Anything Photoshop or Photography



Image of template of birds
This week is a reblog from 2016 that shows how to use a template (of mine that can be downloaded at DeviantArt – see link below) to create a fun image in Photoshop. I decided to try a new image as shown above. Notice I did not really follow the template markers, just used them to give me a layout idea and deleted all of them but the top one. The results are very similar to my post of on How To Do a Little Subconscious Digital Art Journaling a couple weeks ago. Lots of fun to do.

My image above used free Graphics Fairy images for the top image and white heron, but the Osprey is mine. The two birds on the Text word are from Watercolor Russian Birds by Anna Faun. The background texture is one I took in St. Augustine of part of a wall at the Castillo de San Marcos fort. The flying birds are from PixelSquid. And now on with the previous blog. Have a great week!


Template showing various imagesLast week I covered using templates in Lightroom to display your images. (See my How To Use Lightroom’s Print Templates to Display Your Images blog.) This week I am using Photoshop and a template I created a while back that shows another way to display your images and objects. Any template that can be opened in Photoshop can be used, I just like this particular the photo arrangement in this template. Here is the link on my Deviant Art page where my SJ 5 Opening Template can be downloaded if you would like to use it. This blog is just discussing how to use a template in Photoshop. (See my Using a Template to Create Your Own Unique Valentine Blog for steps on how to create this template.)

In each of the two images I selected a color scheme and added texture and natural objects to the mix. When you open the template in Photoshop, you will find a white Background layer and 4 black blocks where images and/or objects can be placed. In most templates, this is what you will find – black or colored boxes where the images are to be placed. For each layer with a black block, an image or object was placed above it. The crucial step is this next step – the image was clipped, which means the image was linked to the black block and showing up just in the black box area, not outside that area. There are several ways to clip the image or object layer – can go to Layer -> Create Clipping Mask, or use the shortcut keys ALT+CTRL+G on layer, or right click on layer and select Create Clipping Mask from list, or my favorite, just ALT+click between the two layers to be clipped. Very easy! Next using the Move Tool (V), the image was dragged to fit in the location just right. If it does not fit correctly, go to Edit -> Free Transform or CTRL+T to adjust the size. The top version contains little images I painted or just some of my favorite clip art. For the starfish, a vintage texture was added behind it (all clipped to the black block as more than one layer can be clipped at a time). The background texture was added just above the white Background Layer and only a portion of it was used. It can be transformed and different Adjustment Layers can be added to the texture to match the template pictures. To get the line around the openings, be sure to add a Stroke Layer Style on the black block layers to get the same treatment for each, not the pictures. To copy the Layer Style to another layer, just ALT+drag the fx letters to the new layer.


Template showing several images and objectsThis image uses the same template and same workflow as used above. Just found some interesting objects and one of my painted trees. Again, just clipped them to the black block layers, added one of my painted textures underneath (texture was created in PS using Grut’s Inky Leaks Brushes which are wonderful). No strokes were added to the black boxes in this image. This time Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Texture Effects’ Dingy Cream preset was used with a few changes to give the interesting border. On a New Layer, some texture was painted on the image (see Just Jaimee Summer 2012 Brush Sampler 4) to finish up. Sometimes painting on a little extra texture adds a nice touch.

That was it. The trick to using Photoshop templates is to clip the images to the openings. If you just want the layout without using the block, just add your objects on top, then once placed, just remove the black box layer. Just remember that and it will be very easy – maybe easier than Lightroom. And there is more leeway for creativity with all the cool templates out there that can be downloaded many times for free. That’s it for this week – have a great week and chat at ya soon!…..Digital Lady Syd


Calendar image of painted fur trees
This week I decided to do yet another blog on how to create nice calendars in both Photoshop and Lightroom. It just makes logical sense to me that a calendar showing your family or some of the beautiful places you’ve been is a perfect gift (or I find mine often show up on my refrigerator each month). Since the season is winding up, it can be a quick extra addition to your holiday gifts. The tree above was created using one of Corel Painter Master Karen Bonaker’s Painter holiday brushes (if you own Painter, you must check out The Digital Art Academy website – loads of info there). This calendar used only Lightroom’s templates – see Matt Kloskowski’s video with all the steps needed for Lightroom calendars and the templates. It is a pretty basic calendar look, but I kind of like it.


Image of a Lion in a 2020 Calendar

My digitally painted lion image from the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC (scroll down to the Webcams to see the lion above in the Lion Cam) was started in Lightroom, but I did not like the calendar, so the image was opened in Photoshop and a different one was placed over the one used in Lightroom. The template for the year (and individual months also) was downloaded from Microsoft and opened as a Word document. Just highlighted the calendar by clicking the little square with a plus icon in upper top left corner, right click and select copy.  In open image in PS, just CTRL+V to paste as a layer. Used a little Free Transform magic to adjust the template. The black text did not look good so a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was clipped (ALT + click between the layers) to the calendar layer to get more golden tones in the lettering. To remove the white background in calendar, also clipped a Warming Filter (85) Photo Filter Adjustment Layer set to Density 30% to remove it. So this image used both Lightroom and Photoshop.


Calender image of a white rose
This calendar was created completely in Photoshop using the same 11 inch by 8 1/2 inch size at 300 resolution, just like the Lightroom template size (Lightroom will let you make them any size you want – if find this size is very convenient). This time one of my painted textures was added behind the image and the calendar itself was darkened by using the Layer Style’s (to bring up, double click on the layer text area) Blend If-This Layer and setting the black tab to 182/220 – then the layer was set to Subtract blend mode at 80% layer opacity. To bring out the days in the calendar, a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was clipped to it and set to Colorize – Hue 82, Saturation n 37 and Saturation 7. A Stroke layer style was also added to the flower image.

I could create calendars all day long – they are pretty easy to do and can be made so very unique. Do check out my similar blogs listed below for more instruction or ideas (note some of the older links have expired, but there are still some good ideas in the blogs). Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season!  ….. Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How to Create a 2018 Calendar
How to Create 2017 Calendars in Both Lightroom and Photoshop
Free Calendar Template
Create Calendar Photoshop Templates


Postcard about Hurricane Watching in FloridaBeen a busy couple of weeks – one preparing for a hurricane and one cleaning up after one. Very lucky here – only lost power for a few days so I can continue on with my blogs. Thanks for all the good wishes I received – they were really appreciated!

Before the storm Adobe sent out a newsletter with a link to a free Postcard with Instructions template that has turned out to be quite easy and fun to do. They used a .psdt file format (it will open in PS like a .psd file in layers) which listed some very good instructions on the top layer – this made the document much larger than the actual postcard size. Therefore the Crop Tool must be used eventually to remove the excess size. Just about every layer was substituted with my own objects and text. (The bird is called White Heron from the Design Fairy, two textures from 2 Lil’ Owls (for website link, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) called After the Rain 10 used at 57% layer opacity and Starry Night 6 used inside the letters, large font is called Consequences, and small font is called A Charming Font Superexpanded.) The palm trees are from another of my images. To get the rather textured result inside the large font, a Gradient Map was clipped to the text (ALT+click between the layer to clip) and in the Gradient Editor the Gradient Type was set to Noise and the Randomize button was clicked a few times until I found one I liked. (See my short I Didn’t Know That! Randomizing Gradients blog.) It does take a little experimentation to figure out where to set the different objects or add extras in, but it is pretty simple to adjust.

Image of a Zebra Longwing Butterfly postcardHere is another example of using the Adobe template and a Zebra Longwing Butterfly who was flying around in my Bottlebrush Bush. This is so much fun, especially if you like to work with text. The large font is called Castile Inline Grunge.


The text and image below are from an old blog created back in 2011 that created a similar effect as the template above. Had to edit out some old links, but the workflow is the same and very easy to do. Just follow along to give text some interesting effects.

1. Open image to use in text layer.
2. Unlock the Background layer. (Drag lock to trash can.)
3. Create a New Layer underneath Background Layer by ALT clicking the New Layer icon and fill with whatever color you would like to use.
4. Highlight top layer and select Text Tool.
5. Click on image and enter text with the font you want to use – can adjust size of text later. Click Check to finalize text.
6. Select the Move Tool and move the text where you would like it.
7. Can CTRL+T to adjust the text size. Click check to finalize text again.
8. Drag Background layer above Text layer.
9. Go to Layer – Create Clipping Mask or ALT+click between the two layers.
10. On Text layer, create Layer Style – double click on layer to open. Select Drop Shadow and set to 100% Opacity. Play around with the other sliders and contours until you like what you see. I also added a stroke to my images here.
For the above, the original image was converted to a Smart Object as the background. Topaz (for website link, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) Simplify plug-in was set to Sketch Hardpencil (check out the Topaz Simplify 3 presets in updated version) and adjustments were made by adding Contrast, Details Strength, Details Boost, Details Feature Boost, and making the Edge Type Mono Line. The opacity of the layer was set to 49%. A free font called Freshman from dafont was selected. A Textures by Ash No. 26 (no longer available but was mainly a very yellow texture with grungy orange edges) was placed above the Background layer at 65% opacity to add warmth to the image.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and are starting to enjoy what I consider the best month of the year!…..Digital Lady Syd


2017 January Calendar example This week I thought I would give you a quick tutorial on how to create basic calendars using your own photos. A calendar can be so personal and might be the perfect last-minute gift. Recently I blogged about how to use templates in both Lightroom and Photoshop, and these techniques use very similar steps to create calendars. (See my How to Use Lightroom’s Print Templates to Display Your Images blog and How to Use a Photoshop Template blog.)

The first thing that needs to be done is to download the free calendars. First Ed Weaver at Red Photographic site distributes the calendars every year along with the wonderful Lightroom Print templates. Also Calendar has different formats that can be downloaded as Word documents – see the Photoshop Calendars section below on how to convert these to JPEG files. Either site’s calendars can be used in both programs.


