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.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen August 30, 2011

I found some time to make my entry for this week's Orange Challenge for Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen. However, I will not be able to describe all the details for this layout. I hope you will forgive me for this. I did want to get an entry made. I used two layers of kk_subtlyyours. They were mainly used to create the background texture. First I used kk_subtlyyours in its colored form with an Overlay Blend Mode and Opacity 100%. Then I used another layer of kk_subtlyyours that I desaturated and then set the Blend Mode to Luminosity and 50% Opacity.  Here is my final result.

That's all for now.

Enjoy life.


Art of Digital Design 2

I am currently taking the Art of Digital Design 2 class by Carina Gardner through Jessica Sprague dot com. This has been taking my time so I have not been able to participate in Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday this week. And, maybe not for the next several weeks. We'll see how my time goes. This has been an extremely interesting and exciting class. There is a lot of work and the pace is swift. But, a lot of fun.

So far, I have created one set of six papers. Here is the preview of the kit.

After creating the papers, we created a layout using our papers. This is sort of backwards for me. Usually, I start with what I want to have for my photos on a layout and then design my papers and elements to go along with the photos. Now I have a set of papers and need to use them for my photos. The patterns are already created and I have to use them instead of creating new papers to go with the photos. This is scary for me. At least I still get to create the layout design as I go along. So, I made a basic template for my layout from the idea that was brewing in my mind for the layout. This is my basic layout. The circles and the strip are clipping masks to which I will clip my papers.

I used four of the papers from my kit. I used the photo of the flower that was used as the basis for my color scheme for this set of papers.  Here is my final layout. I added three flowers that have a little drop shadow and bevel and emboss added to them. Then I reduced the fill, not the opacity, to 0% which leaves just the shadowy image of the flowers. And, I added in my signature at the lower right corner.

And, that is what I have been up to for the last few days.

That's all for now.

Enjoy life and keep capturing pieces of it in your scrapbooks.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen August 23, 2011

The theme for this week's Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen is "Back to school." And, you must use at least 2 different Kim Klassen textures on your photo!  It has been many years since I was worrying about getting the children back to school. Getting all the supplies, getting them ready for the big day, and the general confusion that sometimes goes along with that first day to school or back to school. I went back into my older photos in order to find something about going back to school. 

In 1962 we were living on the Island of Guam. My daughter, Tina, was in Kindergarten. And, my son, Eric, being younger than Tina, was not yet in school. In November 1962, Super Typhoon Karen hit Guam. With winds over 200 miles per hour, there was considerable damage on the Island. In fact, the storm did so much damage to the island vegetation, most of it turned brown and they called it When Autumn came to Guam. Most temporary structures on the island (not typhoon-proof, generally wood-frame construction) were destroyed, while permanent structures suffered considerable damage. The school building in which Tina had Kindergarten was badly damaged and could not be used for several months. She could not go back to school until temporary facilities were made available. Later, in 1965, when we were living in Maryland, my son, Eric, started school. I am fortunate that I have some photos of that time. These are the photos that I used for this layout.

I'll show you how I created this layout. I hope you enjoy the tour.

Layer 1.  As I normally do, I started with a new document with the Background Layer, Layer 1, being a 300 ppi, white layer. One of the reasons I do this is in case I want to have a different color for the background layer as a later time, I can just easily add a Color Fill Adjustment Layer and make it any color I want.

Layer 2.  I brought in a photo of Tarague Beach. Guam. It is a little out of focus. But, that is OK since it is just going to be a background and be textured.

Layer 3.  I have used Kim's texture KK_pourvous for this layer. I set the Blend Mode to Darken and left Opacity 100%.

Layer 4. I brought in Kim's texture KK_sweettart for this layer. I used the Divide Blend Mode. Divide came in CS5. The Opacity is 100%. But, of course, what Blend Modes you will use will depend on your images and textures that you use for your layout. I really like how this has turned out so far.  To me, it gives the feel of the island after the storm went through.

