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Using the Dodge and Burn Tools to Add Depth and Dimension

Audience: Beginners
Category: Photoshop Elements Tips
Operating System: Windows 7
Software: Photoshop Elements 9

Even though I am 100% a digital scrapbooker, I love to make my pages look as realistic as possible. I am always looking for little details I can add to make things look three-dimensional. One trick I like to use is to add shadows and highlights to embellishments using the Dodge and Burn tools, making them look like there is something beneath them.

A ribbon woven through some wire word art is a great way to learn this trick. Here’s how you do it.

First, sandwich a piece of ribbon between two copies of the word art. Apply your drop shadow to the top copy. Erase the parts of the word art from the top copy that you want to appear behind the ribbon. Sometimes the drop shadows end abruptly and look funny when you erase parts of the top layer, so use a soft edged brush with a lowered opacity to gradually blend the top layer into the bottom beyond the edge of the ribbon.

Next, make a direct selection to the bottom copy by Ctrl+clicking on its thumbnail picture. This will apply marching ants all around the word art.

Make the ribbon layer active by clicking on (highlighting) that layer. Use the shortcut Ctrl+J to copy the selected portions of ribbon onto their own layer. Add a bevel to the ribbon pieces on this new layer. Reduce Opacity to about 30%.

Make the ribbon layer active again. Use the Burn tool (nested with the Sponge and Dodge tools) to add some shadows along the beveled pieces, to more fully outline the word art beneath. Use a soft-edged round brush, set to Shadows, at about 50% opacity. Make sure to match the drop shadow settings that you have used in other places on the page – for example, the shadows on the word art are on the right, so I used the Burn tool on the right of the bevel. Staying on the ribbon layer, use the Dodge tool to add highlights on the other side of the bevel.

Link all of the word art and ribbon layers together, just so you don’t accidently move anything, and you are done!

Now, look at the two ribbons side by side. Doesn’t the one where you can see the word art beneath look so much better, so much more realistic?

This is just one way to use the Burn and Dodge tools to add shadows and highlights. I can’t wait to see how you use them on your layouts, so be sure to upload them to the Scrap Girls gallery!

 Products used:
(Click on the images below to be taken to their product page)

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ScrapSimple Tools – Styles: Basic Shadows 6501
ScrapSimple Tools – Styles: Metals 5001
ScrapSimple Embellishment Templates: Stapled Ribbon


Tutorial written by Anna Mansfield
divider fancy
Use Anna’s Dodge and Burn technique on these fun templates to take them up a notch!
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July 20th Weekly Layout Winner & Forum Schedule

Weekly Layout Contest Winner

Honeymooning In France  by scrapperbess

Digital scrapbooking products used:
Well Traveled Collection
Well Traveled Paper Mini
ScrapSimple Embellishment Templates: Artful Photo Mask s 2
Brush Set: Vintage Map Fragments
Because Of You Embellishment Mini
Parisian Collection Biggie
Parisian Clusters Embellishment Mini
French Market Collection Biggie
JIF 6: Adventure
Brush Set: 4×6 Collage

Congratulations Betsy (scrapperbess)! You may retrieve your gift certificate by emailing [email protected]

Want a chance to win Scrap Girls’ Weekly Layout Contest?

Simply post your digital or paper layouts that use Scrap Girls products in our online Gallery, and if we choose yours, you’ll win a prize! To be considered, don’t forget to list the Scrap Girls products that you used in your layout.

Want to see past winners of the Weekly Layout Contest? Visit the Weekly Layout Winners Gallery on our Forum!

Newsletter Challenge


Now it’s your turn to apply a color palette to a ScrapSimple template. You can use one of our ideas for finding a palette or one of your own, then apply those colors to your template to create something that is uniquely yours! If you post your finished layout in our weekly Newsletter Challenge Gallery, you could be eligible for a prize!

Newsletter Challenge Winner

Congratulations Hilary (englishrose)!

Upcoming Chats and Challenges

  • Monday, July 21st: Random Challenge by Theresa (teecee)
  • Tuesday, July 22nd: Newsletter Challenge hosted by Shannon (tinkerbell11)

Submit a layout that uses mostly Scrap Girls products to the Newsletter Challenge Gallery by 11:59 p.m. (ET) Saturday and you could win a $10 Gift Certificate to the Scrap Girls Boutique!

