Art Created with Christine-Art’s Kits

One of the coolest things about digital art is that you can create anything you want! It’s your creation! Aside from usage rights, there is no end to what one can do artistically and digitally! I happen to like the ‘artsy’ look on my pieces. I want it to look like I spent time drawing, sketching, cutting and/or painting my works. Of course I do spend time on each piece, but, I can choose how involved I want to be.  I decide if I want to paint with a Photoshop paint brush or find a suitable image or design kit that has the type of elements I want and like.  Christine-Art‘s ‘Art Kits’ are just that for me.

I had all these ideas of creating artsy supplies to use in my pieces. I did create a bunch of stuff that I like to use myself. It was around that time, though, that I discovered other design folks were in to the same type of thing as I am – artsy-looking layouts or art works that have the look of having been done by hand. One of these design folks was Christine who is Christine-Art. In fact, I’m not sure, but, I believe she is among just a few who actually do sketch and color and cut and scan her own art to use as a ‘Art Kit’.

I have shared about Christine’s Art Kits before, but, I want to do so again, here. I am hooked on using her kits to come up with pieces that I like and enjoy creating.

Here is one of her most recent kits, ‘Doubt‘:

DSS-ad-Doubt

To accompany some of her kit designs Christine has ‘workshops’ on her blog, based on some aspect of our humanity, our feelings, our lives. ‘Doubt‘ was one of them. She gave ideas, prompts and suggestions to ponder. I created two pieces with the kit:

I Doubt It

su_IDoubtIt-600web

and

Doubt & Fear

su_Doubt&Fear-600web

In addition to her own website/blog/shop, Christine-Art, Christine is Guest Designer right now at Digital Scrapbooking Studio (DSS). Check out her Art Kits and other goodies! There is even a ‘freebie’ section on her site, Christine-Art!

There is also a Facebook group for Christine-Art lovers, Fans de Les Idees de Christine.

Enjoy!

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Mask Tutorial and a Link for Coding

Hi, everyone!  I have a couple of things I want to share with you today.  They are a mish-mash of topics, but, all should come in handy.  Shall we get started?  M’kay!

First up is a series of posts, “31 Days of Coding Basics”, to help you with some of the simpler codes you can use on your own blog or on others, like in the comments section.  This series is on This Bold Girl.com.  Coding is all of the Greek, or Swahili, I’m not sure which, that allows you to create some cool stuff on your blog or website.  It’s really ‘html’!  LOL  For instance, you can add a bold heading to each sub-section of a post if you are posting on several topics, as I often do (See Below).  You can add a link to a comment you make on someone else’s blog.  You can create lists, breaks, emphasis and italicization.  The last two are useful for me since these attributes don’t exist as options on the ‘visual’ page I post on here at WP.

None of the posts/instructions are very long or tedious.  Rather, you may just learn something quickly and easily.  Gwen, the ‘Bold Girl’, writes a good tutorial!  Give it a shot and see!  I know I was envious of those folks who could place links in their comments on other folks’ blogs.  Now, I can do it!  There may be a trick in there that you can use!

Look at the sub-title just below.  I used code to get it like that.

Key-Stroke Shortcut

Next up, I want to show you something.  It is kind of a keystroke, only different.  LOL  If you use Masks in Photoshop, this is a cool tip!  Say, you are extracting an item from an image.  I almost always apply a Mask to the image I am going to extract from.  This gives me the ability to change things and clean things up more easily.  It keeps your image ‘non-destructive.  Then, I begin selecting the item with the Quick Selection Tool, getting up close to the edges as possible.  When you are satisfied with the selecting, click on the ‘Add Layer Mask’ button at the bottom of the Layers Palette.  This should isolate your item.  If, instead, you’ve masked over the image in error, just switch the masking to the item by clicking on Select>Inverse, then, add the Mask.  (Whichever area you Mask, either the background or the circle, the selected area will remain visible, while the remaining area ‘disappears’, when the Mask button is clicked.)

Here is the tip!  If you would like to check the Mask to be sure there aren’t any places missing or ragged-looking, press ‘Alt(Options-Mac)’ and click on the Mask in the Layers Palette.  The Mask will be completely visible.  This is priceless on difficult images.  You can brush over any areas that you need to, then, simple do the same keystroke to return your image mode.  Or, just click somewhere on the mask’s Layer itself and the image reappears.

Here is a simple image I whipped up to show you how to do this.  I want to isolate the circle to use elsewhere.

