Welcome to EarlK Design!

The EarlK Design blog consists mainly of entries that show how to do things using Adobe Photoshop that I hope you will find helpful and give your creative mind more tools to work with.

I use Adobe Photoshop CS6, and sometimes Adobe Illustrator CS5, Lightroom 5, and Corel Painter X. However, I believe that much of what I show can be done using Photoshop Elements.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Other Days with Earl Episode 13: Using Your Smarts

Have you been taking advantage of your Smart Objects and Smart Filters? They can really help you with your page layouts. In this episode of Other Days With Earl I want to show you how you can make grungy masks to which you can clip your images and give them a grungy edge.

As an example, I wanted to give this image a grungy edge. I took this photo at the Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, Nebraska, 5 November 2010, during the Fall Chrysanthemum Show.

I used this image to give it the grungy edge. This is a photo of me and my pet turtle and a couple of my racing pigeons. The photo was taken summer 1943 when I was 13 years old. World War II was going on and that is part of our Victory Garden behind me.

And, this is my result.

As another example, I used this photo to create the grungy edge. I took this photo at the Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, Nebraska, 5 November 2010, during the Fall Chrysanthemum Show.

And this is the result.

And, it is very easy to replace the image and the PSD file you are using to create the grungy edge since you are using your smarts.

I show you how you can use any PSD file to create the grungy edge. In addition, I show you how to create some textures that you can use for creating grungy edges or you can use them as blending textures when you are making background papers.

I hope this intrigues you. It is really a very quick way to make grungy edges for a mask.

You can download this Episode of Other Days with Earl, Episode 13: Using Your Smarts by clicking here. The download file is a PDF file.

 Enjoy your scrapbooking! Live Life!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Quick Tips with Earl Number 4

Do you want to be able to find the center of your image or use the Rule of Thirds in setting up your image? It's easy to use your Ruler Guides to show you centered guides and Rule of Thirds guides. I will even show you how to make an action to do this for you automatically. And, if you are using Photoshop Elements and can't make actions but can use an action made in Photoshop CS (provided your version of Elements can do what is in the action), I have the actions saved and available for you to download. Here is an example of centered guides.
And, here is an example of Rule of Thirds guides.
Let me show you how to do this. Open your image. It will be on the Background Layer. Make sure your Rulers are showing (Command/Control-R).
The next thing you could do is to go  to View/New Guide.
In the New Guide dialog, select Vertical and enter 50% for position and click OK. You get the guide at the 50% position in the vertical. Go back to View/New Guide and in the New Guide dialog, select Horizontal and enter 50% for position and click OK.
And, you now have your guides centered in the image.

Now, if you wanted to make an action to do exactly what we have just done to create an action for creating centered guides, the action would not work. The reason for this not working is because our Rulers are in inches not percent. We need to change the Rulers to percent before creating the action. Control-click (Right-click) on the Ruler to open up the menu and select Percent. The Rulers are now in percent. I brought in the Actions panel so it is easier to see.
In the Actions panel, as seen here in this example, there are two folders that are called sets. These folders contain the set of Default Actions and My Actions. The Default Actions set has the actions that came with Photoshop. The My Actions set has the actions that I have created. I have not clicked on the little twirly arrow to show what is in the sets. We will create a new set to contain the actions that you will make. 
At the bottom of the Actions panel, click on the Create New Set button. A dialog will open asking you to give the set a name. I left the name as Set 1 and clicked on OK.
Now at the bottom of the Actions panel, click on the Create New Action button.
And, I gave the action the name Centered Guides. I didn't assign a Function Key to the action (you can if you want). And, I didn't give the action a Color (you can if you want).
Then I clicked on Record.

And now you see that the little recording button is red showing that everything you do from now on will be recorded until you turn off the recording. We have already changed the units of the Rulers to percent, so we are go to go with the recording. 

The first thing is to go to View/New Guide.
And when the New Guide dialog opens we select Vertical and make Position 50%. Then click OK.
Then go up to View/New Guide. Select Horizontal and make Position 50%. Then click OK.

And, we now have our centered guides and we can click on the Stop playing/recording button at the bottom of the Actions panel. 

And we now have an action called Centered Guides in Set 1. We should test it to make sure it works. First I tried it on the same image. I removed the guides. I selected the action Centered Guides and clicked on the Play Selection button at the bottom  of the Actions panel.

