Saturday, January 5, 2008

Making Your Own Stuff

There is so much beautiful stuff for digiscrapping out there, it's hard to know where to start. When I began last June, I Googled for freebies and challenges--I like challenges, because they force me to do stuff I wouldn't do on my own--and rapidly became rather overwhelmed with the profusion of papers, elements, and fonts out there (I got over myself on the fonts, though ;).

'Sides which, I don't much like to be beholden, so I began to explore how to make my own stuff. There were a couple of things that I really wanted: frames, and ribbons. I still haven't figured out the ribbon thing (mostly because I can't tie a nice knot, so it looks ridiculous when I scan something), but I quickly found a great source for all kinds of different frames: vintage photographs.

There are many places on the net where you can find photos that have wonderful, old-timey frames. There's even a Live Journal group called vintage-photos that posts all kinds of family stuff from way back when (and they give permission to use the pics, of course).

It's usually pretty easy to isolate the frame--I just make paths with the pen (working very close-up), convert them to selections by clicking on the little round dotted circle at the bottom of the paths window, then invert the selection, and delete. Do the same for the inside and the outside of the frame, and make sure you have it on its own layer, and there you go, instant frame! Make sure you go around the edges with your blur tool to soften them. Changing sizes slightly to fit your photo is pretty easy, because many of these frames are very worn. Simply drag the corner boxes to fit around your photo, and you may find it doesn't even affect the quality very much.

Here's one I used recently:

Fonts: You Are Loved and The King and the Queen for the word art; Baby Boston for the journaling. Background guitar picture by 'xenia' from the Morgue File, small metal guitar made from a guitar picture by 'messa' (also Morgue File). Everything else mine.

For this particular layout, I also incorporated a couple of images that I found on Morgue File, a free photo-sharing site. One of them (by "xenia") is blended into the background (which, by the way, is simply a scan of wallpaper used in exclusion mode over a simple fill--the texture is the same in the word art), and the other (by "messa") I extracted, then made into a little metallic pin (Johnny is an excellent guitar player and musician, and he's really keen for Erik to follow in his footsteps!) by using the bevel and emboss function, and filters for bas relief and chrome, then adjusting the hue/saturation sliders until it looked passable.

Of course, the scanner is your best friend, but it's amazing what you can do with old photos--yours, or others'!

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