Select the circle with the Quick Selection Tool.  Add the Mask.  Then, press ‘Alt'(Options-Mac)’ and click on the Mask in the Layers Palette.  You should see this:

Remember, White Reveals, Black Conceals.  The Layers Palette looks like this:

When you get the Mask cleaned up, and you are satisfied, simply click the same Keystroke or click anywhere on the grey part of the Layer.  This is the result:

(Though it is hard to see, the PS background pattern is showing all around the circle.  I can now save it as a .PNG file.)

When I get the Mask work done, I can right-click on the Mask and select ‘Apply Layer Mask’.

And, here is my newly extracted circle!

Being able to tweek the Mask is a perfect way to see what you may have missed while selecting.  My eyes aren’t as good as they used to be, so, this helps me bunches!  Because Masks are editable, you can make changes by going over any areas with the opposite colors: black-conceals or white-reveals.

I think this will do for today.  I have some more things to share, so, watch for them.  Until then,

SMILE!

Hugs,

Su

Scrapbooking and Digital Resources: Sites with Links

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!

crimson_red_patterns_preview

Image Linked to Item

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:

Image Linked to Item

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.

Image Linked to Item

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

Image Linked to Item

and a set of styles that create both Letterpress and embossed effects for your designs.

Image Linked to Item

 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:

freepaintspaltterbrushpreview High Resolution Free Paint Splatter Photoshop Brush Set

Image Linked to Item

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:

flowerbannerpreview thumb A Great Simple Seamless Flower Pattern Set

Image Linked to Item

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.

Image Linked to Item

Image Linked to Item

Image Linked to Item

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

Smile Graphic #22

Hugs,

Su

Links for Design Goodies

Greetings!  I have been promising some links for you and now I am here to deliver!  LOL  These are sites I stumble upon or hear about that offer something good for scrappers and digital artists.  As a Photoshop user, too, I pay attention to those resources that are offered.  So, are you ready!

This first place is DigiTee Designs.  Shiela is into scrapbooking, it looks like.  She creates little goodies and gives them away, such as Layer Styles for PS, labels, strings and alphas.  I spotted a cute kit, too!  A couple of ’em!

Do you like ‘Layer Styles’?  JC Sweetpea Designs offers a slew of really nice styles for Photoshop.  They are free and for CU use, too.

Next, is ScrapKado Brushes.  Though the title says ‘Brushes’, Sylvaine has Patterns, Styles and Templates.  On this page, after the first post for Ballet Brushes, she gives links to all of her sites, and there are lots more that you may enjoy!

Now, about DeviantArt.  I spend a lot of time over there since I also do digital art and painting.  My favorite photo-manipulation is anything fantasy.  Thus, I have found a few artists who provide stock for art use.  I have compiled the links into one page at my old blog.  I just haven’t moved it yet.

http://www.suruha-freespirit.com/p/deviantart-stock-providers.html

I have noted after each link what type of goodies each primarily offers to help you narrow down your search.  Also, be sure to pay heed to each individual artist’s terms.  Some are fairly detailed whereas others – not so much.

I saved the best for last.  My friend, Jodiann.  I know I wrote about Jodiann before, but, if you haven’t been to her site, lately, you are missing out!  She is on a roll!  Jodiann is a natural-born designer.  She makes some of the nicest goodies.  Coincidentally, one of her specialties is Layer Styles.  But, she does elements and overlays and all kinds of neat things.

For those of you who design your own, she even offers a year-long CU Pass, allowing you to sell what you make with her goodies.  It is the most reasonable rate I have ever seen!  5 Bucks!  Yep!  For a whole year!  Even if you have no need for this, you really must read some of Jodiann’s posts.  She is a HOOT!  She’s an ol’ hippie chick, herself, so, we have a lot in common.

This isn’t all I have.  It’s just all the time I have.  LOL  I have a tutorial that I will post soon that will, hopefully, help you to save time doing your scrapping/art/designs.  Look for it!  Meanwhile, I will see what needs to be done about my RSS Feed.  I don’t know if it works or not.   The benefit of a ‘feed’ is every time I post something, you get it in your e-mail.  LOL  I use them all the time for sites I want to keep up with.  You can also have the feed go to a ‘reader’ of your choice.  I use Google Reader.  It would take me a year to view each of them, but…  LOL  I subscribe to a lot of places!  I just skim over them and hit on the stuff that stands out to me.  Seeing what all I have downloaded, it is probably a good thing that I can’t read all of them on a regular basis!  I have 2 External Hard Drives full of resources!  My brushes alone weigh in at over 50 gigabytes.  LOL

So, as usual, until next time…

Moving Smile Graphic

 Hugs,

Su

New Blog – Finally! Freebies and Links

Hiya!  I made it!  Welcome to my new blog!  This one is mine!  LOL  I am using the WP plug-in, but, the hosting is done right here.  No more going to Minus or Box!  I am new to this concept, so, be patient with me, as you have already done.  I appreciate it!  Be sure to check out Hosting Bonanza if you would like to have your own site!  My friend, J, did all the set up for me and I couldn’t be more pleased!  I still need to transfer over my ‘resource’ pages, but, I will.  Every one of my posts from both, Blogger and WordPress, have been added to this blog, so, this one is complete!

I have lots for you today.  First off, I have been promising you some new links for good things.  I have some for you!  If you love pretty and colourful patterns, check out InkBite.  Here is quite the selection!  Here is just one of these gorgeous designs:

See what I mean?  It’s a nice site, so, do give it a click!

Next up is Animus.  There, you will find some of everything – design-wise, anyway.  At first look, it seemed that there was not that much content.  Then, when I clicked on the menu items, patterns, then, floral, in particular, it took me to a page like this:

Each of the circle previews can be clicked to see a larger preview and to download.  You can see the list of patterns offered.  It is about the same for brushes, fonts, even clip-art.  Go give it a whirl!  I think you’ll like!

This next site is one on DeviantArt, The Strawberry Tree.  This site is aimed at providing stock images for manipulations.  It has some great images!  If you do any kind of art or image-manipulating, this one is a jewel!  I’ll let you check it out.  Do follow any TOU’s, of course.

This one, e-Scape and Scrap, is for scrapping.  I had never seen it before!  There is a great selection of designers here!  I don’t know what it is about this site, but, I loved everything!  LOL  That doesn’t happen often, either.  I picked just one of the offered freebies to show you, but, there is a lot more!

See?  Check it out!

The last link today is SDWHaven.  This site is a design-oriented website which leans towards illustration.  It has been around a while.  There are some wonderful brushes, patterns, styles, etc, here.  Here is just one brush preview:

The offerings are good quality!  Give it a try, too!

Alrighty, then!  Those should keep ya busy for a little while.  Onward!

Did You Know…?

that in some versions of Photoshop, you can change the brush size and the opacity by holding down the ‘Alt’ key, then, clicking and dragging the mouse?  Click and drag right and left to change the size, up and down to change the opacity.  I know this feature is available in CS5 and CS6. I am not sure about PS Elements.  It won’t hurt to try if you have another version!  I like it as it keep my hands on the keyboard around the area where I do the most key-strokes – the lower left-hand corner of the keyboard.  To me, that is nice!  LOL   I hope someone can find this useful!

Keystroke Shortcut

For our keystroke shortcut of the week, let’s use all of our fingers!  LOL  By depressing all three modifier keys, ‘Alt’, ‘Shift’ and ‘Ctrl’, then, ‘E’, while on the top-most layer of your layers panel, it will create and place a composite image of every layer on top of them all.  This is best explained with an image.  Say you have several layers created.  You don’t want to merge them or flatten them as you may have to make some changes.  However, you really want to add an effect to the finished design.  This is where this shortcut comes in handy.  I threw together an image to illustrate this:

Looking at the Layers Palette, we see the layers we have:

Now, I want to clip a texture to the entire image, but, I don’t want to merge.  So, I hold down all three modifiers and click ‘E’.  You must be on the top-most layer to do this and get the entire image.  If you only have one layer, for some reason, you can just add a new layer, select it, then apply this feature.  There just has to be more than one layer and you have to be on the the top layer.  If there is a layer you don’t want included, just turn it off!  Easy-peasy!  Here is the Layers Palette after applying this step:

Now, I can go ahead and do whatever I want to the image and the layers aren’t affected.  It is a bit of a trick clicking on all three keys plus the ‘E’, but, it is worth it.  I use this almost every time I am on Photoshop.  I find lots of reasons I want various layers combined, yet still separate.

So, that is a gonna do it for this post!  I have a surprise for you!  Call it a ‘Welcome Gift’ if you like, but, I have some element sheets I forgot to give you from ‘Summer Fun’.  Oops! Click on each image for larger sizes, then, right-click and save!

Citrus Slices

Summer Signs

Tropical Fruits

Whew!  LOL  I hope you have found something useful here today!  I am so excited to have all of my blog together in one place!  Woo-hoo!  LOL

I am out of here!  There is another afternoon thunderstorm brewing.  I have to turn off everything.  I’m not replacing all that stuff again!  Cha-ching!(Sound of cash register)  So, until next time,

Smile Pretty!

Hugs,

Su