Saturday, 25 August 2012

I would like to make a polka dot pattern

I would like to make a polka dot pattern
In writing this I will make the assumption that you have read I would like to make a swiss dot pattern and so now know a few basics. If you haven't or if you get confused at any point during the tutorial can I suggest that you read that one first which is aimed at newbies.
To begin with open a window which is 2cm by 2 cm, with 300 resolution per inch, RGB and transparent.
Make sure you have your rulers out as positioning is a little more essential with a polka dot, but hey random is good to. Pull your rulers out to 1 cm. You should now have a screen that looks like this

As you can see you have divided the box into quarters. Looks nice and tidy doesn't it :)

Take your brush, any colour any size and put a dot in the first box. Now resize the dot til it is the size you want but stay in the first box. Do you like it? Now with your eye center the dot.

It doesn't have to be exact, but if you do want it to be exact you can pull out your rulers again this time to 0.5 each way.

Once you have your dot duplicate it by clicking on your layer in the layer box and then pulling it down to the new layer icon  which is the tiny box that you use to make new layers. Drop it there. It is a tricky little thing but once you get used to doing it you will wonder how you got by without it.
Now you have two dots exactly the same one on top of the other. Click on the dot in the first box and drag it to the forth box. You now have two dots that are identical in a diagonal formation and in the center of their own little boxes. Nice work :)
If you have done the swiss dot pattern you will know you are nearly there now. Click on the edit tab at the top of the page and go down to define pattern. In the box name your pattern...polka dot seems about right...and then click ok.
Open a new widow 30cm by 30 cm same specifications as before.
In the new window go to layer, the button on the top tool bar, then new fill layer, and then pattern. Polka dot should be the top pattern so just click ok.
Ta da, you are now the proud owner of a page of perfectly spaced polka dots!
I have scaled them up so you can see them better.
There is so much you can now do with your new polka dots. Perhaps you would like them a different color.
Make a new layer and fill with the color of your choice. Now click on control g (actually one of my favourite control buttons) and your new dots will have changed to your new color.
Or perhaps you have a piece of background paper that you really like and you would like to put over your dots. Well put that in a new layer directly above the dots and click control g again.
Things I can do with my new found knowledge
You can use the knowlege you have learned above to make lots of different patterns. Consider taking a nice flower that you already have and putting that in each of the boxes. Perhaps tilt each flower a slightly different direction for interest.
I have put them on a plain pink background so you can see them, but you could choose another patterned one. Pretty isn't it?
Perhaps next time try one Explore what you can do with it and above all don't be afraid to play around with photoshop, after all, you paid for it :)