Matt Kloskowski (a former Photoshop Guy) created a recent blog that basically covers how to get the templates into your program  – check out his Free Lightroom Calendar Preset and Templates blog. It is important to understand that the JPG calendars are just that – JPGs and need to be Imported into Lightroom just like any other image. Therefore, they need to be placed in a folder probably with your images so you know where to find them. The templates also need to be imported into Lightroom – the files have an extension of .Irtemplate. In the Lightroom Print module’s Template Browser, create a new category called 2017 Calendar Templates – then right click on the folder and import these templates. There are 11 being imported.

The image above used the Calendar 8 1:2 X 11 1 month template. Matt suggests creating a New Collection called 2017 Calendar Templates. From the Develop module, select all the 2017 Calendar JPGs and drag them into this collection. Now go through your images and choose ones you would like to include in your calendar. The collection makes is very easy to add the images and the calendars into the templates once back in the Print module. Highlight the new Calendar collection  and the Film Strip at the bottom will show all the items in the collection. Click on a template in the Template Browser to chose one. Just drag images into the openings of the template you have selected. To adjust the images inside the openings, must CTRL+drag image to fit – this is because the template is a Custom Package. My 12-month calendar did not look right when selected. If this happens, click on the Page Setup button and go into your printer’s Properties. You probably need to set the paper size to the size in shown in the template description – my printer does not have all the sizes shown so the standard 8 1/2 inches X 11 inches was used for the these examples and set to Borderless Printing to get the template openings to look correct. A background color or Inner Stroke can be added. Instead of printing right from Lightroom, I like to go to the Print Job section and choose Print to: JPEG file. Press the Print to File and save the file as a JPEG. Now more adjustments can be made in Photoshop if needed.
Image of a 12-month 2017 CalendarBelow is a different example of how to use the templates in Lightroom. This calendar used the Custom Center template in Lightroom Templates folder. Note that the heading colors are different from the gray tones in the original calendar JPEGs – this can be done by first selecting the calendar needed, then enter the Develop module, create a Virtual Copy (by right clicking on the image) and changing the color – this time the Split Toning panel was used to do this. The Virtual Copy can be dragged onto the template just like the original image. I just kept going back to the Print module and seeing if the resulting color matched nicely. Also, on the Calendars, I removed the bottom lines by just adjusting the cells – then used the CTRL+drag inside to further adjust calendar in the cell.
Image of a January/February 2017 Calendar


It is actually easier and there is more creative license to do calendars in Photoshop. First create a document that is the size you want the calendar to be – I used 8.5 inches X 11 inches again. Now bring in the calendar. The calendars from Ed Weaver are fine or download from Calendar for some different formats. If using the Word document calendar, just open it up in Word, right click on the calendar itself, and choose Copy. Go into the Photoshop file and right click or CTRL+V to Paste the calendar into the document. Now Free Transform (CTRL+T) to adjust size and to position. If Copy is not one of the options in Word (as in the 12-month calendar which is in a table format), need to right click and choose Select -> Table – then right click once calendar is highlighted and click on Copy. It will now Paste into Photoshop. Next place an image for the top of the calendar – or just paint in a New Layer above the calendar. New Layers can be placed above the Background layer and fancy brushes can be used to paint behind it. There are now all kinds of possibilities for creating beautiful calendars for each month or for yearly ones.

Image of a January 2017 Calendar with Lions showcasedAbove the background was painted behind and above the image to give the whole month a snowy feeling – this might be a little hard to read, but it was fun to create. These are just my lion buddies that look so good wherever I put them. Used the Pretty Action”s Magic Dust brush again, some of Aaron Blaise Canvas Texture brushes, and a couple of Grut’s FX Cloud brushes (they don’t have to be used for clouds!). The image below is another example of creating the Calendar in PS and just dragging in the calendars and images. A layer mask was placed on the calendar and using one of the canvas texture brushes again, parts were lightly painted out in the calendar. Then the calendar was duplicated and taken into Color Range where the white was removed – press CTRL+J and just the numbers were shown on the layer – a Layer Styles stroke was placed around it. Then the layer was set to Color Burn at 64% so it shows up, but is slightly transparent. The flower image was taken in the Bahamas – Corel Particleshop was applied using the Cluster Brush to add some bright lights. Also the Magic Dust brush was used to add more of a magical feel. Really fun!January 2017 Calendar Hope this was easy to understand. It is a lot of fun to create your own calendars – I like to do this every year. Just experiment around and you should be able to get the hang of it. Enjoy the holidays!…..Digital Lady Syd


Template showing various imagesLast week I covered using templates in Lightroom to display your images. (See my How To Use Lightroom’s Print Templates to Display Your Images blog.) This week I am using Photoshop and a template I created a while back that shows another way to display your images and objects. Any template that can be opened in Photoshop can be used, I just like this particular the photo arrangement in this template. Here is the link on my Deviant Art page where my SJ 5 Opening Template can be downloaded if you would like to use it. This blog is just discussing how to use a template in Photoshop. (See my Using a Template to Create Your Own Unique Valentine Blog for steps on how to create this template.)

In each of the two images I selected a color scheme and added texture and natural objects to the mix. When you open the template in Photoshop, you will find a white Background layer and 4 black blocks where images and/or objects can be placed. In most templates, this is what you will find – black or colored boxes where the images are to be placed. For each layer with a black block, an image or object was placed above it. The crucial step is this next step – the image was clipped, which means the image was  linked to the black block and showing up just in the black box area, not outside that area. There are several ways to clip the image or object layer – can go to Layer -> Create Clipping Mask, or use the shortcut keys ALT+CTRL+G on layer, or right click on layer and select Create Clipping Mask from list, or my favorite, just ALT+click between the two layers to be clipped. Very easy! Next using the Move Tool (V),  the image was dragged to fit in the location just right. If it does not fit correctly, go to Edit -> Free Transform or CTRL+T to adjust the size. The top version contains little images I painted or just some of my favorite clip art. For the starfish, a vintage texture was added behind it (all clipped to the black block as more than one layer can be clipped at a time). The background texture was added just above the white Background Layer and only a portion of it was used. It can be transformed and different Adjustment Layers can be added to the texture to match the template pictures. To get the line around the openings, be sure to add a Stroke Layer Style on the black block layers to get the same treatment for each, not the pictures. To copy the Layer Style to another layer, just ALT+drag the fx letters to the new layer.


Template showing several images and objectsThis image uses the same template and same workflow as used above. Just found some interesting objects and one of my painted trees. Again, just clipped them to the black block layers, added one of my painted textures underneath (texture was created in PS using Grut’s Inky Leaks Brushes which are wonderful). No strokes were added to the black boxes in this image. This time Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Texture Effects’ Dingy Cream preset was used with a few changes to give the interesting border. On a New Layer, some texture was painted on the image (see Just Jaimee Summer 2012 Brush Sampler 4) to finish up. Sometimes painting on a little extra texture adds a nice touch.

That was it. The trick to using Photoshop templates is to clip the images to the openings. If you just want the layout without using the block, just add your objects on top, then once placed, just remove the black box layer. Just remember that and it will be very easy – maybe easier than Lightroom. And there is more leeway for creativity with all the cool templates out there that can be downloaded many times for free. That’s it for this week – have a great week and chat at ya soon!…..Digital Lady Syd

A Little Kaleidoscope Fun!

This week I thought I would just do a quick little blog on the Kaleidoscope effect. Corey Barker, a great creative guru with Photoshop, did a tutorial called the Ultimate Kaleidoscope on the NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) website where he taught you how to make this effect. Mark S. Johnson did a very similar video this topic – see Workbench 272 Simulating a Kaleidoscope if you would like to see how to do it. Mark later did a Workbench 288 The Lloyd Williams Kaleidoscope video using some templates to help you get this effect from Lloyd Williams Photography website. I used Lloyd’s templates and technique to create the kaleidoscope effect in the two images shown here. His website link has a very good step-by-step workflow on how to do this so I will not repeat the process. The template basically sets up what the two original videos teach you how to do, and has 7 different templates to use. Create one smart object layer using the part or all of your image, and then each Smart Object layer in the templates updates using the added image – no Photoshop action is used. Very ingenious! The background in the image above uses his 16_LoRez template. I added the Topaz (for website link see sidebar in my Tidbits Blog) Adjust 5 Comic Book preset on the resulting kaleidoscope look to get a more drawn line effect. The pattern had some little white lines created by the template that needed to be removed before the final kaleidoscope image could be moved it into my yellow daffodil image and used as a background. See the tych below of my original African Lilly image used to create the kaleidoscope look, top right the result after adding the image to the template, and the bottom right the final result after adding Adjust. See end of blog for details on how the daffodils were processed and the image finished.…..The above is just another example of the kaleidoscope effect using Lloyd’s 8_LoRes template. These are really fun to do and very easy. This is one of my miniature mums in this image. All I did with this image was add a Curves Adjustment Layer to bring out a little contrast and a Selective Color Adjustment Layer and set the Blue Color to Cyan +34/Magenta 0/Yellow +41/Black -48; Neutrals Cyan and Magenta 0/Yellow +2/Black -13; and Blacks Cyan +3/Magenta 0/Yellow -5/Black 0. I just thought it turned out to be an interesting design.

