had just left the house, so with three breakfasts and lunches all done I went to get dressed. I looked out my bedroom window and saw this view. Inspired, I ran downstairs and grabbed my camera and began to play. As I shot I imagined a layout contrasting how much I hate icy winter days - they scare the heck out of me...all that slipping and sliding around- with just how darn beautiful they can be.

The background papers I used in this layout are photos I took of my deck. I cropped them to 12 x 12 in photoshop and then printed them onto cardstock. The main photo on the first page was begging for a special effect so I applied the cyanotype preset in PS Lightroom. I think it is cool. It fits with the chilly feel I was looking to convey. What do you think?

The title was stamped with the Williamsburg set from Technique Tuesday in pearlescent sky blue Brilliance ink. Then I heat embossed with translucent Kaleidascope embossing powder and finally added the white outline with a gel pen. I think the lettering looks as icy as the day was. And to think I stumbled upon this accidentally because the blue ink did not show up against the background as much as I had hoped it would! Someone does have to teach me what ink to use to stamp on dark backgrounds. The stickers are from the Close to My Heart Aspen kit.

The journaling reads:
We had a delayed opening of school. An inconvenience for sure but I always appreciate the precaution. I took these pictures just after Joe left the house with the girls. Still icy but much better than it was 90 minutes earlier. Paradox: I think these sights are indeed beautiful and yet they depict what it is that I most hate about Winter .... ICE.... slipping, falling, losing control of the car...worrying. I so appreciate being able to just stay home, inside safe and warm.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Yes my last post was in September. I won't bore you with the "I've been so busy" stories that we are all too familiar with :-P Fact is I need to learn to say no. I know how just don't know when, lol. Everything seems like a good idea or a worthy cause or like it will be fun. Then I kill myself with the fantasy that I can do it all if only I get more organized or quit wasting time. And I make myself miserable about the things I don't get to. Well I've come to the conclusion after trying it that way, that if I don't "waste time" I will lose my mind. [I could write another whole post on why such things as sitting on the couch with your family, or playing ZUMA are NOT wasting time] And you can be the most organized person in the world but you still just get 24 hours to each day; and sleeping for some of those hours is not optional. So I recently began shedding, not pounds...though I need to make that resolution too, :-{ ...but things to do. So my New Year's resolution is to continue to reassess the things I spend my time with and continue to shed, with the goal being that I actually will get things done in a timely and regular fashion. It really is a question of having clear priorities and being realistic about how much time you actually have to give. Oh and I also need to learn to let other people do some of the things on my list. And I perseverate, cause I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so I need to learn to say good enough, I'm done. For now, the blog is still something I want to keep. The hope is I'll actually post on a more regular basis. Wish me luck or pray for me.

And here's a recent project just so this post will have something for the eyes...

My daughter was in this production. She loved every minute she worked with such a talented cast and crew. As a cast mom, I too had a blast. It was pure Joy. Another parent and I volunteered to be the "official" photographers. I created the photo collage in Photoshop CS2 and then sent the file out for offset printing onto 11x17 poster paper. The posters were sold as a fundraiser. This is most definitely a project that I do not regret giving my time to.

I made heavy use of the Place command, using it to add each photo as a smart object, so that I could manipulate them as much as I needed to until I was certain of their size and position. Another great thing about adding them as smart objects is that you can still edit the original file and have those changes automatically reflected back to your project. Say I found a flaw in an image, wanted to color correct it or remove that red scarf on the floor for example, I could double click the image in the layer palette, which would open up the original file for editing. Then save the changes back to the original file name and location and voila the changes are included in the placed layer.
Each layer also had a layer mask, so that I could re-edit the cropping with ease. Needles to say at one point it was a gigantic file that really taxed my system. It never got too big but if it did I could have just rasterized the layers I was least likely to want to change. I haven't actually counted but my best guess is there are more than 30 different images in this collage. [see the previous post for more on using the Place command and rasterizing]

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Another Great site to share, Blend Modes, Place command, Smart Objects, Rasterize & Layer Masks...Oh my!

Check out the title on this page! I'm sure some of you would LOVE to know how to do this. Guess what? I followed a tutorial over at Actionfx. The site offers all kinds of layer styles, actions, brushes, tutorials and what have you for photoshop junkies. And this weekend Al Ward is offering a huge discount on an annual membership! So today is a good day to go check it out. There are freebies available to non members too!!

