Designer Mentors

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Lizanne, Just thought I would try to help you. Here are a few Forums if you want to check out. It looks like they have lots of tutorials for PSP.

@Lizanne - check out Humbug Graphics. She has a lot of tutorials for PSP. I started out designing with PSP (vers 7) and still used it until I forced myself to use Photoshop last year. I think once you learn PSP a little more in depth, you will be able to translate that over to photoshop. They have very similar features, but not always under the same menu or called the same, but I found I could do almost anything that photoshop did in PSP.

Lizanne check out digidesignresort - they have designer classes and it said they have them for PSP as well as PS. I have not taken any of their classes so I don't know how much they are or anything. Good luck! When I started digi scrapping I used PSP for about 3 years before I got PSE and I know what a pain it is not to be able to find tuts and stuff.

@Lizanne You can always leave your questions here in the Software Specific Questions forum, I use PSP and could try to help. I think the more you learn about the program, the easier it becomes to translate PS tutorials into PSP. True, PSP doesn't have styles but many of the style's steps can be done in PSP. A style can be a shortcut like our PSP scripts, handy but not necessarily unique. I find I learn new things just trying to scraplift an element or page I see. I feel like a person never becomes perfectly proficient, we're always learning something new. Don't feel like you're missing out just because you use PSP, you just need to retune your thinking to learning the techniques.

@Brenda, Cat, Patricia & Kim: Thank you so much. I think Pamela was right & I need to find a community that's all PSP - I think that would help immensely more than just tutorials. I know I can leave questions here in the Software Specific Questions forum, and hope that someone that is knowledgeable in PSP sees it in here & answers, but I'm looking for more education as well. And someone that can guide me in my journey to know PSP better & to help me with digiscrapping from a PSP perspective (a mentor of sorts, who might say "start here" & then will point me in the right direction - kinda like you ladies have found for designing), and when I get more comfortable help me learn to make some things for personal use (that will involve techniques I've probably never done & may not even know the names of yet).

Ideally I'd love to find a new user "boot camp" for PSP (that would help me brush up on skills & maybe even teach me stuff I don't know yet), if such a thing exists, given I've had no official PSP training & have no books. Everything I've learned so far has been by trial & error, and occasionally with the help of a few online tutorials (ones that were for PS & I figured out how to do it in PSP, and a few PSP tutorials). But it would need to be extremely affordable & allow you to go at your own pace...

Good luck Lizanne!

Ladies!! I wanted to make sure that you saw that Scrapaneer's is giving away one free spot in Traci Reed's next Design Star class.
No harm in trying to win!!
Find the blog post here.

Thanks so much Tiffany for the heads-up!

She also did a class on marketing and business as a designer. I'd keep an eye out for the next one for that too.

I desparately need someone to check kits for me If anyone is interested? you can check out my website at
I've been doing it, I know I've probably missed something.
Thank you!

Thanks Tiffany!!!

Pamela, I will help in any way I can.. if you want to email me & let me know what you need. My email is breszoo @ hotmail . com (without the spaces). No too sure how much longer i'm going to be online tonight but will be back on first thing in the morning smiley

Thank you Bre! I'll email you soon then. Again. Thank you!

These classes you all mention by Chelle, are they for digital scrapbooking, or creating digital scrapbooking kits? I'm looking for help in creating my own elements and papers, but the only classes I can seem to find are for creating better layouts.

Hi Tasha. We are talking about classes for designers. Though I have found that many tutorials geared towards better layouts have some nice bits of info that can help us as designers too. I learning my software pretty quickly, but I welcome whatever bits of knowledge I can come buy.

ok, thank you! And yes, I've found tutorials that teach techniques for creating signature tags, that I can apply in creating kits smiley

Good Luck Tasha. I've heard that Chelle's classes are amazing for teaching designing. But also, practice is a great start. I've only been designing a short time, and I've learned so much just through practicing everyday. I just got accepted into my first real store!!! smiley

well it's been almost a week now and I still haven't received forum access at Scrap Orchard. It's almost the weekend and the support desk is closed on weekends so if I don't hear back by then, I'll have to wait through the weekend again. I feel like I've done something wrong somewhere that I'm not getting access, but I can't imagine what that could be. I opened up another support ticket in case the other one is being overlooked. If they even said "no, you're a rotten person and we don't want you here", at least I would know they were paying attention. What if I were a customer? I'm really frustrated.