There are other ways to create the kaleidoscope effect. The Plugin Galaxy has a kaleidoscope effect that I wrote about some in my Instant Mirror and Quick Mirror for Photoshop blog for a little different look. It is easy to get some interesting effect with images that are not that great. Give it a try and see if you like the results!…..Digital Lady Syd

Daffodil image post-processing:

The yellow daffodils were shot at my local grocery store using my Kodak point-and-shoot. It was not the best picture, in fact it was awful, but I love daffodils and wanted to try and salvage the picture. I did everything I could in Lightroom but it still needed a lot of work in Photoshop. Whenever I have a bad image but great colors, I like to think photo art since it is never going to be a really sharp clean image. So in this case, I actually cut the daffodils out of their background as it was so cluttered. I used the Refine Edge to smooth edges in a layer mask before applying it. Next Topaz DeNoise 5 with the Overall Strength slider set to .19 was used. On a duplicate layer of the daffodils, Topaz Detail 3 was applied using the Feature Enhancement II preset. Duplicated the result again and this time applied Topaz Simplify 4 Impressions Natural without the Edges turned on. This created the beautiful painterly look that I wanted. Now the kaleidoscope texture could be put underneath this layer. Adjusted the color and contrast with Levels Adjustment Layer setting the Output Levels to 65 and 255, and a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer with the Yellows turned into a Reds 2 by dragging in image to get effect I wanted (ended up Hue -90/Saturation +80) and Master set to Hue +29/Saturation -3/ Lightness -3. That is how I got the final effect to be more blue and yellow instead of the original green and blue. This was really just completely playing with it until I got something I liked. I decided I did not like the color of the flowers so I clipped (ALT+click between layers) a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and changed to color to more brown tones (Master Hue -10/Saturation -20/Lightness 0). I decided I did not like the sharp edges around the flower so I added a New Layer and with Fay Sirkis’s Signature Watercolor Smooth Blend Mixer Brush, I painted out the edges and anywhere I wanted to emphasize the painted area. This took a long time to get just right, but you can use the Eraser Tool and remove areas that did not turn out so good very quickly. French Kiss Studio 3 Wave texture was applied using Color Burn at 48% to get more blue tones into the petals and leaves. Next another Levels Adjustment Layer was added and the Midtones tab was set to 1.60, and the Output Levels were set to 0 and 200. A Curves Adjustment Layer was added next to lighten up the whole image by just dragging up the middle of the diagonal line. And I was done! I really liked the result but it took a lot of effort to get the image – the kaleidoscope effect was the easy part!

Using a Tych Panel to Show Off Your Images

Last week I gave away a template to organize your images for use on a Valentine or for just putting related ideas together. (See Using a Template to Create Your Own Unique Valentine.) This week I found this incredible  little free program that can be loaded into Photoshop CS5 or CS6 as a panel that does a very similar thing. This is totally ingenious and very simple. All you need is to have your images or objects already post-processed and a bit of an idea on how you want to put them together. For the Tych above, the images are all from the 24th Annual Native American Festival in Ormond Beach, Florida – I had a great time photographing. Above are a few of the images I have completed the post-processing on and put together to form what I consider a pretty nice grouping of the event. I plan on blogging on how I created some of the effects in the individual images at a later time.

So let’s talk about Tych Panel 2 by Reimund Trost. The best way to learn about it is to view the short video for instructions on how to use it. Basically you can add rows, columns, additional rows after you have created it, background color, borders and/or rounded corners around each image and/or the whole image, and even use it from Adobe Bridge if you want. Totally cool and very fast. It is action based and the order of the images can be set for each row or column you create or add. Really gives a nice quick result for posting to blogs. All I can say is that it was a lot of fun to do. The grouping of flowers below was my first effort and took just a couple minutes – I really liked the results!
There are only a couple of little issues I noticed when using the program.

  • First, you need to make sure your images are all in the same folder for each row or column you are adding as there is no way to add additional images from another folder to form each individual row or column. Unfortunately the panel does not interface with Lightroom where you could use a collection for image selection.
  • The second issue is that the program will adjust the image to fit in an opening – if the aspect ratios of the images you are selecting to create a row or column are different, part of the image will be compressed so they fit uniformly. If you are adding a landscape sized image with a portrait sized image, it apparently makes the portrait sized image the same height as the landscape – it appears much smaller in your image. If you add three different sized images into a row, it takes the largest sized image and adjust the other images to that size by compressing them. So far, none of the image sizes I have added are too changed so they still look pretty nice. The easiest way around this is to make sure your images are the same size before adding them to the Tych.

If you want to exchange an image, I usually turn off all the layers except for the one I want to replace. If you used rounded corners on your images, right click on the black layer mask thumbnail and select Disable Layer Mask (a big red X appears in it). Now File ->Place your new image above the one to be replaced, and Free Transform it so the old and new images are the same size. Double click on the black layer mask to enable it and drag it up to the new image. Then delete the old layer.
This is another example showing the rounded edges on just the flower images. I added a French Kiss Solstice Zest textured background on this image and a couple curves to create the background effect I wanted.
The panel below was created using four images, one column on the left and three on the right; then turning off Column 1 Group which contains the three layers on the right side. The background treatment was a bit complicated. If you have the border turned on in the Tych Panel options, I usually drag that top Border layer down to just above the background layer so my background appears complete on the image.  2 Lil’ Owls Mosaic Set crescent grunge (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) was added at 55% opacity above the background layer. Next 2 Lil’ Owls French Brocante Set 10-1 texture with the beautiful Eiffel Tower image was added and set to Linear Burn at 85% opacity. Above that a New Layer was added and French Kiss Spattered4-06 brush at 511 pixels was applied in black over the whole layer – loved the drippy watercolor feel although it just adds a cloudy looking effect once combined with the other textures. 2 Lil’ Owls Enchanted2-4 png overlay was put on the next layer at 45% opacity. Note that the small flower image can be adjusted within the larger background image by just using the Move Tool and dragging – the layer mask will adjust as you move the image. An Inner Shadow and Stroke layer style was added to the flower image to make it stand out more. Another New Layer was placed above the pink flower image and one stroke using Flowers Swirls and Hearts Sampled Brush 8 was added next. Last a slight contrast adjustment was made on a Curves Adjustment Layer. This image really does not have a very organized look to it, but the image guide did really help me to figure out how to lay out this image.
This panel is really fun to use and shows off your images so quickly. Very handy to have when wanting to put a quick collage together for a friend or for a blog post. Just watch the aspect ratios on your images and it will all work fine. If you own Photoshop CS5 or CS6, give this a try. It is extremely easy to use and the results can be quite stunning…..Digital Lady Syd

Using a Template to Create Your Own Unique Valentine

I had a hard time coming up with something to write about this week – writer’s block or creative block or something! Then I came across JennyW47 Flickr site where she used a pretty basic template to create a very cool look. This sounded like a lot of fun so I created two images using a template I created with some different ways to use it. I thought I would teach you how to create it (or download mine if you like), add photos to it, and then make it your own. So lets get going.

Basic steps to creating a template:

1.  Create a New Document that is large enough to hold all the photos you want to add. Mine was set to 8 inches X 12 inches, a fairly standard size that will still print out on my printer. To make the document fit on a 4  X 6 inch card, go to Image -> Image Size and change the Width to 4 inches and Height to 6 inches (or change inches to percent and set 50 for both width and height).

2. Create a New Layer.

3.  Go to the Rounded Rectangular Shape Tool (in Tool Group with Rectangular Shape Tool) and in Options Bar, change these settings:

– Pixel to Path

– Click on the Gear icon (just to the left of the word Radius) and select Proportion or Fixed Size if you want the template openings to be an exact size. My top opening is set to 7 by 5 to fit that size image. I also check From Center in this box. There are also two square boxes and set to 3 x 2 proportional.

– Set a Radius – I used 30 px to round the edges.

3. Now click in your document and drag out to set shape on your page.

4.  Go back to Options Bar and click on Make: Selection button – it turns it into a selection.

5.  Since I had my Foreground and Background colors set to black and white, I just clicked ALT+BACKSPACE to fill with black and CTRL+D to deselect the selection.

6. Create a New Layer and repeat process.

7. When finished save the document as a PSD file – you now have a basic template that can be used over and over. When Move Tool is selected, the alignment icons are available so you can make sure the edges are lined up by selecting the affected layers.

This is what my final template looks like for the top image. It is a pretty simple process and you can make many different types of templates. You can even use the Custom Shape tool to create interesting shaped openings.

You may download this PSD template from my Deviant Art page here. Also included is a basic PNG file where the images can be just dragged and lined up under the openings, but there is no easy way to adjust or remove the openings as I will be discussing for the PSD template below. Enjoy!

Steps for adding images to your Template:

Adding images to your templates is pretty easy.

1.  Open up the template in Photoshop and in the Layers Panel, highlight the layer where you want your first image to go.

2.  Open up the image you would like to add in another window in Photoshop, and then move the image into your template. If your image is a PSD file, I would recommend flattening a copy and save as a JPEG, the move the file in. To do this, select the Move Tool, grab you image (NOT THE LAYER OR THUMBNAIL which I keep doing!), and drag to the Template Image Tab – it will open up this image and you let go of your mouse and drop it. Use the Move Tool to adjust it over the opening the best you can. If you do have a PSD file and you only want to move a layer over, just make sure you have the layer highlighted in the Layers Panel and do the same steps to move it in.

If you are in Adobe Bridge, right click on the image and select Place -> In Photoshop. It opens up as a Smart Object which I always Rasterize right away since you do not need that capability and it gets in the way. Just right click on the layer and select Rasterize from the menu. Can also just go to the Menu and select Layer -> Rasterize. If you Place a PSD file, if you click on the smart object icon in the Layers Panel thumbnail, it will open up as a separate document with all your image layers showing. If you Rasterize it, you will lose that capability and it will be converted to a single layer.

3.  Next I clip the image to the black rectangle layer. The easiest way to do this is to highlight the image, ALT+Click between the layers and now you see only what the black box will let you see. If this makes you nervous, highlight the layer, go to Menu and select Layer -> Create Clipping Mask. Note you can clip more than one layer to a bottom layer – New Layers, several Adjustment Layers, and other image layers can all be clipped at the same time.

4. In most cases what you are bringing in will be too large or small. Just click on the image layer and press CTRL+T to Free Transform (in Menu go to Edit -> Free Transform). If you want the image to stay exactly to scale, hold the SHIFT + ALT keys and pull or push on a corner to adjust it. If it is close or does not matter, just drag the edges in and out.

