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What is perspective, and why is it important to us in digital scrapbooking?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “perspective” in this way:

a :  the technique or process of representing on a plane or curved surface the spatial relation of objects as they might appear to the eye; specifically :  representation in a drawing or painting of parallel lines as converging in order to give the illusion of depth and distance.
Creating perspective in our scrapbook pages helps make our designs more realistic in appearance. We can create perspective easily by paying careful attention to the size of our embellishments in relationship to one other, and by their placement on our pages.  Here is a great example of keeping these principles in mind.  This layout was created by Norma, a member of both my Creative Team and that of theStudio, using Oven Lovin’.  The size and positioning of the embellishments near the photo frame create great perspective.
Norma
 When we have just one item, whether it is an embellishment, photo, or paper, that we would like to create perspective with, it’s a little more difficult to achieve this effect,  simply because there is nothing else to provide spatial context.  In this situation, we would choose the Transform Tool to help us.
We can access the Transform Tool  in several ways:
1.  In the top Menu Bar:  Edit > Transform > Perspective, OR
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2. Click on the layer you would like to transform making it the active layer; use the keyboard shortcut Control (Command on a Mac) + T to access the Transform Tool; right click on the selected layer in your document to access the Perspective option.
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No matter what method you choose to access the Perspective Tool,  you will end up with  nodules on the corners and on the sides of your selection. By dragging the nodules, you will be able to give  your element perspective.  When you drag one nodule, all nodules will move as Photoshop tries to guess the perspective you are trying to create.
Things can get really crazy very fast though! In the image below, I moved the upper right nodule slightly towards the right, and the lower left nodule slightly to the left.  Yikes!
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 Thank you, Photoshop, for giving us a much easier way to create perspective when working with just one or two elements, and that is with the “Free Transform Tool” (rather than just the “Transform Tool.”)
You can access the Free Transform Tool like this:
1.  In the top Menu Bar:  Edit > Free Transform, OR
2. Click on the layer you would like to transform making it the active layer; use the keyboard shortcut Control (Command on a Mac) + T to access the Transform Tool; rather than letting go of the Control key as you normally would, continue to hold it down to access the Free Transform option as you work.
(Photoshop Elements Users: Your path is:  Image > Transform > Free Transform)
Here is a frame, with perspective,  that is included in my kit, Deck the Halls.  Let’s look at how easy it is to give matching perspective to a photo for this frame using the Free Transform tool.
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 I  have resized a photo to make it just slightly larger than the top of the frame inset.  (Not a great photo, but it works well for this tutorial. This is my husband, Rick; our grandson, Owen; and me).
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Next I accessed the Free Transform Tool.  This tool will allow you to move just ONE nodule at a time, rather than having them all move at once. I then moved each corner into the desired position and hit ENTER to commit the changes. (You can also click on the check mark in the top Menu Bar to commit).
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The perspective in the photo, with this frame, looks much better than if we had placed the photo without perspective here.
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That’s how easy it is!
Next week I will show you how we can use Smart Objects in combination with this tutorial to make layouts even EASIER!
Are you ready for Christmas? Are all your favorite cookies baked, menus planned, food purchased?  Don’t forget to take a few  minutes to photograph your activities so you will be able to document your memories!
Here is an Oven Lovin’ cluster (with beautiful perspective!) created for you by Norma, to help you get started documenting your holiday baking/cooking!
 
Click on the image to download.
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If you would like to keep this tutorial on your computer for easy reference, you may download a PDF here: Creating Perspective Easily with the Free Transform Tool.

If you are a visual learner, you can view this tutorial on SnickerdoodleDesigns YouTube Channel  and on theStudio’s You Tube 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!!

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Working with Guides and Smart Guides in Photoshop

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 18 October 2014
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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 […]

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How to: Use a Quick Page

by Nibbles Skribbles 7 October 2014
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  Today, we’re going to learn how to use a Quick Page. Not only how to add your photos, but also how to add a little extra to make it your own! And, I even have a FREEBIE for you too! Let’s get started! First, you will want to open up your quick page and […]

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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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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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Adjusting the Pattern Size in Photoshop Layer Styles

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 21 June 2014
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Over the past 2 weeks, we have been discussing Photoshop Styles.  In case you missed those posts, you can catch up with us here: Using Styles to Stretch your Digi-Stash Exploring Patterns in Photoshop Styles Today, we are going to explore adjusting pattern sizes in Photoshop Styles.  For the purposes of this tutorial, I am […]

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Using Styles to Stretch your Digi-Stash

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 7 June 2014
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I’m a big fan of Photoshop Styles.  I love to create them, use them, and try to convince everyone I know that they’re one of the best Photoshop tools there is!  Today I will show you how you can get some extra mileage out of any Styles you already own, and how to look at […]

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Using Blend Modes in Photoshop

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 31 May 2014

Using Blend Modes in Photoshop gives us many options for creativity.  Blend modes change how two layers interact with one another.  Results depend upon many factors….. which can make using blend modes (somewhat) unpredictable but fun! For the purposes of this tutorial, I am using Photoshop CS6.  The Blend Mode option is located at the […]

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