Collecting Advice for Newbies

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Collecting Advice for Newbies

I recently made a post here about the thing that helped me the most when I was starting out and I wondered if anyone else had advice they wanted to add. (Reading the thread here gave me the idea of collecting other people's advice.)

I think the best advise I can give, from the experience I've gained, and being the one that started the thread you're referring too :oops:, is to not download everything you see, even if it is free. AND, make sure you have a system set up to organize it very early on so that you don't have to go through hundreds of kits trying to figure out what to do with them...

A very very noob advice: Don´t be affraid to explore your desigining program - it won´t burn your computer, or delete all your files :p But they have features that you can´t even imagine! Open a paper, a photo, and try all the resources.

Also, for photoshop users: I learn 1 or 2 weeks ago that Control + T is the shortcut for free transform tool. It made my scrap really faster. smiley

Great ideas ladies! Keyboard shortcuts are a great tip.

* In Photoshop & Elements, save in layered TIFF format rather than PSD! This saves an enormous amount of space. I wish I'd known this when I started - at some point I want to go back and re-save all my PSDs as TIFFs but it's way down on the priority list. Here's a post that shows the settings to use when you save the TIFF file: https://www.digitalscrapbookingstudio.com/2012/02/layered-files-psd-vs-tiff/.

* Along these lines, no matter what program you use, when you download a template, go through the folder and delete all the identical copies in different formats, only keeping the one type that works for you. Those folders of PNG files are for people who don't have PS or PSE, so you can toss them. Often designers will offer both TIFF and PSD, I always delete the PSD (although you might want to do a quick check of the file sizes - if the designer has not properly compressed the TIFF it could actually be larger than the PSD). Many templates also now come in Page format, which can be deleted unless the program you use works best with that format.

* We've touched on this in other threads, but download a free renaming program and use it whenever you open files and find they aren't labeled in such a way that you'll be able to find the designer, kit name, and TOU for each and every item, even if they get separated from their original folder. When I started I never thought I'd be posting to online galleries and needing this info for credits lists, or making things to give away and needing to see what the terms of use are for different items. For Mac I use something called NameChanger, the PC program has been mentioned here in a past thread on organizing.

* Make a folder containing a copy of the letter "A" from each of your alphas. Then you can quickly just go through that folder when you're looking for an alpha to use. I keep a separate one with a "1" from each number set, since many of my alphas don't have numbers included. Here's an article on this technique: http://www.nettiodesigns.com/2012/03/22/from-a-to-z-organizing-alphas-with-natalie/

* In terms of actual designing (can you tell I spend an inordinate amount of time downloading and organizing my supplies! but that's a big part of the fun for me, too) if you're not sure how to begin, what to scrap, or how to lay out your page, I think it can be helpful to start with something really structured. Like a list - make a page about your 7 favorite tv shows or 5 facts someone might not know about you, or do one of those "currently" or "right now" pages (you can easily find prompts for these by googling). Here are some "ten things" templates, including a couple that are free at the end of the list: http://logyourmemory.com/2011/03/28/10-things-templates/

* Actions and scripts are your friends! Learn about what they are and how to use them early on (if you use PS or PSE). Make your own actions for things you do frequently - it really helps to take the grind out of digital scrapbooking when things are automated. The scripts I use most I got free from SpeedScraps - go explore what she's got, I bet you'll find something super useful. A great place for tons of tutorials and actions is the Coffeeshop Blog. It will probably be pretty overwhelming if you're truly new to Photoshop/Elements, but once you're comfortable enough that you find yourself saying, "I wish there were an action to do..." remember the Coffeeshop - there's a good chance she's made one! Those are free as well. All of my favorite paid actions I bought from Studio Wendy. She makes really, really useful actions, particularly if you get to the point of wanting to print up your layouts in a photobook.

* Learn how to make and use brushes! Seriously, brushes are the best thing ever. I think there's a tutorial here at PixelScrapper. Another video tutorial: http://justjaimee.com/freebies/creatively-using-brushes-for-digital-scrapbooking-video-tutorial-free-brush-sample/ and a very basic beginner tutorial (including how to load brush files) at Pernickety Prints, along with some free brushes to download: http://blog.persnicketyprints.com/2012/07/how-to-use-brush-in-photoshop.html

* Oh my goodness, the most important photo tip ever - you can make your pics look a million times better just by using blending modes like "screen" and "overlay." Here's a tutorial: http://www.karenfunk.com/2012/11/digital-scrapbook-day-blog-hop.html

* Read Peppermint's Mind-Blowing Shadowing Tutorial over at One Little Bird. If you're anything like I was as a newbie, most of it will mean nothing to you, so get the gist, bookmark it, and come back to it later! smiley

* Learn how to use layer masks. Here's the tutorial that finally made it all make sense to me: http://www.thecoffeeshopblog.com/2009/09/coffeeshop-editing-101-layer-masks.html

omg Violet, loved your post! Thanks for sharing!

I agree, that had some GREAT tips!!

@Violet: You Go Girlfriend!!! Who's the smartest one in the room right now? smiley These are all excellent beginner & intermediate tips you shared and articulated very well!!!