And I get my centered guides on the image.
Now we should try it on a different sized image and with the rulers set to inches.

Here I have opened an 8 x 6 inch document and the rulers are in inches. I select the Centered Guides action in the Actions panel and clicked on Play selection. And, lo and hold, we have our centered guides in place. It works! 
 You have now created an action that you can use whenever you need to place centered guides on your document.

Now let's create a new action to put guides on the image that are Rule of Thirds guides.  This is what we want to guides to look like when the action is finished running. We have a guide that is one-third (33.3%) of the distance from the left edge. Another that is two-thirds (66.6%) from the left edge. There is one guide one-third (33.3%) from the top. And, another two-thirds (66.6%) from the top.
 The first thing we want to do is make sure the rulers are in units of Percent. Control-click (Right-click) on the Ruler and select Percent. The rulers will now be in Percent (0 % - 100%).

In the Actions panel, click on the Create new action button at the bottom of the panel. I gave the action the name Rule of Thirds. And, since we did not have the Set 1 selected when we opened up the new action, I opened the drop-down menu and selected Set 1 as the set to put the action. And then I clicked on Record.

The Recording button turns red showing that we are now recording our action. Our rulers are in percent. Go to View/New Guide.

In the New Guide dialog, select Vertical and enter 33.3% for position.

The go to View/New Guide. In the New Guide dialog, select Vertical and enter 66.6% for position.
Now do the same thing for Horizontal 33.3% and Horizontal 66.6%. An d, we are through with creating the guides, so click on the Stop playing/recording button to end the recording of action. We now have the action Rule of Thirds that will place the guides like this.

I cleared the guides and selected the Rule of Thirds action and clicked on Play Selection to test the action, and it worked. I then chose another image with the rulers in inches and tested the action on it.
 And, it worked! Whew!
Now you have two actions that you have created, Centered Guides and Rule of Thirds, both of which are in Set 1. Any time you want to use one of them, just open your Actions panel, select the one you want to run and click on Play Selection and you have it done in a flash. Well, hopefully there is no flash, but it is really quick.

There is one more thing that you should do. That is to save your action. Your action will normally be in your Actions panel, but if you should have to reinstall Photoshop onto your computer, your actions will be back just to the default set that comes with Photoshop. Or, if you reset Photoshop back to its defaults, you will only have the default set.To save your Set 1, click on the little menu icon in the upper right of the Actions panel. Select Save Actions. You have to save action sets; you cannot save an individual action. If you have an individual action selected, Save Actions will be grayed out and you can't use it. So make sure Set 1 is selected.
You will be taken to the Save dialog asking where you want to save the action set. If you have saved actions before, you may want to save this set in the same place. However, I don't always do as suggested. I have a separate folder where I save Photoshop items, such as actions. When I want them, I load the action set into my Actions panel. So here, I will just save set to the Desktop.
This is what an action set looks like on my Desktop. Here is our Set 1 action, Set 1.atn.

For users of the Photoshop CS series, you are good to go. I hope this may help you in seeing how actions are created. They really are easy to build and use. However, sometimes there are little tricks, such as for these we needed to have the rulers in percent. But, if you always test the action, you can find out if something isn't working the way you thought it should. And, then you can find out how to get around the problem.

For users of Photoshop Elements, you can use actions created in Photoshop. Here is what Adobe has to say about installing Actions in Elements.



You can download this Set 1 action we just created for your use from box.com (go to the Quick Tips page to do so). If you are using Elements, you can install it and use it. If you are using Photoshop CS series, you can also download it if you want. But, you should already have it if you were following along with me while I created it. 

I hope that you found this Quick Tip interesting and useful.

Enjoy what you are doing!


Monday, November 15, 2010

Other Days with Earl Episode 12: Square Corners.

I hope that you had a wonderful time with the Christmas Treasures Blog Hop. The hop is over, but since some people had some trouble downloading my freebie kit, I have left the link to my download active in my blog posting about the Blog Hop. So, if you were unable to download my kit during the Hop, you can still do so by going to my blog entry about the hop. However, any links to other sites are no longer active. I will leave my kit available for you to download until 21 November 2010. After that time you will no longer be able to download my kit.

Here is my Other Days with Earl Episode 12: Square Corners. 

I have found that many times when I am creating a scrapbook layout in which I have a photo mask to which I will clip a photo I have wanted a mat under the photo. But, I didn't put one under the mask when I created the mask. So, my usual thought is to use the Expand Selection to put a mat under the mask. When I do this, my mat ends up with rounded corners. This is fine if I want round corners. But, if I have square corners on my photo, I probably want square corners on my mat. Of course, I could use Contract Selection and get square corners, but, they would be on the inside of the photo. Maybe I want my photo to be the size I have it. I will show you how to do this in this Episode 12.
Which do you want, round or square corners?
This doesn't apply only when you are making a mat for a photo. Any time you have a selection and you want to expand the selection using Select/Modify/Expand you will get rounded corners if there are square corners. It is very easy to have square corners. The trick is to use Select/Transform Selection. Let me show you. In addition, I will show you how to find the center of an object.
You can download a pdf file of Other Days with Earl Episode 12 Square Corners by clicking here.

Thank you for visiting my Blog. I hope that you find some of the items posted here useful to you. If you haven't been here much before, you may want to look at some of the other posts that are here. There may be something of interest to you.

Enjoy life! And, document it with your scrapbooking!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Christmas Treasures Blog Hop


 Welcome to the Jessica Sprague sponsored Christmas Treasures Blog Hop. The graduates of the first Art of Digital Design class at JessicaSprague.com have assembled this Blog Hop to celebrate completing the class and becoming Jessica Sprague Certified Digital Designers!

In thanks for your coming to see my Blog, I have prepared a digital kit, a freebie, for you to download and to use in your scrapbooking. Since this is a coordinated Blog Hop, those of us who are participating were asked to use a particular color scheme so that all the items from all of us would have a coordinated feel. This is the color scheme we were asked to follow.

I followed the color scheme as closely as I could. However, sometimes the use of a layer blending mode may have changed the colors somewhat.

Here are the Previews for the total Blog Hop showing what you may download from the individual participants if you go and visit all the blogs and see what they are offering you for your Holiday scrapbooking enjoyment. Since we all followed the suggested color scheme, the kits all have a coordinated color combination even though over 40 people created the items.

Here is the Preview for the Christmas Treasures kit that I have prepared for you. I hope that you find the papers and elements helpful to you in your scrapbooking efforts.

All the papers in the EarlK Design Christmas Treasures kit are 12 x 12 inch, 300 ppi. The kit contains 10 patterned papers that are in .jpg file format, and 2 patterned papers that are in .png file format so that transparency is maintained. The elements in the kit are 300 ppi. All elements are in .png file format. The tag comes with a drop shadow and without a drop shadow.The other elements come plain, as a sticker, and as a sticker with a drop shadow. I hope that you like these items and find them useful in your scrapbooking. My Christmas Treasures kit is in a zip file. You will have to unzip it to use the files that it contains.

The link to my kit download is no longer available (edited 10:11 PM, 21 November 2010).

This will take you to 4shared.com where you will be able to download the kit. If you haven't used 4shared.com before, when their page opens, on the left-hand side of the page there will be a blue rectangle with a white arrow pointing downward with white text saying "Download Now." Click on that blue box. This will take you to a new window that will have a box that says "Your download link will appear after wait." There will be a circle with the wait period counting down. After the wait, where the words "Your download link will appear after wait" were, you will see the words "Download file now." Click on those words and your download will begin. At least this is how it works on my iMac using the Firefox browser.

Wishing you a very merry and happy Holidays.

After the Hop, feel free and welcome to come back to my blog to see what I have posted that may help you in your scrapbooking efforts.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quick Tips with Earl Number 3

Don't forget about the Blog Hop that starts on November 11, 2010. 

Pick a card. Any card. Wait a minute, wrong place to say this. Here is what I need. Pick a letter. Any letter. Actually, you can pick any letter of any font, or group of letters. Just use the Type Tool. 

Are you a doodler? I'm not usually one, but sometimes I doodle in Photoshop. I play and experiment to see what will happen if I do this or that. Here is something I thought was fun to play around with. It is playing with text.
I want to create some kind of graphic design that can be used as a decorative element. I took my favorite three consecutive letters in the alphabet, which happens to be "ghi," and played with them a little. I started with ghi and gave them an underline and a strikethrough. I did this in the Character Panel. Click on the underline and strikethrough icons at the bottom right of the panel. When you are through using the underline and strikethrough, make sure you click on them to turn them off otherwise they will be there the next time you use the type tool. So, I started with this and ended with this.

I started on a 12 x 12 inch, 300 ppi, RGB, with white background document. I used Arial Regular font with a size of 288 points. This gave me a nice size to start working on.

After you have your text, click on the Create Warped Text button in the Type Options Bar. This brings up the Warp Text panel. In Style it will open as None if you haven't applied a style to the text. Now, remember that ghi is my sample to show you how I did this. You can use any letter, group of letters or even words to do this. But, my objective was to create a graphic element that could be used as a decorative element on a page layout. So, back to my example. Here I have clicked on the Style drop down menu and have selected the style Fish.

With the Style Fish selected, play around with the options available to use. Try different settings. I ended up with Horizontal, Bend = -100%, Horizontal Distortion = -100%, and Vertical Distortion = -100%. Choose the settings that you want for the letter(s) you chose. You could be happy with the result as it is now. But, I am going to do a little more.

I want to keep this design so I will make a duplicate of it (Command/Control-J) on another layer to continue working on that layer. Then I hide the visibility of the original ghi layer. I again clicked on the Warp Text button at the top in the Type Option Bar. I changed the Style to Fisheye. Horizontal and Vertical are grayed out, so you have no choice for them. I set Bend = -100%, Horizontal Distortion = +100%, and Vertical Distortion = -100%. Make your adjustments as you want them for what looks good to you.

I want to see how my two designs look together, so I turn the visibility of the first ghi layer back on. I like the combination; but, I want to do a little more.

I duplicated the ghi layer; I now have three ghi layers. I turned off the visibility of the first two ghi layers, and clicked on the Warp Text button in the Options Bar. I selected Style= Twist, Horizontal and Vertical are grayed out, so you have no choice for them. I set Bend = +100%, Horizontal Distortion = +60%, and Vertical Distortion = -80%. Make your adjustments as you want them for what looks good to you.

I turned on the visibility of the three ghi layers so I could see what they looked like combined together. I also turned off the visibility of the background layer so I could see the transparency of my design. I liked this. I merged my three visible layers into one layer (Shift-Command/Control-E). Before I merge the three layers, each layer is still a Type layer, albeit, a Warped Type layer, but still editable text. You could active one of the layers and change the text and the new text would be warped. However, after you merge the three layers, the new merged layer is a pixel layer and the text is no longer editable. But, that is OK as I was through with the text as text.

For some reason of experimentation, I thought it would be nice to break up the image into smaller pieces so that I might color the design in an interesting way. I added a layer mask by clicking the button at the bottom of the Layers Panel. This put a white, showing everything, mask on the layer. I selected a brush to use, made sure my Foreground color was black (since I was going to use the brush to hide some parts of the design element), made sure I was on the layer mask by clicking on the mask, and then using my brush stamped a few lines across the element inside the mask. The black brush on the white mask hides what is under the black brush. You won't have this brush, it is one I made. But, pick a brush you have and do something similar.

I made a duplicate of the layer and turned the visibility of the original off and worked on the duplicate. I did this so if I goofed up I still had the original to go back to use. The next thing I want to do is to color my element with a Noise Gradient. You can go to the August 2010 archive in this blog to Other Days with Earl Episode 6-Gradient Tool, Part 3-Noise Gradient to find out about Noise Gradients. I clicked on the button at the bottom of the Layers Panel to add a Gradient Fill layer. I made it a linear noise gradient and clicked on Randomize a few times until I got this one that I liked. I clicked OK.

Then I clipped the gradient layer to the design element layer below it.

I wanted to highlight my little pieces of the design, so I clicked on Add a layer style button at the bottom of the Layers Panel and selected Stroke. And gave a thin stroke of black to the outside of the pieces to emphasize them a little more. Then I turned off the visibility of the background layer so that I had transparency behind my element. I then saved it as a .png file.

Then I used my element in a page layout.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg. There are only 26 letters, so how hard can it be. That's a joke that is used frequently in calligraphy. There may be only 26 letters in our alphabet, but there are other alphabets, there are 1,000's of fonts, there are dingbats, whatever you can use with the type tool you can warp. There are 15 different ways to warp the type. And then the ways you can modify your design is unlimited only by your imagination.


That's all for now.