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August 2022 Monthly Challenge Game


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Wasn't sure if we're supposed to post our progress so I thought I would for now. In the first photo are the papers I chose for my background. The green and ivy are both from AFT Blissful collection an

This has happened to quite a few people lately.  My layout also did that. I find if I  go to, SAVE FOR WEB, and save as a gif file, it is small enough.  You still have to change the pixels from 300 to

Before I post the next tasks, I'd like to share thumbnails of what I'm working with - first, the photo with two papers underneath in their original form; the green paper is from AFT Designs Eucalyptus

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5 hours ago, ladyscrapalot said:

Thanks Diane and Belle. I’m not sure that PS CC as the option SAVE FOR WEB. I think I did try lowering the quality to a smaller size. I know I tried lowering the resolution to 72 but it still says it’s too big. I took a lunch break so will try again. 

I don't know how helpful this is because I don't think I save my pages correctly.   But, in PSE I first save a jpeg from my psd file, then import the jpeg back into PSE and go to Image>Resize>Image Size and change the resolution to 72 pixels/inch.   And, then I upload that.   Sorry if that's what you already do, I really need how to save better.

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7 hours ago, ladyscrapalot said:

Well for the life of me I can't upload my finished layout in the gallery. I have every which way to reduce the size. I did the same way I always do it. I even compared it to a layout I posted yesterday. I also redid that layout using my same method and I get upload that one again. I've closed out of everything and rebooted my computer. I've cleared caches. Before I reduce my layout I compared sizes. They are both the same size. However, after I reduce the image and save as a jpg the file sizes are not the same. The one I can post is 370.3k. The one I can't post is 9.8m. I just can't figure out how to make it smaller. I've tried different ways to no avail. UGH!!!!! Going to try one more thing.

Edit: I was going to try save for web but I don't think that's an option with PS CC phooey.

Oh yay, I can help with this one!  I actually accidentally figured how to "save for web" in CC the other day.  I was doing this in order to post the thumbnails in the thread rather than an entire layout into the gallery, so I was making it smaller than normal:  I usually will reduce the image size and the pixel dimensions first, then in Photoshop CC go up to "File", then "Export", then "Save for Web (Legacy)."  It's just buried a little further into the drop boxes than it was in CS6.  

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13 hours ago, MariJ said:

This looks awesome and I enjoyed reading along with your explanations.   Made me think of Jody who was always layering blending modes.  😊

@MariJ, I think the 4th tutorial I listed on the first day's post is one of Jody's tutorials.  I thought of you and your friendship with Jody when I posted the link.  😊

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12 hours ago, ladyscrapalot said:

 

Marilyn's explaination is spot on. You want to be able to change anything you do. I just started using PS CC as well. Another thing I'm trying to use more are Smart Objects. I didn't use any on this layout but they are really great for working non-destructively. For example when I use a clipping mask for a photo and I want to use a blend mode I usually merge the two together because if i didn't the blend mode with blend with the black mask. If you click on both items and convert them to a Smart Object together you can use blending mode AND have the ability move or resize your clipping mask and/or your photo. I often forget about Smart Object but I do remember they are great. 

That makes complete sense, the non-destructive thing.  I'm going to try to use adjustment layers more now, but what I was doing before was duplicating whatever layer I was working on, then turning off one of those layers and adjusting the other in the "Image" dropdown box of the toolbar.  It was non-destructive, but a more round-about way of making changes.  Adjustment layers are MUCH quicker!  Also, I've seen the Smart Object option in PS, but I had no idea what it was.  It sure sounds like I'll be learning more this month myself, than I will be teaching!  🤣

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12 hours ago, englishrose said:

Here is my challenge #1.

I blended2 papers (butterflies and text) to achieve the bg paper (darker colour @49%)
I blended the white flower with a patterned paper (linear burn @35%) then added it to Angie's cluster
I blended the photo with the textured paper (screen@32%)

I'm not sure the end result was worth the extra work. I think the blended flower was perhaps the most successful.
 

