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Archive for the ‘Digital Intro’ Category

Any introductory digital scrapbooking posts

Brush Tips

Posted by PatriciaD on March 8, 2010

This is CS3 but even Elements will be similar

I love brushes.  There is so much more than meets the eye at first glance. 

First select the brush tool-well, duh!  When you click the down arrow in the tool bar next to the currently selected brush (in the tool bar at top)  a list of brushes will drop down.  There’s a little tiny right facing arrow inside a circle next to the Master Diameter slider.  If you click on this little arrow you will see all kinds of more brushes.  The list is at the bottom of this menu.  When you select a set of brushes to load, PS will ask you to select OK, Cancel or Append.  If you choose Append the new brushes will be added at the bottom of the current brushes.

Once you’re done with whatever brush set you’ve selected you can also reset the brushes back to the original set by clicking on that little tiny arrow and selecting Reset brushes and OK.

ALWAYS create a new layer before applying or using brushes.  This allows you to maintain control of your brush once you’ve applied it.  Then you’ll be able to move it, resize it, change the opacity and use your blend modes.

Shortcuts are the most awesomest thing in PS and I encourage you to learn a few as you go along.  DO NOT try to learn all of them at one go.  But rather as you find yourself doing any particular thing over and over learn the shortcut for that particular thing.  For example, brushes have some fantastic shortcuts that make them easier and even fun.  Here are a few.

Resize brushes:  to make a brush smaller click the left square bracket – [ to make a brush larger click the right square bracket – ]

To move to the next brush in the list:  to move to the left use the left arrow – <
to move to the right use the right arrow – >  (hint here – it’s actually the comma and period that you’re using but it’s easier to remember them by the left and right arrows but you don’t actually use the shift key)

Color:  brushes will be either the foreground color or the foreground AND background color.  For example select the Flowing stars (29) brush.  When you make a single click on your “paper” you will get some variation of the foreground color.  But click (or click and drag) on the Grass (134) brush.  When you click this one you will get a combination of the foreground and background color.  You may get a solid foreground and solid background or a merging of the two. 

Single brush or stroke:  brushes can be used as something similar to a stamp by a single click on your digital paper or you may drag the stamp across your paper as with a paint brush and get a flow of laid down brush strokes.  Try it with the star and grasses we’ve already looked at.  Then you might see what a totally different effect you get if you use the Soft Round 100 pixels (100) brush.  Try several, change sizes, maybe colors.

Brush Menu:  To access the brush menu either click on the Window Menu and select Brushes, use the shortcut key – F5.  Click on the Brush Tip Shape on the left of the window.  This brings up a bunch of options.  Use the circle large cross lines through it to rotate the brush or use the Angle percent box to enter a number.  Use the spacing slider to create space between the brushes as they’re laid down. 

 Softer and Harder brush:  Hold the Shift key and click the left square bracket keys to make the edges of the brush softer (blurrier) or the right square bracket keys to make the edges of the brush harder (sharper).  For example choose the Hard Round 19 pixel (19) brush.  This is already as hard edged as it gets.  Click the right square bracket key until the size shows 400 pixels.  Click on your paper (don’t forget to create a new layer).  Now hold the Shift key while clicking the Left square bracket key.  Again, click on your paper.  See how the edges are softer.  Repeat.  This only works up to five degrees of softer or harder edges.

One more tip related to the above tip – click on the “Set to enable airbrush capabilities” button on the brush toolbar.  Now if you click your brush (use the same one as for softer/harder example) your brush will continue to grow as you continue holding the mouse button just as if you were airbrushing.

Posted in Digital Intro, General information, Photoshop | 1 Comment »

Wow…I’m really slow this last couple of weeks

Posted by PatriciaD on March 5, 2010

I have been trying to learn more about blogging, improving my blog, and have been neglecting my blog…not a good idea.  Can’t really improve nothing, huh!!  Anyway, I will be back, I will be posting and I hope in the meantime you’re out there taking photos of your life and getting ready to scrap those photos into wonderful layouts.  KEEP ON PLUGGING!!

Posted in Digital Intro | Leave a Comment »

Hey check this out

Posted by PatriciaD on February 24, 2010

I’m entering a contest but I also thought you might like to check this out for yourself.  I have a new Wacom Pen tablet to use in Photoshop and I am loving it.  I’ll post some results here pretty soon.  You can draw (not that I’m all that good) but you can draw on an electronic tablet and it appears in PS.  Really cool.  Then the tablet also comes with some extra software to color and paint your drawings.  Anyway, check this out and let me know what you think.