Layer 5.  I knew that I had four photos that I wanted to use for the layout. I now wanted to make four clipping masks to clip my photos to. I used the method that I showed in a previous blog entry on Using a Pattern to Create Clipping Masks. I used the 1-inch square pattern that I show in that blog entry. And, I increased the Scale to 350%.

Using the Magic Wand Tool with Tolerance 5, Anti-alias checked, and Contiguous checked, I selected the upper left square. Make sure that Layer 5 is the active layer. Then I made a new layer by Layer/New/Layer by Cut (Command / Control - Shift - J) to cut that square from Layer 5 and put the square on it own layer, Layer 6.

If your Magic Wand Tool sometimes seems to be acting in a mysterious manner, you may want to look at my entry in this blog about the Paint Bucket to learn some of the ins and outs of using it more effectively. Even though that entry is about the Paint Bucket, the Paint Bucket and the Magic Wand work in a very similar manner.


Layer 6.  This is how the layout looks now at Layer 6. And, with the visibility of Layer 5 turned off.

Layers 7, 8, and 9. I do the same thing with three more of the squares on Layer 5. Make sure you are on Layer 5 when you make your selection with the Magic Wand. Then cut the selection from Layer 5 to its own new layer. Here is my layout with Layers 7, 8 and 9 in place.

Layer 6a.  I'll call this layer Layer 6a. It is the photo that is brought in on the layer above Layer 6 and then is clipped to Layer 6.

Layers 7a, 8a and 9a.  These are the photos that are brought in above Layer 7, Layer 8 and Layer 9 and then clipped to those layers.

Layer 6b.  I did not like having two photos in color. It didn't feel right to have color when working with the destruction of the typhoon. So I used the Black and White Adjustment Layer by clicking on the Add new fill or adjustment layer button at the bottom of the Layers Panel and chose Black and White. This put the adjustment layer just above Layer 6a. I clipped the Black and White adjustment layer to Layer 6a. If you don't have the Black and White adjustment, you can use the Hue/Saturation adjustment and desaturate by sliding the Saturation slider to zero.

Layers 7b, 8b and 9b.  I did this for each photo. Even though two of the photos look like they might be black and white they were RGB files and may have had some color in them. And, I wanted them to be all black and white.

Layer 6.  Back to Layer 6. Layer 6 is the clipping mask layer for photo on Layer 6a. With Layer 6 being the active layer, I click on the Effects button of the Layers Panel and added a slight Drop Shadow and a Bevel and Emboss.

Layers 7, 8 and 9.  I right clicked on Layer 6 near the Effects symbol, but not on it. I selected Copy Layer Style. Then I went to Layers 7, 8 and 9 and right clicked to the right of the layer name and selected Paste Layer Style. This added the Drop Shadow and Bevel and Emboss to each of these layers.

Layer 10.  I now want to bring in my favorite texture, Kim's kk_stainedLinen, and have it only on the photo images not the whole page. Layer 10 is Kim's kk_stainedLinen. It is in Overlay Blend Mode and Opacity is 80%. But right now it is texturing the whole page. And, I want it just on the photos.

While Layer 10 is selected, hold down the Command/Control key and click on the thumbnail of Layer 6, which is the clipping mask for that photo. This will select that rectangle and you will see the marching ants around it. Continue, but this time use the  Command/Control key and the Shift key and click on the thumbnails for Layers 7, 8 and 9 clipping masks. Holding down the Shift key allows you to add more selections together. When you have all four of the areas selected, make sure you are on Layer 10, click on the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the Layers Panel. This will add a layer mask on Layer 10 and the texture will be applied only to the photos since the  areas over the photos will be white allowing the texture to show on the layer below.

Layer 11.  This layer is the title, "Back to School." I used Century Gothic Bold Italic font. I wanted to distress the letters. I used the technique I showed in my blog entry about using Filter/Distort/Displace. 


