Friday, January 22, 2010

Fun Free Digi-Scrapbooking Template Plus BONUS

Hi all!

I have a number of half-finished, even some all-the-way-finished(!), templates in my "work queue," so I've been working on getting some of them out the door and into your capable hands. 

Today's FREE template is a fun one that I created based on a layout I made for my son's wedding album.  It INCLUDES two Bonus Items: the "Meant to be with You" word art, AND the "love you" photo mask.  And, in case you want to change the "love you" part of the photo mask to something else, I've also included the mask as two separate layers; the rectangle shape, and the text.

Here's the layout that inspired the template:

Download Webajeb-Template-039 from 4shared in .PSD format here, or in .TIF format here.  (Take a look at other Webajeb templates at my online store!)

Enjoy my templates, and please share the layouts you make!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

FREE Digital ScrapbookingTemplates


It's been too long since I've posted templates so here are a couple freebies for you.  Use them alone, or together.  The one on the right was inspired by a traditional page layout in the Scrapbooks Etc. magazine (february 2010, page 21).  I created the layout on the left as a companion page, and as a place to put a large title for the 2-page layout I had in mind.

I love the grid-style layout, not to mention spots for up to 9 photos on one page!  This would be perfect for a Year in Review layout, too, for 2010.  There are 12 spots for photos, and a large section for title and journaling.  Or use the larger space for a photo, and one of the smaller ones for title and journaling.

As with all of my templates these include a layer with numbers so that you can quickly see which layer to highlight before dragging your photo in.  (You'll want to hide or delete this layer before printing or posting.)  All clippable layers have a plus sign (+) preceding their name in the layers palette.

Here are the layouts I made with these templates:

{click on either image for a larger view}

Download the templates from 4shared in .PSD format here or .TIF format here.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Creating Digital Paper on the Fly


My goal for this year is to reduce my dependence on pre-made digital paper and elements.   Instead I want to create a toolbox of skills, or quick procedures, to create paper and elements on the fly, as part of designing a  page layout.

I found a quick and easy method of creating solid colored, textured, digital paper being demonstrated in a video on YouTube by Chris Beasley of

Watch the video (it's nice and short!), learn the technique, then use my cheatsheet notes below to refresh your memory when needed.

Cheatsheet notes:

1.  Open a new 12x12 blank document.
2.  Fill the background layer with the color of your choice.
3.  Create an adjustment layer, select Pattern, and choose "Gouache Light on Watercolor" from the "Artist Surfaces" group of patterns (load these, if needed, as shown in the video). Increase the scale to 1000%, or as desired.
4.  Change the layer's blend mode to Overlay.
5.  Reduce the opacity to 40%, or as desired.
6.  Create another adjustment layer, select Pattern, and this time choose "Dark Coarse Weave." Increase the scale to 125%, or as desired.
7.  Change the layer's blend mode to Soft Light.
8. Reduce the opacity to 30%, or as desired.
9. Save as a .JPG file.


I recommend keeping the .PSD file as well as the .JPG.  As CB mentions at the end of the video, if you have the .PSD file (or .TIF, if that's what you prefer), you can open the original file and experiment with different blend modes, scales, and opacity on the adjustment layers.

You could also swap out the Patterns and experiment with those, trying different combinations of patterns for endless possibilities.

One of my favorite things about having the .PSD file handy is that I can use the Paint Bucket and simply fill the background layer with a different color (pull a color from your photo or from a patterned paper that you are using) and instantly have a coordinating paper with the same texture to use in my layout. How about orange?

Or experiment with the Gradient tool:

How cool is that????

I'll be collecting more fun techniques for creating digital paper On the Fly, and writing them up in Cheatsheet format.  Feel free to copy and paste to your own blogs, share my Cheatsheets with your friends, print them out for easy reference, they're copyright-free.  (A link back to me is appreciated, but not necessary.)

