Requests for Behind the Scenes Tutorials

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Hi, Marisa, Recently I saw a challenge to make a BIG Title and make it transparent. I know I have done this many years ago, but can't for the life of me remember how I did it. Thanks for making a tutorial on this - step by step if you can.

@Karin: What sort of transparency do you mean? If you really made it transparent you couldn't see it!

When you add a shadow style to your title and then reduce the fill (not opacity!) of your text layer to zero then your title will look like it is transparent because you only see the shadow... you can choose any shadow (drop shadow or inner shadow) or 'bevel and emboss' and adjust it after you reduced fill to 0(zero).
Just tried it myself and I like the bevel and emboss effect best...

I have so many digital buttons with holes. However, just like in traditional layouts. I don't like the look of buttons with having string through the holes. Is there a way that I can make the buttons looked stitched. Is there already a tutorial for it. I can't find a way to search in the tutorial forum, so I apologize if there is already one there.

@Lisa: To add a stitch to a button I would just find a stitch I liked and then layer it on top of the button. I know we have a few buttons on the site that have a stitch through them. So I would erase the button and then use the stitch on a new button.

This is not a request for a full tutorial but I am VERY curious about how Elif goes about making charms like this? I mean I know she's in a league of her own & I can never hope to be half as good but I do want to understand the process:

or this
Are the top three layers photographed and extracted? Or are they made in photoshop or painted? And if they're photographed does she make the element herself?

Thanks Patricia - This does work smiley
I ended up doing an outline of my title in light grey, and then as you mentioned deleting the actual title word itself- leaving just the outline that worked well.

Marisa - I wanted the look of a glass/see-through alpha - and mostly just how to make my own.
I ended up doing what I said up above.
Since then I have found old kits going back 10 years that included clear/glass look alphas. <--- example of the look I was after smiley

@Jill: I'm pretty sure those charms are real charm that were scanned and extracted.

@Karin: Glad you found the steps for what you were looking for!

I'd love a tutorial for scanning and extracting elements as well as maybe some other ways of photographing things to extract and use as elements. I have not been able to find a satisfactory way of getting a crisp clear picture. I feel like I remember hearing about using a white box to photograph in? Any help on that end would be amazing!

@Rachel: I personally haven't figured out how to photograph things well either. And my extracting is nothing to write home about. I just use the eraser and go for it smiley I'll see if I can get some better help.

I do it this way (I like to have the button and the stitch in different colors):
I use the magic wand to select the stitch, edit the selection to fit perfectly, then I create a layer from the selection and make the stitch a little bit larger - 102% to 105% to cover the stitch on the bottom layer entirely but not too big, it should still fit into the holes.

Now I have two layers: the bottom layer with the button with the stitch and the stitch by itself on the top layer and I can edit every layer separately the way I like to. And of course I can also copy the layer with the stitch and use it on a new button like Marisa wrote.

I hope you unterstand what I mean. It's now so easy to explain in english ... all my tools have german names and I use PSP but I think it should work the same way in Photoshop.

I've been curious about photo masks, lately. More like obsessed with! Seems like all the layouts I'm pinning on Pinterest, have photo masks. Now I know they're just brushes but how are the more complex ones being made?

Thank you!

@Katherine: Most photo masks like the ones you linked to start with a basic shape, like a circle or square. Then you can just add different brush strokes until you like what you have. Merge it all together into one layer when you're finished and you have a photo mask.

Marisa, thank you, I will give it a try!

I second Rachel's request! I've been trying to find info and the closest thing I can come to what we want to do is product photography. Rachel some suggest using a lightbox, which can be a little pricey. But there are others I've
seen on YouTube who use a bright light with a diffusing material (like cloth or tissue paper) in front to reduce shadows. I've also read that you should use a high f stop for crisper photos. Another thing I found is something called focus stacking where you take several photos focusing on different parts of your item and then you can stack them in Photoshop. I have not tried this yet, so I don't know how difficult it is. As far as extracting goes there are tons of videos on YouTube that will tell you many ways it can be done in Photoshop. Glad to know there are other interested in this as I have not found a lot about it specifically for scrapbook design.

A lightbox for photography can be managed fairly inexpensively, thankfully.

The basics are that you need some sort of cubical frame, a material to diffuse the light, a background (usually slightly curved to avoid shadows at the corner), and bright lights (usually at least two to reduce shadows).

For the frame, I have one made from PVC pipes, but I've seen instructions for making one using a cardboard box by cutting large square holes out of three of the sides and then turning it on its side (cut holes on top and two opposite sides, open top is now a third side).

The background is often some material like posterboard since it curves better, which you hang in the frame so that it curves from the top of the back to the bottom of the front.

The diffusing material (I use linen but some people use tissue paper, especially with cardboard frames) should be draped or otherwise fastened to cover all the holes but the front. The lights should be set up to shine through the holes in the top and sides, and the material will diffuse the light to make the shadows less harsh. Then you take your photographs through the front of the box, adjusting camera settings as desired.

I tried making a lightbox out of cardboard, and yes, it does work pretty well, but I found it to be a bit cumbersome! I don't have tons of space to store something like that so I opted for purchasing one that folded up and also included the lights. The lights are so bright you need sunglasses! I'm still working on the proper white balance setting since my images still seem to be somewhat grayish even with all the light. Any tips on that would be helpful! It does make extracting images much easier too.

Yeah, the cardboard box ones do take up space when you're not using them. My PVC pipe one can be collapsed down for storage.

With white balance, I usually use the exposure compensation setting on my camera, which looks like a square divided diagonally in half, with + and - signs on it. It allows me to set things brighter or darker to adjust for the local lighting.

Beyond that, I adjust further in Photoshop using levels, curves, etc. to get my white background properly white.

Thanks Amanda for the tips, I'll definitely try them! smiley

Jenna, those look like they were scanned or photographed.

Thanks! Will have to look for some ribbons I can use for my own embellishments. Been thinking of even making some assets for shutterstock.

I'd agree those images were scanned.

Please, how do you actually use the one page PNG alphas? I found a alpha (kit!) that I so love but I am lost because all the letters are on one page.

@Sanet: In Photoshop I usually use the marquee tool and just select and copy the letter I want. All alphas also include the individual files, but you will need to download the kit that includes the alpha to get these.

Thank you @Marisa I will try. I refer to this alpha kit. I did download the whole alpha kit unfortunately it was only the one page alphas, unless they are in the bundle? On the other hand I thought it might be because it is in the commons, could that be why the individual alphas are not included?

Yes, it's because it's in the Commons and the designer didn't realize she should include the individual files.

I would like a tutorial on making a set of layer styles in photoshop. I've been searching but all I can find is tuts for using layer styles, but not for creating styles and creating one set of them.

For instance I have a few pictures of peeling would I go about making those into a set of layer styles that could be used with any color of layer?

@Rachel: Do you know how to save your styles? I have a quick tutorial on that here. Otherwise, I would take a look at how other designers are getting their styles to work, and then go from there. Getting it to work for any color is still something I struggle with myself. Sometimes it's straight foward enough, but sometimes it seems impossible.