A Tip and A Spooky Freebie

Lesa Snyder’s 4-Day ‘Photoshop CS5 Intensive’ wrapped up today.  Lesa is so knowledgeable!  She explains things so thoroughly!  I missed the first day, but, with what I already know, hopefully, it would have been ‘old news’.  LOL  I doubt it.  One can always learn something new!  Some of the things she has taught that I did know, she has offered an understanding of why it works, or how, so, that is always nice.  Understanding the where-to’s and what-for’s has always done the trick for me in remembering stuff.  So, go Lesa!  LOL
One of the areas I haven’t really learned yet in PS is ‘Smart Objects’.  Somewhere, I got the notion that they were some special trick that everyone but myself knew.  I caught that they were editable, but, I thought images already were if you saved the layers.  It depends on what you do to an image, I guess.  I learned how to use the ‘Adjustments’ on a separate layer so these could be turned off if desired.  But, I did wonder about ‘Filters’ and some other things on a separate layer.  That is exactly where Smart Objects rule!
Even if you are scared, like me, to try something new and tense-sounding, here is a super easy way to show you how they work.  I Googled ‘wild flowers’ and got the poppy image from Kyle Veldhouse.com. 
So, ready?
Open your image.  Right-click over the layer and click ‘Convert to Smart Object’ from the menu.  This is necessary in order to be able to apply a non-destructive adjustment.  Next, go up to ‘Filters’-‘Blur’-‘Gaussian Blur’ and set it to the amount of blur you wish.  This will depend on your image.  For mine, I chose a setting of 3 point 4.  When you click ‘Okay’, look at the ‘Layers palette’.  Now, there is a layer beneath our image, with a mask.
You can see, in my screen shot, that there is a small circular black spot on the mask.  That is the next step.  Just select a soft round brush and be sure the foreground color is black.  By using black on my mask, I am ‘erasing’ the blur over just the red flower(even tho the filter is ‘below’ my image).  Zoom in close and get the details on the edges for a more realistic look.  By using a mask, if you make a mistake, just hit ‘X’ and the black and white will reverse.  ‘White reveals – black conceals’ the image the mask is applied to.  I’m not really erasing it.  I’m covering it up.  This is what I get.
Ta-da!  I’ve added the blur all over, except over the one red flower!  This is kind of a simplified technique, but, look at the possibilities now with the image.  Say, I later tired of so much blur.  All I have to go is go back to my image file(be sure to save it as a .PSD document).  I can click on the ‘Gaussian Blur’ layer and still make adjustments!  There is no need to keep a copy of my poppy image since I already have one in this file.  No adjustments what-so-ever have been applied directly to the image.  Rather, all the adjustments, filters, etc, are on separate layers. 

If you’re wondering what the attraction to all this is, the ultimate goal of Photoshop learning is to do all of your adjustments and fixes, to all your lovely photos and/or creations, non-destructively!  Having your tweeks and filters and all that stuff on separate layers from your image is so nice!  A prime example of needing this set-up is those times when you are half way through, say, a beautifully textured paper and you don’t like one part of it.  If you’ve Blurred it or applied any other ‘destructive’ technique to any part of what you are doing, it can’t be ‘undone’.  Not unless, that is, you just did it!  I have applied Gaussian Blur to different layers of something I’m working on so many times, it’s insane!  I had to delete that layer and go find the texture, or whatever, that I had, so, I can try a different filter or adjustment on it.  By doing things with Smart Objects, I would merely have to delete the filter layer and do another.

I realize this is but one teeny-tiny way that you can use Smart Objects, but, getting a good basic concept of how they work really does help!  I found that, after I grasped this concept, the rest of Lesa’s class made so much more sense to me!  I had no idea what Smart Objects were all about!  LOL

Give it a try!  If Smart Objects are new to you, too, you’ll begin to see the importance of using them.

I can’t leave without a little something for you all.  This is a set of six papers, grunged out, each bearing a different spooky, Hallowe’en-y symbol.  I did them just for fun and just for ya’ll.  I don’t know what you might use them for, but, do with them as you like.  The texture came from LostandTaken.com.  The symbols are shapes from ActionFX.com

Speaking of ActionFX.com, if you head on over there, right now, you can get a year of his super Photoshop goodies for $16.95!  Can you believe that price!  But, hurry, ’cause Al is getting the site all loaded up and refurbished, then, his prices will go up.  It’s worth it either way.  You name a pre-set, ie brushes, patterns, styles, actions, etc., Al has it – lots of it!  He caters, too, to the scrapbookers, as well.  There are tutorials, plus, he has a custom photography service that yields some beautiful pictures!  Oh, and his terms are that you can use use his stuff commercially.

