I can’t come up with a single acceptable excuse for why it has taken me so long to create products for documenting our television viewing habits. I am a certified television addict. My TiVo practically collapses in exhaustion at the end of every week. Most of them on Bravo.
Oh how I love my Bravo TV.
There is nothing like curling up on your couch with your TV remote in hand and a big bowl of snacks – it’s one of my favorite ways to unwind. And my latest release Stay Tuned will help you record all of your TV-related information for the family album – whether it’s your own, personal guilty pleasures or your kids’ favorite shows.
Also new in the store are the coordinating Stay Tuned Journal Cards to use on your digital pages as elements and journaling prompts or for use in your Project Life albums. Both products are 20% off, but you can get the cards for free with the purchase of the kit. (Which is, like, 48% off ? It’s a screaming deal.)
Early Bird Savings
|| LAYOUTS BY THE FLOCK & THE POLLYS ||
Hi everyone. It’s Christy here and I’m excited to share with you some tips for creating clipping masks for your digital scrapbooking pages.
Let me start by sharing with you that I love using templates! I think they make my layouts look better and they keep me from staring at a blank page not knowing where to begin. In fact, I love them so much that when I’m not going to be using a template someone else created, I make a simple template myself before I begin a layout. Basically this is done by drawing shapes on a page and using them as clipping masks for my pictures and papers.
There are two main reasons I use this process to start my layouts. First, I love to clip pictures and papers to shapes to keep them adjustable. I don’t have to crop the actual picture and I can always swap out papers as I’m working on the layout. Second, I have trouble visualizing the layout when I add pictures. papers, and elements to the page and try to move them around. I can never seem to get it to look right. However, if I start with just basic shapes I’m able to move them around and play with them to get a look I like before adding all the jumble of colors and patterns.
I wanted to share with you some tips I’ve learned along the way in creating clipping masks. I’m using Photoshop Elements 11, so if you have a different software program you may need to adjust the directions a bit for your program.
TIP 1 | There are many different shape options.
When you click on the shape tool in the left tool bar a bunch of different shapes will appear at the bottom. (In older versions of PSE the shape options appear along the top.) Let me zoom in on the shapes to share six of them with you.
1) Custom: A menu with many different shape options will appear
2) Rectangle 3) Rounded rectangle
4) Oval 5) Polygon 6) Star
Note that with the polygon and star you will be asked to enter a number of sides you want, so these shapes are very customizable.
TIP 2 | Use the shift key and duplicate options.
To draw any of the shapes you simply click with your mouse on the canvas, hold down the button, and drag to draw the shape. If you hold the shift key down while you do this you can keep the proportions equal. This is an easy way to use the rectangle tool to draw a perfect square or the oval tool to draw a circle. If you want multiple shapes to be exactly the same size, you can draw one shape and then go to “Layer – Duplicate layers” to make additional copies of it.
TIP 3 | Use your arrow keys to space the shapes.
You can move your shapes anywhere on the page, but it can sometimes be difficult to space them evenly. One quick way to do this is to line them all up next to each other. Newer versions of PSE will automatically snap them together when you drag them close. Then select one shape and use the arrow keys on you keyboard to move it over, counting how many times you click the key. Click the arrow key the same number of times between each shape. Note that if you zoom in or out on your layout your arrow keys will move shapes different amounts, so if you clicked one shape three times to the right and then zoomed in and clicked the next shape three times right they will not be evenly spaced.
TIP 4 | Pay attention to the radius when using the rounded rectangle.
When you choose the rounded rectangle option a box titled “Radius” will appear. This controls how big the rounded corner will be. Enter a smaller number for a corner that is barely rounded or a larger number for a large round to your corner.
TIP 5 | Create a little or a lot.
Use clipping masks to help you. You can use them just for your pictures or you can add more for a bunch of papers too. Play around with them and get the look you want for your layout. If you really want to plan out your layout you can add shapes as place holders for elements too.
TIP 6 | Add color and shadow.