That’s it! You just keep bringing in images and lining up with which ever rectangle you want to fill.

Steps for making the Template your Own:

This is the fun part. There are not major rules to using this template. The image at the top follows the template openings pretty closely but you can see the bottom image does not look like I used the template at all, but I did – there are ways to make the edges disappear.

Let’s talk about the basics in the first image. I wanted to have a theme with my beautiful tulips I bought at the grocery a few weeks ago. I spent a lot of time photographing them and playing with my camera settings, so I got some really nice shots and thought they would create a nice grouping for the template. I am going to go through each element for you.

  • The top image was one I created using a different phrase and in very soft light colors. I changed all that in Photoshop before placing in the template – just to help you out I found the Valentine phrase on a blog called Best Valentine Day Quotes and Phrases to Make Her Melt. I actually used a textured background I created in the image. I saved down a copy as a JPEG to drag into the template. Just followed the steps above to add the image.
  • Next a close up of my tulip was added – it was also processed first as an image and then brought in. It used one of my favorite textures by Melissa Gallo’s Painted Textures Taupe Canvas, a Black Friday purchase, which gave the beautiful white painterly streaks.
  • The pink and white heart image was created using a texture from French Kiss called Pink Corel (and is a free download – scroll down to the end of the article which is very interesting) and Obsidian Dawn’s Hearts Glitter brush using white and a size of 1200 pixels was painted on top of the texture. That was it and it looks so pretty.
  • First Brush Hearts brush 11 was added on its own layer in a light pink corel color and was clipped (see Step 3 above on Adding Images to Template section) to the bottom left rectangular layer. I then pasted my flowers (that I selected in one of my tulip images) and used the Warp Tool to make them fit into the Heart that was painted into the opening. A layer mask was added so the flowers would pop out over parts of the heart.
  • The little pink heart in the middle was just a New Layer set on top of the layer panel and the Custom Shape Tool was selected. In the Options Bar set the mode to Path and in the Shape field, click on the down arrow and select the Heart that comes with Photoshop. Just drag out to the size you need. A Stroke Layer Style set to light pink and 16 pixels was added. (See last bullet below on how to do this.)
  • The Floral Valentine graphic on the left of the bottom opening is a Flowers Swirls Hearts Brush – Sampled Brush 5 with an angle change and set to 506 pixels. The brush layer was copied and each was set to a different color using a Color Fill Adjustment Layer. Then a black layer mask was applied to the top floral graphic and the hearts and flowers were painted back so they appear in a different color. Pretty easy way to get two different colors to show up.
  • I decided the image would look best with a black background so at the bottom of the layers panel above the white background layer, I added a New Layer and filled it with black (from Menu go to Edit -> Fill and in Use: set Black.
  • To add just a touch of color and detail to the background, a New Layer was added above the black layer and the same Flowers Swirls Hearts Brush-Sampled Brush 5 that was used the Corel Texture image and on the Teddy Bear image below was added with a soft pink color and painted to peek through the sides. The opacity was set to 68%.
  • The font is one I bought from Cosmi in the 1990’s – not available anymore but you should be able to find a nice font, probably on your computer even if you did not download one. I like for free ones (for personal use only) when I need a new one but there are lots of nice sites available.
  • The last step was adding a Layer Style to each of the openings. To get to the Layer Style menu, double click on the Layer thumbnail in Layers Panel and you will see all the different things you can apply to the edges of the template. I just used a Stroke effect set to 16 pixels and after experimenting with several color, an orange-red color was used.

This may seem like too much work, but you do not have to do all the things I did. I wanted to show how to use different types of items in your openings. You can always increase the size of the openings or make them skinny or fat by applying the Free Transform Tool (CTRL+T) to the black rectangular layers. Using different textures and types of images really adds to the appeal of this type of image. That is what makes it so much fun to do.

I won’t go into so much detail for the image below as you probably get the idea of how to do this. Several of the elements are the same. You can see that I moved the rose box to the right (select the Move Tool, hold down SHIFT to make the move straight and drag the black rectangle over. If you have the image already added, you need to highlight all the clipped layers that are attached to the black rectangle. Notice that almost all the edges are gone – that is because layer masks were added to each of the black rectangle layers, and the edges were painted out with a low opacity black brush to remove the hard edges and make the images fit on the background smoothly. Still using the basic design of the template though.

I will make a quick list of the resources I used since they may help you find some design elements you need for your own valentines. The background is French Kiss Solstice Initiation texture which really adds that sense of nostalgia to the image. On the background is a Flowers Swirls Hearts Brush – Sampled Brush 2 set to 42% opacity to just give a little design in the background. The beautiful red hearts are a PSD file from GraphicsFuel Valentine hearts card template. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was clipped (see Step 3 above on Adding Images to Template section) to the hearts and the hue set to -7, Saturation -38, and Lightness +3 to get the matching red color. The really pretty pink flowers in the corner are from Design Shub Greeting Card Valentine – just the flowers were dragged into the template and the 4 layers moved individually to the corners. The text font was rasterized in this document and brought to this file – then Free Transformed (CTRL+T) to make it fit. The Vintage Valentine Paper is by Aramisdream and the Cupid is  glass prism cupid brushes CupidReq14. A Gradient Overlay Layer Style using a cream to orange gradient was used on the cupid.

I hope I have given you some ideas for creating a different type of valentine. They can be so personalized and if you just work your way from top to bottom, it is really not that hard. I had a great time creating this blog and I hope you will find it useful! …..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Where To Get Those Free Valentine Templates
A Few More Valentines to Make
Create a Valentine

Showing Off Your Images with Lightroom

Thought I would keep it simple this week so here are some nice templates that can be created in Adobe Lightroom 3 and 4. This image is basically a 4-image triptych. It was a lot of fun playing with the different flower effects but I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the images after I finished them –  as it turned out, this Lightroom template created a nice way to show them off! If you have ever played around in the Print Module of Lightroom, then you can see it is not too hard to create this type of template and then save the resulting image in the Print Job section as a “Print to JPEG File.” And this is one of the reasons I like processing my images in Lightroom over just using Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) in Photoshop.

For processing of the yellow dahlias in Photoshop:
1st image: Just lightened up the image and applied two Flypaper Textures – Chatsworth Taster and Apple Blush Taster using Russel Brown Texture Panel. (See my blog Russell Brown’s Paper Texture Panel Updated!)
2nd image: Topaz Black and White Effects. See side panel of my Tidbits Blog for website link.
3rd image: Used Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 and stacked these filters – Film Efex Vintage using Film Type 8, Colorize using Method 6 and a light blue color, and Vignette Blur using Type 3. I loved the dreamy look these filters created.
4th image: Used two different Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers and two Curves Adjustments Layers and with their layer masks, selectively painted out areas to get the effect I wanted.


This group of images was put together in Lightroom 3 a couple years ago – these signs are from the Jacksonville Landing along the St. Johns River in Florida during one of Scott Kelby’s PhotoWalks (if you get a chance, go do one – they are free and a great way to meet local photo types like yourself). Photoshop Guy Matt Kloskowski, who runs the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Killer Tips website and blog (it is the best one on Lightroom you will find), offered a free Lightroom Print Preset – Multi-Photo Portrait Grid. I used it here although I had some trouble lining up all the photos the way he did since I use a Canon printer and not an Epson (it uses a page set up which makes it line up different). Still I was able to get this result which I think turned out rather nice.

Here is another example of using the above preset from Matt to create a little different appearance. A trick to adjusting your image inside the cell once placed is to remember to hold down the CTRL key so the cursor turns into the Hand Tool. You can send unused cells to the back by right clicking in the cell. Also, it is best to create a Quick Collection of the images you think you might want to use (click the little circle in the upper right corner in the Library module) so that they are all in one place for adding to the template. All these images are from previous posts – all but the boat image were done using just Photoshop brushes creatively. (See my blogs Brushing up on Circles!, Create a Winter Scene with Photoshop Brushes and Textures and Tree Brushes and a Little Grunge.

The instructions on how to do the above template are in Scott Kelby’s The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Book for Digital Photographers where he takes you through the process step by step. He also shows you how to make the top template along with several others. His Lightroom books are the best!

I did a Tidbits Blog a while back called Five Image Template Creates Beautiful Collection!  that shows another way to do this with templates in Photoshop.

Also I did a free download timeline template for Facebook a couple weeks ago that uses Photoshop to add seven photos as your header – see
Free Timeline Cover Template for Seven of Your Images. An example of how this turns out is shown below.


Lightroom and even Photoshop makes it really fun to show off your images and both use very similar techniques. Sometimes just printing the one image does not look quite right, but putting several in a template as shown in these examples can get some really nice results…..Digital Lady Syd

Where To Get Those Free Valentine Templates

It’s that time of year and everyone is trying to get creative quickly and present just the right valentine. Here are the latest and greatest I have found in my search.

The first valentine is from Graphics Fuel. I added a layer and painted using brushes . Personally I think is a very classy looking valentine and is very easy to use. The font is called Precious and has a very valentine appeal to it. I created a layer above the background and used Brushesstock Flowers Swirls Hearts Brush 1 and 8 set to a layer opacity of 54%. On the top Obsidian Dawn’s Glitter set Hearts-Glitter brush was used to scatter the little hearts around.

Each year Florabella Collections always has a nice set of free Vintage Valentine templates to give away and this year is no exception. Here is an example of several she has to offer. The font in this card is one she used called Batik Regular. Florabella is known for her wonderful photo actions but now has textures available for sale also.

This valentine is being promoted from their Facebook page, MCP Actions, for a site called Photographer Cafe. The image is just a stock photo and a layer was added on top where a valentine brush from DigitalTouch was used. There were several choices and are free for download here.

This example is from Designrs Hub and uses Photoshop Layer Comps for the cover page and the second page. I had to search around to find suitable fonts and ended up using Loci Cola and adjusting the butterflies to look right. I am not sure this is a correct color representation as it is pretty pinkish but you can see what a pretty background this is.

I hope this has helped out a few of you who are the creative type and want to jazz up a nicely created template. It is never too late to download a few brushes and add a couple layers to give them your own look. Hope you have fun creating some Valentines!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Using a Template to Create Your Own Unique Valentine
Free Valentine Templates and a Valentine with Heart
Creating Your Own Art (and Cards) While You Are At It!
My Valentine Images
A Few More Valentine to Make
Create a Valentine
How to Add Images to Text

Free Christmas Card Templates-Part 2

UPDATE: Since posting the information on the cards below, I have created my own card template for free download – see my Tidbits Blog “Digital Lady Syd’s Free Christmas Card Template” – that can be used in Photoshop and Elements for your use and enjoyment! Also, check my newer blog Where to Find Those Cool Free Christmas Card Templates?

This is going to be a short but sweet post since I posted on the updated Topaz Adjust 5 plug-in earlier this week. Last year I attempted to provide some Christmas Card template links and resources as I was able to find them. Many of those templates are no longer available by various websites. Unfortunately as of 11/17/14 this card template offered by MCP Actions a few years ago is not available anymore – I will continue searching for it or a similar one as I really liked the card. In the meantime, my Basic Holiday Card Template is a very similar set up.

The postcard below is very nice and the clip art and type can be changed easily. This example involved going to Edit -> Place to add the image above the highlighted photo mask layer. Since this causes the new image layer to be a Smart Object, it is very easy to adjust and rotate to fit the opening. Then clip to the layer below (CTRL+ALT+G). A little Noise was added to give a graininess as in the holly clip art.

The red card is showing how you can take this simple template and make a totally different feel to it.

With this card I first created a New Layer and filled it with a bright green above the photo mask layer. Another New Layer was created and the star in the center was made by stacking several Texturemate Stars2 brushes in different colors. Then BittBoxes Grunge Ice Texture 5 was added below the star to create an interesting setting for the star. The texture was taken into Topaz Adjust 5 and the HDR Strong preset was applied to make the texture pop a bit. Back in Photoshop the blend mode was changed to Divide which makes it green and yellow. Next a Hue/Saturation layer was added above the beige background and the sliders adjusted to get a bright red. The lines were removed on the right side so the type did not have to line up. Snow Drops Frosto brush was used for the small white flakes sprinkled around the background. (This was the best snow brush I could find and it turned out nice!) The large white flakes are from Snow Flakes Brush by Ann Stock Brushes. The Merry Christmas and New Year fonts were changed to SecesjaPL. The text over the star was created using the Razzle Dazzle free font and was placed at the top of the pile. Finally the tape was removed from the frame by cloning it out and a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was clipped to it to make the frame whiter. It was then transformed to make it larger and straighter on the card.

I wanted to show you how you can change things up with a nice basic template to work with. The resources above are a good start to finding more good Christmas oriented items. It is always fun to find new things! Well I guess this officially kicks off the holiday! Hope you have some fun with this template!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd’s Related Blogs:
Digital Lady Syd’s Free Christmas Card Template
Digital Lady Syd’s Free Christmas Card Template Using Photoshop Elements
Free Christmas Card Vectors and Brushes
Free Christmas Card Templates
Some Holiday Cheer

Getting to the Art of the Matter

This week I decided to try something different. I am reading a book called “The Greater Journey – Americans in Paris” by David McCullough. It is a wonderful read – I am afraid I had never learned history like I should have when growing up. This book is about the various Americans who went to Paris in the 1800’s to learn about art, medicine, and other pursuits. In the first section of this book, a very intriguing discussion occurs about Samuel F. B. Morse, of Morse Code fame, whose actual love was painting. From 1831 to 1833 he created this large 9 foot x 6 foot painting called the “Gallery of the Louvre” where he copied 38 paintings from 25 masters. Since the photography era was in its infancy, he was trying to show Americans some of the art at the famous art gallery. I have read some criticism on this painting, but when you realize how small the copies of the paintings are in the image, and all the styles he was trying to reproduce, it seems like a pretty awesome result. His best friend, James Fennimore Cooper and family, is located in the left corner, and Morse painted himself center stage standing over a student.

Here is a small image of what the painting actually looks like.

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC is displaying the painting until July 2012. Here is a link to more information on the painting and for a download of a larger version. I am definitely going to see this next time I am in the DC area! It is nice that the book has brought this interesting painting to everyone’s attention again.

Now for the fun! I decided to create my own “Gallery of the Louvre” masterpiece by inserting my images where the master paintings resided. With the magic of Photoshop, the perspective was easy to get inside the painting frames.

This turned out to be a lot of fun to put together. If you would like to try this same thing, I uploaded the template I created and it is ready for download. Just drag your images into the template and place under each of the frame openings.  Then Free Transform to fit. Sometimes it was necessary to use the Distort function to do the side view images. I tried to add a little lighting to match the natural light appearing on the images and I used a texture at a low resolution on the images only to get a painterly effect.

I hope you have as much fun as I did with this. It creates a rather unusual way to look at your images – just like in the Louvre in the 1830’s. ……..Digital Lady Syd

The Incredible Editable Easter Egg!

It is that time of year and Easter is just around the corner.  A few great resources are out there that might prove useful if you need to create a quick card or want to create a few pretty Easter eggs for the holiday. It turns out I am showing you three ways to make really colorful eggs using brushes, vectors, and/or custom shapes.

This image uses both free vector and brush downloads to get this effect. The four egg grouping on the right inside of the frame comes from a really nice set of Vector Easter Eggs from Vectorilla Illustrations – use the file named 1.eps (the vector format which puts eggs on a transparent layer). Please review the use rights and other nice items on this site. Just select with the Rectangular Marquee Tool or Lasso Tool the egg or egg grouping and copy it to its own layer. Copy this layer again and run my favorite plug in Kill White that I added to Adobe Pixel Bender – this gets rid of the white shadow look under the egg(s) and leaves nice illustration lines. Highlight the layer underneath and click on the “Lock transparent pixels” icon at top of Layer Panel so you do not have to be as careful with your painting. Paint in colors – I used the Round Blunt Stiff Brush in bright colors. When finished painting, I reduced the top illustration lines down to 62% opacity. Text can be added to the egg(s) – this font is Matisse (it may be on your computer already if you use Microsoft products). Create a layer composite (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and move this layer into a New Document. (I used the standard tutorial card settings of 1280 by 1029 pixels but set the resolution at 240 for printing.) Create a background by adding a New Layer on top of the white background layer. Paint a ground and sky with the Dry Brush Tip Light Flow brush from the default CS5 brush set. The purple egg on the right of the insert image is created using some beautiful Egg Brushes by Melsbrushes. See Step 5 in the tutorial below for more details on how to do this. Do check out his copyright info and look at his other brushes – very nice quality.  The Easter Bunny font by Dieter Steffmann can be downloaded here. A soft yellow Outer Glow Layer Style was added to put yellow around the letters. A new layer was added above the eggs to paint in a little green grass over the bottom edges of the eggs so they look like they are in the grass. The final touch was the Easter frame from OnOne PhotoFrames.

For the rabbit card I tried an Adobe Tutorial’s technique called “Easter Cards.” – they spent a long time making the eggs but there are faster ways of accomplishing this as shown in the first example. If you want to learn how to make some very pretty effects on the Easter Eggs, continue with their tutorial. My template card may be downloaded without doing the following steps by clicking here.  (This is for your use only – please do not redistribute and please credit the sites below if you use in another publication.) To create my card, here are the steps to use (this example also uses vectors and brushes for the eggs):

1.  First decide on an image to add to your card – the rabbits were from three different images that I added together using layer masks and adjusting the colors with a Selective Color Adjustment Layer. A Nik Color Efex Pro filter called User Defined Bi-Color using a dark blue color for the top and gold for the bottom was added to make the image more vibrant.  Points were placed on each of the rabbits so their actual fur color was not altered.  These rabbits with the huge ears are from the beautiful Old Village of Ayaymku in Belarus.

2.  Create a New Document – I used the same settings as stated above as in the first image.

3.  Duplicate the background layer and with the Gradient Tool, select a pleasing gradient – this one started with a lighter to darker yellow radial gradient. Next a texture called Watercolor 22 by SadMonkeyDesign (check out his site – he has many free beautiful watercolor textures) was added. Create a New Layer to paint a little more texture on the background using  the Grunge Paint Brushes by Melsbrushes – the texture brush and texture2 brush with two colors of green.

4.  Copy image into your card.  To just create a template, use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to create  a rectangle the size of your standard image and CTRL+J to place it on its own layer. This layer will serve as a placeholder to indicate where to add in the image. A dotted frame was created easily by duplicating either placeholder layer, or image (CTRL+click on the image thumbnail to select it and filling with with white).  Go to the Brush Panel and select the Hard Edge Round Brush at 15 pixels and 118% spacing.  Select a bright color and click in one corner of the white rectangular, then go to the corner and SHIFT+Click again – a line of dots will appear.  If the spacing is off, adjust in the Brush Panel to fit. Add to all edges to create simple framing. Next go to Adobe Pixel Bender and select Kill White – only the colored dots appear. These can now be transformed to adjust to image.

5.  To make the front egg, create a New Layer. Use Sample Brush 3 from Egg Brushes from Melsbrushes, which is your basic egg, and make one brush stroke with a bright color. Next select a new color and a new brush – in this case Sample Brush 4 and Sample Brush 8 were added on top of the original egg stroke. It produced this beautiful yellow, pink and green egg in no time all! Many different eggs can be made and what a time-saver! Next I took the settings from the tutorial for the Inner Shadow Layer Style. Use an angle of -63, Distance of 35 pixels and Size of 55 pixels. This gave a nice shadow and edge to the egg. Free Transform (CTRL+T) to adjust and line up your egg.