I would like to change the colour of an element

Changing the color of an element.
One thing I love about photoshop is that there are so many ways to do something. And whilst it may seem confusing over time you come to appreciate that different ways give differing results in differing situations. Which means there is always something else you can try if one doesn't work.
So starting with the basics. It the object you want to recolour is just a basic flat one colour element such as some text in png format. Open the text in a new window, select the new colour and then paint bucket tool and click on each letter.
Or, open a new layer, click on paint bucket and pour in new layer and press control g
If you want a toning colour, click on the colour you wish to tone with, open the element and click control u, this will bring up the hue saturation menu. On the bottom right is a box with colorise. Click in there and you will get a toning color. This also works well with elements of one color such as bows and ribbons as it keep the textures and shadows.
If you wish to change a plain item to one with a pattern open the item in a window then open the pattern in the window above. Press control g and the pattern will become the same shape as your object and you can still move and resize the pattern to get it exactly where you want it.
If you are feeling particulary adventurous, and you are dealing with lots of colours press control u to get the hue menu up. Your first choice is to use in the master setting and slide the hue button around gently. This will change the colors in your picture. It can be fun if a little tricky as although one color may change to something you like another may not. Saturation and lightness can also be gently moved but to be honest don't go overboard lol.
Still more adventurous, ok click on control u and then master, a drop down will come down with the separate colors. I do quite like using this method as I can change individual colors. I find it best to work down one color at a time as it is suprising what an individual color changes. I also find if you turn hue right up for that color you can see what it is actually affecting if anything. Then when you change it you can see what is has changed to, then when you are done slide hue back down. Using it this way you can have a layout and change maybe just one aspect such as the reds.
At the bottom of the layers box are three little boxes the 3rd being new fill adjustment. You can use this to add a solid color, a photo filter or a gradient. Again a super box of tricks. Photo filter is good for a single all over tint. Gradient has tints but with preset colors such as rainbow or metalics. Play around with these and see what you get.
You are still feeling adventurous? Go to the enhance tab and click on adjust colors, color variations. This is quite fun to play around with. Especially if you need an element to have more or less saturation. I use this if I need to change the colur but not the detail and because I can change thing incrementally. Play around with it. It is quite easy, if you want to change the shadows you can either do it by each color or with overall saturation. I have had some good results with flowers that I needed to brighten without losing detail.
I am feeling super adventurous, what do you have for me. Well you colud use adjust color  curves, I have used this a few times, it is also fun and gives you an instant preview of what you will get and you can choose preset styles.
I think my favourite way of playing around with colors is to use the layer styes. Just above where your layers are there is a little drop down menu that goes from normal to luminescent. When you get the hang of these you can do things that make most people go Wha!!!! How the??? Yse they are that good. The best thing to do is take an afternoon to play around with them. Don't be shy, have fun.
So take a pattern paper that you like and open it in a new window. Now open up a layer and give it a solid color. Choose whatever you like, this is just to show you what the layers can do. Now starting with normal use your directional keys to scroll down through the layers. See how each layer changes the paper? Colur will give a more single tone colorful result, hue will keep more of the natural highlights and tones while still changing the color. Screen makes it much lighter. Some you will think 'that doesnt do anything' yet when used on something else it gives a big change.
If you have a paper and you want more saturation duplicate the paper and the use the multply layer on the top layer. If the change  is too much the change the opacity. If you need a paper light choose screen and again change the opacity.
So get really aquainted with the layers, don't be shy, if it looks terrible then you have still learned something.
Got a patterned paper and want to add the pattern over say a ribbon so that it blends rather than be a solid color? Put you ribbon in one window. Then you r pattern in another, now go to the layers and choose soft light. When this works it is really cool. I love using it to add patterns to solid objects.
It is also really good for adding textures, but that is a new blog.
So, I bet you have learned more about adding color than you ever wanted to know and I am sure there are many more. If I have missed out anything really cool be sure to message me and describe it. I know all this is a lot to take in but think of it as a reference. Come back and read again if you get stuck or want inspiration. I know for me it takes a while. Above all though have fun and experiment, so what if what you makes looks hideous, just loosing your fear of trying something new is a triumph in itself.

How to make a swiss dot pattern

How to make a swiss dot pattern
This really has to be the simplest pattern of all which is why I am starting with it. Swiss dot is just row after row of dots. But by learning this you are opening up a whole world of pattern making.
So are you ready to begin...excellent :)
Open a new window by clicking in your work space and then clicking the control button and the n button at the same time. This will bring up the window above which asks you what parameters you wish to use.
This time I am choosing 1cm by 1cm with 300 per inch resolution, RGB colour and a transparent background.
So now you have your window open. It is probably very small so use the magnify icon to make it bigger. Click on the magnify button on the left. Now at the top a new tool bar will have appeared just above your workspace that says fit screen , fill screen and print size. Click on fit screen. Get familiar with these buttons because when you make elements you will probably use them a lot.

So now you have your screen and are chomping at the bit. Where are my dots I hear you say. There are two ways to get your dot. The simplest way is to get your brush by clicking on the brush icon on the left hand menu. If you can't find it it may be because at the moment yours looks like a pencil. Click on the pencil and then right click, this will bring out a new menu, choose brush. Once you have your brush look at the top menu which has now appeared. This menu gives you the choice of what brush to use and what size.  Choose a hard brush, it doesn't really matter what size as you can adjust this using the size slider and pick any colour you like. Put a dot in the middle of the square.
It will probably look a lot like this. You may be wondering well is this in the middle. To be very honest with this particular pattern it doesn't make any difference at all, but as you move on in pattern making it will so if we are being very picky we can get out rulers out. Rulers are in view tab up the top where my arrow is pointing in the picture above. A drop down menu will come out and you pick rulers. The rulers will now show as a white edging along the top and left side as in my picture above.

