Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Easy Alphabet Re-Coloring

Alphas are one of the most versatile, but sadly under-appreciated tools in digital scrap-booking. In this simple tutorial you'll see how easy it is to re-color an alpha (in effect, creating a new alpha!). I am using PSE11 in my tutorial, so if you are using a different program, the screen might look slightly different for you.

I loved the hand-drawn look to the alpha in Celeste's School is Cool kit, and wanted to duplicate the look she created in the kit's word art. Here's the layout I created using the kit, re-coloring the alpha in the word art:


Like most things digital, there is more than one way to re-color an element. In this method we're going to use one of my favorite tools, the magic wand. Open the letter or element you want to re-color in your program.

Step 1: Click on the magic wand tool on the left tool bar. With the letter layer selected, click your cursor down in the middle of the solid part of the letter. This will start the marching ants, which tells you that is the section of the png that the program will target.

Step 2: Add and select a layer above your letter or element layer. With the marching ants still marching, click on Select on the top tool bar, then click on modify, contract, and then a box pops up to determine the number of pixels by which you want the image contained within the marching ants to contract. I used 5 pixels for my sample, which left a nice black border similar to the letters in Celeste's word art in this kit.

Step 3: With the blank layer above your alpha or element selected, click on the paint bucket. Make sure your foreground color is the color you want to use to re-color the element. Then click down on the screen within the marching ants to "paint" the section of the alpha or element that is in the contracted marching ants from step 2. How cool is that?!

Step 4: You may need to clean up the stray pixels a bit using the eraser tool. I prefer to create a layer mask on the color layer, so that if I erase too much I can easily correct the mistake without having to repeat steps 1-3 to re-create the color layer.

Click on the mask tool above the layers palette, make sure the foreground color is set to white, then click on the eraser tool. Pick a small, hard round brush, then click once more within the mask in the layers palette (to ensure you are erasing using the mask), then use the eraser tool to erase the stray pixels on your image.

Last step: You will want to link the color layer to your original alpha or element, so that when you move the alpha on the screen, the color will stay in place.

Have fun!




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August Gallery Standouts

Hi everyone!  Sharon here with the August Gallery standouts for Sweet Caroline Studio.  Celeste Knight's kit for this month was "School is Cool" and there were some awesome layouts at Pixels and Company using this kit!
These two layouts are from Barbara Unzen.  I love the journaling in the first layout and the sticky note in the second.  That is really cool!  
This one is from Samantha Bellerose.  I love how she layered the patterned paper.  
This cute layout is from Courtney Mervine.  I loved the lined paper and the "You're a Star" stamp is perfect!  Hope you enjoyed these layouts.  Check out this kit in Sweet Caroline's shop and see all the great layouts from this kit and others in the gallery. 



Friday, August 8, 2014

School is Cool | New Release

Did you ever doodle in your notebooks? Do you want to recreate that look on your school themed pages? Celeste has created this fun kit to help you do just that. School is Cool has an assortment of patterned papers, solids, elements, an alpha and journal cards.

School is Cool Elements School is Cool Patterned Papers

School is Cool Solid Papers School is Cool Alpha

You can snag the full kit or individual pieces, but don't forget to grab the journal cards, they are perfect for traditional pages and pocket pages.

The creative team has worked their magic again and created beautiful layouts.
by Bea
by Lorry
by Natashya
by Zakirah


Don't forget to hop over to the Scrapaneers Facebook page to snag a coordinating set of journal cards for FREE! 





Thursday, July 31, 2014

Digiscrap Parade Freebies

The Digiscrap Parade is pulling through once again! The theme for this mega collab is Authentic, which means you get a great kit, in beautiful colors, perfect for your All about Me pages and much more. 

Here's a peek at what you can snag if you like sweet caroline on Facebook


If you are not on Facebook, you can still snag this freebie by signing up for the newsletter, not only will you get the introduction bonus, but you will get links to the current freebies in each newsletter.

This little freebie is created by the sweet team, an alpha and washi tape. Because you can never have too much washi tape!


This freebie will only be available to newsletter subscribers, so sign up and you get the current intro bonus and this freebie. It will be linked in the next edition of the newsletter.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

PS Tutorial: How to Save Your Layouts for Gallery Upload (Part 2)


Welcome to Part 2 of my tutorial on How to Save Your Gorgeous Layouts For Gallery Upload! In this second and last part, I'll share the Advanced technique and Automation Tutorial.

If you haven't read Part 1 yet, go there first because there are steps from Part 1 that we'll be repeating in Part 2.


If you've read Part 1, then let's get started on Technique #3: Advanced.

- - -


We'll be using the Eraser tool here.

1. Let's open up our layout and resize it to 600x600 px:


2. After resizing our layout, let's duplicate the Background layer:

3. Select the duplicate layer and apply the High Pass filter on it:


4. Let's set the layer blending mode to Soft Light:

5. Now we have our over-sharp layout, just like in Technique #2:

 6. Unlike in Technique #2 where we reduce the duplicate layer opacity to 15%, we're going to keep it at 100% now because I like how sharp the glitter moon and journaling look like at 100% opacity. However, I don't like how other parts look too sharp, so I'm going to erase them using the Eraser tool.

Let's grab our Eraser tool from the Tools palette:

7. Let's change the eraser brush opacity to 30%:

8. Here I'm highlighting the parts that I'll erase: the die-cut background paper, the title and the flags on the photo (you don't have to do this! This is just for example):

9. After erasing, here's what the layer looks like:

10. Now that we're done erasing, let's bump the saturation up to add vibrancy to the final layout. Click on the Fill/Adjustment Layer tool and select Hue/Saturation:

11. Let's increase the saturation to 8, then close the Adjustment panel by clicking the circle button on top left:

 12. And now, the final result.

To save your layout, repeat Step 3-4 from Technique #1.


- - -

A comparison between Technique #2 (left) and Technique #3 (right):


I love how I can play with the level of details that I want to keep here, by using the Eraser tool. I also love that I can remove the overly-sharp parts and dark shadows that were created by the High Pass filter. The result looks more natural and vibrant, just the way I like it. The differences might be subtle, but when you look closely, you'll see them.

Now let's learn how to automate the process so you'll only spend 30 seconds (or less) on the Advanced technique!

- - -



We'll be using the Actions tool here.


1. First of all, open your 12"x12", flattened JPG layout, then open up the Actions tool window by navigating to Window > Actions:

2. Now we're going to record what we do in Technique #3! Click on the icon below to create a new action:

3. Name it "Save for Web" or whatever you like, then click "Record".


 4. We'll start with resizing our layout to 600x600 px:


5. Then select the Background layer and duplicate it:

6. Apply High Pass filter on the duplicate layer:


7. Add the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer:


8. Now click on the Stop button to stop recording:

9. That's it! You now have a Save for Web action that will enable you to save your layout in just a few seconds!

10. All you have to do now is erase the parts that you want to be less sharp using the Eraser tool, or simply lower the duplicate layer's opacity to 10%-70% (whichever number you prefer). Then repeat Step 3-4 from Technique #1 to save your layout.


- - -


I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and learned something from it! If you need any help, just leave a comment below and I'll do my best to help you in any way I can.

Thank you for reading! ♥ ♥ ♥