Final Parts of Collab and Links

A good Monday morning to you.  I’m trying to keep it going.  It’s trying to escape me, but, I am not going to let it!  LOL  So far, this morning, my grand-daughter threw a screaming fit, first thing!  Then, I got yet another phone call from some collection firm, so they call themselves.  On a regular basis, like two to three times a week, I get a call from someone with an extreme accent, addressing me as Tommy Roberson, telling me that I owe money and they intend to collect it.  A couple of times it was a female voice, but, normally, it is a man, whose name changes with every phone call.  He’s been Mr. Smith, among other ‘generic’ names.  Today, he was Mr. Jones.  As usual, he says they have court records, so me or my attorney had better respond.  I’ve been told they are coming for me.  There will be a police man come to my door, if I don’t resolve this debt immediately.  The man always adds, “I feel very, very sorry for you, Tommy Roberson!”
This has been going on for the past 6 months.  Never mind that I am a female, not a male, so, I can’t be a Tommy.  I’ve told them I am not Tommy Roberson – repeatedly!  I’ve told them to stop calling.  They don’t care!  I’ve yelled and screamed.  I’ve begged to get them to give me their information, address, name, etc, in hopes of stopping them through legal channels.  Nope!  I don’t know who this Tommy supposedly owes this money to, or even how much and they won’t tell me.  The demands still come.  This morning, I called the number back, pretended I was Tommy’s lawyer and asked for their address.  They finally gave me: 42 Broadway, Fifth Floor, NY, NY 10044.  I’ll give that to my attorney.  He’s aching to get hold of these scammers.  Meantime, I found a really loud, shrill whistle.  I can’t wait for them to call again!  Muwahahaha!
 
On a much lighter note, this weekend, I found a cool site I want to share with you, Black Cat Photography.  If you like Photography, you’ll appreciate this one.  There are loads of tutorials, although, they are in Spanish, with some translation.  What I enjoyed was the number of textures and actions that are free.  This site features “Textures of the World”.   It’s a series of useful textures based on the colors and textures from different countries around this beautiful world of ours.  Here is the most recent example:
Click image to go to site
Go, check it out.  You can always use BabelFish or another translator, if you would like to be able to read all the content.  It sounds like a pain, but, well worth it.  I did that and it was easy.  Just go to Babel and enter the URL of the site, then, click on the languages selection that fits best.  In this one, I selected ‘Spanish to English’.  Be informed, though, that links on the translated page may not work.  It is necessary to click on the Spanish version’s links.  It’s a translation thing, I guess. 
 
I also found a site named “Maybemej”.   It’s similar to the previous site, as far as content and subject.  They offer textures, actions, brushes, and frames.   The webmistress has loads of goodies she shows how to make, coming up with some really cute ideas.  There is some foreign text, Swedish, I believe, but, most of it is translated.  The site is quite personable with lots of photos of her children on which she applies her techniques.  What I enjoyed, too, is that she does what I do – she visits a site, then, posts about it.  She shows a lot of goodies with links to the sites.  That was nice. 
Then, I found a link to Chris Wahl Art Brushes.  There is one role of this blog and it is to give away this dude’s brushes.  They aren’t just fancy brushes, either!  There are fifteen(15) brush sets, but, the last post at the top features all of them in one bundle.  Here are two of the examples:

For me, one who likes to ‘paint in’ color and textures, they are right up my alley.  They’re good brushes, not blurry or messy.  Give them a try.  You may like them!
And, with that, I give you this week’s freebies.  This is the third and final installment of “From Sea to Shining Sea”, a collaboration with Miss Edna’s Place.  All previous downloads are still available, if you are new to this.  Below, are my previews.  Though separated into ‘papers and elements’, the previews lead to Part 5 and Part 6.  Be sure you click on each.  Following those, there is Miss Edna’s preview.  Click on it and be taken to her blog for her two parts.  I hope you enjoy.  Come again next month for August’s collaboration and more free downloads.
Part 5
Part 6
Miss Edna’s Preview
So, there you have it.  Another week in the life of me.  LOL  As always, don’t forget
Hugs,
Su