Carefully click in this white line and then drag across the screen from the left side. A line should come out. Pull it across to 0.5 on the ruler. And then again from the top. You will now have your exact centre. Remember this for future pattern making :)

How big should I make my dot? Well the fun of photoshop is in the experimenting. So I want you to make your own choice and then if it is not to your liking you will know if it is too big or too small. Consider this though the smaller the dot the more spaced out your pattern will be. If your dot fills the whole screen there will be little space in between.
Now click on the edit button along the top and click define pattern. In the new menu give your pattern a seems good... and then click OK. Phew! You are so close now.
So click control n for a new window. Make this one a lot bigger. If you are making a background about 30cm by 30 cm, 300 per inch resolution, RGB, transparent is good.
In your new layer click on the layer tab in the top row it is the 5th button along. Drop down menu go down to new fill layer and then a new drop down choose pattern.
Your new pattern will always be the first one that loads so just click OK on the box that comes out.
Da da! You have dots! And lots of them. Take a bow and feel proud of your creation. The box that is showing gives you a chance to scale the dots bigger or smaller. The ratio between them will always be the same though. So if your dots are too close together go back and make your dot smaller, or vice versa. Now you have this pattern it is yours and there is so much you can do with it. I get a little excited about patterns because I love them so much. Must be the autism in me. Well you can rest now if you want to. Save your page of dots as a png file because you want to keep the transparent background.
Or...... you can choose the second method, after all you know your way around photoshop a little better now.
So open a new window with control n and choose 1 cm by 1cm parameters as before.
This time go to the shape button. It looks like a heart on the left hand menu. Now the shape menu will open along the top bar. Here you can choose shape and size. For a dot we are going to choose a filled in circle.. which is the one that is solid black and make the size 0.5 by 0.5.
Click in the middle of your window and a circle will appear. You can now resize this if you wish. If you look at this dot in comparison to the one made by the brush you will see the edge is more defined. So the shape method gives a cleaner dot. Is this better? Well yes and no. If you want well defined dots in your pattern this is for you, if you want a pattern that blends then perhaps brush is better.
Once you have your dot in place get the marquis tool and surround the dot. Then click move and left arrow. This will surround your shape then the computer asks you to simplify the shape click ok. Why am I doing this? Well unless you simplify the shape you can not use it to define as a pattern because shapes are vectors not rasters. Look up the definitions of these if you want, but know that this is just how it works :) now follow the instructions above to get your pattern.
Why have I given you the second method...well it is because this also opens up new options. Why just have a dot...what about hearts...or flowers? You see I don't want to teach you just how to make one pattern. I want to teach you the method to make anything you want. With confidence you will have opened the world to amazing background papers.

Here I have chosen to use a heart shape and I have scaled it up so you can see it better. I look forward to hearing you have made a start to creating great patterns.


Friday, 24 August 2012

I would like to make scalloped edging

How to make scalloped edging.
This is going to use one of my favourite techniques which is offset. Offset is your friend in so many ways and such a time saver.
So I am going to assume you have already read how to make a perfect circle and so don't need to know how to open a page again. If you didn't and you really are a newbie then read that first.
Now I know there are lots of ways of doing the same thing but this is how I make my scalloped edging.
Firstly I open a window which is 1cm by 1 cm. Use magnify...the second button on the left to click in til the picture becomes big enough.
Then I click on the shapes button on the left hand side column. It has a heart picture on it.
A new tool bar will appear at the top which gives you all the shapes and what size you want them. The first one is proportion click 1 cm by 1 cm. The second is shape, pick the solid circle.
 Now click inside the window to make your circle, any color I don't mind :)

I went with girly pink. So it's pretty easy so far right?
Now using the marquis tool on a new layer ...I know you know where new layer is but just in case it is the box on the bottom right hand side at the bottom...ok make a rectangle that is the same width as the circle from halfway down and going to the bottom of the box. Also fill this in with your chosen colour (the same color obviosly lol) Control d to get rid of the marquis lines.

 I hope we are all in the same

Now merge visible layers. 

To do this go to the layer button at the top, 5th button in, drop down menu and look at the bottom and pick merge visible.

If it isn't working it is because you are not clicked on either of your layers.

 Now if you want to get fancy at this point you can make a hole in the scallop. To do this use your eraser on brush and choose a size that gives you the hole you want. Or go crazy and put lots of holes in, what ever makes you smile.