6.  To create the two eggs in back, the vector technique was used. From the fancy eggs sheet file called 4.eps from Vector Illustrations – the Vector Easter Eggs,  just do the same steps as in the first image – use Rectangular Marquee Tool or Lasso Tool to select the egg you want to use, and CTRL+J to put it on its own layer.  Select the small white (shadow) area under the eggs using the Quick Selection Tool and Backspace to delete it, or just use the Eraser Tool if you want.  Next drag your new egg layer from the vector document underneath the Step 5 egg (by highlighting the layer in the card where the new egg should be placed in the Layers Panel, the dragged layer will go above it).  Free Transform (CTRL+T) the egg to make it the same size as the other egg and rotate.  Do this step again for the third egg. These eggs look great but may not look so good if blown up to a large size. Copy down the Inner Shadow Layer Style from the Step 5 egg – SHIFT+click the fx icon on the far right of the layer and drag it down to copy.  Another really easy way to get a great result quick!

7.  Add a little grass with the default Photoshop brush called Grass 134 by painting under the eggs to give them something to rest on.

8.  The same technique was used to create the eggs in the background as in Steps 5 and 6.  This time use the groupings of eggs on the 4.eps sheet.  When placed on their own layer, add a Hue/Sat Adjustment Layer to create a soft solid color for the background images. Merge the two layers to create a one color layer and drag above the painted texture layer.  Do this as many times as you want to add eggs – be sure they are on separate layers so you can move them and transform them to fit your image.

9.  Add some Easter text.  These cute little bunnies are a free font called Bizzy Bunny by Beeline.

10.  The last step was to add some kind of frame.  This one contains a nice frame from OnOne PhotoFrames.  I love this plug in – almost always use them on every image.  Easy to use and many, many choices.

Hope I did not lose you here – it really is not that hard to do. I found it totally fascinating making the eggs with the brushes – how easy to do and yet they are so unique with all the color and brush combinations that can be used.

As an aside, there are some pretty basic Easter template cards by Rock the Shot – three can be downloaded for free from their Facebook page if you want to send pictures of the kids to family. I am not going to show them here but check them out.

This last image was just total fun – had to create more eggs!  (This one uses all three techniques – brushes, custom shapes and/or vectors for its eggs.) I wanted to get that delicious feel of chocolate eggs in this image too so I resurrected the scanned filmstrip that I posted two blogs ago to make this effect. (For more information on filmstrips, see my blogs on Filmstrip Fun and More Filmstrip Fun – How Can This Be.)  I created a New Document and brought in my filmstrip (delete the white areas on the layer by going to the Kill White plug in as referenced above).  Now you can start making eggs and bringing them into the document – Free Transform (CTRL+T) to make them fit.

  • EGG One – Was created using some Egg Custom Shapes by the psd-Dude . Using these shapes is very easy and they give a beautiful look to the eggs. Create a New Layer above the Background layer and select the Custom Shape Tool. In the Shape pop-out on the Options Bar, load the new egg custom shapes. Find a pleasing color and use the solid colored egg to start. Next a Gradient Overlay Layer Style was added first – I created one that went from pink to bright yellow. Add an Inner Glow set to Opacity 100% and Size 13 pixels, and Inner Shadow set to Angle (-90), Distance 26, and Size 81 pixels. These settings were taken from a very nice tutorial that shows how to actually create the custom egg shape at the  psd-Dude site and is called “Drawing an Easter Egg in Photoshop“.  Create a New Layer above your basic shape and select a different Foreground color.  To add a different shape on top of your first shape – drag a new shape out and to make it fit, hold SHIFT to maintain the aspect ratio and use the SPACEBAR to adjust egg shape on top of the first shape. Turn off the background layer and merge the shape layers. This layer can now be dragged into the filmstrip document.
  • EGG Two – This beautiful bunny egg was downloaded from the Dry Icons site – it is in a vector format and can be downloaded here.  Please look at their licensing information before using.  This is another really nice site to visit.  Just used a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to change color to purple, then selected the bunny with the Quick Selection Tool and copied him to his own layer.  Added yellow to the bunny and created a composite on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) to put it all on one layer.  Now drag into the filmstrip and adjust.
  • EGG Three – I call this my Vintage Egg.  It was created by selecting a basic egg from Vectorilla file eps.3 and then adding a Watercolor texture to the egg. Just bring in a texture you like and clip it to the egg (Layer – Clipping Layer Mask).  it shows up on the egg only. Next I added an Easter Eggs from Pehaa brush using Egg 1 in dark blue. Then I duplicated this layer and erased out the circling lines and left the round lines. Now add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Level and clip it to this layer as shown above.  Make the Hue a different color and adjust the Saturation and Lightness to get the color you want. Do a Layer Composite on top. Use the Quick Selection Tool to select the white background and BACKSPACE to delete. Drag this layer into your Filmstrip image.
  • EGG Four – This egg was just like Egg One.  Just used a solid color instead of an Gradient Overlay Layer Style on original egg shape and used a different decoration shape on top.
  • EGG Five – This egg was created just like Egg Three without a texture. A Layer Style was added for a little definition:  Dark to Light yellow Gradient Overlay; an Inner Glow set to Opacity 100% and Size 13 pixels; and an Inner Shadow set to Angle (-90), Distance 26, and Size 81 pixels. (Same settings as in Egg One’s Layer Style.)

Some ground and sky texture was added to the eggs in the filmstrip using the Melsbrushes’ Grunge Paint Brushes (as before) – texture and texture2 brushes. Add a layer to put grass for the eggs to sit on. Put all the layers in a group except the background layer and call it Filmstrip. Right click on layer and select Duplicate Group from menu, and name Reflection Group.  With a CTRL+E, merge the group into a single layer.  Can now Transform (CTRL+T) and Flip Vertical. Add a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer clipped to this layer using White as Foreground and Black as Background colors.  Create a New Layer set to Multiply blend mode above the Adjustment Layer (and also clipped to the Group Layer) and select a dark red color (7e2805) to get the Chocolate color for the eggs. I used an opacity of 74% for the layer. Create a background sky and brown ground just above the Background Layer using another favorite brush of mine, Cloud Brushes by Rubina119-Brush No. 8. The vintage bunny image at the end of the filmstrip is a brush from Bunny Love Brushes by charmedbyjessica – Hatted Bunny brush – scroll down to bottom of list for this one.  There are many wonderful Easter brushes at this site. The first download contains the type brush for the sky from Ruthenia and can be downloaded here.  Create a layer composite on top and add a frame – I used another one from OnOne PhotoFrame.

That is finally it!  Wow – should have been two posts as I did not realize how many cool resources were out there for Easter.  Hope you find some of these sites useful and enjoy creating some fun eggs for the holiday!  Until next time, Enjoy!

More Filmstrip Fun – How Can This Be?

Once again, I am doing a filmstrip blog. Gavin Hoey came out with a couple new tutorials this week and I found an older one from Dave Cross.  So here we go!

Dave Cross is one of the NAPP Photoshop guys and totally brilliant with his use of Photoshop. I have never seen this technique used before or since this tutorial. (Dave Cross recently wrote an article in Photoshop User Magazine‘s March 2011 – pg. 70 called “Bridge Output” using this technique.)  Dave introduced this concept a couple years ago on Photoshop User TV in Episode 155 and called it “Bridge CS4 Outputs – Filmstrip PDF.”

Basic steps for this filmstrip effect occur while using Photoshop’s Bridge:

1. To get images into Photoshop as a small filmstrip, go to the Bridge and select several photos. (As far as I know there is no limit to the number of images you can use – Dave used 12 in his example.) To get the images in the correct order, I would suggest creating a folder and copy and rename each image with a number designation at the start.
2. At the top right of the Bridge, change the workspace to Output – choose it by opening up the drop-down menu and selecting it.
3. On the upper left column, highlight the PDF icon.
4. For this image, create a filmstrip look in the Document section by setting width to 14 inches and Height to 2 inches, Quality to High, and Background to White. You can change the Layout’s columns or rows to get the look you want. There are some Page Presets in a drop-down in the Document section that may work nicely.
5. Press Refresh Preview to preview results of your settings. Make any adjustments and preview again until the effect looks right.
6. At bottom of Output panel, click the Save button – will save to a PDF file.
7. Can now go into Photoshop and open the PDF file or place it into another image, which is what was done above.
8. The filmstrip images may need to be adjusted a little to get the correct spacing or canvas added to make the whole image larger.
9. The Magic Wand Tool was used to select and delete the white background to make it appear transparent.

To create the Photoshop effects above, the technique from Gavin Hoey referenced on my last blog was used. Instead of making the reflected images “true” reflections, a layer was filled with yellow and a layer mask was applied so the filmstrip was not affected, only the reflected images and background. Then a Gradient Adjustment Layer was added using a pink and yellow pastel colored gradient. Finally Topaz Detail‘s Abstraction preset was applied to all but the original filmstrip. The bottom edge of the reflected images was erased slightly. An OnOne PhotoFrame was added to give the interesting framing.

The left image is pretty much a cookie-cutter version of the one Gavin Hoey presented recently. Once the video tutorial “Grunge Filmstrip Template in CS5” is followed, the object can be saved as a template to reuse with a different picture. See smaller image above. A free texture called Color Grunge by Princess of Shadows-Texture 3, (unfortunately she is no longer supporting her wonderful textures at DeviantArt but check out BittBox’s Grunge Frost textures that give a similar look), was used for the background grunge look instead of the Photoshop Fiber Filter from the tutorial. The original image (here on Flickr) was run through Nik’s Silver Efex Pro using control points to highlight the tips of the leaves.  Basic settings for Photoshop’s Unsharp Mask filter were applied, along with a mirror effect (Mirror Vertical Right) and colorize effect from  The Plugin Galaxy. The metallic pattern on the filmstrip was a really nice technique. An OnOne PhotoFrame was used to finish up.

