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Designer Tools & Tips

Today let’s take a look at Smart Objects in Photoshop, and how they can help us in our digital layouts and projects.

So just what IS a Smart Object?

“A Smart Object is a container in which you can embed raster (e.g. PSD, JPEG, TIFF) or vector (e.g. AI, PDF, EPS) image data from another Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator file that retains all its original characteristics and remains fully editable.  A Smart Object can be scaled, rotated, and warped non-destructively without losing original image data.”   (ref: Steven Johnson)

And what does that mean for us as digital scrapbookers?

It means that we can work non-destructively, when we work with Smart Objects.

Here is an absolutely stunning layout created by Robyn (credits: Border Buddie Set 14, Deck the Halls Kit, Deck the Halls Word ArtDeck the Halls Glitter)

Border Buddies Set 14 and Deck the Halls

Here is the original paper and  original-sized word art:

sd_smartobject1

The original word art is quite large, and needed to be resized to look best with the photographs and embellishments. When starting this layout, we might not know exactly what final size we would like the word art to be.  Working with it non-destructively, as a Smart Object,  will give us the option of changing  our minds without concern over degrading the quality of the graphic.

Here is a visual reference:

On the left:  I resized the pixel-based word art, making it very small, then sized it back up to its original dimensions.

On the right: I converted the word art into a Smart Object, resized it to make  it very small, then sized it back up to its original dimensions.

The pixel-based word art has lost resolution, while the Smart Object graphics has retained its clarity.

sd_smartobject2

There are several ways to convert pixel-based graphics into Smart Objects (dependent upon which version of Photoshop you are using):

1.  Use the Place command, instead of the Open command, when accessing your word art (or any pixel-based object). (Top Menu Bar:  File > Place.)

2.  If your pixel-based object is already in your Layers Panel, right click on its layer and choose:  Convert to Smart Object

3.  In the top Menu Bar:  Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object

(Photoshop Elements Users:  Use the Place command to put a graphic on your page as a Smart Object.)

A small square box located in the lower right corner of your graphics thumbnail indicates that your object is now a Smart Object.

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Now you can begin working on your layout, changing the size of the word art as many times as you like without losing any image quality!

Smart Objects are very smart!  This is just one of the things they do that make life for us, as digital artists, easy!  We’ll take a look at a few other ways Smart Objects can be helpful over the next few weeks.  In the meantime, if you missed my other tutorials on Smart Objects, you can read them here:

Editing Images on the Fly Utilizing Smart Objects

How Smart are Smart Filters?

If you would like to keep this tutorial on your computer for easy reference, you may download a PDF here: What is a Smart Object?

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!!

Here is a graphic from Deck the Halls, for you to enjoy! Click on the image below to download!

10_christmas_tree

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I love quotes. I love seeing quotes turned into word art graphics. But sometimes the positioning of the words in the graphic don’t suit my layout.  Have you ever found yourself in the same situation?  Let’s take a look at how easy this is to fix!

If you need a refresher on different selection methods, here are some previous tutorials you might find helpful:

Making Selections in Photoshop, Part 1

Making Selections in Photoshop, Part 2

The Marque Tools in Photoshop, Part 1

The Marque Tools in Photoshop, Part 2

Here  is a  layout with the word art graphic “Naughty or Nice.”  I don’t think the straight line of the graphic complements this layout.

sd_custom-wa-1

Here’s the fix:

1.  Using  your favorite selection tool, select the word you would like to move. I am going to select the word “or” first.

2. Click on the Move Tool in the Toolbox on the left, then click on the selected word on your document (which will have “marching ants” around the word showing it is selected), and move it into the desired position.

sd_custom-wa-2

3. Continue in this manner until you have moved all the words into the position that best suits your layout.

HINT: If you are not certain where you want the words and would like to move them around separately until you are satisfied, follow this method:

1.  Make your word selection.

2.  Hit Control + J to duplicate the word.  This will put the duplicated word on its own layer, so you will be able to move that word, and that word only.

