Freebie – Gesso-Look Canvas Textures

Hiya!  I wanted to pop in with some things to share with you!  Yay!  One, right off, is my ‘logo’.  I ‘slipped’ it in on the first parts of the Dec freebie.  My friend, Su, from StarSunflowerStudios, actually commented on it.  Thank you, Su!  The two hands holding a card with my name on it was too big.  It covered too much of a preview.  So, I looked to do something else.  Since my nickname was one I picked up in my ‘hippie chick’ days, I thought about something along those lines.  The ‘whirling dervishes’, as they were referred to, were the chicks, and a few dudes, who would dance and spin around to the music at the live events.  Yeah, I was one of those!  LOL  I had seen the ‘gypsy’ silhouette at 123RF stock, so, I used one with some paint spattering and texture.  It takes up a lot less room on a preview, yet, I think, it still stands out.  I had hoped you would like it!

logo grunged-out-bordertransp600

Looking back, still, ever since my teen years I have kept some kind of journal/sketchbook.  With journaling, if I was in a dilemma over something, by the time I transferred my feelings to paper, I had usually ‘worked through’ what ever it was.  That happened a lot!  I think that, with me giving the matter(s) their due while writing, I would mull it over and, more often than not, find answers or, at least, some measure of resolve.

Journaling carried over to my adult years, writing about my children and the ‘occasional issue with my hubby’.  (What an understatement!  LOL)  Family, moves, jobs, schools, friends, I always had something to write about.  I know some of you can relate.  It wasn’t until I started learning digital art, though, that ‘art journal’ came to me.  That was just what I wanted to do!  I saw all the beautiful, impactful pages others had done and I liked it!  I love art anyway, but, coupling art with the written word was perfect!  Most of all, though, anything goes – just about.  Using bits and scraps of my life and the world around me is, to me, the greatest form of art!   Whatever is ‘relevant’ works in art journaling.  Hell, it doesn’t even have to be that!  LOL

The ‘free’ spirit in me has always bucked tradition and art journaling was built to order for this chick!  I just haven’t ever set out to do a ‘journal’, like in a book format, yet.  I’d like to.  So far, though, I have just been creating art, and only occasionally adding some prose or text expressing a feeling.  After my most recent drama, here, at home, I could really use the opportunity to work through some of it via my art and/or writing.  To get it out in an art piece, or, in a little journaling, I think, would do wonders for me!

  There are some awesome kits and sets available for journaling anything and everything.  One look at almost any scrapbooking site and there is a section on journaling.  But, they were designed by another for whatever use they had in mind.  They just aren’t my own.  I knew I wanted to use a ‘canvas’ for my base and went in search.  There aren’t very many available and those that are, well, they are quite pricey.  So, I decided to start totally from scratch and make my own.

The very first need was a canvas/page.  ‘Gesso-smeared canvas’ is a look that is really popular, perfect for art journaling.   I couldn’t find much along those lines, though.  So, that is what I made.  Five(5) of them!  They are free to use any ol’ way your little hearts desire!  Well, other than harmful.  LOL  Click on the preview to download!

su GessoTextures 600

Here is a close-up of one of the textures so you can see what the canvas and gesso look like.

su GessoTexture close-up

Like the one above, the rest of the textures are all neutral, 3600X3600px in size, 300 ppi, and free to use, no credit necessary!

Have fun and enjoy!  Until next time,

Smile Graphic #9

Hugs,

Su

Freebie PS Brushes and a Tutorial

A good Tuesday to you!  ‘Tis a little out of the norm for me, but, I had something to share with ya’ll.  I saw a design I really liked somewhere over the weekend.  I wish I had saved the link or something.  Anyway, it was several ‘floral ornaments’, so they are called, grouped together, for a really nice page embellishment.   So, I got the idea of creating some brushes of these ornaments for use in my scrap work and I thought I would share them with you all.  The designs came from Snap2Objects.com.

Click on the Preview if you would like to go snag these Vectors for yourself.  If you don’t know, Vectors, like .AI or .EPS file formats, will open in Photoshop.  They’re all Adobe.  (Directions below.)

