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: