New user? Subscribe!  ·  Already a subscriber? .

Making a Christmas Card, No. 6

By Wendy Williams  ·  December 2nd, 2009

Here is the second of this year’s Christmas Card tutorials. I do hope that you enjoy trying them out. Once you have made your cards, do post then on the forum.

  1. First we are going to make a star to use on our card so create a new file. File>New>Blank File, 600 pixels by 600 pixels, RGB, 300 resolution with a white background.

  2. I added a slight color to the background layer just to make it show up better. If you wish to do the same then just change your foreground color to ‘f0f2fd’ and choose Edit>Fill Layer.

  3. Change your foreground color to black, select the Custom Shape (U) tool and choose the Star shape.

  4. Drag the Custom Shape tool across the page and create a star of about the same size as the one below:

  5. Simplify the layer (Layer>Simplify Layer).

  6. Create a new layer. Layer>New>Layer and call it “Stroke.” Then go to the Layers palette and Ctrl-click (Mac: Command-click) on the “Star” layer to regain the star selection.

  7. Switch off the eyeball next to the “Star” layer and choose Edit>Stroke Selection, and use the setting 2 pixels, Inside. This layer is not going to be used in our final image, it is just going to be a guide whilst we are making our new star.

  8. Create a new layer and call it “70.” Then choose a hard circular brush from the Default Brush set and change the brush size to 70 pixels.

  9. Change your foreground color to ‘9e8917’ and click with your mouse several times to create some circles. Use the image below as a guide for placing them:

  10. Next, create a new layer and call it “50.” Then change your brush size to 50 pixels.

  11. Change your foreground color to ‘d5bd38’ and click down several times to create some more circles. Again, use my next image as a guide:

  12. Create another new layer and call it “40” then change your brush size to 40 pixels. Change your foreground color to ceab33 and click down several times to create some more circles:

  13. Repeat the last two steps, call your layer “30”, change your brush size to 30 pixels and use the color ‘ab9205.’

  14. Again repeat the last two steps, call your layer “20” change your brush size to 20 pixels and use the color ‘efdd7b.’

  15. Then again with a layer called “10”, brush size 10 pixels and using the color ‘a09453.’

  16. Just one more time to finish off the circles. This time with a layer called “8”, brush size 8 pixels and using the color ‘ded290.’

  17. Next we are going to add a few stars. Create a new layer (Layer>New>Layer) and call it “Stars.” Select the Flowing Star brush from the Default Brush set and add some stars to your image. Add them one at a time and vary the colors that you use so that over a dark circle you use a light colored star and over a light circle you use a darker shade.

    Also vary the size of the brush to match the size of the circles and if you wish you can rotate the brush slightly between strokes so that each one looks slightly different.

  18. Next we need to add some interest to our star so add a Bevel layer style to some of the layers. The layers I added bevels to are “70”, “50”, “40” and “30.”

  19. Once you have finished your star go to the Layers palette switch off the “Stroke” layer and save the star (File>Save As). I called mine “Star” and here is how my finished image looks:

  20. Next, we need to create our card. Create a new file (File>New>File Blank File), 1800 pixels by 1200 pixels, RGB, 300 resolution with a white background.

  21. Then change your foreground color to ‘6d6d6d’ and fill the layer (Edit>Fill Layer).

  22. Create a new layer. Layer>New>Layer and call it “Card Front” then change your foreground color to ‘fdfcea’ and choose Edit>Fill Layer to fill the layer.

  23. To make the next stage easier, you need to switch on the Grid (View>Grid). Go to the Preferences (Ctrl-K (Mac: Command-K)) and change the Grid preferences to “Gridlines every one inch” and “Subdivisions every 8.”

  24. Select the Rectangular Marquee (M) and make a selection something like mine (use the grid as a guide).

  25. Choose Edit>Delete.

  26. Next you need to deselect (Select>Deselect). Once that is done you can switch off the Grid. (Choose View>Grid and uncheck it.) This gives you the basis of your card and all we have to do now is decorate it.

  27. Next fill your background layer with your current foreground color (‘fdfcea’). Go to the Layers palette, click on the background layer and choose Edit>Fill Layer.

