It’s done! From now on, all my downloads will be direct downloads! Yay! I shouldn’t have to host my files on Minus anymore, though, of all the hosting sites, they were awesome! I learned how to use the FTP and put the files in to my site’s files for direct download. Thanks to my friend, J. and the folks at Hosting Bonanza! All files are ‘on site’! Woo-hoo! I hope to, eventually, move the bulk of my goodies in to my own site, so, I don’t have to rely on the hosting sites anymore. Then, I won’t have to put up with the scams (see last post), pop-ups, and constant waiting that come with some of those sites! Yay!
If you are in to digital scrapbooking, there is an entire community of scrappers online. There are hundreds of shops, forums and articles, with tips and tutorials, that make up one huge community. Everything I have learned in scrapping, I learned from other scrappers, either by asking, reading posts, or from tutorials. This is probably the case with many of my fellow scrappers. You seek out and find a site, possibly with a forum and a good group of folks, with fun challenges and helpful members, and you’re set! Everyone seems to find their niche quite easily as the members are a friendly bunch. That’s what I have noticed about scrapbooking. Everyone is so helpful and friendly!
I will venture a guess and say that over half, at least, the scrappers use Photoshop. Learning PS is the biggest hurdle! So, along with learning digi-scrapping, you must learn how to use Photoshop, or some other editing program. It is in trying to learn PS that I have discovered another huge community of folks – the PS design blogs/sites. These are the sites where you can read anything at all on the topic of using Photoshop. You can find a plethora of presets: textures, patterns, brushes, actions, you name it! If it works in PS, it is offered! Additionally, there are scads of tutorials that are there to teach old and new techniques and offer inspiration. Some sites have Premium areas where members have access to certain tutorials and PS goodies for a minimal fee. Most are under 10 dollars a month, with even better deals for 6 or 12 month memberships. Several of the larger sites are a part of a network of related sites, all included under one membership and all geared to help you with design! But, the bulk of these sites are there for your perusal of free goodies. I sign up for the RSS feed on most of them and have their frequent updates and newsletters sent right to my inbox so I don’t miss a thing. Over time, I have learned which ones are better than others and have adjusted my e-mail intake accordingly.
I bring all this up as the scrapbooking community, as huge at it is, is not the end all of obtaining resources and learning Photoshop. While these PS design blogs/sites may not have blinkies to collect and display on our blogs, and they may not have the challenges and communal events so popular in scrapping sites, they offer some serious PS help! Over the past 4 years, I have learned a great deal from subscribing to these design sites. I’ve also learned which ones are preferable. I want to share with you all what I have found. I promise you won’t be disappointed in any of them!
I want to note that some of these sites have ‘vectors’, either in their name or as a feature. DO NOT ignore these sites! Vectors work in PS! If you don’t know this, you do now. Look at the file format – .ai (Adobe Illustrator). Adobe is the key word here. But, .eps (Encapsulated Post Script) files open in PS, too. Try to open either one in PS and see for yourself. There is a box that pops up that will guide you through opening the image. As PS is a raster program, the .ai and .eps files will be converted into rasters once opened. To maintain the ‘vector’ status, though, they must be opened in Illustrator or another vector program.
Ready? Alrighty! In no particular order:
WebTreats – This site is well-known for their wonderful patterns with liberal terms. But, they do offer other PS presets, such as brushes, textures, shapes, styles, etc. I know you’ve seen these around the web!
PSDFanExtra – This is a large network of sites offering all kinds of presets, for free, as well as their Premium section’s offerings. They feature a weekly set of textures that I always love! Here’s a set of mixed textures from a recent offering:
I tend to fancy this site as the folks there are wonderful help! On their BlogsFanExtra site, you can ask for and receive a redesign of your blog – free. Tom will evaluate your current blog/site and make recommendations. He includes a .PSD file of his recommended suggestions. He did my previous blog and I took his advice, carrying over to this blog, his ideas and suggestions. My content is what I want featured, not necessarily other scrappers blogs. He’s evaluated some popular sites since it’s inception.
PSDTuts – This site is also a part of a large network with a Premium section. They’re very well known for thier tutorials and their ‘mini-courses’ in all sort of Photoshop training. Their Basix series, featured by Martin Perhiniak, is wonderful for a beginner learning PS.
They also offer many free resources such as the previously mentioned presets.
PSDDude – This site has some of the coolest offerings, in my opinion. As they don’t have a Premium section, that I know of, all of their offerings are free. Just in the past week, I have obtained an action that gives paper a folded look
and a set of styles that create both Letterpress and embossed effects for your designs.
CreativeNerds – Another good site, featuring similar free resources and tutorials. They often feature goodies from other sites that one might miss if they didn’t. They have a really good Premium section and, get this, their membership is $15.99 for A YEAR!
Their most recent free offering:
VectorPatterns – Don’t let the name mislead you! These folks come out with the most awesome free patterns! I think I have downloaded all of them! Their latest offering:
Each download comes with a scalable vector and a PS .PAT file. They have some cute designs, perfect for scrapbooking!
Fuzzimo – I saved the best for last! This site seems to cater to the needs of us scrappers. They offer some fantastic freebies, many of which I have used, myself, and have seen others use.
Obviously, there are a gazillion more web sites, many that are similar to these. And, there are even more design sites that aren’t strictly PS sites. Many are specializing in web design, or, in a particular aspect of PS and/or design. For that, many of their resources work for scrapbooking. I only mention these few sites as I find they are tops in providing goodies that scrappers might be able to use. While I absolutely love the scrapbooking community, I only want to suggest that there are other communities of resource providers and folks who are eager and willing to help available. Hey, the scrapbooking community has some fantastic designers, but, sometimes, free is what we need. A good deal of these sites have liberal terms, as well! I hope you have found something among these sites I’ve listed! That would make me