Category: Tutorials

Tutorial Tuesday | Using the Trim Command in Photoshop

Welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today, I’m going to share some information about using the “Trim” command to easily remove transparent pixels in Photoshop. It’s one of those handy tools that I was thrilled to find, a while back… as it’s a super easy Photoshop command that packs a big punch!

Before we get started, I wanted to share a couple of examples of occasions when I like to use the “Trim” command:

  1. I’ve created an element cluster or title on a large 12×12 canvas. I’ve used it on my page and I want to save it for possible use on a future page.
  2. I’ve got a single element that resides on a much larger canvas than the element requires. When I look through my digi stash I’ve got some folders of elements that came saved on 12×12 canvases. I like to quickly Trim those elements so that I have a better view of it in my Mac’s “Finder” window.

Here’s how to use the Trim command…

1. As shown here, use the “Image” drop down menu, and choose > Trim…

2. In the Trim dialog box, select the option “Transparent Pixels” as shown here…

This will help you achieve your goal of “shrinking” the image canvas by leaving behind an image containing all of the nontransparent pixels.

3. Select one or more areas of the image to trim away. Because I wanted to end up with the smallest canvas possible, you’ll see (in the screenshot ahove) that I selected them all  — Top, Bottom, Left, and Right.

4.  Click OK and you’re done! Yup. That’s it! This is what you’ll be left with…

Once you’ve finished trimming your image, don’t forget to save it. If you want to maintain the layers, save it as a PSD file — or if you want a flattened (one layer) copy, you can save it as a PNG file.

*NOTE* I created the element cluster I used for this tutorial’s example, shown above, using the September 2018 Make It Count element set by Anita Designs.

Another thing… as I mentioned above, I’ve found over the years that I’ve acquired a good number of different elements that are saved on large 12 x 12 canvases, but I prefer to store them on my hard drive without all of the unnecessary empty pixels (in large part because the thumbnail image my computer displays for me is much easier to see if the image is cropped nice and tight!). Therefore… I wrote myself a Photoshop action using the “Trim” command, with the addition of “save” and “close” commands. It saves me tons of time when cleaning up those folders & cropping down my image files.

If you are interested in learning how to write a Photoshop action for yourself… click HERE to read a tutorial I wrote here on The Digital Press blog about a year ago that explains the process of writing an action.

So that’s it! Such a simple, and yet useful, command to use when you’re working in Photoshop! If you have any questions, please feel free to post them here in the comments.

Until next time… happy scrapping!


BarbaraAbout the Author  Barbara is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She’s married, has two awesome kids (a 21 year old son and an 19 year old daughter) as well as an 11 year old adorable Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier pup. You’d think with all these ages posted here about her family she’d tell you her age but NOPE … not gonna happen! 😆 

Tutorial Tuesday | Large Photos for Emphasis

Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today, I’ll be sharing ideas for using large photos creatively to emphasize them on your scrapbook layouts!

Have you ever heard the phrase “go big, or go home”? I love it, and I say it to myself quite frequently when creating scrapbook pages that feature my favorite photos. The photos that tug at your heart strings, tell a story or just deserve a large spot in your scrapbooks, those are the photos I am talking about!

A big photo makes a statement, and is the perfect way to showcase a photo that tells a story. Use one large photo to fill the entire background of your layout!  Photos that work perfect for this are ones that show the entire landscape or are a wide angle shot with lots of white space. You can add more photos in the white space of your photo as I did on the layout below. Frames help to ground the photos you place over top of the background photo and help tie multiple photos together cohesively on a layout.

Tip: Use the opacity slider to make your background photo look more transparent. This can give the photo a look of a faded memory! If you layer your photo on top of a textured cardstock, it will take on the textured look of the paper below it!

Trick: Frame your large photo to give it more definition on the page. Use stitching or other attachments to anchor your photos and elements to the large photo. That way they don’t look like they are just floating on top of your background photo!

Trick: use a template as the guiding point for your design. Fill the background layer of that template with a large photo and work from there. On the layout below I started with this photo of the skyline and added other favorite photos from our vacation on top of it.

A large horizontal or vertical photo can be used in its natural shape on a scrapbook page by layering patterned papers and embellishments below it. You still get the emphasis of a large photo layout, without filling the entire page with the photo.