  28. Create a new layer (Layer>New>Layer) and call it “Shadow.” Go to the Layers palette and make sure that it is just below the “Card Front” layer. If it isn’t then just click on the Shadow layer in the palette and drag it into place.

  29. Ctrl-click (Mac: Command-click) on the “Card Front” layer to regain the selection, change your foreground color to black and fill the selection. (Edit>Fill Selection).

  30. Choose Select>Deselect. Next, choose Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur, set to 25 pixels. This creates your shadow and your image should now look something like mine.

  31. Create another new layer and call it “Stroke.” Change your foreground color to ‘c9b230,’ then go to the Layers palette and Control-Click (Mac: Command-Click) on the “Card Front” layer to regain the selection.

  32. Also make sure that the “Stroke” layer is at the top of the Layers palette. If it isn’t then just click on the layer and drag it into place.

  33. Choose Select>Inverse to invert the selection, then Select>Modify>Expand 2 pixels to cover over the slight gap we created when we inverted the selection.

  34. Choose Edit>Stroke Selection, set to 10 pixels, Inside, and then deselect (Select>Deselect).

  35. Now it’s time to add our star. Open up your Star image, go to the Layers palette and switch off the background layer’s visibility. Then choose Select>All, followed by Edit>Copy Merged.

  36. Go back to your card image, choose Edit>Paste, then use the Move tool (V) to move the first star into place.

  37. Duplicate the “Star” layer (Layer>Duplicate Layer). Again, using the Move tool, move it into place and resize it.

    To resize the star using the Move tool, you simply click on the star. When the bounding box is visible, move your cursor into one corner and drag inwards to make a smaller star. You can also use the tool to slightly rotate the star.

  38. Continue to do this until you have six stars. You can use my image as a guide for placing them or place them in a pattern that you prefer.

  39. Next create a new layer and call it “Star Brush.” Go to the Layers palette and drag this layer just above the Background layer.

  40. Change your foreground color to ‘e5d57d’ and use the Flowing Star Brush to add some stars to your layer. Vary the size of the stars so that the new background doesn’t look too regular. Then lower the opacity of the layer to around 60%.

  41. At this stage, you can add any text that you wish to your card. For my card, I decided to add Merry Christmas in many different languages. I also varied the font so that they all looked different. The color I used was ‘c9b230’; I then added a Bevel layer style to each of the text layers and reduced the opacity of them to around 60%.

  42. You can make your text layers as simple or as complex as you wish to.

Here is a second card that I made. In this one I varied it by using a Metallic layer style on the Star and grey for the card background. There really are a lot of different things that you can do.

Finally I decided to use my card to make a card display and if you wish to do the same then there is a tutorial for this effect in the Tutorials section. It shows you how to make your own card display.

I do hope that you enjoyed the tutorial and had fun doing it. Do use the tutorial as a starting point for making your own cards, try varying the colors or shape of the window in the card. Or, add a texture and see how that works out. Making things really is a great way to learn how to use Elements, so most of all, remember to experiment and enjoy!

Wendy

 

Wendy’s other Christmas-themed projects

1 Reply to Making a Christmas Card, No. 6:

  1. Wilhelm

    December 8, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    I find this tutorial very hard to follow. Not easy explained, after all we are only using ELEMENTS.
    The description of the layers was not clear as was the use of col. in numbers. Now how does one goes about that? I have never heard of it.

    Sorry, but I have had clearer tutorials.

Tell us what you think.

You must be to post a comment.

Learn Elements Today!

Learn Elements Today DVD boxIf you're looking for the quickest way to get up to speed with Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 or 11 (or earlier versions, both Windows and Mac), check out our "Learn Elements Today" training course DVD. Our gurus will help you use Elements to take your photos from good to Great!

Who Are We?

We are Photo One Media, a small company based in lovely Portland, Oregon. Our passion is helping people create, enhance, and share photos; designing cards, calendars, books and scrapbooks; and getting the most out of your digital camera.

Photoshop Elements Techniques is a magazine and website devoted to helping folks get the most out of Adobe Photoshop Elements. Subscribers get six feature-packed issues per year, with weekly tutorial videos and more on this site. If you would like to see the magazine for yourself, you can get two free sample issues.

Follow us!

Follow us on Twitter Find us on Facebook