Requests for Behind the Scenes Tutorials

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Thank you!

Setting up a fan freebie on your facebook page! Can't find a tutorial anywhere, not even on FB, unless I'm just terrible at searching...which is totally possible.

I've looked on-line for an answer to my question but I haven't been able to find I'll try here. I have been working on a series of scrapbook pages using photos I've taken of my grandchildren over the past several years with the ultimate goal of giving a completed digital scrapbook to their parents--I don't want to print the pages out. How do I put all of these pages together and what sort of digital storage device should I save the completed pages on? Do I make a slideshow with them or is there something better? I'd appreciate any suggestions you can give me--thanks!

Depending on the ultimate file size of your flattened and saved final layouts, you could use a flash drive, DVD, or even just email the whole folder as a zipped file, then they can use the files however they'd like, in a digital picture frame or as a slideshow on their computer...

thank you!

@Rachel: You'll have to use a third party service if you want a special page for your freebie. I use Woobox and so far what I need it for has been free.

I did finally find that one. Do you have any tips or tricks in using it? I was trying to use it to set something up, but I couldn't quite get a finished product. I was following a YouTube video I found but the author and myself were not aiming for the same end result so it left me in limbo.

I'll send you the code I'm using, that may help.

I would like to learn how to make a pin look like it is piercing the paper like in this

Hi Marisa, I would love a tutorial on how to extract a quality real life item from a picture to become an embellishment. I love how amazing yours and Janet's are. I keep trying in photoshop and I don't know if it's my photography or my photoshoping that is leaving something to be desired smiley.

I made these staples, but they get blurry at a bigger size. Maybe take the picture outside? Do you use a special light box? I used the pen tool to extract it and then gave a inner shadow. Do you use something different. Yours on the other hand look amazing, mine is a little bit dark and blurry. I'll keep trying, extracting flowers are a lot harder for me. Any tips would be much appreciated! It might be that I just need to take more time in doing it and take better pictures.

@Kelly: In my experience it's getting the photos that's the tricky part. Extraction can be time consuming, but isn't particularity tricky. The things I have the best luck with I've scanned. If I try to use a camera it's always more trouble than it's worth for me. Haven't figured that out yet. But flat things (like the staples) are easy to stick in the scanner.

I'm with Marisa on preferring the scanner. In general, it's the least time consuming way to help get clear and nearly ready to use 'pictures' each time. Though I do photograph TONS of items used in my kits. I always use natural outdoor light (even in the freezing MN winters). I've tried light boxes without much success. I just prefer natural light. I go out in either the early mornings or evenings, avoiding the harsh mid-day light. I also use my DSLR set to ensure I have a large resolution and in general much more control.

After I get all of the photos (and I take multiples of each item), I copy them all onto my computer to cull and toss the duplicate photos I don't need. I don't rely on the small screen of my camera...seeing whether the item is clear of blur is quite tough, in my mind the computer screen is the only way I can really see what I'll end up with. As far as editing photos, most of the time I need to do some Photoshop work to help boost light or remove color casts. Over the years I've created actions that can take care of most of the common problems I encounter.

From there, I determine whether I need to adjust colors to suit the kit (done nearly all of the time). I have the palette open next to the item I'm working a separate window but accessible. On a separate layer of the element that I want to change, I paint each one on or near the color of the item I'd like to change. That helps me get a more exact match when I adjust the hue/saturation (Image->Adjustment->Hue/Saturation). That window tends to get me to the color I need about 90% of the time. I can change the color of the item (either as a whole or by individual colors), how saturated the image is (either as a whole or by individual colors), as well as lighten things. Though if a photo/color change is too drastic, sometimes I need to adjust the lighting more greatly (Image->Adjustments->Levels. From there, I typically slide the middle slider first...occasionally the left slider (if the image is too light)...and very seldom the right slider as it can easily cause portions of the element to become white and lose the texture within.

If there are areas of the photo that appear slightly blurry, the sharpen tool can help...but a light hand must be used as over sharpening doesn't work well. It's easier to retake the photo than to try to fix a blurry image. You can also do an overall image sharpening...but again, use carefully.

I do ALL edits to the photo prior to extracting it. Oh, and if I use a public domain image (which I often do as well) I always double check to make sure the resolution is 300 dpi (I have an action that helps me if its not...helps to preserve clarity while increasing the resolution. I've tried using the pen tool in Photoshop but just don't like it (it doesn't seem to have the same flexibility as it does in Illustrator...where I use it all the time). Though maybe I haven't tried hard enough. At any rate, in Photoshop I start by doing a very rough extraction...not being anywhere near the item...just to give me room to cut off pieces bit by bit. After that, I tend to zoom in to at least 200-300% and use the polygonic lasso tool. I slowly make my way around the item, being careful to stay a little ways away from the edge to avoid any halo effects.