If you are like me and enjoy planning out a layout in simple colors and shapes first, you may want to add different colors to your shapes so you can see them all, especially when they are overlapping. It can also be helpful to add shadows to them so that they give you more of the look your finished layout will have.
I hope you found these tips fun and helpful. Here is the finished layout I did with these clipping masks.
It’s Christy here and I’m honored to again be bringing you the monthly gallery standouts. I had so much fun going through the One Little Bird gallery and seeing the amazing layouts you all post there. They were just beautiful this month and I had such a hard time narrowing it down so this post wouldn’t go on forever. So here are five outstanding layouts I found and wanted to share with you!
Hello March | by kaphelps
For starters this whole layout shines, beginning with the sunshine in the photo and moving through the bright colored papers she chose to use. I love the way the title hugs the corner and the perfect element cluster at the bottom right. The journaling is a perfect memory to capture and the way she split up the large photo really gives you a feel for the spring view. Stunning layout!
March Template Challenge | by jackieclayton
I love the way the clustering and the hexagons draw your view across from the journaling to the photo. The simple dark background really makes the colors on this layout pop and draws attention to the contrast in the black and white photo. Beautiful layout!
Materials: Tuesday Morning by One Little Bird Designs.
Good Day | by shauilee
Here is another one with a simple and dark background. I love the bright red rectangle moving down the page and the splashes of red that draw your attention. Contrasted with the light blue and white on the photos makes the layout amazing. I also love the touch of the small arrows pointing at the photos. Awesome layout!
Materials: Dayplanner by One Little Bird Designs & Paislee Press.
Quoted | by Shannan_mm
I love how the black and white photo looks on this layout, and using a single color in addition to the black and white is so eye-catching. I also like the long, non traditional cropping of the photo and what a fun quote to scrap about! Amazing layout!
Materials: Dialogue by One Little Bird Designs & Paislee Press.
Love Every Minute | by mrphoto
Finally check out this layout. The coloring of the photo makes it look like part of the kits and I love the variety of color and elements/shapes on the page. I love the organization with most of the elements and papers at the top, but a nice balance at the bottom too. Precious layout!
Materials: Day Planner by One Little Bird Designs & Paislee Press; Going Places by One Little Bird Designs & The Ardent Sparrow; The Claire Alpha by The Ardent Sparrow. Scraplift of a layout by Sucali.
Thanks for the inspiration this month everyone. If you’d like to see your layout featured here on the blog, make sure you are posting them in the One Little Bird gallery.
One of the top questions I am asked regularly is how to get and stay organized when it comes to digital scrapbooking supplies. There are so many ways to answer this question. Your personal answer to this question will depend on your organizing style, the way you use your supplies and how you scrap. That said, I’ve noticed five patterns in the creative flow of students that get and stay organized:
#1 Do Something Consistently
It’s nice to THINK about getting organized. It’s fun to TALK about getting organized. Sometimes it’s even cool to build a PLAN to get organized. The problem with all this is that unless you actually DO SOMETHING to move forward, you get nowhere.
Doing is great because you move forward. However, it isn’t until you do something consistently that you will begin to see exponential improvement to your system. Set aside time to stay organized. You don’t expect a scrapbook layout to build itself – it takes creativity, application and time. It’s the same with organizing your supplies.
The scrapbookers who are happiest with their organizational system are those who consistently work to keep their library organized. Just 15 minutes a day while getting organized and then 5 minutes a day thereafter can make a big difference.
#2 Think About What You Acquire
It’s easy to stay organized when you aren’t adding new supplies to your library. In fact, I’ve had quite a few students tell me that when that last keyword was added to completely organize their library they felt like they never wanted to shop again.
The reality is you are always going to buy new product. This is why you need to find creative flow with your supplies. One of the biggest parts of your creative flow is being selective in what you decide to acquire so you spend less time organizing it.
