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Creating a Greeting Card

Mon, Jan 9, 2006

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Two months ago, a local bookstore needed several Christmas cards as their exclusive cards. They needed a combination or funny, sincere, and children cards. All were to be blank on the inside, so the only real design that had to happen was for the cover.

The client had already informed me that they preferred to keep the colors pretty basic and they had given me the dimensions to make the cover with. They then told me I had creative freedom to make cards for their approval.

In this example, we will the use the children’s card that was designed because it was a lot of fun to do and anyone with photoshop, using a few tricks, can do it with relative ease. The first step to this card was, of course, a creative idea. Though it can be difficult for an adult to think like a child, it just takes about two hours of watching children’s programming to get lots of ideas.

I brainstormed a bit and thought that a card designed to look like paper cutouts would give the card a cartoon-like affect and vivid, fun colors, which is perfect for children. I also thought about what I used to think was the best part about Christmas when I was a child and came up with a large list of items for me to draw from. Now that I had an idea of the content I wanted to use and the method, I got started.

I started this card out with the basic shapes that can be found with the shape tool. My thought was to build Santa Clause waving. I first did a rough layout with just with a few basic shapes that I knew I wanted to use so I could get size and positioning correct. I used a big circle for the body, an oval for the head, a rectangle for the arm and hand, and a triangle for the hat. Playing with sizes and positions, I finally got everything to a position I could build from.

I also immediately realized that I could not have a white background, as some of my white shapes (like the fluff on the hat) would be at the edge of the picture. I chose to go with a dark blue to counteract this.

Since these were my basic, lower-most layers, I wanted to go ahead and shape them. The first tool I used was “Rotate.” I wanted to rotate the rectangle for the arm to give it an angle. and rotate the head and hat to make santa appear as if he was leaning back and riding in his sleigh.

After getting these angles correct, using the “Skew” tool from “Free Transform,” I was able to round these shapes out and help the shapes appear to be more “cut out” and not made perfectly by a computer. I also added a drop shadow from “Blending Options” to each shape to help them look like they were pieces of paper laid on top of one another.

It was now time for me to add other shapes, such as the eyes, nose, cheek, buttons, and glove. Using the same techniques, I added one at the time. I started with a basic shape for each and used the “Rotate” and “Skew” tools to position and shape each layer. In addition, I continued to add a drop shadow to each shape.

After having Santa complete, I wanted to write “Merry Christmas” across the top. Again, I found a font that had somewhat rough edges to make it appear more cutout. I then used the “Text Transform” function to curve the text and the “Rotate” function to slightly modify the text direction to keep with the flow of the rest of the card.

With all of this added, something still seemed to be missing. There was too much blue background with nothing to break it up. At first, I considered adding stars, then thought that snowflakes would be more fun. Photoshop has a snowflake as one of the shapes, so I decided to choose that. I did not want all of the flakes to be the same size, nor did I want all of them to be at the same angle. Again, this was only so I could give the card less of a computer generated look. I began adding the snowflakes, one at a time, rotating their angles and changing their sizes. I added a drop shadow to each to make them appear like they were laid on top, and I had my final result.

This is a simple card to make using some very useful, and often overlooked, Photoshop tools.

About The Author

Uday is a freelance graphic and web designer. With eight years of experience in web design, Uday makes a variety of web pages from corporate to personal and built pages which are easy to edit for the end user. All coding is written cleanly to ensure that pages are run smoothly, load quickly, and perform to it’s full potential.

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