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August 2022 Monthly Challenge Game

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8 hours ago, Florida granny said:

Yay, brushes! I've started a page with a cream colored plain paper from Brandy's Botanical and stamped brushes from AFT Essential Light Grunge http://store.scrapgirls.com/Value-Pack-Essential-Grungy-Brushes.html  to give the background a texture. I'm not sure about white on cream, so this whole thing might look different tomorrow. :D 


Aug Game - Brushes 1 background.jpg

This looks beautiful, I love the white brush on the cream paper.  :) 

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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

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

Love learning new techniques in PSE Original papers and elements from Let the sunshine in   Blending mode to change paper color to match colors in photo

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Mikelle, again I want to thank you for such a wonderful monthly game and learning!  I wish I had time for layouts, but I'm reading all your info and looking through the links.    You've done an enormous amount of work and spent a lot of time on it all and I really appreciate it.   Good going!   :thankyou:

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Friday, Week 2 (Aug 12th, Brushes: )

Yaaaayyyy, it's Friday!  I appreciate the compliments on this month's game - I wanted to find a way to incorporate all of these awesome tutorials we have on the SG Blog, and in doing so force myself to learn something new, too.  Which I have - I've learned new things both from the tutorials and from you all, so thank YOU!  I haven't been scrapping much lately, either, but this month has kicked the mojo back into gear.

Now, brushes - I remember when I first started messing around with brushes, I was like a kid in a candy store, I just couldn't try them out fast enough, figuring out all the different ways they can be used.  Here is a great tutorial by Jody, showing us several uses for brushes, and woohoo, the pics are still working!

Creative Uses for Brushes

Here are a few more tutorials addressing the many ways we can use brushes:

Technique Tuesday - Fun Ways to Use Brushes! by Armi

Creating Hybrid Cards with Digital Brushes by Carla

Here is another tutorial by Jody.  This one is more advanced and works with dynamic brushes and blending with gradients, but I wanted to post this one for those of you who need more challenge in your lives, and because we're heading into the weekend and you might have a little more time to spend on your scrapping:

Using the Gradient Tool to Add Color to Brushes by Jody (I need to spend time on this one myself!)

And one last one for today by Angie; this one also is a little more advanced:

Technique Tuesday - Filling Brushes with Patterned Paper by Angie

SO MANY THINGS TO LEARN, aaaagggghhhh!  😂

I haven't really addressed dynamic brushes yet, I'm holding off on those until the first half of week 3.  If you're brand new to using brushes, I want you to have time to practice the basics first, and see how incredibly versatile using brushes can be.  If you find yourself with time this weekend and want to delve into brushes further, just search "Brushes" in the SG Blog search tool, and you'll come up with lots of great tutorials!  The links I'm posting here are just a sampling of what's on the SG Blog.

Tasks for Today:

Yesterday I just had you practicing with using brushes as stamps on your background paper.  Today we'll actually move forward with your layout:

1.  If you haven't already, choose your main background paper, and use a brush on it in some way.  This can be done to add a bit of color variation to your paper (like Diane did earlier, adding subtle white painted texture on her creamy background paper - beautiful!). Or, you can use your brush as a stamp - you can stamp just once on your background paper, or many times, creating something of a patterned paper.  You can also use your brush as a photo mask, or a mask for a second paper.  Once again, don't forget to use your brushes on their own layer, separate from your paper layer, so that you can play around with them, without also changing your paper.

2.  Place your photos where you'd like them on your layout, and add any other paper layers you'd like.  You might have already done this... if so, on to task 3!

3.  Finalize the appearance of your brush layer(s) - meaning, go ahead and apply a style to your brush layer, apply a blending mode, clip a paper or photo to it, etc, whatever you've decided is best for your layout.

4.  Choose your embellishments, but there's a catch...

5.  Of the embellishments you chose, choose one to alter in some way by using a brush.  I would recommend duplicating that embellishment so that you can still use the original (or go back to it if you need to), but find some way of altering that embelli with a brush.  Just like your paper, you can add texture or a bit of a different color, you can add stamps, etc. It might sound odd at first to do this to an embellishment, but I think you'll be amazed at how versatile this is!