SU CheshireCat

Layers Palette Primer

This is a brief primer for PS layers.  This part is familiarizing yourself with the palette, navigating around the layers.  I’ll add more primers for manipulating layers and masking layers next.  Most of this can be found online, but, here are some random tips.  I’m going to use online images to explain.  I’ll also link to various tutorials as I go in case you want to explore it further. 
This first one is from Tutorial 9: (link to tut, if preferred)
Image #1:

In this image(above), from the palette I see that there is some grass and lettering over a black background.  Two green circles are also in the palette, but, not visible at this time because the ‘eye’ is turned off(clicked).
It is a major bonus if you label all layers.  To change the label on a layer, select that layer, click on it and it turns blue, as in above Image #1, labeled “Current Selected Layer”.  Double click on the word, in this case ‘Background’.  Then, type in a term that helps you identify what is on that layer.  With text layers, the letters typed will appear as the name of the layer.  So, in Image #1 above, the word ‘Layers’ is what is typed.  (Image #3, below,  is what that image looks like with all layers ‘turned on’, meaning not turned off with the ‘eye’.)
~Turned on is a layer that is not hidden by turning off the eye.
~Selected is when you click on the layer and it turns blue.  That layer is the active layer.
There are, at least, three(3) ways to work with the layers palette.
   1 – by using the menu across the top of the work space, under “Layer”.
   2 – with the controls within the layers palette box.
   3 – keyboard shortcuts.
         Shift+Cmd ‘N'(Mac); Shift+Ctrl’N'(Win) = New Layer
         Cmd+’J'(Mac); Ctrl+’J'(Win) = Duplicate Layer
The lowest layer is the background.  If you open an already existing document, the bottom layer is usually locked.  See the padlock icon to the right-hand side of the lower level above.  Either duplicate that layer and work from the copy, or, double-click on the padlock and a box will open up, click ‘Okay’ and the padlock disappears.  With the padlock in place, that layer can not be edited.  It is ‘locked’.
Here is a more detailed image of the layers palette.  I like the labeling on this image from Photoshop Cafe.(linked to tutorial)
Image #2:

 
This is from an earlier edition of PS, but, it is quite a bit the same.  One difference is that the little black circle with a cursive ‘f’ in it is now the letters ‘fx’ and they appear on the right-hand side of the layer.  The order of the icons across the bottom is different but the same components, just different order.

What follows is an explanation of each component, taken almost verbatum from the PSCafe tut.  It was perfect for explanations.

Starting from the top

 
Blending mode: Changes the way the layers interact with each other. Experiment with the different modes.  To blend, there must be a layer beneath the layer you want to adjust(blend).  You are blending a layer with another, so, whichever one is on top, that is the layer you apply the blending mode to.
Layer opacity: Adjusts how transparent each layer is. 0 is completely transparent, 100 is completely opaque.

The next group of components are the “Locks”


The ‘Lock’ row of features will most likely come later.  For starters, there isn’t that much we do with locking.  But, it has it’s uses and they are important.
Lock all: If the box is checked the layer is totally protected from any editing.
Lock Position: You can make any changes except for moving the image.
Lock Image pixels: You cannot draw on this layer if checked.
Lock transparent: You can paint on this layer but not where it is transparent.This feature is great for painting within an area.  With the layer selected(highlighted in blue) on one of the green circles from Image #1(above), I drew a blue X over the circle with blue.  The blue was only applied to the area that is NOT transparent.
Image #3:

This is what the layers palette will look like for the above Image #3:
Image #4:

 
Last, the row of icons across the bottom of the layers palette


As with every other feature of PS, there are several ways to work with layers.  Referring to the panel of controls across the bottom of the layers palette, you can click on each of them, or, for some, you can drag an already existing layer down to the icon. 
Delete: Will delete an entire layer. Either Drag the thumbnail to the icon or select the layer and click on the trash can (delete icon).
New Layer: Click to add a new blank layer. Or, click Shift+Cmd+’N'(Mac) or Shift+Ctrl+’N'(Win)  Or, you can go to the Menu across the top, click on ‘Layer’ and select ‘New Layer’.
You can also drag a layer you want to duplicate down to the New Layer icon and it will copy it.  You can also click Cmd+’J’/Ctrl+’J’ with the layer selected that you wish to duplicate.  Or, go to ‘Layer’ in the top menu bar and select ‘Duplicate Layer’.