  • Wednesday, July 23rd: High Noon Crop and Challenge

Join April (April Showers) in the chat room at 12:00 p.m. (ET) for the High Noon Crop. This week your challenge is to “Use Your Stash!” We all have those collections, embellishments and templates we couldn’t resist, but we just haven’t used them yet. Now is the time! Upload your completed page to the special High Noon Crop and Challenge Gallery. You’ll be amazed what you can get done in just one hour, but there is no High Noon Sheriff timing you! Hope to see you in the chat room!

  • Thursday, July 24th: Blog Inspired Challenge by Conda (SodScrap)
  • Friday, July 25th: Freebie Challenge by Marilyn (MariJ)
  • Saturday, July 26th: Color Challenge by Monica (Nica)
  • Saturday, July 26th: Swap Crop Chat

The Swap Crop Chat is back! Join Carla (crs) at 8 p.m. (ET) for the Swap Crop Reveal. This is the time to chat about the beautiful layouts in the gallery, learn what the swap crop is all about and find out the theme for next month! It’s sure to be a great time!

 July Monthly Layout Contest – Commitment

July is here and in the USA, Summer and wedding season is in full swing! Couples commit themselves to each other, but that’s only one of the many different commitments in our lives. Commitments are a part of all of our lives no matter which part of the world we live in.  We dedicate ourselves to causes, activities, people or even our country!  So for the July Monthly Contest we’d like to share in your commitments. Whatever kind of commitment you choose to feature on your page, we’d love to see it.

Post your completed layouts in the July Contest Gallery by 11:59 p.m.( ET) on July 31st.  List the product credits in either the description area or the EXIF properties. The winner will receive a $10 gift certificate to the Scrap Girls Boutique.

July Forum Game:  The Scrap Girls World Tour

Join us on the forum for the inaugural Scrap Girls World Tour!

The Welcoming Committee invites you to join them on a tour around the World, Scrap Girls style.  There will be chaos, mayhem, disaster and lots of fun.

Complete activities and layouts to gain stamps on the passport.  Each stamp is worth one entry in the prize draw.  At the end of the tour, we will do a random draw, and you could win one of five $5 Gift Certificates to the Scrap Girls Boutique.

Check out the Monthly Forum Games folder on the Scrap Girls Forum for complete details.


Behind the Scenes: Jo Corne’s July Club!

Each month we get a glimpse behind the scenes of our Scrap Girls Club designers, and this month’s designer is Jo Corne!
Click here to check out Jo’s July club at a great price!

What inspired the colors in your club?

I researched what the zodiac sign colors are and used those, with some tweaking of course.


Where did you find the inspiration for this club?

I usually spend a fair bit of time looking around the internet to see if there are other collections with the same theme as mine. I love seeing what they have done and if their ideas are in line with mine. I spend a fair bit of time looking at websites, photosites and of course, Pinterest. I save all the ideas that catch my eye into a folder on my computer within the Club folder and call it… of all things… ideas!

From this ‘ideas’ folder I then make notes on the ideas I would like to include in my collection and keep them in front of me the whole design process. I then tend to tick them off as I create and complete them. Makes me feel like I am making progress.

July club inspiration

Photo Credits: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

The club includes several products. Did you start and complete each one before moving on to the next?

For a collection, I usually start with my papers and then move onto the embellishments, and finally the word art. I did this with the Solstice Collection Biggie, but with the full knowledge that once I had created the other products relating to the club I may well have to go back and redo, change out, or disregard certain elements of the main collection.

 What was your favorite thing to design?

Hmmm, this is a hard one as I enjoyed it all but if I had to name one it would have to be the Equinox Papers. The clean white background with the color coordinated Zodiac names, getting the names to fit and work with each other…loved putting them together.

About how long did it take you to design this club?

Now that is a bit of a trick question for me, lol, as I knew we were going to be away for three weeks in April of this year so I knew that I had to have a good solid start on the club before we left home. So if I add it all up, it took me about 6 months (!) to design the club, tweaking, correcting and all.

How did you come up with the name of your club?

Calling the club by one of the Zodiac names was too narrow and the word Solstice felt to me that it encapsulated the whole Zodiac/Horoscope/StarSign concept.


Scrap Girls July 2014 Member of the Month – Carol H (Lorac)

Carol H (Lorac)
CONGRATULATIONS! to our July 2014 Member of the Month Carol H (Lorac)
We’re sending a big Scrap Girls Congratulations to Carol H (Lorac)!
The Team has chosen Carol as the Member of the Month for July! Carol will receive a $10 gift certificate to the Scrap Girls Boutique and has the honor of wearing the Member of the Month blinkie!