  These would look nice behind a photo, as an element, or even as a background design.  You could create a pattern from them, as well.  The uses are only as limited as your imagination!  The ones I saw were ‘grunged’, but, I wanted to leave these ‘un-grunged’ to allow for different looks.  You can always grunge them up after you stamp them, right?  I’ll even show you how, if you want.  LOL  Here we go!

Download, unzip and install the brushes.  These were made in CS6.  What other programs they work in, I don’t know.  I’m sorry.  Open a new document at the size you would like the element to be.  I like 800-1500px, depending on the element.  Make it 300dpi, RGB, 8-bit, Transparent.  You can put a color background if you like.  That won’t matter.  We’ll just be using this to create the element.

Select a brush of your choice from the download and change the size to the size of your document, maybe a slight bit smaller.  These brushes are 1800-1900pxs, so, they are kind of large.  Choosing the color you would like, ‘stamp’ the ornament onto the page, on a New Layer.  You may have to stamp more than once, so, don’t lift the brush until you get the results.  Or, you can just copy the Layer until you get the desired strength.  Here is what mine looks like:

That’s it!  If you want it to look a little grungey, click on the Eraser tool, then, select a different brush from the set.  Lower the size down to about ‘one/fourth(1/4)’ the size of your element.  I set mine to 500px.  Set the Opacity down low, like to 10-30%, as in the settings in the image above, then, ‘stamp’ over the element in a few random spots to get the desired degree of grunginess.  Go as intense or as subtle as you like with the erasure/grunginess.  It’s whatever you like.  You can leave it with out grunging it up if you prefer.  Here is what I got:

I put mine on a white background for display purposes, but, you can leave yours transparent.  Save it as a .PNG file and there ya go!  A new element to embellish a page or design.

Another cool thing you can do is to save the embellishment as a Pattern.  Make sure you have selected the Layer with the design on it.  Go to ‘Edit’>’Define Pattern’.  When the text box pops up, give it a name and hit ‘OK’.

If you’ve left the size at your element size, like my 1200px, the pattern will be rather large.  Either reduce the size of the element before you Define the Pattern or just lower the ‘Scale’ of the Pattern down when you go to apply it.  If you want a scrapbook-sized paper, for example, create a New Document the size and with whatever settings you need for your paper.  Click on the ‘Create Layer Adjustment’ icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette.

When the drop-down list opens, select Pattern.

 The Pattern you just ‘Defined and Saved’ should be the one that opens.  If not, click on the tiny arrow on the right side of the visible pattern in the Pattern selection box and select your Pattern from the list.

 Adjust the Scale of the Pattern and Move it around where you like at this time, then, click on ‘OK’.  Here is mine. I created a Layer just beneath my Pattern and filled it with color.

So, there you have it.  One brush set, several different uses!

Here is an embellishment that is sort of what I saw and wanted to make:

Or, they could be used as a Tag:

Click on the preview above to download the brushes.  I put the circular matte in the file, too, in case you might want that.  I did not include the .PNGS as they were uber ‘weighty’ – 15mbs average.  With 7 of them, that would make the folder to download humongous!  LOL  If you need them, I will provide them for you – no problem.  Please leave me a comment and I will zip them up and send you a link.  You could also go to Snap2Objects and download the ornaments there, since they did originate there.  When you open the .AI file in Photoshop, they’ll be in .PNG format and right at 3000px on the long side.  All you have to do is click ‘OK’.  This, or something similar, is what you will see, :

You would have to separate them for individual use.  If you use the Vectors, be sure you follow their Terms and link to Snap2Objects.com – not me.

I want to thank you for stopping by.  I hope the brushes and this tutorial will come in handy for you!

Soon, Miss Edna and I start giving you a new freebie for the month of November.  That will start the second Monday of the month, the 12th, I believe.  I have some more things to share with you, but, they can wait.  It’s late and I need to go to sleep!  LOL

Until next time,

SMILE!!

Blessings,

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

Final Parts – ‘Vintage Garden’ and Texture Panel for PS

A good morning to you!  I hope everyone is well and in good spirits.  Me, I’m so lost!  LOL  That’s really nothing new, tho!  Seriously!  Lately, there have been changes in my life.  Big changes.  I feel like I am struggling to stay sane!  Ah, well!  “Life goes on!”  “This, too, shall pass!”  And, finally, “What doesn’t kill us will only make us stronger!”  I have been reminding myself of these ‘catch-phrases’ over and over.  It is helping – somewhat.  LOL

So!  I have been looking at Adobe Exchange and some of the new features of CS6.  Wow!  Did you know you can download an ‘Adobe Exchange Portal’ that would enable you to visit the Exchange while inside Photoshop?  I am finding things to do with PS that will help in design and my art.  There are all types of things you can add on to PS!  I wanted to tell ya’ll about one ‘Extension’ that I have used since CS5 that I love!

Textures appeal to me!  I don’t know what it is, but, there is something about adding a texture and tweeking the ‘Blending Modes’ that just thrills me.  You can come up with some awesome designs/effects!  I am a sucker, too, for downloading about every ‘texture freebie’ I see.  When I first started playing with PS, I looked for the panel that had the textures.  LOL  You can add a style, a pattern, even create a ribbon with an action, but, there was not a panel/feature that would bring up and apply textures.  There’s the ‘Texturizer Filter’, but, I am speaking of something that would give the artist complete control as to what kind of texture we want.

Then, I read something about an extension that brings textures in to PS.  I went on a search and found it!  It’s called ‘Texture Panel’ and it works in conjunction with ‘FlyPaperTextures.com’.  I know it works in CS5 and CS6, but, any other versions, I do not know.  You can find the script on Dr. Brown’s Script page.  Russel Brown is such an awesome guy!  He’s funny and smart!  I am fuzzy on who came up with the idea and all that, but, I know it is a gem!

When you download it, which I do through the Extension Manager that comes with CS, and open PS, you will find it under ‘Windows’>’Extensions’.  It will open as a panel.  You’ll see something like this:

The textures that come installed are from FlyPaperTextures.com.  The assortment is very nice!  I use them a lot!  For a while they were the only textures you could use in this extension.  Now, though, they have added the capability, with Texture Panel open, to navigate to your hard drive, so, now, you can use all of your own textures!  Talk about easy-peasy!  LOL  On Dr. Brown’s Scripts page, he warns you about size.  I guess larger textures take a really long time to open.  It’s best to go with smaller size textures.  As with anything, you’ll have to experiment.

What is cool is, when you want to use a texture, you open the Texture Panel window/palette.  Either select one of the FlyPpaperTextures that comes installed, or navigate to your own with the drop-down menu in the upper right-hand corner of the palette.  Once you decide on a texture, and bring it into Texture Panel, just double click on the desired texture’s thumbnail.  Wallah!  The texture not only opens up, but, it goes on top of the stack of layers you currently have open.  What ever layer you have selected, it goes on top of it in the Layers Palette.  (I have not tried to open a texture as a stand-alone document, yet.) Then, it applies a Blending Mode; ‘Multiply’ is default, but, you can always change the mode.  Then, once the texture is applied, it closes.  You are left with your creation plus a texture!  You really must see it!  It is awesome!  While I have interspersed this article with links, I repeat them here:

Texture Panel (download is second in the list) – http://russellbrown.com/scripts.html

Fly Paper Textures –  http://flypapertextures.com/

Adobe Exchange Panel – http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/exchange/

Now, the final two parts to ‘Vintage Garden’.  This wraps up the kit.  Next month, we have something neat!  So, do plan on coming back the second week of September!  My previews are linked to the downloads.  The first preview, the ‘elements’ lead to Part 5, and the second preview, the papers, lead to Part 6.  Then, if you haven’t already been to Miss Edna’s Place, click on her preview to go to her blog to download her two parts.  If you missed it, I made a layout using Miss Edna’s goodies for the photos we took of the children’s first day of school.  I shared it a few posts back or click on this link.

Part 5

Part 6

Miss Edna’s Preview and Link (click on image)

There ya go!  You’ve learned something and been able to download a freebie!  So, kick back and enjoy!  It has been raining here in sunny Florida for weeks!  So,

until next time…

Hugs,

Su

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 CraftsmanSpace.com 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!

http://webdesignerwall.com/tutorials/photoshop-secret-shortcuts

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…

Hugs,

Su

Some content absorbed and interpretted from: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/32597/whats-the-difference-between-pixels-and-vectors/