I knew I would not need to keep the text editable, so I rasterized the text layer. A text layer is a vector layer and really doesn't have any pixels on it. This displacement technique needs to have pixels on the layer. So you have to rasterize the layer to put pixels on the layer. But, it is no longer editable. I actually used Kim's kk_stainedLinen texture for my displacement map. The file for a displacement needs to be a .psd file. The texture file is a .jpg file. What I did was open the .jpg texture file in Photoshop and then Saved As a .psd file. I now can use that .psd file for my displacement. I added a Drop Shadow and Bevel and Emboss effects to the text.

Layers 9, 9a and 9b.  Layers 8, 8a, and 8b.  After looking at the layout, I decided to move the lower right-hand photo up into line with the top photos. This would allow me to put some text below the top row of photos in the open area. Then after moving the photo upward I also moved it a little to the right and also centered the middle photo between the two end photos. Remember, that when you move the photo you need to have all three associated layers selected. The photo mask layer, the photo layer, and the black and white adjustment layer.  However, after you have moved the images, you will notice that the texture layer does not follow and you have the texture showing where the images used to be and not where they are now. You can see it where the right image used to be and just to the left of the middle image since it was moved to the right. And, the texture is no longer over the moved photos.

Layer 11a.  I also put a Solid Color Fill Layer above the text Layer 11 and then clipped it to the text layer. I sampled the color for the layer from the palm trees in the background image. Using the adjustment layer for the text color allows me to change the color easily if I want to do so.

Layer 10.  The way I corrected for the texture not being over the photos was to go back to Layer 10,  the layer with the texture  kk_stainedLinen, and the layer mask showing the white rectangles where the photos used to be. Right-click on the layer mask icon and select Delete Layer Mask. Then do as we did before, hold down the Command/Control key and click on the thumbnail of Layer 6, which is the clipping mask for that photo. This will select that rectangle and you will see the marching ants around it. Continue, but this time use the  Command/Control key and the Shift key and click on the thumbnails for Layers 7, 8 and 9 clipping masks. Holding down the Shift key allows you to add more selections together. When you have all four of the areas selected, make sure you are on Layer 10, click on the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the Layers Panel. This will add a layer mask on Layer 10 and the texture will be applied only to the photos since the  areas over the photos will be white allowing the texture to show on the layer below. And, this is how the layout looks at this point.

Levels 12 and 13.  These two layers contain the text for the layout. I put each part on their own layer. I used Century Gothic Bold 12 pt. with white for the color. With the background image I am using, it was a little difficult to read just as is. So, I added a drop shadow effect. I clicked the Effects button at the bottom of the Layers Panel and selected Drop Shadow. In the Drop Shadow dialog box I set the Blend Mode to Linear Burn, Chose a very dark red (almost black) for the color, Opacity 100%, Angle 45, unchecked Use Global Light, Distance 5 px, Spread 0%, and Size 5 px. I copied the Layer Style from Layer 12 and pasted it into Layer 13.

Layer 14. I used a satellite image of a typhoon for this layer. I used the method of feathering that I show in a previous blog entry.


And, if you followed me to this point, here is the final layout that was created. 

I hope you enjoyed this tour through my thoughts and techniques as I created this layout. This is generally the way I create my layouts. I start with just some thought and go from there. Here I had the idea of using the four photographs to tell the story. And then I just let my mind and serendipity work in their own mysterious ways until I got to the end.

That is all for this eDition of Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen.

Life life and enjoy!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen August 16, 2011

The topic for this week's Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen was chosen from her Texture Tuesday members. There was a contest to select the topic. And, the winner was.........

Olivia.... Her idea was 'a movie'.... Here's her comment....

my challenge entry is A MOVIE.. pick any movie, your favorite movie, the photo just has to go along with the the title! you said to think out of the box.. right! how fun is that!

