My Art With Christine-Art’s Hand-Drawn Kits

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I did several more layouts for Christine-Art, so, she posted them on her blog, Christine-Art.com. Click on image to go see her post with my art.

Thank you so very much for looking! Christine, thank you for allowing me to have such fun working with your kits!

Su

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On Learning More in Photoshop Than How to Load a Brush

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(A piece I did with Christine-Art’s beautiful hand-painted kits! Look for a related post soon!)

Greetings, fellow traveler, on this wonderful journey we call life! Well, it isn’t always wonderful, is it? But, we carry on, don’t we! We have to.

I have been learning Photoshop for the past 12-13 years. I am past the typical ‘basics’ tutorials, like installing pre-sets, how to use the Gradient Tool, installing a Brush four different ways, etc. Now, I want to learn how to use all those tools, filters, blending modes and pre-sets and all the other features of Photoshop. I want to learn techniques. If that is what you want, too, read on!

I have news for you. Be prepared to spend a few dollars, unless you are careful and diligent! I took the plunge and signed up for Photoshop Artistry, then, Awake, then Kaizen, all from the same dude, Sebastian Michaels. I must say, I think these courses were an excellent investment in myself! In addition to his course material, Sebastian has arranged, for us, a free membership to ShiftArt, a PS based artistic teaching site, as well. He worked with a site as a gallery for our works. The site, ArtBoja, is set up for art printing sales, too, where you post your own art and they do all the transactions and mailing, etc. Then, there is the magazine, “Living the Photo Artistic Life”, which features some of the best art images each month. We also receive, included in the fees, some of the nicest resources, from great photographers and designers, with artistic licenses on all but a tiny few.

Prior to Sebastian’s groups, to learn techniques in Photoshops, I searched YouTu.be. It is a treasure trove of great tutorials, but, you might want to go with some of the mainstream artists/PS Masters’ channels. Jesus Ramirez, of PTC, does a grand series of tutorial videos, as well as ColinSmith of PS-Cafe. Dave Cross is another top PS genius with his own learning site. There are so many others, but, checking the videos out is the best way to see who you like to follow. Check out ‘Marty’ from Blue Lightening TV! LOL He has the most pleasant voice and only speaks to give the steps and any explanation necessary.

Pinterest is a great place to find tutorials’ and the links to them. Many of the sites I list for resources have tutorials, as well! Sites like SpoonGraphics, Envato’s TutsPlus, PSD Vault, and PSD Box, just to name a very few, are great places to learn techniques that are a bit more involved than ‘how to install a brush’! Many tutorials will say whether they are ‘Beginner’, ‘Intermediate’ or ‘Advanced’ so you can pick your comfort/educational level. Some of these PS sites have a ‘Premium’ feature, in which, for either a monthly and/or yearly fee, you get access to premium-grade resources and/or tutorials, often with the resource files or the original .PSD file included. These range from around $7 to $20 per month, with a discount for the annual rate. It is well worth it to join the sites you get the most out of, if possible.

I must mention, too, the course sites, like Lynda.com, Skillshare, etc. are another way to learn special techniques, with a paid membership. CreativeLive doesn’t have a membership format, but, it offers some awesome courses – live, obviously! After the live course, you can purchase the course with the videos, resources used and even homework! (I have found many of my favorite ‘teachers’ on CL, then, found their websites and followed them from there.) These are priced based on the ‘value’ of the material covered. For instance, Ben Wilmore has been doing a 2 week course “Adobe® Photoshop® CC: The Complete Guide”.  There is a special price while it’s running live, but, then, after completion, the price usually goes up. The sale price on this course is around $130.00, but, trust me, Ben is a genius in Photoshop like you wouldn’t believe! These live courses are usually replayed immediately after for anyone who may have missed the day’s live version. This ‘special’ has ended now.

When I discover a new Photoshop design site/blog that I might like, I subscribe to their newsletter. Most of these sites have this feature. It keeps you abreast of new posts, which may be tutorials or resources, or both! I have done a lot of seeking! I have learned what I know from sites like these and YouTu.be. I like videos, but, reading tutorials with good screenshots can be uber helpful and you can go at your own pace.

With a background in Digital Scrapbooking,  I must mention individual blogs and/or websites. I have learned so much from them! I write a tutorial now and then. But, if your desire is to really learn Photoshop, it would take you ten lifetimes! LOL Some designers/Photoshop-users/artists know their stuff! Some have a sense of design where they have seemingly ‘invented’ techniques, which are their trademark style. These folks are priceless to have in your ‘Follow’ list! ‘Finnabair’ is one of my absolute favorites! And, Maggie Taylor!

