Month: November 2016

One Photo and Mini ArtPlay Palette

There really isn’t anything quite like a new camera to move me to venture outdoors in cold weather as I’m not a fan of the cold. 2016-11-23-145935-editHowever, I traded in my old camera body for an updated body this past weekend and just had to test it in the field. I must say this camera is much snappier in speed with a better focusing system. The new menu organization is clearer and having a joystick now for moving the focus point is fabulous. The image quality is excellent. 2016-11-19-151611The photo on the right is straight out of the camera. For me, the small size of a Fuji X-T2 mirrorless APS-C camera is perfect. In celebration of my new equipment I created a scrapbook page with one of my first photos with the new camera. I was going to write “my new toy”, but that didn’t sound even remotely reflective of how serious I view my role as an amateur photographer.

I have been focused on creating pages for a book with most of the photos that I capture. However, I do enjoy creating artsy pages too.


I began this page with a beautiful paper from a mini palette that Anna will be offering free with a $10 purchase this weekend, artsy paper 2 from ArtPlay MiniPalette Opacus. I duplicated the original paper which I had set on normal blend mode and changed  that copy to multiply at 25%. That added just a bit more intensity to the color.


Next, I used the paper as a mask and blended my photo into the paper using a layer mask and brush 12 from AnnaBlendz Artsy No. 3. Anna’s artsy brushes add texture that I cannot get with a soft round brush. I changed the blend mode to linear burn allowing the texture of the paper to bleed through the photo. I duplicated that photo and applied a filter with Topaz Simplify before changing the blend mode to normal at 25%. I pieced a second photo below just enough to extend the grass to the texture border of the paper. Basically, the entire paper is the mask for my photo.


For interest, I added the layers of psd file 3 from MultiMedia Branches No. 8. I warped the branch and shadow with the warp tool to fit the texture line in the paper. I also switched out the button and added the string and blue bow from the mini palette. I also stamped a camera brush from ArtsyCameras No. 3 and placed it at the bottom of the multimedia branch layers. With the pen tool, I created a line to follow the paper’s line and added my text.


I don’t often have pages that come together so quickly. In this case, I think limiting myself to an artsy paper, a photo, one art play palette and psd multimedia file really helped speed my process.

Fall Play

We had some beautiful warm days last week to rake leaves. Today, it didn’t get beyond 45° at mid afternoon. So I played inside this afternoon with last week’s photos, some of which are a little blurry because my granddaughter, Kate, moves quickly when playing in the leaves. Grandpa had three nice piles by the time she arrived to help. She didn’t ask him whether she could mess up his work, but loudly said as she wagged her finger for emphasis, “Grandma, you said I could play in one pile of leaves.”


Since Grandpa is part of the story, I wanted to include him on this page for our book. However, I didn’t think the photos with a big trash worked. So I placed one of the photos of Grandpa and Kate cleaning up leaves above the fotoblendz mask of template 6 from Project Template Album No. 2 and roughly extracted grandpa.


I worked with the fotoblendz masks from templates 5 and 6 visible. I didn’t need to extract more because the grass would cover his feet. I lowered the opacity of the photo.


To extend the grass I used another fotoblendz mask from a template in the set, clipped a photo to it and adjusted the position. I then filled in the background by clipping photos to stains and hipster plumes, placing transfers 4, 5 and 6 from ArtPlay Palette Festal, and adding textures from Spackle Textures No. 5.


To finish my page, I placed the psd layers from MultiMedia Branches No. 8 and MultiMedia Leaves No. 5 at the top of the layers panel. I moved some of the layers under the frames but left the leaves, shadows and stitching above the frames. I substituted a button from the art play palette for the buttons included with the multimedia files. On the right side I placed sprinkle 1 from LeafSprinkle No. 1.


The title is an experiment with color and blend modes. I sampled a color from the leaf pile below and changed the blend mode to multiply. I adjusted the color with a hue and saturation layer to get the color more pink to match the transfers.

My balance seems a little heavier on the right side, but I think the large photo of my granddaughter and the background photo on the left both help to balance the two pages. I will call it a bit of tension and consider this page finished!!!

The Art of Collaboration

I have been making photographs this month, more than I can possibly scrap. The photos are all in Lightroom, labeled and tagged. That’s good. troll_screenshotaYet, I have that overwhelmed feeling as the year draws to a close because I feel the pressure of needing to finish this book project. It’s so easy to procrastinate when I’m feeling uninspired. So I sent a friend, Adryane Driscoll, this photo along with a dozen others on a blank 24×12 inch document via Dropbox and asked if she would be willing to collaborate again on a two page spread using Anna’s new template set, Project Template Album No. 2.  I could end this post with the statement that Adryane and I both enjoyed ourselves immensely as we collaborated to get this page finished. However, I thought you might like to read a bit of our informal Messenger exchanges after Adryane opened the psd file with all those photos as well as some final thoughts on collaboration.

