One of the best times of the year – Christmas, time to spend with your family, time to relax, and have some fun. Christmas lights and displays are always amazing to see and every year I visit different places to take pictures of the Christmas lights. Here are some unique photos from 2018.
As we step into 2019, it is only fitting to give you some of the tricks and tips from using Corel PaintShop Pro 2019 on a Windows10 computer. Image manipulation software can be difficult to use if you are not using it constantly. Have you ever figured out something just to forget it the next time you needed it and ended up spending a lot of time trying to remember? I think we all have been there at some stage. One way not to forget is to write things down. Second solution is to know where the video instructions are and watch the videos while doing it yourself. Finally, you can invest in a manual to have it as a reference.
All of those ideas are great, but it is in our nature not always follow what is logical. Therefore, in addition to my videos you can find on my blog, you can also download infographics from my website. These will be short instructions not a substitution for a user manual, which can be consulted from within the software. That said, using a single screen for reading and doing what you read is a little bit challenging. Tutorials on more complex processing and editing can be also found in the video library of the Corel Discovery Center. However, not all basics are explained and for most part it is the basics that get us frustrated when trying to edit images.
The infographics together with the video should help you tackle background removal and placement of your favorite object on a new background. Obviously, the more complex the object, the longer it may take you but the process is the same. Remember that when erasing background, you need to release mouse button from time to time to ensure that if you make a mistake an undo action will not take you back to the beginning of the process! Frustrating? Yes, and easy to forget when wiping away the background.
Hopefully, you have some fun backgrounds to work with for your editing. However, I will be creating some background collections, which will be available for download from my website for those who have signed up for my mailing list. So go ahead and sign-up to get some exclusive free offers and discounts.
Enjoy the video and if you have any questions do not hesitate to ask. If you are interested this video was recorded using Windows10 game recording tool and yes, it is my first recorded video.
Today we will concentrate on the second part of creating the book, finishing it and uploading for publishing.
Let’s start with the cover of the book. There are three different types: soft cover, hardcover with image wrapped on it or a linen hardcover with dust jacket. The only important thing to remember is that not all sizes of the book are available in a soft cover version. Softcover books less than 80 pages will also not have any text printed on the spine. If you have picked a large size book with only hardcover options and now want to change to a soft cover, you will need to resize your book. Just click on the change size icon and follow the prompts. Changing size may require adjustments of the layouts.
As you can see in this example the dust jacket was created with the title and author on a front page and on the spine of the book. However, title does not appear clearly in the image and font is a bit awkward. This is pretty normal in the first version and it is easy to change to your liking. Changing colors and font may take a few tries before it looks just right. It is easy to reposition the text boxes in Edit Layout just as we did before. If the decisions on text, color and font are too hard to make, you can print a few examples, show the options to family or friends, get a second opinion.
Adding extra text to the flaps or back of the book gives you more space to tell the reader about yourself and the book itself. While text on single color background is not a problem, adding it to a photo with varying colors can be a bit tricky, just like the back page above. Just because the layout allows you to add text, it does not have to appear there at all. As you would have noticed the book pages and the cover are white, there is an option to change the theme of the book to a dark or a patterned one. You can check options under Themesicon. If you do not like it just undo it to return to the previous version.
The next important step it to determine how your title page is going to look like. It can have an image on it or not, there are a few layouts provided. This page can be really creative to stand out or can mirror the book cover, the choice is yours. The following page is a copyright page. As I mentioned it before, when making a photo book it is important that you hold the rights to the images you are going to include in your book. If you are using someone else’s images or graphics or any protected content, you need have their permission and add their names to the copyright page. This is particularly critical when you will be wanting to sell your book.
Laying out the images of the main book content is the real fun. Any beautiful panoramic photos can be used to create a two-page spread. In one of my previous books I used the image of Windows in Arches National park as a spread. It makes a great impact when you open a book. In this book, I used Cliffs of Moher as a center spread.
Another feature, you might have noticed are headers on all the pages of your book. Headers can be easily edited to display content of choice: title, author, page number or custom content. In contrast to trade books, you can modify on which pages your header appears. Any changes to the font of the header have to be applied to either selected or all pages in a book. Page numbers will by default appear in a footer and again that can be edited in the same manner as a header. Inspect your pages and if the header or footer look awkward on a page, like in an example below, you can adjust that by removing the text.