I want to take a few lines, here, and say something on individual taught art classes. You know? Like a mini-course from some photographer or designer or another, on how to design ‘just like’ they do. You pay a fee and receive videos and .PDF’s and a dedicated forum, as a rule. I’ve seen classes involving Layer Effects, Blending, Masking, and every other feature Photoshop offers! Choose these courses wisely. One, do you really want to create ‘just like’ a certain artist/designer, or do you just want to learn their tips? Let me let you in on a secret, which brings us to number ‘Two’, most of the material in these courses can be found all over the internet, already! They may be in the designers’ main site or blog, or a dedicated tutorial part of a forum they frequent. Or, Google the term and find thousands of other sites that have tutorials on it. Think about it. How do you think they learned the techniques? I once saw a question in a forum of a shop that is no longer in business. The person was asking how the designer was able to get the brushes to paint ‘dynamically’. In other words, no matter where you paint on your document, the pattern is ‘intact’. The response from the designer was, “We designers can’t reveal all of our secrets.” I wanted so bad to direct the questioner to a tutorial! Um, check the ‘Pattern’ feature box in Brush Settings. That’s it! It is certainly not secret. You can find loads of tutorials on it!

I feel that part of the problem with finding good, helpful tutorials, for what you want to do, from my own experiences, is not knowing what techniques are called. (Do you want to know how long it took me to find out what those ‘dynamic brushes’ were called and how to create them?? LOL) Again, I learned most of the terms by reading.  Throw ‘luminosity masks’ or ‘dynamic brushes’ or ‘reverse layer mask’ into a tutorial and everyone is freaking out! “That’s too hard!” I know! But! All the latter is is a regular ol’ layer mask – inverted. Rather than white, revealing the layer’s image, it’s black, completely hiding the layers image. The beauty of this is that, often, it is easier to ‘paint in’, with a white brush, what you want to see, rather than remove what you don’t want, with a black brush on a white mask. If you lower the mask’s Opacity, you can see enough of the image to paint in what you want. Just be sure to raise the Opacity back up when done! LOL

I have to mention, too, there are some major classes put on each year by groups of designers who each offer their expertise on their given talent/feature, like real-life painting and ‘art journaling’, etc. Think ‘Photoshop Week’, but, mainly for journalers and artsy crafters. Actually, these are more ‘events’ than courses!  “LifeBook” is one that happens every year for the past several years. Scrapaneers does one, as well! Debbie Hodge has a learning website with special ‘Courses’,  loads of info and tutorials and resources. Hers is more from a designer’s point of view. Her site is GetItScrapped.

Word of mouth goes a long way, so, look at the side bars on blogs you visit. If you like the content of a blog, their links in the side bar should be a reflection of their tastes.

This is by no means a complete compilation of places to learn Photoshop. I tried to just touch on the different types of learning/teaching there is out there. I hope this helps someone!

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‘:

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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

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and

Doubt & Fear

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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!

First Ever Post Featuring My Art

When I last posted, regularly, on this blog, I was doing the scrapbooking thing, but, making the transfer over to art journaling. I wanted to create and use things that looked artistic. I made some resources of my own to use, which I have been threatening to post for all, but, have not got to it, yet. I am currently working on gathering all my goodies from all the different host sites and putting them all in one place. I will have a page where these items can be downloaded for free. I will let you know when, so, sign up for e-mail updates in the right side bar.

One of the first ‘artsy’ designers to catch my eye was Christine, of Les Idees de Christine. Chris hand paints her pretties. Her little daughter, the apple of her eye, even gets in on it with her own line of scrapbooking good called, “The World of Justine”. Creating a cool layout is so fun with handmade elements! Well, now Christine has opened a new blog/shop, Christine-Art. She offers tutorials, freebies and previews of her work.

A few months ago, Christine came out with a lovely collection of her art, Christine-Art Dreams of Light-1. It was such a fun kit, I ended up making several layouts with it and posting them in Christine’s FB group. Yesterday, she told me she had posted a page on her blog of my layouts. (She had asked for permission prior)

Here is the kit – (Click to go to Christine’s shop):

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And, here is the link to her post of my work:

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I hope you like and, there are a lot more! My Behance Gallery is coming along nicely. With being a part of Design Cuts and enrolled in Awake, my art is starting to look like something worth looking at! I’m having fun and I need it! LOL

I wanted to share this with you as it is so flattering to have the designer of a kit post your layouts and I’m not even a CT member. Her CT girls are absolutely phenomenal!

Thank you for looking.

Smile, ya’ll!

