Collecting Advice for Newbies

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I'm very new and haven't seen where anyone is using Pixelmator (Mac), but I just tried resaving the couple of things I just made in the .tiff format. They're actually bigger than what I saved them in originally (.png). I know the link to the tutorial ironically is done on a Mac, but she had PSE. I'm kind of guessing that I should just save things in .png if that's the case?

I use PSP8 at work and will see what the difference is with that saving a .tiff as opposed to .pspimage.

Great tips!

@Lisa: You don't say what you made that you're trying to save... and I don't have a Mac, but my simple answer for you is this. Note I'm making the assumption you are referring to items you are making for a kit.

If you made papers and they don't need to maintain the transparency (see-thru"ness") then save them as a jpg at a quality of 10 to 12.
If you made elements or overlays that need to maintain the transparency... especially around the edges so there's no white background, then I would save them as a png.

Now if you're talking about saving your layouts. That's a whole 'nother story. smiley Let us know if that's what you meant. smiley


Hi Shawna ... actually I'm just playing around trying to re-save a couple of things that I already have (papers) in a .tiff format due to the recommendation to save computer space. I've never saved any files that way. I did find that Pixelmator (Mac) will save them in layered form. The old version I have of PSP won't. It compresses the layers. I downloaded a trial version of the latest PSP and haven't gotten that far yet!

Despite creating graphics for years, scrapbook graphics are a whole new ballgame for me. I have done lots of tuts and have scads of things saved in .png form.

I think the biggest first question I have is how to make sure elements, flowers, etc. are in porportion to the huge paper sizes? Everything I'm used to making is on such a smaller scale!

Thanks for responding, I appreciate it!

Hi Lisa Marie,

There is a great thread about file sizes right here:

Are you saving your pngs as tiffs? Or are you saving psd files as tiffs? Because saving as tiff is only necessary for layered files, so saving pngs as tif is a waste of time and makes your files larger than they need to be. Saving psd files as tiffs on the other hand, does make the (layered) files smalles. You do have to save your tiff with some extra setting though: mark LZW compression and save ZIP (slower saves, smaller files). I am doing this by heart, so if it says LWZ instead of LZW, that is what I meant smiley

Hi Caro! Welcome to the wonderful world of scrapping digistyle, once you are hooked.... smiley Have you tried the Beginner Photoshop tutorials right here on Pixelscrapper? They start with the very basics, getting to know your workspace and tools and slowly working up to starting your first layout. Find them here (scroll down a little):

Hi Melo, nice to meet you! Omigosh, that thread and the link to Humbug Graphics was perfect!!!!! I'm used to working on much smaller graphics (tagger size would be perfect for me, really), and the size proportions is probably my biggest first question.

I've always saved any of my images in .pspimage form (PSP8), and sometimes in .png. I did see that LZW option. No "zip" option, though. brb, lol.

Okay, so I just created a layered bow and saved it as both a .png and a .tif. The .png is smaller (1.55mb) than the .tiff (1.61mb). What do you think is up with that? Although they looked saved with a white background, when I opened them both back up they returned all nice and layered.

Oh ... is there anyway to subscribe to a thread other than posting in it? I'd love to save that discussion you gave me!


Saving as a TiF is only useful for multiple layers. PNG files can only save one layer, TIFF files save multiple or endless amounts of layers. With your bow I'm guessing you only have one layer, so there is no need to save as TIFF.

I don't think there is a way to save discussions on the forum. You could try bookmarking? Or, you can trust on us moderators to always find what you were looking for smiley

Fortunately, the .png saves all my layers (I had 3-4 for the bow). I'll keep playing with both to see what works overall.

Shoot, it's nice when forums have a subscribe option. I've marked all my as read, but they all still show up. I'll keep figuring it out. lol

Thanks for the input on the .png/.tiff stuff, I appreciate it. smiley

@Lisa Marie: I wonder if there must be an issue with the browser you are using. I use Chrome and when I hit at the bottom mark all as read. They clear out for me. If you're using Chrome and it keeps happening where they won't clear out for you. I would say start at thread in the support forum and Jordan (one of the owners and resident IT guy) will probably be able to help you figure out what's causing that issue.

