Although the days of sending handmade Christmas cards to friends and family are gone, it is still possible to personally craft cards to give to loved ones using what technology has to offer! Creating a Christmas card from scratch is pretty easy actually. All you need is a little imagination and the knowledge of a few Photoshop tips and tricks which I will now share with you
Step 1: Let us begin with creating a new file. While opening a new file choose the A4 canvas size preset to get the right dimensions for the card. Once you’ve clicked on OK, unlock the Background layer by double clicking on it in the Layers tab. Also, create a new layer.
Step 2: Use the Line tool to draw two lines which will divide your page into 4 quarters. To make sure that the divisions are exact, make use of the rulers. To make the rulers visible just click on View -> Rulers.
Step 3: You now have the divisions which will help you fold your card after you’ve taken a printout, not to mention the fact that you’ll also find it easier to work this way!
Step 4: Now create a new layer. Choose a nice Christmas-y color (I’ve chosen green although it totally depends on your choice!) from the Color picker, and use the Rounded Rectangle Tool draw yourself a shape as shown in the next picture. You can get this tool by right clicking on the Line Tool button, upon which a drop down menu appears (shown in the picture below).
Step 5: Basically, the shape you’ve drawn will help define the frame in the front cover of your card. Again, do make use of the rulers! Now, right click on the Shape vector to Rasterize the layer (in the Layers tab). It will let you treat the shape like any other layer element. You can now use the Paint Bucket Tool.
Step 6: Once you’ve selected the Paint Bucket Tool, change “Foreground” to “Pattern”, with the Mode being “Difference” and choose a pattern of your choice from the preset options. Do feel free to play around since it’s your card after all! Click on the colored area and you will get a cool pattern effect like the one I’ve shown. The pattern in the picture has been obtained by superimposing two patterns one after the other. :)
Step 7: Create another new layer and then use the Rectangle Tool to draw a smaller rectangle inside your green shape. I’ve used red for this shape to give it a Christmas-ish feel. :) Now use the Move tool to select the shape and rotate it slightly as shown. Again, rasterize the layer as you did in the previous case. Don’t feel the least bit shy about being creative!
Step 8: Use the Paint Bucket Tool with a “Pattern” fill, the Mode changed to “Screen” and Opacity adjusted to 22%, to create a pattern of your liking in the red rectangle. This finishes off the background. Now for the Text! Create a new layer.
Step 9: Use the Text tool to create a text box and enter the text you want. I’ve used the Papyrus font with a greyish white font color. Adjust the font size based on your preference.
Step 10: To add effects to the text, right click on the Layer and click on “ Blending Optionsâ€¦”. In the window that opens up, check “Bevel & Emboss”. I’ve chosen the “Outer Bevel” Style, the “Smooth” Technique and adjusted the Depth, Size and Soften options to my liking to get fuzzy snowy text!
Step 11: Create a new layer and paste a picture which will serve as your cover picture. (The picture used here is from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/. They have a lot of free Christmas themed pictures). To add a few effects to the picture, first duplicate the layer with the picture by right clicking on the layer and selecting the “Duplicate Layer Option”.
Step 12: Out of the duplicates, select the bottom layer and click on Filter > Blur -> Radial Blur. Doesn’t it look better?
Step 13: To blend in the picture a little more, select the upper layer and reduce Opacity to 90%. This finishes off the front cover. Now I’ll be keeping the inside minimalistic, however you’re welcome to jazz up the inside as well if you want!
Step 14: Create a new Layer and use the Text tool to add a message inside. I’ve stayed with the color scheme and made my text green and also kept the font same as the one used for the front cover.
Step 15: You must remember that you’ll be folding this page once you’ve printed it. So be sure to rotate the text 180 degrees using the Move tool. Also, move your text box to the centre of the quadrant to improve the overall appearance. Create a new layer again.
Step 16: For the back cover, I’ve made a simple design using Brushes (I’ve used a “Butterfly” brush). Don’t fret if you have only the preset brushes for those can be used as well! It’s creativity that counts and you can always download free brushes from the Internet.
Step 17: Here’s a tip you can keep in mind while using brushes: Gradually increase the brush size as you keep drawing the pattern. In the zoomed in picture below you can see that I’ve made it appear as though the butterflies are flowing out!
Step 18: To complete the inside of the card, you can create a new layer and add a picture you like. Here, I’ve added a picture of a Snowman (from the same source as the picture of the Christmas tree). Be sure to rotate it by 180 degrees!
Step 19: Your card is now ready for printing! Simply take a full page high quality A4 printout (use of photo paper would be great) and fold along the guiding lines.
Step 20: Let me do a quick review of the Photoshop tips and tricks that you have learnt:
- Use of Layers
- Rasterizing Shape vectors
- Working with the Paint Bucket tool
- Working with Text
- Adding effects to Pictures
- Application of Filters
- Changing Opacity settings
- Working with Brushes