New Adjustment layer: Allows non-destructive adjustments to a layer. (Can be undone anytime, even after closing document)  This will open just above the layer you have selected.  Thus, it will affect every layer below it.  To have it only apply to the layer directly below, right-click and select ‘Create Clipping Mask’ on the adjustment layer and it will attach itself to that layer directly below it only.
Another way to apply an adjustment is to select the layer you want to adjust and go to ‘Image’>’Adjustments’ in the top menu bar.  The only thing about doing adjustments this way is that it destroys the layer permanently.  Once an adjustment is made, you can ‘go back'(undo) up to a point.  After that, the layer is un-changeable.
Create a new set: Allows you to organize your layers into folders.  Also referred to as ‘Groups’.

Layer mask: Allows you to paint away parts of your layer without damaging your original image.
Layer styles: Special effects for your layers, drop shadows, stroke, outer glow, etc.  Can be accessed by clicking on the icon, or, double-click on the layer you want to make adjustments on and a window will open up.  These effects, though applied directly to the layer, can be turned off and on with their very own ‘eye’.  Here is an image of some layer adjustments, a drop shadow and a stroke around the perimeter of the square (the yellow ‘stroke’ doesn’t show under the yellow overlay I put there).  They are on their own layer, meaning they can be turned off and on, or deleted.:
Image #5
 
Non-destructive refers to making an adjustment over, or to, a layer that leaves the actual layer itself un-affected.  This enables you to be able to go back at any later time and change the adjustments or just turn them off.
Notice that the blue ‘X’ I drew is on top of the upper green circle in Images #3 & #4.  I did that to show the Transparency Lock, but, looking at it now, that layer is ‘destroyed’.  The ‘X’ is there to stay!  You could hit ‘undo’ repeatedly and go back to get rid of it, up to a point, but, then, you would lose everything else you’ve done in between.  This is why we aim for ‘non-destructive’ adjustments.  If you save your rough image in .PSD format, you can go back into that document any time you want and make changes.

save

Laurel & Hardy & Fotolia

I’ve noticed that several of the Photoshop design blogs/sites are having contests with the prize being a special offer from Fotolia.
Be forewarned!  Just because you ‘win’ something, it does not mean you actually get anything.  Especially, from Fotolia!  Huh?  What?  Let me explain.

I recently won a contest at one of the Photoshop design sites.  The name isn’t important; they fulfilled their end of the deal.  The owner of the contest site sent me the coupon code.  I had won two weeks’ worth of photos from Fotolia at three downloads-per-day.  The winning experience was just fine!  However, my experience with Fotolia was a nightmare.  I had the coupon code, but, no idea how or where to use it.  When I contacted Fotolia via their on-site contact form, I was sent a message saying they were ‘looking in to it’.  That was it!  Not another word!  Not, that is, until two weeks later when I finally e-mailed the owner of the contest site, who took action immediately and got them to give me a link for the darned thing!  The prize site blamed me for not reading ‘everything’.  I never got anything to read or I would have!  It isn’t like I didn’t try! 
It really didn’t matter, though, as Fotolia continued to be difficult.  When I finally got a link to where I needed to go, the ‘coupon code’ was expired!  I had to laugh.  The only things missing were Laurel and Hardy!  After another week or so of further messages dealing with that, the allotted downloads-per-day were screwed up.  I finally demanded they just forget it; delete my account!  This request was the quickest response I ever received from Fotolia!  They had it deleted by the next morning. It looks like they just blocked my IP number, as well, as I can’t even log onto their main page anymore.  LOL  I said nothing out of line, either!  I never put anything down online or on paper that I might regret later or have come back on me.  Anyway, technically, I didn’t win a damn thing!  Well, actually, I was able to get two days in out of a two week subscription, for a total of six images!  Woo-hoo! 
Ho-hum!
I never contacted the owner of the contest site after that.  It wasn’t his fault and he’s busy running his own site, and quite well, too, I might add!  It was just so clearly obvious that Fotolia didn’t want to waste any time with me at all!  I was a non-paying customer!  I’m really curious as to how this experience may have differed if I had been paying.  The thing is, Fotolia had to put up this ‘prize’ in the first place for anyone to win it!  They should have honored it!  They should have made every effort to do so!  It’s just bad business otherwise!  
What do ya do?  You can’t demand your money back!  You didn’t pay anything.  I chalk it up as a bad experience and vow never to pay a visit to Fotolia’s site again, which, apparently, they took care of by blocking me!  That, and I intend to let everyone know how Fotolia treats folks on their site.  It’s such a shame!  It turned out to be just one big waste of my time!  I really looked forward to winning this one!  I love images and use them regularly in my photo-manipulations.  I had won 20 credits last year from Deposit Photos and it was an absolutely great experience!  I guess that experience spoiled me.  I thought Fotolia would be good since their name is quite popular.  Hah!  Not!

