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Category Archives: Computer & Tech Tips and Tricks
Supplies: LIP kit: Funktography Edition by Peppermint Creative
It’s happened most of us at one time or another – one day, you are just sitting down to scrapbook and Photoshop takes forever to load. Then, as you are trying to open your scrapbook supplies folder, your computer thinks and thinks and thinks before opening your supplies. It’s clear you’re dealing with a slow computer. Obviously something has to be fixed and quick!
These are the things that I try when my computer is acting slow – but I am not a computer expert and anything you try is, of course, at your own risk. When in doubt – take it to an expert!
Sometimes a reboot is enough to solve the problem – this is especially true if, like me, you rarely reboot or power off.
Clear the recycle bin
When the recycle bin is very full and you’re low on disk space, it slows down the overall computer speed, so emptying it regularly is a good practice.
Check for viruses
First check that your virus definitions are up to date in your protection software. Once they’re up to date, run a full scan. This can take a while, but it’s worth the piece of mind.
Read tips for improving your computer’s performance from Macworld and Microsoft:
- If you use a Mac, here is what Macworld says to do when your computer is too slow.
- If you use a PC, Microsoft has a guide for you to fix your slow computer.
And a word on backing up
Sometimes a slow computer is the sign of a more serious problem on your computer. Having a back up and recovery plan in place is important. You can back up online, onto an EHD, copy files onto memory sticks or even DVDs. My current back up strategy is to back up to an EHD and an online back up service provider.
If your slow computer takes a turn for the worse and “dies”, your back up and recovery preparations will save you a lot of money (because data recovery is very expensive) and heartache over lost photos, videos and scrapbooking supplies.
As they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, and Katie shared some excellent tips on keeping your computer running in tip top condition. So, once your slow computer is cured, read her tips for how to keep it that way and you’ll be scrapping happily.
A long time ago on The Digi Show, Peppermint’s pick was If This Then That, IFTTT.com. I loved the idea of the site, but didn’t get around to using it until a couple of weeks ago. But once I got in there, I thought, “Once again, Peppermint’s pick has changed my life.”
With this site, I can set up just about any action to occur when triggered by an event. So far, I’ve set up:
- having an email sent to me when someone posts on their blog, (that doesn’t have an email subscription available)
- having a text sent to me when I get an email from a specific email address
- having a post made to my Capturing Magic Facebook page WITH a picture in it when a new post is made on the site
Some cool things that can be done with IFTTT:
- if I post a new photo to Instagram, have it sent to DropBox too
- text me the weather every morning
- save any Instagram photo I like to Evernote
- back up text messages to Evernote
You can find recipes people have created by browsing here. What about you? Are you using IFTTT? What are you doing with it?
Supplies: Kraft Edition Becky Higgins’ Project Life
Hello! I’m here with another month’s edition of Bits and Bytes. Some amazing resources relevant to digi scrapbookers are linked-up so that you can enjoy some of the best of the web in one convenient spot.
Let’s get started!
Photoshop Essentials File Format Guide
Have you ever noticed how many file type options there are when you hit “save as” in Photoshop? This handy guide explains the handful that the average user is likely to need.
Basic Recolouring Video Tutorial
Chelle’s Creations put together a clear and easy video tutorial about how to recolour elements. You should definitely check out her entire YouTube channel! Such a great wealth of information to be found on techniques like embossing, internal shadows, and so much more!
Project Life Planning in Lightroom
Christine Newman (aka Listgirl) put together an amazing video tutorial about how she uses Lightroom for planning her Project Life pages. (Bonus – she provides her PL Lightroom template!) For anyone doing Project Life in physical format, this is a great way to “check” if a design works before taking the time to edit, print and crop your photos.
Adjustment Brush in Lightroom
Evidently this is a month for videos for me! One of the best but least understood Lightroom tools is the adjustment brush. This detailed video will take you through many of the great ways that you can work on specific portions of an image without having to go into Photoshop.
Advanced Drop Shadows Tutorial
Suzie is an amazing scrapbooker – and part of her secret is amazing shadows. Check out her gallery here to see what I mean. She put together this great tutorial about how to take drop shadows to the next level.
Do you have a Google account? If you’re a planner, you might consider visiting your account page to set up what happens to your account if it’s been inactive for a specified amount of time. Here’s what Google says:
…you can choose to have your data deleted — after three, six, nine or 12 months of inactivity. Or you can select trusted contacts to receive data from some or all of the following services: +1s; Blogger; Contacts and Circles; Drive; Gmail; Google+ Profiles, Pages and Streams; Picasa Web Albums; Google Voice and YouTube. Before our systems take any action, we’ll first warn you by sending a text message to your cellphone and email to the secondary address you’ve provided.