If you could be in Park City, Utah on April 22nd to the 24th you might even want to go to their Digital Scrapbook Retreat.  Wow, does that ever sound like fun.  And would you ever learn a lot.

Posted in Digital Intro | Leave a Comment »


Posted by PatriciaD on February 10, 2010

Templates are the most wonderful little helper tools in scrapbooking.  A template is a page that is laid out for you and all you have to do is put papers, elements and photos in the place of each piece of the template.  For example here’s a template.  This one is simple template with two papers, 3 photos and space for journaling and a ribbon.  It’s free here if you’d like to download it.

First open the template in Photoshop (PS).  Select 3 photos and 2 or 3 coordinating papers.  Open all of them in PS.  First select the background layer in the layers palette of the template.  Then go to the first background page and drag it over to your template.  Hold the shift key as you let go of your mouse and the paper will land exactly in the middle of the layout.

The paper will land in the layers palette just above the background layer.  This page is then in place. 

Now select the layer titled “2nd paper” in the layers palette (this is the red layer) and drag your chosen 2nd paper onto the template.   Again, be sure to hold the Shift key as you let go of the mouse.  It will appear as if this paper has covered a lot of your page.  Don’t worry we’re gonna fix that.  Move the mouse to the line between the new paper you’ve just added and the “2nd paper” layer in the layers palette and hold the Alt key.  Notice that the mouse pointer changes to two little bitty circles overlapping each other and a tiny little arrow.  Click.  The paper layer will be “clipped” to your 2nd paper layer and have the new shape and size.  You’ll see the other background paper now, too.

The next step is to drag your first photo into the template after selecting the first ‘photo goes here” layer.  Chances are the photo will be too large or too small to fit the space exactly so let’s fix that.  Select the photo layer.  Click the Ctrl + T keys (that is hold the Ctrl key and tap the T key).  This will allow you to change the size of the photo.  Hold the Shift key as you drag a corner handle.  Drag in to make smaller and out to make larger.  Hold the Shift key while dragging, it maintains proportions on your photo.  If you need to move the photo into place move the mouse pointer inside the handles and drag it.  If you move the mouse pointer outside the handles you will get a curved arrow and dragging this will rotate the photo.  When you are satisfied with the size and location of the photo either double click inside the handles or click on the check mark in the title bar.  Then again hold the Alt key while moving the mouse pointer to the line between the photo and the “photo goes here” layer.  When you get the two circles with the arrow click to clip them together.

Repeat the steps for this photo for the remaining two photos.

The third paper is for the ribbon that is behind the photos and in front of the other two papers.  Repeat the steps for the photos but this time just leave the paper as is.

The final step is your journaling.  Journaling is probably one of the most important parts of a scrapbook page.  Remember the proverbial who, what, where, when and why.

Posted in Digital Intro | Leave a Comment »


Posted by PatriciaD on February 8, 2010

Marci's adoption

Journaling is a fundamental basis of scrapbooking.  Without journaling your scrapbook pages are just a compilation of photos with no real meaning.  Whenever you do journaling ask yourself, what will others need to know about the people or events in this photo or scrapbook page when you’re not around to tell them.  Imagine it’s your great-grandchild and they’ve never met you.  What would you want them to know about your life, the events in the photos or on the page?  To some extent isn’t that why you’re keeping a scrapbook?  Don’t you wish you had a scrapbook of your great-grandparent’s life?  Would that not be the most awesome thing?  So let’s create it for your great-grandchildren.

Use the basic who, what, where, when and why.  Who – when you list who is in the photo(s) do not forget to list who’s not in the photo.  For example who is the photographer?  They were there, obviously, so be sure you include their name.  What – is the event or why were the photos take and don’t forget to take photos and record everyday events in your life.  It’s easy to neglect.  I mean it’s everyday to us so why should we record it.  But wouldn’t you love to have a record of even just the everyday events of your great-grandmother’s life?  Where – obviously where were you or where was the event?  When – the when of an event doesn’t have to be the exact day it can be as vague as the year but just adding the month is sometimes helpful.   And the Why – why was the photo taken?  Was it an everyday event or a special event like a wedding, a family picnic or whatever?

