Cutetorial Edition 1: Using Photoshop Elements for Cafepress Image Preparation

A fair amount of my time has been spent writing computer program how-tos for my mom in the hopes of nurturing her e-commerce independence. I thought it may be a good idea to post only slightly modified versions of these tutorials, or as I call them, "cutetorials," here for all the world to see. There are most likely superior Photoshop and Cafepress tutorials discoverable with the help of the great Google god, but this seems to work well for my mom - a woman who seems fairly intimidated by computers. Enjoy.

P.S. I will do a secondary edit of this post at a later date, to make up for any gaps in logic. My apologies for any inconvenience in the meantime.

How to use Photoshop Elements to prepare a scanned image for Cafepress.

First you will need to go to the CafePress website to find out the required size of the image for your calendar/mug/etc. Later, you will upload your edited image to CafePress

The login page is located here: https://www.cafepress.com/cp/members/login.aspx?passthru=yes

Login Name: your@email.com
Pasword: pass1234

Click on “Your Shop Name”
Click on “Manage Sections and Products”
Click on “A section your daughter already made for you, probably Ginger the Gopher”

Now click on whichever product you would like to create a new image for. For the sake of our cutetorial, let’s use the pre-made calendar. So, click on “Ginger the Gopher Calendar Print.”
On the middle-left part of the page, you should see “Image Guidelines.” They should look something like this:

Image Guidelines
11 x 8.5 in. Full BleedH: 11.5 x 9 in. (trimmed on calendar to 11 x 8.5 in.)
DPI: 150 minimum

These are the specifications we will use in Photoshop Elements.

Go to Photoshop Elements and click on “File” then “New” then “Blank File.”
Change the “Width” to be measured in “inches” instead of “pixels.” Do the same for the “Height.”
Now set the width and height to match the image guidelines you got from cafepress. In this case, it will be 11.5 x 9 inches. (The end product will be trimmed to 11 x 8.5.)
Change the “Resolution” to 200.
Click “OK”
Now go to “File” then “Save As” and name the file. Change the file format to “.PNG”
Now go to “File” then “Open” then choose to open the image you want to use for the product. (This is the image you scanned in earlier, or one that already exists on your computer.)
Now that you have both your new file and the image you want to edit open, click and hold the image you want to use, and drag it over to the window with the blank Photoshop file. It should drop the image you want to use into the formerly blank file.

Now we get to adjust the image.

If the image is facing the wrong direction, you can rotate it until it is aligned properly. To do this, go to “Image” then “Rotate” then rotate it using the tools they provide until it looks okay.

As an alternative (but this is not required), you can put your mouse button very very close to the outline of the new image – then the mouse arrow should become a little arc with two points. If you hold down the left mouse button when this little arc pops up, you can drag the mouse around and rotate the picture (keeping the mouse button pushed the whole time). If you hold the “Shift” key while doing this, the image will snap into place in increments of about 30 degrees.

Now we should resize the image.

At each of the corners of the image is a little tiny box. Click on one of the tiny boxes and drag (hold down the mouse button as you drag). This will let you resize the image to fit the print area. You can also click on the image itself and drag it to move it around. When you have adjusted it to your liking, hit “Enter”

Now we should fix the rough edges:

If there are rough edges you need to delete, look to the lefthand menu in the Photoshop screen. It is the menu with little pictures of arrows and stars and Ts and such. These are your tools. Click on the box that looks like a rectangle with a white dashed line running around it. It should be the fourth button down from the top. Now create a rectangle around the area you would like to remove by clicking and dragging your mouse. This should make a small box. To finish removing the area, click the “Backspace” button on your keyboard. Make sure that you create a really looong rectangle – that goes all the way from one side of the picture to the other We prevent rough or jagged edges by making sure to go all the way across with our rectangle.

We can now fix the colors of the image in a few ways:

At the top of the screen go to “Enhance” then “Adjust Lighting” then “Brightness/Contrast.” Fiddle with these settings until you find a balance you like. You can always click "Cancel" to undo any of your fiddling.

If these results aren’t good enough, go to the top of the screen and select “Enhance” then “Adjust color” then “Adjust Hue/Saturation” or, if you feel like having some fun, “Replace Color.” You can fiddle with those settings as much as you like. If you want more detailed instructions, give me a call and we can go over them on the phone. Don’t be afraid to try them on your own – you can always click the “Cancel” or “Undo” buttons if you don’t like the results.

Don’t forget to zoom in and make sure there aren’t any weird fuzzies or scratches on the picture.
You can zoom in by holding down the “Ctrl” key on your keyboard, then, while still holding that button down, push the “+” key. This should zoom you in. If this is too tricky, go to the menu at the top of the screen and click on “View” then “Zoom In” or “Zoom Out” respectively.

If there are little fuzzy or dusty-thing issues, we will use the clone stamp to fix them. The “Clone Stamp” button is in the lefthand menu we used earlier. It is in the lower half of that menu and is just above the pink eraser, and right below the bandaid. Here’s a hint for the tools – if you let your mouse pointer hover (meaning not moving!) over each of the little tool buttons, in a few seconds, a little line of text will pop up, telling you the name of the tool!
Once you find it, click on the “Clone Stamp” button. Then zoom WAY in on the spot you want to fix. The closer up you get to it, the less any fiddling will show once we get the image to print. Now, find a good spot that you would like to essentially “copy” and “paste” over the spot that looks icky. Click on it and, at the same time, push the “Alt” key on your keyboard. This will copy the spot you want to use. Now drag (while holding down) the mouse button over the icky spot. Now release the mouse button. Next hold down the mouse button and drag again. Repeat. The icky spot should gradually begin to disappear, the more you repeat the dragging-and-clicking-then-release action. You can repeat this process with several different “good” spots to copy over the one “bad spot.” The goal is to fiddle until you have something that look completely blended in with the surrounding area.

If the mouse button on the screen is too large or too small, you can adjust it. It is like switching out your current paintbrush with one of a different size.

Just under the menu at the top of the screen (the one that says things like "File" or "Image") is a second menu. There will be a small button that says, “Size.” Next to size, it will say something like, “22 px.” Next to “22 px” there will be a tiny little black arrow. Click on it. A slider bar will come up. Grab the rectangle in the slider bar to make the mouse button larger or smaller. Then hold the mouse button over the image to see if you like the new size. This works with a lot of the other tools as well.

If the area you copied contrasts too much with the area you are pasting it over, you can adjust the opacity of the copied part.

First we should undo the part that was too opaque. Go to the menu at the top of the screen and click on "Edit" then "Undo." You can click "Undo" several times until you have gotten rid of the problem. If you accidentally click "Undo" too many times, don't worry! Go back to "Edit" then click on "Redo." You're all set.

Go back up to the menu at the top. Just under the menu at the top is the area where you adjusted the clone stamp (mouse button) size. A few sections over to the right is “Opacity.” Decrease the percentage of “opacity” to make the copied part more subtle when you are placing it over the icky part we want to cover up.

Now go back and cover up that pesky fuzzy spot.

If there are white rectangles around the image, we can now fill them in with a pretty color (if you want).

Make sure you are zoomed out so that you can see the whole image. On the lower right hand part of the screen there is a box called “Layers.” Click on the layer that says, “Background.”
Look over to the lefthand toolbar – go to the very bottom where there are two little boxes filled with color. Click on the one that says, “Set Foreground Color” on it when you let your mouse hover above it. This should be the leftmost color box. Now you can choose a color for the white spaces. There are two ways to do this.

Click on different areas of the painting itself. You will see the colors in the preview box of the color selector that popped up when you clicked on “Set Foreground Color.” If you find one you like, click “OK.”

You can also click around for colors in the color selector box. You can also adjust the color by clicking in different spots on the horizontal rainbow rectangle. When you find one you like, click “OK.”

Now look over to the lefthand tool bar and find the “paint bucket” tool. This one is near the bottom, just above the rectangle that is rainbow colored and a few tools below the pink eraser. Click on the paint bucket tool. Now, take the tool and click once in the white part of the picture that you want to make a color. If you like it, great! If not, go and find a new color!
If the “Paint bucket” tool is misbehaving , one option is to go to the tools on the lefthand side and select the “Custom Shape Tool.” This is also sometimes called the “rectangle tool.” It will be whichever tool is just below the rainbow rectangle and just above the raindrop. Click on the button for the tool and hold down. This will open up a list of tools you can use. Select the rectangle tool. Now click and drag so that the rectangle complete covers up the white space. Make sure that it goes all the way from one edge to the other. This way it will look nice for press! If this doesn’t work, give me a call!

Now we need to finish the file for uploading to cafepress.

Go to the menu at the top and click on “Layer.” Then click on “Flatten Image.” Now click on “Save” and make sure it has been saved as a “.PNG” file.

Now you can upload this to Cafepress! Yay!

Your tutorial for uploading to Cafepress is coming soon...

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