So, whether you want your stuff to disappear or be sent to your spouse, you get to decide.
I hope you found something interesting today!
It’s always interesting to me to look at our Google Analytics and other site analytics and figure out what people are looking for when they come to our site. From piecing things together, it seems a lot of people are interested in learning about how to write on their photos or add text to a photo, without using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.
Katie did a post a while ago on online photo editors that included a few options. Today, I’m going to show you how to write on your photos (and even add word art to them) quick and easily using PicMonkey.
PicMonkey is free for basic (and even not-so-basic) editing including text, sharpening, adjusting colors, adding effects, collages, and adding word art. They recently launched a paid version as well that has additional features. The paid version is $4.99 a month or $2.75 a month when you sign up for a year. Not bad at all, if you want some of those additional features and effects.
For those of you that would like to know how to get text or writing on your photos without the expense of a photo editing program, here we go…
To get started, just head to PicMonkey.com and click on the handy “Edit a photo” button in the top left:
A window will open where you can navigate to the folder your photo is stored in on your computer. Click on the photo to select it and then click OPEN. Here’s what my window looked like once I had opened my photo (one of my all-time favorites of my kids):
I want to add some type, so I click on the letter P on the left:
This pulls up all of the font choices, they are grouped by style (which is a fun thing). Any of the fonts (or other items, for that matter) with a crown next to them are only included in an Upgraded account:
I’m going to use the Serif font Special Elite for the first part of my writing on the photo. I’ll click on the font name and then click on the Add Text button:
Now, here is what my screen looked like:
Next, click where it says, “Type your text here” to get a cursor and then start typing. The only setting I changed bellow was to center justify the text:
Next, I’m going to hit enter for a new line and then I selected the Marcelle Script font and changed the color to a nice yellow:
Now, I’m going to highlight the word sunshine and drag the size slider to make it larger:
I want all of the words to be a bit larger to fill that space. So, I will highlight all of the words and use the slider to make them all bigger (but it will keep the word Sunshine a larger size than the rest of the text):
I moved the text slightly and then, once I was happy, I clicked save. Here’s the window I got next (it made me laugh):
Here’s a look at my finished photo:
Now, what if you have some really cool word art from a digital scrapbooking kit that you want to add to the photo? Just click on Overlays in the menu on the left:
Then click on the “Your Own” button and then find the file you want to use, click on it, then click OPEN (I’m using word art by CD Muckosky):
When I imported the word art, PicMonkey sized it down a bit. I was able to size it back up with the corner handles without a problem. I also clicked and dragged the image to the upper left corner:
I saved this using the same steps as above. Here’s what the finish product looked like:
I loved that photo before, but now it SAYS something too…literally!
I had a lot of fun playing in PicMonkey, have you used it for any quick effects? I would love to hear what you’ve done in the comments!
I will happily admit that nerdiness is in my genes. A couple of weeks ago, while out to breakfast with my dad, he was showing me a new app he was using on his iPad to remote into his computer back at home (an doing some programming). I was blown away that it had all of the functionality of using a mouse and keyboard while remoting into your own computer. I was thinking about how great it would be to go on a trip and only haul my iPad to accomplish work things that needed to be done on the road. Then, suddenly my mind started swirling with all of the OTHER things I could do like scrapbook in Photoshop, tag photos in Lightroom, and so much more!
TeamViewer allows you to access your desktop (even if it is asleep or locked) from your tablet or smartphone (I don’t want to try and scrap on my iPhone though). With it, you have access to everything that is on your computer: programs, files, external harddrives, etc.
TeamViewer is Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android compatible. It was really easy to set up, I just downloaded and installed the software from their site, and it walked me through everything. I downloaded the app and entered the code TeamViewer on my desktop gave me along with my login information that I had previously set up.
When I came home from visiting my parents, I downloaded TeamViewer to my laptop as well as my iPad. I scrapped one whole layout via TeamViewer (see my video below of me scrapping my very first layout on my iPad using TeamViewer), here it is:
Supplies used: Template from Star on Top by Amy Martin (collab with One Little Bird), kit is Little Miss Sunshine by Erica Zane, fonts are Lobster Pro and Fontologie Printing Primer
Some Tips For Scrapping On Your Tablet Using TeamViewer
I had a folder of layouts with photos already placed in them that I had put together for the Album Builder post that still needed scrapping. This turned out to be very handy for scrapping using TeamViewer. (Anna is no longer selling her scripts in a store, but has said she will sell them if you contact her. Also see Katie’s post on Power Scrapping).
