Having enjoyed teaching elementary school for so many years, I looked forward to the beginning of school each year. I always thought that the mothers of the kids I taught did too. However, as a grandmother, I don’t think I could have captured a photo that better illustrates my grandchildren’s individual feelings about going back to school than the one clipped to a fotoblendz mask on the right. Times have changed, but years from now, I think they will enjoy this page.

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On the first day of school, I photographed each of my three grandsons. Two weeks later I photographed Kate on her first day of preschool. I knew I wanted to extract each of my grandchildren for this page, but it took a few days of just thinking before I had an idea for a background with a school theme for the extractions rather than a background from the two different locations in which I took the photos.

I stamped a brush from Anna’s set, Old School No. 1, so that it looked like books in a bookcase on new layers above solid paper 1 from ArtPlay Palette Studious. Then I selected a mask 5 from FotoBlendz Overlays No. 9 by pressing the key command (control) and clicking on the layer thumbnail of the mask. With the marching ants still visible, I then highlighted the brush layer and clicked the add a layer mask icon. I made adjustments to my new mask with a brush from AnnaBlendz Artsy No. 3.

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Often when I am photographing my grandchildren I hurry. Often there isn’t time to carefully think through exactly what I am going to do with the photos. Sometimes I forget what I previously did in the rush to capture something. I had photographed the boys at their home before dropping them off for school. On Kate’s first day of preschool, I asked her to look at me as she hopped around on my lawn so that I could take her photograph before we got into the car for the trip to school.

That one factor, the lawn, created a problem for extracting Kate’s feet. Plus, I had inadvertently cut off her left foot in one of my favorite photos with my in camera framing. After extracting each child, I solved that problem by adding a bit of grass using a layer mask so that everyone was standing on grass. I gave everyone three shadows: one custom, one color and one standard shadow to create more realistic depth.

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For the right side, I combined two templates from Travel Template Album No. 2, specifically template 8 and 14 in order to accommodate the vertical photos I wanted to use. I try to make the accommodation process as simple as possible for myself by combining frames and masks rather than recreating what I need. From template 8, I placed the two vertical frames, thread and text box as well as two textures, an art stroke and stain. From template 14, I placed the two vertical frames on the right with the text box below, the fotoblendz mask, thread, textures and stains. I duplicated one of the small frames and moved it into the open space.

Note: I find it easiest to bring over the frames I want to use and group them together. Then I drag over the masks I want and the background brushes, textures and art strokes.

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With the extractions and basic templates completed, I added transfer 4 from Artsy Transfers Studious behind Owen, duplicating and recoloring one of the stains. I also added brushes and transfers from ArtPlay Palette Studious below the template layers as well as a button and thread. I tucked file 3 from MultiMedia School No. 1 behind the frames but in front of the fotoblendz mask.

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Yes, the extractions took a little extra time, however when combined with an opposing page that is easy using a template, I think the total effect of this two page spread will make a nice addition to this year’s book. Actually, the more I practice extracting, the better my skills are getting.