I will be back later today to work on my own layout, and I'll post my progress.  For now, I'm running a bit late and need to head into work!  But again, yay, it's Friday!


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Saturday, Week 2 (Aug 13th, Brushes: )

Tasks for Today:

1.  Choose a title for your layout using either a font or an alpha, or a mix of both.

2.  Use a brush on your title.  This can be subtle, like a grunge or texture brush, or it can be more obvious, like using a patterned brush or stamping onto your title.  Here is a nice little tutorial on how to use brushes on your alphas or fonts:

Grunge It Up!

3.  Put all the finishing touches on your layout that you'd like, add a little journaling, date, etc, and then upload your layout to the Hodge Podge Gallery.  Come back to this thread and leave a link to your layout!

Don't forget, post your layouts (or layout if you only managed to get one done this week) by Sunday night, midnight ET, to be entered into the drawing for the Week 2 prize - a brush set of your choosing (maximum $4.99 value).  

Today is Saturday, so there will be no tasks tomorrow (Sunday), but in case you've got extra time this weekend, take a look at the following tutorials:

Tips for Organizing Brushes in Photoshop

Tips for Organizing Brushes in Photoshop Elements

Breaking Down the Layout #2 - Brushes Video Tutorial (by Brandy Murry)

I hope everyone has a great weekend!  We are heading to a water park tomorrow; we've been promising the kids that we'd take them as a reward for getting good grades, but we keep putting it off.  It's so hot out!  

Here is my layout:  Nalin

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Here is my Week 2. Recolouring.

aimeeh_squared1_tmp2; CKH_SpritzOfSpring_MK_damask; tmd_dustoffyourdrems_paper5; cap_birdsong_birds recoloured;Yellow flower recoloured RED;  CKH_IFeelFine_AP3_up; CKH_IFeelFine_AP2_low;3 x  aimeeh_sandsurf_flower1recoloured;

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18 hours ago, Belle said:

I don't know how to do screen shots. 

@Belle If you have windows, you can use the snipping tool. You just grab a section of your screen and save it as a jpg, You can find it by searching "Snipping Tool", Or, the short cut to find it is the "Windows Logo Key + Shift+ S" It's pretty intuitive to use. 

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6 hours ago, mimes1 said:

@Belle If you have windows, you can use the snipping tool. You just grab a section of your screen and save it as a jpg, You can find it by searching "Snipping Tool", Or, the short cut to find it is the "Windows Logo Key + Shift+ S" It's pretty intuitive to use. 

Thanks Amy, I'm going to try that. I've always wondered.

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Monday, Week 3 (Aug 15th, Dynamic Brushes)

Here we are in Week 3 of August already!  My kids are starting to moan and groan, because school starts on August 30th.  Where we are, school traditionally doesn't start until the day after Labor Day, which is later than a lot of places in the U.S.  This year, though, our school district is trying to catch up from the pandemic, so they are starting a week early, AND they are starting earlier in the morning.  OOOOHHHH, the torture!  😂 Really though, poor kids, I do feel for them.

For the first half of this week, I'd like to continue working with brushes.  Once again, they are SO incredibly versatile, and if you reach the point where you feel comfortable using them, your scrapping world will explode with possibilities.  

For the next few days, we'll learn about dynamic brushes.  I've posted links to several tutorials below that discuss what dynamic brushes are, along with several ways to use them.  If you've got time today, read over these tutorials; I think they will help set the basics for what I'd like to do Tuesday and Wednesday (more on that tomorrow!)

Discover the Magic of Dynamic Brushes  by Amy Flanagan

Using Dynamic Digital Brushes by Jody West

Using the Gradient Tool to Add Color to Brushes by Jody

Using Digital Dynamic Brushes by Amy

Making Music with Dynamic Brushes by Anna Mansfield

Tasks for Today:

1.  Choose the photo(s) you'd like to work with for this next layout.

2.  Choose a brush that you'd like to work with - ideally a dynamic brush (dynamic will usually be part of the name of the brush, so that you know when you buy it that it's dynamic).  If you don't have a dynamic brush, just choose a brush that you do have; once again, your photo editing software likely has several preloaded brushes that came with the program.  One of these will work just fine.

3.  Choose a background paper that will work well, thinking about the fact that our goal this week is to "scatter" our brush over at least a part of the page.  When working with a brush on a background paper, I think it's easiest to start with a less busy paper.  

4.  Go ahead and practice using your dynamic brush, to get familiar with it!  

Here is what I'm starting with - I extracted a photo of my daughter, Karlie, from 5 years ago in a kimono I bought years ago in Japan.  I placed her on a background paper by Connie Prince, from Nature is Calling collection.  I decided (for now) to use a butterfly brush by Syndee from her Lovely Lace Brush Set.  This brush is actually not a dynamic brush - at least not yet!  :) 



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Such great tutorials and learning, Mikelle, thank you!    I smiled at the Dynamic Digital Brush one by Jody.    We were actually scrapping "together" when she created that layout and she kept sending me the latest until it was finished.  🙂

I am learning so much from this game.   

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Ack! Dynamic brushes! I'm afraid of them. :D This will be a good week for me, I think, forcing me to use them.

Mikelle: By the way, our school kids started school Wednesday August 10 so you can tell the girls to be grateful they don't live in my part of Florida!  My kids went to school in NJ, which started after Labor Day... the way things are supposed to be, LOL).

Here's the start of a layout: our grandson in the pool. I'm hoping to use Syndee's Dynamic Brush: Bubbles. (that's the two black dots, which I just stamped on for now.)


Aug Game - Dynamic Brushes bg and brush.jpg

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Tuesday, Week 3 (Aug 16th, Dynamic Brushes)

Well, I am SOOOO late today!  I'm sorry!  Tomorrow's tasks will be posted on time.  What I'd like to touch on today is how to customize your brushes.  I was excited when I figured out how to do this, since I really love dynamic brushes but owned a lot of "regular" brushes.  Once you learn your way around the Brush Settings window, you'll be able to turn a "regular" or non-dynamic brush into a dynamic brush, or customize a dynamic brush to better fit your current layout.

Here is a tutorial that addresses rotating a brush, which is a good start to playing with your brush settings:

Rotating Brushes in Photoshop

The above tutorial works with Photoshop.  I'm hoping that working with brushes is similar in PSE!  If it's not, and if someone who uses PSE already knows how to customize your brushes, go ahead and speak up.  :) 

If you don't know where your Brush Settings window is, here are some screen shots from my Photoshop (again, I am a relatively new PS CC user):

If you don't think your Brush Settings Window is active, go up to your top Photoshop toolbar and click "Window."  You'll get a long dropdown box with all of the windows you can choose - even discovering this was exciting for me, lol.  Here is a screen shot of the Window dropdown box - you can choose whichever windows you'd like to be active.  When I'm working with brushes, I like to have both "Brush Settings" and "Brushes" checked:



Once you activate your brush settings window, it should show up on the right side of your Photoshop workspace, as below; right now, I've got Actions, Brush Settings, Brushes, Character, and Paragraph active.  There's also a Comments window?  This one is new to me, I'll have to look into that!


And now here is my Brush Settings window open (in the image below).  As you can see, there are a LOT of different options to play around with for your brush, starting at the top of the list with "Brush Tip Shape" which the tutorial above works with.  If you go through and click on each option, you'll see there are several customizable settings within each option - so many different possibilities!


When I customize my brushes and want to make them "dynamic", I mostly change combinations of settings in Brush Tip Shape, Shape Dynamics, Scattering, and/or Color Dynamics.  I'm not as familiar with the other options, which means I've got a lot more to learn!  

Since I'm so late today, I'll give you your daily tasks now, but then I'll work on my chosen butterfly brush; as I customize it, I'll take a few screen shots to show you what I did, and I'll post those soon.