So, now I had to think about what movie to use. While watching TV in the evening, there was an ad for aluminum siding. It brought to mind all the big scams with aluminum siding that were taking place in the 1960's, especially in the Baltimore, Maryland, area. I was living in Maryland at the time. This brought to mind the movie "Tin Men," which was about the scams. Then, this brought to mind one of my all-time favorite movies,"Flim Flam Man." This is also about scams, but not aluminum siding. I decided to use Flim Flam Man for my movie.

Now a funny thing about the topic of using a movie. The weekly challenge for Jessica Sprague this week is also a movie. I cheated and have used this same layout for both here and with Jessica. However, I made this one ever so slightly different. So the layouts are not identical.

Here is how I did my layout. There are some interesting things that you might enjoy along the way.

Layer 01.  Again, as usual for me,  I started with a white background layer.

Layer 02.  I used a photo that I had of textured aluminum siding for the background of my layout. I brought the photo in as Layer 02.

Layer 03.  I thought that the image was a little too sharp for being a backdrop for everything else and would detract from the rest of the layout. I wanted to blur the image a little. But, I didn't know how much I wanted it blurred. For Layer 03, I duplicated Layer 02. I made the layer a Smart Object. Then I could use smart filters. I used Filter/Blur/Gaussian Blur and set the blur to 10 pixels. Since I had used the Smart Object with a Smart Filter, I could go back in and change the amount of blur at any time. I did use the 10 pixel blur and I left the layer Blending Mode at Normal and set Opacity 90%.

Layer 04.  I didn't like the color of the siding. I thought it was too dark. I added a Solid Color Fill Layer by clicking on the button at the bottom of the Layers Panel. I selected a muddy lighter brown color and then clipped the layer to Layer 03 so it would only color that layer. I set the blending Mode to Soft Light so that you see the texture of the siding and left Opacity at 100%.

Layer 05.  For this layer I used Kim's kk_stainedLinen texture. The texture is 12 X 12-inch, I Placed the image into my layout. This brought in the file name as the layer name and had the image in the transform mode. I moved the sides of the 12 X 12 to fit my 11 X 8.5-inch layout. Since it is a texture I didn't care about a little distortion caused by the transformation. I set the Blend Mode to Divide and Opacity = 50%. I created this in CS5. It has the Divide Mode; my CS4 doesn't have it. But, whatever mode you will be using will depend upon you images and your textures. This just what I used for this layout.

Layer 06.  For this layer, I Placed in the document Kim's kk_warmsun texture. I used Multiply Blend Mode and 80% Opacity. This gave me a nice darkening around the edges and elsewhere.

Layer 7.  While Layer 6 is the active layer, make a composite layer (Command/Control - Option/Alt-Shift-E). This makes a single layer, Layer 7, out of all the visible layers below it. So it will look just like Layer 6, but be on its own layer, Layer 7. I won't show it here; it looks just like Layer 6, above.

Layer 8.  Now this gets a little tricky the way I have done it. This is what the layers look like when I am finished with this layer.

But, to get there I had to do a few things first. I used Arial Black font in black color to type the words across the layout. This gives me the black letters on the type layer, Layer 7. The thumbnail of the layer will be a "T".  Type layers are actually vector layers. What I want to do is use Filter/ Distort/ Displace to create a little distressing to the edges of the letters. And, I want to keep the text editable. If I try to use the Displace on the text layer, I get the message that the layer needs to be rasterized (simplified) first. But, if I do that then the text is no longer editable. If you know you are not going to want to change the text, then just go ahead and rasterize the text. And, then you won't have to do all these next steps. You can just do them on the rasterized text layer. The rasterized text layer will no longer have the "T" in the thumbnail. I like to keep things so I can go back and change them if I want too later.

Here is where Smart Objects come in very handy. I convert my type layer into a Smart Object (Layer/ Smart Objects/ Convert to Smart Object). You will now see the Smart Object symbol in the lower right hand corner of the thumbnail. Double click on the thumbnail to open the underlying text layer. I also added about 1/2-inch of Canvas Size on all side to give a little more room around the text. This is what you now have open. The text is actually on a transparent background.