Headers and footers cannot be edited in layout view, meaning their position cannot be altered, they cannot be added or removed. However, not all layouts have a header or a footer. Generally, any full-page images will not display a header and footer. If for whatever reason you want to alter that, select a layout with these features and create a full-page image box on it.
Now it seems that the book is ready for a preview and proofreading. On the right you will see a button to preview book. Once you click on it, a non-editable preview will appear. Now you will be able to see how your printed book will look. It is easy to go back and edit details as you review the book or make notes and then go back and edit all the parts needing attention. There is no right or wrong way of doing it, whatever works for you as long as you manage to catch all the problems.
Things to watch out for:
Position of the images on a page, check which parts will be trimmed. Enable Trim Guidelines if the are off.
Do your images need zoom adjustment to better show the photo?
If there are any photos with a warning sign, this means that the resolution of an image is too low
Check the right hand side of the software window labeled Issues. This triangle turns yellow with an exclamation sign and number of issues if there is a problem. Clicking on it will open up a dialog box allowing you to fix or ignore the problem. All the existing problems will be listed with page number and description.
Remember selecting a font on the cover? You adjusted font size, type and color. Now you need to decide if the font inside the book is what you like or not. Keeping it slightly smaller, if you have lots of writing makes a lot of sense. However, you can also make text a feature by using a special font type, size or color. That said do not go crazy with it.
Just because a text box shows up on a page, does not mean you have to use it. If you leave it blank nobody will ever know.
Photo book is meant to showcase the images, tell the story with the pictures not words. Keeping your text spare and minimal will help you do that.
Once the book seems complete, select preview and make sure you like the appearance of the book, story is what you want to convey. If you feel something should be changed experiment with it, ask for advice.
Once you are happy with the book, you are ready to order it. If you would want to change a size of the book, this is the last time you can do that for a photo book. Any changes of opinion later may mean resizing your content and going through the checks anyway all over again.
After clicking Order Book, a final checklist appears and you can use a spell check at this stage if you have not yet done it before. I strongly suggest to do it as there is nothing worse than printing a book only to find a spelling mistake in it. For those of you who do not have an account on Blurb there will be an option to register. For those of you using an older version of BookSmart, make sure that you upgrade to the latest version. If your version is old, book will fail to upload. Do not panic, close the software, download and install new version, then re-open the book and continue.
Once the book is uploaded you can create an e-book for different devices or a .pdf file which is accessible on nearly all devices. This is also the time to set up book for selling if you wish to do so. This is always possible to enable selling later. I suggest ordering a copy for yourself first to see how it looks all printed out, before setting it up for sales. You can market your book through Blurb, Amazon or Apple iBooks Store. You are not locked to a single distributor and books can be printed on demand, so there is no upfront cost or storage issue with boxes of books. Use Blurb guidelines for setting this up.
I hope you enjoyed making a book! Leave a comment or connect on social media to show off your creations. My book will soon be available as well.
Did you ever wonder if the photos on a phone, computer or prints stuck somewhere in an album are all there is to your holiday shots or important family event? The answer is no. You can create beautiful photo book which will tell the story and showcase your images. Such a book can become a focal point of discussing your just finished holiday or can become a great present for family or friends. The uniqueness will make it stand out and be very special.
Now you say that it may be just too hard to make a book, you need special software, it gets too difficult to layout the book…and the excuses keep coming. In the next few blog posts I will show you that it is not that difficult. It takes some time, creativity and ability to pick just some out of hundreds of pictures you took.
Blurb is one of the self-publishing services and it offers a variety of book formats, paper choices and also e-books. They offer their own layout software, in case you do not have access to publishing software like Adobe InDesign or image editing software like Adobe Lightroom.
Thus far I have used their software BookSmart and BookWright. While on the outside there is very little difference between them you cannot publish all the different formats using BookSmart. This software is only good for creating photobooks and associated e-books. BookWright on the other hand can create photobooks, tradebooks, magazines and e-books in multiple formats. The differences between the different publication types are primarily in prices and appearance. In order to make the best choice, it is a good idea to order a swatch set from Blurb. This will show you first hand the quality of paper and color as well as black and white prints.
