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Over the past month or so, we’ve talked about “repurposing” some of our digital supplies to expand upon their potential use.  In case you missed those posts:

Stretching your Digi-Stash with Premade Borders

Stretching your Digi-Stash with Masks, Part 2

For today’s tutorial, I will be working with Choose Joy, this week’s Round Robin collaboration between Manu Scraps and myself, SnickerdoodleDesigns. If you haven’t joined in the challenge, it’s not too late!  Find the rules here.

Many designers include pre-made clusters in their Kits or Collections.  These make creating a layout so simple and quick!  It’s easy to place a cluster on a background paper, add some journaling, a photo, and be done.  Often times, though, we might not want to reuse that same cluster, in the same way.  Today let’s look at a few different ways to use clusters, and maximize their usage potential!

1. Typical use:

For the layout pictured below, I used a cluster created by Renee, a member of my creative team. I placed the cluster on background paper, clipped a photo of my grandson, Owen, to a Choose Joy Mask, added a Label from the kit, and typed the quote pictured.  I was finished with this simple layout in under 5 minutes.

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2. Adding other elements to a cluster:

By adding other elements to a premade cluster, we can “disguise” the fact that we are using the same cluster a second time.  For this layout I added Manu’s Choose Joy Flower Frame.  This very simple addition took just seconds.  Adding other embellishments, whether just one or a dozen, is a great way to get more use out of clusters.

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3.  Add a frame to a cluster:

When you are adding other embellishments to a cluster, consider adding a frame too. In the cluster below, Renee added the cluster on top of a frame, and a border below the frame.  She also added a newsprint branch and 2 small paper flowers to the cluster.  This gave it an entirely different look!

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4. Use clusters as corner embellishments.

In the layout below, the same cluster has been used  in each corner, after being duplicated, flipped, and rotated.

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5.  Other ideas, as listed in previous tutorials (links posted at the top of this post, if you would like more complete details).

  • Blend clusters into background paper
  • Clip to tags or journaling card
  • Tuck behind frames or other larger embellishments
  • Use as a design element in a word art graphic

Experiment with your clusters to see which techniques work best for your particular needs!

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Renee has allowed me to share her cluster with you.  You can download it by clicking on the image below.

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If you would like to keep this tutorial on your computer for easy reference, you may download a PDF here.

See you next week!

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Over the past weeks we have explored various Filters in Photoshop:  How to create a Soft Lantern Glow (Lens Flare Filter),  Using the Shear Filter in Photoshop,  and Using the Liquify Filter in Photoshop.

We have had a request for  tutorials on other Photoshop filters, so today let’s look at the High Pass Filter and see how it can help us sharpen our images.

There are multiple ways to sharpen images in Photoshop.  This is a screenshot from Photoshop CC2014, so your screen may look different from mine, depending upon the Photoshop or Photoshop Elements version that you are using.  However, in general, if you go to the top Menu Bar:  Filter > Sharpen >   you will find various sharpening tools there.

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The High Pass Filter is found in a different place:  top Menu Bar: Filter > Other > High Pass.

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The High Pass Filter sharpens images by affecting only the edges of images, rather than the entire image.

Here is a shot of some rocks in my yard.

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I’d like to sharpen this image a bit. Here’s how using the High Pass Filter:

1. Duplicate the image you wish to work with, using your favorite method. (I selected the layer in Photoshop, held down Control, and pressed the “J” key.)

2. Making sure your duplicated layer is selected, go to the top Menu Bar > Filter > Other > High Pass.

3. You will see your duplicated image turn gray, and an options box will open.

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4.  The slider at the bottom of the options box controls the radius sharpening.   (The last sharpening that was used will reflect in the box when it opens. You can see here that the last sharpening I used was 1.6 pixels).  We want to drag the slider to the left or right until we see some nice edge selection.  In this photo, I have decided to use a radius of 7.4 pixels.  The amount of sharpening you choose will be dependent upon the image you are using.   Once you are satisfied, click OK.

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5.  Change the Blend Mode of the High Pass layer to Overlay.

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6. This is a little too sharp for my taste, so I can fix that in one of several ways:

  • I can Undo the High Pass Filter and reapply it, choosing a smaller pixel range.
  • I can lower the opacity of the High-Pass Layer in the layers panel.
  • I can change the blend mode of the High-Pass Layer to Soft Light instead of Overlay.  (Conversely, if I wanted the image to be just a little sharper, I could change the blend mode to Hard Light.)

I lowered the opacity of my High-Pass Layer to 79% and was happier with that.

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And that’s how easy it is to use the High Pass Filter!

Wondering why I am taking pictures of rocks? I wanted to use them to create some papers in my Round Robin Collaboration, Garden Gate,  with Mel Designs.  Here is the Garden Gate paper I created, using the same image above (with some of the blue removed to better match our palette).

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Our friend and fellow designer, Linda Cumberland, created this Garden Gate Cluster for you!  Just click the image below to download!

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If you would like to keep this tutorial on your computer for easy reference, you may download a PDF here.

If you are a visual learner, you can view this tutorial on SnickerdoodleDesigns You Tube Channel  and on theStudio’s You Tube Channel.

Please head over to YouTube and take a minute to Follow both channels.  Each Channel will have some exclusive videos, so by following both channels, you will be sure not to miss a thing!  Thank you!