I then applied the Filter/ Distort/ Displace.  I used a copy of the original siding used for Layer 2, that I had saved on my desktop for easy finding, for the displacement .psd file. This what I got.

You can see the distressing around the edges of the letters. If you are not familiar with using Displacement, you can to the topic about it here on my blog at
to see how you can use it.

Next I want to clip the siding image to these letters. A great thing about Smart Objects is you can put Smart Objects inside of Smart Objects inside of Smart Objects, ad infinitum. You know, big fish have little fish inside them, little fish have littler fish inside them, ad infinitum. So I convert the Smart Object with the letters on it into another Smart Object. Then I brought in the same image I used for the original siding image above the new Smart Object, flipped the image in the horizontal to give it a little change,  and then clipped it to the layer below.

Now we have to save these changes we made in the Smart Objects in order to update the original layer in the document. In our Smart object that is currently open with the clipped image we need to save it. I use  Command/Control - W to Close the document and then click on Save to save it. Then on the Remaining Smart Object, Command/Control - W to Close the document and then click on Save to save it. And we are returned to our original document and the Smart Object is updated. I then set the Blend Mode to Linear Burn and Opacity 50%.  And we have the image as shown above.

Layer 9.  Just for convenience, I turned off the visibility of Layer 8 so I could see the next step more easily. For this layer I created a Pattern that had the words, in black,  FLIM FLAM MAN with 4 spaces after MAN. Then back to the original layout. While Layer 8 was active, I clicked on the Add Pattern Fill button at the bottom of the Layers Panel. This creates Layer 9 above Layer 8. I selected the pattern we just created with the words FLIM FLAM MAN and reduced the Scale until I had 5 columns across the layout. With the Move Tool selected, I used the arrow keys to nudge the 5 columns into place so it was mostly equal around the layout. I used Normal Blend Mode and 40% Opacity for this layer.

Layers 10 to 15.  I added in the names of the actors each on their own layer. I placed them where I wanted them. I placed them over the words FLIM FLAM MAN. I did some minor tweaking of font size and tracking to get the names to fit the space over the words.

Then, with Layer 9 being the active layer, I used the Rectangular Marquee Tool to select the area around an actor name so as to have the words FLIM FLAM MAN under the actor name selected and the used Delete/Backspace to remove the FLIM FLAM MAN from under the actor name. I did this for each actor. And ended up with the layers looking like this at this point.

Layers 16  to 18.  I added in the text. Each line on its own layer. I used Adobe Garamond Pro font, color black. The title is the quote from the movie. Mordecai C. Jones, is the character placed by George C. Scott. The letters that Mordecai Jones uses under his name, M.B.S., C.S., D.D., stands for "Master of Back-Stabbing, Cork-Screwing and Dirty-Dealing!"

Layer 19. The Black and White image of George C. Scott is on this layer. Layer 19 is placed in the Layers Panel just above Layer 7. I used the method of feathering that I show on an earlier entry on my blog, at 


I set the layer Blend Mode to Luminosity and 100% for Opacity. And, that gave me  this final image.

I hope you enjoyed my walk through the construction of this layout for this edition of Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen.

That's all for now.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Using a pattern to create clipping masks

Do you want to have your own arrangement of clipping masks for your layout page? Here is an easy way to make as many clipping masks for your page as you want.

Do you want, say 144 masks on one 12 x 12-inch page like this? Easy!

Or, do you need 16 masks on a page? Easy!

Or, would you like only 4 masks on the page? Again, easy!

Would you like to adjust the arrangement?

Watch my video to see how easy this is to do.

The password is mask.

Enter the password to view the video.

Using a pattern to create clipping masks from Earl Kreins on Vimeo.

