Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Journal Your Christmas/December Daily: Digital Page Walkthrough

Now that my first couple of December Daily/Journal Your Christmas album pages are up (I really need to come up with a better title...maybe "Journal Your December?"), I thought I'd post a bit of a walkthrough showing how I assemble the digital pages in Photoshop Elements (I'm on version 6 for the Mac).

I'm using Ali Edwards' December Daily 6x8 Layered Templates from Designer Digitals. For the basics, I'm going to refer you to Ali's awesome post on how to use these templates plus some ideas for incorporating them into your album (she's got a great set of videos for you). My goal here is to show you some of the little tweaks I'm making to make these templates my own.

First up, I'm using a digital patterned paper as the background instead of leaving it white. Nothing earth-shattering there, but I do love the slightly distressed look that the white woodgrain paper (by Crystal Wilkerson, available in this pack at JessicaSprague.com) brings to the page. It also coordinates nicely with the woodgrain pattern found in a few of the papers in the Eskimo Kisses line that I'm using for the paper portion of the scrapbook.

Speaking of the paper, I also wanted to customize the text on the templates to coordinate with the Eskimo Kisses line by using some complimentary colors. To make sure that I was choosing colors that would match, I opened a picture of the collection pack for the paper (found on Basic Grey's web site) in PSE. The I selected the overlay layer and went to the Edit menu and selected Fill Layer.

That brought up the Fill Layer dialog (make sure that the Preserve Transparency option is checked). I then chose Color from the drop-down menu...

...and a color selection box popped up. The cool thing about this tool is that if you move your cursor off of the "Choose a Color" dialog and over a file you have open in PSE, you can use the dropper tool to select a color from inside that image. At that point, it's simply a matter of clicking around on the image until you find a color that you want to use. In this case, I chose a plummy-pink shade and clicked the OK button...

...and now the text on my overlay has changed to match my paper. I'm hoping this will be one of those little things that helps to tie the album together.

I repeated the exact same steps for this page, but chose a shade of green instead.

Here's a quick peek at how I'm organizing all this stuff. I have a folder on the desktop of my computer that I'm dumping all my Journal Your Christmas/December Daily items into. I've included everything in this folder- photos that I want to use, copies of Ali's overlays, and even the Basic Grey paper image that I will continue to use as a color reference for each digital page.

I've put a copy of the woodgrain paper file in here, as well, since I plan on using it pretty much every day.

I mentioned last week that I'm going to have pages printed every four days since my local Sam's Club prints enlargements at such a reasonable price. When I'm ready to print pages, I simply create a new canvas at 12x16 inches with a resolution of 300 dpi.

And then I copy each page and position it on the new canvas...

...until it's full and looks something like this.

And then it's off to be printed (bless them for their 1 hour processing). In the past I've printed photos for each day at home, sizing and cropping to fit the page as I went. It's a step that took soooo much time, and one I knew that I needed to simplify this year. Using this method, I was able to get all four pages ready to print in roughly the time it took me to do one last year, meaning that I have a better chance of keeping up with the album this time around (and have more time to play with the fun paper part!).

Hopefully this will help some of you as you assemble your albums. I'll be back later this week with another couple of pages!