Brush up on your writing skills.  Make the story more than just a list of Who, What, Where, When and Why.  Obviously, these details are important for future generations but they’re not the end of the story.  Be creative.  Write a compelling story.  Make it personal.  Tell a story; don’t just relate facts, as interesting as they may be the real story is in the telling.  Everything on your scrapbook page sets the mood or enhances the story.  Use elements and papers that complement and help tell the story.

Now I have to tell you that neither of these examples are good at journaling but at least the one on the left has something and really it’s not bad.  The one on the right has a tiny bit.  Both could make better use of journaling.  Don’t worry I did both of these so I’m not bashing.

Posted in Digital Intro, Journaling | Leave a Comment »

Photos and memorabilia need care

Posted by PatriciaD on February 4, 2010

In times past (when photos were taken on film) in order to see your pictures you had to print them.  Now you can take a photo and see it instantly on your digital camera and even print it almost instantly on a printer (sometimes you don’t even need a computer to interface between the camera and the printer).  So how do you take care of your photos and preserve them?

Let’s look at a number of things.  What if you never print the photos but keep them digital.  Digital media is susceptible to erasure and/or destruction.  There is no guarantee with digital that they will last forever no matter how you save them. Of course, there wasn’t a guarantee that film photos would last without being printed either.  To preserve digital photos one strategy is to make sure you have a number of copies.  I have my photos on my computer, on an external hard drive and on CD.  I have a friend who keeps his photos on the original camera disk in addition to the above.  There’s still no guarantee that these will keep your data safe but having them in several locations is at least an effort and probably will keep them for many years.

A couple of other options you might want to think about are 1.) create an email address where you send your photos to yourself and that is all you use the email for and 2.) use some of the on-line Internet services that save your photos for you like  The former is free (but takes a fair bit of time) and the latter may be a great option if added security is an issue.  I personally use Mozy and like that every time I get on the Internet with my computer it automatically backs up my photos.  It’s a ‘no thought’ way to protect and preserve documents, photos, whatever.

One thing to keep in mind though is that every time you save a .jpg file it degenerates just a bit more.  If the photos are really high quality to start with this may not be all that big of an issue.

So, at least part of the solution is to print the photos you want preserved.  Then the question is the ink and the paper.  You need high-quality paper and archival-quality ink.  If you are going to print it yourself you need to be sure it’s going to be preserved and still here in 25-50 years.  Be sure to verify when buying your ink and paper.

When you print you can either print the photo itself or the entire scrapbook page with the photo(s) on the page.  I personally, rarely print just the photos but it is an option and if you don’t have your own printer for this you can print at a variety of places and you may already have your own.  I rarely print just the photos because the ones I really want to keep I put on a scrapbook page. 

If you elect not to print your scrapbook pages yourself you can have them printed using an Internet service ( is one) or a local service (call around and find printers that will print for a decent price), or put your pages in a book that is printed and bound.  The prices for some of these are becoming very reasonable.  A couple of sites you might check into are:, and  But there are many others so check around and watch for specials on all of them, of course.  Someone just told me that some of the Sam’s Clubs can print 12×12, too.  I’ll be checking my local Sam’s Club.

Another option is to print on canvas and put into frames for home décor.  This is kinda neat because you can change these frequently and have new personalized art all the time.  Some sites you might consider for printing on canvas are: and   Remember that these are exposed to sun and possibly dust damage so changing them out every two or three months and storing the non-displayed one(s) in a dark area protected from humidity and dust is helpful.

The yellow­ing of vintage newspaper clippings and other printed materials that we see is caused by deterioration of the acids used in the processing and printing of the papers and their reaction with air. When a paper is pH negative, lignin-free or acid-free the fibers won’t yellow or weaken like those containing high amounts of acid. In addition, acid in inks, papers, newsprint, and items of memorabilia can intensify the acid levels surrounding photographs through acid migration.  Acid causes a slow chemical reaction that affects the longevity and color of photos. To slow this process, use acid-free paper, adhesives, inks and supplies. De-acidification sprays such as Krylon Make-It-Acid-Free spray is available at scrapbook stores. Use this to neutralize the acid in most newspaper clippings and other historical items, but not photos. The sprays will not restore things that are already damaged you have to use it before it fades or discolors.

 Whether you print just the photos or print scrapbook pages you then also need to keep them in archival quality boxes, page protectors or whatever.  I have some archival boxes for my old printed photos back when I used film and archival quality page protectors in my scrapbooks for the printed scrapbook pages.

