tutorials

From-the-Center Styles Tutorial

November 4th, 2017 by | tutorials | | notes |

I have never been a fan of horizontal text or other design elements placed on top of a shape that has curves or directional sections.   It doesn’t look realistic to me.  If I wanted text on a flower, for instance, I would take a piece of text, and patiently (sometimes not-so-patiently) rotate it and clip it to different parts of the flower. It was a tedious process, and not fun at all.  But from this process, my From-the-Center Styles were born. These styles were designed specifically to be used on circular, or somewhat circular, elements.

 

Here is how to get the most out of my new From-the-Center Styles

Positioning

In Photoshop:

  • Apply a style to an element
  • Double-Click on the Layer to bring up the Layer Style options
  • Click on the pattern Overlay Option on the left to make it active
  • Select the Move Tool
  • Click on your element, hold down the left key on your mouse, and move the pattern around to your liking.

In Photoshop Elements:

  • Apply a style to an element
  • Go to the top Menu Bar: Layer > Layer Style > Scale Effects. You will be able to scale the pattern on the image, but not move it around. Sometimes this works; sometimes not. It depends on the shape and size of the element you are working with.
  • The best and most flexible way for Elements users to use these Styles, is to utilize the PNGs:
    • Clip a PNG to your element
    • Select the Move tool and move position the png file where you want it.

 

TAKING IT A STEP FURTHER….

Patterns are set to Overlay Blend Mode and Scale at 50%. Both of these options can be adjusted to suit individual elements.

Patterns are not seamless, but that typically is not a concern with this style and the way it is used.

  • Experiment with Blend Modes and Opacity levels of the Styles Effect
  • Choose just certain colors to apply a style to (see example #2 below)
  • Use the Warp Tool or other distortion tools to create special effects.
  • If in Photoshop, right click on Effects on your stylized layer; choose Create Layer. This will place the pattern on its own layer above the element. In Photoshop Elements, if you are using PNGs, you already have the effect on its own layer.
    • With the effect on its own layer, you can apply a Mask, and brush away parts that you don’t want, or that don’t suit the element you are working with.

Example #1

Here is a flower with a pattern style applied. No adjustments were made here.

 

 

Here is the same image after I centered the effect, applied a mask, and removed areas of the pattern I did not want.

(GS Creations: Watercolour Garden)

 

Example #2

An additional option for Photoshop users is to go to the Top Menu Bar > Select > Color Range, and select a color.

In the flower pictured below, I selected the yellows; then Control + J to duplicate the selection; and finally applied a music style to the duplicated yellow selection to create this look:

(Wendy Page Designs, Flowers 43)

 

With some of the pinks selected:

 

Here are just a few more examples for you:

Using LouCee Creations Paper Flowers 11: I used the Quick Selection tool to select 2 flower petals; Control + J to duplicate the selection; applied a text style to the duplicated petals.

 

A Before and After, using one of LouCee Creations Pleated Flowers1

 

 

Are you a visual learner?  Here is a YouTube video for you.

Just use your imagination and you’ll be creating unique elements and effects within no time at all!

Karen Schulz
SnickerdoodleDesigns

 

 


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Watercolor Styles and How to Adjust their Pattern

October 21st, 2017 by | new goods, tutorials | notes |

Whether designed in bright colors or soft pastels, watercolor designs always call my name.  I frequently clip watercolor papers or overlays to elements, text, or graffiti; but this week I set aside time to create a set of watercolor styles that would make creating these type of elements so much easier!

 

My set of watercolor styles is available here at SugarHillco

Save 25% with Introductory Pricing through October 26th.

This set of styles is seamless, which means that you can move the pattern around in Photoshop to take advantage of the entire color variations without ever seeing a seam.

Here is an example. I’ve drawn 4  3.5 inches circles and by adjusting the pattern we get 4 different looks.

To adjust a pattern in Photoshop:

  • Once you apply your desired style to an element, click on the FX icon or on Pattern Overlay on that layer to open the Layer Style options.
  • Click on Pattern Overlay in the Styles options to select it.
  • Leaving the Layer Style Dialogue box open, return to your element and click on it.
  • Left-click your mouse and while continuing to hold down the left mouse key, drag your cursor around in your element to move the pattern.

Are you a visual learner? See how to do it in this 24-second video!