Messenger Excerpts and Screenshots

Adryane: I will send you my thinking on one side. It’s just an idea. And it needs a lot more twigs. I still need to mask behind Kate and figure out a good way to get the bridge to the other side.

Linda: I have some other shots that show the entire bridge at the same angle; I think you could paste them together to blend it across the page.

Adryane: No worries. I have some of the other photos on the second page. I will send it to you later today. My extractions are nowhere near as good as yours. This is just idea.

Linda: I’ll look at the extraction. Extractions depend on the background, especially hair. I can blend in the whispy part of Kate’s depending on the background, especially those difficult curls.


Adryane: I still need to work on moving the bridge from the right to left side. Nor have I finished adding elements or completed all the shadows. I do like the snip snap part as a visual with the other journaling.

Adryane: If my computer could laugh out loud it would have when I tried to email you a 742 mb file. Don will send you a link. Be sure to change, modify and delete at will! I used templates 4 and 8 from the new album, Project Template Album No. 2. I also added more twigs.



Linda: I will extend that bridge and add journaling in one textbox. Will you write something for Kate too?

Adryane: Yes. Take your time. I will think of something to write. You’ll do the title work, correct? Why is the file size so big?

Linda: I can’t see anything that looks like it might be adding significantly to the file size. I often clip photos to stains and brushes. That shouldn’t make that much difference. Love the way you did the troll and ground coming from the bridge in the photo on the left.


Linda: I think it still needs a little something although I don’t know exactly what. I used an alpha of Anna’s to create part of the title and combined it with a font group. I used a color overlay in the styles panel to adjust the color. Re-adjust it if you want. I put some of the title in pink to pick up the pink in Kate’s outfit.

Linda: You might want to work with my shadow on the left bridge. I had to use a layer mask to get it off her skirt. It is on a separate layer. There is now a double drop shadow on separate layers for the right bridge.

Linda: Do you think we should add a bit of texture to Mr. Troll?


Adryane: I like the wood alpha. I will try it to one of those fancy uppercase letters that you often see in old books when you read “Once upon a time…” and determine if it’s too much. The bridge blending is fantastic! Did you get the file size down?

Linda: Not a lot, 866 mb. However, it uploads to dropbox. Just takes time. I guess I could have zipped it before uploading. It says only 5 minutes left.


Adryane: I had to take off the title because it seemed like too much with my troll redo. What do you think? When you said the troll needed texture and my kids said it was a fail, my idea for the threadz and leaves came to mind almost immediately.


Linda: He looks wicked with the green and brown leaves!! I like the troll better now. He looks much more than Paul Galdone’s drawing, I like the added depth. Yes, I love the leaves, threads and bees! Maybe I can put a smaller title on the right side?




Adryane: It may not need a title. Your previous title looks great. Why don’t you remove my journaling and run the title across the top. The right side is too heavy for a split title. With the added leaves, threads and new grass, I think the right side is done. I recolored the leaves to go with those Kate is holding.


Linda: The weight with the branches moves across both pages and the troll goes across the gutter nicely with the leaves!! I love the way you used the threads, what a great idea for his hair. Don’t stress about time. I love the back and forth between us, the exchange of thinking! I wouldn’t have thought to work that way with the troll; he looks great!


Adryane: My kids are happy with the troll now. They thought I didn’t try hard enough with the first version. You also may have a better way of extending the grass on the right. I used one of your photos but the grass had to be enlarged quite a bit to fit the mask so it doesn’t quite match the original photo. I think it would looked better without the white space to the left of Kate.


Adryane: I’ve been playing with the title work. I like the idea of keeping the font the same throughout in order to avoid a too busy feeling. The font for the O is Preciosa. It’s a free at It looks very fairytale-ish


Linda: I like the title, but your journaling isn’t there, nor your signature!!

Adryane: You will have to make the mask on the left larger so that it comes up more toward the title. That will take away that floating feeling of the title. I moved the title under the branches in the layers panel.

Linda: Did you use the warp tool to reshape the make of the vertical masked photo on the left?



Adryane: Yes, I warped the mask. Try extending that green grass with the bridge to the next page. I think I would try joining them right above the bridge before extending  the mask upward. The grass area is too large and too far up on the page. I know you have the idea. Piecing is not my strong suit.

Linda: Just a little, something light. Since the bridge goes across the gutter, the grass can go across as well. I know what to do to fix the masking of the grass. I’m going to see what I can do to get the text with your journaling on the right to work, especially since your journaling fits the picture story so well. Let me see when I do with it.