I got side-tracked!  Sorry!  It’s just that Al is one Hell of a great guy!  LOL

Anyway!  Click on the preview to go to Minus.com to download the papers, if you like them!

Until next time…
Dance on into Autumn!
  Winter is on her way!
Hugs,
Su

SU CheshireCat

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Freebie – Final 2 Parts

Good Monday, Everyone!  So, the children are all settled into their school routines.  Calm has returned, once again, to the old homestead during the daytime while they are away.  This is ‘MY’ time!  LOL  I raised my family, dutifully, and lovingly, encouraging them on to adulthood.  I looked forward to it!  Of course, being a parent doesn’t end the day the child moves out.  Nope!  Once a parent – always a parent!  Still, I think every parent ponders what their life will be like when the children are no longer the central focus of their day.  I didn’t expect much.  I had some things I wanted to explore – spirituality, knowledge, relaxation.  But, I had spent twenty some odd years catering to my family’s needs, I couldn’t imagine anything else.  So, when life suggested things would be better if my youngest child moved in with her two children, it wasn’t a far stretch.  Having the g-kids around is certainly a treat.  Just not all the time!  LOL  So, though I love my family desperately, I look forward to everyone leaving each day.  As I say, this is ‘ME’ time.
Now, I wrestle with my health.  It hardly seems fair!  LOL  If I would have known I’d make it this far, I would have taken much better care of myself.  LOL  The worst part is just not knowing.  How long do I have?  Will it be enough to complete all I want to do?  Will I become a burden to my family?  There are loads of questions – few answers.  I guess, like everything else in life, you just have to hold on and roll with it and see.  But, I admit it – I’m scared.  Scared and saddened by it all.  My illness sure wasn’t planned.  It’s not something I even considered.  But, there it is.  All one can do is keep pluggin’ away, hoping for the best.  Hope.  That one word that keeps me going!
I created something that kind of reflects my life.  You may need to enlarge it to see the detail.
Sources:
I don’t mean to drag ya down.  This is my reality right now.  It’s hard not to think of these things.  I think that, by facing my fears and disappointments, inadequacies and strengths, my ‘human-ness’, it makes me stronger.  No, not stronger, but, more able to accept things.  There is a little prayer, I guess it is, that says:
Grant me the Serentiy
To accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And, the wisdom to know the difference.

It has become my mantra.

It is the final week for ‘Chicken Anyone?’  This week you will get the last two parts, more for you to create your own layouts.  Parts 5 and 6 are each download-able by clicking on each of the previews below.  Then, click on Miss Edna’s preview to go to her blog for her two final parts.
Part 5
Part 6
Miss Edna’s Place Preview
Be sure to come back every month for Miss Edna’s and my freebies.  In October we have another kit rolling and ‘getting there’ for you.  Also, all of my previous links are still active.  If you missed anything, you can still get it.  I hope you enjoy!
Til next time,
Hugs,
Su

