Photos, Stories and Scrapbooking

Tag: Lightroom

Combining Templates

One of the nice things about working with a 24×12 inch document for a two page spread rather than trying to piece together two 12×12 pages, is the possibility for easily placing a photo across the two pages. That is what I wanted to do with this photo of Kate 2016-10-07-114112that I captured just before we left the pumpkin patch last Friday. Another useful technique, especially when I have a lot of journaling, is to place  journaling over the background of a photo. After adjusting the light in this photo with adjustment layers and glows, I was able to place my journaling over the background of my photo and to ensure my granddaughter stood out on my layout. I think the title and text box on the left page balances the extraction on the right side.

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To mask the background for my extraction, I placed the mask layers from template 4 of Autumn Album Template No. 2. I clipped copies of my photo to the layers. Then I added leaves and stains from other templates from the same album. To each leaf or stain, I clipped a copy of my photo.

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I then extracted Kate from the photo and gave her a custom shadow. You may not have noticed that in the original photo, her toes were cut off by the mat. So I extracted her right foot from another photo and rotated it into position. To simulate the sunlight behind Kate, I placed several glows, reduced their opacity and changed the blend modes.

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To accommodate all the photos I wanted to include on these pages, I simply dragged over the frames and masks from templates 15 and 19 in Travel Template Album No. 2. It was quicker for me to drag over a set of frames rather than recreating/duplicating/positioning frames so that I would have enough spaces for photos.

After clipping my photos to the masks, I added the layers of file 3 from MultiMedia Pumpkins No. 1 on the left. Then to mimic the look of the multimedia pumpkin, I created masks for the sections of the stitching file 4 from UrbanStitchez Pumpkin No. 1. To each of those masks, I clipped the transfers from the multimedia pumpkin file.

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After clipping all of the photos to the frames, I added more leaves from the Autumn Template Album No. 2 below the frames and clipped additional copies of my background photo. I added a black and white adjustment layer to two photos to create a visual triangle with my title. Finally I added a few more elements and finishing my journaling. I created a composite of my two page spread which I then placed on two 12×12 pages. I imported those pages into Lightroom and added them to the book section.

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Combining frames and masks from Anna’s templates is an easy way to pull together a two page spread.

Two Page Design

Kate celebrated her fourth birthday this past weekend. As she gets older, more of her personality comes through in her photographs. I actually try to make photos that convey her personality and show her different expressions, photos that express her pleasure with a gift, the way she licks the frosting off a cupcake, the way she laughs and smiles. Those expressions are what I wanted on this two page spread which I will add to this year’s book.

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One of my favorite photos from her birthday party was this one of her delight upon receiving a pink car. No, it isn’t a perfect photo. 2016-08-27 145446It’s grainy because I had set the ISO high to give me the shutter speed I needed. It’s also much darker on one side. Before exporting the photo from Lightroom, I adjusted the white balance and increased the exposure and clarity.

After placing the photo on a new 24×12 inch document in Photoshop, I ran it through Topaz Detail module to smooth the grain. Then I added two levels layers, one on screen and another on hard light. Rather than extract Kate from the scene, I added an inverted layer mask and blended in just the parts that I wanted with a soft round brush.

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My next step was to figure out how to include the other nine photos I had exported from Lightroom and placed with their visibility turned off on my new blank document. Not many templates have spaces for more than five or six photos. In addition, I needed to balance the weight of the large blended photo on the left side of my two page spread. I found Anna’s MonthReview Template No. 34B in my stash, a template I bought several years ago but hadn’t ever used.

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After deleting a couple of textures, I duplicated one frame, reduced it’s size and moved it into the blank space on the template. Although there are nine photos on the right side, the light background and simple white frames do not overwhelm the large blended photo on the left.

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I added or stamped on blank layers additional stains, recolored them pink and changed the blend mode to linear burn.

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Next, I began building the background for my title. I opened three different psd files from WatercolorBalloons No. 1. I recolored the individual balloons to coordinate with Kate’s tutu. Below the balloons, I placed a light leak from LightLeaks No. 3, changed the blend mode to linear burn and reduced the opacity.

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To finish my page, I added a title just above the watercolor balloons and gave it a sticker effect. Next, I placed balloons from ArtPlay Palette Happy Birthday and recolored them with a style layer. I tacked them down with button threads from ButtonThreadz No. 2. On the balloon on the right, I added text and warped it with the warp text tool. With a few splatters, buttons and additional threads my page was finished.

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Combining templates with a little blending made it easy to create this artsy two page spread. I think these MonthReview templates are especially effective to scrap an event with all the white space and multiple masks with simple white frames. In a way, this two page spread looks similar to the design I used in last year’s book. For many of those pages, I combined a one photo artsy page with multiple photos on one of Anna’s FotoInspired Double Templates to create my two page spreads. This year I am looking for simple, informal artsy templates that accommodate more photos to create a book. I need to remember that just because a template is titled Month Review doesn’t mean that’s it only use, not when I want more spaces for photos from a party, trip or event.

