Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hello, everyone...before Christmas eve gets away from me, I want to take the time to wish all of you a merry Christmas and a blessed New Year. Thank you, all, for your encouragement and support in learning digital scrapping. That is one of the best traits of graphics friends...the willingness to share what you learn and what you create.

In some parts of the world, it is already Christmas day and some of you may be baking or cooking. You may not get this message until the day is over for you. I can only pray for all of you that you stop and remember that this is not just a "holiday". We celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. No, He wasn't actually born on December 25 but we take the day to remember Him and thank the Father for the wonderful gift He gave us. It was His grace that He sent His Son who paid a horrible price for our salvation while we were yet sinners. That just blows my mind! Wow, He loves us so much. I hope, if anything, that you will see that and understand it just a bit. He really loves us beyond our human understanding!

God bless you all,

Friday, November 7, 2008

Felt Sewn Letters

I thought I'd pass on the method I used to create the alpha for Thankful (kit). I was trying to get the look of sewn felt letters. Here are the steps I took:
1. Pick a fat font, block letter style. I used Fatslab. However, the font didn't have numbers! Can you believe that? So for the numbers, I chose Anja Eliane. Again, this font is fat. (please go here to get the supplies for this tutorial). Open a new transparent image 500x500 pixels, with a resolution of 300 dpi.

2. I have also included in the supplies the light and dark felt patterns I made from a tutorial. I don't remember where I found the tut now. Sorry. I used the light felt pattern. Open the felt pattern, pick your color for your letter. Colorize the felt by using the Manual Color Correction tool in PSP. NOTE: in newer versions of PSP, you will have to add this tool to the toolbar. I have PSP X2 but I don't know when Corel stopped including it in the toolbar. Right-click on your toolbar, click Customize. Click Adjust and find the Manual Color Correction and add it to your toolbar. For a detailed description of how to use the tool, see Shawna's tutorial here. Set your text to vector and the size to 300. You want a large letter here. I pulled out the text even more so the letters ended up being about 300 x 300 (this would make them about an inch in size for printing). Type out your first letter, using only the felt pattern for your background and the foreground set to null.

3. Pick a lighter cooler of your main color for your foreground. Turn off the background. Set your Pen Tool to a width of 2 and use the dash styled line (I included it in the supplies in case you don't have it.) Set the Pen Tool at Vector and start your "stitching" inside your letter about 1/8 from your outside edge. (see screen shot) NOTE: for a straight line, hold down the shift key and click to the next place for your line. Take your time and "stitch" carefully all around the outside edge of your letter. If you are happy with it, convert the vector layer to a raster layer.

4. Add a layer BELOW your stitching line. Now set your foreground color to a darker color than your letter. I tried black and it is too dark. It works better to use a darker hue of your color. Set your paintbrush to a size of 4. Click once right at the edge of a stitch. Go to Adjust, Blur, Gaussian Blur of 1. Then, go to Edit, Copy, Paste as a new selection on both sides of each stitch. (see screen shot below) I know this is time-consuming! That is why it took me 3 days to create the alpha! To save a little time, use the control key and the letter E to paste your blurred dot. This saves a lot of time, trust me. After you have put a dot on each side of your stitches, deselect. Turn down the opacity of this layer to 50%. Close all layers except your stitching and your "shadow", merge visible

5. Go to your letter layer, apply an Inner Bevel. Use the 2nd shape (looks like a wedge of pie), width = 9, Smoothness = 4, Depth =3, Ambience = -15 (that is a minus), Shininess = 0, Color = white, Angle = 315, Intensity = 58, and Elevation = 30 (see screen shot).

6. Duplicate the letter layer, turn OFF the copy of the layer, go the original letter layer, and using the move tool, slide the letter to the right just a bit. Go to Adjust, Brightness and Contrast with settings of Brightness = -18 (that is a minus) and Contrast = 12. Click OK. (see screen shot below) Turn your duplicate layer back on.

The edge of the original letter should be visible a bit.

7. Make sure you are now on the duplicate layer (which is on top of your original letter layer), grab the Lighten/Darken tool. Set the size at 14, hardness = 50, step = 25, density = 44. thickness = 100, rotation = 0, opacity = 31. (make sure the swap mouse buttons box is ticked). Run the mouse along the stitching until it is fairly dark (see sample). Right-click and run the mouse along the edge by the stitching. Now increase the size of your brush to about 32. Again, right-click and run the brush on the inside of the letter near the stitching. This gives the effect of stitching holding the letter together. Again, see the sample. When you are happy, turn off the bottom layer, merge visible, copy and paste as a new image, save your completed letter.

Please email me if you have any questions!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Editing Your Blog

First, go to your Dashboard, click on Layout.

