Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July Mixology Sneak Peak & a Chance to Win!

July 24th is just around the corner and that means Mixology time!

On the 24th of each month, GoDigitalScrapbooking hosts an event in which all the designers create kits with the same theme and color palette. Without giving away the theme, this sneak peek will show you the color scheme we all worked with. I did give a little hint as to what the theme is in the shape of the peek.


Many of you know I like to spoil my customers, so I am adding a 2nd giveaway for this week. To enter is quite simple: Comment to this post. In your comment, include some of things you have done this summer -- winter for you Southern Hemisphere scrappers -- which you have photographed and will be needing templates for. Every now and then I open up the comments for template requests, and then I add those ideas to my design list.

Since there are two kits being released, I will select two winners. Each winner will receive one of my Mixology packs.

Leave your comment by 9:00am this Thursday, July 24, 2014.

I look forward to reading about all the fun things you have done the last few months.

There is another sneak peek/giveaway over on the LissyKay Facebook page. This is for the kit releasing on Friday in both shops.

XOXO!
Melissa

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Anchored Template Freebie - Triune Blog Train

This is my first time participating in the Triune Blog Train, so I hope y'all don't mind templates. Here is one to go with the mini kits y'all have collected.

Click on the image to download. You will find PSD, TIFF, PNG & PAGE files in the folder.



Here are the designers participating this month:
BlueCat
Dreamn4ever Designs
Cajun Diva Scraps
Lissy Kay Designs (you are here)
A-M Designs

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Get Your Cluster on with New Flower Power Template Kit

It's a new weekend, another new kit and it is 50% off for one week only. Take a look at the new Flower Power digital scrapbook template kit! This kit is perfect for both those who love using floral embellishments and those who enjoy adding clusters. You can easily follow the cluster patterns and add different elements.


This kit is at both shops. Click on the shop you prefer to shop at:



My team has done an amazing job with these templates. You will find samples to use "as is." You will see some altered to make a different look. The possibilities are endless. Watch for those who replaced flowers with other embellishments but still kept the pattern and position.


                   

Scrap Stacks

This month I helped launch a new feature at Scrap Stacks. Every month there will be a Scrap Stacks Template Challenge on the site's blog. Stop by and pick up the template I created for July. Here's a look at the free template you can download:



Coming Up

Next week there will be more releases and a sneak peek/giveaway will be posted Monday on the LissyKay Facebook page.

On Friday, July 18,2014, I am hosting the Mad Page chat at Ginger Scraps. Stop by the chat room and play the LissyKay version of Mad Libs. You get to help build an exclusive template available to those who attend.


Have a relaxing weekend and get some scrapping done!

Sparkle & Shine!
Melissa

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tutorial: Extracting Objects from Backgrounds


by CT member - Nancy aka physioscrapper

A way to add extra interest to your page OR get rid of a background that you don't want is to Extract your image from the photo.  I'm going to outline 4 different ways that it can be done, then you can choose what technique best fits you, or fits the type of photo you are using.

This tutorial is primarily for PSE and Photoshop, but the first technique will work with almost any photo editing program. Any time the instructions are in a different color this signifies a tip or trick for use with PSE or PS.

First a quick review of where the different tools we will be using throughout the different tutorials are.
This is CS5 - in PSE the tool may be in a different spot, but the image is the same.
We will be using a picture of my 3 yr old granddaughter in her dance costume as an example.


1.  The Eraser Tool method:
Although this may be the easiest way to get started extracting your object, it is also the most unforgiving. If you make a mistake you either have to recognize it right away to "undo" your error, or start over.
If you are capable of doing any of the other methods I'm going to list below, please do.

With this method, you simply take your photo. Make a copy of it (Control - J duplicates your image).
Hide the original image, by clicking on the eye beside the original photo or background layer.
Go to the eraser tool.
Start with a large eraser if you have a lot of background to erase (150 to 200 px in size)
Hardness ~ 90 % to 100%, and begin to erase the background.



Once you got the main part of the background erased,  zoom in up close so you can see the edges.
***********
Zooming in:  There are 3 ways to zoom in so you can see the details of your picture.
  1.  Use the magnifying glassFound with all the tools, usually close to the bottom.Once selected, click several times over the spot you want to see better.
  2.  Hold down Cntl/ Com (on a Mac) and at the same time hit the "+" key several times to enlarge your picture.  To decrease in size: Hold down Cntl/Com and hit the " - " key.
3.  If you have a wheel on your mouse, you can set in preferences that scrolling with your mouse wheel will zoom in or out.  Edit the preferences by going to:
Edit (at the top of your page), then move all the way down to Preferences, General, then make sure 
"Zoom with scroll wheel" is checked. 
**While zoomed in, to quickly move your selection, hold down the space bar- a hand will appear. Left click your mouse and while holding it and the space bar down, move your mouse in the direction you wish to shift your image.
**************
After zooming in to see the edges, change your eraser size so that it is smaller and you can make a better selection of the edges.
Shortcut to change Eraser or Brush Size:  
Ctrl/Com + [  (left bracket key) decreases the size
Ctrl/Com + ]  (right bracket key) increases the size

 A little bit of a blurred edge will just allow the photo to blend into the background paper better and look more realistic, so you can keep your eraser at 90% hardness.
Very carefully erase slowly around the outside of your subject.
Sometimes it helps to place a paper under your layer so you can see the edge easier, and see what you missed erasing.
Continue around the entire object erasing the background.  At the end you should have your extracted person on a separate layer, with a transparent area all around it.  In the image above I have erased around the legs and feet and would continue around the entire body.
Once the background is completely erased, put any layers you don't need in the trash can.
Move this picture layer onto your layout page.
(See shadowing) at the end of this tutorial to complete your page.

2. Using a Mask Method:
Later versions of PSE and all versions of PhotoShop have the capability of masking.
See the first illustration above to see what the mask icon looks like.

  • To start: Duplicate your image (Ctrl/ Com + J)  or  Layer --> Duplicate Layer.
  • Hide the original image, by clicking on the eye in the layers palette.
  • Highlight the copied layer (Layer 1), then click on the mask icon.
  • Highlight the BRUSH tool, use a semi-soft brush - 90% hardness and about 200 pixels in size to start.
  • Make sure your color chips are set to black and white, by clicking on "D".  You want black to be the foreground or top color...if it isn't hit the "X".

The beauty of masks is that it is a non-destructive and very forgiving way to erase the background.
When we paint on masks... Black will make your background layer disappear.  White will bring it back. (Black conceals, White reveals).
  • Click directly on the white mask (on your picture layer) to select it.
  • Using a brush with black color selected, paint/brush directly on the photograph and you will see the background disappear and transparent pixels will remain.
  • (If you see black directly on the photo, stop immediately, Ctrl/Com 'Z' to undo, and make sure you have clicked on the white mask beside the picture)
  • (If nothing happens when you start painting on the picture, check to make sure your color chips didn't get changed around.  You want BLACK as your foreground color like in the picture above. OR: make sure your original photo (the background layer) is hid.- click on the eye to turn off.)
Below I've started with the large brush to remove the background.  You can see the transparent pixels in the photo, and on the mask the black paint of what has been removed.
  • To see what you have to erase easier, I often put a colored paper as a layer below the image I'm masking away so I can get close edges.
Make a mistake and erase too much?  No problem!  Just change your brush foreground color to white and paint again on the photo and the picture will be revealed again.  (Again, make sure you have the mask highlighted and chosen)
  • Zoom in close and decrease the size of your brush to get the edge details.  I often zoom until the picture is 200 to 300%  bigger and my brush size is 5 pixels in size to get the detail of what I'm extracting.
See above for shortcut tips on Zooming and changing your brush size.
  • Continue around the entire object painting black to remove the background.  At the end you should have your extracted person on a separate layer, with a transparent area all around it.
    When the background is completely erased, Put any lower layers you don't need in the trash can.
     
  • Highlight the MASK. Right click and from the drop down menu that appears chose APPLY MASK.  This will leave your extracted image all ready to be placed on your layout page.
    (See shadowing) at the end of this tutorial to complete your page.
    3. Extracting using the Magnetic Lasso tool.
    The magnetic lasso tool is found with the lasso tool.  Right click on the lasso tool and a drop down menu will appear.  Choose Magnetic lasso.
    At the top, make sure the second box is highlighted (Add to selection), Feather - 2 px, Width: 5 px, Contrast - start at 15% but this may have to be adjusted.
    (If the lasso doesn't pick up the edge increase the contrast, if it is making too much of a selection you may have to decrease the contrast.)
    • Once your tool is prepared, start anywhere on the edge of the image you wish to extract and slowly drag your mouse around the edge. This tool acts like a magnet leaving a line trail that sticks to the edge of your image you wish to extract. It will leave little points of contact.  If you get a point that you DON'T want, hit BACKSPACE and the last point will disappear.
    • Continue all the way around until you are back where you started. When the finishing point/ line is connected with the beginning point, marching ants will appear around your selection. At the image below I am just about to connect up my lines.
      Hints:  
  • On areas of curve, left click your mouse to put down a points of contact within short distances. Points very close together will give the straight lines a curve.
  •  Zoom in (enlarge your picture) to get accurate magnetic point placement. Use the hand tool (by holding down the space bar) to move your picture.
  • This tool works best on pictures with high contrast, but can be used with lower contrast ones, you just have to manually put down more points along the way, instead of the tool automatically selecting the edge and drawing a line around it.

