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Old 08-30-2010, 03:00 AM
Florida Cindy Florida Cindy is offline
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Default CLUSTER, CLUSTER, CLUSTER........

How do you create a fantastic cluster? If you have any tips to share, please, share! I need help to create great clusters!
Thank you!
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Old 08-30-2010, 03:37 AM
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I think you need t keep the light source and subsequent shadowing in mind. The light source on the separate objects should be the same, and then when shadowing, keeping in mind that some objects are flatter and closer to your paper and will accordingly have a flatter more defined shadow than a larger object that is further awa from the paper- like a flower. That would need a more diffuse shadow with lower opacity.
Another trick is to remember that not all parts of the same object may be the same distance from the paper- like a curly ribbon. Then you need to have your shadow on a separate layer. Then you can warp it, even *paint* parts of it deeper, use a very soft brush with low opacity and flow and even erase other parts.
Playing with shadows can be addictive though!
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Old 09-02-2010, 08:39 PM
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Like Miki Suggested, I create all my shadows on a separate layer and I warp them. Usually I convert them to smart objects, then I apply a gaussian blur and then I paint out the part that should be closer to the page on the smart object mask. I also always set the blending mode to Linear Burn, it gives it more depth I think. As for clustering elements... I use Bridge to view my files and it has this nifty little tool (Photoshop has it too but this one is so much easier): Load files into photoshop layers. That way all my elements are in my document with the layers named the file name. Then I play around with the placement... duplicate layers... etc.
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Old 09-03-2010, 02:35 AM
Florida Cindy Florida Cindy is offline
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Oh mercy-I walked into a mensa meeting with this post! Miki and Lali's posts are technical for me.
What I really want to know is how does a SCRAPPER create great clusters with elements from a kit?
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Old 09-03-2010, 03:45 AM
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Hi Cindy, hmmmm I can try and explain how I make clusters, I'm certainly no expert that is for sure! I open up a background from the kit and then I drag onto the background every element within that kit and resize them to suit, duplicate several times certain elements and flip them and rotate a little and move them around my canvas with "auto select" checked so that my cluster will look okay around a photo or frame. Most Times I use real photos for inspiration. I have shadow layer styles(freebie) which makes the whole process super fast. I turn off the layer background and save the file as a png. Then I open up the png and trim the excess canvas, so it's a smaller file. Or you could delete your background, merge all your layers and then select all and crop, to save as a cluster png. Here is a link to a set of clusters I made FAERY BLUE that way.
You can be really creative and apply masks to some layers and reduce opacity to others to give the appearance the elements are fading into the background, add some grunge brush paint splats , glitter spills, strings, sequins...
Alot of layouts have the potential to be turned into cluster arrangements, if they kept the original psd or tiff layered files, sometimes just changing the element colours and the backgrounds can make a very different page with little work. I love to cut corners where I can with my scrapping :)
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Old 09-03-2010, 04:58 AM
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I make the clusters I've used in layouts completely by trial. I'll just keep adding elements, resizing them, and moving them around until I get a look I want. One thing I make sure I do is wait until I have everything in place before adding in any shadows. That way, if I duplicate an element and turn it, move it, or resize, the shadow on it doesn't look off from the rest.
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Old 09-03-2010, 02:00 PM
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KimJ gave me a link to THE best tutorial on shadowing.

It's by One Little Bird.
Shadow Files: The Basics

I can't cluster to save my life...but, I'd start by lifting people I love. That's the only thing I can suggest. hehe

May the force be with you.
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Old 09-03-2010, 02:14 PM
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Fabulous tut Misty! Love that tip on using the Smudge Tool!
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Old 09-03-2010, 03:13 PM
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I love clustering. I don't think I am an expert, but here is how I start... I start with my photo(s), sometimes frame them. Then I had my alphas and/or journaling (sometimes I do this last too). Then I just start layering leaves and flowers tucking them behind the photo. I use ribbons, strings & sprays to run out from behind were it seems something is missing to kind of make things look strung around. Then I start adding buttons, brads, etc... and sometimes layer some flowers above the photo too. I usually shadow as I go with 1 shadow and then when I am finished I go back through each element and change the shadow depending on the placement of the element, like Miki and Lali were talking about.

It takes a lot of practice. Like I said I am no... expert. Sometimes browsing the galleries and studing the placement of others elements can help you understand were to place certain elements. Or try some scraplifts. I hope maybe I helped a little.
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Old 09-04-2010, 03:32 AM
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Great tut. I know that Linda Saagast had a drop shadow tut on her site Scrapper's Guide and she also uses the smudge tool.
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