Large photo layouts are the perfect way to document a conversation or quote you want to remember from the moment the photo was taken. Keep your design simple and let the photo shine! Not only does the large photo speak volumes, the words you document right on top of it will help to recreate the story from that single moment!

Tip: Use the white space on your photo to write your journaling.

So there you have it… a few simple tips and tricks to use large photos for emphasis on your scrapbook pages.  I hope this has inspired you to use a large photo on your next layout!


JenniferHigniteJennifer Hignite is a mom of three boys and new homeowner with her fiance in the mitten state of Michigan. When she is not scrapbooking, she enjoys photography, watching her boys play sports, decorating, and shopping at Target.

Tutorial Tuesday | File Information Metadata

Hello, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today I am here to show you how to utilize the metadata of your layout files to track the credits for the items you use to create your projects.
Many of you are probably asking yourself, “what the heck is metadata?!”
Well, per Wikipedia…

met·a·da·ta
ˈmedəˌdādə,ˈmedəˌdadə/

noun — a set of data that describes and gives information about other data

Clear as mud, right!? Basically it’s the additional information attached to all digital files. For example, most photo files have metadata included within the file structure — info that tells when the photo was taken/created, for instance… or the file type (JPEG, etc.)… and/or other technical information like what type of camera was used to shoot that particular photo. That information stays embedded within the photo.

Now… I imagine you are asking yourself, “how does that relate to my digital scrapbooking?”

One of the best and easiest ways to keep track of the credits for your layouts (i.e. the supplies you’ve used to create your layout or project; kits/templates/fonts/etc.) is by adding in the information into the layout’s metadata! Not only does that information stay with the layout (wherever it is saved, stored, moved, etc.)… but it is also easily & quickly accessible to copy/paste into galleries!

Here are a few screenshots demonstrating how I save my credits to each of my layouts’ metadata. First, to open the File Information dialogue box… select “File,” and then “File Info” (or use the Photoshop keystroke shortcut Alt + Shift + Ctrl + I)…

There is a lot of information stored here — and under the “Basic” tab is where we will type our information.

You are welcome to edit other fields if you wish, but all I do is fill in the “Description” box. I type in any product names (kit, template, etc.), as well as the actual links to the products in the shop (especially important for creative team members who are posting layouts into galleries)…

After entering the information, select “OK.” After this step, you’ll want to re-save your layout (to ensure the new changes to the metadata stay put).

The coolest part about inputting the information here is that when you are posting to online galleries — you can quickly find it in your file folders. On my computer, I have it set up to show this metadata information on the right side of each file folder…

You can also get to the metadata info by right-clicking on your image & selecting “properties”. Under the “Details” tab, you’ll find your credits…

All you have to do then is copy & paste the info into the online galleries. Voila… you’ve done your good deed by crediting the fantastic designers’ products, while also ensuring that you have followed the rules for any gallery that might require credits to be listed! Win-win!

I have also found that when I am uploading my layouts to any of my Facebook albums, it automatically pulls the credits into the description box when the info is in the metadata. What a time-saver, right?! 🙂

I hope that taking this extra step becomes a habit for you, too, and that it eventually will become a huge time-saver when you are posting your beautiful creations into online galleries like the gallery at The Digital Press!


AmieAbout the Author  Amie is a craft-loving dental hygienist who lives in Washington state. She loves her husband, her two crazy kids, and her English Bulldog… as well as coffee, baking cupcakes, daffodils, glitter & sprinkles, reading a good book, and lip gloss — not necessarily in that order.

 

Hybrid How-To | Chore Chart

Hello, everyone! Kate here to show you how I made our family chore chart. Every couple of years our chore chart gets a reboot because things change a little bit. This year, I’m adding our youngest (who is now old enough to help) and taking away chicken chores because my oldest has taken that over as part of her involvement with FFA.

Supplies

– Digital kit of your choice. I used Monthly Chronicles: Carefree.

– Photo-editing program, such as Photoshop or Photoshop Elements

– Scissors

– Lamination paper

– Glue dots

– Binder clips

– Tacks

– Cork Board

The first thing I did was type out every single chore in all the rooms of our house. I like to have one room per day deep-cleaned and the rest of the rooms tidied up. Obviously that will vary depending on preference. This is what works for us. I printed this list out so it would be easy to refer to and check off when working on the cards.