What program do you use to digital scrapbook?
I use PSE12.

Are you a Mac or a PC, laptop or desktop?
I am a PC user on a desktop.  I also have a laptop.

Do you use a mouse, tablet or something else to scrap with?
I use a mouse.  And my cats love it.

Tell us the make and model of digital camera that you use and your favorite subject to photograph.
I have three cameras:  Olympus E600 with two lenses’ Canon Power Shot A1300 that I carry in my handbag and the last one is a Kodak Pixpro with a zoom lens 34x Wide 24-864mm
My favorite subject is landscape and flowers.

What one new photography or scrapping skill have you recently mastered or would like to master?
I’m still trying to master SS Paper Templates.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A Nurse.

What color shoes are you wearing?
As usual, I’m barefooted.

What is your favorite season and why?
Autumn is my favorite season because of the beautiful leaves as they change color and the air is crisp and cool.

Were you named after anyone?
My first name is CarolMae, the Mae for my Aunt Filomena.

What is your favorite part about being a Scrap Girl?
Hmm!  I have no favorite part.  I just love everything about being a Scrap Girl.


Carol’s favorite layout: Spooks

Digital scrapbooking products used:

Eventide Collection 
Trunk or Treat Collection
Bootiful Collection 
Wicked Collection Mini

3 Ways to Frame A Photo

Audience: Beginners
Category: Layout Techniques
Operating System: Windows Vista
Software: Photoshop CS4

For this tutorial, I will show you several different ways to frame a single photo. As we walk through the process, you will see that framing your photos can be anything from simple to elaborate, depending on your mood, the purpose of your framing, or your time available to scrap! Let’s get started.

The simplest, most basic means of framing your photo is to use a finished frame. These frames are created with a pre-made picture opening, so all you need to do is to place your photo on a layer underneath the frame and position it accordingly. To size the photo, select the Move tool (or key stroke V), hold the Shift key, and click and drag your photo at the corner tabs. This allows you to size your photo while maintaining the correct aspect ratio of the photo.

The layers in the palette would like this for this type of frame:

Using the same technique, you could make your photo smaller than the frame opening, creating a matte effect around your photo, as in the sample below. The Layers palette would look identical as in the first sample.

Now, let’s get slightly more complicated in our technique for framing the same photo. Create a new blank workspace and bring your photo into it. (All my samples are made to be 7×5 inches.) Create a new blank layer above your photo. Then, select the Brush tool (key stroke B). Select a frame brush and stamp the brush onto the blank layer, positioning it in a pleasing spot directly over your photo. I chose Brush Set: Chalk Frames by Melissa Renfro.

The Layers palette would look like this for stamping a brush frame over your photo:

In this sample, you will see that the aspect ratio of the frame opening is not the same as the photo of Erinn. Making the photo smaller will still leave a small part of the photo beyond the frame opening. To fix that, let’s make a layer mask and clip the photo to the mask. Start by making a new blank layer below your photo. Then select the Rectangle tool (key stroke M).

Select for the exact shape of the interior photo opening of the frame by drawing your mouse along the frame’s interior. With the blank layer active and the marching ants active from the rectangle selection, select the Paint Bucket tool (key stroke G).

Then with any color as the foreground color, click within the marching ants. You will now have a solid box in the exact shape of the interior of the Brush Set’s Frame – a seamless mask to hide the edges of your photo that fall outside of the frame edges.

Now, simply clip your photo to that rectangular mask by hitting Ctrl+Alt+G or hover over the line between the two layers and hit Alt+Click. This is my favorite means of clipping – fast and easy!

The Layers palette now looks like this:

Next, add a style to your frame layer for a fully finished look, and you now have a beautiful frame for your photo. A chalkboard style was also added to the background paper.

Let’s explore an even more advanced digital technique.

For the sample below, I am starting with a lifted frame from Zoomba Collection Biggie. It is comprised of three layers – a frame, a mask, and a shadow. After making another new workspace, the photo is placed on a layer below the frame layer and above the shadow layer. Next, the photo is duplicated and placed beneath the shadow layer.

Lock the photo layers together to prevent any shift between them as you work with them on different layers. This step is done by highlighting both layers and then clicking on the chain link icon at the bottom of the palette.