Put that in your Digital Toolbox and Use It!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Online Scrapbooking Classes Are Just Not Doing it for Me

I mentioned in an earlier post that I've developed a dislike for online scrapbooking classes, especially the ones with a long list of supplies to purchase.  The cost of a class can range from free to upwards of $95.  I got an email invite to one of these classes this weekend and, though the class sounds real nice, it's been my experience that the time I spend "in" class is yet one more activity that takes away from the time I could be, um, scrapbooking!

And I have a confession to make.  Of the half-dozen or so online classes I signed up for last year?  I didn't finish a single one, not even the ones I paid money for!

That just made me feel stupid not to mention a little poorer in both money and time.  Oh, and printer ink and paper, too, because it seems there's always stuff you gotta print out; worksheets, checklists, workbook dividers, organizational charts, and other handouts.  Aren't we digital scrapbookers trying to move toward paperless???  I only want to print my finished layouts! Instead, I ended up with a stack of stuff printed on cardstock but that I never put to use because I both lost interest in the class because there was too much  filling in of the blanks on those printouts (by hand!) AND I was busy scrapbooking.......!

Most classes now also include audio and/or video lessons.  I seldom have the patience to watch the video lessons (and I have even less patience with audio because I am a very visual learner). I'm sure a lot of people like them, but I don't.  Just give me a written tutorial with a few (a few, not dozens!) of screenshots.  I like to have something static to refer back to later if I need to; I don't want to have to watch the video all over again!  I can save a written tutorial in my Tutorials folder on my laptop and then search that folder for key words to find all tutorials dealing with the skill I am interested in.  As far as I know you can't search a video in that way.

And let's face it; there are so many versions of Photoshop CS and Photoshop Elements and Digital Imaging Pro, and Scrapbook Max, and MemoryMixer, and there are new ones popping up all the time, these classes can't possibly cover the detailed step-by-step for every one of them.  I would rather the "lessons" just use terms such as "select {insert name of object here}" and let me decide which tool (in Photoshop CS3, in my case) to use to do that.  Let's understand our software, not just follow step-by-step procedures to perform a task because when one of those steps doesn't work for our particular software, we're hosed!

But not if you've learned to use the tools in your scrapbooking software's toolbox.  Then you can just say to yourself: "Self, my software does that in a different way, and I know what it is!"

Back to those {usually quite long} "supply" lists............granted, they are usually at their most damaging to your wallet if you are doing traditionl {paper} scrapbooking but, good grief, I've seen some for online digital scrapbooking that are ridiculous!  Most common is for the supply list to consist of kits and other products sold at the website that is offering the class.  Well, ok, that's a marketing technique to get more sales, I understand that.  But the rebel in me wants the choice to use products that I already have or {gasp!} my own designs.  Some instructors do say go ahead and use whatever you want or have but the lessons (and screenshots) are always geared toward using what's on the supply list.  Sorry, but that just saps my own creativity.

LOTS of people love those classes; they must, or there wouldn't be such a huge number of them being offered, and more popping up every day.  If you're one of those people, more power to ya, and have fun.

But don't look for me in class. ;-D

Monday, January 4, 2010

FREE-Webajeb's First LAYERED Quick Page!!!


Introducing...the very first....LAYERED QUICK PAGE!!!  WOOT!

This is not just a template, and it's not just a quick page - it's BOTH!  Each element is still on its own layer in a .PSD or .TIF file (download either or both!) and has NOT been flattened to a .PNG file.

You can choose to either pop your own photos into the spaces provided OR move any of the elements around, resize or recolor them, change the title, swap out the elements with your own or another designer's, pull the individual elements out to use in other layouts, whatever your little heart desires!  The paper and elements are created by me, and are copyright-free, so have fun with them!  Giving credit to me is appreciated, but not required.  {The ONLY thing I ask is that you do not rename them and sell them as your own.}

I'm VERY excited about these . . . even though they are going to take longer to create than regular templates . . . hm, they'll take longer to create than regular quick pages, too . . . still, I'd love to have found something like these out there in digital-land myself, especially when I was a beginner digital scrapbooker (and in many ways I still am since there's always so much to learn).

