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Designer Tools & Tips

In your scrapbooking layouts or photo editing, have you ever wished you could either hide or repeat an element for artistic purposes? Photoshop has given us a tool to easily accommodate that wish, and that tool is the Clone Stamp.  Today, let’s take a look at this tool and see how it can help us.

The purpose of the Clone Stamp:

The Clone Stamp allows us to take a sample of our image, and then replicate that sample elsewhere in the same image, or even in another open document.

How to use the Clone Stamp:

1. Select the Clone Stamp tool in the toolbox.


2. Select a brush tip. You may make a Blending Mode selection in the top menu bar, select your desired opacity, and/or set a Flow percentage.

3.  Uncheck the Aligned checkbox, if you would like to use the SAME sample every time you click in your image.  Leave it checked if you would like your sampled point to change, according to where your cursor is.  (This will make more sense as you work with the tool.) You may also select whether or not you want to sample on the Current Layer that you are on, or other Layers.

(My typical settings:  Mode: Normal;  Opacity: varies depending upon the image, but typically 100%; Flow: 100%; Aligned is Checked; Sample: Current layer)

4. Now here is the fun part!  Hold down the Alt key and click on the area you would like to sample.  Another way to look at this is to click on the area that you would like to “copy.” and and paste somewhere else.

5.  Click or drag over the area of the image that you wish to modify.

Here is an example of this technique in practice:

This is a turkey that I painted years ago when I did a lot of tole painting. He has 3 buttons on his shirt.  Let’s give him 2 more buttons.


I first selected a small hard round brush, just slightly bigger than one of his buttons. I double-checked the tool bar options to be sure they were set as I liked. I held down the ALT button, and clicked with my mouse right on top of the top button (to clone it).  Next I clicked in the two spots where I wanted additional buttons.  Because I had kept my brush size so close to the size of the buttons, only the buttons were cloned, and not any of the adjacent areas.  (In this situation, I would have been concerned about picking up/cloning some of the white lines.)


The Clone Stamp Tool worked perfectly for us here.  But there are times when we need to take one additional step to get a perfect result.

My painting teacher ingrained in her students that we MUST sign our work.  You will see my signature in the lower right corner of this cute little turkey.


I wanted to remove my name from his foot, and wanted to use the clone stamp to do that.

I first selected my brush, and set it’s size to the approximate height of the letters in my signature.  I held down the ALT key and selected a point right above the letter “k.”  I selected that area, because that is the paint color I wanted to replicate.

I next clicked right on top of the “k” to paste my selected sample on top of it.

My brush was round, so the sampled area was also round, naturally.  However, because I was cloning close to the end of the piece, the round sample was pasted over the “k” but also hung over onto the transparent area.


I could play with my brush size to make it smaller, but here’s an easier way when cloning along the edge of a piece:

  • Click on the thumbnail of the image in your Layers Panel. This will select your image (You will see “matching ants” around your image on your document, confirming it is selected.)
  • Follow the same steps above, to sample and then clone the area of interest.  While doing so, you will still see the sampled image hanging over into the transparent area; however, when you let go of your mouse, you will see that the cloned area will only be applied to the selected image, and not the transparency.


 Photoshop Elements Users:  You have the same options as Photoshop, with the exception of the Flow option.

The cute turkey model used in today’s tutorial is from “Handpainted Thanksgiving,” new to my Commercial Use shop here at theStudio. (SnickerdoodleDesigns).

Did you know that theStudio is having an AMAZING CU Sale this weekend?  Pop on over to the Commercial Use Store for a 30% Storewide CU sale.  Increase your savings by using special coupon codes!

Commercial Use items are not just for designers!  They are perfect for the Personal Use scrapper too!  Sit down, rest your feet, and take a look around!


I hope this tutorial has been helpful!  See you next week!

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Photoshop Guides and Smart Guides are tools which allow us to easily align shapes and/or selections.  I use them quite a bit, but last week I discovered something new about them!

