Check it out

Photoshop Deep Dives with Lesa Snider

A FREE online Photoshop series.

Sept 17-19

Enroll in any of these day-long workshops.

ENROLL FREE: Deep Dive: Selections (Sept 17)

ENROLL FREE: Deep Dive: Adjustment Layers (Sept 18)

ENROLL FREE: Deep Dive: Smart Objects (Sept 19)

Coming this September, get ready to dive in deep and master the art of Photoshop! Lesa Snider returns to the creativeLIVE studio with a new series of day-long Deep Dive Workshops. Each day, Lesa tackles some of Photoshop’s most powerful features. Whether you’ve been using Photoshop for 10-days or 10-years, Lesa Snider’s course offers a slew of time saving and practical techniques.

  • selections: shape & color
  • smart objects
  • difficult + irregular areas
  • time-saving shortcuts
  • adjustment layers
  • color correction
  • refined edges
  • special graphic techniques

DEEP DIVE DISCOUNT! Dive in for the biggest savings! Get a special bundle of four (4) deep dive workshops together for only $75. That’s over 50% off the full price and includes Lesa’s earlier deep dive look at Adobe Camera RAW. If you already own Lesa’s Camera RAW workshop, make sure to sign in with your username to get an even deeper bonus discount.

Note:  I am in no way affiliated with either CreativeLive or Lesa Snider.  I have not received any compensation for posting this.  I just know how awesome of an instructor Lesa is!  And, how cool it is for CL to keep bringing these cool PS workshops!  When you sign up, you’ll automatically receive reminders – the day before and early on the day of, before it starts.


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!



Introducing New FreeSpirit Blog Features

With everything that has been going on, it has been a while since I wrote on the Photoshop aspect of design and creativity.  As my new domain comes into fruition, I will introduce more Photoshop-related content, especially as it applies to digi-scrapping and other digi-art.  As it is, now, I spend about half of my time with digital scrapbooking and the rest on digital art.  I like to try photo-manipulation tutorials, with an emphasis on learning techniques.  In this manner, I feel, I have learned more about this program than any other means.  At Digital Whisper I focused the challenges on a tutorial that showed how to use some PS feature or technique that, once learned, can be used for any application – not just the final image of the tutorial.  Jumping in, following the instructions(tuts), getting a first-hand knowledge of the technique, is the best way to learn anything.  With Photoshop, it is almost a requirement.

There are several key elements I want to focus on with the PS-related content.  One is just to get across to the readers more PS content for other design purposes, other than digital scrapbooking, like digi-art, web/blog design, etc.  The other thing I want is to share tips that can make any design work/play run smoother.  One can easily create an action, for instance, that automates any repetitive task we use frequently, such as image resizing or preparing a preview for the web.  You know.  Those mundane, yet, necessary tasks we spend a great deal of time doing.  There are key shortcuts one can pick up to cut down on steps to accomplish most anything!  There are issues that come up that, with awareness, can be diverted or downplayed.  For example, how many times have you tried to click on a certain menu item, only to discover it ‘greyed-out’, with no idea why.  This one is common when learning PS!

I want to introduce a feature, here, that I hope to make a regular thing – “Did you know…?”  Sometimes, I run across some neat little tid-bit of info that has the potential to help with design.  There are some I want to share and, hopefully, readers will share some of the jewels they find.  Eventually, there may be a wealth of valuable tips and ideas that will inspire anyone.  So, here is the first in what will hopefully become many.

Did You Know…?

You can open and use ‘vectors’ in Photoshop.  The ‘.ai’ and ‘.eps’ file extensions are vector images, as opposed to ‘pixel’ images.  Any time you zoom in real close to an image in PS, you can clearly see the image is made up of tine little squares – pixels.  The process is called ‘rasterization’, thus, pixel-based images are referred to as ‘rasters’.  Vectors are points, lines, curves and polygons on an algebraic grid.  Vectors exist in a mathematical space, as opposed to the more literal space that pixels exist in.  As a result, there aren’t any pixel edges or other quirks to restrict in the size of the image.  You can enlarge a pixel image and it will look horrendous.  With vectors, size is not an issue.

Having bored you with all that, when you open a vector image in PS, you will see something like this:

As the box is titled, PS has to ‘rasterize’ the vector in order for the program to be able to use it.  All you have to do is hit ‘OK’ and the image will open in raster form that you can work with.  I use this opportunity to open the image as more of what I want.  I usually work in RGB color mode, so, I go ahead and change that in the little box.

I also prefer 300ppi resolution, so, I change that here, too.

This will obviously change the image size, so, pay heed to the new size.  If it is a single image, realize how it will appear at the new size.  Is it entirely too large?  Reduce the numbers until you end up with a size that you can work with.

If, on the other hand, the image is compiled of smaller images, you may want to keep the large size.  When you have the size at an acceptable level, click ‘OK’.  Here is the outcome, the rasterized version of the vector I used.

And, here is the image all prettied up for you.  Feel free to use for PU.  Click on the image, then, right-click to save.  Thank you to for this image!  If you’ve never visited them, you really should.  Check out their resources, like this free pattern I used for this post.

So, whatcha think?  Adding the ability to incorporate vectors into one’s design opens all kinds of possibilities, eh?

I’m not through with you, yet!  LOL  There’s more!  In addition to adding this new feature to my blog, I also want to implement another little pet project in here – ‘key-stroke shortcuts’.  Wait!  Before you decide they are just not for you and that you just don’t have the time, etc., read on, please.  I have a lousy memory!  My short-term memory is useless!  LOL  And, if you folks are like me, you tend to go with what you know, rather than trying to learn a whole new way of doing things.  You don’t have to!  By learning ‘key-stroke shortcuts’ my way, it is a breeze!  All I do is learn one at a time!  That’s it!

Key-Stroke Shortcut – Copy Layer

As I learn PS, there are certain things I find that I do all the time!  Ever copy a layer?  You know, create an exact duplicate of a layer just above the existing layer for whatever reason.  I do it every day.  As with many other things in PS, there are several ways of accomplishing this.  I used to go to the top menu bar, click on ‘Layer’, go to ‘Duplicate Layer’, then, when the box pops up, click ‘OK’.  Bah!  ‘Ctrl/Cmd(Mac)’+’J’.  Done!  Two keys!  In the new CS6, you can duplicate entire groups with one click of these two keys!  If you only want to copy one part of another layer, select that part with any of he ‘selection’ tools in the ‘Tools Palette’.  Then, when you hit ‘Ctrl/Cmd(Mac)’+’J’, only that part of the layer will copy.   It is so easy!

If you are a regular reader of my blog, I intend to post one ‘key-stroke shortcut’ a week or so.  By adding a new one every so often, getting accustomed to using each, soon, you’ll see a marked increase in productivity.  Try out each new key-stroke.  See how easy it is.  Open an image and play.  Familiarize yourself with typing the required keys so that it becomes automatic for you.  You know.  Take it for a spin.  Kick the tires!   By performing some action whilst learning something new, it stays in your memory far better!  Your time spent on a project will lessen with each new stroke you add to your arsenal of knowledge.  C’mon!  Give it a whirl with me!  I already have a nice little list of strokes I have learned and use all the time.  I can’t imagine going back to my old ways!  LOL  I will give you those, then, we’ll go on to learn others.

So, there it is.  This is where I plan on taking things with the new blog.  I still plan on offering the monthly freebie kit that Miss Edna and I do together each month.  Scrapbooking is a big part of my digital design life.  However, by learning to use Photoshop in new and better ways, it is adding to my experience, thus, my expertise, when it comes to creating any kind of new designs – hopefully.  I hope you like and can benefit from the new added features.  If you ever have any questions or something to add, just leave me a comment.  I will act on it asap!

An article I found online gives some of the best-known shortcuts, with images!  We’ll learn them all!

Sign up for my RSS Feed, in the right side bar.  Every time I post, you’ll get an e-mail of that post!  Easy-peasy and you don’t miss a word!  LOL

Until next time…



Some content absorbed and interpretted from:

NEW – ‘April Showers’ Freebie!

Good Monday, All!  I hope everyone had a great Sunday.  If you celebrate Easter, I hope you found your fair share of the eggs!  LOL  It was nice around here.  My daughter and the children went to a friend’s house later in the day and it made it so nice and peaceful here!  That was wonderful!  I wanted to nap, but, I hated to waste my time when it was so calm.  LOL  So, I created.  You’ll see!
This time of the year must be a good time to start a digital scrapbooking shop.  I have run into I don’t know how many Birthday/Anniversary sales!  I eventually had to quit looking.  I got some great deals on what I did get.  A couple of sites were having Easter egg hunts or other ‘hunt’ games.  Like a blog hop, kinda, I snagged some pretties!  One chick had her CU store on sale for $5.00 – everything CU, for one little price.  I think there were 27 items.  She had some nice CU items, too.  ‘She’ is Kit Kat Designs, and her store at Angel Baby Scraps is here:

Click on the ‘fan blinkie’ to go to her shop.  That sale is just a little ways down the list of goodies.
Oh, yeah!  I almost forgot!  I won a prize!  I won a ‘bundle’ from Inky Deals.  I’m still unpacking all the goodies in it!  There are brushes, patterns – both seamless and full-sheet, textures galore, a couple of actions, web elements for web design, gosh!  I am not even sure what all is in it!  It was almost a thousand dollars worth of stuff – over a gigabyte!  Inky Deals is a site where, each day, they offer some great deal on web and design elements.  Like today, for instance, they are selling a set of PS Paper Brushes.  They almost always have an uber deal on what they sell.  I’ve gotten two 1-year subscriptions through them, I think, that were reduced to half, at least, of the usual price.  (I also have dealt with Mighty Deals and get them mixed up)  If you are going to pay, you may as well get the best price, eh?  LOL
For any one who is a Photography lover, Creative Live, is offering a free workshop on their Live site, Fundamentals of Digital Photography 2012 with John Greengo.  It starts at 10 CST, so, 1:00 EST, so SOON!  It runs for 4 hours the whole week, Monday, the 8th, through Friday, the 13th.  (The 13th?!!  Arghhh!  LOL)  You do not have to purchase a thing!  John Greengo makes it interesting, I’m sure!  I’ve taken other classes from him.  So, trot on over and get yourself ‘schooled’ in some good photography!  LOL
I’m working on several things, some links and some goodies, that will come later in the week.  I haven’t been posting much as I am still catching up from being sick.  I think I am about caught up.  I got this month’s kit freebie all set to give to you!  Today, Miss Edna and I bring you 

Today, we give you two QP’s(Quick Pages), Parts 1 and 2.  Then, for the next two Mondays, we will give you two(2) parts each, per week, for a total of  twelve(12) total, between us.  Below you will see my preview.  Click on it to go to Minus to download.  Then, there is Miss Edna’s preview.  It is linked to her blog so you can go there and snag her parts.  I had fun making this one!  I over did it, as usual, so, I put some of the elements on ‘sheets’.  Otherwise, each file would be HUGE!  You will get these, too!
Here are the previews:
Parts 1 and 2:

Miss Edna’s Parts:

Well, that is gonna do it for today.  We hope you enjoy!  
Until next week,


SU CheshireCat

Freebie Final Parts and Links

Whee!  LOL  I am caught up!  You don’t realize how much stuff you are involved in until you can’t do it all for some reason.  In addition to catching up on e-mails, there are dozens of tutorials to check out, articles to read, and goodies to snag.  I know it makes a lot of work for myself to read all I do, but, I like having my finger on the pulse of the online digital design community.  I find a lot of interesting stuff this way!  I stumble upon a previously unknown-to-me design blog, subscribe to the feed or e-mail alerts, and I’m with it.  LOL  Rarely have I ever gone back and unsubscribed.  There are lots of ways to find out what is happening.
The most obvious places to start are the ‘search engines’.  I know of three(3) of them, right off: 
(Found Another) 
If you know of any others, add them in the comments and I will add them to my list on my ‘Resources’ page.  The three I mention are there, already, near the bottom.
Pinterest, the ‘clippings’ site, is an awesome way to find out about cool stuff.  There are Photoshop sections (use the search feature at the top of any page) where there are loads of goodies and tutorials.  I think you have to have an invite, so, if you need one, comment and I will accommodate you.
One great way to find things you like are to go to any blog that has something you like, then, check that blog’s links.  Their links are usually in blinkies or ‘Lists’ on the sidebar, so, it isn’t too difficult to find them.  An excellent example would be Sugarbutt Designs.  I wrote about it a few weeks ago, and, since, have learned the dear lady’s name – Jenn.  She told me she has gone by ‘Sugarbutt’ for ever.  LOL  I think it’s a darling name!  On her sidebar, she has lists of great sites to visit.  Click on Sugarbutt – aka: Jenn’s site and check it out for yourself.  She had some I had never heard of.
Real quick, here are just a few of the places I have found lately: 
I found one new place that I am digging – Slo-Dive.  They feature a lot of Photoshop goodies and tuts, too.  They are real regular with posting, so, be sure you subscribe. 
Then, there is  They have a little bit of everything – textures, brushes, patterns, shapes, actions, etc… 
Another good Photoshop blog is ‘Hello, Streetlight’.  Right now, on their home page, there are quite a few nice brushes and textures.
As far as digi-scrapping blogs/sites, I found one where, even tho it is a store, the goodies are mostly free.  Retro-Zing is set up in a store setting, but, I think all of the stuff is free.  There may be a pay item, but, I haven’t found it.  There are some cute ‘collections’ going on, so, check it out!    
And, now, finally, here are the last two parts of this month’s collaboration with Miss Edna’s Place.  This was a crazy month, but, I managed to get everything done and posted.  Whee!
Click on the ‘elements’ preview, below, to go to Part 5 and the next preview, the ‘papers’ to get Part 6.  Then, you will see Miss Edna’s preview.  Click on it to go to her blog for her parts, if you haven’t been there already.
So, here ya go:
Part 5

Part 6

Miss Edna’s Preview

Miss Edna and I will be back at it again in April.  Here’s peek at the colors with a familiar ‘April’ theme.  You’ll see!

Until then…

SU CheshireCat