Oh that sucks Pamela....maybe they're just busy....I hope they let you in soon!

Tasha, they are for designing digital kits, papers & elements. Here is a link to Scrap Orchard where the classes are listed & here is a link to her designer club that she also offers.

I would try to contact their support. I only started using their forum when I signed up for the designing club & I think someone on Chelles end took care of that so i'm not too sure how to go about it otherwise.
Hopefully you get in soon!

Yay! I got it today!!!! whew...I was seriously getting a complex. smiley

Also Tasha, everyone here is very helpful is there's something particular you want to learn. Just ask. I'm also willing to help any way I can too!! smiley

I dabble in designing for Blog Trains only....retired two years ago and have no plans on making it a "job." I also took the Design Mentoring Class at Scraps N Pieces. It was definitely an eye opener. I think it would be great for PS to have a Design Mentoring program!

A couple things, I also QC for a store. It can be tedious but I find it really challenging too. I believe that at Digi Files you can download a "scrapbooking" manual that has some pointers. Also, one of the best tools that I use is by Inspired by Dominic which is a QC action. She has it for both PSE and PS. I believe the biggest difference is that in PS you can check your out of gamut. The biggest "offenders" are some shades of red, orange, yellow and green...mostly when they are more neonish. Even if you cannot check for out of gamut, all you have to do is change your elements/papers to CYMK and then back to RGB. After bringing it into the CYMK (printer) color "tones" once you change it to RGB it will fix the gamut. Not sure if I explained this really well but maybe someone else can add to it.

I also subscribe to Chelle's CCDE and she provides a lot of information. I get the 6 month "plan" and I believe it runs around $75 for the six months...but she includes all monthly CU products in the subscription fee and you get other discounts too. I try to attend the two "chats" during the month but I don't always attend...but you can bookmark the link and view the whole thing whenever you want. You also can ask specific questions whenever you want - it is really worth every penny!

Hopefully this helps...

Thank you for the info Janet. I've been trying to find her CCDE but I keep getting a message that the site is down. Frustrating.

Yes thank you for all that info. I've set my PS to show out of gamut colors, but it's not working. I'll have to try the CMYK to RGB thing ....thanks!

Janet - thanks for the tip about changing to CYMK and then back to RGB - I didn't know about that! Great tip since I use PSE.

Wow - Great thread! I first started with the Digi Design Manual to help me at least know what to look for in my items. It's here:

The store I started selling for has a great owner and she has offered me step-by-step advice and is always willing to answer questions. They recently implemented a very thorough QC-process, so I'm learning even more now. I'd be willing to answer any questions anyone might have or to look at elements for you. You can message me via the contact form here or just e-mail me: I'm not a pro, just so everyone knows. I am particular though and have had to learn how to fix QC issues when they come up. I find it easier to run through some of the QC process AS I'm creating, rather than go back and do everything at the end. Though, there are some full QC check actions on the market that you can buy to check everything in the final stage. Personally, I think it's easier to do it as I go because sometimes it's more beneficial to edit something in layers instead of a final .png.

This is kinda the order that I do things:

1. Check my color palette for gamut before I start. Any new texture/elements, check for blurriness before I start using it. Zoom in to 100% and if parts become out of focus/blurry/pixelated, I dump it. No sense in wasting time with it, if you have to pass a QC check.

2. Outer shadows. Those were the 1st big NO-NOs I learned. I keep my inner shadows and use an action to get rid of the outside shadows as soon as the element is complete.

3. Jagged edges. I use a 3px stroke in bright pink to identify. I have a "smooth edges" action that does well on most elements. It knocks it down by 1px (or more if you need), so if it's a really thin element it won't work. Also, if it's way messed up on the edges, it just may not be fixable. It will save a headache to do a quick check before you start if you haven't used the element before. I found I was TOO picky in this area at times. I probably dumped some elements that I didn't need to. A smooth edge is what you're looking for, BUT there are always going to be areas that do not appear perfectly smooth like around slanted lines or rounded corners. If I really struggle and have a question about whether or not a particular element is ok, I send it to the store owner and she gives me an answer. Once you start going thru the process and find which items pass QC and which items don't, you'll get a better feel for what you're looking for.