I love your layout, including what you did with the flower, background papers, and the texture on the photo!  Chalk the extra effort up to practicing different techniques this month.  After practicing, we all can go back and make changes to the layouts if we're not happy with them.  

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7 hours ago, H Keith said:

The monochrome appearance was an accidental discovery.  The adjustment layer was the hue/saturation and did not clip it to a layer.  I later clipped it to a layer for a different look.

Accidental discoveries are how I've learned several new scrapping techniques!

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Thursday, Week 1 (August 4th): Strokes

I'd like to spend some time talking about strokes.  Not the medical emergency kind - those are bad, we'll stay away from them - but digital strokes that can be used to frame photos, which will help them stand out especially against a busier background.  Strokes can also be used to outline embellishments, word art, alphas, and fonts.  As with most awesome techniques in digital scrapping, it took me a while to even figure out this technique existed, and I remember the lightbulb moment several years ago when I learned how to create a stroke around my photos.  These days, I rarely create a layout without using a stroke of some kind!

Here are two tutorials I found to start with that discuss how to create a stroke.  They show us how to make them in PS and then PSE... the photos in these two tutorials are not showing up for me, and I'm not sure if it's my security settings or if possibly it's because the tutorials are older, but if the photos don't show up for you, I think you'll still be able to follow the instructions, and then I tried to put the steps in my own words below:

Using Stroke Layer Styles in Photoshop

Adding a Stroke in PSE

In Photoshop, there are two different ways that I can make a stroke around a photo, and the first way sounds similar to the PSE tutorial above:  Select the photo in your layers palette that you want to frame, so that it has marching ants around it (I use a Mac, and to do this I have to hover my mouse over the thumbnail in the layers palette and press "command.")  Once your photo is selected, go up to "Layer" in the top toolbar, and in the dropdown box select "New" and then "Layer."  A pop-up box will, well, pop up, and you can name your new layer.  I usually just name it "Frame."  Now you've got a new blank layer on top of your photo.  With this blank layer highlighted in the layers palette, go up to "Edit" in the top toolbar, and choose "Stroke" in the dropdown box.  You'll see a box pop up where you can choose the color of your stroke, the width, and whether to center it on your photo, or have it placed to the outside or inside of the photo edges.  You'll also be able to apply a blending mode if you'd like (yay!)

The easier way to accomplish the same thing is to create a Layer Style (the Photoshop tutorial above goes over this):  While your photo is highlighted in the layers palette, go to the bottom of your layers palette where you'll see a small dropdown icon that says fx.  Click this icon and choose "Stroke."  The stroke box will pop up, and you can customize your stroke frame.  This is a quick way of making a stroke frame, but I actually prefer the first way, so that my stroke frame is a separate layer.  As a separate layer, I am able to customize the even further by applying premade styles or a shadow, clipping papers to it, applying brushes, etc.  With that said, if anyone knows of a way to create the stroke this second way in a layer separate from the photo, let me know!

Tasks for Thursday, August 4th:

1.  Choose the photo or photos you'd like to work with for this layout - any photos are fine!  

2.  Choose your background papers.  If you dare, choose a busy background paper to see how well the stroke frame will help your photo stand out better.  Or, if you think you'll want to "decorate" your frame by clipping a busy paper to it, or by using a busy patterned style on it, choose a less busy background.

3.  Practice creating a stroke around your photo(s), and if you want to, go ahead and clip a paper to it, or apply a style, etc.  If you're using multiple photos on your layout, you can create a separate layer for each stroke frame, OR you can select all of the photos at once and make all of the frames on one layer all at the same time.  If you do this, though, make sure your photos are exactly where you want them on the page, because you won't be able to reposition them unless you move all of the other photos and the frame too.  I will sometimes do it this way on Project Life layouts, where I often use templates and I know I won't be moving my photos around.

