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Choosing the “right” kit to scrap a particular photograph can sometimes be a challenge.  The theme of the kit might be perfect for you, but the colors of the kit might not be what you need.  There’s an easy way to fix that! Create a custom color palette from your photograph, and recolor the kit elements as needed.

Let’s look at creating our own color palette today, and we’ll talk about recoloring elements next week.

I am using CS6 for this tutorial.  The great news is that this technique works exactly the same in Adobe Photoshop Elements.  I tested it in PSE 9, 11 and 12 (I don’t have version 10); but it makes sense that this method would work in other PSE versions as well.

I started creating a new kit last week, and wanted a colorful Spring color palette.  I remember being charmed by a colorful Spring garden I saw in Paris.  Although my photograph of the garden is far from fabulous, I wanted to use those colors in my color palette.

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Here are the steps to follow to create your own custom color palette from your own photograph:

Duplicate your photo, and close your original, keeping it safe.

Go the the top Menu Bar and choose Image > Mode > Indexed Color.

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The Indexed Color window will open and you will have some options to choose from:

For Palette: Choose  Local (Perceptual) (accessed by clicking on the down-pointing arrow to the right)

For Colors: Choose as many colors as you would like to have created for you. I chose 10.

For Forced: Choose None.

For Transparency: Check this box.

For Dither: Choose None.

Click Okay.

You will see some chances occur very quickly in your photograph. Your photo will appear very flat.

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Next go back to the top Menu bar and choose:  Image > Mode > Color Table to see your custom color palette.

Notice that there are 10 color slots (since I chose to use 10 colors); however, the #10 slot is empty.  That is because Photoshop found only 9 colors in my photograph.

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Now that you have created your color palette, let’s save it.  Click on Save.  When the Save dialogue box opens, give your new color palette a name and choose where you would like to save it.  The file will be saved as an .ACT file. I chose to save my swatch in my Heartsong folder, and I named it Heartsong-palette.

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When you ready to use your palette, you will need to Load the .ACT file in the Color Swatches panel.  This is how you do that:

Click on the down-pointing arrow that is on the far right corner of the Swatches Panel, then click on Load Swatches.

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Change the File Type to ACT, navigate to where you saved your .ACT file, select it, then click Load.

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Your new palette will now be visible in your Swatches Panel.

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I really liked this palette, but wanted to expand it a little, so I  added a shade of aqua and orange to it as well. Feel free to add to the color palette you create, if you need to.

I also wanted my kit colors to be pastel, rather than bright.  I was able to create that look through my design process.  Here is a preview of the papers, created using this method of creating my custom color palette.

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 I hope you will experiment with this fun technique the next time you are looking for just the perfect colors to scrap your photos with.

The papers pictured here are from my still-in-process kit, Heartsong.  I hope to release it next week!

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Many of you have requested a tutorial on Clipping Masks, so let’s take a look at how useful these can be.

I am using Photoshop CS6 for this tutorial, but the same instructions apply in Photoshop Elements as well.

In the image below, I have clipped my text to the brown paper on this Monkey Business border.  Let’s see how I did that.

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This particular border is a PSD file.  The white, torn paper is the bottom layer, and the brown paper is the top layer.  I want to clip my text to the top layer, keeping it off of the torn layer,  to create a realistic look.

I’ve turned the white-torn-paper layer off for better visibility.  I created a new blank layer above the brown-paper layer, and typed my text.

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Before going any further, I used the Check Spelling feature in Photoshop to make sure I hadn’t made any spelling errors.  (Check Spelling is not available in Photoshop Elements.)  To find this tool in Photoshop:  Edit > Check Spelling. (For more on this feature, read Check Spelling in Photoshop, a previous Studio Blog post.)

Once I was satisfied with my text, I clicked and held down the ALT key, then hovered my cursor in between the text layer and the brown-paper layer. A down-pointing arrow and little square box appeared, indicating that I was about to clip my text to the layer below (brown paper). (In Photoshop Elements, you will see 2 intersecting circles instead of the square box.)

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That is exactly what I wanted to do, so I clicked my mouse, and the text was clipped to the brown paper.  Notice that there is a down-pointing arrow on the Text layer now, and the thumbnail is indented to the right.  These are indicators that the Text layer is clipped to the layer below.

In the image below, you will see that the text is now constrained to the brown paper.  I’ve turned the visibility of the white-torn-paper back onto check how the border looks.  It looks great to me.  Now I will just need to turn the Knit layer off, trim the border, save it as a PNG, and it’s ready to be used on my scrapbook pages.