The video shows you the idea behind how to do this. I used a square in the example. You could use a rounded corner rectangle, a circle, a dog shape, anything you want when you make your pattern. If you know about what size you want the masks to be, then I would suggest making the pattern about that size. This is because at 100% scaling, the pattern created in the pattern fill is the size of the pattern you made. If for example, as in my video, I used a 1-inch square document to put in my pattern with 1/16th-inch around it. That gave me a 1/8th-inch between the squares. This happens at 100%. If I go to a smaller percent, the spacing between the squares becomes smaller, that is, less than 1/8th-inch. If I increase the scaling greater than 100%, the spacing between the squares becomes greater. You can see this in the images above. But, you don't have to think too much about it, since you can always move or transform the masks as you want them on the page.

Also, if you don't want some of the masks; just don't use them. Turn off the layer visibility or delete the masks you don't want. The whole thing is under your control.

I hope this has been helpful to you.

Enjoy Photoshop and your scrapbooking.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

EarlKDesign_Template_06Landscape FREEBIE for you

It has been a rather long time since I posted a landscape 11 X 8.5-inch freebie template. So, here is one for you. This is Number 6 in my series of freebie landscape templates. It is a fully layered .psd document, 300 ppi, 11 X 8.5-inch (landscape) in size, and white background.

The layout is based on the Log Cabin quilt block. I used to make quilts. One of the first ones that I made was a Log Cabin in browns with a red central square. It was the size for a twin bed. Normally, the quilt block in done as a square. However, since this layout is a rectangular shape, I left the strip that would follow my last one off. If I would have added that strip the design would have been a square.

I started the document with a white background. Above that I placed a decorative Paper. The paper I used is my EarlKDesign_Neutrals_Paper_10.jpg. You can download all 10 of the freebie papers from my blog entry,


Then, I created the Log Cabin design. Each section of the design is on its own layer. There are 8 such layers. This way you can use each one separately as a clipping mask and clip a photo or a paper to it. Or, you could combine some by selecting the layers you want to combine and then merge the layers together to make a larger clipping mask.

Then I brought into the layout the flowers on a stem. This is a .png file that I made. You will also get this file in the download for this template.


I duplicated the flowers on a stem layer (Command/Control-J) and turned off the visibility of the original layer. I worked on the copy layer. This way if I goof I always have my original to use. I added a Gradient Fill adjustment layer above the flowers layer and clipped it to the flowers layer. I used a Noise Gradient to color the flowers. If you are not familiar with Noise Gradients, you can learn about them in my blog entry


Then I added a Drop Shadow and a Bevel and Emboss Layer Styles to the copied flowers on a stem layer.

Then I went back to the flowers on a stem layer and used a selection tool (I used the Lasso Tool) to make a selection around the top flower. Then I copied the selection to its own layer, Command/Control-J. I moved its layer above the Gradient Fill layer. Using the Move Tool, I moved the flower over to the top left of the design and using Free Transform (Command/Control-T) I made it larger. Then, I added a Gradient Fill adjustment layer above the flower layer and clipped it to the flower layer. I used a Noise Gradient to color the flower. While the Gradient Fill dialog was still open, I moved the cursor over the image area, it changes to the Move Tool. I moved the gradient around so that I got the part I wanted over the flower. Then I copied the Layer Styles from the Flowers on a stem layer to the flower layer.

The text layers are just place holders for you to put in your own text. Remember, you can change the font, the size, color, etc.

Remember this whole layout is just a template for a starting point for your own layout. You can adjust it in anyway you see fit to meet your needs.

CLICK HERE to download the Template and the Flowers on a stem. They are a freebie for you. You will have to unzip the file to get to the elements.

This will take you to 4shared.com. From there you will be able to download the file.  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. Also, 4shared.com only allows one person to be downloading the file at a time. So, if you have trouble getting the file to download, you may want to try at a later time as someone may already be downloading it when you tried to do so.

That's all for now.

Enjoy life and keep having fun with Photoshop!