This is what my basic template looks like:

I have all my scrap blinkies and tags under My Scrap Friend. If I want to add a new friend and her blog, then click Edit.
You will see something like this:

It looks like a foreign language, right? If you already know how to create a web page, then the text will look familiar...a reference to a website (a blog in this case) with an image for your viewer to click. To add someone, go to the end of your existing, hit the return key to go to a new line.
I am assuming you already have uploaded the person's blinkie or tag to your photo sharing site (like Photobucket) and copied the html code for that photo. You can either go to Edit, Paste or simply press the control (ctrl) key and the letter V to paste the code you have copied from the photo sharing site.

At the top right of this box is a link Rich Text. Click that and now you will see this:

Highlight the new person's tag/blinkie. At the top of the box is a little green ball with glasses on top of it.

Click that and you get this box:

type in the link to your friends blog...for example, for mine, it would be
Click Okay and you are back to the main dialog box. Click Save and your box will close. You'll be back at the main edit page, click Save, then view your blog. That is it!

Now let's say you don't have any friends set up yet and you want to make a new list of them for your blog. Click on Add a Gadget.

You will get a new box with a variety of choices. Pick HTML/Java Script (scroll down to find it) by clicking on the words.

You will get a blank box like this:

Type in your title, then follow the steps above that I outlined for adding to an existing list. Just remember when you are all down, click Save for your changes to take place. When get back to the template page, click Save again then view your blog.
Hope this helps. Email me if you have any questions.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Puffy Journaling

I saw this in a kit today and figured I could try to make something similar. I am sharing with you how I came up with this "puffy" journal.

1. Open a new transparent image, 1000x1000, 300 dpi. Flood fill with a bright color so you can see what you are doing. I used a bright blue.
2. Click on your Shapes tool icon, making sure that you are using the "Preset Shape" option. Choose "Callout 8".
3. Set your foreground color off, choose white for your background color. Set your shape to vector and draw out a large callout (see screen shot below)

4. You will notice that there is a long "tail" on your "cloud". Let's get rid of that. Convert your layer to a raster layer. Take your Freehand Selection tool, set at point-to-point, with a feather of 1. Carefully, go around the "tail", paying particular attention to the edge near the "cloud". When it is all selected, hit the delete key several times.

This is what my cloud looked like after removing the "tail".

5. Now you have your base. Save the file as a template for later use! Continuing on to make our journal, go to Select All, Float, then Defloat your selection. Now go to Selections, Modify, contract 30 pixels. Add a new layer, fill the new layer with your preferred color. Again, go to Selections, Modify. Contract 20 pixels this time, then hit the delete key. Now you have a colored border. Keep your selection!

6. I used a plug-in called Jeux de lignes to make the lines. To get the lines the color of your border, first go to the Materials Palette and click on the color you just used to make your border. Write down the values for the red, green and blue. You will need them for the plug-in.

7. The effect in the Jeux de lignes is called "entrelacement". I have forgotten nearly all that I learned in high school French so I am unable to translate this for you. :) See the screen shot below. Move the slider for the red, green and blue to the values your wrote down. "Rouge" is red, "vert" is green and "bleu" is blue (that one was easy! lol). Make sure you are on the WHITE layer or you will not see any changes in the preview! Move the slider for "Espacement" to about 34 (this is the distance between lines). Although it looks very wide in the preview, it will NOT be on your image. Hit Apply and you will see what I mean. If the lines are still too close together for your preferences, Undo and go to the plug-in again and adjust the "espacement" number a little higher. "Epaisseur" is the width of the line. The default is 1 which results in a soft line. Move the slider to a higher number if you wish and you can see in the preview how the line looks. This is your preference, of course. (Please NOTE: I used Filters Unlimited. Your screen may look different than mine. The settings, however, remain the same.)

8. Turn off the selection. Close off the bottom layer (my blue layer here). Merge visible. Copy and Paste as a New Image. I applied a light drop shadow to my tag of horizontal and vertical set at 0, opacity at 50 and blur at 5. Save to your hard drive as a png file. You now have your first "puffy" journal tag!

(Above screen shot has been greatly reduced)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Folded Ribbon

Someone asked me to write a tutorial on how I did my folded ribbon. I actually can't take create for the uniqueness of the ribbon itself. Melissa of Sensational Style had a folded ribbon in a kit she did. I opened that ribbon and studied it and came up with this idea. On with the show!

1. Open a new transparent image 750 x 300 pixels. Normally, I don't make a ribbon that wide but for this folded type, I made it about an inch wide. Finish it in your favorite way. Copy and save the new image as a ribbon to your hard drive. Keeping the original open, take the rectangle selection tool and make a selection about 1/3 of the ribbon. This is YOUR folded ribbon so do it the way you want it to look!

