Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tutorial: Using My {Story} 12x12" Templates with Letter Sized Paper (1st example)

by CT Nancy aka physioscrapper with assistance from CT Yvonne aka yabby.

There is always more than one way to do activities in our scrapbooking programs.  Today, I am going to provide you with one way, tomorrow a second way to alter My {Story} 12x12' templates to letter sized paper (11 x 8.5") or any size.  These My {Story} templates offer a challenge as they have so many different layers and shapes.

Although this article was written with PSE or PS in mind, the same basic steps can be followed for any scrapbook program that uses layers as we will primarily be duplicating, selecting and erasing.
I have gone into considerable detail, including tips/and shortcuts with many visual examples so you can follow along at home.  Today we are using LissyKay's My {Crazy} Story templates.

Open your page sized as you wish.  I am using a letter-sized page aligned with the long side as the width. (11x8.5"). I have titled my page: My {Crazy} Story letter sized.
Open your LissyKay Designs (LKD) template also in your scrapbook program.
Highlight all layers of the LKD template EXCEPT for the bottom layer, and duplicate/ copy the layers over to your page.
 This is how it will look on your page... HUGE :), but don't worry!
 Press Control/ or Command (on a Mac) 'T' and get a transform outline.
In order to see all of the outline, Press Cntl/Com '0' (zero) and you will see the whole page with the full selection outline.
 To transform, but keep proportionate:
In PSE: Make sure 'Constrain Proportions' is checked at the top of the page.
In PS: Make sure the link is checked in between Width and Height at the top of the page.
In BOTH programs: Hold down the SHIFT key the entire time you are transforming and it will stay proportionate.

Select the bottom right handle, and drag toward the center until the bottom line of the template is even with the bottom of your page.
Before committing the transformation, using the move tool, move the template so the left edge is aligned with the left edge of your paper.  Double click inside the selection to save, or click on the check mark at the top of the page.
Your page should now look like this.

Now HIDE all these layers, by clicking on the eye beside each of the layers.

TRICK:  Hold down the Alt key and click on the Background layer at the bottom, and all the layers above the background will hide.

Repeat the exact same steps as above with a second different template from the same pack, but this time position on the opposite side of the page.
Reveal the frame layer of the first template (by clicking on the eye) and bring it to the top of the layers so it is directly below the frame of the template you just moved.  Your page will look a mess, but this will help you choose what boxes you wish to keep.
Reveal the rest of the layers below, so the entire page is covered.

 At this point, it is a matter of picking and choosing what boxes (or new shapes) you want for your page.
Use your 'MOVE' tool (Shortcut - 'V') to select which layer you want to alter by having AUTO-SELECT checked in the top left of the screen.  (Auto-select will not show unless the move tool is highlighted.)
Erase using your eraser.
In PSE and PS, use the polygonal lasso tool to outline what areas to delete.
The polygonal lasso tool is found if you right-click on the lasso tool, then select polygonal lasso.  This tool only selects in perfectly straight lines and a shape can be made by clicking on the corners.  If you make a mistake with this tool, to "undo" a point, hit the BACKSPACE key.
At the top of the Polygonal Lasso toolbar, you will want either the first box or second square selected.  The first box makes a basic selection. The second box allows you to add to a selection, the third box deletes from a selection.
 However, to save time, I usually use the rectangle Marquee tool first, and draw a large rectangle over a portion of the second template that I know I will not want.
With the marching ants selection showing, I move down through the first layers, delete, delete, delete etc.
This next picture shows what it looks like at the beginning.
 I then used the Polygonal Lasso tool.
Below is what it looks like after deleting/erasing many of the top unwanted frame and color layer.
If you are using a later version of PSE or PS you have the ability to use masks to hide selections.
***I would HIGHLY recommend that this be the way you 'erase' the frame outlines that you don't require.***
If you change your mind and want to change the selection, you can easily do so.
(See under this next photo for a brief explanation on masks.
To use a mask, highlight the layer you wish to 'erase/vanish' parts on.
Click on the icon that looks like a little camera.  Usually found at the bottom or top of the layers panel.
This will place a 'white' mask hooked to the thumbnail in your selected layer.
Make sure your foreground/ background color chips are black and white. (Press 'D' to get them this way.)
Click directly on the mask you are about to use to select it.
Using a hard brush of about 90 pixels in size, with black, brush on the template and areas will disappear. Since you selected the mask you are truly painting on the mask. Black conceals your layer, painting it again in white will reveal your layer.
If you make a mistake or change your mind about what you want to see on your template, just use a white colored brush to paint the lines back in.  It's that easy!
If you see that you are actually painting black on your template, you don't have the MASK selected. 

In the photo above or below you can see the masks attached to my frame layers (the upper two layers) and how I have painted on parts of them to conceal.
You can use masks for other layers, or just erase parts of them.
Don't be afraid to zoom way in, in order to get a good selection!
Just about done!
Now to fill in the shapes, and close small gaps in the lines.
Use the rectangle marquee tool again to make a selection.  Go to the color layer that fills most of the block, and fill the selection.

