Handy “How To’s” from Tangie & The Creative Team

Free Rocks and Tutorial to Put them in Your Own Bowl!

After the much sought after techniques I used to make my first rock layout,  I’ve written you a tutorial with links to the resources to get everything you need to make YOUR OWN including a ROCK FREEBIE by Tangie!

Here’s the bowl of rocks we’re going to be making!

After reading all the fun things in the March Adventure Quest from the Art Journal Caravan {Expedition 2011}, I was inspired to create something that was real. I just wanted to do it digitally.
I am working in CS5, and don’t know of it would work in your specific program. But give it a whirl, and play and push buttons, that is the best way to learn! So let’s Get Started!
First, Find a Bowl
First I had to find a bowl, and you will need to find yours also!  I can give you a place to look! Lol  Try here! (do a search for bowl) You have to get it yourself, because I am not able to give it away, nor sell it, I am using mine for personal use and so should you. Find one that you love!
(Don’t worry about the cauliflower, only you and the millions that read this tutorial will know it is under my rocks!)
1. Lighting
Now pay close attention to the shadows and lighting.  This is of the utmost importance.  Watch the light.  I turned my bowl so the light was coming from about 10:00 on the scale or 120 degrees in the angle on your shadows.
2. Extraction
I extracted my bowl by using the eraser tool and then the Elliptical Marquee Tool (the circle cutter) to get a good clean cut around the bowl.  

3. Effects
Then added a nice shadow with a bit of a glow in my fx panel:

Now you need some rocks…

Tangie Baxter has made you a set of your very own rocks!  You can find the link to get them
Wasn’t that the nicest thing? I wanted to do this tutorial, and Tangie made this completely 100% original Tangie.  You will not find these rocks anywhere else! Then she gives them away! I love this woman!
1. Place all the Rocks on Your Canvas
Next I used the “BAM BAM” technique from the Art Journal Caravan to fill my canvas with rocks, but you can do it however you want to get those rocks on your canvas.The “BAM BAM” technique is not top secret, but a fun thing to learn on the AJC2011 in the forum, on one of the many FREE tutorials included with your journey. 

2. Place the Rocks in Position

Now, you want to make sure you don’t spin the rocks, if the light is on them a certain way.  They need to stay in that position, but you can warp, change perspective or puppet warp the fire out of them.  See how the light is hitting, and turn to accent, but not make it look all funky.
Now, positioning the rocks took some time, I wanted a mixture of rocks, and shapes.  This is really all in your eye and what looks right to you.  I linked all the rocks and applied a shadow to them to my liking.
Ready for the Words?
The fonts are all from The Foundry by Tangie Baxter, Tweedle Dee and Mock Turtle –  Mock Turtle is one of the AJC Provision Parcels and if you are part of the AJC 2011, you get it for ½ price.
1. Glass Rocks
Click on the rock of your choosing.  This way the text will be in the layer right above the rock. For shiny rocks and to get the engraved look, I then  applied Paula Kesselring’s FREE burning action. I had to lighten the opacity and play with the actual colors of the bevel and shadows to get the look I wanted on each rock, and again I say, play and make your eyes happy with your heart.
2. Natural Rocks
For the non-shiny rocks; use the same directions, click rock and add font layer above the rock.
This is the most important part, you need to make the text look realistic on the rock. When you put text onto something, it doesn’t have a shadow; it is ON the object, not “floating” above it. One of my favorite things with Tangie Baxter and her amazing mind is that she made this out of this world tutorial for working with blending and text (also available FREE on the Art Journal Caravan {Expedition 2011}) or you can buy the action/styles in her shop {Paperworn Art Style}.  Sometimes, I duplicated the text and played with the styles to get the right effect of paint on the rock.


I didn’t put words on  all my rocks, but this is totally up to you
You have your own bowl of rocks and are responsible font owners and no longer allowing your fonts to float, right?!I hope you enjoyed this tutorial ( and of course you get a small glimpse at some of the perks of joining the  AJC 2011– I am telling you it is sooooooooo worth it!), I would so love to see your rocks on display and we’ll see you on the Caravan trail! .  

Flight Lessons… Overlays in PS!

Hello everyone! I hope that you all have had a fantastic week, and welcome back for another edition of Flight Lessons! This week, my tutorial is all about how to get that ‘faded’ photo look in Photoshop when doing a layout. Now, I need to forewarn you all that I wrote this tutorial originally for a signature board, so the background paper isn’t layout size. Let’s all just pretend that it’s layout size for our purposes, shall we? ;o) This is another VERY detailed tutorial. Just follow along step by step, and as always, you can skip past the parts that are already familiar to you. :o) Let’s get started!

