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Paper Template Vs. Brush Vs. Pattern, Help!


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#1 GoGayleGo

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 10:47 AM

Newbie here - go easy on me as this is probably a rather basic question. And definitely let me know if I should have posted under a different topic. I'm not a scrapbooker per se, but quickly discovered that digiscrap info is very applicable to my application (I wanted to make my own photo holiday card in PSE9, and didn't find much available in general photography/PSE9 info, either on the web or at the library).

Anyway, I found the SG site yesterday, and needless to say my head is about to explode! Lots of great stuff here! I bought a few paper packs, but then started reading tutorials and am now interested in expanding the possibilities. Was going to start by buying some paper templates, but I am a bit confused about when it is appropriate/easier to use paper templates vs. brushes vs. patterns (since I just now discovered they can all be colored). Are they all totally different, or is there some overlap between them and way to accomplish the same end result with them? When/why would you choose one over another?

Thanks in advance,
Gayle

#2 Heatheranne

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 01:32 PM

There's a free EBook that you might find very helpful. Here's the link. . I'll try to give you a little information to help and expect that some guru's will come along with more and will correct me if I'm wrong. Brushes usually come with two types of files, an abr file that can be added to your program, so that you can use it within the program - info in the EBook. Sometimes there are also png files that can be used by dragging them into your layout and using them the same way. Paper templates are like papers, but you colour them and add textures yourself, then use them in your layout. I'm not sure what you mean by Patterns, although I expect that it has to do with patterned templates, which are used as I mentioned. You'll find great information in the free EBook and also have an idea of what the Ebooks are like. Some of the EBooks, include papers, videos or whatever the creator thinks would be helpful for the lesson that they are teacing. You might want to check out the EBook section and Ro's, Software Secrets Revealed Videos. They have great information to get you started and keep you going. I hope that this has helped a bit. Have a great day. :-)


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#3 BarbaraC1977

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 02:23 PM

Gayle, I understand where you're coming from. There's so much good stuff here, but it's a little hard to sort out at times. Let me see if I can help, also, cover some things I haven't yet seen in the books I own from Scrap Girls (but I don't own them all!)

I suspect, but am not sure, that some of these products had limitations in older version of Photoshop/Photoshop Elements that are no longer an issue, and that may also be part of the confusion. In some cases, there are brushes and shapes that are almost the same, so you really wonder why you'd need both. The answers are subtle for some situations, but not all.

Brushes and Shapes can both be used as positive images. Brushes have an upper size limit of 2500 pixels in either direction. Shapes can be made as large or small as you like, because their underlying characteristics are vector-based rather than individual pixels.

Brushes can be created with varying transparency, from 100% opaque to 0% opacity. See Lori Cook's Blizzard Brushes for an example of this. Shapes have 100% opacity, or are 100% homogenous opacity when you lower it to, say, 60%.

Paper templates combine the capability for variable transparency or black/grey/white color. The black/grey/white templates are generally used with a Blending mode over or under another paper to create a combined effect. The templates that have transparency can be used in blending modes, but can also be used to define a design to be colored, or used as a mask.

Frames and masks were also confusing to me at first, since they are often used in related situations. Using Amanda Sok's Techno Grunge design pack as an example, Masks generally go BELOW an object such as a photo. When you clip the photo to the mask, only the portions over 100% black show fully. Transparent areas disappear, resulting in an interesting edge on the photo itself (that is non-destructive.) When you apply a frame OVER a picture, you can apply color or a style to the frame, or even clip another paper to it.

Sometimes you can use one in place of another; sometimes it's better to have the distinct product. It's hard to generalize, as it depends on the specific product.

It took me a while to figure out some of this. Heatheranne's recommendation for books above is perfect, and then you just have to spend some time playing. We're all still learning, so keep asking questions, and we'll do our best. Hope this helps.

By the way, Welcome to Scrap Girls! Hope you enjoy it here.

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#4 PolkaDot

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 04:06 PM

Wonderful posts, Barbara and Heatheranne!
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#5 GoGayleGo

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 04:07 PM

Thanks to both of you for the replies. Barbara - your post in particular struck a chord with me, as you've basically hit on all the things I'm currently struggling with (frames/masks are currently a thorn in my side, so it was hilarious to me that you included them in your post).

I'm just kind of hesitant about buying more things right now, it's hard to tell what I'll need when I'm not sure what the best approach is yet to what I want to do. I bought all three Gesso paper sets, figuring at least that gives me a nice color palette to start with. I also LOVED (and purchased) the Glitter Party Paper - the "Lacey" is especially appealing to me, and the Winter White Tapestry paper. I don't want to go totally overboard with papers until I get a grip on the ways I want to use them. That's why I liked the idea of the ScrapSimple paper templates - I only made it through a few pages of the offering, and found several I liked (I finally just had to stop looking!). They seem to offer great flexibilty (so instead of buying, for example, damask papers in a variety of colors, it looks like I could buy a template and then use it with a million different colors).