Linda: I re-imported and merged masks from template 4 and 22 together.  The original mask of 4 has a flourish and edge, so that’s why there is more white space now. I placed the mask, stains and flourishes of template 22 toward the left. I think the flourishes work well with the flourish looking letter O. The dots in the title lead right into the journaling on the right. I may add a little light on the right with a glow.

Adryane: Looks great. Thank you for doing this with me. It’s not easy giving someone else license with your photos :). Your genius has made it all work. You got the mask just right so the grass is the same and light enough so the journaling works. I like the lighter look in the top right corner. It looks so much better now that you’ve remasked the right side. The flourishes are just right with the title.

Final Thoughts on Collaborating

Adryane and I worked on this layout on and off for three days. We’d like to share a few tips if you decide that you would like to collaborate with a friend.

  1. Exchange psd files only once or twice so that you are working with the same original file. After that, we learned that it is easier to share thinking and suggest changes using screen shots in messages rather than uploading large psd files through Dropbox.
  2. Collaboration is a different relationship than the teacher/student relationship of teaching. As Adryane said, “It’s about having a shared vision that two people create instead of one person. Collaboration involves sharing ideas, techniques, and relying on and learning from each other’s strengths.”
  3. People have time constraints, dinner to make, appointments to keep so collaborating as Adryane and I did won’t work for everyone. Collaboration even with a friend requires extra time.
  4. Have a clear goal. In this case, Adryane and I worked on one layout that will be part of a book I’m creating this year. Her advice: “When you are working on something that may end up in someone’s book, it’s nice to consider that person’s style and to add some of your own style.” That this page reflects both Adryane and I makes it very special to me.
  5. Collaborating with a friend is also a good way to overcome stagnation and get support when you are feeling overwhelmed and uninspired. It’s a good way to try something different.

As a digital scrapbooker, I love having a friend with whom I can collaborate. However, online classes also help me develop my skills in Photoshop. If you are looking for another way to make connections with others interested in digital scrapbooking with Anna Aspnes’ Designs, I encourage you to look at Anna’s new class, aA Project. I’m looking forward to the learning and support I need to finish up this year’s book project.

The Gutter Between Two Pages

One of the ideas from Anna’s album class last fall that I’ve been working with this year is the concept of completing a two page spread on a 24×12 inch document rather than trying to work with two separate 12×12 inch documents. I can’t tell you how much easier it is to fill the gutter of two pages so they match precisely if you work on a 24×12 inch document.


The term “gutter” refers to the blank space between facing pages of a book. When I run my action for creating a new blank 24×12 inch document, faint blue lines appear dividing each side into thirds. That helps me determine placement for my pictures. The line running down the middle marks the gutter between the two pages. That line marks where the page will be cut in half to make two pages after I create my composite of all the layers in the layers panel.

For this page, I began by extracting the photo of my granddaughter on the right. With a brush from AnnaBlendz Artsy No. 3, I brought back in some of the grass for each extraction. Next, I followed the same process for the sequence of photos showing her pretending to emerge from a chrysalis. I placed the photo of my granddaughter with the line marking the middle of the page across the middle of her arm. After extracting the photo in the foreground. I gave each extraction a shadow, a few of the photos custom shadows. Note: Her pumpkin was really pink so I recolored it using the color replacement brush, an option included with the brush tool.

I used another photo to fill in the background with fallen leaves using layer masks to blend across the gutter for a seamless look.


Next, I began adding to the background by placing, across the gutter of my page below the extractions, six of the layers of transfer 4 from Artsy Transfers Kinsfolk.


I placed layers from artsy transfer 3 on the right and artsy transfer 5 from Artsy Transfers Kinsfolk on the left as well as several transfers and brushes from ArtPlay Palette Kinsfolk.


Another tool that I like to use for pages are Anna’s artsy layered templates. On the left side, just above the paper layers, I recolored and arranged a dozen layers from Artsy Layered Template No. 237, making adjustments as needed to opacity and blend modes. I used the placement of one of the frames from the template to determine where to place the frame from the artplay palette. I dragged both text boxes over from the template as well.

I finished writing my journaling and added a few dimensional elements. I created a composite at the top of the layers panel by pressing the keys command + option + shift + e on my Mac. I dragged the composite over to two new 12×12 inch documents to create a right and left page for my book.


Once I import the pages into Lightroom, I can see what the finished page will look like if I choose to publish through Blurb. I may try Picaboo this year, but that depends on how many pages I complete by the end of the year.


By creating two page spreads on 24×12 inch documents, I can be far more creative with what I place in the gutter. I don’t want to put journaling or a face across the gutter, but I love the flexibility of placing other things creatively across the two pages so that the whole looks balanced. These pages work together and aren’t meant to be viewed as separate pages. I’m looking forward to learning more about working with albums in Anna’s new class which will open in a few weeks.

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