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Unleash Your Creativity with Blending Modes

This month’s Scrap Girls Club includes a variety of beautiful papers. You can get even more use out of these papers by mixing them together using Photoshop’s Blending modes. This tutorial shows you how to use Blending modes to combine papers. Let’s get started!

1. Select two or more papers you want to combine.

I often select several papers that I think might work well together and turn some layers off and on while I am working.

2. Place the papers into a new 12×12-inch page.

I placed my floral paper over my solid paper. Stacking them the other way (solid over floral) will give a different look.

3. Select the top paper layer and choose a Blending mode.

Hint: Try out different Blending modes by selecting a Blend mode first, and then, with your cursor over the Blend mode, use the up and down arrows or the scroll wheel of your mouse to cycle through the different modes.

I played with various paper combinations and came up with three different looks.



You can also layer several papers using a Blend mode for each layer except the background (bottom) layer. You can create lots of fun, new looks by blending different papers together with Blend modes. We’d love to see the pages you create using this technique with this month’s Scrap Girls Club. Post your pages in the Scrap Girls Club Gallery and let us take a peek at your creativity!

An Amazing Deal!
If you were to buy all of the items in the club individually from the Boutique they would cost $27.64 and we offer it to you for just $9.99 a month!
Article written by April Martell
Tutorial written using Photoshop CS6 with Windows 7

Five Steps to ‘Watercolor Fabulous’ Templates!

This month’s ScrapSimple Club by Emily Abramson has an assortment of templates and brushes with a vintage ephemera feel. While the templates are lovely in their original black and white, they can look fabulous in color. In this tutorial, I’ll show you a fun way to color the ScrapSimple Paper Templates: Ephemera Overlays using a watercolor brush.

Note: The watercolor brush I used is from a bonus brush set that is included with the ScrapSimple Tools – Styles: Watercolor Fabulous 6301.

Let’s get started!

1.  Select and open the overlay you wish to work with. 

It’s always a good idea to either save the template as a copy or drag it into a new document before you start working to protect your original file. (In order to see the effect of the painting against the background paper I planned to use, I added a paper from Emily’s Antiquities Collection Biggie below the transparency layer.)

2.  Create a new layer above the transparency layer (Shift+Ctrl+N). 

This is the layer you will be painting on. Set the Blending mode of your new watercolor layer to Overlay. If you want to change the name of the layer in the Layers panel, just double-click on the layer name and type the new name.

3.  Select the Brush Tool and reduce the flow percentage.

I set mine to 10%, but the number you choose will depend on your brush, the color you are using, and the effect you like. I used the Watercolor Fabulous Bonus Brush 2 on my page.

4.  Choose a color for your brush.

After you choose a color, then with your new layer selected, simply paint color on the flowers and leaves. I used several shades of the colors I used for leaves and flowers to give them a bit more depth. If desired, you can create a new layer for each color to make it easier to edit your painting.

Tip: For even faster painting, use the bracket keys [ ] to quickly change your brush size. The right bracket ] enlarges the brush; the left bracket [ reduces it. If you accidentally paint out of the lines with the watercolor brush, you can either embrace the natural watercolor look (like I did) or simply erase the excess.

The screenshot below shows what my color layer looked like when I was done coloring it. The finished paper is on the right.

5.  Add your finishing touches.

For my finished layout, I used the colored paper overlay with a mask from the ScrapSimple Paper Templates: Ephemera Mask Overlays. To get the same look, slightly reduce the opacity of the floral paper to make it blend better with your background paper.

Find a few extra minutes while the kids are back at school and try painting the flowers in some of this month’s ScrapSimple Club offerings. We’d love to see your work in the ScrapSimple Club Gallery!

An Amazing Deal!
If you were to buy all of the items in the club individually from the Boutique they would cost $19.15 and we offer it to you for just $6.99 a month!
Article written by April Martell
Tutorial written using Photoshop CS6 with Windows 7

3 Quick Tips for Summer Layouts

Have you seen August’s Scrap Girls Club?! If not, drop what you’re doing and go check out Sweet Summer right now! It’s perfect for all those end-of-summer parties, trips to the pool, and playing-in-the-sprinkler afternoons that our phones and cameras are full of right now. I love the saturated colors and the oversized word art that Brandy created. But most of all, I love the papers. The patterns pieced together, the combination of bright colors with worn and distressed parts – they perfectly sum up this season.

