Creating a custom made Christmas Greeting Card in Photoshop CS 2. Final image :

christmas_card



STEP 1 : Creating background and adding effect to the same >  We can do this as the last step after creating the greeting card, but you can create it and hide the related layers so that while creating the card it will not be confusing.

  • Create a new layer by selecting the 'New layer' icon in layers box. Name this layer = Background 1. Now, for this layer > Background 1, simply fill it with color. Set the Foreground color in color box as = # 23646d ( Dark Blue shade ). Fill the Background layer using shortcut = ALT + Backspace.
  • Now create another layer in the same manner and name it = Background 2. Position this layer above Background 1 layer. Set the color in color box to = # 323f41 ( Blackish Blue shade ) and fill using ALT + Backspace. For this layer, let us apply Filter effect. Go to Filter > Filter Gallery > Texture > Craquelure. Set the Crack spacing to 45, Crack Depth to 5, and Crack Brightness to 9. Now set the Blending mode for this layer in Layers box as = SCREEN. You will notice a pleasant Blue colored background.


STEP 2 : Applying Border to the Background > For applying shiny border for the Background, use rectangular marquee tool and make a rectangular selection in such a way that you leave some gap for margin on all four sides and select the entire area. Now go to SELECT menu > REVERSE option and you will see that the selection is made in the size of the border. Now create a new layer and name it = BORDER, and keeping the selection like that,set the foreground color in color box as = # 23646d (Blue shade) and use ALT + Backspace to fill the Border layer. The result is that, the selection is filled with Blue color in the new layer created = BORDER.

  • OPTIONAL TIP 1 > Another method that can be used is to First select the entire image size with rectangular selection tool and then use th suboption > Subtract to draw another rectangle inside it. When subtracted, the result will be in form of a border. This is an easier method.
  • OPTIONAL TIP 2 > Once the border is created, if you want to resize / adjust the border level, you can use Magic Wand Tool and select the border so that the entire border containing that color is selected. Now you can use Transform tool ( CTRL + T ) to resize or position the border to blend with background.

 

STEP 3 : Effect for Border > Now that the Border layer is filled with color, let us add some Gradient style to it to get the shiny border. Adjust the following in the Blending options which is found at, Layer menu > Layer style > Blending options or right click the layer and select Blend options :
Gradient Overlay settings > Setthe Blend mode to ' HARD LIGHT ' with opacity as 100% and style used as ' REFLECTED '  with angle = 90% and scaled to 100 %. The Gradient used is the custom made one with two colors. To create a new gradient, first select an existing Bi-color gradient called Black, White and click New button and give a name to the new gradient. Set one color as = # 23646d (Dark Blue ) and the other color is set to = # 02e2f6 (Light Blue). The Blend mode of this layer in Layers box is = Normal.


STEP 4 : Front Part of Card > Use the Rectangle Shape Tool and Draw a rectangle. The color of the rectangle is = # 374b7a ( Purple color ). Select the rectangle shape and name the shape layer as = FRONT. Use the Transform Tool and right click and select the option called > SKEW and select the right side and reduce them individually leaving the left side remain the same so that it would look like one side longer than the other. The Blend mode of this layer is = NORMAL. Once you have positioned it properly, to make the card have a solid look, let us add Bevel to give a 3D look. Click the FRONT layer and select Blend options. Select the options > Drop shadow and Bevel and Emboss.

Drop Shadow Settings > The Blend mode of the Shadow color is = MULTIPLY. The shadow color is = Black. The opacity is = 70 %. The shadow is placed at an angle of 150 degree. The Distance is = 30 px, Speed = 0 %, and Size = 24 px. The Contour used is = Linear contour and noise is = 0 %.

Bevel and Emboss settings >
The bevel used is = Outer Bevel and technique used is = Smooth and with Depth= 300 % and direction set to = UP. The size is 5 px and soften level is 0 px. The contour used is = Llinear Gloss contour and Highlight color is white and mode is = Screen and shadow color is Greyish Black (# 333333)  and mode is = multiply and both set at 75%. The bevel is placed at an angle of 150 degree.

 

STEP 5 : Back part of Card > We need to show that the card is opened. So we will create the back side of the card using the Pen tool. Let us manually draw using pen tool rather than using a shape available. Click on an area and click near the first point at an horizontal distance and the click again at a diagonal distance to get a closed Triangle shape. The fill color of this shape is = # b9d7f2 ( Light Blue ). Name this layer as = BACK. The Blend mode of this layer is = Normal. Let us add The Drop Shadow and Bevel Settings for this layer also.

Drop Shadow Settings > The Blend mode of the Shadow color is = MULTIPLY. The shadow color is = Black. The opacity is = 75 %. The shadow is placed at an angle of 150 degree. The Distance is = 25 px, Speed = 0 %, and Size = 8 px. The Contour used is = Linear contour and noise is = 0 %. Once the Shadow is applied, you will see that the shadow is seen over the FRONT layer and looks awkward. But, once the pictures are applied, it will be alright.