At first, I tried to scrap with all of my usual programs running, I found it much better to close everything except PhotoShop (having Photoshop open on my computer before remoting in via TeamViewer worked best).
If I was going to scrap more than one layout, I might have Lightroom open as well, so I can look for supplies. I got lucky on the layout in the video, I honestly had NO idea what I was going to use and the first kit I went to worked perfectly, as if it was planned.
At first (in the video below) I had my iPad connected to an external keyboard via bluetooth. It actually caused greater problems with TeamViewer. Once I disconnected it (at the end of the video), I was able to easily use keyboard shortcuts via the TeamViewer interface. So I don’t recommend using an external keyboard.
I remembered the tip of using File> Place to open a product and have it placed directly on the layout at the very end of the video. That would have saved TONS of time if I would have used it the whole way through.
I wasn’t able to enter values in any of the boxes that allow it, I had to use the sliders. I’m not sure if it was because of the external keyboard or not, but I kind of think it wasn’t.
Here are some screenshots:
This is what the screen looked like on my iPad. Notice the keyboard button on the bottom right and the TeamViewer tab on the right side in the middle.
Here are the gestures you can use for various tasks (it shows this everytime you start the app):
To drag the plaid paper onto the template, I just tapped and dragged it over:
When I tap the keyboard button the above is what comes up. Each icon has a different menu it will bring up. The keyboard button gives us this:
To clip the paper layer to the shape layer below it, I can now tap on ctrl+alt and then tap G and voila! It’s clipped! (If you were using Photoshop Elements, you would only need to tap the ctrl button). Here’s what it looks like when ctrl and alt are selected:
You can see in the image above there is another keyboard button at the top of the menu. If you tap on that keyboard, this is the keyboard you will see:
Now, you can arrow to move stuff around, which is super helpful when scrapping on a tablet. I didn’t figure this out until I was almost done creating the layout in the video below.
To create the video below, I recorded my computer screen as I was scrapping on the iPad (if you are in email or a reader, you will need to come to the site to view the video). I don’t know of a way to record the screen on the iPad (outside of screenshots). But I think this does a great job as well. There is no audio because…well…it’s just not necessary. The layout took me just over an hour to create from start to finish. I sped the video up just a little, so it’s about 40 minutes long.
The video is me creating my first layout on the iPad using TeamViewer, so I do make some mistakes as I go. Hopefully, they will help you do a better job. It’s also my first time creating a layout from start to finish in CS6 and as I go through Character settings in the Character menu toward the end of the video, I was super excited with what I saw!! I can’t wait to start using it more!
I am really excited to think I can sit and tag photos while waiting for my kids to finish school or lessons. I also have the very perfect vision of sitting on vacation, by the pool, and scrapbooking on my iPad using TeamViewer to access my laptop back home. The other day, I was getting my hair done and got an email from Wendy about some files on the server that needed to be moved for my team. So, I hopped on TeamViewer and was able to move the files (mostly successfully) on my laptop that was back home. Now that I am getting used to the gestures and remembering to move the mouse to select and then tapping, instead of just tapping before moving the mouse; I’m really enjoying using the apps.
It is slightly slower than using the computer directly, but the portability is a really great tradeoff!
What do you think you might use TeamViewer for? Are you going to give it a try?
Ever since Peppermint shared on The Digi Show some of the ways she uses Dropbox, I have been hooked and use it for so much. It’s one of those things that I’m really not sure how I ever got along without it.
What is Dropbox?
Dropbox is added to your computer (Mac and PC) and looks just like a folder on your harddrive. You can access the contents of this folder from your computer it’s on, any internet browser, as well as any smartphone or tablet you install it on.
You can share folders or give access to any of your folders to anyone with a Dropbox account. You can also send links to contents in folders to other people, so they can download.
The Dropbox site also keeps version histories of files and folders, so if you accidentally delete or save over a file, you can restore it from the site.
How Much Does It Cost?
You can get up to 2GB of space for free. If you invite someone to share a folder or sign up for Dropbox and they sign up, you earn more space, up to 18GB.
Paid plans start at $9.99 per month or $99 a year for 100GB of space.
How Do I Start Using Dropbox?
Starting is really easy! Just go to the Dropbox site and download the application, run it, and you are ready to go. You will want to download the iPhone or Android apps if you have those devices. If you have a tablet, you will want to download apps for those as well (from your app store).