So now more about the page. I can't tell you how I made the title, that just wouldn't be fair to Al. But I will say that in the final step I used a different blend mode than the one in the tut. (I used "COLOR") I play with blend modes ALL THE TIME because it is just so easy to scroll through them and SEE which one gives you the best result. I highly recommend this kind of play. It is a great way to learn just what each mode is capable of giving you. To your computer a blend mode is a set of instructions that tells the current layer how to interact or "blend" with the layer beneath it. By default it is set to normal, which means NO interaction. The layer simply sits on top. As if one sheet of paper lay on top of another. By choosing a different blend mode you can really make some photoshop magic happen. Here's how to play...
Go to the box at the top of the layers palette where by default it says "Normal" and click to drop down the menu. Choose the next mode down and then use the scroll wheel on your mouse or tablet to watch what happens as you scroll through all the modes. Cool!

I will share how I added the small photos in the ovals. There are many ways to do this but I think this is by far the easiest and quickest. [Note: It uses layer masks a feature not included in Elements. But don't fret I include an Elements work around]

With your 12x12 layout open go to File>Place...
a dialog box will open allowing you to browse through all the files on your computer. Find the photo you'd like to add and click "Place." The chosen photo will appear as a smart object on a new layer, centered and resized to fit If you've never used the Place command before you are about to fall in love with it. You can move and resize to your content before choosing to commit to the placement by clicking the arrow at the top of your screen [just like committing text.] For this layout I didn't worry about placement at this point. I just made sure the part of the photo I wanted to highlight was the size I wanted it to end up. It is important to get the size right now, while it is a smart object, because the next step is to rasterize.

Warning :-) In this paragraph I will give a brief explanation of vectors, smart objects and rasterization. If that is getting more technical than you care for, go ahead and skip to the next paragraph. Here's the way I picture it. In photoshop there are three ways to create an image. One is a simple map of where the dots go and what color they should be. This is a raster. Another is a vector. These are a set of instructions, or mathematical formulae that tell the computer how to generate the image based on input from the user(where and how large you make it for example.) The last is a smart object, which is like a vector in that it is a set of instructions but in this case the instructions are the original file you start with, as in a photo added using the PLACE command. The plus of the raster is it uses less memory. So your file size is smaller and your system can run faster. The downside is your ability to manipulate it's size and shape is limited. Try to make it too much larger and you'll get those ugly jagged edges. The plus of the vector and the smart object is much greater ability to manipulate the size & other features without loss of quality. All text begins life as a vector. That is why you can change size, font, color and so on so easily. Shapes are also vectors. And any layer that is a smart object "remembers" all the original file's information while being manipulated. So you should not rasterize a smart object or vector until you are sure it is the size you want it to be. If you rasterize a text layer you can no longer change the font. But you will want to rasterize in order to make your files smaller, your system run faster and in the case of this layout to cut the ovals.

Okay so back to cutting those ovals. Once you have the photo the size you'd like it to be, rasterize the layer. You do this by right clicking on the active layer in the layers palette and choosing "Rasterize Layer" from the pop up menu. Next select the oval marquee tool. Drag an oval over the photo to select the area you want to keep. You can move the oval, if you need to by hitting the space bar while dragging & before releasing the mouse button. Hitting CTRL D (command D on a Mac) will make the selection go away if you need to start over. (A keyboard shortcut I use alot!)
Once you have your oval selection just the way you like it, click on the layer mask button at the bottom of the layers palette. [If you've never used this before, it is the one that looks like a rectangle with the circle inside it] This will automatically create a mask with the inside of the oval visible and everything else blacked out. Right click on the mask in the layers palette and choose "apply layer mask" and the mask will go away and the cutting is done!

One of the advantages of using the mask is that it is not a permanent change until you apply the mask. So if you don't like what you see, you can delete the mask and start over. Also you could grab a white brush and paint white around the oval to return some detail. This would be an easy way to make a brush stroked edge for example. Don't like what you see, paint black over the white areas and they will be masked. You can go back and forth with black and white on the mask as much as you need to get it right. Far superior to the Eraser or to selecting & cutting!

***Elements Users...when you get to the step where you have the oval selection, Go to Select>Inverse and then Edit>Cut. You won't have the same flexibility using a layer mask gives you, but you can still make oval insets on your pages without having to make the hefty investment in the full photoshop program!***

Finally I added a stroke and bevel to the ovals and placed them in the top left corner. The journaling is done in a blue color sampled from the water, using the same font that I began with in the title. There is another stroke and bevel added to the background photo layer. It's color varies as you go around the edge because of that COLOR blend layer I mentioned above.

Wow I covered alot of technical stuff today! Email me with questions, I'd be happy to answer:-)