Su

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Easily Install Photoshop Pre-sets – All in One Place

I wrote this tutorial one day after reading another online tutorial for installing brushes via the Adobe files on one’s C-drive.  That way works great, cut and dry!  But, it adds to the program’s size and, eventually, this can really slow down the loading and performance of the PS program.

Did You Know…?

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I want to show you all, once and for all, how easy it is to load presets into Photoshop.  This method works for all presets, is semi-permanent and takes very little space on your hard drive.  It’s called the ‘Preset Manager’.

(Note:  I use CS6.  It’s possible that you don’t see all the presets listed in CS6 in Elements.  It is my understanding you can access some others by clicking on ‘More’ in Layer styles/effects.  This may not be correct, so, the best I can do is tell you to Google installing these.  Sorry!)

We already know that a ‘pre-set’ is a brush, style, pattern, color palette, shape, etc.  What better way to deal with these than through the Preset Manager(PM).  You can access the PM by going to Edit>Presets>Preset Manager.

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Or, you can access it by going to any of the preset tools and clicking on the tiny icon at the top on the right.

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The Preset Manager

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This is where all the action takes place.   I have my ‘brush’ manager open.  It’s getting full!  LOL

Now, obviously, as with the tutorial that inspired me to write this one, you can drop the individual presets into their perspective folders in Adobe’s files on your hard drive.  They are inside the program and will be until you manually remove them from that folder.  Follow this path, or one similar, on your pc:  C:Program Files (x86)AdobeAdobe Photoshop CS6Presets.  But, this adds them to the program ‘permanently’, in a way that makes it load slower.  (If you have too many loaded this way, when you try to change or ‘Re-set’ a preset, often, the entire list/menu isn’t viewable.)  I would only recommend doing this for special presets that you use all the time – as in every day.  By adding them to the PM, they stay in the program until you remove them, but, they don’t count near as much, if anything, against the program as far as taking up space and taking longer to load.

Check out the options you have with the PM:

If you want to load a new preset:

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A window will open, then, navigate to the preset you want on your hard drive.

If you want to save an assortment of presets you frequently use, click on the ‘Save Set’ button.  (I save the ‘best of’ certain brushes, like ‘clouds’, for example, into one set for frequent use – making sure the designer’s name is on the individual preset for crediting, then, I label the set accordingly and save):

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First, click on the preset you want to save.  If there are multiple presets, like if you just created a set of 24 gorgeous rose brushes, you need to click on the first preset, then, hold down the Shift key and click on the last preset you want.  All of the presets in between should be highlighted, too.  Or, you can hold Ctrl/Command and click on each preset, one at a time.  Either way, when you have selected all the presets you wish to save, click on the ‘Save Set’ button. (Some buttons will appear ‘grayed-out’ until you select at least one of the presets.)  Navigate to the place on your hard drive where you want to save and name it something catchy. Be sure to include your name or initials in the title!   Click Save.

Similarly, to Rename or Delete a preset, or presets, highlight the specific preset(s) and click on the appropriate button:

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WHEN YOU DELETE A PRESET FROM THE PRESET MANAGER IT DOES NOT GO AWAY FOREVER!  It is just no longer in your manager.  If you need it again, go through the steps to ‘Load’ it again.

When you are done with all your presetting, click ‘Done’.

I use the term ‘preset’ throughout this tutorial.  Replace it with whatever you like – Brush, Style, Custom Shape, etc.  The same PM can be used for any and all presets, except Actions.  Here’s how!  At the top of the PM is a drop down menu.

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You can go to any of the other presets via the same manager.  (Exception:  Actions – no PM.)

So!  Any time you want to know how to load a brush or a pattern, maybe, the only thing you need to remember is the Preset Manager.  You don’t even have to reboot PS when you add a preset via the PM!  Jus’ keep on goin’!  LOL

Any time I can find a way to expedite the actions I perform with Photoshop, it is good.  Keystroke shortcuts are real helpful in performing many tasks quickly.  We haven’t learned any new one’s lately, so, how about this one?

Key-Stroke Shortcut

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This keystroke shortcut is one you can use to merge selected layers together.  Say, you are working on a layout and you have created the textured background.  With all the blending modes and adjustments, like Levels and Color Balance, often, when done, you may want to merge those layers together.  This can save space in the Layers Palette for the rest of the layout.  There are other ways to Merge – right-click and select Merge Layers, Flatten, Merge Down, Convert to Smart Object, etc.  This shortcut allows you to select multiple layers (hold Ctrl/Cmd and click on each layer you want to include in merge), then, hold Ctrl/Cmd and hit ‘E’.  Takes care of that!  LOL

I hope these things help you!  If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will respond ASAP.

Thank you so much for your visit!

Su