Editing photos and extracting is VERY putzy and I try to do it when I'm not feeling rushed. Music blasting, a can of soda water nearby, and an evening to slowly chug through items leads to my best results. It can actually be relaxing sometimes.

Thank you so much! It's good to know so I don't keep spinning my wheels.

This is amazing! Thank you so much for your process, I will follow it and try. Do you work at an f4 or higher so you don't get blur or just take from far away? I would to love to buy the actions you use. Thank you so much for all of this. Really it's been so helpful, I will try on a night when the kids go to bed well smiley.

No problem at all. I'm glad it was useful! There's so much you'll learn through trial and error. I'm more than happy to help avoid some time consuming pitfalls.

I try to keep my f-stop as high as my lens will allow to help prevent blurry edges in elements. In my case, my favorite lens that I've had the best luck with in all areas of photography is my 18-105mm. Along with that I always try to have my elbows tucked in close to my body to help provide stability as well as keep a wide stance or lean on something if at all possible. I also hold my breath right before snapping. If you don't already have image stabilization switched on...that will help too. Oh, and of course, putting the camera on auto isn't a bad thing! If I have questionable light, or just don't feel like thinking (knowing correct settings has never come naturally for still requires thinking), I've been known to go into auto.

I've never thought of selling my actions. I'd have to go through and clean them up (some are rather old and have some errors that I just skip through as they don't affect the end result...the result of trial and error while recording the action). Are you working with Adobe products...PS or Elements? I don't know a ton about selling actions and with the constant changes of Adobe products, I'm not positive I want to enter that realm.

Though I can still help you out. Do you have specific actions you're looking for? I most likely won't be able to get things situated this weekend but will add it to my list that I should email you when life settles down a bit (we have an outdoor funeral for a family member this weekend). In the meantime, if you're looking for fancy photo editing actions, I started out with Pure Photoshop Actions. I have a couple of favorites from there that I still use...especially when editing photos to put in layouts. One that comes to mind is 'Pure Pop.' That sucker can help sharpen pretty much any photo (especially for scrapbook elements) and is adjustable. Another is 'It's All About the Bling Baby."

Once you have a process that works for find yourself doing the same repetitive actions, you can create your own actions. I find this especially useful for combining layers for elements/papers, doing gamut checks, flattening layer styles, doing drop shadows, etc. Here's a step by step tutorial of how to create an case you haven't created one before. They are such a huge time saver for the mundane things that you repeatedly do. smiley

I would like to know if there is a tutorial on how to fade parts of a layer in Photoshop...thank you

@Diana: Would this technique work for you?

that looks like it might, Marisa...thank you...I will play around with it and let you know...cheers

I don't know if this counts, if not just delete. But I'd really like to know how to get Photoshop Style, Gradients, etc into
folders in Photoshop instead of them just being one big mess in there..Thanks in Advance smiley

@Jackie: That may depend on your version of Photoshop. I'm running the current Photoshop CC and you can just make a folder and drag your stuff around.

Hi all, Dear Marisa and Elif. Once in the Sahin Designs felt styles there was a tutorial on making a random stitched path. In the tutorial Elif was able to stop a path and continue it somewhere else and make it all one path. I've searched and searched and searched and cannot figure out how to do that. Once I move to a spot and start making another path it looks like it's only one but when I try to stroke the path it only does the last part. I hope this makes sense, and if so I would love a pen tool tutorial about it. If you have time, just curious if anyone else has had a similar issue smiley

I'll send this to Elif and see if she knows smiley

Hi Kelly! Path panel works with the latest path created if you don't tell it otherwise. Please follow these steps to select all the paths you created;

  • Open the Paths panel if it's not in your working space (Window > Paths)
  • If you've already created some paths, you'll see a path layer called "work path" or something similar (if it's called a different name in different versions of PS)
  • I need you to click once anywhere within the panel except the "work path" layer (work path layer is light gray and the rest of the panel is dark gray. You'll click on empty dark gray space). Then click on "work path" once to activate the paths you've created.
  • Then you can stroke the path as you'd normally do by right clicking on the work path and choose "stroke path".

I should also mention that when you select the free form pen tool you should select "path" option from the top tool bar, not the "shape" option. Otherwise what I mentioned above would not work since the pen tool with "shape" option will create individual layers.

I hope it helps!

Dear Elif, This has been bothering me for months. I just never thought to click off and I was doing so many wrong moves that I was making it all much more difficult then it needed to be. I can't thank you enough for this simple wonderful fix!!! And thank you Marisa for helping bring notice to my issue. I can't thank you ladies enough for investing in all of us. It is wonderful thank you!

You're very welcome Kelly! We all learn from each other smiley