Clip the top photo to the photo mask layer (clipping is described in the sample above). It will look unchanged; but by studying the Layers palette, you will see that you are looking at the center part of the top photo (only the part that is clipped to the frame mask), and the outer edges of the bottom photo.

You can test this and understand what you are looking at by turning on and off your photo layers.

Now comes the fun part. Make a blank layer below your lower photo layer. Now clip that photo layer to the blank layer. You will see the lower photo layer disappear. All you will see in your workspace will be the frame, the top photo under the frame in the exact shape of the mask, and the shadow.

Now, select a decorative brush. I selected Brush Set: Sketched Leaves but it could be anything you like. You can set your foreground to any color. (I chose white because it would allow for the Blending mode on the brush layer to be changed without altering the color of the photo too much when it’s clipped to the brush layer.) Then, stamp the brush right onto that blank layer which has the lower photo clipped to it. As you do so, bits of the photo will emerge in the exact shape of the brush that you set down.

The Layers palette will look like this:

In essence, what you are doing is creating a photo mask as you do the brushwork on that blank layer. The more you stamp, the more of the photo you will see. For this technique, you have the control to expose as much or as little as you like! In my sample below, I stamped around the perimeter of the upper photo mask, left the Blending mode of the brush layer at Normal, and lowered the Opacity of the brush layer to 82%.

Remember all that you are doing is exposing small bits of your photo to make a unique and creative frame! This effect may be useful for photos you love that don’t have the most appealing background.

For the crowning touch, create a new layer above the lower photo layer. Highlight the lower photo layer and Ctrl+Click on the thumbnail. This will give the marching ants around the photo. Then, with the new blank layer highlighted and the marching ants active, go to Edit > Stroke, set the pixel size to 4, location to Center, and pick a pleasing color from your background (the bits of your photo that you just exposed).

Finally, hit OK. This will create a nice, neat stroke around the “footprint” of the lower photo and provides a clean finishing touch to the framework you just created.

The Layers palette for the final photo with all the framework looks like this:

As you can see, there are multiple means of creating wonderful frames for your precious photos. No matter what your time, talent, or comfort level, there are many framing options and techniques to make your photos shine, whether you print them for your home, add them to a hybrid or digital scrapbooking layout, or post them in the Scrap Girls Gallery! We hope to see your framed masterpieces in the Gallery where we can shower them with lots of love.

Products used:

(Click on the images below to be taken to their product page)

Article by Amy Flanagan

Check out these value packs full of creative framing options!


Sketch Tuesday – July 15th, 2014

digital layout sketch tuesday logo

Once a month on the Blog we create a sketch either from an existing Design Team member’s layout or one of the Creative Team members creates a new original sketch. Using sketches for inspiration is a great way to put together a layout quickly and still be able to add your own unique touches! This sketch is for the Thursday Blog Challenge on the Scrap Girls Forum. Make sure to join in the fun for a chance to WIN a prize!

Original Layout
Layout by Amy Flanagan
Sketch Layouts from the Creative Team

Layout by Jody West
Heart of Gold Collection Biggie
Faded Memories Collection Mini
Gold and Wine Collection Biggie
Sucker Punch Collection Mini
EBA_Bookshelf; AFT_AntiqueEdges_Paper; SNU_SSStyles_BWMagic6301
Layout by Anna Burrows
Bookshelf Collection Biggie
Bookshelf Solids Paper Mini
Antique Edges Paper Biggie
ScrapSimple Tools – Styles: Black and White Magic 6301
Layout by Anna Mansfield
Fitness Collection Biggie
ScrapSimple Tools – Styles: Basic Shadows 6501

Layout by Melanie Cockshott
Aces High Collection Biggie
ScrapSimple Embellishment Templates: Photo Pockets Biggie
Value Pack: Swirlicious
ScrapSimple Tools – Actions: Mega Lift I Squared PSE Biggie
Layout by Joyce Schardt
Kitschy Summer Collection Mini
Squirt Collection Biggie
Layout by Andrea-Rose Hutton
Joy Ride Collection Mini
Dinner Party Collection Biggie
Madison County Collection Biggie
Layout by Monica Lebsack
Main St USA Embellishment Mini Scatters
Value Pack: Main Street USA
Styles Pack: Glitter EdgeValue Pack: Fold and Curl
Big Bang Collection
ScrapSimple Tools – Styles: Basic Shadows 6501

Layout by Shannon Trombley
Looming Rainbows Collection Biggie
ScrapSimple Tools: Sketch It Action PSE 8501 Mini

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