In our last lesson we learned about scrap lifting in order to get the feel for creating great layouts and practiced our skills of working in Photoshop Elements to become more comfortable in using some of the features of the program to be able to accomplish our desired result.
This last lesson will cover printing, saving and putting up our layouts on the web (blog, galleries, etc.) and a few other ideas to help you in making great digital scrapbooking pages!
Eventually you will want to print your layouts to preserve your memories or possibly make an album for your children or other family members. In Lesson 1 I discussed printers and paper, so feel free to refer back to it to refresh your memory if you need to. Printing is really quite easy, and will give you excellent results with a few needed tweaks to give you the professional look that you want to achieve.
When you are finished your layout (and you have saved the .psd) go up to your Resource Bar and click on File and then choose Print from the menu that pops up. You should have a screen that looks like this…..
You will see the 5 options down the right side of this window. In the number 1 position is where you choose your printer, in case you have more than one hooked up to your system. Number 2 is your Printer Settings, and this is your area to edit. If you click on the Change Settings button it will bring up another window in which you will choose your Paper Type (I have chosen Premium Matte Presentation Paper) and the size of your paper whether it be A4, 8.5 x 11 or 12×12. So good so far! Now you will see the Advanced Settings button near the bottom centre. When you click on this button it takes you to your printer’s advanced settings window (you have left Photoshop Elements to make these choices). Depending on which printer you have, this window may look a little different than mine, but you will have similar options available to you.
You should see options where you can choose to print as Draft, Text, Photo, Best Photo, etc. You will want to choose the Best Photo option as this will give you the highest quality printing. Be sure to also select the proper paper type and paper size here as well. The next and last step is you should again see the word “Advanced” on a tab or button. If you click on this button you will now have the options to change your saturation, hue, brightness, and possibly many other things. Don’t touch these just quite yet, as we don’t know how this will print for us. Simply press the OK button on all of the windows to get you back to your original window that I have shown in the screen shot above. Be sure to check numbers 3 and 4 to insure you have the correct paper size and type. On the Number 5 option, click the arrow next to the dimensions and choose the Actual Size option. You want your layout to print at the size you created it at! Now press the Print button at the bottom right and your layout will print.
How does your printed layout look in reference to how it appears on your computer screen? Did it print lighter? Do the colours look a little faded? Or did it print perfectly? If it printed perfectly, you are done! If it is not quite right, here’s how to fix it.
Once again in Photoshop Elements, with your finished layout on your screen, click on File and then Print. On your Number 2, Printer Settings, click on the Change Settings Button. Make then necessary adjustments to your paper type and size, and then click on the Advanced Settings button. The new window is now back at your printer’s Advanced Settings area. Once again, select Best Photo, choose the proper paper size and type, and then click on the “Advanced” button or tab. Here we are once again at the area to make adjustments to the Hue, Brightness, etc. If your layout printed out lighter than it shows on your screen, you will want to adjust your Saturation. If you add more Saturation it will make your colours more vivid – and obviously if you reduce your saturation it will dull them. Try sliding your bar to adjust your Saturation to add in about 25% more. (i.e. Your saturation bar will be in the middle and should be at 0. If your slide the bar to the maximum mine is +25, in order to get 25% more saturation than normal I would want to set my saturation at +6). Now that you’ve done this, press OK on all of the windows and your layout will print once again. Hold it up to your computer screen and see how it looks. Do you need a little more colour because they are still a little light? Follow the above instructions to go back into the print settings and add more saturation. You can try playing with some of the other settings if you wish, but I’ve always found on the many printers that we’ve had, that you only need to adjust the Saturation in order to get your results to look like they do on your screen.
Now you may be thinking, hey wait a minute, do you know that I’ve wasted 2 or 3 sheets of paper and how much ink…..this doesn’t seem very good! Not to worry, you will only have to do this once. First off, don’t throw away the paper that you printed these tests on, as you can flip them over and print on the reverse side (if your paper has printable double sides) for your second test. Lastly, and more importantly, once you know your Saturation adjustment (maybe yours is +8 to give you perfect results) it will ALWAYS be the same. When printing I first print without adjusting the Saturation (but making sure you have selected Best Photo and the proper paper type and size) and see how it looks. Many times it is great just like this. But you will have some times when it isn’t, and this is when you adjust the Saturation to your number (that you have written down so you won’t forget!) and print once again and voila! Just like your favorite recipe, it always turns out. The reason that in some cases you need to make this Saturation adjustment is that all printers read colour slightly different. It is not a number or precise measurement that your computer tells your printer to print; that is what commercial printers do. It is more of a “well, it’s kind of light pink, but not too light” scenario. This is why certain shades and tones come out looking too pale and we need to make our own manual adjustments to our Saturation.
I am sure that many of you have, or would like to share your layouts in digital form on your blog or in galleries or maybe even enter challenges. In placing your digital layout up on the web, you want to be sure that it is the right image quality. You have probably seen websites that load really slowly and the pictures come into view like pulling a shade down on your bedroom window? This is most often due to someone using too large of a file size and it takes a much longer time to load. The common rule of thumb is to be sure to keep your file size to 100kb. How can you do this? Well, I’ll show you!
In your Photoshop Elements with your finished layout on your screen, go up to your Resource Bar and click on the word Layer. From the drop down menu that appears, go to the very bottom and click on the words Flatten Image. Now look over at your Layers Palette. See how they have all disappeared and you only have your layout as one layer? It has combined them all into one. This is good! Now go back to your Resource Bar and click on Image and then choose Resize and from the across menu choose Image Size. When the window comes up, simply go to the first line in the Pixel Dimensions area on top which is Height, and change this number to 600px. See how all of the rest of your numbers changed too? This is just fine and is what you want to happen. Now press the OK button and you will see your layout change size on your screen. Don’t worry that it is the size of pea, it will not appear this way on the web.
Next in order to save it in the proper file size, we will once again go up to our Resource Bar and choose File and then Save for Web. The new window that popped up has lots of options on the right hand side, but we will only use 2 of them. In one of the top menu lines you will see the word GIF. We do not want to save as a .gif but as a .jpg, so click on the arrow next to GIF and choose JPEG from the drop down options. Underneath you will have another option and on this line it should say High (if not, just change it to this). Now just to the right of this is a number in a box. If you click on the arrow in this box, a little slide bar will come up. Looking at the two images of your layout on your screen, if you look at the right hand image at the very bottom you will see JPEG, a number in kb and an estimated download time at a certain internet speed. When you use the slide bar and slide it to the left, you will watch the kb number at the bottom of the right hand image. Move this slide bar till you see the kb number be 100kb (you will not get it exactly to 100kb, but just get as close as you can without going over……it sounds like a guess on the Price is Right!)
Once you have this number near 100kb simply go to the top right of the window and press the OK button. You will now be asked where you would like to save this to, and I always choose the same folder as my .psd is saved to. You will now have a .jpg and .psd version of your layout! Now when you upload your digital layout to your blog or other place on the web, this .jpg version is the one you will want to upload.
This now brings us to the end of the lesson, and the end of the course! I hope that you have found this course informative and fun, and that you now have the tools to create digital layouts on your own either through scrap lifting or your own creations. Once you have mastered the techniques I have brought to you in these lessons you can decide if you want to learn more and become an expert.
The best way to learn is to just play in your program! Try out options that you see in Photoshop Elements, alter it to suit you and you will continue to grow and grow!! Click on the Help word in your Resource Bar when you are looking for more information about something specific and you will be given instructions on what you are searching for.
Have fun, and Happy Creating!!