Posted in Digital Intro | Leave a Comment »

Preserving Your Child’s Artwork

Posted by PatriciaD on January 27, 2010

Do you have tons and tons of your child’s school papers and artwork all over the house?  Love that stuff but it sure can be a pain in the ‘you know what’…Here are some suggestions that might help you contain, control and keep the things that are important to both you and your child.

First, as soon as it comes in the door have a plan for it.  Are you gonna post it and where?  If not, where does it go?  Do you look at it, then toss it (only with the consent of the artist), or hold on to it ’till a later date to toss?  Whatever it is you need to have a consistent place to keep the things you’re gonna keep.  A plastic tub is perfect (you can decide the size).

Here’s what I used to do when I had my foster kids:  as papers came in the door we looked at EVERYTHING.  Then I had a cord strung across each child’s wall and it had those small cloths pins on it.  We took a piece down when we added a new one.  I think each string could hold about 6 papers depending on size, of course.  The one we took down either went into their own personal scrapbook as it was or into their tub.   There’s always displaying artwork on the refrigerator and there were acrylic frames that are easy to switch out artword, too.

Alright, sounds ok but what if it wasn’t a paper?  What if it was a woodcraft bird house?  That one we simply hung out on the tree.  But what if it was a clay figurine?  I like taking a photo of the child when they bring it home.  That way if anything ever happens to it we at least know what it was, how it looked and what the child looked like at the time they created their masterpiece.  And, of course we have it for scrapbooking, sharing, etc.

That gives an overall view of the artwork and the child but I also like to take a close-up of the artwork.  With the digital photo then I can add them to digital scrapbook pages.  They can be resized and saved.  Use the photo  then as papers behind other photos – it’s cool to add a photo of the child holding their artwork on top of their artwork.  Cool effect.  Even if you never put the artwork on a scrapbook page you have a digital copy of it.

Well, that’s all well and good but what if you can’t take a really good photo or don’t have a tripod (really important piece of equipment to keep these small things focused)?  Then you scan them.  If they’re too large to scan in one piece you can scan in sections and stitch together in Photoshop as an option.

Another advantage of scanning and/or taking photos of your child’s artwork is that you can send them to grandparents, aunts/uncles, etc. or post on FB or whatever works for you.

Posted in Digital Intro, Digital photos, Photoshop | Leave a Comment »

Digital advantage with scenery photo

Posted by PatriciaD on January 21, 2010

You can create this cool window pane effect on a scenery photo and it just makes it so much more than a photo.  I’ve even taken the name of a movie, tweeked it “Room with a View” and given my photo a cool title.  The wording around the photo frame makes it really stand out.  Also note there are actually two mats, a white and a black one for this window frame.
Sometimes you just have to play with things to get them the way you like them.  This was not what I had originally intended with the photo when I started but I really liked this finished product so this is where I left it.  Have fun with photos, play around with them.  That’s one of the things I so enjoy about working digitally with my photos and scrapbook pages.  I can keep playing with it till I’ve gotten something I really like.

Play with your photos till you like the results


Posted in Digital Intro | 2 Comments »

Scrapping 52 layouts starts with photographs, usually

Posted by PatriciaD on December 17, 2009

I mentioned in the last two blogs about doing 52 layouts this next year.  I hope you will consider doing that with me.  But today I thought I’d pass on some information to help you with your photos.  There are lots of reasons to take photos every single day.  One to record the moment.  Two to improve your photos-just natural after a while.  Three to get in the habit of recording everything.  Four if you have little ones they grow up so fast…this moment will not be here tomorrow.  Five it’s fun – get the whole family involved.  Six, if you’re gonna do those layouts you’re gonna need photos.

In this day and age of the digital camera and cheap, if not free, photos there’s no excuse for not getting out that camera and DO IT!!

Check out the site above and get in the habit early, TODAY, don’t wait for January 1st.

Posted in Digital Intro | Leave a Comment »

Take photos everyday for 2010

Posted by PatriciaD on December 15, 2009

Hey I mentioned taking photos every day in my previous post.  It’s a good idea if you’re going to do 52 scrapbook layouts in a year so I thought I’d pass along a link to a great site for photography tips…

Check it out…and get clicking!!

Posted in Digital Intro | Leave a Comment »