I just discovered brushes this morning. I mean, I knew there was a brush tool, but didn't "get" that there were patterns in there too. Wow! So then I started thinking about using a brush to stamp or fill-in a background, or coloring pattern layers. Trying to get a handle on what the options are and how to proceed.

I've been doing more experimentation lately. I finally got my holiday card done (very basic and not at all perfect, but it's done). So the pressure of that is off, which actually makes it easier for me to learn. When I had the pressure of the card, I'd just get frustrated and then nothing was clicking. Then I'd get frustrated, and less would click, and I'd get more frustrated, etc. Stepping away from it for a few weeks, I feel like some things have sunk in even though I haven't been actively working on it. The tutorials on here are great, and I've had several "aha" moments just since yesterday.

Sometimes I feel like I understand something (e.g. masks/frames - that was something I wanted to include on my holiday card and ended up bailing on b/c I just couldn't get it), and I will try something and it works. So I think I've got it. Then I try something else and it doesn't work at all, and I don't know enough to see the differences between the two things I've done, and why one worked and one didn't.

But I keep plugging away! And I will definitely check out some of the books you recommended.

Thanks again!

#6 BarbaraC1977

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 05:06 PM

Gayle, glad to help. One or two more things I forgot...

Brushes can also be used as ERASER shapes, which means you can do cutouts of their shape. This is demonstrated in one or both of the ScrapGirls' free books, so you can see it there. Brushes can also have dynamic characteristics; as you drag them across a space, or click repeatedly, they may be set to vary their rotation, size, color, and opacity, etc. I am definitely not a master of this technique yet, but it's fun to play with.

To the best of my knowledge, shapes cannot be used directly as an eraser, but you can put a shape on a new layer, select the entire shape (CTRL + Click on the layer thumbnail image) then select another layer, press delete, and then delete or hide the shape to achieve this effect. Note--it's faster to do this than it sounds.) I don't think shapes have dynamic options either, but I could be wrong.

The "Mastering Brushes in Photoshop" and "Mastering Brushes in Photoshop Elements" books by Shalae Tippetts in the boutique are FABULOUS and come with half a dozen interesting brushes to work with. They have inspiring examples, and are great step by step resources on this topic.

Experimenting as you're doing is a great way to get started, and feel free to ask more questions, too.

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#7 Heatheranne

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 05:23 PM

You're welcome Gayle. Did you get the free Refresh kit? It has pretty much everything that you need to get started. You can find it in the freebie section, here. :-)
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#8 tinkerbell11

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 05:53 PM

Gayle I really just wanted to say hello and Welcome to ScrapGirls! Heather and Brabara gave you such fantastic insights I don't have a lot more to add really. Please show us your card in the gallery and let us know if there are more specifc questions we can help with. Digital Scrapbooking is a fantastic way to create beautiful tresures, I am glad you found us.

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#9 GoGayleGo

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 06:11 PM

@Heatheranne - Oh no, hadn't seen the Refresh kit, so now there's more trouble for me to get into...

@Tinkerbell - I think I won't post the card (ugh, embarrassing!)...but I will say that since I couldn't figure out how to use a frame or mask, I ended up just using the rectangle tool (filled with color), put the photo on top of that, and sort of eyeballed the whole thing for "margins" of color around the photo (there was also a paper beneath, which showed to the left of the color block, on which I put my text). I used some linear flourishes at the top and bottom of the photo (where the photo meets the color) to take the place of an actual frame. For me, this was all less than ideal, but I had to start somewhere and although I thought what I wanted to do was simple, it wasn't (at least for me, at this stage of the game!).

I also had a very interesting experience with the printing of these (4 x 8) cards through an online service. I tried to follow their guidelines, but what came out on the preview looked wrong (and it clearly stated that the final image would look like the preview). I tweaked my card so it looked good in the preview, but when they arrived, the right "margin" was narrower than the left. I submitted an online issue, and described that it might be me, not them. But without contacting me, they reprinted them again, exactly as before. So I have 300 cards right now that I'm not happy with. Finally spoke with a person yesterday, ended up reloading the original card (which, on the preview, looks like the right margin is too wide). I'm pretty sure when they cut it down, it will now be fine. But I'm starting to think I should have stuck with one of the online templates you just dump your card into!

#10 HeidiD

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 06:25 PM

Gayle, welcome! You've gotten some great advice, and you're doing the best things possible - playing and experimenting! I think 99% of us got started that way. :)

Have so much fun, and come to us with ANY questions. We ALL started with no knowledge of these things (really, we all did!), so don't feel shy or embarrassed about asking questions. We're happy to help others in having fun with this addiction/hobby called digital scrapbooking! :D
...Heidi D...

