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Last week we looked at a few features of the Marquee Tools.  In case you missed “The Marquee Tools in Photoshop, Part 1,” you will find it HERE.

In the image below, I have the Elliptical Marquee Tool selected. Because I have a Marquee Tool selected, options associated with the Marquee Tools are now available for me in the top Tools Bar.  Last week we looked at the 4 different Marquee Tools (Rectangular, Elliptical, Single Row, Single Column), and how to Add to, Subtract From, and Intersect with another Selection.  Today let’s look at the other options that are available for us, starting with the Feather option.

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Choosing the Feather option will soften the edges of your selection, so that it blends nicely into the area outside your selection.  The size of the Feather determines how much of the selection is feathered.  The higher the value, the greater the feathering effect will be.

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The next option we are offered is the”Anti-alias.”  Since”Aliasing,”  in computer graphics, refers to  jagged or rough edges,  “Anti-aliasing” is the reduction, or smoothing,  of those (usually) unsightly edges.  You must check the Anti-alias box prior to making a selection, since Anti-alias cannot be added to an existing selection.  I just always leave my Anti-alias box checked, that way I don’t have to worry about it.

“Style” is the next option we have.  I love this option!  When we click on the down-pointing arrow next to “Style,”  we are offered 3 choices: Normal, Fixed Ratio, and Fixed Size.

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When we select “Normal,” we can drag out our section without any proportion restraints.
When we select “Fixed Ratio,”  the Width and Height boxes become active. Here we can enter the ratio values of the selection we would like to make.  I would like to draw a selection that is 4 times as high as it is wide, so I entered 4 in the Height box and 1 in the Width box.  I can then go ahead and drag out my selection, and it will be created according to the ratio choice I made.
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The third Style choice we have is “Fixed Size.”  When we choose this option, we can determine the exact size of our selection by entering pixel dimensions. I love this option because I can get exactly what I want so easily!
I wanted to create a 400 pixel X 400 pixel circle, so entered 400 in both the Width and Height boxes, then clicked on my blank document.  The selection was automatically made for me.
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If I wanted 2 elliptical shapes, for example, I could enter 200 x 400 in the Width and Height boxes, create one shape, then click on the double arrows that are in between the Width and Height boxes.  This will switch the dimensions so that I can then create an elliptical shape that is 400 X 200.  (The option to interchange selection sizes by clicking on the double arrows is available with the Fixed Ratio option also.)
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The final option that we have is “Refine Edge.”  This option does exactly what it says it will do, and refines the edges of our selections.
In the image below, I selected this cute little elf (by holding down the Control key and clicking on the thumbnail image of the elf in the Layers Panel). When I click on the Refine Edge button, a new dialogue box opens.  I can make further adjustments to my selection here.  I talked about the Refine Edge tool in a previous tutorial, “Using Layer Masks to Create Transparency.”  Rather than repeat myself here, I encourage you to hop over to that tutorial to read more about this tool.
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After last week and this week’s tutorial on the Marquee Tools, I hope you have learned something new, or remembered something you had forgotten, in order to make your digital scrapbooking go easier and faster for you!
Credit: The elves shown in last week and this week’s tutorial are from Holiday Hoopla, a collaboration between Kimberkatt Scraps and SnickerdoodleDesigns.  Visit theStudio’s Christmas  in July category to pick up this and other Christmas kits at a savings of 50% thru July 31st! And visit our Facebook Page to download our Facebook Fan Exclusive Freebie – this Holiday Hoopla cluster that Renee, a member of my Creative Team, designed for you!  Not a Fan yet?  Become one by clicking on the “Like” button. It’s as easy as that!
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This week I was asked by a new digital scrapbooking enthusiast to explain the Marquee Tools in Photoshop.  Those of us who have been using Photoshop for any length of time use these tools routinely and, most likely, without much thought.  But as I reflected upon my beginning experience with Photoshop, I recall being confused by the different options that are available once a Marquee Tool is selected.  So let’s take a look at what Photoshop offers us with this simple but powerful tool. Hopefully, this will be a reminder for frequent PS users, and helpful for new users.

For the purposes of this tutorial I am using Photoshop CS6; however, what I will cover today should be the same in all versions of CS and most, if not all, versions of Photoshop Elements (PSE).  (Please note that PSE does not offer the Single Row or the Single Column Marquee Tool.)

The Marquee Tools are located in the vertical tool bar.  Notice the small black triangle in the lower right corner of the tool icon, which indicates that this is a grouping of similar tools.  We can click on or hover over the triangle to see what tools are available within a group.  Once a specific tool is selected, its icon will be reflected in the toolbar.  That icon will change when another Marquee Tool is selected. In the image below, you will see that the last Marquee Tool I used was the Elliptical Marquee.  You will know that because the Elliptical Marquee Tool icon is visible in the toolbar.  You will also note that with the Marquee Tool Group (in CS), there are 4 Marquee Tools available:  Rectangular, Elliptical, Single Row, and Single Column.

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To use a Marquee Tool after it is chosen, you simply need to click on an open document, and while holding the mouse button down, drag out the shape you would like to have as a selection.  Once the selection is made, release the mouse, and you will see “marching ants,” which indicate the area that has become a selection.

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When using the Rectangular and Elliptical Tools, we are not constrained to any particular size.  We can create the height and/or width of our selection according to our needs.