The final image followed a second tutorial by Gavin called “How to Make a 3D Film Strip in Photoshop.” I wanted to create more of a montage feel this time. An Hawaiian panorama of Kapalua in Maui was used instead of trying to place individual images in each slot. (By the way, Gavin discusses how to use Content-Aware to fill in missing areas around a panoramas in the “Photoshop CS5 Top New Features” video from last week – this panorama used 7 images and Gavin’s tip worked great!)  This 3D tutorial starts with creating the filmstrip from scratch. I scanned one in for last week’s blog (download here) if you don’t want to go through these steps or have the new CS5 film shapes. A couple of filled palm tree objects created for a project years ago was added.  The free font is one of my favorites called Fantaisie Artistique.  The beautiful free texture was created by Caleb Kimbrough, the texture guru,  in a great tutorial called “How to Create Subtle Grunge Textures” – this one is called Subtle Grunge-Example 3. (I hope to blog about textures in the near future.)

Once again, these were fun and fairly simple projects to attempt. I like to try different effects from the actual information in the tutorials when I can. I usually get surprised by what happens. It makes Photoshop a very entertaining toy! Now go experiment!

Filmstrip Fun

I had a hard time coming up with something to do this week. I think it is a bad case of Spring Fever – fabulous weather here in Florida this time of year!  Today I watched a really nice video tutorial by Gavin Hoey called “Photoshop CS5 Top 5 New Features.” His fifth new feature was on the Mini-Bridge, which I personally do not use that much. But then he started showing how to put photos into a filmstrip using one of the new CS5 Film shapes and dragging photos into the document from the new Mini-Bridge. I created my blog header using his tips and some photos from previous old blogs and really enjoyed trying the effect. Therefore, I would suggest you check out this quick technique if you want a filmstrip look.

I decided to try out some other filmstrip effects to see if I like them as well as Gavin’s. Below is one created using a frame from OnOne PhotoFrames – there were several choices. The image is a salmon hibiscus I have on my porch. This was also a very easy and quick way to create a filmstrip.

Next I decided to try a tutorial by another Photoshop expert who has been writing great tutorials for several years now – Mark S. Johnson. He created a tutorial a year ago called “Workbench 222 – Floating Film Frame Effect.” I often feel like Mark is working on something I should know already, but he always surprises me with some new information or some technique I had forgotten.  This was the case once again. The beginning part of the tutorial can be shortened quite a bit by using the new single Film shape and Gavin’s tutorial CS5 tips. If you do not have CS5, Mark’s tutorial can be completely followed. (By the way, a single film can be downloaded free from stock.xchng after creating an account – you can also get a filmstrip or download mine below.) Mark shows how to make a quick vignette with a Curves Adjustment Layer and how to turn a Layer Style into a regular layer that can manipulated. (That is what I had forgotten could be done – great tip!) The image below was taken at a vacant beach on Spanish Cay in the Bahamas. I used Topaz Adjust with the Crisp preset on the original image along with Nik’s Color Efex Pro Color Remove Cast setting. This tutorial turned out to be a little more difficult but the results were interesting.

My final image is basically a composite from my Maui trip using the filmstrip effect Gavin discussed in his video, except in this case I scanned one of my old filmstrips (and cleaned it up in Photoshop) hoping to get a real “authentic” strip look. If you would like a copy of my strip, you may download it here. The filmstrip(s) shapes provided with CS5 do look as good as the scanned one. (I used the actual filmstrip color and edge text which the shapes do not have.) Using the shapes is the fastest and easiest way to do this technique if but it does lack the text and correct color. The text could be cloned or added as a text layer to the shape.

I wish to thank Gavin Hoey for giving me an inspiration this week when I was not sure there was any. This once again turned out to be a lot of fun – which is what much of Photoshop is all about!…..Digital Lady Syd

A Few More Valentines to Make

This is just a quick blog to finish up my series on Valentines.  Recently OnOne Software came out with more templates (no longer available) including some  more Valentine templates.  I used the Valentine Layout 5×7 Vertical Back and added a few embellishments of my own to give you an idea of what you can do with these wonderful templates that OnOne keeps furnishing to us for free.

This image contains similar elements I used in previous Valentines on my blog. Just to save you time, if you want to link to them: McSweetie Hearts from, Cupid Brushes by glass-prism at Deviant Arts, and scatter heart brush from digitalTouch at Deviant Arts. The large heart was created using a Custom Shape in Photoshop and creating a large stroke with a pattern in it to give it the white edge. I did try out the Topaz Remask 3 (see sidebar for website link on my Tidbits Blog) to cut my lovely model out of the image I had taken. I was pretty pleased with the result for my first attempt.

The above image I created using a fairly quick tutorial from Gavin Hoey called “Valentines Card from Scratch” that he posted up on YouTube. I basically followed the tutorial except I changed the color of the roses.  Have a Happy Valentines Day!

Create Postage Stamps with Your Images

Method One:  (the old fashioned way – do it yourself)

I just did a really fun tutorial from Gavin Hoey at TipSquirrel.  This site has lots of short fun tutorials.  This is one from a few months ago and is called “Old Postage Stamp Effect in Photoshop.” Here is an example of following the tutorial pretty closely.

The original image was cropped and Matt Kloskowski’s Lightroom preset Matt’s Vintage Style was applied along with a few adjustments to get the correct colors. I wanted a vintage look since the postmark has a 1968 date on it. I also found out that stamps cost only 6 cents then. The image was brought into Photoshop to begin the stamp look. Gavin has graciously given us the brown envelop background and the two postmarks as a download to help complete the tutorial.   Ok, here goes the quick tutorial version – check out Gavin’s short video for a visual understanding.

1.  Open up your image.

2.  Set Color Picker to default Blank and White.

3.  Go to Image – Canvas Size and increase the canvas by 10%

4.  Unlock background layer by double clicking on the layer.

5.  Select Eraser Tool and in Options set brush Mode to Pencil, Size 100 pixels and in the Brush Panel, set Spacing to 150%.   Click on top left corner once, then hold SHIFT+click on upper right corner, SHIFT+click on bottom right corner, SHIFT+click on top left corner to complete the outside of the image with perforated edges.

6.  Add text layer to indicate the cost of the stamp.

7.  Go to Layers – Merge Visible to preserve transparency for edges.

8.  Open up background, in this case the brown texture Gavin provided.

9.  Drag stamp layer into this image and close the stamp image.  Free Transform (CTRL+T to center and adjust on paper texture.

10.  Go to File – Place and choose post-mark-lines-GAVIN-HOEY.  Free Transform (CTRL+T to size and place along top of stamp.  Change Layer Blend Mode to Multiply and reduce opacity.

11.  Go to File – Place and choose post-mark-GAVIN-HOEY.  Free Transform (CTRL+T) to size, rotate slightly and place in upper left of image.   Change Layer Blend Mode to Multiply and reduce opacity.

12.  Highlight stamp layer and open Layer Style at bottom of Layers Palette.  Select Bevel and Emboss and change Depth to 144 in my case, Size to 32 and Soften to 7.  Change Shadow Mode Color to H37/S79/B35 for a nice soft brown.

That’s it.  I used OnOne’s PhotoTools Professional Edition 2.6 software and added an Antique Color set to Soften at 41% opacity.  I used OnOne’s PhotoFrame 4.6 Professional Edition to Dave Cross’s Frame 17.   I love both of these products and use them all the time.

Method Two:  (the easy way)

I just created another stamp image using pshero’s Photoshop tutorial and file with a stamp template that can be downloaded by scrolling to the bottom of their tutorial. This is a really simple way to get a quick stamp effect if you do not want to go through all the steps. They also include some wonderful brush postmarks from Kiyay71677 on the Deviant Art site to add on top of your stamp.  If you want postmarks indicating that are very nice but contain UPS and FedEx stamps, check the Redheadstock Brushes also at Deviant Art. I created the above stamp image using a tutorial from 123RF’s website called Cloudy Text Effect.  They should have included the vintage look in the title as it is a great effect and the Cloud Text Brush was easy to create.   To make it easy for you to try, I created a Photoshop Action called SJ-Vintage Effect Action to use.  You can adjust the Hue/Sat Adjustment Layer and Layer Style to taste.  Run this action on your original image background layer.  I also created the Cloud Text & Smoke Brush to download and add to top layer of action.  It can create nice good looking white heavy smoke or clouds.

Finally I created this Valentine Stamp using the same template from the tutorial above.  The center hearts are My Valentine Shapes from Brusheezy.  The really cute cupid brushes can be downloaded for free.  I put each stroke on its own layer and then copied the layer a couple of time to get the pure white look I was after.   The little hearts are just one really nice scatter brush from digitalTouch on Deviant Art. I used my old standby font from Cosmi that I used in previous valentine blogs.  So here is my final stamp.

Well that about does it for this blog.  Hope you get a chance to try Gavin’s tutorial or at least download the template, brushes and action in Method Two.  (Check out pshero’s website for other great tutorials while there.) It is fun to give your images a different look sometimes…..Digital Lady Syd

Free Valentine Templates and a Valentine with Heart

For 2012 Free Templates, see my new blog Where To Get Those Free Valentine Templates. I just can’t seem to quit doing Valentines – I guess because they are a lot of fun to do and the colors are pretty. I am going to start off with some more great templates from Florabella. The more I follow this site, the more impressed I am by her work and all the free offers she has for us “Photoshop fanatics.” These are all Valentine templates from her Facebook page and include card fronts, backs and bookmarks. I picked one to try but there are so many variations you can do with these, it should keep anyone playing for quite a while. So this time, I am going to give a big “Thank You” to Florabella!