#11 tinkerbell11

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 06:29 PM

Don't ever be embarrassed of your first creations this a link to the very first digital LO I created and a redo of it 3 years later, it is a progression of all the learning you do! We are all very supportive because we all used to be new!
I don't have experience with a printing service but maybe some of the ladies that do can give you some help.

First LO

The RE Do

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#12 Heatheranne

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 09:51 PM

@Heatheranne - Oh no, hadn't seen the Refresh kit, so now there's more trouble for me to get into...

@Tinkerbell - I think I won't post the card (ugh, embarrassing!)...but I will say that since I couldn't figure out how to use a frame or mask, I ended up just using the rectangle tool (filled with color), put the photo on top of that, and sort of eyeballed the whole thing for "margins" of color around the photo (there was also a paper beneath, which showed to the left of the color block, on which I put my text). I used some linear flourishes at the top and bottom of the photo (where the photo meets the color) to take the place of an actual frame. For me, this was all less than ideal, but I had to start somewhere and although I thought what I wanted to do was simple, it wasn't (at least for me, at this stage of the game!).

I also had a very interesting experience with the printing of these (4 x 8) cards through an online service. I tried to follow their guidelines, but what came out on the preview looked wrong (and it clearly stated that the final image would look like the preview). I tweaked my card so it looked good in the preview, but when they arrived, the right "margin" was narrower than the left. I submitted an online issue, and described that it might be me, not them. But without contacting me, they reprinted them again, exactly as before. So I have 300 cards right now that I'm not happy with. Finally spoke with a person yesterday, ended up reloading the original card (which, on the preview, looks like the right margin is too wide). I'm pretty sure when they cut it down, it will now be fine. But I'm starting to think I should have stuck with one of the online templates you just dump your card into!





I'm always happy to help a fellow scrapper get into more trouble with scrapping! roflol Welcome to Scrap Girls! :-)
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#13 caprimom

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 04:58 AM

Just wanted to say welcome to ScrapGirls! You've already gotten some good advice and I don't want to overload you so I'll just say hi!

In the spirit of posting our very first layouts, I'll share mine. Got hand? challenge of 3 See? We all have to start somewhere! It does get better and easier with time.

#14 GoGayleGo

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 06:25 PM

Thanks again ladies, and Merry Christmas to all!

I've been experimenting, and have made some breakthroughs, particularly with being able to make “frames” (or the appearance of frames) around my photos - wish I could re-do this year's holiday cards! I know so much more now than I did even three weeks ago. I also discovered Layer Styles Thursday, then found out yesterday that SG is having a sale, woo hoo! So I am the proud owner of ten new styles (mostly metallic/icicle/luminescent type stuff; nice present to myself) - yes, I am officially a Style junkie! I have successfully installed them in PSE9, and have already put them to use.

So my super basic (non-Style related) questions of the day are: 1) when opening a new file, when do you choose a transparent background vs. a white background (I know if you want to save as .png that you’d use transparent, but am unclear of the pros/cons/ramifications in other situations), and 2) when using Shapes/Custom Shapes, how do you determine if you need to use one that shows as solid black in the drop-down list, or one that is white in the drop-down list (which may relate to the first question)? Are there certain things you can do with one but not the other?

#15 Smiles

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 02:11 AM

I just wanted to say Welcome to Scrap Girls from another Gayle.
There aren't too many of us around these days, especially spelled this way.
We're delighted you found us, and hope you stick around for a long time!
Merry Christmas!
:)
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#16 teecee

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 10:59 AM

Thanks again ladies, and Merry Christmas to all!

I've been experimenting, and have made some breakthroughs, particularly with being able to make “frames” (or the appearance of frames) around my photos - wish I could re-do this year's holiday cards! I know so much more now than I did even three weeks ago. I also discovered Layer Styles Thursday, then found out yesterday that SG is having a sale, woo hoo! So I am the proud owner of ten new styles (mostly metallic/icicle/luminescent type stuff; nice present to myself) - yes, I am officially a Style junkie! I have successfully installed them in PSE9, and have already put them to use.

So my super basic (non-Style related) questions of the day are: 1) when opening a new file, when do you choose a transparent background vs. a white background (I know if you want to save as .png that you’d use transparent, but am unclear of the pros/cons/ramifications in other situations), and 2) when using Shapes/Custom Shapes, how do you determine if you need to use one that shows as solid black in the drop-down list, or one that is white in the drop-down list (which may relate to the first question)? Are there certain things you can do with one but not the other?


Hi Gayle, :welcome2: to Scrap Girls! Sorry I can't answer these two questions, but I'm curious to see what others have to say, so I'm bumping this up a little for you and I'll be watching this thread for answers. I also want to reiterate what Heidi said. Keep asking questions. There are lots of very friendly people here who love to help. :)




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