SU CheshireCat

Freebie Collab Pts. 3 and 4, Plus Links

Good Monday!  Hope all is well with everyone.  I had promised to post some links for ya’ll and didn’t have the time last week.  For someone who doesn’t work, I sure am busy!  But, that’s okay.  I’ll have plenty of time to rest when I’m down.  LOL
If you are familiar with DeviantArt, you may know that this is a community of artists who protect their rights rather strenuously.  They deserve that much.  So, when one Chad Love Lieberman was revealed as having been selling other folks’ art, you can just imagine the caustic effect.  This isn’t just a piece or two.  This guy stole hundreds of pieces of art, removed the artist’s markings, claimed them as his own and sold them in an online art site, Art4Love.  The site is no longer active, obviously, but, the damage is done.  Rather than try to give you all the details, the best thing is to read about it yourself.  In particular, go to Alexiuss’ page, click on the image to enlarge it and read about this dog!  He even committed plagiarism of written pieces as well!  
Can you believe someone could have the audacity?!  Did he not think he’d ever be revealed as the thief he is?  The DA community is abuzz with folks trying to find out if they were victims, or not.  Fortunately, one wise member had the presence of mind to take screenshots of every one of the pages at Art4Love.  From those, a list has been compiled and they are searching out the artists whose work was there.  Art4Love is a Fraud is a website that has popped up as a result of this guy’s actions.  They have a listing of the art and artists, where possible, so, anyone who is in doubt can go check to see if they were victims.  A class action law suit is no doubt in order, but, it will take time.  If you have a DA account and believe you may have been a target, go see the lists.  Rights are something we take for granted.  When someone infringes on our rights it is disgusting!  For that someone to gain monetarily from that infringement is down right mean!
I do have one link I’d like to share here.  If you are a butterfly nut, as am I, you’ll appreciate this site.  ‘The Butterfly Website’ is just that.  A site for all things butterfly.  I stumbled across it searching for clip-art, which there are quite a few.  There are articles on everything related to the little fluttering fauna, as well as, photos galore.  There are guides to draw butterflies to one’s garden, activities for children and links to other sites and places that know their butterflies.  I found it quite enjoyable myself.  You may, also.
One more and I’ll stop.  LOL  I love flowers – any kind, any color!  So, when one of my fave digi-designers, Karen, from Karen’s Scrap and Graphics, introduced her mom, I was absolutely delighted!  The flowers are painted with PSP and they are gorgeous!  Pat’s Flora and Fauna is the lady’s blog.  She has been giving away free samples of these beautiful buds.  Go check it out!  Pat sells them in Karen’s store, so, you may want to check it out, too.  They’re worth it!
That will have to do for today.  I want to get the next two parts to the monthly collab with Miss Edna posted for you.  Last week we gave away QP’s.  This week we are giving away scrapbooking elements for you to design your own layouts.  Below are previews.  Though they depict the elements and papers separately, each download is a mix.  Today, you get Pts. 3 and 4.  Don’t forget to come back next week for the rest of this fun kit, “Chicken Anyone?”
Part 3
Part 4
And, don’t forget to visit Miss Edna’s Place for her two parts:
I’m giving Minus.com a try with this set of downloads.  They recently upped their file size max, up to 2 gigs per upload, so, they can accommodate this sort of download.  There is a limit of 10 gigs per account for the free one.  Give them a try!  If you have any issues at all, please let me know.  I don’t anticipate any, but, just in case.
That will do it for today.  If I can, I will post more links for you this week.  I hope to!  Until next time…

Hugs,
Su

SU CheshireCat

I must be stark-raving mad to try to write this on this evening, but, here goes!  LOL  It’s Saturday night.  My daughter has friends over for the Gator football game.  It’s a code around Gatortown that all activity cease on Saturday afternoons in the fall so the residents can all watch the game.  I used to do it.  Now, my children are following in my footsteps.  It’s a way of life here!  What can I say?  LOL
I don’t know how many of ya’ll frequent DeviantArt.  I notice a lot of people into digital art, whether it be scrapbooking or other, are members.  I read , recently, where Chad Love Lieberman

SU CheshireCat

New Collab Freebie, “Chicken Anyone?”

Greetings!  Here’s to those of us who are celebrating Labor Day!  A day off!  LOL  This would have been a great weekend to get away, being a three-day weekend.  We’ve had a good one, though.  The children played in the pool, friends came over for the first Gator football game of the season, and we cooked on the grill.  It’s been alright!
Miss Edna and I are starting a new month’s collaboration, “Chicken Anyone?”  Today, we bring you the first two parts, two(2) Quick Pages.  If you’re new to us, we give away two parts a week for three weeks out of each month.  The first two are the QP’s and the remaining four parts are for scrapping one’s own way.  I’m working on a post with the links and articles I find for you, so, I won’t be lengthy here.  I’ll get those up and posted before the week is out.
Here, below, is my preview.  Click on it to go to MediaFire to download.  They are labeled Pt.1 and Pt.2, but, are in one file.  Below mine is Miss Edna’s preview.  Click on it and you’ll be taken to Miss Edna’s Place for her parts.  We hope you enjoy these.
Pt.1 and Pt. 2

Miss Edna’s Place Preview
Now, the family is waiting for me to go jump in the pool, so, I am off until next time!  Do have a wonderful day and, remember,
Smile!
Hugs,
Su

SU CheshireCat