And we're on our way!  Here are some examples of stroke frames I created around my photo (my 13 year old is the one in the dark glasses - she got to go to Florida last month and swim with the dolphins!)

This example uses just a plain blue frame with a width of 25 pixels (and I applied a shadow):

4Aug-Stroke-PlainBlue25pix.jpg.73256746030086d9bfec5b1dd4b6db74.jpg

In this one I applied one of Brandy's (BMU) Autumn Suede styles, again at 25 pixel width:

4Aug-Stroke-BMUAutSuede25pix.jpg.8d3ebdeff823ec182b9239b4d0894e31.jpg

And finally, in this one I've made the frame wider at 50 pixels, and clipped one of Brandy's papers from her Sweet Summer collection.  I think this is what I'll go with!

4Aug-Stroke-BMUSweetSummer50pix.jpg.6fe4f469b3a9b724aca0aecf1b3ce0cd.jpg

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10 hours ago, Mikelle said:

That makes complete sense, the non-destructive thing.  I'm going to try to use adjustment layers more now, but what I was doing before was duplicating whatever layer I was working on, then turning off one of those layers and adjusting the other in the "Image" dropdown box of the toolbar.  It was non-destructive, but a more round-about way of making changes.  Adjustment layers are MUCH quicker!  Also, I've seen the Smart Object option in PS, but I had no idea what it was.  It sure sounds like I'll be learning more this month myself, than I will be teaching!  🤣

Mikelle, I forgot to mention that most times I do the same as you when changing the photo/element.   "Just in case" I duplicate it, link the layers and turn off the original.   It works and I still do it that way but with adjustment layers I can go back in and re-adjust more easily.    One thing I've realized is - I don't like the extra layers they add to my page!  :hit-head-with-hammer:🤣

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10 hours ago, Mikelle said:

@MariJ, I think the 4th tutorial I listed on the first day's post is one of Jody's tutorials.  I thought of you and your friendship with Jody when I posted the link.  😊

Awwww...  Mikelle, I did look through the tutorials you listed and when I got to Jody's I thought it was hers and was right when I got to the end.  Thanks for thinking of me and Jody, it made me feel good to see her still remembered here.   I always tell Darren whenever she is mentioned and it always touches him to know that Jody lives on on ScrapGirls.    Thanks for your note....   💜

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13 hours ago, MariJ said:

Size and change the resolution to 72 pixels/inch.

I don't normally do this but I did try this yesterday when I was trying to upload my layout. It didn't work. I tried Belle's suggestion and saved it as a GIF file and that worked. Still not sure why I was having a problem as I did try the same way as I also do.

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12 hours ago, Mikelle said:

File", then "Export", then "Save for Web (Legacy)."  It's just buried a little further into the drop boxes than it was in CS6.  

I'll have to give this a try next time, thanks!

 

12 hours ago, Mikelle said:

Also, I've seen the Smart Object option in PS, but I had no idea what it was.  It sure sounds like I'll be learning more this month myself, than I will be teaching!  

Smart Object are really cool but also can be tricky.  Besides what I mention before they are also good so you don't have to rasterize your text or shapes. The instructor I was speaking about earlier said that merge, erase, flatten, delete and rasterize are big no no's when working non-destructively.  It's good that we can all help each other learn new things! ;)

 

6 hours ago, Mikelle said:

With that said, if anyone knows of a way to create the stroke this second way in a layer separate from the photo, let me know!

My turn to help! lol! In the layers panel if you right click on the effect on the layer with the style you want on it own layer a little menu. Just click on create layer. 

 

Untitled-1.jpg

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This is such a great game. I am playing along but not connected to the internet yet so will upload them when i am hopefully the 11th. I love using strokes but when i started using PSE i didn't know how to put them on a seperate layer and Melanie's instructions worked so well even without pictures. 

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11 hours ago, ladyscrapalot said:

I don't normally do this but I did try this yesterday when I was trying to upload my layout. It didn't work. I tried Belle's suggestion and saved it as a GIF file and that worked. Still not sure why I was having a problem as I did try the same way as I also do.