 

To date, Adobe has not given this option to Photoshop Elements users, but here is a tip from Peggy Slemp, an experienced Photoshop user:

“I had to have these, so I bought them and played with them today. They are great! And although those of us using PSE can’t use the pattern overlay to change up the pattern, I found two things we can do that do similar things. One, of course, is to go to Layer/Layer Style/Scale Effects. Then you use a slider to change the look, If you do it by small increments, you can get subtle changes. I also discovered, that once you put the style on the element, you can rotate the element using the corner points, and it makes the pattern rotate around too. So if you want the paint to go sideways instead of vertically, you can rotate the element, then simplify it and rotate it however you want it. Make sense? Anyway, those two things do quite a bit. But thank you for making these. I am going to have lots of fun playing with these! You chose gorgeous colors.”

In the image below I have applied various styles in the Watercolor Styles 01 pack to Tracie Stroud’s Graffiti Builders No. 2 which can also be found here at SugarHillco.

Isn’t it lovely?

Watercolor Styles SnickerdoodleDesigns

I hope you find these Watercolor Styles easy to work with and that they make your designing and scrapping go much faster and easier than ever before!


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Tutorial: How to Extract with Wendy Page

April 22nd, 2011 by | tutorials | 5 notes |

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For this tutorial I’ll be working with a simple element, a tiny flower that has been sitting on my desk for the longest time. I’ll show you the steps I use to ensure I get the best scan and extraction that I can. I’m not going to touch on photographing elements simply because I rarely do so and the only advice I can give is that a tripod or flat surface is a must. After that is when I get lost.

Everyone has their own preferences and there are certainly many, many different ways of going about it, these are simply the ones that I’ve found work best for me and the equipment I have. Patience, time and practice are the common elements no matter which method you use.

To begin, you’ll want a scanner that has a CCD sensor, giving it a much better depth of field. I do not know all of the techie aspects, but this link gives a good visual of the differences.

Keep in mind that even with a CCD scanner not everything is going to be the best for scanning, you just have to play around with positioning, angles, etc. I still can’t get a good curled ribbon that doesn’t get squooshed flat!

The 2 scanners I know of that are widely used are the Canoscan 8800F and the Epson V series. Mine is the Epson V200 and cost was a large factor in my decision, but I think I get fantastic results with it and have been very happy. When I win the lotto I’ll upgrade just so I can play and compare!

So, to begin you’ll first need to adjust your scanner settings. What works well for one element may not work for another, so don’t be afraid to mix up your settings. I have my basic set up saved as the default and then I can go from there. Below are the settings I use, they’re not a big secret, just what works well for me:

• Pro mode
• document = reflective
• source = document
• table auto exposure
• type = photo
• image type = 24 bit color
• scan quality = best
• resolution = 1200
• target size = original-100%
• unsharp mask = checked at high level
• descreen = unchecked
• color restoration = checked
• backlight correction = checked,level high
• dust removal = unchecked

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The settings I adjust most often are the color restoration and back-light correction — on some items the settings can make things look really funky color wise.

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You’ll notice I scan BIG! I’ve found that first it makes it much easier on my eyes when extracting as well as seeing all the little details you’d normally miss and second it allows for a nice sharp element when re-sized to 300ppi. What may look a little blurred at 1200ppi looks great when you size down and sharpen! The other benefit is when you do sharpen it doesn’t look all pixel-y.

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You will want to make sure your element is covered by something while scanning to prevent goofy lighting. I’m positive that’s the technical term. *grin* There are several different ways to do this and it all depends again on what you are scanning. Flat items I simply close the lid. If I’m looking for a little bit of depth, such as curled edges, I’ll use a white t-shirt so the item is not totally flat. This also works well for round items — I use the shirt and hold it with my hand cupped around the object to prevent it from tipping over. There’s any number of things you can use such as box lids covered in white paper, etc.

Once you’ve got a scan that you’re happy with it’s time for that extraction business! Again, there are many different methods and it all depends on what YOU are comfortable with and the results you’re getting. I mentioned patience, time and practice. Lots and lots of patience, time and practice! There’s no getting around it unfortunately unless you have someone doing them for you, lol. I don’t mind telling you that it took me a couple years of starting and stopping before I got into a good groove and was consistently happy with my results. That’s just me, I have a short attention span, am impatient and as several people may tell you I am ALL about the little details. Maybe not in such a nice way… but I can’t help it, I’m a Virgo and proud of it! (Other Virgo’s will TOTALLY get what I mean, lol) Anyway, go at your own pace and if you get frustrated, step away for a bit and try again later!