With all that to love, I have to admit that this style of scrapping is slightly outside my comfort zone. But I decided to jump right in and see what happened! Score! If you see elements like these and think, “I love it, but I don’t know how to use it,” then this article is for you! Here are some hints I can share with you from what I learned:

1. Faux-blending pictures into the background

The papers in this club have lots of color, but a number of them also have big patches of white. These spots are the perfect places to experiment with blending pictures into the background. I started by cropping and resizing my picture to cover the white portion. Add a mask to the photo and cover any portions that cover parts of the paper that you want visible. This masking step doesn’t need to be too exact – it looks cool if the edges are a little irregular.

Personally, one of my complaints about blending photos into a background is that you tend to lose detail. To get around this, make a copy of the photo layer and apply the Blending style to the copy layer. Then adjust the opacity of that layer – enough to get the blended look without losing the detail. The picture on the left is set on “Linear Light” Blending mode. The picture on the left has an unblended picture layer underneath with the blended layer set at 30% opacity.

2. Journaling cards with patterns

I love all of the journaling cards in this club. They would be awesome for Project Life-style layouts. But for those of us not doing Project Life, they are still super useful. I love using them to anchor my journaling to my page because it helps to set it apart and make it stand out. Most of the journaling cards have a lot of pattern or distressing on them, which can make the writing difficult to read. But not to worry — a little brush work can make all the difference! Place your journaling card on your layout, then type your journaling. Next, make a new layer and place it between the journaling card layer and the text layer. Use the Eyedropper tool to select the main color from the journaling card. Using a soft-edged brush, apply the color behind the text anywhere it’s difficult to read. You can reduce the opacity to make it even more subtle.

3. Don’t hesitate to make changes!

Resize and recolor things! The Big Quotes word art in this club are so cool, and they have so many fun possibilities for your layouts. I resized one of the Big Quotes and colored it hot pink. I also re-colored the alpha to bring more green to the page. The beauty of digital scrapbooking is that things can always be adjusted or tweaked to make them work perfectly.

An Amazing Deal!
If you were to buy all of the items in the club individually from the Boutique they would cost $27.64 and we offer it to you for just $9.99 a month!
Article written by Anna Mansfield
Using  Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 with Windows 8

Fine Tuning Justified Text in Photoshop

I love using justified text for journaling on my layouts, because it has a clean, streamlined look. Justified text is spaced so the left and right sides of the text block both have a straight edge. You can choose several options of justified text in the Paragraph panel of Photoshop, but I almost always choose Justify last left. If your Paragraph panel isn’t showing, select Window > Character to make it visible.

Justification works by adjusting the spaces between the words in each line to make all the lines the same length. When your paragraphs are wide, the extra spacing isn’t usually noticeable, but when you justify a narrow paragraph, the extra spacing can leave huge gaps in your text. In this tutorial, we’ll go over a few ways you can fix this.

  • Hyphens are the easiest way to minimize the problem, though I prefer not to use them in my journaling blocks.
  • Adjusting the font size and tracking can improve the word spacing.
  • Add extra adjectives to your journaling in just the right places.

If the above methods don’t work for you, I have good news! You can adjust the justification settings to help solve the problem.

First, select your text, and then choose Justification from the Paragraph panel menu.

This will open the Justification panel which allows you more control over how Photoshop spaces letters and words, and how it scales characters. The screenshot below shows the default settings. Notice the uneven spaces between some of the words in the paragraph.

  • Word Spacing is the space between each word.
  • Letter Spacing is the distance between letters.
  • Glyph Scaling controls the width of the characters.
  • Leading controls the spaces between each line.

While adjusting the spaces between words rather than the letters is preferred in the typography world, I got the results I wanted by slightly adjusting the letter spacing. The settings you choose will vary depending on the font you use, and the size of your font and text box. If you opt to change the letter spacing, keep the difference between the minimum and maximum percentages as small as possible, or the differences in letter spacing from line to line may look worse than the large gaps you’re trying to fix! Play with the numbers until you are satisfied with the results.

The screenshot below shows how the adjustments I made helped make the word spacing look more natural.

Justified text can give your journaling a more streamlined look and is perfect for using with journal papers, pocket life pages, and templates with a rectangular block of text. We’d love to see your pages showing the ways you use justified text in the Scrap Girls Gallery!

Article written by April Martell
Tutorial written using Photoshop CS6 with Windows 7

3 Steps to a Picture-less Layout

When I scrapbook, I almost always start with the pictures. But what do you do when you don’t have pictures for a story you want to scrapbook? Even in this day of cell phone cameras that are never out of our hands or pockets, some things happen so quickly we don’t get pictures. My kids say and do some hilarious stuff that I want to record, so even though a picture is how I usually start a layout, I decided that I needed to find a way to scrapbook without one. Here are my three steps to do just that:

1. Start with choosing a focal point. 

Every page needs a clear starting point. Our eyes are naturally drawn to pictures, so those are usually where we start. We spend time studying the pictures before we read the journaling. When you aren’t using pictures, pick something else for the eye to focus on first – a title, a piece of word art, etc.

In my example, I used a phrase from the story. This is something that my family says all the time, ever since my three-year-old mistakenly ate a spoonful of salt, thinking it was sugar. “Not ‘da suga’, Mama!” means “That was not what I expected!” in our household.

2. Make the focal point stand out.

Once you’ve picked your focus, the trick is making it the focus. Size, placement, and color are three great ways to pull the eye in. Again, we naturally look at the biggest element with the most differences first. Use that to your advantage:

- Make the quote the biggest part of the page.

- Use a fancy font or a different color.

- Use alphas for one wor

- Add a style to give it texture or depth. Anything to make it stand out!

3. Let everything else be in the background.

Let all of the other text elements take a step back. Pick a simple, easy-to-read font and a neutral color. Use a smaller point size. All of these things make it clear to someone looking at the page what you intended them to see first, second, third.

Challenge yourself today to create a layout without a photo. I would love to see how you make quotes the main feature of your page! And, of course, don’t forget to post your layout in the Scrap Girls Gallery!

Article written by Anna Mansfield
Using  Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 with Windows 8

Fun with Pocket Life Cards

Whether or not you’re a Pocket Life scrapper, I think we can all rejoice in the fact that Pocket Life cards are here to stay. And that, my fellow scrappers, is a very good thing! These little gems are super versatile and can be used on many types of layouts from Pocket Life (obviously) to art journaling to more traditional scrapbook pages. I’ve seen them used to add quotes, accents, journaling, and titles to pages.

But you may be thinking, I don’t scrap Pocket Life pages and so I don’t have any Pocket Life cards. Well, not to worry, because as fun as these cards are to use on your scrapbook pages, they can be even more fun to make!

To start a Pocket Life card, open a new document in your desired size. Cards can be any size you would like, but are typically 3×4, 4×6, 4×4, or 3×3 inches. Because of the smaller dimensions, most scrapbook products will need to be resized to fit on your cards, but other than that, they can be treated as just another layout by adding paper, embellishments, alphas, quotes, etc. Our ScrapSimple club offers templates each month that can help you create customizable journal cards that coordinate with your page or project.

Once your cards are finished, you can simply merge the layers and drag them onto your layout. If you’re a hybrid scrapper, cards can be placed on an 8.5×11-inch document, printed, and cut out to use on your hybrid pages.
Whatever type of scrapper you are – Pocket Life, traditional, or hybrid – don’t overlook the fun and versatility of using Pocket Life cards on your layouts. Give it a try today, then share your layout in the Scrap Girls Gallery so we can leave you some love.

An Amazing Deal!
If you were to buy all of the items in the club individually from the Boutique they would cost $19.15 and we offer it to you for just $6.99 a month!
Article by Melanie Cockshott
Using Photoshop CC on Windows 10

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