I did a search on our Studio blog to see if previous authors have written about Smart Guides.  I found a tutorial written by Steph (October, 2012), ” Do you Smart Guide?”, which beautifully explains why we would want to use Smart Guides and how to do so.

I found another tutorial by written by Toiny (March 2012) on “Using Guides to Align an Alpha.” Her tutorial shows one of the ways that Guides can assist us in digital scrapbooking.  Imagine my surprise when I saw that this tutorial also included the “new-to-me” thing that I learned this week!

I actually remember reading Toiny’s tutorial in 2012. I didn’t remember the little nugget of information about how to place a New Guide.

I  invite you to read the tutorials by Steph and Toiny to learn something new, or refresh your memory of things perhaps forgotten (like me!).

For today, here are 7 additional tips to help you when working with Guides or Smart Guides.

1.  Guides and Smart Guide colors are preset by Adobe.  If you prefer them to be a different color, you can easily change them by going to: Edit > Preferences > Guides


Then use the drop-down Box to choose the color of your choice.  Click OK on the far right. (Not visible in the image below).  Now your Guides and/or Smart Guides will be tailored exactly to your taste and visual preference.


2.  Steph shared with us how to turn Smart Guides on. Toiny shared with us how to turn Guides on and off, and how to insert a guide precisely where you want it by using the New Guide Tool.  Here’s another way to access Guides.

Follow the path: View > Rulers to turn the Rulers on.  This will place Rulers along the top and left hand edges of your document.

Click on the Move tool in the Toolbox on the left.  Next place your cursor right along the edge of either ruler; left click and holding your mouse button down, drag into the document.  A guide will follow your mouse. Drag the Guide into position, then let go of your mouse.  If you decide you would like to reposition it, click on the Guide and drag it where you would like it to be.


3.  If you would like to view your page without the Guide, you can hide it by using the keyboard shortcut:  Control + H.  If you want to see the Guide again, click Control + H a second time to make the Guide visible once more.

4.  Once you get all of the Guides in place that you would like to use, you may lock their placement by following this path:  View > Lock Guides.  This will prevent you from accidentally selecting a Guide, instead of an element, that you wish to move.

5.  Once you are finished working, you can go to View > Clear Guides to remove all the Guides at once.

6.  If you would like to remove just one Guide (as long as they are not yet locked into position), click on the Move Tool in the toolbox and drag the Guide back to the Ruler.

7.  And finally, if you are dragging a vertical or horizontal Guide and decide you would like it in the opposite position (a vertical Guide to be a horizontal Guide, or vice-versa), press Alt while still dragging the Guide.  Vertical Guides will become horizontal and horizontal Guides will become vertical.  Now THAT is pretty cool!

Photoshop Elements Users:  All of these options are also available to you with the exception of:  (1) You cannot change the color of your Smart Guides, only your Guides, (2) the keyboard shortcut Control + H is not available to you.  (EDIT: Oct 27, 2014:  Thanks to Renee for sharing the keyboard shortcut:  Control + ; (Control + semi-colon), which will hide Smart Guides in PSE.)

That’s it for today!  I hope you enjoy working with Guides and Smart Guides and find multiple ways to use them as you scrapbook!

The beautiful cluster pictured in this tutorial was created by Pierrette (Fancy Bird Design).  It coordinates with the newly released “Misty Autumn,” a collaboration between Fancy Bird Design and myself, SnickerdoodleDesignsEnjoy introductory pricing through October 26th. 

Start scrapping your Fall photos with our gift to you!  Download HERE or by clicking on the image below.


I’ll see you next week!

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Post image for Filter Effects on your Photos

Over the past few weeks we have been focusing on using Photoshop filters to help us achieve unique lighting effects.  You will find links to past tutorials to the right under “Recent Tutorials,” in case you missed any, or would like a refresher.

The filter we will look at today is in both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. I am working in CS6 and will be using that for screenshots.

Today let’s look at a quick and easy way to use Filters to create unique effects on our photographs.

This is my granddaughter, Emily, when she was 4 years old.


With just the use of one filter and a few other simple techniques, we can alter her photograph to something like this.  I think it’s lovely as it is, but can also really see it becoming useful on an art journaling page.


Here’s how to create this effect.

1.  Open a  photograph and duplicate it.

2.  Right click on the duplicated photo > Convert to Smart Object.  (This will allow us to apply a Smart Filter.)  (Previous reading: How Smart ARE Smart Filters?)

3. Go to the top Menu Bar and follow this path:  Filter > Filter Gallery. Click on the Artistic Gallery to open the various options within that category.


4.  There are a lot of fun options to explore here. When you  have time, click on them to see how they affect your photo.  Today, let’s click on Poster Edges, with the Edge Thickness set to 3, the Edge Intensity to 2 , and the Posterization to 2. (You can always play with these sliders as well during your experimentation “play” times.) Click OK.

5. You can see in the image below how the Poster Edge has been applied as a Smart Filter. Change the Blend Mode of the duplicated photo (Layer 1 here) to Color Dodge.


6. Add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer by clicking on the appropriate icon in the Adjustments panel or by accessing it by clicking on the half black/half white circle at the bottom of the layers panel.  Drag the Saturation slide to the far left to reduce the saturation to -100.



7.   This is a lovely effect, and I could be finished right here.  But I wanted to bring more focus to the Emily’s eyes.   Here’s how to do that:

  • Select a soft edged brush.
  • Make sure your foreground color is set to black.
  • Add a mask to the Hue/Saturation layer. ( Click on the rectangular icon with the small circle in the middle of it, at the bottom of your layers panel.)
  • Lower the opacity of your brush if you like. (I lowered mine to 69%). Brush over the eyes to allow a little more color to shine through.

And here is the final result:



Filters are fun. They offer a quick and easy way to create interesting results! This week why not take some time to explore the filters in the Filter Gallery?  I bet you’ll be hooked!

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Using Lighting Effects in Photoshop

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 27 September 2014
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Light plays a very important part in digital design and in our scrapbook pages.  It can be used to add drama to both our photographs and layouts.  Today let’s look at the Lighting Effects filter in Photoshop and see how we can make that work for us. The Lighting Effect Filter is not available in […]

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Using the Lens Flare Filter in Photoshop

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 20 September 2014
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Thank you for once again letting me know that you are enjoying exploring Filters in Photoshop.     Based upon your feedback and interest, I will take the next few weeks to explore a few more filters that I think you will find useful in your scrapbooking layouts.  Today let’s look at the Lens Flare Filter. […]

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Using the Shear Filter in Photoshop

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 13 September 2014
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Last week we talked about Using the Liquify Filter in Photoshop.  Many of you wrote to say that you have not used Photoshop Filters before.  So today let’s look at another filter that can be helpful to you in your scrapbook layouts: the Shear Filter. The use of paper strips is very popular in layouts.  […]

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Using the Liquify Filter in Photoshop

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 6 September 2014
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One of the things that intrigued me most, when I was first learning to use Photoshop, was the Liquify Filter.  If  I didn’t like the way something looked  in a photograph, I could fix it.  A quick tuck here and there, and that not-so-perfect photo could be looking pretty good! Today I want to share […]

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The Shadow of your Style

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 30 August 2014
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When deciding upon the name for this blog post,  I just could not resist playing off the song title, ” The Shadow of your Smile,” a beautiful piece that has been recorded by so many fabulous vocalists.  But today I will not be talking about songs, but rather about shadows on Photoshop Styles. Some Photoshop […]

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Create your own Inspirational Stones

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 23 August 2014
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Good morning!  Today I would like to share with you how easy it is to create your own inspirational stones! Last week, I released Rocky Mountain Dreams, a personal-use scrapbook kit. One of the kit extras was Inspirational Stones. As I was choosing which words I wanted to use for this project, I kept thinking […]

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Editing images on the fly, utilizing Smart Objects

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 20 August 2014
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Have you ever finished creating a layout and then decided you wanted to make a change on just one element? What process do you go through to do that?  I used to open the element from my kit file once again, make the change I wanted to make, move the newly-altered element into my layout, […]

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