However, if you would like to constrain the proportions of your Rectangular or Elliptical selections, there’s an easy way to do it.  Once you have selected the tool you wish to use, click on your document.  While holding your mouse button down, depress and  hold down Shift + Alt at the same time.  Drag out your shape, then release all keys and mouse button. (Be sure to click on the document first, before clicking/holding Shift + Alt, or this will not work.)

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The Single Row and the Single Column Marquee Tools will give you a selection, just one pixel in width. Personally, I rarely use either of these Tools.

Now let’s take a look at the options we have in the top Options Bar.  We can add to, subtract from, or intersect our selections. This is what I recall was most confusing for me as a new Photoshop user.

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The first icon in the red circle above indicates a New Selection.  When we hover over the second icon, we see that the description is “Add to selection.”  To use this option, create your first selection; next click on the “Add to selection” icon; then click on your working document and drag out your second selection (overlapping your selections). Once you release the mouse, after making your second selection, the two selections will be joined.  Here’s an example:

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The same principle is true of the next option, which is “Subtract from selection.”  If we had chosen that option in the above example, the result would look like this:

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The final option is “Intersect with selection,” and the result of choosing that option would look like this (the portion of the circles that overlapped, or intersected, becoming the active selection):

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Using the options in the Options Bar can be really helpful to create specific or unusual shapes. It is also helpful if you create a section and then decide to add to or subtract from it.  Rather than deselecting, and starting all over, just choose the add-to or subtract-from options and finish your selection.

In the image below, I missed selecting the elf’s foot, so I would chose the “add to selection” to select it and make the selection of my elf complete.

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There are a few other choices we can make in the Options Bar, and we will cover those next week.  I hope this tutorial has been helpful for those who are new to Photoshop, and a good review for those of us who have been using Photoshop for a while.

Credit: The elf in the image above is from Holiday Hoopla, a collaboration between Kimberkatt Scraps and SnickerdoodleDesigns.  Visit theStudio’s Christmas  in July category to pick up this and other Christmas kits at a savings of 50% thru July 31st!

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For the past few weeks, we have been looking at Photoshop Styles.  Here are links to past tutorials, in case you missed one:

Many of you have written to tell me that you like that I include, what I call, Style Strips in my Styles products.  Many of you have also asked how to make your own Style Strips for Styles you own or ones that purchase from other designers.  It’s very simple to do.  Here’s how:

1. Here is a template that I created for my Style Strips.  There are 6 squares, and each square is on it’s own layer.  You can make your own template with as many or as few squares as you like, or you may download my template for your use at the bottom of this post.

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2. Load or install the Photoshop Style that you wish to create a Strip for.

3. Go back to the template and replace the name of each layer (in my preview named “Product Name”) with the name of the Style you wish to create the Style Strip for.

4. With the first layer in the template selected, click on the first Style that is in the Style set you are using. In the image below, you will see that I am creating a Style Strip for my Leather Styles-Set 1, so I have changed the names of my layers to reflect that information.   I have also applied the first Style in this Style Set to the first square.

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5.  To complete the Strip, I would just need to click on the next layer (SD_LeatherSet1-2) to make it active, then click on the Leather-Set1-2 Style in the Styles Panel to apply it to the 2nd rectangle (that is on the 2nd layer); then click on Layer 3, and so on.

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6.  Once the Strip has been completed, save as a PSD or TIFF, and file it in your choice of places.  I like to keep my Style Strips together with everything else that goes with that product (.asl file, tutorials, and such).

Note:  If you are creating a Strip that has more than 6 Styles in it:  1. Create a new document (size dependent upon how much space you need); drag the original template onto the new document; duplicate the number of layers (squares) that you need; create your Style Strip; crop the transparent pixels on your new document; and save as noted above.

Using Style Strips is helpful when you don’t want to load or install Styles. Just open the PSD (or TIFF, depending upon how the Strip is saved), right click on layer of the Style you want to use and choose the “Copy Layer Style” option.  Right click on the layer you wish to apply the Style to and choose “Apply Layer Style.”  Using Style Strips is especially helpful for those who have Photoshop Elements versions that do not allow “loading” of Styles.

I hope this little trick makes working with Styles easy and convenient for you!

Download my template here, or click on the image below, if you would like to use it.

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Repositioning Pattern Overlays in Photoshop Styles

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 28 June 2014
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Today, let’s continue looking at Pattern Overlays in Photoshop Styles.  If you haven’t been able to join us the past 3 weeks, for your easy reference, here are the links to our recent conversations Using Styles to Stretch your Digi-Stash Exploring Patterns in Photoshop Styles Adjusting the Pattern Size in Photoshop Styles For the purposes […]

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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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Exploring Patterns in Photoshop Styles

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 14 June 2014
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Last week we talked about Using Styles to Stretch your Digi-Stash.   Thank you for communicating with us via the Comment Section, which follows each post.  We love hearing your ideas and receiving your input.  Since there were some comments on extracting a designer’s pattern from a set of Styles, let’s explore that a little further […]

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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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Hand-Tinting Photos in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 24 May 2014
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Last week, we looked at how to “Tone an Image using Gradient Maps.”   Today, let’s explore Gradient Maps just a little more and look, specifically, at one way to easily “hand-tint” an image. This method works equally well in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. As a refresher, to add a Gradient Map, we need to: 1.  […]

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Tone an Image using Gradient Maps

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 17 May 2014
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Today let’s explore Gradient Maps, and how they might be useful in toning our photographic images. I received a text message from my son, Brian, this week.  Attached to the text was this photo of my grandson, Owen, who was at the doctor’s office for his 6 month check-up.  The photo is slightly grainy, having […]

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