4. Stray Pixels. I use a 10-12 px stroke in bright pink to identify. I usually do this at the same time that I'm checking for jagged edges. Just bump up the stroke and zoom out to see if any random pink dots are floating around. They are easy enough to erase. Also, when I run the smooth edges action, it will knock out anything that is floating around. TIP: Check fonts. If you are using a font as a word art/element, check it. I didn't think to because who would've thought a font would have stray pixels? Well, I recently had a word art sent back because the font did. So now I know. Check everything lol!

5. Blurriness. Quality in texture matters. I've had to dump elements because there are parts within it that blur out/come out of focus. I check my paper textures and elements before I start if it's something I've never used before (step 1 above), but I check again at the end. Sometimes applying to many layers and messing with colors, highlights, shadows, etc. can cause a part of the element to become blurry. Quick Tip: If the element was good to begin with but just became slightly fuzzy during the process or looks like it has a haze, copy the grayscale element and add it as a top layer, then apply a linear light mode (low percentage opacity) and duplicate it again and apply a soft light (med opacity depending on the color). It helps to bring back some of the definition.

6. Missing Pixels. I just learned how to fix this. First to check, do an inner stroke on the element. I use bright pink or red and do 3px at first and then check it at a slightly higher like 8 to see if I missed anything. Looking for dots of color to show up on the INSIDE of your element. It may look like you have crazy jagged edges, but don't worry it's only the inside it's checking. If you've already dealt with jagged edges, you should be ok. If you find red/pink dots inside the element, then create a layer underneath, color pick a nearby area on your element and paint underneath it. Then merge the layers and check again. If it was just a couple spots then this should work fine.

Another technique for more difficult objects - like a torn edge element (you can see my before and afters here):





I was just taught this technique: Use the magic wand to select the area outside your element, select inverse, contract by 1px. Then create a new layer underneath and fill (Edit, Fill...) with 50% gray. De-select and merge the layers. Your issue should be cleared up. If you have an element that will have the gray color exposed (like the purple heart), then I choose a color that is as close to my element as possible (add texture to match if necessary) and then follow the same process. I've done it on both the torn paper, as well as the purple shaggy edged heart and it proved a helpful technique for both.

7. Check your trim. I again have an action that trims my element within a couple px when I'm done. Some people like to use the trim action in PS, but I personally don't like it. It trims right to the edge of the element and if it's round, you can really tell that it's cut a bit off. And the contrary, too much space is just too much. 1-2 px has proven to work for me.

8. Gamut Check. This is usually my final check after everything is done. I open all my papers & elements and quickly run through them in PS. Open file, ctl+shift+y and any areas that are out of gamut will show up in gray (unless you changed the color). If anything does, change to CMYK color mode to adjust back in gamut and then change back to RGB and your item should be ok. There's a whole thread in the forum about checking gamut.

Also, watch that your items are sized proportionately, as realistic as possible but not too small. Our smallest items should be around 600 px for our QC process. It may vary depending on the store. I personally like brads to be a little smaller so I don't have to mess with re-sizing, but hey...gotta follow the rules lol!

My last tip (sorry, I didn't realize this was gonna end up so long), do NOT assume quality in a CU item you purchase or get for free. I have my favorites that I know have quality CU items but even then I run through the same QC process with everything. In time you'll figure out who are your favorite designers and to whose items you have to do little corrections, so you don't waste time purchasing or downloading from items you really can't use.

Outside of the scope of QC, something that has helped me with putting kits together is watching my favorite designers--those whose style I think is close to mine (like I don't really care for super realistic or bulky elements in my kits, I'm more of a paper/fabric person so those are the designers I watch), and have a good reputation for quality. I use their kits as guidelines for what, how many, general items vs. theme-specific items, etc. And I have to remember that I will always be learning something new and improving products. Perfection doesn't exist. smiley, that is such awesome information. I've learned the stray pixels and jaggies tip, but I didn't know about how to fix missing pixels. Thanks so much!!

You're welcome Kiana. I hope it helps. I had SO MANY questions when I first started and lots of google helped, but I was also blessed with someone who is willing to answer questions and offer advice. So if I can pay it forward, so be it. smiley