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Lightroom, Templates and Artsy Transfers

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This two page spread about our morning at Wisconsin Deer Park may look complicated, but it isn’t. I began with a 24×12 inch blank document in Photoshop and what I call the basic layers of template 16 on the left and template 17 on the right. Both templates are part of Anna’s new template collection, WaterColor Template Album No. 3. I find it easier to make adjustments for my photos on a template by working with just the frames, masks and text boxes. I turn off all the other layers. With my favorite photos already “picked” in Lightroom and some thoughts about our adventure already in the caption field ready to paste into the text boxes, the process goes quickly, even if I change my mind and substitute one photo for another.

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On this page, I wanted the large mask on the right side to go across the page gutter. I adjusted the mask’s size and moved it towards the left. I moved the fotoblendz mask on the left side toward the top of the page. I also adjusted the position of the frames, moving them toward the center on both the left and right so that I would have a larger margin on the sides. On each side of my layout, I clipped a copy of the photos to a stain included in the templates in order to extend the size of each fotoblendz mask. By turning off the background layers, I can see much more easily what adjustments I need to make on a template. Although I added a bit of a cartoon effect to each photo and adjusted both fotoblendz masks, it was an easy process.

Once, I had all my photos in position, then I began to work on the background. I first looked for artplay palettes with colors that coordinate with my photos. Some of Anna’s transfers are designed with straight edges and corners. Those work well to fill the background of a template. For this page, I chose transfers from ArtPlay Palette Explore, ArtPlay Palette Mountain High and ArtPlay Palette Heartland to place below the frames on the right side of my page.

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However, my favorite products to use for template backgrounds are Anna’s Artsy Transfers. As indicated in the layer’s panel below, for Artsy Transfer Mountain High 1, which I placed in the left top corner, I added a layer mask to one layer to blend out part. I also lowered the opacity on one layer and deleted another. Sometimes, I need to adjust the color, as I did to another layer of an artsy transfer set on the right side. There are two other artsy transfer sets on this page.

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Once I finished my page, I created a composite. I used that composite to create two separate 12×12 pages to insert into the book module of Lightroom. I have learned that initially working on a 24×12 inch document and then dividing that page in half is far easier than trying to put two 12×12 pages together. The faint lines around the edges of the pages below indicate the margins where I wouldn’t want to place anything important. If necessary, I go back to my original document to make corrections and create another composite. This screenshot provides a realistic picture of what these pages would look like in a book once it is published.

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As I explained in the previous two posts, Blurry Photos Tell Stories and Organizing with Lightroom, Lightroom is an integral part of my creative process.

 

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Organizing with Lightroom

In the future, my family will look at these photos from our trip and want to know the what, when, where and why of their pictures. My grandchildren are young; they will forget much about the memories we made together.

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One morning we bought containers of corn and seeds to feed the deer as we walked along paths with open fences allowing deer to freely roam among people walking the paths.

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Owen and Logan shook their closed containers of seeds to attract the deer and fed them just a few seeds at a time. Owen, almost twelve, placed seeds on the backs of the deer trying to get them to eat off one another. He and Logan weren’t afraid they would lose a finger by feeding the deer one piece at a time.

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However, Corbin and Kate had a little more trouble keeping a secure grasp on their containers. We had some tears as the deer gobbled up the corn spilled on the ground.

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2016-06-14 091803Kate wanted to feed the deer, but she wasn’t sure that she really liked them licking seeds off her hand. Kate smiled when her mom put some in Kate’s lap. Yet, she did not like that her dress got wet when the deer lapped up the corn and seeds!

Helping my grandchildren remember our time together is the reason why I make photos and take the time to create scrapbook pages as well as add metadata to my photos with Lightroom. With five years experience using Lightroom, I have found which options work for me and are worth my time.

One of the most important options in Lightroom is the ability to add keywords and captions to the metadata of my photos. My keyword list includes words clarifying who, what and where. I have categories for family and friends, foods, garden words, holidays, indoor activities, outdoor activities, places, weather and technology.

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As I went through my vacation photos, I first deleted those photos that I knew I wouldn’t use, photos with blurry faces and sharp backgrounds, photos obscured when someone walked into the view just as I was snapping the shot, photos that were poorly cropped. At the same time, I picked my favorites by pressing the “p” key which attaches a white flag. That indicates the photo is a keeper, a photo that speaks to me, a photo that I want to use on a page. I have given up attaching a numeric rating to photos. I found it wasn’t worth my time since I don’t choose photos based on a rating.

As I shared in a previous post, I also add captions to photos so that my thoughts about the photos become part of the metadata. Once I had those “picked” photos, I created a collection for them so that they are easily available for creating scrapbook pages.

