Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Have You Heard?

A couple of exciting things going on in the ScrapMatters world I wanted to share with you..

Number One:

Number Two:

Stay tuned for a sneak peek of my newest kit and a chance to win!
Until then - Happy Scrapping! :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Templates: A Quick Tutorial

This week I'm releasing another set of CT-inspired templates..

I absolutely LOVE Marlen's clean and minimalistic style - it's one I can only hope to emulate on my own.. So if clean and classy is your thing, then scrapping just became a whole lot easier (and faster!)

I know some of you may be unfamiliar with templates and how to use them, so in conjunction with this release, I've put together a quick and easy tutorial that will guide you through using a template to help get your creative juices flowing, speed up your scrapping process and try new styles you might otherwise be too timid to tackle.

A few terms to be familiar with:
  • PSD (Photoshop Document): This is the layered document you'll use to create your page if you're using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. 
  • TIFF (Tagged Image File Format):  These are also layered and behave the same way as PSD files, they're just compressed a bit differently when saved, so they end up taking a LOT less space on your hard drive.  (The template I'm using here is 4.55MB as a PSD and 1.25MB as a TIFF)  Another convenient thing is that the thumbnail of your layout will show when you're looking through your files, rather than a generic software-generated icon.  Some designers don't always include them in their template files, but you can opt to save your PSDs as TIFFs once you've opened them in your program.
  • PNG (Portable Network Graphics): These files are sometimes included for scrappers who use programs that don't support the file structure of PSD or TIFF documents.  (My Memories Suite is one example.)  If you need to use the PNG files to build your template, simply drag each file into your program so they are layered on top of each other until the template is complete.  (The files should be named in such a way that it's easy to determine the order.) 
Now - let's get scrapping!  Once you've decided on your template, you'll need to open it in whatever program you're using.  I'll be referencing Photoshop Creative Suite 5, but most of the commands should be easily applied in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.  (Unfortunately I have absolutely no experience with any other programs.)  You'll notice each layer is labeled in your layers palette (the menu on the right of the screen) and corresponds to an item on your page.  You can turn layers on and off by clicking the eyeball button to the left of the label.  If any styles (shadows, etc) have been applied to the layer, you can navigate them by clicking the downward arrow on the right of the layer.

Because I scrap based on my photos, the first thing I do is fill in where I want all my pictures to be.  Select the layer you want your first photo to be on.  You can do this by either searching through the layers palette and turning them on and off until you find the right one, or simply ctrl+click the item on the template itself and it will automatically be selected in your layers palette.  Now you can drag your picture into the template and it should be placed directly above the "photo" layer.  (My favorite way is to hold the shift key down while I drag the item in and it will automatically be centered on your page.)

Now you need to "clip" your photo to the photo layer.  With your picture layer selected, ctrl+alt+g and it will take on the size and shape of the layer below it (or right click --> create clipping mask).  Think of it like a table cloth - the cloth itself is larger than the table, but once you place it on top, the extra falls to the sides and isn't seen from the top anymore.  You can still move, rotate, and resize your photo while it is clipped, so do that until you are pleased with the result.  (I obviously need to resize my photo to be a bit smaller.)

Repeat this process for all of your photos.

Once all of your photos have been placed, you can begin insterting the rest of the items into the template.  This is, of course, personal choice - however I prefer to do all my papers first because once my patterns and color palette have been decided I can really be free to do whatever I want with the elements.  Any layers you're not using - most frequently the very bottom "background" layer - can be deleted becuase you're not actually clipping anything to this layer, and getting rid of all excess layers will help keep your file size to a minimum.

When you're happy with your paper placement, you'll want to merge the kit paper layers down to the paper layers in the template.  With the paper from the kit selected, hit ctrl+e (or right click --> merge down) and it will merge with the layer directly below it.  From this point on, you can no longer edit the paper placement - size, rotation, etc - because it has taken on the shape and size of the template layer permanently (Imagine if you cut the overhanging sides off your table cloth - all you're left with is the size and shape of the top of the table.)  Because I'm the queen of indecision, I always wait until close to the end of my layout before merging layers so I can go back and fiddle later if I want.  I also never merge the photo layers to the template - especially if I've done a lot of photo editing and want to keep those adjustment layers in tact.. ;)

Now you can place your elements however you like.. Remember - templates should be thought of as guidelines rather than direct mandates.  If you don't want a particular element where the template shows it, feel free to move it or delete it entirely.  Also, be sure you think of the element layers in your template as placeholders (I think it goes without saying that you shouldn't clip and merge a flower from a kit to the flower on the template.)  Have fun with this part - really let your creativity shine through and make it your own!  Hint: I generally locate the element layer I'd like to replace before dragging the kit element onto the page.  This helps ensure that the element is placed on the proper layer relative to the other items, the same way we did the papers.  Once I'm finished tweaking the element, I'll delete the placeholder layer from the template.

And that's it!  You can see from the last two screenshots that I didn't stick to the template 100%, but that's okay.  I've created a page I'm proud of, and I had a little jumpstart from the template.

Underwater Escape - Erica Zane  |  Just Call Me Marlen Templates - Stolen Moments
Brushed Alpha - Faith True Originals  |  font: SMD Ophelia -  Stolen Moments

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial.  If you have any questions, please feel free to post them in the comments - I'd love to know what you think!  Also, I have a special coupon exclusively for readers of the tut.. Use the code templates4U to receive 20% off any template set in my store {expires Feb. 29th}.  You can also find a few freebie templates in the right menu bar on the blog.  So go ahead - take the plunge - scrap in a style you've never tried, time yourself to see how much quicker using a template is, anything to challenge your creativity and expand your horizons just a little bit.  ;)

Until next time, Happy Scrapping!  :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

NEW Font Doublers!

This week I'm excited to be releasing not one, but TWO new fonts - the first in my series of Font Doublers!  This is a great go-to pack with a super neat, super legible font, and another that's a little more energetic and almost script-like in appearance.  And better yet - buying them together means extra savings for you!

  A closer look at the individual fonts..

As always, new releases are 20% off thru Sunday.

Until next time - happy scrapping!  :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Get BOWLED Over!

Okay - seriously, why has it taken me this long to do a kit with the one and only Erica Zane!?!  She is SO talented, and fun to work with, too!  We had a great time putting this bowling-themed kit together.. It's a bit different than what I normally do, but we took DS bowling for the first time (that he'll remember) a few weeks ago, and I just couldn't find the right kit to scrap the photos with.. and, well, the rest is history...


This kit is perfect for traditional bowling or cosmic bowling or even bowling on your wii.. It contains 25 papers, over 100 elements and 2 alphas, so we've definitely got you covered!

Our CTs have been working super hard and come up with some really incredible pages.. Check out the store for more images.  (You'll notice there are plenty of options for non-bowling pages as well..)

by madlen

by Yolanda

by Erica

by Sara

by Denise

As always, new releases are 20% off thru Sunday.

Until next time... Happy Scrapping!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Spotlighting Tanya

Hey all, Jewelle here again with a CTM spotlight!  This lady has been creating amazing layouts for Amber for over a year now, and I thought it is high time to spotlight her!  Let's learn more about...

{aka tanyariley}

I'm a single mom of a 10 year old darling daughter. I am going to college full-time to become a clinical psychologist to help children and families of children with disabilities. I school my daughter at home through a charter program. She has autism spectrum disorder and is high functioning so this has made a huge impact on our lives. I love art and scrapbooking is most definitely an art. 

  1. How long have you been scrapping?  Have you ever paper scrapped?  When did you make the switch to digi and why? I have been digital scrapbooking since 2003. I've paper scrapped for about 5 years before that and tried to since a few times only to realize again it's not for me. I switched because I found that digi fit my vision for what my pages should look like in my mind. 
  2. What do you feel is your strongest scrapping skill?  Your weakest? My strongest scrapping skill is my coordination of colors and elements. My weakest would probably be minimalistic style layouts. I love them but can't seem to do it!
  3. What advice would you give someone just starting out digi-scrapping? Take your time learning as you go. Don't worry if you don't love your first layouts. What's amazing about digi is that you can always do it again and, like dieting, you can see your progress as you go!
  4. Describe your scrapping "system"... What program do you use?  Where do you start first - photos, papers, elements, journaling?  Do you always have something in mind when you start, or do you let your creativity guide you?  How long does it take you to complete a layout? I use PSCS5 on a 27" iMac. I use iPhoto to organize my photos and picasa to organize my elements. I mostly organize in the folders on my system, but if I need to quickly find something visually I open up Picasa. I can start with a photo, with a design, with a template, whatever! I just like to flow with whatever feels right.
  5. On average, how much time do you spend scrapping each week? Not as much as I'd like. Lately, 3 hours is my current average, it used to be at least 20.
  6. Describe your perfect scrapping environment - coffee? soda?  music?  snacks? My perfect scrapping environment is a show on Hulu or Netflix in a small window and some free time! I don't usually like to munch while I work on my layouts because I get focused and the food gets stale!
  7. What's your favorite thing to do BESIDES scrapping? I love to read. If I wasn't busy with school I'd be reading what I want. 
  8. What is one thing you would love to do, just so you could scrap it? I'd love to go on an exotic vacation, just for the pictures and the theme album!
  9. Who inspires you in the scrapping community?  Any person or site in particular that you look to for inspiration? I'd have to say the people that inspire me vary from well known to little known. I love Ali Edwards and Cathy Zielske, of course, but I also love layouts by Mi Monteiro and Mumkaa. I love to see the paper layouts out there at 2peas and the many scrapbooking blogs for inspiration too! I may not always translate it literally though.
  10. If you could have Amber create a kit just for you, what colors, theme, etc would it be and why? My kit would be Tiffany blue with a slightly faded lime green, black, white, soft yellow a bit more butter than lemon, and warm grey. I just love all those colors and am drawn to them in photos and products. I have no idea what the theme would be. Maybe transitions in life?
Oldest Layout
This was when I first started to digiscrap and was exploring with many techniques. I used patterns, text, and color to create a blend with the black and white photo of my kiddo in the yard playing in the water.

Favorite Layout
This layout really describes who I am and what I have in my head day to day, except the beads...   

Most Recent Layout 
I love Amber's products because they are so versatile. This kit was meant for winter, but the soft pretty colors really made me want to use a recent self portrait that I was proud of.

Amazing layouts right?!  To see more of Tanya's work be sure and stop by her GALLERY