2. Go to Edit, Cut, Paste as a New Layer.


3. Go to your new layer, grab the Deform or Pick Tool (depending on your version of PSP). Rotate it so that right side angles down a bit. (see screen shot below)


4. When happy with the placement and angle, sharpen it a bit. Using the deform (or pick) tool blurs your selection a bit. Go to Adjust, Sharpness, Unsharp Mask. See my screen shot below for what I use.


5. Continue making rectangle selections of your ribbon. Do NOT simply duplicate the layer since you want it to look like a real ribbon. Some of the selections will be longer than the others as well. To get the angled, layered look, you'll need to cut off part of the ribbon on top. Making sure you on the layer you need to cut, lower the opacity of that layer a bit so you can see under it. Take the Freehand Selection tool, set at Point to Point. Carefully go around the ribbon using the edge of the ribbon layer under it for a guide. Cut that piece off by hitting the delete key a couple of times.


6. Use my folded ribbon as a guide, if you want. Once the ribbon pieces are where you want them, take the lighten/darken tool, set as below, and use it in the places the layer above crosses the layer below. However, make SURE you are on the layer under it since you have more control of where the darkness (or lightness) goes. I used the lighten tool on the edge that is "folded" and the darken tool so it appears there is a slight shadow. This makes it appear more folded, I think. Play around with the settings for the lighten/darken tool. I found that the lighten opacity and density is better with lower numbers than when using the darken tool.


6. When you have completed the above, merge the layers visible and save your folded ribbon. Below is a screen shot of my final product.


Saturday, May 31, 2008

Making a Different Clip

I saw a paper clip the other night that was different and thought I'd try to duplicate it. It looks somewhat like the one I saw but I do like it. It is always fun to have some different things in your kit, right? I am going to pass on to you how I did it. Let's go!
Open a new transparent image 500x500 pixels, 300 dpi. Set the foreground color light gray #c0c0c0. Set the background color to null (off). Grab the Shapes tool set at ellipse with a width of 15.00 pixels. Draw out a fairly large oval, center it. When you are happy with the size and shape, convert this layer to a raster layer.
Grab the Shapes tool again and draw out a second oval (ellipse). You want the top of the new oval to be laying on the top of the first one and the oval smaller than the first. See screen shot.

When you are happy with the oval and its placement, convert this layer to a raster layer. Turn off the bottom layer and merge the two layers visible. Apply Eye Candy chrome. I used Eye Candy 5 Impact. Here are the settings I used.


Take the Magic Wand and click in the center of the smaller oval. Go to Selections, Expand, enter 3 pixels. Add a new raster layer, fill the selection with your color. Keeping it selected, apply Flaming Pear Super Blade Pro glass clear preset (ships with the plugin). Keep it selected! Apply an Inner Bevel. I used Eye Candy 5 Impact Bevel with the settings below. NOTE: The bevel shape is "custom" meaning you create it. If you look at the screen shot below, you see the bevel shape has 2 "humps". To get that shape, click on the basic button shape line. That adds a node (I guess that is what it is called). You can now grab that node and move it up and down. It takes a bit of practice to get the shape just the way you want it. If you happen to add a node you didn't want or it is in the wrong place, highlight that node and then click the Delete down at the bottom right-hand corner under the shape box.


Move the beveled color layer under the oval layer. Merge visible and save as a PNG file.
This is what mine looks like.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Grungy Alpha Tutorial

I recently shared a new alpha and thought I'd share how I did it. I used a nice, crisp font, New Times Roman (comes with Windows). The pattern I used for the "fill" was one I made using a painting. You could use contrasting color too. I used a brush created by Touchstone. I don't think that I can share it. It is a set of brushes. You could use any grungy brush. Below is the setting I used:

Alpha Brush Set1

Okay, use the medium color for the font set as your background. The foreground is set at null. Set your font size to 300, vector. Open a new, transparent image, 500x500, 200 dpi. Type your first letter. Go to Objects, Center. Convert your vector layer to a raster layer. Select all, float, then defloat. Add a layer, Pick your pattern or color, set as your foreground color. Using your brush, place it varied places on your selected letter. Keep selected!

Turn off your first layer, merge visible. Apply a bevel. I used Eye Candy Impact. The settings are below. It is just a nice flat bevel with a slight edge.

Alpha EC setting

Go to Selections, Expand. Enter 5 pixels. Place your mouse on the bottom layer, add a layer (this puts the dark color under your letter). Change the color of your background color to your dark color and fill the layer. Selections, none. Merge visible, copy and paste your completed letter as a new image. Save in PNG format. Continue with the rest of the alphabet in this manner.