    Once you have the marching ants around your selection, select your image from the background by using the shortcut keys:  Ctrl/Com + 'J'  or go up to the top menu bar and select:
    Layer --> New ---> Layer via copy
    and you selection will appear on its own separate layer. (Below it looks like nothing has happened, but if you look in the layers panel, you'll see you now have 3 images... the top (Layer 2) is the extracted one with a pixelated background, the middle is the one we just worked with, and the bottom layer is the hidden original).
    At this point you can hide Layer 1 (the middle layer) by clicking on the eye (the image you just finished using with the tool) and you will see your selection with a pixelated background.
    • Next take the magnetic lasso again and do the individual areas between the arm and skirt, & between the legs.  After each selection just hit delete to remove the area.
    • OR:  add a mask and using a black brush mask out the areas between the arms and skirt.
    • OR: grab the eraser and erase the areas between the arms/skirt.
     
    •  When the entire background is erased, I SAVE this first as a psd file (so I can go back for reference or if I want to fine tune it a touch more).
    • Then you can immediately use / move your extracted image layer (Layer 2) onto your layout page.  If you want to save this extracted image, save the image layer only as a .png file. (This keeps the transparent background.  If you saved it as a jpeg it would refill the transparent areas with white.)

    4. Extracting using the Quick Selection tool. (Photoshop Only)
  • Nestled with the Magic Wand tool is the Quick Selection tool in Photoshop.
  • Choose this tool, make sure the second box (add to selection is checked) Pick a brush size - which depends on the size of your image in the picture.( If it isn't a smooth selection a smaller brush will be necessary.) Make sure 'sample all layers' and 'auto-enhance' ARE checked.

  • Start by putting your cursor in the center of the image you wish to extract. With this tool you will be making a selection from the inside out.
  • Hold down the left button of your mouse and push the selection lines out to the edges of the image you wish to extract by moving your brush toward the edges.
    • You can subtract from the selection by choosing the 3rd box at the top, OR by holding down the ALT key.  In this image the area between her arms and skirt will need to be subtracted, as well as the extra white space by her neck on the left.
      • Change the brush size at any time by using the Bracket keys. [ = smaller;  ] = larger.
        Once the entire selection is made, we can smooth out the edges by using... 
      • REFINE EDGE... click on that button (found beside auto enhance in the toolbar on top). This box will appear.  Use these settings to start.

       

      •  You can smooth the edges and gain back areas which the magic selection tool may have erased by using this nifty tool. With the brush selected in the Refine Edge menu, brush over any edge that you think should be slightly different.  I did the ears, the hair on top, tulle on the skirt and sleeves, and the slippers.  It will add a bit of edge then magically subtract it to where the edge 'should' be.  If it didn't get it right the first time, just brush over the area again. It allowed the strands of hair to be seen in her bun at the top.
        Note I have the final image going on a separate layer.  There are several choices from that drop down menu.  Click okay when you are satisfied with the picture.


        Using & Shadowing Your Extracted Image

        -Move your extracted image layer onto your page. One of the final things that makes or breaks an extracted image is the shadow.
        -It is extremely important to check your light source on your photo and adjust the angle of the drop shadow as well.
        -On this picture the light is coming from our upper left so I chose to start a drop shadow of 125ยบ. You can tell because of the light on her face.
        - Apply a large dropshadow (as this is a large object).
        **Note in the picture below the 'standard' drop shadow can also be seen below her feet.  If you were normally shadowing an element this may be fine, but with the realism of extracted images it must be changed as it would be impossible in real life unless she was jumping.
        - IN PHOTOSHOP:  Right click on the dropshadow fx and chose CREATE LAYER.  This will put your shadow on a separate layer, where you can manipulate it.  I use the SMUDGE TOOL to push my shadow where I want it.
        In PSE you either have to make your own shadow layer, or just erase under the feet the "extra shadow".
        In the photo below, I have used the smudge tool and corrected the shadow under one foot. Also note that the shadow is a large shadow, for a person standing in front of paper would produce a large fairly soft shadow behind.
        I changed the paper, added some elements under the image layer to give the page more dimension and now have a neat finished mini-page of my granddaughter.
        Kit used:  ISO - Peace Within by Created by Jill.
          
