Our Family Tree Layered Template

Have you always wanted to do a layout of your family tree but felt it too much work to create? Well look no further, now you have the perfect tool to put together your family tree. Include photos of your parents and grand parents (or further back if you prefer!) and add your personal touch by way of your favourite papers and elements, print at full size, or on canvas and mount on your wall for a beautiful piece of genealogy art work.If only family trees were always this easy! I am waiting on a couple photos on mine, but once I have them I am going to have my page printed on canvas.

Check out Our Family Tree Layered Template now available in My Etsy Store and my Clikchic Designs Store!

Our Family Tree Layered Digital Scrapbook Template

I am still waiting on a couple of photos for mine but can’t wait to get it up on the wall! My layout was created with the Altered Not Aged Digital Scrapbook Kit.


Realistic Paper Tearing in Photoshop

Have you ever wondered how to tear digital paper and make it look real? Learn how to do realistic paper tearing in photoshop.

Realistic Paper tearing in digital scrapbooking is something that can be done in many different ways, here my version of digital paper tearing. This tutorial is done in Photoshop CS, however the basic principles will apply in other versions of Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. You may also be able to apply the principles to other software packages. Select the layer you wish to apply the torn edges to by clicking on it in the layers palette. Then click on the ‘Add Layer Mask’ button at the bottom of the window (second from the left) to create a layer mask. Creating a layer mask allows you to make changes that can be easily removed from the layer at any time. To make changes to the layer mask, click on the square showing to the right of your layer thumbnail. This is your layer mask thumbnail.


Using black on your layer mask will erase from the layer much like the rubber tool and using white will bring it back. This makes it is easy to correct any over brushing by using white.


Select your brush tool from your tools menu on the left hand side.


I like to use the Rough Round Bristle for creating my torn edges but it is worth experimenting with different brushes to see which you prefer for the effect you are after. Adjust the brush size according to your layout and the size needed for the desired effect. For this layout I set mine at about 150px. Make sure you have selected black from your colour palette and begin brushing the edges of your paper, photo or matt. Ensure that the brush opacity is set at 100%.


With this particular brush it is usually necessary to go over any dark pixels that have not been properly erased to ensure you have a clean torn edge. Once you have finished creating your edge with the black brush select the layer in your layers palette below the one you are working on and then create a new layer. This will place a new layer underneath the layer you are creating the torn edge on.


To do this click on the little arrow in a circle on the top left of your layers window and select new layer.


I like to once again use the Rough Round Bristle for the under portion of the torn edge. Once again you might like to experiment with different brushes to get different effects. This particular brush gives a nice textured effect to this portion of the torn edge. Select an appropriate colour to match your paper or photo. In the case of photos I like to use white as photos are printed on white paper and give a white torn edge. For coloured paper I would use a slightly lighter shade of the same colour. Choose a brush size for your desired effect. I used approx 150 once again.


Begin painting the torn portion of the paper on the layer beneath your photo or paper by dragging your brush along the middle of the edge of your torn paper. You may wish to tidy up the edges with your rubber tool and by selecting the same brush. Once you have completed the edge on your photo or paper you may wish to apply a drop shadow to this layer.


To apply a drop shadow select Layer, Layer Style and then Drop Shadow from your menu.


Adjust the settings to suit your layout. Different colours will require different shadow strengths and the further the paper away from the layers below the softer and larger the shadow will be. The closer it is the darker and smaller the shadow will be. For the sake of realism in a paper style layout I prefer to keep my shadows quite small and subtle. Fiddle with the Opacity, Distance, Spread and Size settings to achieve your desired effect.


You may wish to apply further effects on the torn edge portion of the paper, in this case the white portion or the layer beneath your paper or photo. You may wish to apply textures similar to that of the above layer, or a texture to simulate torn paper. Some people like to add noise. Personally I do not think this technique requires any further textures or effects but this will differ according to taste and the style of your papers and layouts. I also like to slightly lower the fill opacity of the white torn edge. Again this is a matter of taste and may not suit your paper or layout. You may prefer to use the rubber tool for this purpose with a lowered opacity to brush over the edges to simulate the effect of the thinned edge of torn paper.


There are many different methods of creating a torn paper edge, and this is the one I like to use for my layouts and kits.

© Robyn Gough 2005 All Rights Reserved Not to be reproduced without express written permission