The inspiration for this first layered quick page came from a layout I did for a client a year or so ago.  I've always loved the bright, pastel colors and the sticker look of the sun and title elements.  The fun background paper is one I created using a photo of my Mom's parquet entryway floor as a texture, then playing with color overlays.  The sun is a standard Photoshop Custom Shape and the font is Flowerchild, available free at  To make them look like stickers (with the white border) I added a size 16 white stroke on the outside.  Add a drop-shadow and you've got the sticker look. It works with pretty much any custom shape and or text.

Here's the original layout:

I do have a problem, though, and I need your help.

I don't know what to call these!  I don't want to just call them "layered quick pages."  Boring!  So that's where you come in.  If you've got an idea for a fun & catchy name, please leave a comment, or send me an email.  If I pick yours, you'll NEVER pay for a Webajeb "Layered Quick Page" - Ever!  I'll simply send you each new file in an email when I post it!  I'm hoping that bribe will prompt you to put on your thinking caps and hook me up with an awesome name.

The other thing I'd love is feedback after you've tried using this.  What worked, and what didn't?  What should I do differently?  I want these to be as useful as possible for you, so any and all critique will be welcome!

Download the file from 4shared as a .PSD here, or as a .TIF here.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

How to Make Outline-Style Digital Elements - Free Tutorial

So I really didn't forget that I had promised to show you how to make the outline-style digital scrapbooking elements....I just forgot that I said I would do it in my "next post!"  Uh, that was several posts ago, heh!  So I apologize if you've been waiting and watching for the tutorial.

So, here's how to do it.  It's easy, and there's nothing to buy!

1.  Open a new document in PS or PSE.  Specify a 4x4 doc at 300 dpi with a transparent background.

2.  Get your Custom Shape Tool, then pick any fun shape from the drop-down list.

3.  Draw the shape (hold down the Shift key to keep the proportions accurate) until it pretty much fills your document.  When you let go of your mouse button the shape will fill with whatever color is your foreground chip.  The color doesn't matter; you can easily change it now or later.

4.  Rasterize the layer (for PSE users, Simplify the layer).

5.  Hold down the CNTL key and click on the shape image in your layers palette.  You should see the marching ants around the entire shape.

6.  From your menu choose Select, Modify, Contract and enter a value of 15 pixels.  (You may need to adjust this number, depending on the shape you select, so don't be afraid to back up and try again if you aren't happy with the results.)

7.  Now press the delete key to delete the inner portion of your shape.  You now have an outline-style shape!  Be sure to save it as a .PNG file so that it will have a transparent background.

Use it as is to frame a photo, or apply a bevel/emboss or another style, re-color it, clip patterned paper to it, whatever you want.  For my christmas tree elements I used the Bevel/Emboss layer style with the following values: Inner Bevel, Smooth, Depth 205, Direction Up, Size 21, Soften 0.

Experiment with the values and see what you like best.  (Try using Direction Down for a fun letterpress look!)

These are quick and easy enough to make on the fly, as you are working on a layout.  You can even create them directly in your layout and not bother to save it as a separate file (one less file to tag and keep track of and then not be able to find when you want it next)!

Have fun with it!

Rogue Digital Scrapbooking

At the start of a brand new year I always want CHANGE.

Does anyone else feel that way?

It just seems like the perfect time to start something new, or to stop doing something I dislike or am tired of, or that's not adding value to my life.  Having just enjoyed the holidays, and the extra family time they usually bring, is another reason this time of the year is perfect for re-evaluating what's truly important, and for putting the unimportant things out at the curb with the rest of the trash!

