Has it taken you FOREVER to figure out Photoshop? Does it seem like you need to watch a million YouTube videos just to figure out one simple thing? I can relate.
Today for your frugal pleasure I am going to give you a few tips on creating the perfect Holiday photo card that will save you time and money this holiday season.
A few basics first. I'm using Photoshop Elements. It's a few years old, one of the cheaper Photoshop packages, but it works just fine. If you don't have the money to buy Photoshop at full sticker price I would look into buying an older version of the software, you don't always have to have the latest and greatest. Also, make sure you have the photos you would like to use and your wording planned out so you can just plug and go.
Step one. Gather your digital elements and photos. Place them in a folder or on your desktop so they are all in one place. My favorite place to buy DIGITAL ELEMENTS is on Etsy. There are tons of shops out there selling "scrapbook" type icons for between $1 and $5. They are DARLING. Here are a couple of the shops where I bought mine for this card.
District 9 Design (Etsy)
sahlink (Washi Tape)
michLgstudios (Minnesota shape)
Kelly Jane Creative (arrow under "with love")
I LOVE the "Fonts for Peas" from kevinandamanda.com. I get nearly all my fun fonts from her!
I purchased several different sets of digital elements, spending about $10. Once you buy these, you can always use them for non-holiday purposes, but I didn't have many so I invested a bit of dough.
FIRST STEP: You'll open Photoshop and select FILE > NEW > BLANK FILE. This is where you will select the size. I decided on a 5x7 card which will be easy to print if I choose to do so.
Next you are going to add a bunch of elements to this blank white rectangle. The best way to do this is by: FILE > PLACE > [select either the digital elements or the pictures].
Add TONS of elements. You may add things you don't end up using and you may also need to add more things later. Make a "collage" right there on your computer to see how they look together.
I decided that I wanted my main image in a frame. To do this I opened a NEW BLANK FILE and framed the picture in there. I used the same method of FILE > PLACE - to get both the frame and the picture together in this file.
Above is the frame I added through FILE > PLACE. You can see that my picture is hanging off the bottom of the screen. I placed this as well but wanted you to see both pieces for now.
I centered the image over the grey circle and in the LAYERS panel to the right of the screen I made sure that my picture was above the grey frame template. The other two layers came with this digital element. One has the white stitches and the other is just a transparent background (appears checkered in Photoshop).
Next is the REALLY IMPORTANT PART!
To make the picture cut out to the shape of the frame - highlight in blue (click on) your picture and click (from the top bar): LAYER > CREATE CLIPPING MASK. Clipping mask will ALWAYS clip the layer you have highlighted (your picture) to whatever layer is underneath (your frame). If it does something wonky, undo and start again.
No I have my picture framed and I need to condense the image for use on my card. Click: LAYER > MERGE VISIBLE. Then SAVE AS (give a name) on your desktop. If anything has TEXT - save as a PNG.
Next I will FILE > PLACE my photo onto the collage I have started.
Now it's just a matter of moving the elements around until you feel comfortable with it. As you can see I was initially going to use the triangle paper for the background and switched to the chalkboard. I LOVE the decorative "tapes."
I decided to make one other framed element. This time not a photo, just a piece of "digital scrapbooking paper" which I will place text on top of. I used the same method for framing the photo. I also added it in a similar way to my collage.
Eventually you will start adding text. Keep an eye on your LAYERS list on the right. If you are typing and cannot see it, it is likely that your text layer is beneath another layer. Play around with the layers until things are the way you like. As you can see, my photo layer is arranged above the framed scrapbook layer. The "tapes" are above everything.
You can see that I added a MINNESOTA digital element and also drew a heart over it with the custom shape tool. Then filled it in with red.
I like to add each word of text in a separate TEXT BOX. That way I can move them around individually.
You will end up with LOTS OF LAYERS. See my Layers panel below. Always keep in mind what is above what (that just means literally above it on the list (they can be moved with the "hand"). You can also click the little eyeball next to each layer to turn it "off" and see what the card will look like without it.
When you are satisfied with the look of your card. MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE DONE! This action cannot be rewound. WHEN YOU ARE DONE - Click: LAYER > FLATTEN IMAGE. This will make all your Layers disappear - leaving just one - your finished product.
Now it's time to save. FILE > SAVE AS > HOLIDAY CARD 2013. Save it as a PNG, save it also as a PDF. Here is my finished product!
Was this helpful to you? Would you like to see more photoshop tutorials on J L Stephens Couture? Would you like a tutorial on making "digital buttons" to advertise your brand? Comment on this post to let me know what you think!
Happy Holidays everyone. I hope you are inspired to make your own card this year, for print or for email. It's a great way to save money and make it "personal" this Holiday season!
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