It could be, I use Firefox (Waterfall). I tried Chrome a while back (um, for playing Farmville 2 lol), and didn't like it. I'll certainly ask Jordan about it if I can't get it to start clearing out. Thanks, Shawna.

YW Lisa! Sorry I wasn't able to fully help with my limited internet technical knowledge. smiley
Hope you get it figured out though, it does make it a little easier to keep up with the new posts daily.

Lol, not a problem, I appreciate you trying to help! Looks like I'll just have to keep track of what I've read or not as it's still not clearing out. I'll track Jordan down if it gets really annoying! lol

Thanks for the tips. Im still trying to decide on my favourite editing program. So far i have tried PSE (new trial version) and I have used Corel too. But storage of my stuff. I currently store it in folders that are labelled by designer and within that folder i have the kit folders etc. Which is alright until i want to see all stuff i have in a particular theme smiley

Wow! Thank you Violet. I want to go "play with" all your tips and not work on my scrapbooking projects. I can't wait to start working on my alpha folder.

Some excellent advice!! Thank you all xxx

For those without Lightbox, and some other software....there is a FREE program called Picasa that can help you "tag" items and keep them organized and searchable. It automatically can be searched for colors, or items that are in the names of the folders or file names. You can add to them as well. When I'm organized, I unzip and then tag within Picasa the designer name and PU or CU...etc from the TOU.

It also has a powerful face recognition feature, that can help with finding photos of individuals. Not only can you tag the person, but it will give you suggestions as well. Great for putting together an album for that special someone or a milestone event...retirement, graduation etc.

You can also see previews of PSD file without having to open them up. I find this VERY Helpful when looking for those certain things, something that neither my old Windows XP or the current configuration of my new Windows 8 will do.

Organization is key...and fun to flip through all your stash. smiley

@ Adriana, what I have started to do is this: I save an extra copy of the preview file in a dedicated 'Previews' folder. From there, I move/copy it into the appropriate theme folder. (The same preview can be in multiple folders.) For example, a preview file might be in 'Spring', 'Floral' and 'Easter'. So, when I am looking for a kit on a particular theme, all I have to do is look in that theme folder, identify the kit that I want, then go to where I have saved the actual kit, and that's it!

Also, I rename the preview file in this format:

KitName by DesignerName (WebSiteName) PREVIEW

Hope this helps!

This is a great thread, thank you.

I'm a total newbie when it comes to digi... seriously. Like, I'm a v!rg!n with photoshop.
I just downloaded the free PS offered by Adobe on their website, but have no idea how to use it.
There are so many tutorials for beginners, I get lost.

What is YOUR favourite site for beginner tutorials?
I'm talking... how to open a paper with it, how to add elements... I know nothing smiley

Take a beginner's class. I took a series from Jessica Sprague; it looks like these may only be available through the end of this year.
Digital Scrapbooking I: Up and Running with Photoshop (or PSE)

Or as a Digi Scrap Bundle

This looks like a great one for beginners; I haven't taken it but I have taken several from Scrapaneers and I learned a lot.
Sans Paper Scissors

I haven't taken these others, but here are some choices:

Generally I think it's worth spending a little money for an organized class to lead you through the basics (though most of the tips are probably available on the internet for free if you spend unlimited time looking for them). This one's free if you sign up for the Scrapaneers newsletter:
Keeping It Real

I think the greatest advice I can give has to do with organizing the digital products. Whenever I get a new download (kit, elements, alpha, ...), I add them to an Excel file with the following columns:

Preview: Add in a jpeg. of what the product is. If it's a blog train/colab., I add in a couple jpegs. there.
Item name: What is the kit called, or what kit would it belong to?
Tags: i.e., boys, sports, wedding, heritage, etc.
Colors: main colors. Didn't think of it until now, but would be good place to put color swatch.
Designer: Name of the designer
Company name: sometimes same as designer, sometimes not
S4H: Is the product ok or not ok to use for S4H
Type: Kit, Elem., WordArt, Alpha, ...
Web address: Nice to know where can find more products by a specific designer/company.

