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 dafont.com. 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.