My friend Whitney gave me permission to use her adorable photos for this example. Thanks Whit! :o)

The first thing that you want to do is open your program and open all of your necessary items for your layout. In this case, I have quite a few photos to choose from, so I open those as well as the items that I think I might want to use (elements, papers, etc). I’ve chosen a paper that I think will look cool behind the photo, I like to pick one with an interesting texture to it as opposed to a pattern, because sometimes the patterns can look a little funky to me. It’s all a matter of preference though, so if you like the look of a pattern, go for it! :o) Obviously you can open more items later if you’d decide that you’d like to use them, but I like to open practically an entire kit at once and go from there. LOL.

Wow that’s a lot of stuff. I’ll minimize all of those windows so that they aren’t in my way, keeping just the photo that I want to fade fully open, as well as my paper possiblities.

Now I’m going to open a new workspace. In this case, I opened a canvas that’s 700×500 pixels at 72dpi, but for making a full size layout it would be 3600×3600 pixels at 72 dpi or 12×12 inches at 300dpi. :o)

Now we want to choose a paper, and add it to our workspace. Keep in mind that this tutorial was written using a cropped paper, but when making a layout, you obviously wouldn’t be cropping a full size paper. Just keep that in mind during the next few steps. :o)

Now lets go to the photo. Crop out any unnecessary space above and below your person/dog/cow whatever you want to use as the focal point of the image. In this case it’s sweet little Wesley. :o) I’m cropping the extra space off of the top and bottom of the photo, but NOT cropping the sides. It’s easier when your photo fits the size of your paper better, so in my case I want the photo as wide as possible.

Now that we’re cropped, I need to change the size of the photo. Since my paper is 231px high, that’s the number that I want to use to base the size change on. I want the photo to be exactly the same height as my paper in this case. So I change the size, and move it over to my workspace, on top of the paper. (Remember that with a full-sized layout, your photo will obviously be much larger than that. This version was small because I was making something different, as well as the fact that I need my screen shots to fit here. ;o) )

You’ll see that the photo isn’t the same width as the paper, which is fine, we don’t care about that right now. What I do care about however is the fact that I want Wesley to be on the side of my paper, with nothing else next to him. So I’ll reduce the opacity of the photo just enough that I can see behind him, and then move the photo to where I want it on my paper. Then use your BLOCK eraser tool to get rid of the excess photo. (tip: when using the eraser, if you want a straight line, click on the point that you want to start and hold down the shift key while you drag).

Change the opacity of the photo…

And now you can see the paper behind the photo…

Then move the photo to where you want it and erase the edges so that it’s no wider than the paper…

Now you can bring the opacity back up to 100% on the photo, because you have it where you want it and you’ve gotten rid of the excess.

Next step, we’re going to duplicate the photo layer, so that there are two copies. In PS, you can use the shortcut which is ctrl+j, or you can right click on the layer in the palette and select duplicate layer, or you can go up top to the layers drop down and select duplicate layer. LOL! A million ways to do one thing. :o) I’ve named my layers for the purposes of the tutorial, but you don’t have to do that. It does make it easier to keep track of things though if you have a billion layers going on. :o)

Now we want to turn off the eyeball on the duplicate layer that we just made, so that only the original photo layer is visible. So now my layers palette looks like this instead:

Click on the original photo layer (the one with the eyeball that’s still on) so that you are now controlling it and it’s highlighted in the palette. Then go to the little drop down menu right above the layers palette, and we’re going to select ‘overlay’. This makes that photo layer turn into something completely different! Check it out…

Pretty cool, huh? But I don’t want those hard edges of the photo to be quite so visible on my paper, so I’m going to select a big round, soft eraser, and go over the edge of the photo to get rid of them.

Now we want to go back to the layers palette, and select the copy of the photo that we made, and turn the eyeball back on. Then we’re going to use another eraser (or a layer mask, see my tut on cutouts using masks) to erase everything except for Wesley.

Turn the photo copy layer back on…

And erase (or mask) everything but Wesley…

PHEW! Looks pretty cool now, right? You can see the background that was in the photo still behind Wesley, the beautiful beach and ocean, and the sand that he’s sitting on. But Wesley has now become the whole focus of our page. Now that we have that out of the way, I usually will do some basic photo editing, like altering the curves and levels. I usually save my reduce noise and sharpening until after I’ve resized the image at the end, because those things can get a little funky if you do them before you resize. If you aren’t resizing, feel free to do whatever edits you want now. :o) So here’s Wesley’s photo after I’ve done some curves and levels adjustments:

Now we want to reduce the opacity of this layer, so that it blends in more with the background paper and you can see the texture through it. Just go to the opacity meter and slide it down. I reduced this one to 45%, and you can always go back later and change it. :o)***Modified to add: If your background paper doesn’t show through or if you don’t think it’s blended enough, turn the opacity down more. 45% worked well for this particular photo and background paper, but it will vary depending on the coloring of the photo and the amount of texture/pattern on your paper. Play around with it to get the effect that you want. :o)***

WOOHOO! Now we’re done with that part, and I’m going to add all of the other items that I want to my page. I’m adding another photo of Wesley and daddy, and all kinds of other goodies. :o)

And now I’m done with everything except for the photoediting (see my previous tutorials for editing tips!). Remember to only do it on the copy of Wesley that’s NOT an overlay. I don’t need to do anything to the overlay, it just… exists. :o)

I know it seems like a lot of steps, but I was only really detailed in case there were some beginners out there. Once you’ve done this a couple of times, it’s really easy!