Tasks for Today:

1.  Play around with the different settings in your Brush Settings window.  Make sure you have your brush tool selected, and use your brush on a separate layer, rather than directly on your paper.  See what you can do with this newfound freedom!

2.  Try to make at least two changes to the settings of the brush you chose to work with, and finalize your new brush layer on your background paper (or on whatever you've decided to use your brush on).  Some suggestions:  Play with the settings in "Color Dynamics" and "Scattering"; "Brush Tip Shape" and "Scattering"; or "Shape Dynamics" and Color Dynamics."  Remember, too, you can always apply a blending mode to your brush layer, in addition to the brush setting changes.

3.  Set the position of your photo(s) on your page, if you haven't already.

4.  Choose your embellishments and place them.

5.  Leave some room on your layout for tomorrow's brush task, which might be the most challenging yet, but I'd like you to try! 

Remember, stress is NOT the name of the game here.  If you find yourself overwhelmed by the tasks, the tutorials, learning something new, etc, keep in mind that our goal ultimately is to complete layouts we are happy with.  If you're getting stressed out by trying to make your brush dynamic and/or by changing the settings, just go ahead and use your brush as is.  It's OK!  Just the fact that you are here and following along, you will at least know about all of the possibilities working with brushes offers.

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I've been playing around with Syndee's Lovely Lace butterfly brush, and I think I've found a "dynamic" butterfly scatter that I like.  Here are several screenshots I took along the way, so that you can see the settings I used.  When I play with brush settings, I really truly just play with them to see what I like - I don't have any set formula that I go by:

Here is Syndee's brush as is, just after I opened it.  It's too large for my layout, so the first thing I'll do is adjust the size.  I'm planning to use this pretty butterfly as a scatter across part of my background paper, behind my daughter, so I want the butterflies to be pretty small.


Here are my adjustments, sequential screen shots of Brush Tip Shape, Shape Dynamics, Scattering, and Color Dynamics:

Aug16-4a.thumb.png.568a1467a80481c5a57f818066cb6168.png     Aug16-4b.thumb.png.5cd9110b29e974c40ed0f070899039ff.png  

Aug16-4c.thumb.png.2de557a7485c166b464deb6f2f95f8b3.png       Aug16-4d.thumb.png.94f0af2888aca6cf4f28224ffff0ccc8.png     

And here is the first test run of the new dynamic butterfly brush:


I like this OK, but there are a few things I want to change:  I want the butterflies to be scattered more, less concentrated; and I'm not as happy with the wide color variation as I thought I'd be.  Now I'll go in and adjust the settings under "Scattering" and "Color Dynamics."

First, I decided to change my background color.  I like my original foreground color, which is pink, but I had my background color set as orange, which I don't like as much as I thought I would.  Here are my foreground and background colors, before and after:

Aug16-5c.png.a76096ec92c1ee8661c679dfa035df2d.png    (before)    Aug16-5d.png.d6557c17631d87ccee2e28772456af27.png      (new background color)

Now I'll go in and adjust the settings under "Scattering" and "Color Dynamics" so that there are fewer butterflies clustered together, and my color variation is less striking, more subtle:

Aug16-5b.thumb.png.b43c03c51b7bb1acc2af564a865b4dcd.png    Aug16-5a.thumb.png.9373a9a591b844144d0756eb358f8984.png               

And here is the second test run, which I think I like.  I'll stick with this one, at least for now.  If I decide to go back to the first version of my dynamic brush, I easily can, since I tested the different versions on separate layers.  In the layout below, my first test run layer is invisible:


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Wednesday, Week 3 (Aug 17th, Dynamic Brushes) :

Halfway through the week!  This week seems to be going quickly to me, maybe because I'm a little busier than normal.  I've told my kids that some other states are already starting school, which stops the moaning and groaning for about 5 minutes, lol.  Ashe (Laura) has a couple of good friends back in San Antonio that she still talks to every day - they started school today!  Yikes.  Anyway, we'll be school shopping this weekend, I'm sure.

