Tag Archives: technique

Top 5 Tips to Achieve Perfect Cluster Groups

Cluster groups are a scrapbook technique that baffles many scrappers.  Cluster groups are a great way to use some of the gorgeous embellishments included in kits and collections while improving the look of a scrapbook page layout.

Here are five key components to consider to achieve beautiful cluster groups.

  1. Repeat elements:  embellishments, papers, shapes, and colors.
  2. Odd numbers work best.  Three or five items always look better than two or four.
  3. Triangular arrangements work great in cluster groups and layout design.
  4. Place elements under, between and above photos and papers.
  5. Use clusters to move your eye around the page.

If you find it difficult to arrange clusters, try finding layouts or pre-made clusters that you like and study how the key components are applied.  Practice replicating the look in your own layouts.

First add several elements to use on a layout.  Then try multiplying, resizing, rearranging, and relayering to get the desired effect.  After all that if something just doesn’t seem to work, delete it.  As with anything new, it takes practice.  Since everything is digital it makes it super easy to practice.

Let’s explore a pre-made cluster.  A member of KimericKreations CT made this cluster using Kim’s Rustic Autumn kit.

cluster example

  1. The triangular shape is still apparent even in a more vertical design.
  2. Flower clusters-3 blue, 3 gold & 3 maroon flowers grouped and repeated 3 times.
  3. Blue leaves repeated 3 times.
  4. Banner flags-3 maroon flags, 3 plaid flags, 3 grey flags.
  5. Gold color repeated in heart & paint splatters at the top and middle, word art in the middle & circles at the bottom which also repeats the circular shape at the top and the clock in the middle.

When planning a cluster group it helps to copy/paste a minimum of three of each of the main items you plan to include.  Place them over to the side to start.  Then rotate and group some of them and place them in the general areas to make a triangle.  Some items, such as a single flair & single clock, work because the circular shape is repeated.

Now let’s look at a layout.  Instead of one cluster group, three groups create flow.

Slim vertical photo layout

Notice the general layout is triangular.  The cluster group on the top left, the butterfly on the top right and the clustering at the bottom use the five key components to move the eye around the layout.  Each cluster has an odd number of elements, three on the left, one on the right and five at the bottom.  The blue ribbon on each side of the photo ties in the blue umbrella.

If you are having trouble achieving beautiful cluster groups, try these five tips and see if they help.

Top 5 Shadowing Do's

Shadowing is very important on your digital scrapbook layout to achieve a more realistic look.  Shadows add depth and dimension to an otherwise flat design.  If you’re making a traditional paper layout, shadows are ‘built in’.  Since the elements are truly dimensional they automatically cast shadows.  That makes sense, right?  When creating digital layouts you should try to add realistic looking shadows.

Here is my list of the top 5 DO’s when adding shadows to your digital designs.

1. DO consider how ‘thick’ an element is & how much shadow it would cast if it were ‘real’.  Paper & card stock don’t cast the same shadow as ribbon, buttons or flowers.  The photo below demonstrates how shadows are cast naturally for items of various thicknesses.

Various Depth Items

2. DO think about your ‘light source’ and cast the shadow away from it.  If light is coming from above & to the left the shadow will fall below & to the right.  The photo above is a perfect example of this.

3. DO match the shadow direction for all elements on the layout.  Tip: If you’re using a pre-made, pre-shadowed cluster try to match the shadowing on any other elements you add. In the photos below I used a pre-made pre-shadowed cluster.  Most people tend to shadow to the right & below but the cluster was pre-shadowed to the left & below.  The shadow for the frame looks much better on the right example.  The frame shadow is slightly darker because it is closer to the page than the cluster.

Wrong vs Right

4. DO remember the thicker the element, the lower the opacity should be.  A lower opacity makes shadows more transparent.  Notice in the above example you can see the splatter below the cluster, through the shadow, because the lower opacity makes it transparent.

5. DO raise the blur setting for ‘thicker’ elements.  This will create a lighter, less defined shadow.  Thinner elements shadow will be darker and more defined.

I hope these top 5 shadowing do’s are helpful.  Stay tuned for some shadowing dont’s I’ll be posting in a couple of days.  What do you think?  Do you agree?  Your comments are welcome.

 

 

August Word Challenge List

This month our August Word Challenge List is a bit different.  Instead of random words we’ve got an A to Z list of techniques to use.  We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback already and can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with.  So without further ado here is the word challenge list for August.  Have fun!

August Word List