Shutterfly’s New Photobook Interface


Shutterfly recently changed it’s Photobook software interface. How does the new “All NEW Custom Path” affect digital scrapbookers? I put together a little video that shows exactly how you can use the new interface to drag and drop your digital scrapbooking layouts. If you’ve used the new interface and have tips to share, leave them in the comments. We’d love to hear them! I might even hand out some prizes for extra helpful tips!

QUICK NOTE: I emailed Shutterfly to request specifications for the 8×11 peek-a-boo page (the page that shows through the optional die cut window). Here’s their response. “As for the die cut cover specs, we do not have those at this time. Our All New Custom Path is a new product for us and we are working on focusing the slight variations that may occur with our new method to be sure that your image would appear in the window of the book cover.” I’ve adjusted my peek-a-boo pages to add additional bleed per their regular page specs; however, it is my best guess and not an official measurement.


Click the link below to download videos in Mac and PC format.

NOTE: Video had been updated again as of 6/28/11 to reflect the method suggested on the Shutterfly blog.

Tutorial: Smart Objects

Smart Objects in Photoshop CS and Elements are layers that are completely embedded into the file at it’s full resolution. That means that if you resize it smaller or larger, the original pixels are referenced.

Let’s back up a second. If you copy and paste an image into your document, it will paste as a regular “raster” layer. When you resize this image Photoshop reinterprets the pixel data and replaces it. When you make an image smaller, Photoshop removes pixel data from the image. When you make it larger, it calculates the new pixel data by comparing it’s surrounding pixels and creates new ones. For best quality, you should not enlarge images more than 200%. And, once you size something down, you shouldn’t resize it back up again. If you do, you’ve resampled the image twice and are using averaged pixel data instead of the original image data. That’s where Smart Objects shine. They actually embed the original image into the file so that when you downsize, upsize, rotate, flip or flop, Photoshop can always refer back to the original pixel data. Until you flatten your file, that image data is not discarded. The negative is that it can make your files much much larger. But, the benefit is your images are much crisper.

Let me show you an example. In the image below, the top image was a smart object that was reduced to 25%, then resized back up to the original size. The bottom image was a regular “raster” layer that went through the same exact reduction and re-enlargement. The end result is a beautiful crisp image from the smart object and a blurry, jagged, pixelated image from the raster layer. This is obviously a dramatic example. Rarely would you reduce something to 25% and blow it back up. I’ve exaggerated the effect for demonstration purposes.

You can tell your layer is a smart object if the smart object icon shows up in the layers palette. Here’s a sample layer with the smart object icon.


So, how do you make sure your layers are smart objects? There are two main ways. First, you can “place” them instead of copy and paste. With your layout open, click FILE>PLACE instead of open/copy/paste. The second option is to paste the photo, element or paper into your document, then right+click on the layer and choose “Convert to Smart Object” from the drop down menu.

TIP: When you are done with your layout and are sure you won’t be changing the size again, rasterize the layers by right+clicking the layer and choosing “Rasterize Layer” to apply the pixel transformations permanently. Now your file can be as small as possible.

I hope this helps explain smart objects in a useful way! If you have any questions on this or any topic, leave a comment! Happy Scrapping!

A Special Gift

Ella Hollingsworth is a very special girl, with a very special family. You can read about her family, their journey and their needs on the Hollingsworth blog. A few of my designer friends were touched by Ella’s story and wanted to help, so we got together and created a small grab bag of products and coupons. It’s not much, but it’s free to anyone who donates ANY AMOUNT directly to Ella’s fund at Your contribution will be tax-deductible since you are donating directly.
Just send me (wendy at scrapbookgraphics { dot } com) a copy of your receipt (minus any private information) by FEBRUARY 28th, 2011, and I will send you a direct download link to the Life Is Precious grab bag ON MARCH 1ST. The grab bag is still receiving contributions, but will include AT LEAST 5 minikits, 1 paper collection, 7 QPs, 1 mini album, templates & coupons to a variety of designers.
Thank you for supporting Baby Ella and her family!

Every Little Bit Counts

With the season of giving, gratitude and joy upon us, Maya, owner of Scrapbookgraphics, thought it would be fun to organize a collaborative charity project that demonstrates the simple truth that “Every Little Bit Counts.” The result is this collection of unique elements (one per designer). All profits from the sales of Every Little Bit Counts will go to the Toronto Sick Kids Foundation. And, it’s only $5. So, do your bit, and purchase it if you haven’t already. It feature an action by me, of course, and is available for only a limited time. You can read a lot more about it on the Studio Matters Blog.

For only $5 you will receive 87 unique digital elements. You will also receive your own digital print drawer converted to a 12 x 12 size, with back removed as a separate layer for easy element placement. Plus, as an added bonus you will also receive a really fun Photoshop action that will automatically insert your choice of elements into the print tray drawer. (Action tested in PSE 5-9, CS3-5)

Thanks for looking & Happy Scrapping!


By popular request, I now have a website and blog so you can keep up with my new products! Sign up for the RSS feed on the bottom of the page to ensure you hear about all my announcements and released. I’ll be updating it over time with all my current products as well so you can find everything in one easy to search location. Be sure to stop back for the official opening on December 1st!

A special thanks to Flergs for the beautiful blog design and hard work in getting me set up.

Thanks for stopping by!