Just be prepared if you’ve entered any such contests.  Hopefully, mine was a rare exception.

SU CheshireCat

Faerie-Nuf Folks’ 1st Ever Challenge QP Freebie

I stopped by my friend Minky’s website today.  I was looking for some positivity.  Naturally, I found it.  I love reading all the beautiful sayings and poetry on her sites.  Today, I lit upon some lovely berries on her page at Minky Things.  From there I read sweet things and saw impish little pixies and loads of pixie dust!  There was plenty to tickle my soul.  Click on the image below and it will take you to a page listing all of Minky’s sites. 
While I waas basking in the peace and serenity of Minky Things, I read that there was a challenge going on.  Minky gives you a little “Pixie” kit to use.  The challenge is to make a card, a layout, a QP, whatever your little heart desires, and post it on your own blog, sending Minky the link, by July 17th..  So, that is what I did!  
 
The time that I spent, nudging this and that around in Photoshop, was so therapeutic for me.  Everything has been really ‘touchy’ lately.  There hasn’t been very much harmony in my life.  A series of events, which culminated this past weekend within a group I belong to, seriously threatened my creativity and my peace.  I create to please no one but myself.  It’s always nice when someone says something good about a piece I’ve made.   But, it isn’t that important.  Not as important as what I made, how I felt when I made it and what, if anything, I walked away with, as far as peace of mind and soul.  I meditate while tinkering around with something like this.  So, whenever I create, or even work on a layout, it exhausts me.  It’s a very emotional thing for me.  My scrapbooking stuff is no exception, but, I do it so frequently, I pace myself and it works good.
 
I’m not going to go into any details; I am trying to get past it.  Suffice it to say that things were somewhat changed and it wasn’t conducive to my creativity, much less a peaceful soul.  Turning to my art when I need ‘me time’ was impossible because of the negativity that had become attached to it.  Thus, my visit to Minky Things.  I have quite a few ‘remedies’ for my depression which don’t come in a any bottle.  I do a lot of herbal and surround myself with positivity and happiness as often as possible.  I choose not to be unhappy.  I meditate and I read affirmations such as the ones on Minky’s sites.  It’s a conscientious effort that pays off for my well-being. 
I’m on the mend.  I feel so much better today than the past few days.  Here is what I made for the first ever “Faerie-Nuf Challenge…Pixies”  It’s a quick page you can download and use if you like.  Just click on the preview to go to Min.us.  No registration needed.
This quick page is for personal use only, please.  But, do feel free to take it.  I used the elements from Minky’s starter kit and some elements and the background from Angel Barbie-Marie.
Thank you, Minky!  I am so pleased to have you in my life!
 
Blessings to All,
Su

SU CheshireCat

Pts 3 & 4 of Freebie Collab

Sorry.  I’m in an horrible funk.  Here is this week’s downloads:
Click on preview for MediaFire download of Part 3:
Part 4
Click on Miss Edna’s preview to go to her blog for her parts:
Thank you.  
Su
PS:  I just realized I dated the files with the ‘6th’ month.  That should have read the ‘7th’ month.  Sorry.

SU CheshireCat