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See you next week! And please keep the tutorial suggestions coming! I appreciate them all and will try to get to all of them!

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I change my mind.  A lot.  And about a lot of different things, including digital scrapbooking projects.  I was chatting with one of my Creative Team Members, Renee, the other day, and she admitted to doing the same thing.

Here is a beautiful cluster that Renee created using Round Robin Week 1 Fly Away Home.  Notice that there are 4 layers that Renee changed her mind on. She clicked on the eyeball to the left of the layer to make that layer invisible.

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Although the layers are invisible, they will still add to the file size when saved as a PSD or TIFF file.

This particular file, when saved as a PSD, just as you see it above, is 101 MB.  When I removed the layers that were invisible, the file size was 92.5 MB.  That is a difference of 8.5 MB.  Perhaps not a huge amount, but 1) there are only 4 invisible layers in this cluster, and 2) consider how that would add up in multiple files!

We want to conserve our hard drive space, so let’s remove those invisible layers before saving our PSD or TIFF files.  There are several ways to do that:

1. Click on the layers you want to delete and drag them to the Trash Can at the bottom of the Layers Panel. To select multiple layers, click on the first layer you want to delete, hold down the Control key, and click on the rest of the layers you would like to delete.  To select multiple layers that are adjacent to one another, click on the top layer, click and hold the Shift key, and click on the last layer.

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2.  You can also select the layer you would like to delete (invisible or not), and then click the Trash Can icon, rather than dragging the layers to it.  This is easier than dragging the layers, I think.

3. If a lot of layers have been turned off, it can be tedious to select them all. A faster way to delete multiple invisible layers is to go to Menu Bar at the top of the screen > Layer > Delete > Hidden Layers.

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Photoshop Elements Users:

1. In Method 1 above, you will drag layers up to the top of the Layers Panel, where your Trash Can is located.

2. Method 2 works exactly the same as in Photoshop.

3. Method 3 is not available in Photoshop Elements.

If you  haven’t been deleting invisible layers, why not start now?  It might even be worth your time to go back through your files and delete any blank layers you have in order to recapture some hard drive space!

Renee has graciously allowed me to share her beautiful cluster with you!  Just click on the image below to download!

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If you would like to keep this tutorial on your computer for easy reference, you may download a PDF here.

If you are a visual learner, you can view this tutorial on SnickerdoodleDesigns YouTube Channel  and on theStudio’s YouTube Channel.

Please head over to YouTube and take a minute to Follow both channels.  Each Channel will have some exclusive videos, so by following both channels, you will be sure not to miss a thing!  Thank you!!

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Thanks for stopping by! See you next week!

Karen Schulz/SnickerdoodleDesigns

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Stretching your Digi-Stash with Masks, Part 2

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 28 February 2015
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Over the past 3 weeks we’ve been exploring Photoshop Masks and how they can help us in digital scrapbooking. This tutorial will provide an overview of general techniques. For specifics, such as how to apply a mask, please review our previous tutorials: Masking with the Gradient Tool     PDF     You Tube Stretching your Digi-Stash using Layer […]

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Masking with the Gradient Tool

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 21 February 2015
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Over the past 2 weeks, we’ve been exploring Layers Masks.  As a refresher, or in case you missed those tutorials, you will find them here: Using layer Masks in Photoshop Stretching your Digi-Stash Using Layer Masks Today, let’s take a look at adding the Gradient Tool to Layer Masks and see how that can be […]

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Stretching your Digi-Stash using Layer Masks

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 14 February 2015
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Last week we defined and demonstrated how to create and use a Photoshop Layer Mask. (Using Layer Masks in Photoshop).  Today let’s look at one way in which we can use layer masks to stretch our digi-stash. As a reminder from last week’s tutorial: When would you use a mask? You would use a mask […]

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Using Layer Masks in Photoshop

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 7 February 2015
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Yikes!  This Carnival mask is scary!  If I am totally honest, I have to say that the trepidation I feel looking at this mask equals the fear I experienced when I initially heard about Photoshop masks. I just wanted to look away and pretend they weren’t there.  Since that time, however, I have learned to […]

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Stretching your Digi-Stash with Premade Borders

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 31 January 2015
Thumbnail image for Stretching your Digi-Stash with Premade Borders

I have always liked using “things,” any things, in ways that are different from their intended use.  For example, my nightstand is an antique children’s school desk.  When the word “repurposing” entered the main-stream vocabulary a few years ago, I thought… “Hey! I’ve been doing that for years!” My interest in “repurposing” includes my scrapbooking […]

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4 Ways to use Overlays and Textures Creatively using Blend Modes

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 24 January 2015

Last week I was asked by someone new to digital scrapbooking if she, as a personal-use scrapbooker, was allowed to purchase commercial-use products.  The answer is a resounding YES!  Commercial-Use (CU) products are very often created with both the designer and the personal-use scrapper in mind. While, in general, the Terms of Use (TOU) of […]

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Adjustment Layers 101

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 17 January 2015
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Adjustment Layers in Photoshop offer us the opportunity to make many creative decisions in our work.  They can be intimidating at first; so today let’s take a look at some basic information about Adjustment Layers. For the purposes of today’s tutorial I am using Photoshop CC2014. Please check your own Photoshop version to see how […]

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