Ok, back on track here — open your file in Photoshop and convert your background to a layer. The two methods that I prefer myself are using the polygonal lasso tool (stop booing!) and lately my new favorite way is quick masking. We’ll begin with the polygonal lasso. I have it set as a new selection with a feather of 1px and anti-alias checked. I also blow my scan up to 200% to work with.

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I should mention here that I use a tablet and pen and have for years. Extracting can certainly be done using a mouse but it’s a bit more tedious and the “feel” is different. I have much finer control using the pen and tablet.

To use the lasso you’ll click (or tap if using a tablet and pen) where you want to start and then continue advancing to the next point, click/tap and so on. Once you have a small area defined you’ll bring the selection out and away, taking as much of the background you want to remove as you can and close it by clicking on your starting point — you’ll see the “marching ants”. I then hit delete. 10 times. Yes, I hit delete 10 times. This gets me a nice clean edge and when re-sized you will not see a blurred edge. Hit CTRL-D to deselect and then start again in a new area.

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It’s important to do small areas at a time. I’ve discovered that it doesn’t take very much to accidentally click/tap and have a selection cutting out pieces that you want to keep. It’s a real bummer if this happens when you’re 3/4’s of the way around and then have to start over! If it does happen simply deselect (CTRL-D) and begin again.

Now, you’ll notice with using the lasso that it’s not the greatest for getting those little details, such as fibers, etc. Curves can be a bit of a challenge as well because you don’t want it to look like a series of straight lines, you want it to look curved! Going slow and clicking/tapping frequent small short areas rather than larger longer areas is the key. Below shows the extracted flower at 1200ppi and 100%, the same on a bright back to see the edges, and then re-sized to 300ppi and sharpened.

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The method I use now is quick masking. I don’t remember where I learned how, I do remember it was awhile ago, I tried, gave up and have just come back to it again recently. It’s my new best friend! It’s not necessarily any quicker but I have even more control over what I am keeping and what I’m removing, and it’s excellent for little details!

Again, you’ll bring your image into PS and convert to a layer. In your brush menu you’ll choose a hard round brush with 1% spacing and shape dynamics turned off.In the tool palette is the icon down at the bottom, looks a little like a camera maybe? A rectangle with a circle in the middle. This is your quick mask. Have your brush selected and set up with the foreground black and the background set to white.

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Basically you are going to be “painting” on your image. Click on the quick mask button and you’re ready to begin! I use a large brush, big enough to cover large areas at a time. I leave the little nooks and crannies to go back over with a smaller brush and the threads and strings for an even smaller brush, usually 1px.

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You’ll want to “brush” right up to the very edge of what you want to keep.If you go over it’s ok, simply change your color to white and brush over those areas.

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Remember, black on the areas to keep, white on the areas you want to eliminate. Make sure you completely fill in your object while brushing because if you don’t you’ll have big holes. Once you’re done simply click on the quick mask button again and you’ll see your selection of marching ants. Hit delete and your background will be gone! It does take a bit of time and practice to make sure you get a nice smooth edge without any jaggedness. That’s why I use a large brush to begin with, less area to worry about an unsteady hand! I’ll go back over again and again with smaller and smaller brushes to get those areas and details the large brush will miss.

Here you can see the details that you can achieve with the quick mask versus the polygonal lasso:

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So, once you’ve got your element scanned, extracted with no stray pixels and jaggies, re-sized and sharpened you have one last detail to take care of. Sometimes I’ll do this just before I re-size because it’s easier to see. Clean up! Clean up those bits of dust specks, string, hair, glitter and other bits that tend to stay on the scanner no matter what you do. This will leave you or your clients with a great finished product that is absolutely ready to use–nothing is worse than opening an element and discovering you have to spend time cleaning things up instead of creating. Well, I’m sure there’s worse things, but you get the point. It’s one of those annoyances that doesn’t have to happen if you are careful and thorough.

Here’s the finished flower, feel free to download (click the image) and see for yourself how it looks. CU/PU ok

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Thanks so much for sticking with me through my first ever tutorial, I hope you enjoyed it and maybe learned some new tips or tricks to make your creating a bit easier, whether you’re designing for others or for yourself. :)

Wendy


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