For her regular Wednesday post, TipSquirrel welcomes back Janine Smith @landailyn
In this, part three of our holiday card project, we’re going to do some decorating! This can be done on any element in your photo, but is really fun on a tree. I picked the center tree to decorate. The first thing we’ll do is make a light brush. If you’ve never made a brush before, don’t panic, I’ll walk you through it!
Select the brush tool and set the size fairly small. This will differ depending on the resolution of your file. Mine is 300 ppi, so a size 15 brush is a nice smallish size without being tiny.
Now move to the brush engine. First, in the Brush Tip Shape section, change the spacing to around 125%.
Now, select Scattering. Check the “Both Axes” box and raise the scatter to 1000%. Turn the scatter Control off and change the Count Jitter Control to Pen Pressure. These settings are for scattered lights, like those you’d find on a tree. If you wanted a different look, like a line of lights, you’d choose different settings.
Tip: If you think you’ll stop in the middle of this process, you might have to redo parts later or you just want to play it safe, make your brush into a Preset! When you have all your settings just the way you want them, go to the Tool Preset Picker, the dropdown box at the far left of the tool bar. On the drop down menu, choose the Add A New Preset icon. Name the brush whatever you like and uncheck the Include Color box. Click OK. Done! You can now go back and use this brush preset again and again without going back to the brush engine and adjusting the settings!
Make a new blank layer. Change your foreground color to red (#FF0000) and using your light brush, paint some red lights over the area you wish to light. You can go back and erase areas, of course, if the “lights” go outside of the area.
To give your lights a little glow, give them a Layer Style. In the Layer Style menu (the fx at the bottom of the layer palette) choose Outer Glow. Use the same color as the bulbs for the glow, in this case red (#FF0000). Check the color radial button, not the gradient. Change the Elements settings to 1% spread and a size of 5 px. Click OK.
Repeat the lights and layer style on a new blank layer with a nice bright blue, such as #0024ff.
Again with a bright green, like #00ff36:
And. Finally, with a yellow, such as #fff600.
These colors are, of course, suggestions and you can use whatever colors, and as many, as you like. Don’t forget to apply the layer style! When all your lights are situated over your tree, combine all the light layers in a single layer.
On the combined light layer, change the Layer Blend Mode to Color Dodge and lower the opacity to 75%.
If you like this look, you can stop here with the lights. For a little different, less soft look, duplicate the light layer (Ctrl+J or Cmd+J) and change the Layer Blend Mode to Overlay, lowering in the opacity to 50%. This gives a nice glowing look.
Combine your light layers and make a duplicate. Flip this vertically (Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical) and move it down so that it sits under the tree.
Transform (Edit > Transform or Ctrl/Cmd +T) using Distort, Scale and Warp until the light reflection is facing the same way as the shadow of the tree.
Blur the reflection with a Motion Blur (Filter > Blur > Motion Blur) using a 0° Angle, Distance at around 30-35 pixels.
Lower the opacity of this layer to around 15%.
Next week, in part four, we’ll finish our card off by adding a little sparkle and framing things up!
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