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Using PS Variations to Customize a Photobook

by Toiny Westberry on 5 March 2013
in New Products,Photoshop CS+,Tutorials Pin this scrappy stuff!

When I first saw Boo’s Shutterfly/Artscow ready photo albums (Let’s Make A Photo Book Album 1 and Let’s Make A Photo Book Album 2), I squealed with joy!  The timing was perfect.  I needed a kick-in-the-pants to get my yearly gift for my Mom done.

I love how easy Boo has made these.  My goal is to do 1-4 pages a month, all year, and get this printed in November.  Until now, I’ve only done vacation books.  I’ve never done a whole year.  I think my mom will be thrilled! And I’m ecstatic I started early.

I picked Boo’s Let’s Make A Photo Book Album 2.  I love how complete it is. All I need to do is add pictures & journaling.  I started with Page 1:

And added a series of pictures of Dane in the snow.  Taken in January, perfect kick start to a 2013 yearbook:

The thing is, while I love Boo’s page, I don’t love pinks/purples for Dane.  Yet I want this done very quick.  I decided to use photoshop’s variations tool to get a different look in one quick click.

I clicked on Image–>Adjustments–>Variations and this screen popped right up:

I clicked once on More Green and once on More Cyan (I left the options at the default setting of Midtones, and centered in between Fine & Coarse).  I love my result:

The benefit of using variations is that it gives a range of new colors, not just one.  This simply can’t be achieved by overlaying with a new color or even gradient. The variation option isn’t for everything, but to quickly put a new spin on a favorite paper, element, cluster or quickpage it is worth a try.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Boo 5 March 2013 at 12:11 pm

WOW, even I didn’t know that, how cool. Thanks so much T, love how this turned out and how versatile it makes my photobooks. AWESOME


2 ScrappyMama 5 March 2013 at 3:03 pm

Holy Moly!!! That looks like an AMAZING tool! Do you know if it is avail in PSE too (I have PSE 10)??


3 Toiny 5 March 2013 at 4:42 pm

It looks like you can, and it looks like the same tool.
1.Choose Enhance > Adjust Color > Color Variations.


4 Pssequimages 5 March 2013 at 4:41 pm

Great Tip, Toiny. Yes, Scrappy Mama it is also in Elements. The path in Elements is Enhance>Adjust Color>Color Variations. The color channels can be individually adjusted which changes the whole look of your layout, and you can select the Midtones, shadows, highlights, (and saturation) for specific colorizing. Use sliders to control how MUCH change you make in each adjustment. They can be applied two or three times, you’re not stuck with just one click to change things. Quick trick and useful when you want to make a global adjustment to the overall color of a paper or element.


5 Rebecca 6 March 2013 at 12:12 am

I had no idea this even existed! Thanks Toiny. Can’t wait to use this new tool.


6 SaffronEos 6 March 2013 at 1:34 am

What a great tutorial! Thank you so much, I have spent some relaxing time today playing around with the colors as I prepare to make a digital “art-journal”. Love learning :)


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