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Designer Tools & Tips

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.

This beautiful layout was created by Priss (forum name pssequimages), using Rocky Mountain Dreams. 

I asked her to create a layout for me with this tutorial in mind, so she did not include any light in the lantern.  Perfect for our needs! Let’s add our own light using the Lens Flare Filter. But first, let’s convert the layout to a Smart Object. (Right click on the layer > Convert to Smart Object.  Doing so will allow Photoshop to place the filter on it’s own layer, giving us the opportunity to adjust it if we like.  For more about Smart Filters:  How Smart ARE Smart Filters.)

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1. Go to the top Menu Bar and follow the path:  Filter > Render > Lens Flare

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2.  The Lens Flare Dialogue box will open.  At the bottom of the box you will see 4 lens Type choices.  Tick one of the circles to change the options. Watch the preview box for changes in your document as you switch lenses.  I chose to use the 35mm Prime for this layout.

3.  Adjust the Brightness of the lens flare by moving the Brightness Slider to the right for more intensity and to the left for less intensity.

4. Left click on the “plus sign” in the preview and without releasing the button, drag the light to where you would like it to be in your layout.  In this example, I dragged it to the bottom of the lantern.

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5.  Click OK when you are happy with your positioning, and your choice will be reflected in your layout.

In the image below, I have chosen to have a strong lighting effect, for easy viewing here. On a personal layout, I would probably decrease the light intensity so that the light was not so prominent.  But the choice is personal… and it’s yours!

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Experiment with all of the lens choices to see what works best for your layout.  Be sure to drag the light around to get a variety of different looks.

For the purposes of this tutorial, I am using Photoshop CS6.  The Lens Flare Filter is available in many (most?) versions of Photoshop Elements as well.

Priss not only agreed to allow me to share her layout with you, but she also created some wonderful recipe cards for you using Cool Beans.  You may download them here: Cool Beans Recipe Cards.   Thank you, Priss, for sharing with us all!

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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.  Here is a beautiful example of this technique:

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This layout was created by Cathy (forum name; britnkaysmemaw2), using Tell Me Again, a collaboration between ADB Designs and myself, SnickerdoodleDesigns.

I think Cathy’s layout is perfect as it is, but what if she wanted to put a slight curve to the green paper strip under her photograph, or wanted to add other paper strips with just a slight bend in them?  The Shear Filter can help with that.

The Shear Filter can be found by going to the top Menu Bar and clicking on Filter > Distort > Shear.  The path is the same in both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.

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In the image below I have opened a paper from Cool Beans.  After placing a blank layer above the paper, I used the Rectangular Marque tool to create a rectangle of my desired width, then filled it with color.

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I used the keyboard shortcut Control + D to deselect the rectangle. Alternatively, I could have gone to the top menu bar, and Select > Deselect.

Next, with the rectangle layer active, I followed the path:  Filter > Distort > Shear to bring up this dialogue box:

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Here is where the magic happens!  In the grid in the upper left corner, there are 16 boxes, separated by dotted lines.  In the middle is a darker line. Adjusting the positioning of this line, will adjust the curvature of the rectangular strip that you created.  I want just a very slight bend in my strip, so moved the top part of the line only slightly to the left and the bottom part of the line only slightly to the right.  We can see the adjustment that I am making reflected in the view box.  (Be sure that “Wrap Around” is checked, for this technique.)

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Once I was satisfied with the curvature on the strip, I clicked OK to commit the change.

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Now I have a pretty shape that I can use however I like.  I elected to rotate the shape and clip a paper to it.  I then placed a pre-made Cool Beans Cluster on the shape, and my page was finished in mere minutes.

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It’s as simple as that!  I hope you enjoy exploring the Shear Filter this week!

The beautiful cluster in the image above was created by Renee, a member of my Creative Team.  You will find it on our Facebook Page for you to download and enjoy.  If you have “liked” our Page, just click on the FREEBIE tab underneath the Facebook Cover to access the download link.  And if you haven’t “liked” our page yet, just click on the “Like” tab in order to gain access to this and other freebies in the future.

 

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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 with you how you can make the Liquify Filter work for you when you are creating a layout.

As a designer, it’s sometimes difficult (for me) to make certain choices when designing a kit.  For example, will a straight ribbon be more useful? A curly one?  Perhaps one with a wave?

Let’s look at a straight ribbon today and see what we can do with it, using the Liquify Filter.  By familiarizing ourselves with this Filter, we can make slight changes to elements when we need to.

The Liquify Filter can be located under Filter > Liquify. I have found this to be the case with most versions of Photoshop, as well as Photoshop Elements.  Here is a screen shot from CS6:

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I love the straight ribbon pictured below but if I wanted to add a charm to it, it wouldn’t look very realistic, because of the thickness of the ribbon.  So let’s see what the Liquify Filter can do to help.

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I clicked on the Ribbon layer to make it active; then went to Filter > Liquify.  A new screen opened.  The Liquify tools are on the left, and with other options on the right.

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On the left side, we have the: Forward Warp Tool, Reconstruct, Pucker, Bloat, Push Left, Hand, and Zoom Tools.

Without going into the Advanced Mode, we have 2 choices to make on the right side: Brush Size and Brush Pressure (if using a tablet).

The Forward Warp and Pucker Tools are what I want to look at today.  The Forward Warp Tool pushes pixels in front of your brush, as you nudge them along. Let’s start with that one.

I chose a large brush (1350 pixels), because I would like to create the impression that my ribbon is compressed where I would like to attach the charm. I placed the cursor under the ribbon and gently nudged the ribbon up; then placed the cursor above the ribbon and gently nudged the ribbon down.  I like to take multiple small “passes” at this, so might do this 5 or 6 times, in slow nudges.

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This is looking pretty good, but we can make it look better by switching to the Pucker Tool (3rd tool down from the top).

After selecting the Pucker Tool, I placed the cross-hairs right in the middle of the area I wanted more tightly compressed. I left-clicked my mouse button and didn’t let go. The Pucker Tool slowly compressed, or moved the pixels toward the center of the brush tip, until I let go.

If I didn’t like the results, I could click on the Reconstruct Options or Restore All button, to begin again.

Before leaving the Liquify Filter Window, I clicked back on the Forward Warp tool and put a few slight bends in the ribbon in other areas, just for a little more interest.

And here is the realistic-looking  result:

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For more fun with the Liquify Filter, experiment with the other Tool options. They can be quite fun!

The paper, ribbon and charm used in this tutorial are included in my newly released Cool Beans personal use kit.

Robyn made a beautiful cluster for you to download today.  You can click HERE or on the image below to download.  If you are wondering how all of these elements go together, be sure to take just a minute to read my Cool Beans product description and take a look at the Tip Cards.

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