I remember Belle saying that and a few others, too.   They were doing it exactly the same way (& it's not like we all haven't done it hundreds of times) and it wouldn't work.    I'm glad you got to ti work, though.

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... Playing catch-up here. Here's my blending layout.  This was fun to put together especially because I forget about blending textures into photos.

I blended SRO SS Paper: Textured Overlays 3 onto the photo using a normal mode at 100% for some texture; then I added a paper from cap Summer Splash using the Soft Light mode at 50% to look a bit like waves. On the frame from DRB Cherish Each Moment I added a paper from ABR Wonderful You using the Multiply mode at 100%;

Whew! Lots of blending and loads of fun. Thanks for the challenge!
 

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13 hours ago, ladyscrapalot said:

My turn to help! lol! In the layers panel if you right click on the effect on the layer with the style you want on it own layer a little menu. Just click on create layer. 

 

Untitled-1.jpg

Ha ha, yaaaayyyyy!  Thank you Kelly!  I figured there was a way to do this - now I think I'll try using the second technique, the effect/style layer, and then I'll just make it a separate layer.  Less steps, I think.  Woo hoo!

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Friday, Week 1 (August 5th): Strokes

Tasks for Friday, Week 1:

1.  Find some word art that you would like to use for a title for your layout.  Try to find word art that isn't too complicated to begin with - because we are going to jazz it up with some stroke outline practice!

2.  Spend some time practicing applying various stroke thicknesses, doubling up your strokes, applying different colors, styles, or papers to them, etc until you find a combination you like (more on this below - I've got several examples posted that will give you a better idea of what I'm thinking).

3.  Let's reverse a little and return our attention to our photo frame(s):  Create a cluster and attach it to your main photo frame, or create multiple clusters and attach them to several frames if you've got more than one.  If you are short on time, find a pre-made cluster - the designers often include gorgeous clusters in their kits!

4.  If you want to spend a little more time on your layout today, go ahead and add more embellishments, but leave some room for journaling, which we'll work on tomorrow (Saturday).  We won't have any tasks on Sunday, so you'll be able to catch up!

******************************

OK, I've got several examples for you, to give you an idea of what I'm envisioning for your customized word art.  First, I'll post my layout in progress, with Word Art from Brandy's Sweet Summer collection.  I love the word art, but it doesn't show up well against my background paper, so I'm going to try a few things to see if I can get it to pop out better.  Here is my layout with the Word Art as Brandy made it (Sweet Summer blends in to the background yellow and white too well):

Aug22Chall2-WA1.jpg.019c53b56a8d164f128b5eca235fdb14.jpg

Here is the word art by itself (I drastically reduced the size and quality; I have to be careful about posting the designers' supplies, so that they can't be downloaded and used without purchase):

5Aug-WA.jpg.213c72d05d254b039f56c770b40ff147.jpg

And here are my first attempts to get it to stand out better; I applied just a 1 pixel stroke around the word art, and then tried a 3 pixel stroke.  I like the 3 pixel stroke best, so then I applied a style to it (Syndee's burnt corrugated cardboard styles - I absolutely love these styles, I use them a lot!)

5Aug-WA-Stroke-1pix.jpg.61151a9187c07e4924eb8f701661378f.jpg(1 pixel).       5Aug-WA-Stroke-3pix.jpg.8c3394402d05ea5d6d9433e0fc266a2a.jpg (3 pixels, blue cardboard style)   5Aug-WA-Stroke-3pixSNU-Style.jpg.c7ca2ad00bdd8f25d70c9096b062d5a5.jpg    (3 pixels, pink cardboard style) 

 

See how much better the word art stands out against the white background?  Here is my layout now with the pink version (I also enlarged the word art on the page):

Aug22Chall2-WA2.jpg.7fe7e9ad684563f7d4b93ae36fcb02ff.jpg

 

Now I'm going to try a couple of other techniques.  I decided to create a second, thicker stroke, and instead of "Center" I chose "Outside" for the placement of the thick stroke around the word art.  The thicker stroke is 30 pixels, and for this variation I left the 3 pixel centered stroke as well:

5Aug-WA-Stroke-3pix-30pix.jpg.0043cd23d2dac1128be16c842058027c.jpg 

 Carolyn Kite's - CKI - Smiles 4 Miles style is applied to the thick stroke; I like this style because it has a nice bevel to it, which gives the word art somewhat of a "cut-out" appearance.  (I bought the S4M kit long ago, before Carolyn left and then came back again.  Glad she's back!)   

I like this, but now I'm going to try a technique I've used before and really like for creating my own word art out of fonts, when I need to.  In the last version, Brandy's word art is below the stroke layers.  In the next version, I deleted the 1 pixel stroke, then moved the word art layer on top of the thick stroke.  I applied a different style to the thick stroke, and then I applied a shadow to the original word art.  Voila!  I like this version, and I think it will go well on my layout:

5Aug-WA-Stroke-30pix-WtrClrStyleSNU.jpg.fe6d30e2a19c4c55e11a1f414cae346d.jpg    I used Syndee's (SNU) Halloween Watercolor "Creepy" style for the thick stroke on the bottom layer, then shadowed the top word art layer

And here is my layout with what I think will be the final version of the title:

Aug22Chall2-WA3.jpg.4a4af8c1a91140b3d5d5a5659bc14314.jpg

 

Have fun practicing strokes, and Happy Friday!  If you have time, post your progress, I'd love to see what you come up with!

 

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I figured a way to download from my computer to upload them from my phone. I blended 3 papers together. The sea paper i used multiply the cloud paper i used overlay 1825805505_SG_papersandphoto.jpg.adfd51bced1255b770af20bcf5e4cc9a.jpg

On the photo i used a dry brush to give it texture. I didn't think flowers suited this LO so i added a seascape paper to the paper strip and used multiply.

235686724_SG_Papersblendedandfilteronphotoplusblendedpaperontag.jpg.69b9901a69f6b4f724442e00b7d81383.jpg

Here is my finished LO.

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11 hours ago, MariJ said:

I remember Belle saying that and a few others, too.   They were doing it exactly the same way (& it's not like we all haven't done it hundreds of times) and it wouldn't work.    I'm glad you got to ti work, though.

Technology is so finicky! I posted a layout yesterday doing it the same way as I aways do and it worked fine. The frustrating thing is I couldn't figure out how to make the file size smaller no matter what I did. 

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1 hour ago, ladyscrapalot said:

Technology is so finicky! I posted a layout yesterday doing it the same way as I aways do and it worked fine. The frustrating thing is I couldn't figure out how to make the file size smaller no matter what I did. 

Agreed!   And sometimes I can hear it laughing at our frustration......     Grrrrrrrr...    😡😩😱:banghead:🤣

 

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Saturday, Week 1 (Aug 6th, Strokes):

Today we are going to place a stroke around a font.  There are already some wonderful pre-made styles out there that you can easily apply to a font, and I'll show you an example of one of those, but sometimes I like customizing the font myself if I have time.  Today's practicing won't take too long, unless you lose yourself in all of the possibilities!

Tasks for Saturday:

1.  Find a font you'd like to journal with, then go ahead and journal on your layout (or place a quote, or even start your own word art or second title using this font).  It's best to get the words/journaling onto your layout where you want them before messing with the strokes and styles, if possible.  I often find myself changing things around on my page later anyway, but I try.  :) 

2.  Place a stroke around your font.  It's very easy to do this using a stroke effects layer (the "fx" at the bottom of your layers palette, and choose "stroke"), but I have found there are some limitations to doing it this way, versus selecting the font, creating a new layer out of the selection, and then applying your stroke on that new layer.  I'll bring this up in another post later - I have a question or two of my own!  Also, for thinner journaling fonts, I find a stroke of only 1 or 2 pixel thickness works great, and doesn't overwhelm the font.