Last step!  The frame and it's shadow.
The way I find it the easiest to do is highlight the two top frame layers and duplicate the layers.  (Go to the drop down menu and choose duplicate layers.)
Remove the drop shadow layer style from these top 2 layers. (Drag the fx to the garbage at the bottom).
Merge these 2 layers together. (The ones you just copied without the drop shadows)
You merge by selecting both layers and pressing Cntl/ Com  'E'.  or by right clicking and selecting merge selected layers.
 Copy the layer style from one of the frame layers below, Paste it onto your newly merged frame layer, then hide both of the 'old frames'.

Now go down layer by layer and check to see if you are going to be using it or not. (Click on the eye of the layer to reveal / hide each piece).  If you're not going to use it, DELETE it.

......... and Voila!!!  You are totally ready to go!
Honestly the first one is the hardest, then you'll get super quick at it! :)

Next week we will look at a My {Story} templates that have shapes mixed in with the boxes.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tutorial: How to Resize 12x12" templates to fit 'Letter-size' - 8.5x11" pages.

by CT member: Nancy aka physioscrapper

Letter sized layouts are considered 8.5 x 11 inches.  You can make pages with the paper turned vertically so the long side is 11", or horizontally so the width is 11".  I have worked both ways, and tend to find I can alter square 12x12" templates easier if you use the width of 11", but it is a personal preference.  With letter sized or rectangular pages some modification is usually needed to balance the page unless you want to leave extra white space (which is perfectly fine too!).  Often 12 x12" template can be made to fit a letter sized page by rotating them; so please keep that in mind when deciding on a template.

I am writing this tutorial for PSE or PS, but the basic premise/steps will work for any program that uses layers.  This does not require the specific tools of these programs, just the ability to transform/ resize the layers.

I start by opening the 12x12" template I want to alter in the scrapbook program, AND also opening a NEW file.  I size this new file 8.5 inches in height, 11 inches in width at 300 ppi, with a white background.  For this tutorial, I am using LissyKay's BitsNPieces template.
I have named my page I am going to resize the template to: Beautiful.
 Once open, I go back to the template document (LKD BitsNPieces).
As this template has background stacked layers, I will start with these layers only first!
Hold down Control/ Command (on a Mac); Click on the 3 background layers to highlight them.
Right Click and chose duplicate layers.

I am going to choose the destination as my new page titled "Beautiful". Click OK.

This is what my page "Beautiful" now looks like. As you can see the papers are WAY too big for a rectangular sized document, so we will have to resize.

 To be able to see the outline and know how much to transform (resize), hold down Ctrl/Com and "T" (for transform) and you should get an outline around your page.  Note some of the lines are missing.
We need to resize the document to fit the screen.
To do this, hold down Ctrl/Com and "0" (zero)
This should resize the page so you can see the entire outline you want to transform.

Make sure only your 3 newly transferred BACKGROUND layers are highlighted.
Hold down the Shift Key and grab the lower right hand corner of the transform outline; pulling this corner in until the transform line is lined up with the right side of the page.

Hold down the SHIFT key and drag the central lower point up to the bottom edge of your page.
By holding down SHIFT as you transform the size, the center of the paper stays in place as you transform and thrus you should have perfectly equal edges all around and the top and left sides won't move as you move the other areas.

***In some PSE versions, to move the center bottom marker, you have to hold down the Control/ Command key (NOT shift) to transform this line up.
(If you can't transform, you may have selected the bottom Background layer that was already there.  This layer is locked so it can't resize.  Make sure it is ONLY the 3 newly transferred Background layers that are highlighted and you are moving!)

Now go back to the original LissyKay template, and repeat the steps with the center elements.
Highlight the layers, right click and chose duplicate layers.  Duplicate to your new page.
And again, it will look like this... over-sized.

I want to resize and/or move ALL of these elements together onto the page.  Later I may individually change an element's size, but at this point we will resize all the elements to fit onto the page.

To move the elements onto the page without resizing:
Make sure all the element layers are highlighted.
Press Ctrl/Com "T" to get the transform outline. 
Left click and HOLD on any element within the transform outline and drag your elements up onto the page.
To resize or transform without distortion: (keeping it proportionate)
This can be done in a couple of ways:
In PSE - make sure Constrain Proportions is checked at the top banner of your screen.
In PS - you can click on the link between W (width) and H (height) at the top of the screen.
OR:  in either program, hold down SHIFT the entire time you transform.

(Doing these tricks WON'T work before when we were resizing the background papers as we wanted to change the vertical and horizontal sides separately.
Holding SHIFT resizes both the width and height exactly at the same rate and time.)

With this template, the elements can be moved onto the page with very little resizing.
Resize by either the methods above, dragging the bottom right corner toward the center.

While the Transform outline is still visible, shift all the elements as one into position by LEFT clicking on any element and dragging all of them (because all the layers are still selected) into spot.
Sometimes I will leave the elements looking much larger than the original 12 x12" , as I like how it looks bigger on this size of page filling in the spaces.  Other times I will resize them smaller.
But that's it!  Your 8.5 x11" template page is ready to use!

If I had just duplicated all the layers onto the 8.5 x11" page and resized them as one, this is what the template would look like.
The borders are uneven and all shapes are not proportionate.  Quite a difference!!
It really is worth the time to do it in 2 or 3 steps!
My completed page!
 Tomorrow I will write how to work and alter LissyKay's {My Story} templates, so you can have fun with them too!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Memorial Day Holiday Weekend Celebration

Memorial Day is around the corner and with it comes school ending, summer activities beginning and life slows down just a bit as we enjoy sunny days and endless play. I also have such an appreciation for Memorial Day for other reasons. My father served in the military, as did my grandfather. My great grandfather lost his life in World War 2. And while reading the family Bible, I learned military service was a common thread among the men in my family line. I even had a (can't quite remember how many greats) grandfather who was a captain in the American Revolution for the Patriots side. Bottom line: I have gratitude and reverence for what these men did.

In honor of this special holiday, my shops at GingerScraps and GoDigitalScrapbooking are 40% from now through May 27, 2014.

New Releases

Along with the store-wide sale, there are several new releases this weekend. Bigger is Better was designed after 4 different layouts I created for various creative teams. I really like making layouts with one large photo. Sometimes you snap your camera and you know you have a special treasure with that image. These templates are designed to display that one picture and give it all the attention it deserves. Often with larger photos, you have room to put a title or quote on the photo, and even hang elements over the edge onto the pic. This kit will be 50% off between now and Thursday, May 29, 2014. You can pick it up at either shop for $2.00.


The creative team has some gorgeous examples of how you can use Bigger is Better. You will see some even flipped the template to use for longer instead of wider photos.


My {Crazy} Story is part of the My Story series. The series gives pocket pages a face lift, making them different than your average layout. This kit still has the page frame you love, but this time no squares and rectangles. We are getting a little quirky and we like it. When I handed this kit to my creative team, I was quite nervous. I wondered if they would "get" it and find it usable. Boy, did they show me up! Not only did they prove it is usable, they showed you could make dynamic layouts, add lots of pictures and create something people want to see. This kit is at both shops at 50% off. From now through Thursday, May 29, 2014, you can purchase the kit for $1.75.


And here are the pages from the creative team I mentioned above. These are fantastic examples of what you can do with My {Crazy} Story. These are certainly outside of the normal lines of pocket pages, Life projects and traditional layouts.


Mixology at GDS

Beach Trip 1 is the first of 2-template packs I created for the May Mixology at GoDigitalScrapbooking. For those unfamiliar with Mixology, basically all the designers have the same color palette and we design small kits priced at $1.20 for two weeks. I went a little on the artsy side with these. Several layers of paint you can clip paper, color or photos to. These are really a fun way to experiment with artsy templates.

The creative team provides a variety of examples of how you can use the templates in Beach Trip 1.


Beach Trip 2 is the second Mixology pack I have for May. These templates are also artsy but with different paint styles. I want to give scrappers a chance to experiment with a variety of digital paint. This kit is also $1.20 for two weeks.

Again, the creative team went above and beyond to show the myriad of ways you can use these templates.


Facebook Fan Gift

Love Your Country is the new fan freebie you may download at the LissyKay Designs Facebook page. It was designed with Memorial Day in mind. I played with a variety of flag shapes but opted to go with a heart, thus leading to the name of the template. And the flag stripes of the U.S. flag were not cutesie enough for me so I added a variety of trims for you to play with. Clip paper or fill with color, or add borders and fibers from your favorite kit.

I just made this template available Friday night, so the team has not had a lot of time to make samples. I was thrilled to find Maria and Shelly made these up so I could at least show a few ideas. I would love to see your layouts. Post to the LissyKay page or leave in a gallery (send me the link.) I enjoy looking at what scrappers do with my templates.


From the Galleries

I had a walk through the gallery at GoDigitalScrapbooking and knew the moment I saw this layout, "Weathering Storms" by 6grand, I would share it with y'all. The template is from the kit Corner to Corner. Two things I want to point out: First, I really like the print background. It adds a texture to the layout which gives it depth. Second, LOVE the fibers, swirls, grass and leaves under the the flowers really making for a darling cluster.

While browsing the GingerScraps gallery, I stumbled on this beautiful layout "Besties" by Jenn18. First, it reminded me why I fell in love with the Gumballs kit. The circles with the frames were my absolute favorite piece out of the whole kit. Second, I was sucked in by this layout because of the photos, colors and paper/ellies choices the scrapper made. This is a great example of how a major vertical and major horizontal line can look balanced on a laout. And the mixing of paper patterns adds so much depth to the page.

Since these two gals had layouts selected to be featured in this week's post, they have won a kit of their choice. So Jenn18 and 6grand, shoot me an email with what kit from which shop you would like to receive for free.

Have a wonderful and safe holiday. And while you are having fun, take just a few minutes to remember and salute those who served your country to protect the freedoms you love.

Sparkle & Shine!