Setting up a FREE account is as easy as entering your email address and verifying your password. \
What Do I Need To Know?
If you share a folder with someone or invite someone to your folder, everything you do in that folder is live and will happen for them as well, until you unjoin or disconnect others. If you delete a file, add a file, unzip a file, etc. it is live for everyone that has access to that folder.
In order to share a folder, you need to log into your account online, it can’t be done from your desktop.
There is a GREAT help guide on the Dropbox site.
Some Good Uses For Dropbox
- Camera Upload – I have camera upload set up so anytime I’m connected to wi-fi and open Dropbox on my phone, it automatically starts uploading photos to my Dropbox photo folder.
- I save documents, logos, and contracts to my Dropbox folder so I can access them easily when I’m not at home. There have been many times a team member or programmer will email me while they are in the middle of a project and need just one thing. I’m always happy when I have it in Dropbox and can save it for them OR move it to our shared folder.
- This came in really handy when we’ve moved and I’ve had to work on getting kids registered for schools. I was able to have our proof of residency and everything else I needed in Dropbox, just in case. There was more than one time that I was able to email a document to a school secretary while we were filling out paperwork.
- I have a shared folder set up with just about everyone that does any work for me so I can easily get files to them and from them without having to worry about file sizes.
- I have folders that I’ve shared with people that were at CHA and Disneyland this past January. Everyone added their photos and were able to grab everyone else’s pictures as well.
- I have folders shared with my family members so we can exchange photos.
- I used it to transfer files from one computer to another.
- I use it to store itineraries and information for vacations and business trips, so it can be pulled up on my phone or iPad easily as needed.
- Here’s a look at my folders:
Google Drive is very similar and offers many of the same options. It also seems to be less expensive for more storage. Although I’ve been using Google Drive for a very long time, I just recently downloaded the desktop application and am not as familiar with it.
What do you use Dropbox for?
Probably the biggest question I see in my inbox from readers is, “Steph, where do you print your Photobooks now?” It’s usually written after someone reads the Photobook Printing Review post I did a while back.
My answer has always been the same: I still print my photo books with Adoramapix. I did print one book with another company since I wrote that review, but I was so disappointed, I’ve since stuck with Adoramapix.
Here’s the list of why I still choose Adoramapix for printing my photobooks:
It always matches what I see on my monitor. There aren’t any surprises (note: I calibrate my monitor). The prints are photo quality and don’t have the graininess or noise that so many other photo books have.
A Custom Cover That Is Easy To Design
I love that I can design the cover to wrap all the way around the spine of the book and what I see in the Adoramapix software, is how it will print. I don’t need to use any templates or anything special to have the cover look exactly the way I want.
Custom Inside Covers
It’s so fun to be able to design the inside of the covers to coordinate with the opposite pages and/or the cover.
I love how thick the pages of the book are! There will be no bent pages in this book!
Lay Flat Binding
After having photo books with lay flat binding, I don’t think I can ever go back! Sometimes, I have to look hard to see the seems.
Double Page Spreads
I can upload a 24×12 double page layout and drag and drop the whole thing onto a page and just click on “fit to page” and that’s it! I don’t have to divide the layout into two 12×12 layouts in Photoshop first. No worrying about lining up the center seems on two 12×12 layouts.
One of the only concerns I hear from readers (before they try Adorampix) is the price. I promise you, considering the quality of their books, it is a VALUE! But, they do quite often run HUGE sales, so sign up for their newsletter (I think you have to register to get on the list). I have found that when they show the sale price for a 14 page 8×8, the same discount usually applies to the same size with more pages.
There is a sale going on now (ends 2/14) and you can get a 14 page 8×8 book for $9.99 (WOW!) (regular price is $25.95) using the coupon code: PXLOVE8x8
You might want to check out their blog, where you will find links to all of the different places you can connect with them to find out about sales.
From the readers that have tried Adoramapix photo books for their printing, I usually hear that they are converts too.
If you are a Digi Show listener, you know I LOVE RadLab! I’ve used it in PhotoShop for a long time, but it was a life changing revelation when Christine Newman shared that you can use RadLab in Lightroom. I have gone from detesting editing photos to actually enjoying it!