Ready to find out what we're doing today?  I'd like you to learn how to create your own brush.  So much fun!  😄  This tutorial by Susie Roberts shows you how to make a sketch overlay, which is awesome to begin with, but she then takes the sketch overlay and turns it into a brush.  Once you're comfortable using brushes, creating a brush is actually quite easy.  Check out Susie's tutorial first, then I'll give you the tasks for today.  

Technique Tuesday - How to Create Sketch Overlay   by Susie

Today's Tasks:

1.  Choose one of the beads below (or both if you wish), or the flower, and download it (I think you'll be able to, but if not, let me know, I'll figure something else out).  As an alternative, find an embellishment in your own stash that you'd like to make into a brush, and use that instead.  

All three of these are mine, I took photos of them and extracted them, and you have my permission to use them:







2.  Make whatever changes you'd like to your chosen embellishment (color, size, etc).  Keep in mind your final product will be the starting point for a new brush.

3.  Turn your embellishment into a dynamic brush!  To do this, simply open the png file of your choice, go to the top toolbar and click "Edit", then "Define Brush Preset."  Name your brush, and you're off and running!

4.  Use your new brush on your layout somewhere.  Ideally, try to use it as a dynamic brush, but you don't have to.

If you changed any of the settings in your new brush (i.e. turned it into a dynamic brush) and you want to save it with those settings, go up to your brush icon at the top left of your workspace and click the down arrow - here is a screen shot:


Once you click the down arrow, this is what you see; click the gear icon, circled in the screen shot below:


After clicking the gear, choose "New Brush Preset" and the following box will pop up - Name your new brush preset, and make sure to click the boxes below the name in order to keep all of your settings, then click "OK":


Congratulations!  You've just made your own dynamic brush!  Last task:

5.  Finish up your layout by adding anything else you wish - title, more paper layers, embellishments, styles, journaling, date, etc.  Upload your layout to the Hodge Podge Gallery, then come back to leave a link in this thread.  Happy scrapping!  And remember, if this is too overwhelming, just play around with brushes, add a brush or two to your layout, and finish it.  No stress!


Here is my layout so far - I chose the lime green bead to make a dynamic brush; I used the same foreground and background colors that I used for the butterfly brush.  It always surprises me a little how brushes turn out - this one looks like multicolored bubbles!


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I extracted a cat from TKA_ScrapSimple_Paper_CatFancy_Love Kitty and then made a brush.

Select brush...Go to Brush settings...Fade 0%..Hue Jitter 19%..Scatter 64%..Spacing 57%..Roundness 100%

I then applied a slight Bevel

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This was interesting, to say the least. I actually successfully added dynamic brushwork (bubbles) to the page. However, I think we are much more limited in PSE than you are... unless I just didn't find the right menus. Here's a screen shot of the brush settings I saw: 

After the brushes were applied, I was able to change color, opacity, and blending mode, and make some other adjustments as well.  This was certainly a great learning experience! Once again, thank you for all the good info and the links to tutorials. Thank you, too, for the downloads. I tried the flower first but didn't like it with my page, so I used one of the beads.

Also, I recolored the ribbon, just to remind myself of earlier lessons, LOL.

Here's my finished layout: Swim


brush settings.JPG

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8 minutes ago, Florida granny said:

This was interesting, to say the least. I actually successfully added dynamic brushwork (bubbles) to the page. However, I think we are much more limited in PSE than you are... unless I just didn't find the right menus. Here's a screen shot of the brush settings I saw: 

After the brushes were applied, I was able to change color, opacity, and blending mode, and make some other adjustments as well.  This was certainly a great learning experience! Once again, thank you for all the good info and the links to tutorials. Thank you, too, for the downloads. I tried the flower first but didn't like it with my page, so I used one of the beads.

Also, I recolored the ribbon, just to remind myself of earlier lessons, LOL.

Here's my finished layout: Swim


brush settings.JPG

PSE does not rotate the brush like PS.  You have to rotate manually. 

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