3.  Now play around with the appearance of your font and stroke.  You can change colors of both of them, apply styles to one or both, clip papers, etc.  Because we're dealing with a font, and the stroke is likely quite thin/small, a patterned paper clipped to the stroke layer might not show up well.  If you're using a font to make your own word art, though, your stroke might be thicker and easier to see, and so a paper might work fine.

4.  Finish and upload your layout to The Hodge Podge Gallery.  You can add anything else to your layout that you'd like - embellishments, more photos, more wordart, journaling, masks, etc, just make sure you like your layout!  Then, come right back here and leave a link to your page.  I'm excited to see what everyone's been practicing!

****************************

Here are just a couple of examples of how I've been playing around with my font/journaling...  I've chosen to use an open license font, Chicola Smoothy, that I downloaded from Creative Fabrica.  Depending on how you're using it, you'll want to choose an appropriately thin or chunky font.  I'm not planning on using a lot of journaling on my layout, so I can make the font a little bigger, too.

As I mentioned above, there are some great styles out there that you can use on your journaling without going through the time and energy of making your own strokes.  One of these that I absolutely love is Marlene Peacock's Scrap It Monthly Two Text styles (MPE).  She's made these with Project Life layouts in mind, for quick, easy journaling, and I love love love using these styles on my PL layouts - the journaling stands out so well!  Here's an example of my journaling with several of Marlene's Scrap It Monthly Two text styles applied:

56Aug-FontExStrokeMPE.jpg.0d415970c3d05299173804027f4f304d.jpg

There are also styles out there that create a stroke (border or edge) around anything you apply them to, and these sometimes will work for journaling also, although the stroke is typically too thick for a font, unless you're making your own wordart.  One border style in the SG shop right now is Amanda's (AFT Designs) Vellum Borders 6401 style - and I see that I do not own this style yet, I may have to rectify that!  😂

Here are two examples I came up with while playing around with adding my own stroke layer to the font.  In each of the two examples, I've got both the stroke and text layer showing, and then a version where I turned off the text layer to just leave the stroke outline.  This is also a great technique that offers a different look to your journaling, titles, etc.  In fact, you can also make the text layer bigger than the stroke, offset it, or blur/distort the edges of the text layer under the stroke layer to create some interesting effects.  

56Aug-FontExStrokeMine.jpg.91e5c3e70e77e11c4faf8f58862e259d.jpg

In the above, I used a 1 pixel width stroke in the top version, and a 2 pixel width stroke in the bottom version.  I think I like the 2 pixel stroke!  On my layout, I decided I also really like just the stroke outline, so I've made the text layer invisible.  One snag, I realized that the apostrophe in the font I chose is more like a comma and is at the bottom of the text when I use it, so I had to make a different text layer with just an apostrophe in it, and then position the apostrophe in the right place in my journaling.  There's always a snag somewhere!

Aug22Chall2-WA4.jpg.3876f8045c99b1076c0cb68ef3d91889.jpg

Remember, there will be no tasks tomorrow (Sunday).  Get caught up on your two layouts for this week and make sure you post them by midnight ET Sunday night Aug 7th in order to be eligible for the weekly drawing!  The prize for the drawing this week is a set of Pocket Life Journaling Cards of your choice (maximum $3.99 value).  Happy scrapping!

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For better or worse, here's my Stroke layout: Raptor.  I was doing fine (and proud of myself blending the photo into the background, too, :D) through the title work. However, I'm not sure I like the stroke on the journaling. Next time I add a stroke to journaling, I'll journal a lot less, LOL.
Thanks for a fun and informative week, Mikelle!

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I went lazy and just made this  strokes page.

I used the color picker and got a color from each car to use on the stroke border for each photo. I put a stroke and bevel on the my title in the trophy. For the journaling I used a very fine stroke.

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