Ignore this next bit unless you are super duper and move on to 
are we all together...
If you really want to be clever then pick another shape from the shape menu. Open a new layer by clicking on the new layer box at the bottom left of the layer pallette and choose  another color. This is so the shapes show up against each other. You now have 2 layers, one with the scallop element and one with a shape you would like to cut out of it.
Select the layer with the shape to be cut out. Hold down the control key and click on the little picture of the element in the layers pallette  (layer pallette is bottom right of the screen.)
Or using the marquee tool put a marquis box around it and click on the move tool (first box on the left hand side menu)  then press the right arrow. 
Either way will put marching ants all around the shape.
It will say the shape needs simplifying (This is because shapes are vectors not raster images and need to be converted). Click yes. 
This will put the marquis around the shape. 
If you used the marquee and move method click the left arrow to make sure your shape is still in the middle. 
Now click on the layer of your scallop.
You want to make a layer that has your scallop shape but with the hole shape cut out of it. To do this  click and hold  the control key,the up arrow which is right above the control key and the i button. This will select the inverse area around the cut out shape and select it from the scallop shape giving you everything but the hole you want.
Then click control j. This puts your new selection in its own layer.
 So now you are thinking is this an episode from star trek...I know's confusing but if you follow it slowly and exactly you get this
 There will now be three layers in your layer box. One will be you scallop element. One will be the shape you chose to cut out of it and one has your scallop element which has the perfect hole in the shape you chose. Ta da!
I made the hole big so you can see the shape, but really that is too around with it and have fun
Are we all together?
Hello again :) 
Now for the fun bit.
Select the whole shape again using either method above
The marquis will now be around the exact shape.
Click on image and then crop using the image tab then down to crop.
Control d to get rid of marquis. 
This is to make sure there are no gaps around your shape which sometimes happens.
Click on filter and go right down to the bottom of the menu to other, a new menu will pop out, then click offset.
I know you are probably thinking this is a lot of work but it is worth it I promise you. Because if you get familliar with this so many things open up to you.
So you are now in offset, slide the across slider until your shape is moved halfway. Check there is no gap between. If there is use your dropper to pick the exact color again and then paint a line down between.
Now click on image: resize: canvas and make the height 2 cm. This is not essential but makes things easier.
Click on edit and define pattern, name it scallop and are nearly there :)
Open a new window 20 cm by 20 cm and click on layer tab, then new fill layer, then pattern and then click ok.
You will now have rows and rows of scallops that can be adjusted for size by clicking on the layer thumbnail.
Once you have the size you want open a new window and click on the window in the project bin at the very bottom of the page which has your layer with the rows in and drag it into the new window, this will transfer the lines across.
(Why did i do this? Some things that you do in photoshop have background programming that limits their editable nature. Dragging and dropping gets rid of the background programming allowing you to edit them in ways that were not possible in the old window.Now you will be able to edit them further.)
Put a box of marquis around a row and press control j to get just one line of scallops in a new layer.
Hide the other layer and you now have a row of scallops that can be used for edging or to make a frame.
Once you have the basic row find a nice pattern paper that you like. Put it in a layer above the row and then click control g. This will cut the pattern paper to the exact shape. Use move tool to move the paper up and down till the pattern looks good on your scallops.

Try adding a texture to the paper, such as canvas which can be found in filter then texture and then texturiser
 Even better as they are made from a tile if you want to make a scallop frame using the simple circle technique the ends should match perfectly if you make sure each end of the ribbon is cut off at the same point.
Try it, turn your new scallop upside down, take it to 2/3s of the way down the page, make it wider and then filter, distort and polar coordinates, rectangle,ok
Again you can place a patterned paper in a layer above and click control g to make a lovely picture frame. This is one I made earlier.
I know this has been a lot to take in. It has been a whirlwind of tabs and control buttons. Well done to you and pat yourself on the back. Take your time and go back over this until the buttons become so familiar you don't have to think before using a short cut control button to do something else that you want to do.
Nest time I will show you how learning to use offset will open up a whole new world in pattern making for papers. No longer will you have to spend money getting the exact thing you need.
Bye for now

How to make a perfect circle frame

This tutorial will help you make a simple circle frame
I am using photoshop elements 9.
I usually begin by choosing a ribbon that I like. Once you have mastered the simplicity of making the frame I will give tips on more you can do. Open up a photoshop elements and click in the window. Now hold down the control button and the letter n at the same time. You will see this:
I usually choose a:
20cm by 20 cm window
with 300 pixels per inch
RGB color
 and a transparent background.
Then click ok.