When making the choice, you should consider first of all why are you creating the book? It is to be just for you? A gift for someone? Or will you be interested in selling it? All those considerations are very important. Especially, when book is intended for sale, you will have to consider the price of the final product.
Let’s look at the general workflow of creating a book.
What tool to use to create your book depends on your experience level, software you have access to on your computer and why are you creating this book. There are many options and if you wish you can hire a specialist to do it for you as well.
I suggest that you download the software you wish to use, either BookSmart or BookWright. Having it on your computer gives you a complete freedom in making changes when and where you wish.
Give your book a title. Do not worry, you can change it later.
Select a number of pages you want to have in your book. A default is usually 20 pages. Again you can add or subtract pages as you wish later.
One important decision best made at the beginning is the size of your book. While it can be converted later, you will create a lot of work for yourself to adjust sizes of images, text and margins. So this you should get correct at the beginning.
There are many layouts available from Blurb, but those are totally flexible and customizable.
Make sure that you have a set of the images you want to use in a handy place. A larger set is just fine, no need to stress over them yet.
If you want to add text, you can create .rtf files or type directly in a book. Again, place any additional files in a dedicated folder so you do not have to search an entire computer.
Remember to use only images to which you have copyright or you have licensed them for this purpose. If using even your friends’ or family’s images always give credit. There is a copyright section where you can do that.
You may be tempted to use an auto-create book feature in Adobe Lightroom. By all means click on it, however, I found it a bit awkward to use.
As Blurb is the publisher, their logo will appear in the book, if you are serious author, you can replace it with your own for a fee. This can be your last decision before submitting the book for print.
Are you now ready to start creating?
If so I invite you to the next installments of my blog. I will take you through some of the details how to create a simple book and tell a story from your holidays. Remember that until you submit the book any mistakes can be fixed, layouts can be changed, titles, page numbers, even the format can be altered.
Today I got an interesting question from Julie in WA state. How to change a background color in a collage in Corel PaintShop Pro 2018? My immediate response was, I have to check this out. I remember trying to do it and not succeeding very well. However, when you have to find an answer you tend to do so. So below are two options of changing background in a collage you created. First one, adding an image as your background and second modifying color and/or texture of the background.
Before you can start editing backgrounds, make sure that once you have created your collage it has been saved in .PSPIMAGE file format. This let’s you go back and re-edit your creation.
Step 1. Create your background, by selecting File > New. As I said on the previous post I like my background larger rather than smaller as you can always crop your image at the end. My standard size is 20.833 by 14 inches. There is no good reasoning behind it, in case you ask. Make it what you like it to be but keep it larger rather than smaller.
Step 2. Create your collage
Step 3. Each image you add will be a new layer. In this case right now you have 6 layers.
Step 4. Now if you want to use another image as your background, because white is boring or you have a picture which you desperately want to use as your background, click on Manage tab. Find the image you want to use, click on it to highlight it and then select Edit Tab.
Step 5. Image will open up, you can make changes to it at this stage if you want or need. Once you are happy with the way it looks, select all, copy and then paste to your collage.
Step 6. Now you have 7 layers and it all looks ugly and you lost one or more of your images underneath. In order to be able to see all the images, make sure that the new layer is moved to just above the background layer we created in step 1.
Step 7. In Layer Menu, select New Adjustment Layer. You need to pick what adjustments you want to make to your background image. I selected Brightness/Contrast. If you right click on adjustment layer you can adjust brightness and contrast to your liking. If you select General Tab you can also adjust the background image in other ways by selecting more actions from the drop down menu as well as change opacity. This is all up to your creativity.
Step 8. It is important to make sure that your layers are ordered properly at this stage. So counting from the bottom you should have your layer 1 (large background), image layer that you wish to use as background and adjustment layer. All other images have to be above or you will end up modifying them as well.
Step 9. You can also change the image that is your background by deleting the layer and adding a new image as new layer.
Now if you want to use a solid background, you can add a new New Art Media Layer. This will allow you to ad solid color fill of your choice or paint texture of your choice in any color available. Here is how you do just that.
Step 1. You have your collage as below.
Step 2. Now in the Menu select Layer and pick a New Art Media Layer. This will allow you to pick a texture or a fill color.
Step 3. Texture has to be painted on either using a dry medium such as chalk or wet such as oil brush. Corel help is actually pretty handy here to guide you through the process. However, main thing is to experiment with different effects till you find what you want. Again, make sure that all the images of interest are above Artistic Medium Layer or you will make changes to them.
