Have a Happy New Year

Here’s wishing all of you a year filled with old loves and newfound treasures.

Altered Art composite
Made mainly with the help of many different Mischief Circus kits

Happy Holidays

Whatever you celebrate, I’m wishing you all good things for the end of this year and the start of the new.

Scrap page of Santa's Home
Made with elements from Adika’s kits, Topaz Texture Effects, a TKActions luminosity mask, and a modified edge from Shadowhouse.

Don’t Forget Journaling

Updated Type features in Photoshop CC 2015 will help

My big splurge during Black Friday/Cyber Monday week was on an external optical drive. Nothing fancy. Slow as molasses and pleasantly cheap on sale. But my old internal drive was getting louder and louder, clattering and clanking, moaning and groaning like the Spirit of Christmas Past, which, considering how old it is now, doesn’t surprise me a bit. Plus, being an internal drive, I can’t use it with my laptop to archive anything I put on that computer. I’ve had to copy to the desktop over WiFi what I want backed up, and you can guess how often that gets done.

So I bought the new drive and decided that this time maybe I should try to be a bit more organized with the archives, at least with the important files.  In the past, I’ve decided it was “time to back up” and just grabbed whatever files hadn’t been backed up to burn to disc. That meant the scrap pages for a vacation might end up scattered across a dozen discs, sharing a space with unrelated business, videos, test files,  tutorials, and all the other stuff I wasn’t ready to throw in the trash just yet. Good luck to my kids finding anything they might want to keep if I die tomorrow.

Image of different types of files archived together
No one but me would be willing to plow through so many files simply to find the rare stranded scrap page.

Although I’ve been restoring and retouching photos for a couple of decades now, I’ve only been scrapping the family photos since around 2009. However, that was long enough ago that adding the journaling in Photoshop wasn’t a lot of fun. To find a font to use, I just opened the font list and scrolled until I found something I thought I might like. If I were only going to use 10-15 fonts total, using fonts in PS was okay. Otherwise, not so much. So I discovered when I went back to my early albums to organize and archive them, many pages were without any journaling. People, places, the year, often all left without a single mention. I have hated going through the family photos saying “Aunt Millie? Or is it Cousin Bess? Maybe it’s the neighbor?” And here I was doing the same.

Scrapped page without any journaling
How sad. Note the red arrow pointing to a blank journaling tag. The woman is obviously the main subject, front and center, but who is she? Without journaling, she’ll soon be lost to time.

So before I generate an organized archive of these albums, I’m determined to make sure none of the pages are a complete mystery to the rest of the family. Leave them wondering about my other art, but not family history. Fortunately, Adobe just enhanced the Type features in the latest update to Photoshop CC 2015. Now when I need a font for a title, a quote, a short paragraph, I not only have the usual controls to get it to fit, but  also filters for finding the right type of font hiding somewhere in that long list of fonts. The following is a brief description of the features that really help me enjoy adding type to my pages:

Filter by Class—This drop down list lets you see a selection of your installed fonts according to whether or not they would fall into the category of Handwritten, for instance, of Sans Serif. Not all your fonts will necessarily show up. Adobe needs some information about the font embedded in the file in order to classify it. But it makes a pretty good start.

Filter by Classes list
These are the classes Photoshop will filter by, assuming the font provided enough information it could be correctly classified.

Typekit filter—This filter isn’t new, but I thought it worth mentioning in case you haven’t fully explored the font features in Photoshop. If you have a subscription to Typekit fonts as part of the full Creative Cloud group of apps, you can filter your font list just by the fonts installed through Typekit. Do note, however, that if you stop subscribing, you won’t be able to later edit any text you’ve created with a Typekit font. You’ll still be able to print the page, or replace the typeface with another that you have installed.

Using Filter by Typekit fonts
If you have Typekit fonts synced to your desktop from the Creative Cloud, you can search for them using the Typekit filter.

Show Favorite Fonts—This new feature is fabulous! When you finally locate a font in your font list that you know you’ll use again and again, click on the empty star beside it to add it to your Favorites. Now you can filter on just your favorite fonts. This is a real timesaver. One way I’m using it now with my incomplete albums is to temporarily mark a selection of fonts as my favorites. That way if I’m using, say, grungy typewriter and stencil fonts for a boy’s album, I can mark a selection as favorites, add journaling to several pages, keeping a consistent look, then unmark them and switch to girly handwriting fonts for a preteen’s album.

Using Filter by Favorites
Select a group of fonts for a project, or the fonts you always want to keep handy, and mark them as Favorites, then shorten your font list by filtering on Favorites.

Show Similar Fonts—Adobe will use the font you currently have selected  to try to find similar examples. One of the best ways to use this is to highlight the font field,  filter by class, say Slab Serif, then select a font from that list that is most like the kind of font you’re looking for. Now choose Show Similar Fonts and your list will often become even more useful than the Class list was.

Using Show Similar Fonts
When you select a class of font, the list might contain many fonts with a look that you’re not interested in. Select one font that looks like the kind of font you want, then choose Find Similar Fonts to get a new list.

The Glyphs panel—also not brand new, but don’t forget that many fonts come with alternates. The more decorative families often include swashes and multiple forms of an individual glyph so the type can appear more handwritten or fancy—sometimes to the point of being nearly illegible, but that’s half the fun of them. You can also select from among your dingbats without knowing what letter to type or, as I used to do, starting with “a” and progressing through the alphabet until I found the dingbat I wanted­—a process so tedious I avoided dingbats in the past, but no more. With an active insertion cursor, simply double click on a dingbat in the Glyphs panel to insert the dingbat.

Using Glyphs panel
The Glyphs panel makes all those wonderful alternate glyphs and dingbats easy to use.

With all these type features, I have no more excuses for not doing my family the favor of journaling on every page.