Project Life Blog Hop

Today I am participating in a Project Life Blog Hop, hosted by Margie of Nihao, Cupcake! I am a very silly person to have scheduled this for myself, as I will be in class for 12 hours Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (needless to say this post is being written in advance) and currently have a 15 page paper and a hundred or so pages of reading still to do. But this is way more fun! If you read my blog with any frequency you’ll know I’m a wordy girl, both in PL spreads (“Now how can I squeeze in more journaling…”) and in my blogging. But today I’m going to get straight to the goods and then get back to writing that paper!

If you want to check out my latest Project Life spread, it’s one post back and I’d be delighted for you to take a look. For today, however, I wanted to share two of the reminders/tips that I rely on in making my PL pages. I do my PL digitally, using Photoshop, so that’s who these tips will be most useful for (although you can also use them to work with your materials, photos and journal cards, if you edit them digitally before printing). These will seem very basic to many of you, but I have to constantly remind myself of them, so I am hoping whether it’s new or a nudge, they will be helpful to some.

1) Screen! Screen like the wind!

I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to make my weekly PL assembly take less time. One of the best tricks I’ve found is for quick-and-dirty photo editing in Photoshop. I don’t have a real camera (I use my iPhone 4) and so sometimes my photo looks like crap (usually too dark or oversaturated), but then I don’t want to take the time (or don’t have the time) to muck around with actions and textures and fancy-pants adjustments. The best thing about this particular adjustment is I can do it after the photo is already in its spot on my layout. So I can put together my layout and then if I have a little extra time I can do a quick finesse of the photos to make them look not-so-crap.


Now, I’m not saying this has suddenly become an awesome, or even a well-edited photograph. However I think it’s a serious improvement that you can now actually *see* what the photograph is of. Just sayin’.

Here’s what I do:
1) Duplicate the photo layer (command/control-J)
2) Change the Blending Mode of the new layer to Screen (the blending modes are found in the drop-down menu at the top of the layers palette, see diagram below). Your picture will magically look better! This is quick and dirty so we won’t go into why right now. You can also experiment with the modes Mulitply (good for overexposed pics) and Overlay.
3) If the picture is now overexposed/too light, lower the opacity of the Screen layer. (The opacity control is found at the top of the layers palette, see diagram below.)
4) If the picture still needs lightening up, you can duplicate the Screen layer and then adjust the opacity of the resulting layer until it’s juuuust right.

2) Don’t forget you can recolor!

There are so many great freebie Project Life materials out there, but I usually end up making my own or using a kit because there is rarely a freebie journal card or filler card that matches whatever color scheme I have going. I forget that because I am doing this digitally, I have the power to basically make everything match! The real tip here is DON’T FORGET! that you have this power, but I am also going to show you a quick and dirty way to recolor on the fly.
Let’s say I want to use this cute freebie journal card from Persnickety Prints but I don’t like the orange, so I want to make it match this set of papers I’m making for the PixelScrapper April Paper-a-Day Challenge.
1) Make a copy of the original card (Image > Duplicate) to work on so you don’t risk accidentally changing the original forever.
2) Use the eyedropper tool to select a color you want from whatever paper or kit or even photo you’re trying to match. In this case I started by selecting a nice dark lavender to recolor the word “Today.”
3) Go to your copied card. You may need to do Layers > New > Layer from background if your card is currently a locked background rather than a layer.
3a) In the Layers palette, click the “Lock transparent pixels” button. This is really important! If you don’t do this you may end up with horrible “jaggies” – ugly jagged bits poking out everywhere instead of smooth lines.
4) With the color you want to use for recoloring selected, select the Paint Can tool (command/control-G).
4a) What is going to happen here is that you’re going to use the Paint Can to click a part of your journal card (I would click on some part of the word “today” in this case). The Paint Can will recolor pixels that are the same color as the place where you clicked.
4b) If you have Contiguous checked up in the top menu for the Paint Can, it will only recolor within the area you clicked, up to the boundaries of that continuous area. But if Contiguous is not clicked, it will recolor everything in the document that is in that color. I unchecked Contiguous when I recolored the arrow, and it recolored the bottom orange stripe at the same time. If I had wanted the arrow and stripe to be different colors, I would have needed to make sure I had checked Contiguous.
4c) You can adjust the Tolerance (next to Contiguous) to fine-tune this. If the chevrons at the bottom had been cream instead of yellow, for example, I might have wanted to reset the tolerance to be very low (so the Paint Can will only recolor pixels that are very similar to the one I am clicking on) so it didn’t also recolor the white background. A higher tolerance will include a wider range of pixels in the recoloring.
4d) Make sure the Opacity of the Paint Can is at 100%, unless you’re trying to do some fancy color blending. If you recolor but end up with a color that isn’t the one you were expecting, check the Opacity setting.
4e) Yep, like the edited photo above, the results aren’t perfect. There are faint orange outlines remaining around the arrow and the bottom stripe. Sometimes you can fix this by adjusting the Tolerance, making it higher (to include more of those orange pixels). Other times you just trill “Good enough!,” throw that recolored card into your PL spread, and go back to reading about Child Therapy. For example. 🙂

Ah, darlings, there was so much more I wanted to say to you and share with you, but I’m out of time and so it will have to be saved for a future blog hop, I suppose. If you want to explore what I’ve done with my Project Life so far this year, you can check that out here, and I wish you luck with your Projects as well!

Here is your roadmap for the rest of this hop:

Michelle R
Michelle B
Scrumptious << YOU ARE HERE
Rechelle << GO HERE NEXT

9 thoughts on “Project Life Blog Hop

  1. Took a peek at your layouts, love the chalkboard style! Beautiful! I just started with digi PL this year and am loving the ease and flexibility of it all so much!!

  2. Great tips! I am pinning this for future reference. I always forget how to recolor and I had no idea about screen overlays. I’ll keep that in mind the next time I want a quick fix for my photos in PS. THanks for joining in on the blog hop!

  3. Thanks for the great tips! The screen overlay looks like it’s JUST what I’ve been missing. And I never knew the trick about lock transparent pixels. I wonder if I have the same option in PSE (Elements)? I’ll definitely check it out. 🙂

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