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Designer Tools & Tips

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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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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 Photoshop Elements; however, the Lens Flare Filter, which we talked about last week, is an option for you.  In case you missed that tutorial,  you will find it listed below, along with other Filter tutorials you might find helpful.

Using the Lens Flare Filter in Photoshop

Using the Shear Filter in Photoshop

Using the Liquify Filter in Photoshop

Today I am using Photoshop CC2014; however,  the Lighting Effects Filter is also available in previous versions of Photoshop.

Here is a layout by layout artist, Bernie, using Hay Day.  I love how she positioned her photograph and cluster in the lightest part of the background paper, but let’s see how we could use Lighting Effects to create even more drama.

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Select the layer (or layout) you want to use for the filter.

Convert it to a Smart Object.  (Right Click on the layer > Convert to Smart Object.)  This will allow the filter to be applied as a Smart Filter, giving you the opportunity to adjust it if needed.  (For more about Smart Filters:  How Smart ARE Smart Filters?)

Go to the top Menu Bar and follow the path:  Filter > Render > Lighting Effects

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A new window will open, showing your document and a Lighting Effects Panel.

The last filter used will automatically be previewed on your active document.    The last filter I used was the Infinite Filter.  It’s not the filter I want on this layout, so let’s explore our options.

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Presets are available for us in the first drop-down box: Point, Spot, Infinite.  I have chosen to use the Spot Preset.

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The following is true of all Preset options:

Two elliptical selections are visible around a center pen.  The inner ellipse is the “hotspot,” or where the most intense light is.  The outer ellipse will show the range of the overall light. And you will also see a center circle/dot.

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Use the top and bottom white handles (dots) on the outer elliptical to scale the width of the lighting effect; use the right and left handles to scale the length of the effect. Position your cursor just outside the outer elliptical and click; without letting go of the mouse rotate the effect to your liking.  Click and hold anywhere within the ellipticals to move the effect around on your page.

There is a slight gray circle around the center pen.  Within that gray circle is a small lighter gray area.  Click and drag the lighted gray area to increase/decrease the intensity of the light.

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There are also additional options in the Light Effects Property panel:

  • Use the Hotspot slider in the Lighting Effects Panel to adjust the size of your hotspot light.
  • Colorize your effect, and adjust the exposure with the “Colorize” option.
  • Experiment with the Gloss, Metallic, Ambiance and Texture options.  These will all affect each image in a different way.

When you are happy with your results, click OK.  Remember – if you have converted your image / layout to a Smart Object before applying a filter, you will have the option to go back and adjust it if you don’t like the end result.

This is the result I received using the Spot Effect, with the additional choices I made:

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One layout is not better than another.  It is all personal preference and the look you are trying to achieve.

Lighting Effects are just one more tool to add to your arsenal of Photoshop techniques.  Experiment and have fun!

Working with this Fall layout reminded me of how much I like Hay Day!  With Fall upon us, I think it is a perfect time to put Hay Day on sale for you, as well as offer you this beautiful cluster, created by Kabra.  Just click HERE or on the image below to download.

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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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Making Selections in Photoshop, Part 2

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 9 August 2014
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Last week we looked at 3 ways to make selections in Photoshop, using the Lasso Marquee, the Magnetic Lasso, and the Polygonal Lasso Tools.  If you missed that tutorial, you will find it here:  Making Selections in Photoshop, Part 1. This week we will look at 3 additional ways to make selections using Quick Selection, […]

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