        Have fun playing and trying some of these methods to extract your image from your photo.















 











Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tutorial: Resizing LissyKay {My Story} Templates from 12x12" to letter sized (11x8.5") or any rectangular size using Shape Templates.

by CT member - physioscrapper aka Nancy
 
There are numerous ways to do the same activity in our scrapbooking programs. Previously I wrote one way that you could resize the 12"x12" {My Story} template to rectangular size; today I am going to go step by step and show another way to resize using a shaped template.
This tutorial was made with PSE or PS in mind, but the basic premise works for any scrapbooking program that uses layers.
I've gone into considerable detail, including tips/and shortcuts with MANY visual screen shot examples so you can follow along at home.  It only looks daunting because of how I detailed each step.
Today we are using LissyKay's My {MOM} template found here: http://store.gingerscraps.net/My-Mom-Story-by-LissyKay-Designs.html

To start, open up the LissyKay {My Story} template in your scrapbook program.
Open up in a separate document/page; a blank 8.5" height x 11" width document, at 300 ppi, with a white background.  I titled mine: My Mom.  You will now have 2 documents open.
(You can make it a black background if you like, exactly like the background color in this LissyKay template. White is not mandatory. To see if it mattered, I tried switching on and off the background layer in the LKD template and the background won't be seen on the finished template; so any color for your background will do!  Use hot pink if you'd like! lol)

From the LKD temp, we will move all the layers (excluding the background layer) onto our new page. Select all the element and frame layers by holding  down Shift and left click on the top layer highlighting it, then while continuing to hold down SHIFT, click on the 2nd bottom layer (not the background). All the layers will be highlighted.  Let go Shift, then RIGHT Click, chose duplicate layers, destination "MY MOM", click ok.
Below is what your {My Mom} template will look like. Don't worry we'll fix it!


With all the layers on the 'My Mom' page that you just transferred over still highlighted, before doing anything else... 
Duplicate these highlighted layers to the same page. (right click, chose duplicate layers, and destination is 'My Mom' page. The one you are on.)
You should now have 2 of all the layers, one group on top of the other.

--- For PS users--- Group layers.
If you use the full Photoshop Program, at this point with the 2nd set of layers highlighted; press Cntl/ Com (on a mac) 'G' to GROUP the 2nd set of layers all together into one folder.  Rename this group, by clicking on the name in the layers, 2nd set of template layers.
Highlight all the rest of the layers below, and repeat the above. Rename this group, 1st set of template layers.
As of yet, this IS NOT a command available in PSE or other scrapbooking programs.  It isn't necessary, just makes things neater and quicker. :) 
I see that I will have difficulty seeing the black frame of the template against my black background, so I have to change my screen background color.
Right click anywhere on the screen (not the template) and it should give you choices( as below). I'm switching to grey.

Now we are about to resize or transform ALL the layers.
Select ALL the layers in the layer panel. (Highlighting the top layer, hold down SHIFT, then click on the layer ABOVE the Background layer and they all will be selected.  Don't choose the background layer as it is locked and won't transform. (you can tell because there is a little lock on the right side of the layer).
Press Cntl/Com + 'T' to  get a selection outline around the layers.  Note: you won't be able to see all of the bottom corners.
To see the full selection outline, press Cntl/Com + '0' (zero), and this should change the view so that you can see the full selection outline.
Hold down SHIFT (to maintain proportions) click and drag on the bottom RIGHT handle of the selection inward toward the center until the right side of the templates line up with the right side of the document.
Double click inside the selection OR click on the check mark above the template to commit the selection.
--------------
Now we start the 'convergence' of the 2 documents.
We will think of the rectangles of the block document as the background.
The flowers will be the foreground.
We will be resizing the foreground layers to fit the page; then erasing parts of the template that aren't required to show the background blocks.

Turn off the visibility of all the first layers of the template, and make sure all the 'copied' or '2nd set' of layers of the template are visible.
In PSE and PS, this is done by clicking and 'turning off' the little eye on the left side of the layer panel.  You want all the first layers turned off for ease of seeing position.
Select and highlight all the copied layers (or Group 2) by holding down Shift, and clicking on the top layer and on the bottom layer of those that were copied.
Press Cntl/Com 'T' to get a selection outline.
Again, to see the full selection, press Cntl/Com '0' (zero).
Holding down SHIFT to maintain proportions, drag the bottom right handle in toward the center to bring the bottom of the frame, to the bottom of your page.  Double click inside the transformed area to accept or click on the check mark to accept the transformation. Your page should now look like this.
Instead of holding down SHIFT to contrain or maintain proportions, you can always click on the link between W (width) and H (Height) and everything will stay proportionate.
IN PSE: you want to have a check mark beside "Constrain Proportions", then it will do the same thing.