Now that it's a brand new year, I am going to be trying some new things here at Webajeb.  But before I tell you what those things are, here are a few things I will NOT be doing:

* Offering online digital scrapbooking classes that require you to buy my products.
* Using the phrases "digital goodness" or "ribbony goodness" or anything remotely similar.
* Putting together a creative team to make layouts with my products.
* Having contests or giveaways as a way to get you to leave comments on my blog.
* Giving out or accepting meaningless blog awards that someone made up.
* Sponsoring, or being a part of, a blog train.
* Charge extra, or say no, if someone wants to use my products commercially.
* Posting photos of my home remodeling projects on this blog instead of my personal blog.
* Posting links to freebies that expire after a certain amount of time.
* A restrictive Terms of Use policy.

LOL!  As you've probably guessed, these are things that I don't care much for. Most of them are popular right now in the scrapbooking world but as a "rogue" digital scrapbooker, I've never like following trends. It drives me crazy when one scrapbooking blog starts a blog train, for example, and then all of a sudden every scrapbooking blog has a blog train. Have you ever tried to work your way through a blog train and collect all the freebies? You can waste literally hours of precious scrapbooking time clicking through all the blogs and downloading stuff that you'll probably never use, don't need, and won't be able to find later if by chance you do want to use it.

However, I digress!

Some things that will stay the same:

* Webajeb content that's all about digital scrapbooking.  (If you want to get to know me on a more personal basis, you are more than welcome to follow my personal blog.)
* A simple, uncluttered blog design.
* Copyright-free content and digital products.
* Freebies with links that never expire.
* Samples of my work, both personal and for clients.

And the new stuff!  I'm excited about heading off in a bit of a different direction this year. Webajeb is going to be more about skills than products.  Oh, I'll still be creating my own digital products and offering them for sale and as freebies but I will be including brief tutorials whenever I can to teach you ways to make the product more useful to you.

My "Wee Three Trees" freebie (download it at 4shared here) is a good example of this.  With the elements I included directions on how to easily change their color to match your background paper or photo(s).  To me, having a single .png file of an element and being able to change its color to suit me, is better than having 12 copies of the same .png file, with each in a different color.

I'll also be writing more tutorials that teach you the skills you need to make your own paper and elements, on the fly, instead of having to spend precious scrapbooking time searching your digital files or the internet for that perfect item.

I can't even think how much time I've wasted searching for stuff on my external hard drive.  Obviously, lots of people have the same issue or there wouldn't be so many digital file organization software packages out there!  Not only do we, as digital scrapbookers, have a lot of photos, but we also have thousands of digital product files!  Keeping all that stuff organized and tagged is frustrating and takes constant diligence.  Frankly, I barely have the patience for it (hence, my dislike for blog trains).

Another new thing is one that I'm super excited about: layered quick pages.  Yep, a combination of layered templates and quick pages!!  These .PSD & .TIF files will be completed scrapbook layouts (a quick page) that are ready for your photos - the difference is that the file is still in layers, like a template, so you will be able to add, delete, or move the layer contents around, change the color or size of individual elements, even pull elements out to use on other scrapbook layouts!

Because I'm most excited about the layered quick pages, I'm going to be busily creating a BUNCH of them over the next month or so (hopefully not to the total abandonment of tutorials, heh), so be sure to check back frequently.

I'll have the first one up either later today, or tomorrow!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Layout Using FREE Wee Three Trees Elements

In my last post I offered a last-minute Christmas freebie, a set of three embossed tree elements.  (You can still download the set at 4shared by clicking here.)

Today I just wanted to share a quick layout I made using the elements.  As you can see I changed the color of the trees to match my background, resized and moved them around until I was happy with the balance of the layout.  I love simple layouts that allow the photo or photos to be the focus.

The background "paper" is actually a texture that I downloaded from the Shadowhouse Creations blog.  The blog creator, skeletalmess, frequently posts textures, tutorials, and brushes which he offers as free downloads under a creative commons license.  I love his stuff!  You can apply the textures to photos, too.  Look through his blog and you'll see some of his own gorgeous artwork.  I think you'll find it very impressive!

How is your scrapbooking coming along?