Its nice to get started on something new :)
If you already have a piece of ribbon that you like open it up in this new window. I open my pictures file and drag and drop the picture into photoshop. If you don't have any ribbon don't worry, this tut is about the technique so using your marquis tool make a long rectangle across the screen like this and fill with any color.

Make sure your ribbon goes right across from one side to the other with no gaps at all. Now take your ribbon down the page to about 2/3rds from the bottom. If you have a pattern on your ribbon which is obviously one way up only click on the image tab which is 3rd from the left top most button.
There you wil get a drop down menu. Click on rotate and another menu comes out. Go down to rotate 180 degrees and click on that. Your ribbon will now be upside down. This is necesary as when turning the ribbon into a circle the ends go upwards leaving the design inside. So your ribbon or rectangle of color is now at the bottom of your screen. And if you have a ribbon it is upside down.

The next thing you need to consider is that when turning your ribbon into a circle it will become stretched and therefore thinner. If you have a recognisable pattern on your ribbon it may look squashed. To counteract that it is advisable to use your move tool. Click on your ribbon and drag it upwards to make it thicker.

So now you have this, your ribbon is at the bottom of the page and is is stretched thicker. Is this thick enough? you may be asking now. Well I don't know yet, you have to wait for the patient :)

Now comes the fun bit, go to the top of the page and look for filter its not in red but it is the 7th button in on the top row. Its where lots of the fun things are stored. When you get used to photoshop elements you will be playing around in this area for sure. Another drop down menu will come out. Look down the row and you will see distort, click on that and another drop down comes out (it's like a sweetie shop you just don't know it yet) and this time find polar coordinates and click on that.


I hope the picture I have uploaded is clear enough. It shows you where image is for the rotate and it shows you where filter is. Once you have done this you will get this box showing. Click in the first dot which is rectangular and then click ok.

Now hopefully the magic should happen and your ribbon or rectangle should look like this and you will be jumping up and down and clapping your hands.

Maybe tho it doesnt so quick trouble shoot.

1 It looks squashed:  no worries click the control button and the z button to undo the last move. Drag the ribbon wider and then redo the polar coordinates.

2 my ribbon is too thick:  okay as above undo the last move but make the ribbon thinner and then redo polar coordinates.

3 There is a gap at the top of my frame:  this is because the ribbon wasn't fully touching both sides, sometimes its really hard to see little gaps but undo the polar coordinates and enlarge the ribbon until it definately touches... but no more.

4. The join at the top is obvious or the pattern doesn't match...ok whoa there we are just getting started and nothing is perfect. If it is really obvious there are a few things you can do.

Firstly use the image and rotate 180 degrees so the join is at the bottom and place other decorations on top da da! That is cheating I know but if you have just got started you may want to have a rest now :)

Secondly if you are a little more advanced use the clone tool on the left hand side halfway down to match the pieces together. Click on the clone tool. Make sure the brush is the right size ie small enough, then click the piece you are going to clone and press the alt button at the same time then click on the join and run the brush down. It takes a bit of practice but it is very effective. Look the obvious join is gone.

5. My pattern is upside down. You forgot to turn your ribbon upside down before you did polar coordinate. Undo the polar coordinate and turn your ribbon 180 degrees.

So now you have a perfect circle frame ...whats that? You don't? well if it is not a perfect circle it is because the page was not an equal square so go back and check.

Right now you have a perfect circle. Well done. Just think of all the things you can do now you know how to do this!

This is one of my frames. I hear you going whoa nelly how the heck? But it really is all done using this technique and then just layering. In this frame there are three layers of lace ribbon. One layer of curled paper ribbon. One layer of pearl beads, again just do it exactly the same way stretch or reduce until the beads look perfectly round. Then put them all on top of one another. Make larger or smaller as required and don't forget that you can hold down control and click on all the layers, then go to the top and click on the align button. Found when you are using move and align away, centre horizontal and vertical.
Are you feeling creative? I hope you are and  will get good use out of this tutorial. Please leave me feedback to let me know if there is anything confusing.

Good luck

Claire :)