I am a sucker for new kits from designers I love. One of my best gatekeeping methods is searching my current supply library for keywords I would apply to things in the new kit that have me wanting the kit. Often I find that I already have items in my supply library that are close enough to those in the kit I was dying to buy. This seriously saves me more than you know.
Another item to watch are freebies. While they are fun to collect and FREE, are they really? Every item you acquire takes time out of your life to download, move around and organize and store. The cost of hard drive and subsequently backup space can add up quickly.
#3 Make Technology Do The Heavy Lifting
Use Windows Explorer to add a few keywords to make it easy to find your files next time. To add information, right click on the kit preview file and choose Properties. Click the Summary tab or the Simple button. Add information to help you in future searches.
For Mac, right click on the kit preview in Finder and then choose Get Info. Click in the Spotlight Comments box and add keywords or any information you wish to help you find the kit again.
If you want to go all out, find a good digital supply organizing program. I highly recommend Lightroom for Mac users and ACDSee for Windows users. You can find my Creatively Organized class and Lightroom for Supplies on my site.
This can be the most painful thing to do and also the most liberating. It only requires one key – Delete. At one point in my digital scrapbooking life I think I could have been considered a digital hoarder. I had so many supplies there was no way I could ever use them all in years. It wasn’t until I started consistently dedicating time to delete the supplies I didn’t love that I got a lot more out of my supply library.
The easiest way to delete is when you first download a kit. See a ribbon you’ll never use? Word art you hate? Delete. Let it go. It’s like downloading photos. You don’t have to keep them all. I promise there is no gremlin in your computer that will eat the rest of your files if you delete the things you’ll never use.
My second easiest way to delete is to do a search in my library or computer folders of items by year. This has been by far the best thing I could have done. Going back to 2007, 2008, 2009… Styles have changed a lot. It is easy to delete. During this process you will also find items that you love – flag them so you can use them again soon.
The amazing thing about the delete key? As you get better with it, you will feel liberated. Spring cleaning your supply library is a little like the feeling you get when you clean out a huge closet. It makes it easier to enjoy the supplies you have.
#5 Take Inventory
If I asked you today how many kits you have, or where all your digital supplies are on your hard drive, would you know? One of the biggest obstacles to getting organized is making sure you know where all of your supplies are.
Many students leave unzipped kits in download folders for months. Sometimes they even unzip a kit to use it in a quick project and then leave it in the download folder for months. It happens to everyone – so what can we do?
Set aside time each week or month to take inventory of the supplies you have and where they all reside on your computer. By taking inventory I don’t mean counting each item – just make sure you have a file folder system that works and that things are where they belong.
If you tag items with keywords in a software program, create a folder like To Be Organized and then file kit folders needing to be tagged in that folder. That way your download folder is free and clear and you can get things organized when you find some time.
One More Thing…
Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day! Pick just one thing to work on and you’ll be that much closer to finding your creative flow.
Hello everyone. It’s Christy here to share with you one of my new and favorite photo editing tools – RadLab from Totally Rad. If you are at all familiar with it, you’ve probably heard raving reviews. However, if you are in a place like I was 6 months ago, you are probably wondering if it is really worth the money. So I’d like to share with you how I use it and some tips for the program so you can decide for yourself if it is the right tool for you.
RadLab is extremely easy to install and run. I use Photoshop Elements (PSE) and found all the instructions I needed to install RadLab on their web site support page.
When I open PSE now, I just go to File RadLab Panel. This brings up a menu box that has a button I can click to launch RadLab.
I use this method of opening the plug-in because there is an option (see the drop down menu in the box) for putting the edits onto a new layer. I will come back to this in a bit to show you why this option is powerful, but this is the setting I always use.
Note: If you click the little double arrow icon in the top right of the RadLab box it will shrink and you can move it right on top of the tool bar.
THE RADLAB INTERFACE
Clicking the “Open RadLab” button brings up the RadLab interface in its own window. Your photo will be on the left side and all of your editing options are on the right.