3. Go back to the original word art graphic and erase the duplicated word (since you now have that word on its own layer), or use a mask to hide it.

4. Once you have all of the words on their own layer, you can move them around until you are happy with your new word arrangement.

Here is my final decision. I think the word arrangement fits this  layout much better now.

sd_custom-wa-3

Credits: The paper, borders, and word art graphics used in this layout are from my new collection, Deck the Halls, which was released today.

The lower border in this layout is included in Deck the  Halls Clusters; but you can download the top border by clicking on the image below.   Thanks go to the very talented Charne, a member of my creative team, for designing this border for you.

You can download a PDF of this tutorial here:  Customizing Word Art

You can view this tutorial on SnickerdoodleDesigns YouTube Channel  and on theStudio’s YouTube Channel.

sd_custom-wa-3

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!!

Click the image to download!

sd_deckthehalls-bordergift-prev

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I have been asked by several of you to write a tutorial on how to type text on a path.  I think you’ll be surprised at how easy it is!

Today I am using Photoshop CC2014. I believe this works similarly in  most versions of Photoshop.

The image below shows the text circle we will be creating today.  Let’s get started.

sd_type-text-1

1.  Place a blank layer above your background document. Using the Ellipse Shape Tool, create a circle. (Holding down the Shift key while dragging the Ellipse Tool will create a perfect circle.)

2. In you do not see your Paths Panel, go to the top Menu Bar:  Windows > Paths to access the panel.

3. Click on the Paths tab to open the panel.  Here you will see a “Work Path” that was automatically added when you created your circle.

sd_type-text-2

4. We need to “select” our circle and can do this one of two ways:

a.  Click the thumbnail of the circle in the  Layers Panel.

b.  In the Paths Panel, click on the icon at the bottom of the panel that is a light gray circle with black dotted lines around it. (Third icon from left in CC2014). If you hover your mouse over this icon you will receive the prompt  “Load Path as a Selection.”

5.  Once you have selected the circle, you will see “marching ants” around it.  Next, still in the Paths Panel, click on the icon at the bottom of the panel that is a circle with 4 tiny squares around the outside of it (4th icon from the left in CC2014.)  If you hover your mouse over this icon you will receive the prompt “Make Work Path from Selection.”  You will now see a line (work path) around the circle on your document.  (The tiny black rectangles along the edges of the work path are anchor points.  We don’t need to pay attention to those in this tutorial.)

sd_type-text-3

6. In the Layers Panel, create a blank layer above your circle.  We will type on this layer.

7. Click on the Type Tool to activate it.  Move your cursor to the edge  of the work path around the circle.  The cursor will change from the “I” symbol to an “I” symbol with a wavy line through it.  Click once on the work path and you will see the type tool initialize.  You are now ready to type your phrase.

sd_type-text-4

8.  Once you have finished typing, click the check mark in the top menu bar, or click on your type layer in the Layers Panel, to commit your text.

9.  You can click Control  +  H to hide the work path; or, if you are sure you are finished with it, go to the Paths Panel and drag the Work Path to the trash.

10. Decide what you would like to do with your circle.  You can drag it to the trash, click on the eyeball  icon to make it invisible, or use it in your page design however you like.  One of my favorite things to do is to make the circle a little smaller, and embellish the edges of it in different ways.  Here I have added some stitches around the circle.

sd_type-text-5

Photoshop Elements Users:  You can type text around a shape also.  Let me know if you need  help with this!

Credit:  The paper in this tutorial is from my soon-to-be-released kit, “Deck the Halls.” The model is my grandson, Owen.  Although he just turned one year old (!), this is still one of my favorite pictures!

 

You may download a PDF of this tutorial here:  Text on a Path in Photoshop

You may view this tutorial on SnickerdoodleDesigns YouTube Channel  and on theStudio’s YouTube Channel.

Please head over to You Tube and take a minute to Follow both channels.  TheStudio will have videos that will be exclusive to their site, as will I.  By following both channels, you will be sure not to miss a thing!  Thank you!!

Text-on-Path-Image

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