Hope this helps.

great tips! thanks!

I think my greatest breakthrough was to realise that, even though I have downloaded a kit - I don't have to keep every single thing in the kit! This is especially true of freebies. I go through each item in the kit, and ask myself 'Do I love this?' 'Will I use this?' And, if the answer is 'No' - then, out it goes! Just coming to realise this, was hugely liberating for me! I really don't need to clutter up my computer with stuff I don't even like, just to keep a kit together. And if I find that there are only a few things that I'm keeping in that kit, I rename them so I know where they came from, and separate them into 'Elements', 'Papers' etc.

You can also save a ton of space by deleting things you know you will never use.

@Robyn and Nicole... Agree to both of your comments TOTALLY!!!
signed, another liberated digi-scrapper smiley

Just wanted to add my thanks to everyone who posted in this thread. I'm starting to remember how I used to have my kits and such organized, but this thread gave me some new and wonderful tips. I'm always trying to get things organized so I know what I have and where it's at, though I'm afraid I'm not very good at it. Maybe since I'm having to start all over, this time I can do it right from the beginning!!

Excellent thread, I need to remember it! When I was new and saving/buying kits (I used Serif's Craft Artist program as it was free) I opened them all and in some cases I deleted what I thought were "nothing" files as they were dark and I couldn't see anything on them. I've since learned I tossed a lot of overlays and other goodies away! It is a good thing I keep my zipped files even after I open them. It is handy to have them if something goes wrong and I loose what I am working with. The number one thing is to learn a system of organization you understand and will use. Hugs to the new ones and I am still considering myself a new one!

I agree totally, Geri, with your comment "The number one thing is to learn a system of organization you understand and will use. " You can get all sorts of ideas from all sorts of places, but you have to put it all together into something that works for you. I've been working on my organizing method for ages now, and it keeps evolving! I'm trying to streamline everything so that it works for me.

I got as far as reading the blog post & when I read this sentence I thought, YES! This is what I'm going through exactly!

"the simple fact is that in the beginning your creative juices don't know much. They know they want to make something, but they don't have the technical skill to do it. "

Thank you! Reading the rest now smiley

Something I learned recently...

If you've made a PS brush or have downloaded one, DO NOT delete the PNG files of the individual brush images!!!
I normally use CS2, but I tried out CC. I used some of my brushes in CC, but when I went back to CS2, I couldn't use them any more because they had been "updated" for the newer program and could not go backwards again!! So I had to open up all the PNG files and make new brushes! It was SUCH a headache ('cause I really loathe tedium).

So learn from me and DON'T delete them! LOL! smiley

When I make a layout, I always save my layered file in one folder in case I want to go back and make changes, and I save a full size and downsized JPG copy in another folder. The downsized JPG is usually 600x600 or 800x800 for uploading to galleries. When I begin a layout, I always open WordPad or NotePad and start a list of all the elements that I used, what kit I got it from, name of the kit designer, and name of the font(s) that I used on text. I give this saved file the exact same name as the layered layout so that they are right next to each other in the folder. Yes, I am a scrapper that rarely ever uses just one kit for a layout, and this helps me to know what I have done. I go back fairly often and look at past layouts to see what element I used or what font I used, and the document folder helps me to go right to it. If I only want to re-use one item in a particular layout, I just open the layered file and copy that layer into my current project. The companion document file next to it tells me where I got it originally.

Since I'm a PC user, I always delete MAC files and advertising files if included in a kit to save space, but I never delete TOU files or the Preview pic.

I think every newbie experiences the freebie downloading frenzy. For a while there in the beginning, I was so busy visiting blogs daily for the new freebie downloads that I wasn't getting any scrapbooking done, but I sure was collecting a LOT of ZIP files. I discovered a program called UnzipThemAll that allows me to select all the zip files in one folder and it automatically unzips each one and puts all of the contents of each file into its own separate folder. Then I would just delete the zips and go through the folders. The only zip files that it doesn't work on are those that are password protected.

I am new to digital scrapbooking, so these are great starter tips. Thank you!!!