Quote:
* Make a folder containing a copy of the letter "A" from each of your alphas. Then you can quickly just go through that folder when you're looking for an alpha to use. I keep a separate one with a "1" from each number set, since many of my alphas don't have numbers included. Here's an article on this technique: http://www.nettiodesigns.com/2012/03/22/from-a-to-z-organizing-alphas-with-natalie

Another tip to organize your Alphas. if you use PSE Organizer that comes with PSE select all items from your Alpha and look in the menu for the option 'Stack'. What this does is that it stacks all your letter and numbers into 1 stack. You than tag a keyword to it and you're done. if you need the alpha you just click on it and it unstacks again. When your done, click stack again and it's nice and tidy.

I can highly recommend using PSE Organizer as it's one of the only programs that reads .png's

Thanks for all these great tips!

When I just got started I came back again and again to the Daily Digi blog. Don't try to read it all at once, bookmark and come back, eh well... daily smiley

http://thedailydigi.com/category/just-for-beginners/

Wow, I never would have thought of making an Alphas "preview" folder - that's a great idea! No more sifting through folder after folder to decide which one would look best with your layout! AWESOME smiley

Naming files correctly is so important for giving credit and finding the file again!

Thank you for all the great tips!

Great tips! Thank you very much! I am one of the newbies who can't help to download everything nice she sees smiley ....and there are so many amazing creations! I will put a "STOP-Sign" on my screen to remind me of the "good habits" I should have...lol

Wow... that's genius Christine! Thanks for sharing it! smiley

Quote:
Another tip to organize your Alphas. if you use PSE Organizer that comes with PSE select all items from your Alpha and look in the menu for the option 'Stack'. What this does is that it stacks all your letter and numbers into 1 stack. You than tag a keyword to it and you're done. if you need the alpha you just click on it and it unstacks again. When your done, click stack again and it's nice and tidy.

great tips! @Violet, thanks a lot for taking the time to write all these useful tips down! really helpful, everyone!

Great stuffs, I'm going to try "screen" and "overlay." ... my photos is not very good with lighting smiley

Thanks for all the great tips! I may not be a newbie, but I've learned a lot from reading your posts. smiley

This is a great tip Shawna, I'm glad I found it.

Great tips. Thank you!!!

Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

Thanks for the great tips!

Thanks for all the wonderful tips, much appreciated.

@Violet--I know this post is a year old, but I can't thank you enough for the advice!! After reading this I searched for a Renaming program for PC. I'd been renaming folders, but never everything inside so when doing credits I'd have to look back for full info. Anyway I found Bulk Rename, it's free and totally amazing! It shows a preview of what the new filename will look like before renaming and allows reverting back. Now I rename everything with designer & kit name. Ok, then there was Speedscraps, for actions. The free ones, supply tracker and delete non-visible are unbelievable. They have to be done on a psd, but I just save it as a tiff when I'm done. Studio Wendy has some great actions, I even purchased a few. You are my new best friend! smiley smiley smiley

Thanks ladies. One day I will learn to use the old version of Photoshop (CS2). I have only used it to delete backgrounds from images so far.

WOW! So much information! Thank you all.
I have been scrapping for years and am just now finding my own groove. So all newbies, don't get overwhelmed or frustrated that each page you work on is not a work of art. Just be happy that you are getting those memories down somewhere! The artistic part will come with time.

I have to second the "don't download everything" - I think one of the best things that ever happened to me was a computer and EHD crash that wiped out all my scrapping supplies. I had to start over. I am much more discerning now.

A couple other tips -

unzip and file things as soon as you download. If you don't you will end up with lots of files you can't remember why you downloaded and they will be scattered all over the place.

BACK THINGS UP!!!!!! I have a couple of hidden galleries in smug mug where I upload any kits that I truly love and don't want to lose. I upload everything up there so that if I am on the road I can access it as long as I have internet access and my PSE. Be sure to back up pages and pictures as soon as you download/create them. I lost a set of pictures of the last trip I took with my dad 3 months before he died. I had gotten busy and not backed them up, so they are permanently lost. I felt like I lost him all over again. So be sure to back things up!!!!

Now I have to find one of those free renaming programs so I can fix a lot of things and making things better orgainzed!

I was re-reading this topic and realised that no one posted something that, although I haven´t made, I saw too many people saying that they have done it when they were beginners: Never delete the terms of use (TOU) that comes with a kit. You will need it later to see how you can actually use the stuff you have.

Also, it´s good to reinforce: If you´re going to pull things out of the folders where they originally came in, be sure that all the files have, in the beginning of the name, the designer name or initials and kit name or abbreviation. Because when you enter challenges or post the layout on the internet for any other reasons, you are required to give credits to all the designers you used stuff. Even when the designer states on TOU that credits are not required, they are appreciated.

Thank you for starting this thread, Marisa. I scanned the forum for something like this and didn't see it and started a new thread. Sorry. I know you probably try to keep things tidy. I will mark this as I'm off to work now and looks like lots of great advice and comments for a newbie like me. Really loving this site smiley