At the bottom of the left you have a couple of different viewing options for your original photo. Try them, but I love leaving it on “After” so I can see the effects on my photo as I work on them. It can be fun to choose the “Compare” option at the end to see your edited photo side-by-side with your original, too.
To the right, down the middle of the interface, are all of the available RadLab Styles. One of the best features of RadLab is the ability to see what each Style will look like before you apply it to your photo. The thumbnails give you a preview of the effect on your photo and they change as you layer Styles over one another.
Note: You can also hover over the Style thumbnails to preview the effect on your larger photo on the left.
When you find Styles that you like, you simply click on them to add them to your photo. My favorite effects for simple edits are “Lights On” – which boosts the exposure on your photo – and “Oh Snap!” – which really pumps up the contrast!
FINE TUNING EACH STYLE
One of the reasons I find RadLab to be so powerful is that you can adjust the settings on each of the Styles you apply to your photo.
On the far right side you’ll find basic adjustment sliders (brightness, contrast, color balance) as well as the sliders for each of the Styles that you have added to your photo. You use these to adjust the amount or strength of each effect. Want a more subtle effect? Lower the strength. As you move the sliders simply watch your “After” picture on the left side so you can get the exact look you desire.
In the world of RadLab, layering multiple Styles on your photo is called a “Recipe”. If you find a combination of Styles that you really love, you can click the “Save” button near the bottom right to save it as a Recipe for future use. And what I love even more is that the software automatically saves the last few effects you have done in the Recipes tab, as well. So if you are editing a batch of photos all taken at the same event, you can easily add the same set of edits to the photos and fine-tune as needed.
At the beginning of this post I promised that I would address the issue of adding these edits to a new layer. Above is a photo that I edited in RadLab and after I was done I thought that effect looked too strong. I can easily use the opacity slider or the layer mask tools to show sections or amounts of the original layer through. (If you do this though, make sure you link the layers so that they always move and resize together.)
In addition, the new layer helps if you want to use RadLab on a picture (or paper or element for that matter) that is already on a layout. Here is a layout I did where I wanted to edit the photo of my newborn son. I clicked on the photo layer and then ran RadLab. It pulled up the whole layout and the preview on the left will show the effects adjusting the whole layout. Just looking at the picture I want to change, I get the look I like and click “Finish.” Back in PSE it applies the effects to a layer right above my photo, so the effect is actually changing all the layers below it. By clipping the RadLab layer to the photo (Ctrl/Command – G) I can apply the effect just to the photo.
I have been using RadLab for three months now and here are the pros/cons for me.
- It is super easy to open and edit photos.
- There are so many options. You can also mix and match and adjust sliders for each option.
- The number of cool combinations you can make for your photos is endless.
- You can save recipes to use on multiple photos.
- You can make the edits in a new layer to allow for adjustments in the future.
- Since upgrading to PSE11 I have had problems with PSE crashing if I open RadLab after PSE has been left open for a long time. I have no idea if this is just a quirk for me or if it happens for others. And since I usually edit photos at the beginning of a project it is not usually an issue. I do tend to leave PSE open all the time (for days even) so I just try to remember to restart PSE before I’m going to work on editing some photos.
If you do not have RadLab and are thinking about it, here is my advice:
- Download the free trial and use it as much as you can over the free month to decide how well the program works for you.
- If you have the money, purchase it, but if it seems too expensive it may be worth holding off a bit. They offered discounts at least three times last year. It may be worth signing up for their e-mail and watching their facebook page.
- Totally Rad has just released an Apple app called PicTapGo. It is currently only $1.99 and seems to be getting good reviews. If you take a lot of pictures on your iPhone or iPad, this might be a fun way to edit photos until you can save up for Rad Lab.
- Go for it! It has made editing my photos so easy and I find I get much better results through RadLab then with my own tweaking. I love using RadLab!
(Note from Peppermint: I love RadLab, too! It’s made photo editing fun again – and coincidentally enough they just announced a 40% off sale yesterday with no end date listed. So you can grab RadLab for $99 for a limited time, I just don’t know how limited!)