When I set my colors, I put the medium color as my background color (see above) and the dark color as my foreground color. Then all I had to do to get the dark color was click on the arrow to the right of the large color swatches (it is small - see screen shot below). This simplifies and shortens the changing of the colors.

Color switch
That's it! Here is the letter A completed. I hope you find this useful. :)

Alpha letter

Monday, May 19, 2008

Safety Pin Pierced Tut

I know there are other tuts that address this issue but I thought I'd share how I did mine. For purposes of this tut, open a transparent image 400 x 400 pixels. Fill with a medium color, I used a muted pink. Copy and paste your safety pin as a new layer on your image. Take the Freehand Selection tool, point-to-point, anti-alias on and no feather. Make a selection in the middle of your pin.

Pin selection
Hit delete once. Go to Selections, Modify, Feather, 10 pixels.

Feather selection
Hit delete again....this rounds the edges of the pin just a bit for a more natural look.

Making sure you are on layer 1 (in my case the pink layer), grab the Lighten/Darken tool set as below:

Carefully go around the edges of the pin (making sure now that you are on the "fabric" layer).
Change the settings on the Lighten/darken tool as below:

Click the left mouse button at one edge of pin edge, hold down the shift key, and click again at the other pin edge. Do this on both sides. In the middle of the edge, using right mouse button, click once. Hold down the shift key again and click with the right mouse button again. Holding down the shift key gives you a straight line, by the way. I played a bit with the left and right buttons to get this final look:

Pin finished
Merge visible your layers and save. Hope this is helpful!
bye for now - until I think of something else I figure out on my own. lol

Friday, May 9, 2008

Making Buttons (my way)

I realize there are a number button tutorials out there on the internet but I thought I'd share how I make mine. I am not saying other tutorials aren't good but after playing around with them, I just wasn't pleased with how my buttons turned out. So I played a bit and came up with this.
1. Open a 400 x 400 transparent image. Set background color to color you want the button. Turn off foreground color. Using the Shapes tool, set at vector and ellipse, draw out a circle (hold down shift key to make it round).
2. Go to Objects, Align and center your circle. Convert your vector layer to a raster layer.
3. Set your background color to black, pick up the Shapes tool again and draw out a tiny black circle. Move your circle to the place on the button you want. Convert the black circle layer to a raster layer.

4. Go to Edit, Copy, then Paste as a New Selection (or ctrl-E). Place the black circle at the end of your mouse where it looks right (up to you and your eyes! lol).

5. Select All, Float, Defloat. Your two black holes are selected. Expand the selection by 1 pixel. Move down to the button layer, hit delete, then back to your black hole layer, hit delete. Keep selected! Now invert your selection and promote the selection to a raster layer.
6. Apply a drop shadow, vertical and horizontal set at 0, Opacity at 86 and Blur at 14.85.

7. Move your Promoted Selection Layer to below the button layer. This makes it look like there is some height to the button. Turn off layer 1 and the promoted selection layer and merge visible.

8. I added an inner bevel using Eye Candy 5 Impact. You could use Eye Candy 4 Bevel Boss or Eye Candy 3 Inner Bevel or, finally, the Inner Bevel that comes with PSP. Play around with the settings with whatever you use until you are happy with your button. Below at the settings I used in Eye Candy 5.

9. Unhide the promoted selection layer, merge visible. Copy and paste as a new image, save as a png file.

10. If you want to add a thread layer, use the Pen Tool set at vector, with the foreground color white (or any color you wish actually). Set the Pen Tool to straight line. Click in the center of one buttonhole, hold the shift key down and click in the other buttonhole. This will give you a straight line. As far as the width of the "thread", it depends upon how big your buttonhole is. You may have to experiment to find out what looks right. Thank goodness for the "undo" button, right? I applied a bit of inner bevel to the thread as well. Again, I had to play with the settings to get it to look right to me. You may have a different setting you like. Below is a screen shot of my settings. Please note: I had already applied the bevel when I took the screen shot.

11. Merge visible layers, copy and paste as a new image. Save as a png file. I hope this tut has been useful to you!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Stickpin Shadow Tut

I have been trying to figure out how to make a stickpin look as if it is actually going through the fabric. I have tried various things but thought this looked pretty good so am sharing with you what I did.

Place your pin where you want it on the paper, bow, etc. Make a rectangle selection on the area of the pin you want hidden. Not too wide though. Hit the delete key a couple of times. Move to the layer that you want the effect on; in my example, it is fabric. Activate the Lighten/Darken tool. Below are my settings:

lighten/darken brush for stickpin
Run the Darken (left mouse) brush along the edge of the pin on both sides. Run the Lighten (right mouse) brush on TOP of the pin area. I took my time with both brushes until I was happy with the result. Of course, you may have a different method but this worked for me. Hope it helps someone!

stickpin tut result