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Over the past 2 weeks, we’ve been exploring Layers Masks.  As a refresher, or in case you missed those tutorials, you will find them here:

Using layer Masks in Photoshop

Stretching your Digi-Stash Using Layer Masks

Today, let’s take a look at adding the Gradient Tool to Layer Masks and see how that can be helpful.

1.  Compositing Images:

Wikipedia defines this as the process and the result of making a composite photograph by cutting and joining two or more photographs into a new image.”  We see a lot of composite images in scrapbook pages today, most especially in art journaling. It’s a very simple technique and here’s how to do it!

Below are 2 separate photographs that I would like to composite, or blend together.


1. I placed the bird photo on a layer above my beach photo.

2. I applied  a layer mask to the bird photo (Select the layer to make it active, then click on the Layer Mask Icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel.)


3.  In the Tool Bar on the left, I selected the Gradient Tool, which is nested with the Paint Bucket Tool.

4.  In the top Options Bar, I selected a black-to-white gradient.  Click on the down-pointing arrow to find that option, if it is not currently set as your default.


5.  I next clicked on the Mask to make it active, then moved my cursor into my document.

6.  I clicked on the far right edge of the photograph, and dragged the cursor to about the middle of the photo, then released.




If I wanted more of the beach photo visible, I would drag my cursor further into the photo of the bird. If I wanted less of the beach to show, I would not drag it as far as I did.

When you practice this technique, experiment with how how far and from what direction you drag your line.  Try dragging it from the top, bottom, or in a diagonal direction until you get the look you desire.

Also, you can keep adding to the effect by repeating this process on the same mask, until you are satisfied.

2. Creating layouts:

We can use this same technique to blend photos into scrapbook pages.  Here’s one example from Norma, a member of my creative team.

Norma placed her photograph on a layer above the Follow Your Heart paper. then used the gradient tool, as demonstrated above to remove the defined edges of her photograph.  Once the photo was as she liked, she continued with the creation of her lovely layout! (She also changed the Blend Mode of her black-and-white photo to Multiply, to allow the texture of the background paper to become visible.


And here is one  more example.  This was created by MissPepper, using Follow Your Heart also. Beautiful!!!


 Next week we’ll look at using Masks on Masks. That sounds funny doesn’t it?

Experiment and have fun this week using Gradients and Masks, and I’ll see you next week!

If you would like to keep this tutorial on your computer for easy reference, you may download a PDF here.

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!!


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Custom Collection Sunday

It’s time for Custom Collection Sundays. Yay! This is my favorite part of any week.

What is a Custom Collection Sundays? It is a chance for each of you to request a Custom Collection from one of our Designers. Every week one person wins their request.

This week I have a brandnew Custom Collections Sunday winner to pick, and a fabulous finished Custom Collection to show off!  On January 18 Peggy S, won her Custom Collection request from Wendy Page Designs.

My request this time around is for a kit celebrating newness, beginnings, springy, but with wordart for other beginnings in life. I like contrasty colors like blue and yellow, or soft orange and lavendar, coral pink and greens. I don’t care for blue pinks. I love some neutrals mixed in. Sprouting branches, seed packages, hopes and plans, some journal cards with planning themes for things to start, places to go, goals to achieve, taking time to dream.

Introducing the beautiful new Spring Beginnings:

Spring Beginnings Spring Beginnings  Spring Beginnings Spring Beginnings

Save even more on the entire collection!

Spring Beginnings

Save even more with our blog reader coupon reward.  Use coupon code: WENDYSPRING to save an additional 10% off! Coupon expires February 28.

I very much appreciated the slightly less specific requests. It is easier to get those completed than once with complex, specific elements. Continue to ask me something fun! Ask me something in your favorite color! Or favorite colors! Request flowers, winter or love, and let’s see who I can make happy next. And go ahead & try with something a little more specific. I know there were some great ideas out there that can be fulfilled! Give it another go?

Some of my favorite requests last week:

Both my 10-year old grandson and 7-year old granddaughter take Taekwondo and are always striving for the next belt. This has been not only good for them physically but also for teaching them many more ways for integrity, discipline, respect and so much more. My grandson has had to turn in two typewritten 12 pitch full size papers telling what Discipline and Respect means to him and then one for Integrity. I would love to have something to scrap their Taekwondo pictures.

From: Carol

I would still love to see a collection for Girl Scouts. I see many that I could use for Boy Scouts, but not as much for Girl Scouts.
(Or is there already one out there?)
Thank you!!

from: Andie

As always, I can only pick one winner. Our winner this week is: Steph!

I would love to see a modern sewing kit. Currently used tools, equipment, fabrics. Bright colors. Pattern styles, clothing shapes – maybe a template to add fabric / patterns / color to the basic shape of a clothing item – dress, pants, suit, skirt, shirt. For people who sew and would like to scrap about their creations.

from: Steph

Congratulations Steph! Karen, SnickerdoodleDesigns, is already hard at work on your request. I’m a quilter myself & can’t wait to see this collection finished!
Very important note: I will post a new winner every week, however, please do not expect your Custom Collection to be ready within a week. Scrapbooking Collections take time, and that time varies by Designer. Some of our team are full-time designers, others are part-time. Some are new mommies with littles at home, and others are Grandmothers. Some of us are both.

I cannot wait to see the requests this week, please post away your biggest wishes in the comments below. Comments are open to everyone. New comments, and repeat comments are welcome. I will post a new winner next week!