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I used this layered border file because I think it easily demonstrates the clipping technique.  However, you do not have to be working with PSD files to utilize clipping masks.

In the image below, you will see that I created a circle using a shape, placed a Monkey Business Knit over the shape, and clipped the Knit to the circle. (I added a slight bevel and drop shadow to the shape – not the knit -  just for effect.)

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That’s how easy it is to work with clipping masks!

Credits:  Monkey Business is a brand new collaboration between LouCee Creations and SnickerdoodleDesigns.  You will find Monkey Business in both designer’s stores.  Enjoy Introductory Sale Pricing of 30% off through April 20th, or chose the  entire Collection at a 48% savings – which is your best value!

 And here is a beautiful cluster to help you get started with your own Monkey Business layouts!

monkey cluster_Revised copy 2

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Did you know that you can apply a shadow to a Group in Photoshop? I didn’t for the longest time! Here’s how!

Below is an image showing 2 groups.  Each group contains  letters which spell one word.

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(If you are wondering how/why some of the layers have a colored label, read Giving Photoshop Layers a Color Label on our blog.)

I would like to add the same shadow to every layer. Typically I would select the first layer I would like to shadow, hold down the Shift key, then select the last layer I would like to shadow. Doing so would select the first, the last, and all of the layers in-between.  When I next clicked on a drop shadow style, it would be applied to all selected layers.

An alternative way, when you have items in groups, is to just click on the Group Name and click on the style you would like to apply. All of the layers will be shadowed, just as in the above noted manner, but in a simpler, faster way.

In the image below I have selected the Group 1 – Monkey layer, clicked on my shadow style, and the task is complete… without any selecting of layers.

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This is just a very quick tip to make applying shadows to multiple items save you a few seconds.  And in the course of the day or a week, saving seconds can definitely add up!

Note: Groups are not available in Photoshop Elements.  Photoshop CS6 was used in the screen shots for this tutorial.

Credits: The alpha in the images above was created by Lou Cee Creations, and will be included in a new collaboration with SnickerdoodleDesigns. Think feisty, think mischievous, think fun!

Sneak Peek

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Adding Shadows to Lace in Photoshop Elements

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 22 March 2014

Last week we explored ways of Adding Shadows to Lace in Photoshop.  Today let’s take a look at how to accomplish this in Photoshop Elements. For the purposes of this tutorial, I am using Photoshop Elements 12. Pictured below is a lace flower template, which has been stylized with a lace style.  (Flower Lace Templates, […]

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What happened to my flower?

by Jill Schwegel 18 March 2014
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Unless you’ve been hiding away in some remote cabin without any internet access, you’ve read or seen the results of an action I released last month … the Paper Flower Action. I have been blown away with the response to what started out as a whim and all the excitement it’s generated. And, while there’s […]

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Adding Shadows to Lace in Photoshop

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 15 March 2014
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St. Patricks Day is right around the corner!  In 2011 I visited Ireland and fell in love – with the people, with the beautiful country, and with Irish Lace. Last week I released some Irish Lace products, and I have received multiple emails this week asking me the best way to shadow the lace.  Today […]

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Etching Glass with the help of the Silhouette Cameo

by Min 11 March 2014

Today I want to tell you about one of my recent craft projects using the Silhouette Cameo: Etching Glass. I have a couple of everyday use glasses that we all love using, but over time (and since they were not expensive glasses) they lost some of their shine and acquired spots and streaks because of […]

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Using the Color Picker in Photoshop Elements

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 4 March 2014
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I usually write tutorials with Photoshop in mind, and add a short paragraph on how to accomplish the same thing in Photoshop Elements. Today I would like to reverse that, and focus on Photoshop Elements (PSE). For the purposes of this tutorial I am using Photoshop Elements 12, but I believe this tip will be […]

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Using Layer Masks to Create Transparency

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 22 February 2014
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Last week we talked about Working with Layer Masks in Photoshop.  Today I would like to share with you a simple way to create a soft edge around your photos, using a layer mask. Let’s start with this photo. I took this when my husband and I were visiting Ireland; we were taking a horse-drawn […]

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Working with Layer Masks in Photoshop

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 15 February 2014
Thumbnail image for Working with Layer Masks in Photoshop

Let’s take a look at Photoshop Layer Masks today, and how they can help us in creating our scrapbook pages. To create a Layer Mask, you must start with an open document. Here is a cluster, with all of its layers visible. I have placed my Forever Friends Charm on top of the cluster of […]

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