I tried to give this image a high contrast look in Lightroom before bringing it into the template in Photoshop. Besides cropping and cleaning up the background, I used CP Dragan 5 in Lightroom to give the final look. This preset can be downloaded at Adobe Labs for free.   I used a similar font I already had loaded since I did not have the one referenced on the layer when the template is opened up in Photoshop and it is a pretty common one.  Basically all you do is bring your picture in as a layer below the layer labeled “Place Photo Below”, then do a little Free Transforming (CTRL+T) or cropping to fit in the template. She includes instructions with her download for further information on how to make it into an actual card.

This next image came from a set of Valentine cards at MCP Actions that can be downloaded free from their Facebook page.  They are offering very simple cards for use as Valentines – especially if you need something easy for your little ones school parties.   They are very simple to use and are great for that quick turn around.  On the one I used, I did very little to except transform (CTRL+T) the picture to fit the opening.  It must then be clipped to the layer below by ALT+clicking on the line between the layers – it will attach the top layer to the layer underneath (or go to Layer – Create Clipping Mask).   I used the fonts they provided and added their names on the Child’s Name text layer.   Done.  There are also instructions downloaded with these templates.

Finally I decided to try a large tutorial on Valentines that used many different Custom Shapes. The tutorial I followed is called “Valentine’s day hearts” at Adobe Tutorials.   This was by no means the easiest tutorial I have used but I do believe I have a pretty good understanding of the Custom Shapes Tool now!  I liked the tutorial because you can change some of the steps to fit the way you want to put it together while still getting a good idea of how it will look.  I feel like it was an accomplishment to finish this one but it really was not that hard in retrospect – just a lot of layers.  It helped to name and group similar layers to keep organized.

The main hearts are provided by Photoshop.  All the listed brushes, shapes and fonts (except the Cosmi font which might be free if you can find it somewhere – it is a very old font) are free downloads from the internet that I used to create my image. The top purple joined hearts are custom shapes from Graphicxtras (no longer available). Several very nice heart custom shapes are from My Valentine Shapes at Brusheezy.  The various little white hearts in the background are from a set called McBad – Valentine.   The white floral brushes behind the large valentines are provided by a link on the second page in the tutorial.  I really like several of these brushes and plan to use them in other designs.   For the lacy Valentine, I used a Valentine brush from Anithene and added a gradient overlay layer style.   Finally I used my favorite Valentine font – McSweetie Hearts from  My Digital Lady Syd font is No. 31 from Cosmi.  Both of these fonts I used in the previous blog.   The last item added was the cupid, which I copied the layer twice to make it stand out more, and is from Cupid Brushes and is another beautiful set of Valentine brushes.

If you need any help with making these valentines, leave me a comment.  Hope you enjoy making your Valentines – it is a great way to learn how to use Photoshop!…..Digital Lady Syd


Free Calendar Template

I worked some more on the calendar template creating one for your use.  As stated in the last blog, download the free PDF calendar templates from Printrunner. Choose the first one listed.  Click here to download the PSD file to use for your calendar.  I created the template using Scott Kelby’s tutorial, “Templates with Multiple Images,” which was a bonus section from his book “7-Point System for Adobe Photoshop CS3.”

Follow these steps to create a monthly calendar:

1.  Open template file in Photoshop and highlight the Background Layer.

2.  Go to File – Place and highlight the month you want to insert from the downloaded Printrunner PDF file and click OK.   (Must do this from within Photoshop;  I could not get the Bridge to open the PDF files into Photoshop.)  Hold SHIFT to constrain size and adjust to fit the bottom opening of template, making sure the corner lines are hidden. The file comes in as a Smart Object.  Click Enter. (To go back and readjust, just highlight the layer and Free Transform or CTRL+T.)

3.  Highlight Curves Adjustment layer, go to File – Place, and select the image you want to be on the top of your calendar.  Hold SHIFT to constrain size and adjust to fit the top opening of template.  The image also comes in as a Smart Object.

4.  The final step is to change the color of the template, probably back to white, by double clicking on the left icon in the Color Fill 2 layer.  This brings up the color picker and you can choose your color.

5.  Save your calendar for the month you made and reuse the original downloaded template file for the next month.  If you do not want the Smart Objects, just right click on the layers with the Smart Objects and select Rasterize Layer from menu.

This simplifies the process from what I had presented in my 12/26/10 blog.  I hope you will like it……Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Create Calendar Photoshop Templates
Colorful Blown Out Look Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw Preset

Create Calendar Photoshop Templates

UPDATE: I was able to create a PSD file for download to do what I listed below.  Please refer to my next post called “Free Calendar Template” from 12/30/10 for steps to use.  Hope you enjoy the template.

This takes a minute to figure out, but once you do, it is really easy to make a calendar for each month of the year.  To begin with, you need to download the free PSD templates from Printrunner.  Just go down a ways and you find calendar templates.  Choose the first 11″ x 8 1/2″ one.  This is a very basic calendar but it perfect to bring into Photoshop and use to make your own template.  Here is an example of the January 2011 calendar I made. (The newer 2013 monthly calendar looks slightly different from the one below.) Ed Weaver of RED Photographic also provides 2013 monthly files at his site.

You need to create your first month to use as the template to line up all your other months and photos. Here are the basic steps I followed to create this first page.  At the end are instruction on how to create the rest of the year’s calendars.
1. In Photoshop create a New Document 8 1/2″ by 11″ at 300 resolution so it can be printed.
2. Duplicate the background layer (CTRL + J).
3. Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool, create a selection. I used a Fixed Ratio of Width 6 and Height 4 in the Options Bar. Create a box where you want the calendar to appear.
4. On top layer, click layer mask icon at bottom of Layers Panel. A white mask is created where your selection was placed in the above step.
5. Highlight layer mask and CTRL + I to invert the mask so that the black is where the calendar PDF will go.
6. Go to File – Place and select the January 2011 calendar.
7. Add a Curves Adjustment Layer to make the numbers darker in the calendar portion. I put Points at Input 165/Output 90 and Input 225/Output 169.
8. I did a composite of these three layers (background, Jan. calendar layer, and Curves Adj Layer) by doing a CMD + ALT + SHIFT + E and name it “Composite.”
6. Duplicate the Layer (CTRL + J)
7. Using the Rectangular Marquee Too, create a selection. I again used a Fixed Ratio of Width 6 and Height 4 in the Options Bar.   Adjust where you want images to appear over your calendar.
8. Click the Layer Mask – a white mask is created where your selection was placed in the above step.
9. Highlight mask and CTRL + I to invert the mask so that the black is where your image will show through.
10. Add a Stroke Layer Style to this mask by clicking on Fx at bottom of layers palette and selecting Stroke. Use 4 Pixels for Size, Inside Position and 72% opacity.
11. Now go to File – Place – and explore to photo you want to insert.
12. Image comes in as a Smart Object. Move this layer under the Layer Mask layer. Use the Move Tool to adjust image in window. Use CTRL + T to adjust your image and be sure to constrain the image holding SHIFT + ALT to keep your proportions.
13. Save image as January Calendar.

You now have a basic template to use for the next 11 months (or you can download the one referred to above).
To change the date part of the image:
1. Go to this file and delete the Jan 2011 layer and the Composite layer you created in Step 8 above.
2. Turn off top layer.
3. Highlight the Background Layer.
4. Go to File – Place – Feb 2011 file.
5. Highlight Curves layer and do a Composite layer (CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + E).
6. Drag down the layer mask and layer style from inactive layer on top.
7. Delete top layer.
8. Highlight Curves Layer and go to File – Place – File for February calendar. Adjust image in box. Use CTRL + T to adjust your image and be sure to constrain the image holding SHIFT + ALT to keep your proportions.
9. Save as February Calendar.

This is really not as hard as it sounds. I am thinking about how this can be put in an action and it would be much easier. I will add to this blog if I can figure this out in the next few days. Oh yes, I might add I learned to use Smart Objects as templates  from Matt Kloskowski’s Killer Photoshop Tips called “Creating Reuseable Templates” and Scott Kelby’s book “7-Point System for Adobe Photoshop CS3” Bonus Segment on Showing Your Work Using Templates.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial – calendars really are fun to make!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd’s Related Blogs:
Free Calendar Template
Colorful Blown Out Look Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw Preset

Free Christmas Card Templates

Recently two very generous plug in suppliers have released free Holiday templates to download for making cards.  I decided to try one template out  from each group to see how I liked them and to show what kind of looks you can get with them.

UPDATE: (11/19/11) Currently these two suppliers do not have their templates for download. Please check out my new Free Christmas Card Templates-Part 2 blog for a new template that is now available. Also see my Digital Lady Syd’s Free Christmas Card Template blog to download one to use with Photoshop and Elements. Hopefully the ones below will be available again soon for this new holiday season!…..Digital Lady Syd

Photoshop Templates from OnOne Software

The first groups of free templates come from one of my favorite Photoshop plug-in groups, OnOne Software  (click link for template information).  There are 12 templates, 9 are holiday templates, and are set up as Photoshop PSD files for anyone using Photoshop or Elements – no plug-in required.  They come with several colors, textures, and holiday elements to choose from and openings for square, vertical and horizontal images.  This makes it very easy to paste in your image and adjust using a clipping layer. They are constantly adding and changing their templates so check it out often. I also added a free BittBox Texture called BB Grunge Ice Texture in the green card (all the textures in this group are beautiful).

The Florabella Collection

The Florabella Collection provides beautiful actions to give your images different looks. They are providing for a limited time a free download (no longer available) from their Facebook page for the Merry and Bright Holiday Cards templates – 5 psd files in all. You can hook into the Facebook page from the link above and just click on the Free tab. These templates have a totally different look from the onOne templates above.

I hope to bring some regular Photoshop holiday card tutorials next week. In the meantime enjoy these templates. They are a lot of fun to try!…..Digital Lady Syd