So here’s a quick review: 2 copies of the photo layer, bottom layer turns into an overlay, top layer reduce opacity and erase/mask around subject. That’s it!

Thanks so much for joining me this week for another edition of Flight Lessons, and I hope to see you all next week!

Signing off for now,
Heather (heatherbird)

***all elements and papers used for this tutorial from ‘Sea Stories’ by Kasia Designs.***

Flight Lessons…Crisp b&w and photoediting in PS!

Hello everyone! After a brief and unexpected hiatus, we’re back with Flight Lessons! As promised this week we’ll be doing crisp black and whites as well as additional photoediting in PS. We’ll be going over photoediting in more detail in later posts, this is just to get your feet wet! Here we go. :oD

So the first thing that I do is edit my photo, doing whatever normal edits I always do. I personally ALWAYS reduce the noise and I ALWAYS use the unsharp mask. (tip: if you’re going to have to resize your photo, do the resizing FIRST before doing any edits. When you resize, the photo loses some of it’s quality and you don’t want your hard work to go to waste. ;o) )

Here’s the original photo that we’re working with (Ana’s gorgeous girl!)

Reduce noise:

Unsharp Mask:

Now I’ll change the photo to black and white. There are lots of ways of doing this, but I’m old school so I like to reduce the saturation. ;o) My saturation tool might look different from yours since I’m using CS4, but you just want to turn the saturation down to -100.

Now that we have our photo in black and white, we want to adjust the levels. You can also adjust curves if you want to, but I tend to only adjust the curves for color photos and I adjust the levels for black and whites. I’m not completely sure why I do it this way, but I like the effects better if I use the levels adjustment for black and whites, because I can control the amounts of grey, black, and white that are in the photo. Layers->new adjustment layer->levels. The arrow is pointing to the part of the levels adjustment that you need to use, I can’t remember now if other versions have the lower part of my levels screen but if you do just ignore it. :o)

So now we need to adjust the levels. The little button on the left (the black one) controls how much black in in your photo. The middle one controls the mid-tones, and the one on the right controls the whites. Every photo is different of course, but the goal is to decrease the greys as much as you can, and increase the amount of white and black, because that’s what will give you a a crisp looking photo. Here are the settings that I used for this photo:

And here’s what the photo looks like now:

Now is when I edit they eyes, at the very end. I use the lasso to select the eyes (I tend to only select the colored part, some people like to select the whole eye, it’s really just a matter of preference) and make sure that you have your lasso tool with a feather of about 3 pixels so that you don’t get a funky line around your selection. Then I use the unsharp mask, then deselect, and then I go over them a tad with the dodge tool. Here’s my final product, and the original right after:

And that’s it! As I said before, we’ll be doing some more detailed photoediting and going over WHY we do certain edits in later posts, so if this was a little overwhelming, just stay tuned and we’ll walk you through it! :o) Thanks for joining me this week, see you all next Tuesday for another addition of Flight Lessons!

Signing off for now,
Heather (heatherbird)

Flight Lessons…Crisp b&w and photoediting in PSP!

Hello everyone! Welcome to today’s Flight Lesson. Today we’ll be focusing only on PSP (Paint Shop Pro). The tools that I use for this tutorial are almost identical in PS, so if you’d like to give it a whirl, please do! I recently had someone ask me how to make a black and white photo nice and crisp, which is how this tutorial came to be. This tutorial will also include a LOT of photo editing! We’ll be going over the finer details of photo editing in later editions, but this will definitely get your feet wet if you’ve never done a lot of photo editing in your program. This is a VERY detailed tutorial, so I hope it isn’t too overwhelming! Just take it a step at a time, or take what you’d like to from it! So, let’s get started! :o)

1. Open your photo, and resize/crop/whatever down to as close to the size that you want as you can get. Every time you resize your photo, it loses quality, so if you resize after your editing it won’t look quite as good as it would if you resized first and then edited. For this example I’m using a very silly photo of Dillon. :o) Here is my entire screen:

2. Now we want to do our regular photo edits, meaning removing noise/sharpening/bringing out the eyes/blurring the background/whatever you want to do. I’ve always found removing noise and sharpening to be a bit tricky in PSP, because it’s very easy to overdo it. Each photo is obviously very different in terms of its needs. I took this photo using my good camera and a good lens, so it doesn’t need much, but I’ll do a little editing anyway since I can’t bring myself not to. :oD

First I’ll remove the noise in the photo. I’m taking the easy route and using the auto noise removal, which sometimes over-does things but it seems to be okay for this one. :o)

Now on to sharpening. I like to use the unsharp mask, located here:

Play around with the settings a bit until you get the look that you want. Don’t worry about the eyes not being sharp enough, we’ll do that next. :o) Here are the settings that I used for this photo:

Now we’ll work on the eyes a touch. Select your lasso tool from the palette, and lasso the color part of the eye (or however you prefer to do them). Change your feather (up at the top) to 1px or so, so that it doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect. You can raise or lower this number based on your needs, but I like to stick with 1px for sig editing. Notice that my selection isn’t exactly… round. LOL! That’s okay, it’s really not a big deal, just do the best you can. :o)

Now go back to the unsharp mask, and this time it will adjust only your selection. Again, just play with the settings, but it’s easy to make them look creepy, so be aware of that. :oP You may have to undo this a few times, since you can’t see the whole effect on the photo until you’ve finished, but that’s okay. Just play around until you get the look that you want.

Once you’re done with the eyes, go to selections>select none at the top of the screen to get rid of the little circling ants. Now if you’re happy so far, we’ll make the photo black and white. :o) You can use the auto b&w feature under effects>photo effects>b&w film, but I actually don’t like using that. I’m old school, so I use this way instead:

And then turn the saturation all the way down to -100 to make it b&w:

Now we’re ready to adjust the curves/levels. Since this particular photo is a bit blown out (too light on his face) already, I probably won’t use the curves on this one. I also tend to not use curves on black and white photos, I generally only use it on color photos. Usually, if you use the curves adjustment, you open your adjustment window:

*This part may be a little confusing, but just keep in mind that adjusting the curves is controlling the exposure of the photo. I tend not to use this step for black and white photos.* Make sure the little box (1) says ‘default’ (mine doesn’t here because I’ve already added points on the curves). This makes a straight line. Then add points, and adjust accordingly. Some people like to use 3 points, but I tend to only use 2. You basically want your line to look like an S shape, so you make your first point, and then drag it up slightly. Look at the little preview and you’ll see that the photo gets lighter. (If you use 3 points, make your second point in the middle somewhere) Then add your second point (like in this photo) and drag it down slightly to make the darks darker. See in your preview how you’ve now added contrast to the photo? If I were doing it on this particular photo though, I would probably make my S shape backwards, because the lights are already too light. It’s really all about the exposure of the photo, so just mess with the points until you have the photo the way that you want it. If you hate it, you can always click the little drop down box again and set it back to default to start over (1).

For this photo however, I’ll be using the levels adjustment, which is what I usually use for black and white photos. I find that it’s easier to control the contrast using levels, and the contrast is really important in black and white, since there aren’t any other colors being used (obviously). Making a black and white photo crisp is, again, all about the contrast and controlling the exposure.

Now you’ll have a new adjustment window. Make sure the drop down box says ‘default’ again so that your photo is ready to be adjusted. Then move the little sliders around to adjust the contrast. The sliders each control the darks (far left), mediums (middle) and lights (far right) of the photo. Since Dillon’s face is over exposed, I want to turn that down a bit. Since the lights slider is already all the way over, I can’t turn that down, so I’ll settle for the mediums. In this example, I’m first turning the medium tones down, and then clicking okay without adjusting either of the other 2 sliders. Most of the time, you can adjust the photo how you want it by only doing the levels this one time. Notice the histogram (little wavelength thingies) behind the sliders, those are telling you where the tones (dark, medium, light) are in terms of exposure.

But I want to add some more of the darker tones in, so I go back to the levels (again!), to do that. This second set of levels is NOT necessary with all photos, so if you have it the way that you like it the first time around, then just save it and call it a day! :o) This time I move the darks slider over a tad, and then add some of the medium back in to get more contrast. Also notice the histogram levels are different this time around than they were the first time I adjusted the levels. Again, just play around with the sliders until you have it the way that you want it. If you need to start over, just click the drop down box back to default again.

And we’re done! PHEW! I know this was long, but actually editing the photo before changing it to black and white is essential to getting a crisp result. My photo is still a bit over exposed on his face, so I would go back and fine tune that part of it, but I won’t make everyone else suffer through that with me. The adjustments of the curves and levels can be done using color photos as well, of course, but I find the curves to be more important in color photos and levels in black and white. It’s really a matter of preference, so just play around and see what you like and what you’re comfortable with. Here’s the final comparison!

Thanks so much for joining me today, I’ll see you all next week for another edition of Flight Lessons, which will include this same tutorial using PS! :o)

Signing off for now,
Heather (heatherbird)

Flight Lessons… Cutouts with the Pen Tool!

Hello again everyone! Today, our tutorial comes from Becca (fourluvbugs) and her copious Photoshop knowledge. :o)

There must be 5 or 6 different ways to do extractions in photoshop, but the one I’ve been favoring lately combines my old nemesis the pen tool with layer masks. Now I’ll be the first to admit that the pen tool can be quite pesky at first but if I can use it, I’ll be willing to bet that you can too!

