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Holiday Card, Part 4

This week we’re finishing up our holiday card we’re making with an old family photo by adding a bit of sparkle and a frame.

To begin, you’ll need to go back to the brush preset we made in part three, or select the brush tool and adjust it in the brush engine (Brush Tip Shape: 125%, Scattering: Both Axes checked, scatter control off, Count 1, Count Jitter 0%, CJ Control set to Pen Pressure). Bring the size of the brush way down to a 1, 2 or 3. Create a new, blank layer. With white as your foreground color, brush “sparkles” all over the snow areas, paying special attention to the areas in which the light hits, but be sure to get some on the shadow areas as well.


Lower the opacity of the layer to 25%.


This gives the snow a subtle “sparkle”. Now go to Image > Canvas Size and increase the canvas size, width and height, by at least 2”.


Make a blank layer at the bottom of the layer stack if you haven’t already got a white background layer. Find a nice holiday background. If you don’t have one in your personal collection, stock photo sites have some very nice ones. I bought mine from iStockphoto. You can buy the extra small sizes for $1 and enlarge it because for this project you don’t need the image to be super-sharp. Make sure the background goes almost to the edge of the white frame area. I used a snowflake background because that’s the theme I’m going to use for my frame.


Add a new, blank layer. Make sure white is your foreground color and select the gradient tool, color to transparent. Working from the outside in, go all around the four sides of the patterned background. You may have to go over the very edges twice, but make sure all the straight lines of the background are covered. Your background will now look something like this:


If the color of the pattern background is too strong, either desaturate it or duplicate the background layer, desaturate one and fade it into the original, like so:


If you’d like, add a thin white frame around the photo, on it’s own layer, of course:


Now, we find a brush or a shape to use as a frame within a frame. I like to tie it in to the background pattern, but you can let your creative karma spill forth, of course! Me, being Miss Matchy-Matchy, went with snowflakes and, wonder of wonders, my girl Firgs posted some gorgeous snowflake shapes over at Design By Firgs this past Monday! They’re free for download, because she’s just that awesome, but why not give her a shout in the comments if you partake of the snowy goodness? Chose a shape (or more than one, if you want!) and render it in white. Adjust the size until you get one you like. Place it in one corner of the photo. Now duplicate the shape layer (Ctrl / Cmd +J) three times and move to the other corners.


Now, make yet another frame, connecting the four corners, using the line tools, foreground color white and the line weight set to three.


Select the photo itself, to get the size, and make a new, blank layer. With the selection still active, take the gradient tool, white to transparent, and go all around the four edges of the selection. The result should look like this:


Now, erase all the gradient that goes over the edges of the corners and inside lines. To make this easier, I merge all my shape layers; the snowflakes and the inside lines. Then, all you have to do is select inside this area, select the gradient layer and (Ctrl / Cmd + X) delete.


Bring the opacity on the gradient layer down to about 40% and you now have a great holiday card to send to your family and friends!


Use the basic steps in these tutorials as a guide, but mostly use your imagination and have fun!

If you’d like to see the 2009 Landailyn holiday card and maybe pick up a couple extra tips, please visit Janinealogy!


About Janine Smith (114 Articles)
Janine Smith is the owner of Landailyn Research and Restoration, a Fort Worth, Texas based company whose services include family history research and photo restoration. Janine honed her skills in restoring badly damaged photos as a volunteer with Operation Photo Rescue, a non-profit organization whose mission is to repair photographs damaged by unforeseen circumstances such as house fires and natural disasters. <br> Janine’s work is well-known in the world of genealogical and historical societies, museums, libraries, university archives, and non-profit organizations; appearing on the board of directors for several organizations and institutions. She is a sought-after lecturer on photo restoration and preservation to libraries, genealogical and historical societies. <br> In addition to being a Lynda.com author, Janine is the author of many articles on research and restoration appearing in newspapers and magazines, both on and offline. Janine's history and photo restoration columns appear regularly on TipSquirrel.com and in the popular Shades Of The Departed Digital Magazine. <br> Janine is the winner of the 2010 “Photoshop User Award” in the photo-restoration category.

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