Turn ON ALL your layers so you can see what will have to be erased. It will look a mess.
If you are using a later version of PSE or PS:
Highlight the top frame layer, and add a layer mask to it.

Layer Masks can be found at the bottom or top of the layer panel and look like a little camera.
By using a mask we will be able to 'erase' without destruction in case we change our minds about what we want.
If you are using a program that DOESN'T have mask capabilities, you will have to use your eraser tool.
If this is the case, may I advise you to make another copy of your frame layers, Control - J, then "turn them off" as a back-up.  We will be erasing part of the frame, so if you make a mistake or change your mind about which squares you want to keep; you can simply delete the frame layer you made a mistake on and turn on your copied, but already sized frame.(This is for backup purposes only).
For those programs without masking capabilities, this should be what your layer panel looks like after making a 2nd copy of the top frame.
For those programs WITH mask capabilities, I've gone ahead and added masks to all the top layers of this template including the frame (as this is what has to be altered).  Your page should look like this with the added frames.

Make sure your color chips are set so that the foreground color is BLACK.  Use a hard brush approximately 150 pixels in size.  Make sure you have clicked specifically on the mask (of the layer you want to remove) and slowly paint away the top layers to reveal the frame and color boxes below.
Painting Black reveals what is below, painting White conceals or hides what is below. 
(If you find you are painting black right on your picture, you have not clicked specifically on the mask in the layer panel to activate it.  Do Cntl/Com "Z" to undo your last step, click right on the layer mask beside the frame, and then using your brush and the black color, brush away the top layers to reveal the bottom frame top and colors underneath.
In the image below, I have masked away the top part of the top frame, part of the red box, so you can see how the blue is revealed, the top and sides of the purple box to reveal the frame, and was starting to mask away the top of the green box.
Here is the page after erasing/masking the top boxes/ and borders away.
We are almost done...now just to get rid of unwanted layers and combine the frames.
First go through ALL the layers, turning on and off the visibility (by clicking on the eye) of each one and hiding the layers that are not needed for your finished page.  This should be MOST of your bottom layers.
When all the layers that are NOT needed are turned off or hidden, go to the drop down menu that can be accessed at the very top right of the layers panel and chose Delete Hidden Layers (or delete them each manually.)
Completing the page:
We now have to combine the 2 frames, erase portions of the bottom frame that isn't required, and make sure the layer style dropshadow is still there on the frame.
Combine frames:
Bring the bottom frame up so that it sits under the top frame in the layers panel and add a mask to the bottom frame.
Highlight the bottom frame layer and click on the mask to select it. With a black hard brush start to paint away all the bottom layer frame you don't need.
I personally fine a quicker way is to use the rectangular marquee tool, draw a box around the main portion of the frame that you know has to disappear, use the paint bucket tool and fill the area with black.  I will then go back and use a white brush to bring back any area that was removed by my marquee square that shouldn't have been.
If you make a mistake, change your brush color to white and paint what you didn't want erased and it should re-appear.  Again if it doesn't, you don't have the mask selected on the layer.
Below is using the marquee tool to select, and the paintbucket tool to fill the area with black, thus revealing what is below.
Below is the frame all corrected and properly masked.
To save the frame layer style, hold down Ctrl/Com and using the move tool, pull the fx that is on the bottom frame layer to the layer directly below.
Delete the top frame layer's fx (style), by clicking on it and dragging it to the trash can.
Hold down the Cntl/Com key and click on both top and bottom frame layers, highlighting them.
Right click and choose MERGE LAYERS,  (or the shortcut is Ctrl + 'E').
Holding down the Cntl/Com key, drag the fx up from the layer below up to the frame layer.
The frame layer will again be shadowed.
You will notice if you look at the frame layer, there is still 'extra' from the other layers showing.
We will trim everything up.  There are 2 ways.
1) Select your CROP tool and put the size of your page into the width and height...in this case 11" wide, and 8.5" height, and crop your entire page/picture.  This will get rid of all the hidden extra.
2) Go to the menu bar, choose IMAGE, then TRIM - then in the box that appears have top left pixel color selected, as well as top/bottom/ left/ right.  Click OK
and Voila!  a completed page ready to clip papers to the various shapes.

After you've resized once, the second time will come MUCH QUICKER.  I hope that by breaking down this process into such minute steps with so many screen shots, that you'll be able to successfully resize without aggravation and also learn some computer shortcuts simultaneously.