On Saturday, I shared an update on Organizing in Lightroom, I thought today, I would share a bit about how I edit my photos
RadLab can be used in PhotoShop, Photoshop Elements, and Lightroom. It is more of a plugin than an action or anything else. In Photoshop, this is what I do to access RadLab: go to Filter> Totally Rad> RadLab
In Lightroom, I right click on a photo and select Edit In> RadLab:
The user interface is the same in Lightroom and Photoshop (and I would imagine PSE too):
I’ve used RadLab enough that I usually know what I’m going to apply, even before I open the photo. I love RadLab because I can hover over each adjustment and see what it will look like on my photo. I can apply as many adjustments as I want. Here’s the recipe I used on the photo above:
I moved the slider on Cool As A Cucumber pretty far right (I just kept going until I liked the look) and I left Sugar Rush at the default.
On my photos, I typically use one of these three:
Then I might add:
And I typically add:
Cool As A Cucumber
Warm It Up Kris!
Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Banana
There are a ton of stylets that could be used included in RadLab and the combinations or Recipes are limitless.
Here’s my edited photo:
Big difference! It took what might have been a throw away and made it look pretty good and not over processed.
To use the photo with the edits applied, I either Right click on the photo and choose Export and then select my different settings (where I want it saved, etc.) OR if I want to use the photo on a layout, I right click and select Edit In> Photoshop. When the window pops up, I select: Edit a copy with Lightroom Edits applied.
Being able to use RadLab in Lightroom has made it so I can organize my digital scrapbooking product previews, organize my photos, and edit my photos all in one place. My workflow is so smooth now. The only time I edit a photo in Photoshop is when I need to clone, use content aware, or make a blue sky bluer; but those are very rare occasions.
I am often asked which I would choose: Lightroom or RadLab. It’s really a hard choice for me. If someome told me they had to take away one of them, I’m not sure I could choose. If you don’t have Lightroom already though, I would recommend RadLab because you can use it in the other two big programs most digital scrappers use: Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.
There is a link in this episode of The Digi Show to a tutorial for using RadLab in Lightroom. If you want to buy Lightroom, you can click on the link in the sidebar of The Digi Show and that helps us out over there (it is an affiliate link), I don’t think the discount coupon works anymore, but let me know if it does.
Are you a RadLab Lover too? Do you have any favorite Recipes? Please share them in the comments!
I love Photoshop Elements. I have used it from day one of my scrapping life and for the most part, I find no reason to ever switch. It is a powerful program that does everything I want it to do. Well, almost.
I will admit that PSE has a few shortcomings. They took me years to notice, but they are in fact there. There are just some things that can’t be done the way they can be in Photoshop.
One of the things that is severely lacking in PSE is options in layer styles. We don’t have nearly as much control over the styles as do PS users. Our option dialogues are often lacking and we are stuck with the default choices.
An example of this is in doing letterpress. I was so excited to find this tutorial for creating this look on my pages, but a few minutes into the video and I realized that I was out of luck.
Never one to give up that easily, I found a simple workaround for PSE. Although I wouldn’t say it looks as good as it does in PS, it works for me.
The tutorial stated to apply an inner shadow to the layer you want to make into letterpress. I did that.
But that is as far as I could go in the tutorial. While PS users get an extensive dialogue box for inner shadows, PSE users get a default setting with no options to modify anything but the direction of the lighting. Unfortunately, the default setting is less than impressive:
It’s way too much. It must much more of a cut out than a letterpress look. But then I remembered an old trick I learned for PSE. You can scale the effects of a layer style. It was worth a try!
And this was the result:
Depending on the color of the type and the color of the paper, it is definitely worth playing around with scaling percentage and the lighting direction until you get something you like.
I could have stopped there, but I did one more thing to add a bit of realism. Because the paper I was using was quite textured, I decided to let a bit of that texture show through the pressed type. I did this by changing the blend mode to overlay.
And here is the final layout:
It’s not perfect, but then again, I don’t usually aim for perfect. I aim for done.
The day that Instagram rolled out their new terms (before the adjustments), we recorded a Digi Show and discussed it. One of the things I mentioned I would probably start doing to protect myself a little would be to add a watermark to my photos I put on Instagram. We talked about watermarking apps and Katie said she wasn’t really happy with the apps she had tried so far. I made it my mission to find an app that was easy to use and I think I have.
iWatermark is available for Android, iOS (iPad, iPhone), Mac, and Windows. It keeps any metadata in tact, has a lot of fonts to choose from, and you can use a png logo that you add to your photostream.
I tried a few different apps and found this one the easiest and fastest to use for adding a watermark, but probably the best way to show you what the app does is to show a video that really shows off the app. If you are reading through email or a reader, you may need to click over to the site to see the embedded video below: