Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Free Digital Scrapbooking Template Number 043

{Webajeb-Template-043 - 2-page layout!}

It's been awhile since I gave away a freebie, so here's a cool 2-page digital scrapbooking template FREE to my blog readers!  This template was inspired by Sketch #23 in the January 2010 issue of Creating Keepsakes magazine.

Get it in PSD or TIF format (or download both, if you like).  You'll get the 2-page layout as one file AND as individual right and left pages,so you can work with the template in the way you are most comfortable.

These templates include all of my "Easier-to-Use" features: numbers on each photo spot so that you can quickly locate the layer where you want to drop your photo; a plus sign (+) in front of the layer name for layers that are clippable, AND font names included in the layer names for text in case you want to use the same one.

Download in PSD format here or TIF format here.

Visit my online store for more templates, as well as lots of other fun digital scrapbooking products!!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Five Ways to Reduce PSD (or TIF) File Sizes

 {8x8 canvas: PSD file size before: 40.98 MB; PSD file size after: 33.02 MB}

What to keep and what to throw out?

Do you save your layered digital scrapbooking files?  Or do you flatten them into JPGs and then delete the original PSD or TIF file to save space on your hard drive?  Or do you keep both?

I used to keep both; in fact, I used to keep THREE versions of every scrapbook layout that I created: the original layered PSD file, a flattened JPG file for printing, and a smaller, low-res version for the web!

It wasn't long before I realized I was quickly filling up my hard drive and I began to wonder - did I really need to keep three versions of every layout?  If not, which ones should I keep, and which should I throw out?

My first thought was to delete the PSDs.  Because of the layers in a PSD file, they are by far the biggest in size and take up the most hard-drive space.  By deleting them I could quickly free up a lot of space.  My reasoning was that once the layouts were finished and printed I certainly wasn't going to go back and make changes, so why keep them in the layered format?

In talking with other digital scrapbookers I found that most were deleting their PSDs (or TIFs) and keeping only the flattened JPGs.  Not yet 100% sure I wouldn't EVER want to go back and change something on one of my personal layouts, I decided I'd start by deleting all the PSDs for my clients.  After all, once I'd delivered their printed layouts, or their completed albums, I could definitely consider those layouts finalized.

The first decision: Get rid of the huge PSDs files.

I deleted about 200 PSDs and freed up a LOT of space on my hard-drive so I was pretty pleased with myself.  Until a few weeks later . . .

 . . . when I realized that a piece of digital paper that I'd created on-the-fly for a client layout would be perfect for the layout I was working on . . .

. . . but that I hadn't saved it off separately.

Well, that PSD file was gone and all I had was the flattened JPG.  I wasn't going to be able to pull the paper out of that!

I was able to recreate the paper, pretty closely anyway, but it took me a lot longer than if I'd had it available, and it was frustrating to have to do that work over again.

Soon after that I realized that many of the layouts I'd done in the past for clients could easily be reused for another client, or for my own personal layouts, and vice versa!  If I had the PSDs all I would have to do is swap out the photos and change titles and journaling.  Argh!

Why I had never thought of that before I'll never know.  I'm usually pretty good at finding the quickest and easiest way to do something {probably because I'm basically a lazy person, lol}.  It's a totally Murphy's Law kinda thing that it wasn't until after I'd deleted hundreds of my PSD files that I recognized their value.  Or should I say, a totally ME kinda thing to do, as is what I did next: which was to totally reverse my standard operating procedure.

The second decision:  KEEP the huge PSD files.

Now I save the PSDs and delete any JPGs!  After all, I can always quickly & easily make a flattened JPG (high or low-res or both) from the PSD anytime I want, but I can't make a PSD from a flattened JPG!
Then, because there was still the issue of how big PSD files are, I looked for ways to make them as small as possible, and came up with five quick and easy ways.

Five Ways to Reduce PSD (or TIF) File Sizes:

Before starting a new layout:
1. Choose the correct canvas size.  Don't create layouts at 12x12 if you plan to print at 8x8.  Templates, quick pages, and digital papers delivered at 12x12 can be scaled down as needed.

After your layout is finished:

2. Crop the canvas.  With the marquee tool, start at one corner of your canvas and drag the mouse to the opposite corner to select the entire canvas.  From the menu select Image, Crop.  Press Enter.  This trims any part of digital elements or photos that extend outside the boundaries of your canvas. 

3. Delete any hidden or extra (duplicate) layers.  Turning the eye on and off to make sure the layer is truly extra.

4. Delete that original white background layer, if it's no longer needed.  Most likely it's totally covered by another piece of paper!

5. Merge any clipped layers.  This is a biggie!  You'll shrink your file size by a lot by getting merging the clipped layers together.  If you use template you can easily end up with 6 or 7 extra layers (photos) that are clipped to the template.

Some real-life examples:

The layout at the top of this post was done at 8x8.  Using Tips 2 through 5 I was able to reduce the file size from 40.98 MB to 33.02 MB.  Layouts done as 12x12s can be even more dramatic in the file size change results.  Check these two out:
{file size before: 91.85; file size after 65.02}

{file size before: 130.12 MB; file size after: 68.23 MB!}

As you can see, even after clean-up a layout done at 12x12 is going to be considerably bigger than one at 8x8.  So always create at 8x8 (or 8.5x11) unless you know for sure you're going to want to print at 12x12 or bigger.

