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You have spent hours browsing through the gallery for inspiration! You have purchased your very first kit, and have now opened Photoshop Elements (PSE) to create your very first digital scrapbook page. You are staring at the screen, but now what do you do?

For the next few days, I will be here covering the Ultimate Basics of how to create your very first digital scrapbook page. Once you understand these few simple concepts, I encourage you to take the time to view the other tutorials on theStudio’s blog for more advanced tips and techniques.

Today I will be covering how to create a blank document.  For this demonstration I am using Photoshop Elements 10, but the concept is the same for all PSE versions.

1.  Open your version of Photoshop Elements.

2. In the Menu Bar at the very top of the screen, click on File.  A drop-down menu will open. Click on New.

3. Once you click on New, a fly-out menu will be visible.  Click on Blank File.  This will open a Dialog Box that looks like this:

4. This is where you will name and choose the size of your blank document.  So, go ahead. Give your layout a name, and type it in the “Name” box.

5. Choose your document size.   For today, let’s change “pixels” to “inches.”  Just click on the arrow to the right of “pixels” to see the drop-down menu. Click on “inches.”  Notice that both the Width and Height are changed to inches simultaneously.  Let’s make this document 12 ” x 12.”  Simply highlight the number that is present in the Width Option and change it to 12. Do the same for the Height.

6.  We want a resolution of 300 pixels/inch.  Highlight whatever number might be in the Resolution box, and type in 300.

7. And finally, we want to work on a transparent background. So click on the arrow in the Background Contents box and change the option to Transparent.

Now your dialogue box should look like this:

Click Okay, and a Blank Document will appear on your screen.  This will be the foundation for your scrapbook page.

Tomorrow we will look at how to bring photos and design elements into the program and get them onto your page. See you then!


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Have you ever had a picture that you just loved the colors in? Well there is a super easy way in Photoshop and Elements to get an indexed color chart from your photo.

First, open your new photo.

Then in the menu bar -> Image -> Mode -> Index Color. A box will pop up. Click “ok”.

Go BACK to Image -> Mode -> Color Table

There you have it! A color table will all the colors from your photo! You can now use your color picker to make a swatch or find colors to re-color elements to match your picture. Have fun!

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I finally finished my first video tutorial!  I sound so nervous, even to me.  Hopefully this gets better with practice.  I started with a very basic tutorial, how to add a photo to a stacked paper, in photoshop.  I used basic photoshop techniques that should apply to elements as well.

Hint: Click on the bottom right button on the video below to watch full screen (to the right of the youtube icon).   While the embedded video works, it is very hard to see the tiny commands within photoshop.

Quick Recaps:

  • Ctrl+click = select multiple files to open
  • Click+hold+drag releases a background file to the foreground
  • Ctrl+S = Save
  •  Shift+Ctrl+S = Save As
  • Shift+click+drag centers a new layer into your active window
  • You can change the roundness of rounded rectangle corners
  • In the layers palette, right-click lets you choose “Create Clipping Mask”

I also cover how to set a simple dropshadow in the layers palette.  I have a freebie styles & actions set for you today: a Photoshop dropshadow duo style set (as used in the video; one with border, one without border) as well as my simple time-saver actions set.  My dear friend Karen, SnickerdoodleDesigns, has also adapt the styles for easy use with Photoshop Elements, instructions included.  Just click to download & enjoy.


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