Taking the time to organize photos by adding keywords and a few thoughts about the morning together before creating a collection of my favorites in Lightroom makes it much easier when I begin to create scrapbook pages for this year’s book.

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Blurry Photos Tell Stories

While I had my computer with me on vacation and fully intended to post photos on my blog, it just didn’t happen. I didn’t even get any photos uploaded to Lightroom until I returned home. However, as I review them now, I am going to add a number of stories to the caption space in Lightroom so that the stories are embedded as metadata in each photo. Then if I don’t get to creating the scrapbook pages immediately, I will have something to help me remember the stories that I want to tell. As I upload the photos from my camera into Lightroom, I also pick my favorites, add keywords and file favorites in collections which makes searching for photos I want to use to create a page much easier.

One afternoon, I repeatedly climbed several flights of stairs with Kate in order to reach one of several different slides. I stood behind her, waiting for the guard’s signal to slip down behind her. I don’t have many photos of our time playing together. I didn’t want to ruin my iPhone or camera under all the spraying water.

Yes, this shot of Kate as she’s approaching the stairs appears a bit blurry. She was moving fast. I soon learned that if I didn’t keep up she would disappear from view, which definitely provided a few scary moments as I searched for her. However, sometimes blurry photos help tell the story. In this instance, the blurriness emphasizes just how fast she was going, way too fast for my camera in the dim light, let alone a grandmother standing in a foot of water trying to keep her camera dry.

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Kate would slide down first and then wait for me at the bottom of each slide, laughing. No, there are no photos of me sliding down. However, I did manage to get one photo of Kate at the bottom of one slide. Try to visualize a three story structure and a grandmother racing to keep up with a little girl flying through sprays of water as she led the way to one of the slides. I slept very well that night!!

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Sometimes I find it hard to get back into scrapbooking after a vacation. I have learned that just spending time reviewing photos, adding keywords, and thinking about the stories the photos tell helps me plan pages. I’m not sure yet what kind of scrapbook pages I’m going to create with all the photos I made, but this is a story that I want Kate to remember. I’ve already added this story to the metadata in Lightroom, I just need to think through a page design.

Programing My Wacom Tablet’s Function Keys

For those of us who participated in Anna’s class, PenPlay Live, a recurrent question about programing the function keys on a tablet prompted a lot of discussion. Before sharing my own current approach to those function keys, I should begin by saying that I never programed the keys on my older Wacom tablet, the small CTH-480, that I bought late in 2013. I doubt I even looked at the Wacom preference panel more than once or twice over the two years I used the tablet. I simply learned to use the pen with the tablet for extractions and detail work on masks, the task for which I purchased the tablet. However, that changed for me when I bought a small Intuos Pro on sale last November to use with my 15 inch MacBook Pro.

Now, unless I am typing text, I am constantly using my pen and tablet: in Photoshop, Lightroom and the Finder. For me, this tablet and pen are more sensitive than my older tablet although I do not think the tablet’s trackpad is quite as sensitive as my Mac’s trackpad. While some tablets have only four function keys, all tablet preference panels have the same options available for programing the function keys.

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My small Intuos Pro has 6 function keys and a little wheel. Over the last three months, I experimented and programed the keys on my tablet based on what worked for me. I am used to a touch pad; I want that function on my tablet always available. Since I can always turn touch on or off inside the Wacom Desktop Center if needed, I changed the default for the top function key so that it would bring up the Mac’s Launchpad showing all the available apps to open. That function key opening the Launchpad is consistent no matter which program I am in with my tablet.

The screen shot above shows how I programed the six function keys in Photoshop. I go back and forth between Photoshop and Lightroom. I chose to program the second key essentially the same way for both applications. Photoshop takes me back to Lightroom. LightroomFunctionKeysLightroom’s second function key opens a copy of a jpg or original psd file in Photoshop for editing. The four other Photoshop function keys in the screenshot above are keystrokes that require two hands or a long reach if I’m using my keyboard. For example, I have to press shift + option + command + E to create a composite in Photoshop. Since I use this command every time I create a two page spread, I programed that for a function key. The other function keys are all programed with keystrokes that I use frequently. My objective was to program the functions so that I would be able to keep my pen in my right hand. I can access the control, option, shift and command keys with my left hand. My tablet has a wheel which I’ve programed to zoom in and out in Photoshop. For other applications, it scrolls up and down. FinderFunctionKeysFor the finder, I kept the Launchpad function consistent, but programed the other keys to open windows, create new folders, place something in the trash and empty the trash, all requiring both hands on my keyboard. Will this work for someone else, not necessarily. At the moment, it works for me. Each tablet user has to decide what works best for them. I do recommend that everyone open the Wacom Desktop Center to backup and/or restore your preferences to your computer. I was glad I had a preference backup when I updated my driver on Monday. Great class wasn’t it, now I need master all the concepts Anna presented!

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