Note: I once sent a friend one of my layouts (created at 8x8) and she printed it at 12x12 and it looked great, so I'm not convinced that it's ever necessary to go with a  larger canvas........but I wouldn't want to stake my reputation {or your prints} on my limited experience.  ;-)

My final decision:

I'm keeping my {cleaned-up} layered PSD files - only.

Simple.  Uncluttered.  I like it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gettin' Dotty with LAYERED Digital Paper

{dotted LAYERED digital background paper by Webajeb}

{available now in my online store}

Each of the three papers are delivered in both the usual .JPG flattened format AND in layered .PSD and .TIF formats.  So you can either use the .JPG format, as is, open up the .PSD in Photoshop or, if you use a scrapbooking software other than Photoshop, you can use the layered .TIF file.

Here are some of the modifications you can make to my layered papers {instructions are included in the set of three papers}:

* Change the color of any or all the layers.
* Change the opacity of any or all the layers.
* Remove or hide the Bevel & Emboss style on the two dotted layers.
* Add a different style to any or all the layers.
* Add a texture to any or all of the layers.
* Remove or hide any of the layers.
* Enlarge the dotted layers and move them around.
* Add more layers.

Essentially, you can end up with an entirely new, different, and custom-designed-by-YOU piece of digital paper!

Once you've finished with your changes, and are happy with your new paper, save it as a .JPG.  It is now ready to be dragged onto a layout.  That's really all there is to it.

Of course, if you like the papers just as they are, simply use the .JPG file in the download.

Get this set of three layered digital scrapbooking papers, and see what other cool stuff I have, at my online store here!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Revisiting Artsy Quick Pages

{My niece, Megan, on her 21st birthday}

After my last post, Go Big or Go Home, I was surprised to receive numerous comments and emails from people who agreed with me!  I truly believed that I was one of just a few people who dislike the current trend of putting one very small photo on a layout, and leaving lots of "white space" around it.  It's one thing when people are using this technique on their own layouts - that's all a matter of personal style.  But the trend has also extended to many, many of the Quick Pages available for download.

So it was nice to know that I'm not as alone as I thought!  Even nicer? I got some suggestions on a couple of really cool ways to use those Quick Pages.

Lisa of Mama Llama Designs mentioned that the more "artistic" Quick Pages look great when printed on canvas and hung on a wall.  I can envision that very well, and totally agree.

Amber and Belle both wrote to say they use the "artsy" QPs to scrapbook low resolution photos, such as those taken with a cell phone, and which will only print well at a small size anyway.  Awesome idea!

My layout, above, uses a low-res photo that I downloaded from Facebook.  It printed beautifully.

Wouldn't it be great if Quick Pages were customizable?  If you could change the size and/or position of the photo window, the elements, the paper, even the text?  Check out my first ever (and perhaps the only one of its kind anywhere) Layered Quick Page

It's a free download, too!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Go BIG or Go Home

Ok, peeps, what is UP with all the eensy-weensy photos on everyone's digital scrapbook pages???  If you browse any of the popular designer's websites and/or blogs, you know what I'm talking about.  Layout after layout after layout featuring only a single {tiny} photo, lots of digital elements, and a whole lotta blank space.

Not to mention, when I find a really fun Quick Page to download, there they are again -- itty-bitty windows in the .PNG files where you can slide in a photo no bigger than thumbnail-size.  Like this page:

{Quick Page by Creashens}

How CUTE is that page?  And perfect for the sweet photo of my great-niece, Kayla.  But, dang it, when I printed this out at 8"x8" for my family album, Kayla's picture came out measuring only 1.5" x 1.5".  That's wayyy too small for me {when I have to get out my reading glasses to get a good look at the photo I get grumpy}.

Maybe it's just me but when I look at this page I see the focus as being on the elements - the owl, the button, the stitching, the patterned paper border - rather than on the photo.  I like my pages to be the other way around - with my photos as the focus.

I've been waiting a long time for this trend to go away.  And it's just not going away.  I know there's this idea that all that "white space" (aka empty space) on the page is restful to the eyes, artsy, and modern but, in the long run, my goal is to get all my photos scrapbooked with a minimum of time and money spent.  If I scrapbook just one photo per page it's going to take me a LONG time to make any headway, and it's going to cost me a LOT in ink and paper, too, and albums to put all the pages in and page refills, and bookshelves to hold all the albums . . . well, you get the idea.

Well, I never have followed the crowd, but it could be that my taste and/or style is just different.  Like these pages that I did over the weekend:

{double-click any image for a larger view}

As you can see, my tendency is to FILL the page with photos - usually to the extent that there's no place for journaling {I'm working on that}.  I haven't left much room for elements either, like buttons, ribbons, digi-stickers, etc., which is kind of a shame since I have an external hard drive literally stuffed with 'em.

But somehow I'm ok with that.

And I'm keeping Kayla's page, too, 'cuz it's just way too cute not to.