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Last week we defined and demonstrated how to create and use a Photoshop Layer Mask. (Using Layer Masks in Photoshop).  Today let’s look at one way in which we can use layer masks to stretch our digi-stash.

As a reminder from last week’s tutorial:

When would you use a mask? You would use a mask on a layer when you want to hide portions of that layer and to reveal the layer below.

With this in mind and our  masking skills at hand, stretching our digi-stash becomes an exercise in creative thinking and experimentation.

Here is a paper from Tell Me Again, and I have placed one of JanetB’s Commercial Use Messy Folded Whites on a layer above it, with the Blend Mode changed to Linear Burn. This is just personal preference for this demonstration.


Next I added a Mix and Match Edge Overlay Set 2, Overlay #3.


I changed the Blend Mode of the Overlay to “Overlay”, which gave a softer look, while still allowing the design to be visible. (Need a refresher on Blend Modes?  I’ve added some of our tutorial links at the bottom of this post for your convenience.)


Next I added Mix and Match Edge Overlays Set 2, Overlay #4.  The flower graphic in the lower right corner is hiding the flower from Overlay #3; but I like the text in this Overlay #4.


I changed the Blend Mode of  Overlay #4 to “Overlay.”

Before proceeding with any masking, though, I added the Mix and Match Edge Overlay #2, Overlay 5.  I liked the border edge on this Overlay.  I set the Blend Mode of Overlay #5 to Soft Light.


Now I was ready to do some masking.

I added a Layer Mask to Overlay #4 (flower with newsprint), changed by Foreground color to Black, and chose a soft-edged round brush. (I used a 700 px brush.)

I painted away the floral graphic that was on Overlay #4.  I also painted away the text that was in the middle of the paper, leaving just a nice text border.

Pictured below is the original flower graphic from Overlay #3, the text from Overlay 4, and the nice dark border edge from Overlay #5.


I thought this was looking pretty good, until I noticed how the border was visible through the lower petals of the flower.  I put a layer mask on Overlay #5 (the border edge), reduced the size of my brush, and painted away the border where the flower petals were.


I liked that much better!

And that’s it! That’s how easy it is to use Layer Masks to stretch your digi-stash.

Mix and Match Overlays were specifically designed to … well… mix and match. However, you can use masking techniques on ANY overlays, papers, borders, or other graphic designs.  Find some products that you  like, add some masks, grab your brush, and just play!  Sometimes the best results come with experimentation!

This weekend we are having our Valentine’s Day Sale!  Now would be a good time to stock up on products you can practice your masking skills with!

I do have a transparent Overlay for you to practice with.  Drag it onto your paper of choice and mask away what you don’t want.  Don’t forget to experiment with opacity levels of your brush as well as of the Overlay itself!

Just click on the the image to download.


Blending Tutorials for your Reference:

Blending Modes – Just What Are They?

4 Ways to use Overlays and Textures Creatively using Blend Modes

Using Blend Modes in Photoshop

Using the Screen Blend Mode in Photoshop


If you would like to keep this tutorial on your computer for easy reference, you may download a PDF here.

If you are a visual learner, you can view this tutorial on SnickerdoodleDesigns You Tube 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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Using Layer Masks in Photoshop

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 7 February 2015
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Yikes!  This Carnival mask is scary!  If I am totally honest, I have to say that the trepidation I feel looking at this mask equals the fear I experienced when I initially heard about Photoshop masks. I just wanted to look away and pretend they weren’t there.  Since that time, however, I have learned to […]

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Stretching your Digi-Stash with Premade Borders

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 31 January 2015
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I have always liked using “things,” any things, in ways that are different from their intended use.  For example, my nightstand is an antique children’s school desk.  When the word “repurposing” entered the main-stream vocabulary a few years ago, I thought… “Hey! I’ve been doing that for years!” My interest in “repurposing” includes my scrapbooking […]

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4 Ways to use Overlays and Textures Creatively using Blend Modes

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 24 January 2015

Last week I was asked by someone new to digital scrapbooking if she, as a personal-use scrapbooker, was allowed to purchase commercial-use products.  The answer is a resounding YES!  Commercial-Use (CU) products are very often created with both the designer and the personal-use scrapper in mind. While, in general, the Terms of Use (TOU) of […]

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Adjustment Layers 101

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 17 January 2015
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Adjustment Layers in Photoshop offer us the opportunity to make many creative decisions in our work.  They can be intimidating at first; so today let’s take a look at some basic information about Adjustment Layers. For the purposes of today’s tutorial I am using Photoshop CC2014. Please check your own Photoshop version to see how […]

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Using the Screen Blend Mode in Photoshop

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 10 January 2015
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Blend Modes in Photoshop change the way in which layers interact with one another. “(The Blending Mode) Screen brightens by lightning the lower layer based on the lightness of the upper layer. The result is always lighter, and makes it a good mode for correcting exposure in photos that are too dark.”  -Sara Froehlich Let’s […]

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How to Create a Soft Lantern Glow

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 3 January 2015
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Several months ago, we talked about Using the Lens Flare Filter in Photoshop to create a light flare in a lantern. Today let’s look at how to create a soft glow, using a brush. Here is a candle holder that is included in my Woodland Winter kit.  Let’s add a lovely soft glow to it. […]

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Combining Smart Objects and the Free Transform Tool

by SnickerdoodleDesigns 27 December 2014
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Last week we looked at Creating Perspective Easily with the Free Transform Tool.   We learned how to apply perspective to a photograph in order to match the perspective of a frame.   It was a manual process, but very easy to do. Back in August we looked at Editing Images on the Fly, Utilizing Smart […]

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