Bevel and Emboss settings > The bevel used is = Inner Bevel and technique used is = Smooth and with Depth= 200 % and direction set to = UP. The size is 1 px and soften level is 0 px. The contour used is = Llinear Gloss contour and Highlight color is white and mode is = Screen and shadow color is Black and mode is = multiply and both set at 75%. The bevel is placed at an angle of 150 degree.

card_plain



STEP 6 : Now HIDE all the layers contributing to the Background, that is = Background 1, Background 2, and the Border layer leaving only the default white background layer to work on. Now open an image containing Christmas tree and select the image and drag it into this document you are working in. Or use the File menu > Place to directly place an image into the document. Once the whole image is placed, use the Rectangular Marquee tool and select the Main Christmas tree in image. If you use another image, this is not necessary. Since in this image, there are many rees, select the middle tree alone. Once selected, use CTRL + C and copy the selected area. Create a new layer and name it = TREE and use CTRL + V to paste the copied tree image selection. You can delete the original tree image now as you will be using the Tree layer.

chris_tree_ori

 

STEP 7 : Position this Christmas Tree  image over the FRONT layer containing the front part of the card in the center, leaving somespace in right and left side of the front side. Set the Blend mode of this Tree layer as = Overlay. Now create another duplicate copy of this Tree layer using CTRL + J and name it TREE 2. The Blend mode of this layer is also ' Overlay'. Doing this will add a shiny effect on the Tree image which is perfect for our card.
step6

 

STEP 8 : Now use the Rectangular Marquee tool and draw a vertical rectangle to fit the empty space on the front side of the card. Create a new layer and name it = RIGHT. Fill this selection with # 25aec2 ( Light Blue color ) using Alt + Backspace. Position this on the right side. Create another layer and name it = LEFT. Create a copy of the Right layer using ALT + Click and drag to get a duplicate copy easily. Position this on the left side of the card.
step8

 

STEP 9 : Select the RIGHT layer and go to FILTER menu > FILTER gallery > TEXTURE > GRAIN and set the Intensity to = 15, Contrast to = 50, and the Grain type to = Regular. You will have tiny dots over the area. Apply this same Grain effect to LEFT layer also. You need not set the values again seperately. In Filter Menu, the first option shows the recent effects used. Clicking that will add the effect directly.

STEP 10 : Adding extras >

extras_ori

  • Now for adding the extras to the card, we will use combination of pictures relating to the Christmas theme. The pictures might be available along with many other pictures, in that case use the marquee tool to select the rexuired image and then copy the selected area using CTRL + C and paste it in a new layer. Create a new layer for each mini image, being total of 6 mini images used in this card, there are 6 layers allotted to them.
  • Once you have arranged, all of the mini images that are in form of rectangles, use the Magic Wand tool and select the white areas in each mini image, and fill them with # 25aec2 (Light Blue shade ) using ALT + Backspace. Do this for allmini images so that all the mini images have the background = blue instead of white (the default background color ). Set the Blend mode for all these 6 mini image layers in layers box to = MULTIPLY.
  • Now to highlight the mini images, let us add stroke / border for them. Right click one particular mini image layer and select Blending options and choose the option > Stroke. Stroke settings > This is the only setting we are going to make. Set the Size of the stroke to - 5 px positioned INSIDE.The Blend mode is set to = HARD LIGHT with opacity 100%.The Fill type used is Gradient with REFLECTED style placed at an angle of 90 degree and scaled to 150 %. The Gradient used is the custom made one with two colors. One color is # 057794 ( Blue shade) and the other is Black.
  • Now that you have applied the gradient stroke to one mini image, to apply the same to all others, you need not adjust the settings again. Right click the mini image layer where you applied the stroke, and choose option > Copy Layer Style. Now select all the remaining 5 mini image layers ( CTRL + select layers to select mutiple layers at the same time  ) and right click, select > Paste Layer Style. All the selected layers are applied with Gradient stroke. NOTE : You have to change the MODE in the Stroke settings individually for all mini images. If not changed, it will not look good. The three modes used are > Hard Light, Linear Light and Vivid Light. The mode used for the Gift and Bells is = Linear Light. The mode used for the Ball is = Vivid Light. The mode used for the Snow man, Hat, and stick is = Hard Light.


STEP 11 : Typing Text > Let us not forget the important part of typing the text. Type a text ' Seasons  Greetings ' , with Font set to - ‘ French Script MT ' and Style set to = ' Regular ' with Size increased to = 80 pt and ' Smooth ' effect is selected as style. The color used for the Text is = # bbf022 ( Yellowish Green color). Once you have typed it, use the Trabsform tool, right click and select the option > SKEW to reduce one side to fit with the perspective angle of the card. From what i have noticed, applying Skew once does not provide with the desired result. Apply Skew once, and use the Skew option again and reduce  / adjust again to get the perfect angle.

This is the end of the card making process. See that the layers are arranged in the following order. Since there are many layers, i broke them into 2 halves. The first 6 layers are the bottom in the list and the next 6 ar above the first 6 layers. Arrangement is important.

layers


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