Creating a Blinkie in Photoshop CS-CS5

Anyone who joins the online digiscrapping communities will notice the popularity of blinking avatars and ‘blinkies’. This tutorial teaches you how to easily create your very own blinking avatars and blinkies in Photoshop CS-CS5.
There are a few more steps to create a blinkie in older versions of Photoshop CS than in Photoshop Elements but once you know how you will be creating dozens of blinking avatars and blinkies! The blinkie size I have used in this instance is 125×60 pixels, another common blinkie size is 150×50 pixels. The avatar size limit on most scrapping forums is 125x125pixels so this is a good size to create your avatar’s at.
Firstly you need to create your design, and this needs to be a layered image, as showing and hiding the layers enables you to create each frame of the blinkie.
For the purpose of this tutorial I will be using the top three layers as ‘blinking’ layers for the blinkie. You can use any combination of layers you wish to create a frame for your blinkie. In this instance I will keep it simple and only ‘blink’ the top three layers.
Once you have all your layers ready to go you then need to begin the animation process. To do this, go to the file menu and choose Edit in ImageReady.
Note: This step is unnecessary in Photoshop CS3+ as animations are now done within Photoshop itself. Simply click on the window menu and click on Animation to open the Animation window while still in Photoshop.
Image Ready will open up (this can sometimes take some time to load) with your image in it, and no longer in Photoshop. If you need to go back and fix something you can just choose Edit in Photoshop from the file menu of Image Ready. Be warned however if you do this you should do so before you begin the animation process as it can play havoc with your frames. If you need to do it after you have started adding new frames, first delete the extra frames and then do your editing in Photoshop before coming back to Image Ready.
Next you need to open the Animation window, in image ready or in Photoshop CS3+.
Go to the Window menu and ensure that the Animation option is checked. This will ensure you have the animation window open.
To create each frame we need to turn on the layers we want visible and off the layers we don’t. You can do this by clicking on the eye next to each layer. If there is no eye next to the layer, it means the layer’s visibility has been turned off. In the above sample we have turned off the ‘Love’ and ‘CD’ Layers which will be for the first frame of our blinkie. For this blinkie the first layer only has the ‘I’ layer visible.
Here we have the Animation window visible. This is where we create each frame of the animation. Here we need to ensure it is set to forever. This allows the blinkie to continue blinking. If it is set to once, it will only go through the frames once and then stop.
The frame delay is the length of time in seconds the frame will appear. You can set different time values for each frame if you wish. For instance if something takes a little longer to read you can make it a longer frame delay. If it is just an outside border which flickers, you can set it to a short delay so that it blinks quickly. For the purpose of this tutorial we will set all the frame delay’s at 0.5 seconds.
Once the first frame is set, following new frames are defaulted at the same value, but can be changed if you wish.
We already had the first frame ready to go, and just had to adjust the frame delay. Now we are ready to create the second frame. First we need to click on the New Frame Icon circled above.
Next we need to make the layers visible that we want to appear in the second frame of the blinkie. Above shows the second layer we want visible.
Here is the third frame we wish to have for the blinkie, showing the layers which are visible for this frame. We have now finished creating the frames for the blinkie and it is now ready to be saved into gif format.
Note: In CS3+ this step is now done through Save For Web & Devices (file menu). The settings are on the right hand side of the window. If you wish to view the quality settings, click on the two up tab. This allows you to view the Original file on the left, and your adjusted settings on the right. You can use the play button at the bottom right of the window to view your animation before saving. Once you are happy with your settings click on save and save to your computer.
Photoshop CS3+ Save For Web & Devices
Back to prior photoshop versions…
Next we need to make sure that gif is selected in the optimize palette. If you need to compress the image a little further and reduce the file size you can try adjusting the number of colours, however this can reduce the viewing quality of the image. If file size is not an issue you will not need to adjust any of the other settings.
For the purpose of this tutorial I have left all the settings at their defaults.
Now it is time to save our image! Go to the file menu and choose Save Optimized As. Choose an easy to find spot on your hard drive to save your blinkie and you are done!

This article is © Robyn Gough (clikchic) 2006 All Rights Reserved Not to be reproduced in any way without written permission

Using Drop Shadows for Realistic Looking Layouts

Drop shadows can have a dramatic affect on your layouts and can provide a variety of different effects and looks. Adjusting a drop shadow can really make your layout pop, or can spoil it. The trick is creating the right type of drop shadow for the effect you are trying to create.

Below is a photo with six different drop shadows to illustrate the different effects a drop shadow can give.

The first image has a subtle drop shadow, a short distance from the image, with the shadow being heavier on two sides of the photo, illustrating that the light source is coming from the top left. The small size of the shadow also suggests that the photo is likely to be directly on top of the background paper as it might be on a traditional paper layout.

The second photo has a heavier and larger drop shadow again heavier on two sides of the photo indicating that the light source is coming from the top left. The increased size and softness to the drop shadow makes the photo appear that it might be further away from the background paper. Such a shadow might also be used for objects such as page pebbles, or other embellishments which would appear to be thicker in real life than a photo. In this instance, used on a photo which is less than a millimetre thick, it makes the photo appear to float on the page.

The third photo has a very large drop shadow and is much softer looking than the previous two. The shadow has dispersed just as shadows do in real life when an object is a distance from something. The closer the object is to where the shadow is being cast, the darker, smaller and sharper the shadow will become. This shadow makes the photo appear as if it is floating some distance above the page and does not lend itself towards a realistic looking paper style layout as much as the first shadow does.

The fourth photo has a small brown drop shadow with the colour altered from black to dark brown. The shadow is set at zero distance giving an even size around the photo and indicating that the light source might be directly above the photo. This form of drop shadow gives a lovely soft look and is useful for creating a realistic and soft looking shadow around the photo. This effect is particularly useful for freestyle layouts and a variety of other effects and looks.

The fifth photo has a larger, softer drop shadow, at zero distance with the colour altered from black to dark brown. The shadow has also had noise added to give a less even look. The size of the drop shadow does not lend itself to a realistic photo on top of paper look, however it does almost give the appearance that the photo is set behind the paper instead of on top of it. To enhance this effect you may wish to reduce the opacity of the shadow and include an inner shadow on the photo itself. It is another style of drop shadow which may be useful for freestyle layouts.

 The sixth photo does not look at all like it has a drop shadow but like it has a frame around it or that the paper may have been embossed. This look was achieved by using zero distance, changing the colour to dark brown and experimenting with the contour of the drop shadow. Once again, not a very realistic looking drop shadow, but perhaps an interesting effect to experiment with!

 Knowing how to make the most of your drop shadows is a very useful tool to have under your belt and it can be fun to experiment with them. Why not give it a go in your next layout?

© Robyn Gough 2006 All Rights Reserved
Not to be reproduced without express written permission.

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