I have five kids so I made five cards per room. I started assigning chores to each card. Once I had all the cards built, I clipped in fun paper and printed everything out. My kids requested a “for hire” section where they can earn some money doing non-required chores. We also rotate the chore cards so no one gets the same chores all the time. I added a little element that I can switch between names on the chore chart to keep track of who gets the Number 1 card each day. And I also needed a tab to keep track of who’s helping me with dinner and clean up each night, because we also rotate that between kids who are 8 years and older.

I used lamination paper to laminate everything except the name cards so we can check things off or write things down.

I used tacks to secure the binder clips to the cork board. I attached magnets to the back of the two tabs I need for rotation. The name tags and “for hire” arrow are secured to the cork with glue dots.

And here’s my finished chore chart. I hope you’ll give this customized chore chart a try!


Kate About the Author  Kate is on the hybrid team here at The Digital Press. She lives on the Utah/Colorado border with her husband, 5 kids, 10 chickens, a dog named Gracie, and a cat named Kit. She’s a city-born girl who found she’s really a country girl at heart. She can be found outside, barefoot, and probably in her garden.

Tutorial Tuesday | Creating a Focal Point

Hello everyone, and welcome to yet another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today, I am going to share a few very simple tips for creating hierarchy on a layout in order to create a focal point.

The definition of “hierarchy” by the Oxford Dictionary is: “a system in which members of an organization or society (or photos on a scrapbooking layout) are ranked according to relative status or authority.”

I love using multi-photo layout designs in my memory-keeping, as they give a great overview of the context of the photos as well as up-close details of the event. But the question becomes… how to include so many photos without them all competing too much for attention? How to focus on the most important part of the story?

For example, let’s use the following group of photos as an example…

Step 1. Six same-sized photos will be “read” from the top left, across and then down to the second row… left to right… in our Western culture. But I want a way to cue the viewer as to which photo is more “important”…

Step 2. As you can see, I experimented with making the first photo smaller and the “after” photo of her hair much bigger. Just by changing the photo size I draw more attention to it (in a similar way, keeping one photo in color and converting the others to black and white would create the same sense of hierarchy). Then, to cement the large photo’s importance, I add the embellishments, layering them to be eye-catching and to add a pop of contrast in the glittery gold border and the light viewfinder, which also contrasts as a circle shape below the rectangles of the photos. I also add a large flower to visually anchor the photo, and add a subtle cue to the colour of her Dance dress, finally adding a pop of dimension and movement with the floaty string.

Step 3. I begin my second hierarchical cluster with the gold date tab. This is the final photo in the sequence, showing her delight at the finished view of her hair. I add some more gold wire elements to complete that visual triangle. A second smaller flower and layer some gold splatter under that cluster. The point of the heart faces into the photo.

Step 4. My third cluster at the top left is the entry point into the layout. I add the third circle element, the third pop of the pinky-purple in the wordstrip, and finally three spots of stitching. The third cluster is the least dense, made up of smaller elements… so while it serves as an entry point into the layout’s design, it does not steal any of the focus away from the focal photo.

Focal5

Step 5. This is when I usually save the layout, make a cup of tea, and then come back to re-evaluate it later. At this point, I decide to move the paper clip into the top cluster and add a curled ribbon up there. This is pretty and plays off the curls within her hairdo. I add the journaling at the top of the layout in a white hand-written font so that the eye will now be led from the top left, through the top row of the photos, down to the date tab and then from right to left across the bottom row of photos. This solidifies the circular movement into the foundation of the design. 

Step 6. I resize, sharpen and save it.

I hope that this post has given you some ideas and tips on how to create a focal point within a layout (especially one that uses a large number of photos). I hope you’ll give it a try and create this sort of flow within your next scrapbooking layout.


small avi

About the author Stefanie is a member of The Digital Press creative team and a stay at home mother of three older children living in Cape Town, South Africa with her hubby of 30 years, two of their three children, and 3 Siamese cats. She loves photography, traveling, and digital scrapbooking — documenting the good and the ordinary everyday.

Tutorial Tuesday | Combining Multiple Photos

 

Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today I hope to inspire you to try out combining multiple photos to tell a more complete story with just a single picture.

I always struggle a lot when it comes to choosing the one perfect photo to scrap into a page. I’m the type of photographer who is always running around with a camera around my neck, constantly trying to catch up with the people I’m with because of the many photographs I’m shooting. I often run a bit ahead and then stand still with my camera ready to photograph my loved ones as they walk towards me or as they are passing by. For this tutorial I had a couple of pictures that I took during a walk through the woods. Since they are quite similar (taken from the same position) and I couldn’t decide which one I liked the best, I thought it would create a fun effect to combine these photos to create one single picture that would show a more complete story of our walk.

A great way to start is to open one of the pictures in a photo-editing program like Photoshop. I’m using Photoshop CC for this tutorial. Once a new file is created you can quickly create a better overview before adding the other photos by enlarging the canvas using the cropping tool. Then you can easily drag and drop the other photos in the same file. By changing the opacity of the photos to around 50 percent you’ll be able to position them on top of each other in a way that they almost blend perfectly. When it comes to positioning the photos, aligning the surroundings of the subjects is more important than the borders of the photos.

When you turn the opacity of the photos back to a 100 percent, you’ll might see that the borders of the different photos don’t align perfectly or are too harsh to look perfectly merged. We can improve this by erasing some of the edges and making it softer. It’s possible to do this with the eraser tool, but I always prefer using masks so the alterations aren’t permanently. You can add a vector mask to the selected layer by clicking on the mask icon in the layers window at the lower right of the screen.

When the vector mask is added to the selected layer a white rectangle appears next to the image of the layer. By clicking on this rectangle, the vector mask is selected and now editable. A brush can be selected to start removing some parts of the photo. Make sure the foreground color is set to black, since everything that’s white in the vector mask remains visible and every part that is made black becomes invisible. I always prefer using a brush that has some softness so the blending border looks more natural, but not too much softness that it’s starting to look blurry. I would recommend setting the hardness of the brush on a number somewhere between 50 and 90 percent, depending on the sharpness of the photo and the alignment of the other photos underneath. With the black foreground color selected you can now start removing the outer parts of the photos to make their transitions invisible. By changing the transparency of the photos you’re not editing, you have better sight on what you’re doing. As you can see in the picture underneath I never remove bits in a straight line. By making the border irregular or following some distinct lines in the photo like a tree trunk, the overlapping border will become almost completely invisible.

To make sure no stray pixels remain after erasing you can always apply a stroke in a distinct color on the layers to make the unwanted bits visible. When you’re happy with the gained result after erasing the borders and unnecessary overlapping parts of the different photos, you can determine how big the final picture is going to be. By using the cropping tool you can alter the canvas to the maximum complete width and height of the picture or make it a bit smaller if desired.

After the cropping is applied you’ll see the complete result of the combined picture you have created. To make the picture even more aesthetically pleasing you can now play around with levels, curves and saturation. Because I found that the pictures always turn out a bit darker when printed, I like to increase the curves layer a bit to lighten the picture and make it pop a bit more. You can easily do this by moving the point in the graph of the Curves Properties panel. By adding more points to this graph by simply clicking on it you are also able to increase or decrease the contrast of the picture.

Now the picture you have created is completely finished and ready to be scrapped into a beautiful layout! Because I liked the effect of the picture I combined so much I chose to use it as big as possible on my layout. For the layout I created with this picture I used several scrapbook kits from the July 2018 Special Edition section of The Digital Press website, which proved to be a perfect match. The finished layout I created can be seen underneath.

(credits: Into The Woods | Collection by Little Lamm & Co and Hooray, It’s Saturday! | Kit by Ninigoesdigi)

 

I hope I have inspired you to try out combining your own photos into one complete picture and I hope you’ll have a lot of fun with it!

 

 


Sharon-DewiAbout the Author  Sharon-Dewi is an industrial engineer with her own design company and a teacher at a technical university in the Netherlands who loves to spend every little bit of free time she gets capturing and documenting the special moments of her life and that of her loved ones by creating scrapbooks. She can often be seen running around with a camera in her hands and she is a big fan of anything Disney-related. One day she hopes to be able to permanently live at the happiest place on Earth!