Try either of the two options or both of them and pick what you like. This is just a start, the effects can be pretty stunning if you focus on the artistic side of things. I would love to see what creations come out of this work, so post your comments with links to images. Have fun!
When it comes to social media, branding, creating special posts there are many tools out there that you can use. I was actually interested in how the tools compare with respect to ease of use or capabilities. Let’s have a look at Pinterest posts. In order to make it comparable, I picked the same photos and the same message. I decided to compare two free to use tools – Canva and Adobe Spark as well as Corel PaintShop Pro 2018. Both of the free tools also offer upgrade options that we will get to a little later.
The aim is to create a post about preparation of a perfect cup of cappuccino.
Identify a template you would like to use or create a post from scratch
You can select one of available layouts, which is what I did
Upload images into the selected template
Resizing of the images is limited and I have found no way to add an image on top of a background image
Adding text is very easy, as is altering of font face, size and color. Once you are done with text, it can be re-positioned on a page
One strange thing about editing text is that instead of a box on the image, you get a big screen with a line on which you type the text you wish to have. This text gets resized easily, it is just a bit awkward when you are creating your post
Once you are done your post is ready to share. Image can be downloaded, a link can be shared on Twitter, Facebook or by email
Select File>New and select a Pinterest template under Social, select a background color
Select and open the images you want to use in your post
Copy each of the images as new layer to the background layer
I selected on the images as a background image
Resize the images to your liking, if needed you can adjust the appearance of images or crop them as you wish
Images can be rotated, framed and positioned anywhere you want on the page
Subsequently I added text and then saved the file as .PSP file for any future changes and as .JPG for upload to Pinterest
What is the verdict now that the posts are created?
Ease of use – Canva and Corel PainShop Pro – 5/5, AdobeSpark – 4/5
Ability to resize/re-position images – Canva and Corel PainShop Pro – unlimited, AdobeSpark – limited
Text choices – Corel PainShop Pro – unlimited, Canva and AdobeSpark – limited
Templates – Canva and AdobeSpark offer a number of templates, only one free canvas in Corel PainShop Pro
Availability of stock images – only available in Canvas, some are free and the rest is priced at $1.00
Importing images – all tools allow import of images from a computer, AdobeSpark also allows import of images from Lightroom, Creative Cloud, Google or Dropbox
Sharing posts – all of the creations have to be downloaded before they can be shared on Pinterest.
What functionality do you get for free?
Canva allows you to share your creations with up to 10 people, you can organize your designs into 2 folders, upload up to 1Gb of images and access over 8000 templates.
AdobeSpark allows you to create graphics, sync creations across the devices, it also allows you to resize the image for other social media posts or standard sizes
In order to add your personal branding: logos, text and colors in AdobeSpark you need to upgrade to Premium for $9.99 a month. AdobeSpark is also available as part of Creative Cloud.
Canva on the other hand will require you to upgrade before you can resize your posts, save your brand colors, logos and fonts. You also get unlimited folders, access to 300 000 free stock images/illustrations and templates. Pricing is $12.99 per month per user and you can have a team of up to 30 people.
Corel PaintShop Pro 2018 is not free, although you can get a 30 day free trial for testing. Pricing is $54.99 for a downloaded version. It offers you full ability to edit your images, be creative with them and easily resize the posts you created. You can add your own logos, select your own colors and fonts.
What should you use?
The tool you decide on depends on your needs. If you want to do things yourself the best is to try the free tools first to create some test posts. However, you may want to consult a graphic designer or a photographer who does graphic design as well, if you have a particular job in mind.
I have been working on compiling images which can be used for interior decorations of different rooms in a house. My motivation was ability to help my friends with finding something interesting for the walls of their homes. The collections I created at the moment will be changing over time, they are not set. They are also only a small sample of images that are available and can be customized for your needs.
You can use individual images if you wish to create your own wall decor or many different mosaics can be created from images of your choice, they can be framed in many different ways as well or we can even create a billboard. There is also a possibility of custom photography for a collection you wish to have for your house or business.
Below are the examples of coffee and pastries collection. I picked the most mouth watering images and various coffee drinks. Frames are only examples, but many different options are available.