So this is Gabby — isn’t she cute?

This is maybe not my best photographic effort, but its also a straight out of the camera shot, so go easy on me. **grin** Let’s extract Gabby for use in a layout.

The very first step is to make sure that Gabby is on her own layer and that there is a background behind her. I like a plain white background, especially if I’m extracting a photo that has a dark background. That way there is a bit of contrast and I can see if my edges are clean. I’m using a white background here, but I’ll probably check it against a dark background before I use it in a page.

Get out the pen tool. The regular pen tool, nothing fancy. Now start placing points around Gabby. Just click to place a point, DO NOT drag. I’ve found the best places to put these initial points are places where you will want sharp corners. You really can’t do this wrong and if you are going to err, err on the side of too few points rather than too many.

Make enough points to roughly go around the object or person you are extracting and then click once on the initial point to close the path.

Now grab you add anchor point tool — the pen tool with the little plus sign. This is where we start making the path conform to Gabby so that we can get a good extraction. Using the add point tool, click once on the existing path approximately where you need to add a curve. DO NOT DRAG! PS will add a point, complete with bezier handles that extend the exact right amount for you to get a nice gentle curve. Now you can grab that point (still with the add point tool) and drag the point so that the path follows the curve of the photo. Feel free to zoom in as much as you need to so that you can see the curve you are after. Here I’ve place one point and dragged it to follow Gabby’s elbow.

Gabby’s arm is not a perfect curve, so I’ll add additional points on her arm so that my path follows her contour. You can move a previously placed point to adjust it if you need to and you can use the delete anchor point tool (the pen tool with the minus sign) to remove any extra or incorrectly placed points. So now it looks like this:

I continue adding points and moving them until Gabby is completely enclosed in the path and the path follows her contour as nearly as possible.In some areas, I’ve found that I need to click and drag the endpoints of the handles to adjust the curve. The handles can make the curve more or less steep and also adjust its angle. Here is Gabby all enclosed in her own path.

Now its time to add the layer mask which will do the actual extracting. In the layer palette, click the “paths” tab and select load path as selection. It looks like a dotted circle. Now the path around Gabby has turned to marching ants.

Click back to the layer tab and add a layer mask to the Gabby layer. Remember how to do that? (Check out my tut for using layer masks if you missed it)

If you like a softer extraction, you can feather the selection before you add the mask. I like extractions that are pretty sharp everywhere except around the hair and face, so now I get out my brush tool, choose a soft small brush and paint on the mask to soften it up in those areas. I also brush around her hand a bit to clean up the extraction there — it was tricky with the pen tool on those really tight curves because I reduced the size of the photo to 500 px wide for the tut. On a full size photo, its easier to get the curves right in tight spaces. And finally, I soften the edge where her shoe was hidden behind the blanket. I may end up having to blend that or hide it behind an element when I put it in a layout, or even add a bit of the blanket back in, but for now I’ll just smooth the harshness off of the edge.

So the finished extraction looks like this. I usually keep the mask active, just in case I want to go back and change something later.

Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful tutorial with us all, Becca!

That’s all for this week, see you all again next week for another edition of Flight Lessons!

Signing off for now,
Heather (heatherbird)

Flight Lessons… Clipping Masks!

Welcome to another edition of Flight Lessons! Tonight we’ll be discussing clipping masks in PS and PSE. Clipping masks are a very handy way of doing many things… linking an adjustment layer (i.e. levels, curves, saturation, etc.) to one specific layer, making a paper or a photo of something into a shape, or using a photo mask, as well as many other things. Since photo masks are all the rage in digi scrapping, tonight we’ll be focusing on them! Let’s get started!

You can see photo masks in action all over the place these days. If you are unfamiliar with a photo mask, it’s basically a shape with texture and overlays added that’s premade, and usually either included in a kit or for sale separately. You can also make your own photomask simply by creating a shape in Photoshop, and then clipping your photo to it! Often the mask is black, but I’ve seen them in many different colors. It really doesn’t make a difference what the color is, since you can basically clip anything to anything to make something new! Clear as mud? LOL! Let’s get some screen shots up. :o)

Here’s an example of a photomask in use. First, I have my layout (just imagine that it’s there instead of the white background). Then I resize and add my mask to my layout by dragging it onto the page.

(photomask by LaurieAnnHGD)

Then I resize my photo, and drag it onto my canvas as well. Make sure that your photo is on the layer directly on top of the mask.

Now right click on your photo layer in the palette on the right side, and select ‘create clipping mask’. Your layers palette should now look like this, with a little arrow pointing down from your photo layer to your mask layer.

Now that your photo is clipped, as long as your photo layer is still selected, you can move your photo around to place it where you’d like within the mask. The mask won’t move, only your photo. I have mine centered, but you could place it wherever you’d like! :o)

When you have your photo just where you want it, turn the eyeballs off on all of the other layers besides your photo and your mask in your layers palette, so that only your photo and mask are showing. Then right click on either of those 2 layers (the ones that are showing) and select ‘merge visible’. This will bind the two layers together, so if you want to move the location of your photo/mask combo on your layout, you can do so without having to re-center anything. Even after you merge, you can still edit your photo however you’d like, so don’t worry about that!

Another tip about creating clipping masks: if you use an adjustment layer on your photo but the adjustment layer isn’t clipped to the photo ONLY (for example, you’d like to desaturate your photo, but it keeps desaturating everything on your layout), right click on the adjustment layer in the palette and select ‘create clipping mask’.This will bind ONLY those 2 layers together! :o) We’ll be going over adjustment layers soon, so don’t worry if that went in one ear and out the other. ;o) Play around with clipping masks, you might find something new and cool that you didn’t know you could do! Try clipping a paper to an element to change the look completely. Who knows, you might discover the next big thing in digiscrapping! :o)

Thanks for joining me today, I’ll see you all next week for another installment of Flight Lessons! Happy clipping! :o)

Signing off for now,
Heather (heatherbird)

Flight Lessons… Text on a Path!

Welcome everyone to another addition of Flight Lessons. Today we’ll be talking about how to make text on a path in Photoshop! I’ll be going over how to do it in PSP and PSE in future editions of Flight Lessons.

Text on a path is a neat way to add that extra little something to your layouts. Instead of making a journal entry in blocks, why not try a little whim and fizzle by putting it on a swirl? Or in the shape of a star, or a heart? You can make and use any shape and have your text follow it. Let’s get started! :o)

First things first, get an idea of what shape you’d like to use. You can make your own using the pen tool, but that gets a little bit more complex, and we’ll go over that at a later date. Let’s start with the basics to get yourself comfortable with the idea, shall we? Although I’m using a blank canvas to show this example, just imagine it on top of your finished layout (or whatever step you’d like to add it!). First, create a new layer for the path.

Now we want to add our shape. First we need to click on the custom shape tool in the tools palette on the left, which looks like a little star.

Now we need to make sure that the setting for the tool is set for ‘paths’, shown below.

Now we need to select our shape. On the same line that you just changed the setting to ‘paths’, there’s a little drop-down menu next to the word ‘shape’. Select that, and scroll down to the shape that you want to use. To make sure that you see all of the pre-made shapes available to you, click on the little tiny button on the top right side of the drop down menu (second photo), and then select ‘All’.

Now we’re ready to add the shape path to our layout! Click on the area that you’d like to place the shape, and drag to make the shape your desired size. You can move it after you add the text if you need to. It should look something like this:

Now select the text tool from your tools palette. Usually, when you hold your cursor over your page, it has the little dotted edge around it. When you hold your cursor over your path, those dotted edges will disappear and there will instead be a little line through the bottom. Unfortunately I can’t get a screen shot of the difference, but you will definitely notice it when you place your cursor over your path! :o) Now once you see the change in the cursor, click, and start typing! You may have to hit undo to get your text in the right place on the path, but this is just a matter of trial and error. Play around, and have fun! Change the color, the size, the font, add spaces to corners of things (for example, if you’re using a heart shape, you may want to add spaces in the point of the heart so that the text flows evenly), etc. Here’s what mine looks like:

Now we just need to get rid of the path itself. Once you are completely satisfied with the look of your text, find the ‘paths’ palette, underneath your layers palette in the bottom right corner. Click on the tab to bring it to the foreground.

You’ll see that there are two options there, the work path and the text layer. Highlight the work path, and click on the little trash can to delete it.

And now you’re done! You can now rotate the text path just like you could any other item in your layout, move it around, make it jump up and down, whatever you’d like! You can even change the text itself still! :o) That’s all for this edition of Flight Lessons, see you next week!

Signing off for now,


Flight Lessons… Loading Brushes in PS!

A few hours late, but worth the wait! :oD

Today we’ll be discussing how to load brushes into Photoshop. What are brushes, you ask? Brushes are what many designers and scrappers use to decorate pages or create elements. In the real world, brushes are more like rubber stamps, in the sense that you can use them over and over again so get a certain look, or just one time if you’d like! You can use brushes to create a certain texture to your paper, or to add some whimsy grass or flowers to your layout. The possibilities with brushes are endless, just like the styles of brushes are endless! You can find a brush for pretty much anything. From grass to butterflies to skulls to dirt, even coffee stains.

The first thing that you need to do is find a brush. There are lots of resources, and a simple search for ‘photoshop brushes’ will pull up thousands of results. The most important thing is to ensure that you get the right type of brushes for the version of photoshop that you’re using. High resolution brushes (and honestly, more and more brushes in general it seems) can only be used in CS versions and higher, but there are still thousands and thousands of brushes for older versions, so don’t worry! :o) I can honestly say that I’ve never paid for a brush (well, that wasn’t included in a scrap kit), because there are so many free brushes available out there that are fabulous, and LEGAL to download! www.deviantart.com is one great place to start your search for photoshop brushes. You can type any word into the search. Lets say that you want to find a butterfly brush for photoshop 7.0. Just type in, ps7 butterfly brush, and see what comes up! The possibilities are truly endless!

Now lets make sure that we know how to load and use the brushes. Download the file somewhere that you’ll remember where it is. I have a ‘brushes’ folder in my photos file, but just save it where ever you’ll remember it! I like to keep my downloaded files just in case I ever need to reload, and sometimes you may want to dump all of your brushes that you have loaded into photoshop if you find that it’s running slowly. :o) After you’ve finished downloading, you now need to load it into photoshop before you can use it.

Then this box will come up:

Now hit the ‘load’ button on the right, then browse around for your file that you just downloaded. Double click the file, and then it’ll take you back to the window, and you can scroll down to see that your new brushes are now shown! Hooray! Click ‘done’ and you’re done! ;o)

Now that you have your fun new brushes loaded, you need to be able to use them! Simply click on the brush tool in the tools palette, then click on the little arrow next to the brush size on the top. This will bring a drop down menu of your brush choices, sizes and hardness.

Just scroll around in there, and when you find the brush that you’d like to use, select it. Change the size and hardness (if you’d like), and then simply click anywhere on your layout! Don’t forget that you can always undo anything, if you don’t like the way that a brush looks. I recommend having each brush stroke on a different layer so that you can control them separately, since you may decide that you want to rotate one but not all of your strokes. Remember that you can change the color and size whenever you’d like!

Happy Brushing everyone!!!

Signing off for now,

Heather (heatherbird)

Flight Lessons… Say Goodbye to Red Eye!

Hello to everyone in Tangieland! Every last Tuesday of the month we’ll learn about different tips and tricks for photo editing. To make a good photo even more fantastic or even to clean up a not so great one, you have to learn some basics of photo editing! We’ll go over things from simple (yet powerful) to advanced (uh, still powerful), and get those photos ready for framing or scrapping in no time!

This week in our Flight Lesson, we’ll be discussing how to get rid of that nasty plague, red-eye. Red-eye is one of those things that can ruin the most fantastic of photos, but don’t worry, we’ll get rid of it for good tonight! :o) As always, there are a million ways of doing one thing in every program. Tonight we’re going over how to use the red-eye tools that come with your program, and I’ll briefly discuss a few other techniques at the end. Again, I’m writing these and using examples for PS and PSP, but you can apply most of the PS techniques to PSE if that’s what you’re using. Let’s get started!

This is Jenna, straight out the the camera. Isn’t she adorable? :o)

You can see that beautiful blond hair, those cute baby chubs, those devilish red eyes… wait. Those red eyes are making her gorgeous blue ones look posessed! Lets take care of that, shall we? ;o)

First things first, open the photo in your program of choice. You want to make sure that your image is showing at 100%, so that you can get all of those little nasty red pixels out of there! My image has been resized for this tutorial, so it’s already showing at 100% size. In PS, head to your navigation menu (on the right) to zoom to 100%. In PSP, click the zoom in button until the percentage on the photograph says 100%. Then select the red-eye tool from the menu on the left.



You’ll now have a new set of options on the top of your screen. PSP makes it easy and just asks what size you’d like your red-eye selection to be (the amount of pixels round that you want the tool to be), but in PS you have two options to decide on; amount to darken (a percentage) and size (the percentage of the selection that you make… it’ll make sense when you use it ;o) ). Let’s start by just using the default numbers, which is always a good place to start I think! You can always hit undo and change your numbers after you try it. So here’s what your menus look like:



Leaving the settings on the defaults, lets use the tool.

PS: click the mouse somewhere around the eyeball of your subject, then hold it down to drag and make a rectangle around the pupil. You may have to do this more than once to get rid of the red-eye, or you can play with the settings a bit if you’d like! :o)

PSP: The default size number is usually 10pixles. If you are editing a photo for printing or a large one for scrapping, this may not be big enough. Since my photo has been resized to 600pixels wide, a selection of 10 pixels could have probably done the job, but I increased it to 15 to make my life a little easier. ;o) Once you determine what size you need, click on the pupil with the tool. I find that clicking once usually isn’t enough, and sure enough with this photo I had to use the tool 3 or 4 times on each eye. If you go too far, just click undo! :o)

And that’s it! That is, by far, the easiest way to get rid of red-eye in a photo.

As I said above, there are other ways of achieving it. There are actions (specially made mini-programs that you can download and run in PS for things that you do often) that are made for red-eye reduction, and for that VERY stubborn devilish look, you may want to try what a friend of mine does. She zooms in to the point of being able to see each pixel, and recolors them one by one. Now, you may want to save that for drastic situations, since it can be extremely time consuming and a bit frustrating. But if that’s what you need to do, it can certainly be done! You can also make a selection of the red portions of the eye using the lasso or eliptical tool, and use an adjustment layer to change the hue of it. We’ll be discussing adjustment layers in future installments of Flight Lessons’ photo editing tips and tricks, so be sure to stay tuned for that one… it’ll be a good one!

Thanks for joining me today, see you all next week! :o)

Signing off,

Heather (heatherbid)

Flight Lessons… Basic Masking and Extractions in PS!

Happy Tuesday, everyone! This week, we’ll be discussing basic masking and extractions using a mask in Photoshop only. Just a quick work about masks:

I know that masks are very intimidating until you use them, but I swear that once you do you won’t go back! Many people have actually used masks before, it’s just that they probably didn’t know that they were using them. If you’ve ever added an adjustment layer such as curves, levels, saturation, color balance, etc. then you have already used a masking layer! You can use this exact same concept and apply it to any of those other adjustment layers as well, or anything using a mask. See the very bottom of this post for more about that aspect of masking. :o)

Here is my basic screen. I’m using PSCS2, but it’s similar in all versions. I have my photo, which is of course layer 1. Here we’re using Andrea’s photo of lovely Caroline and lovely Steve, because that’s what I had open. Thanks Andrea! :o)

You don’t HAVE to do this step, but I always do it. Add another layer, and paint it white with the paint bucket. Then move this layer underneath layer 1.

Now you want to add the making layer. Make sure that your photo layer is highlighted now in the palette, then click on the ‘add a layer mask’ button underneath. Now you have a little white box next to your photo in the layers palette. The white box is your mask.

You’ll notice that there’s another box around your white layer mask box. This means that the mask is highlighted, and therefore you’re working ON the mask, NOT ON THE PHOTO. This is the whole point of using a layer mask. Your photo remains untouched, but we’re just ‘masking’ parts of it that we want to. Make sure that your little highlight box is around the layer mask, meaning that the mask is selected and not the photo itself. Now select the BRUSH tool, NOT THE ERASER. BRUSH TOOL. BRUSH BRUSH BRUSH. This was the hardest thing for me to let go of, the eraser! NO ERASER FOR YOU! LOL! Once you’ve selected the brush tool, select a round brush to use. You can play around with the sizing and what you’re comfortable with using, as well as what the part of the photo calls for. You can also decide how ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ you want your round brush to be, again this is a matter of preference. I like to set mine around size 15 to start, and at about 92% hardness level.

Now we’re ready to start cutting out the photo. Look at your colors palette, it should have automatically switched itself to having black in the foreground. If not, just hit the little switchy arrows thingy so that black is the foreground, white is the background. Now start ‘painting’ on the canvas, and you’ll see the the photo (layer 1) disappears and your layer 2 is showing through. YAY! Here are what your settings should look like, and then a close up of what’s happening. You see that on the mask layer in the layer palette, the part that you’ve painted over is black. That’s how it should be. :o)

Now say that you make a mistake, and erase part of sweet Caroline’s arm. Just hit the switchy arrows in the color palette so that you have white as your foreground, then paint over the part that you messed up. Voila! The photo comes back again! You can do this no matter how far along you are in the process. Say that you cut off part of a finger, or chop into someone’s ear, and you don’t notice it until you’re completely done. Just go back to your layer mask, make sure white is your foreground color, and paint back over it to make it reappear.

The benefit of this is that you can go back and fix a mistake or change something around that you want to FAR later on in the process, as opposed to having to go back through your history and dump everything that you’ve done up to this point. When you’re done cutting out your image and you’re ready to edit your photo, just go to your layers palette and highlight the photo instead of the layer mask. You’ll know that the photo itself is selected because that little box will now be around the tiny little photo instead of the mask.

Now you’re done! YAY! You can add images like scrapbooking elements or anything that you want behind the photo, and they will show through just like if you had erased it instead. You can move it all around, turn it in circles, make it jump up and down, and not have to worry because the mask is connected to the photo. Any questions, feel free to ask! :o)

***Here’s my little add-on about masks:

You can use a mask to alter anything on the photo. Say that your photo is taken at the beach, and you want to make the sky more blue. Just add an adjustment layer of color balance, and raise the blue amount. But, now your child is blue too, and we don’t want blue children. Select your little mask on the palette, and then make sure you have the BRUSH tool selected, and the foreground color is black. Now ‘paint’ over the children, and leave the sky blue. Ta-da! Blue sky, no blue children. And if you erase part of the blue that you WANT there, just switch the paint colors to white instead of black, and go back over the part that you want to change. It will come back again. You can use this same process no matter what the mask is. If you want part of a face to be lighter than the rest (say there’s a shadow on part of a face), use a curves adjustment layer, and do the same steps, leaving the part that you want highlighted and erasing around it.

We’ll be going over other ways of extracting and using masking in future posts, but if anyone would like to show off their work, please link us up! See you all again next week!

Signing off for now,

Heather (heatherbird)


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