So after talking with my son Chris who says that the last blog of the year should be an overview of the year, and since I have only been blogging a little over a month, I decided to do a post about my favorite images from last year. After reading an article posted recently by Mark McGuinness at 99% called “Why Your Inner Critic is Your Best Friend“, it started me me thinking about what things have I created or processed that I really liked. This is probably a good idea for everyone to do since it makes you think about the progress you had made in your craft during the year and what things just did not work out right. I might add this requires using your inner critic to determine this. So here we go with “My 10 Top Photos of the Year!”
8. Had to add a Disney World photo taken in the Magic Kingdom in March. This is one of the best places to take pictures. These little guys are the LGM’s (Little Green Men) from Toy Story.
7. The Wedding Collage was taken at our oldest son’s wedding in March. My first attempt at using Professor Kobre’s Light Scoop with my pop up flash, and then I placed the resulting images into the AutoCollage 2008 program from Microsoft. I loved the final results of the collage.
4. Had a fabulous trip to Maui in September. View was taken from the 31st floor at the Ka’anapali Beach Club.
3. The Houses on the Water at Green Turtle Cay in June at the Bahamas. I used a texture to give a painterly look.
2. A lovely Hibiscus from Hawaii in Sept. Applied an Eddie Tapp technique called Cookie Lighting in Photoshop.
1. My favorite image from 2010 is one I took from our sailboat while crossing the ocean to Great Sale Cay in the Bahamas. The clouds and the solitude really represent how beautiful and peaceful it was while sailing during the trip.
I have enjoyed going through all my images from last year and critically thinking about each – I am finding the ones I like are not necessarily the ones that were the most popular. Try this and you may be surprised to find the same results!…..Digital Lady Syd
I worked some more on the calendar template creating one for your use. As stated in the last blog, download the free PDF calendar templates from Printrunner. Choose the first one listed. Click here to download the PSD file to use for your calendar. I created the template using Scott Kelby’s tutorial, “Templates with Multiple Images,” which was a bonus section from his book “7-Point System for Adobe Photoshop CS3.”
Follow these steps to create a monthly calendar:
1. Open template file in Photoshop and highlight the Background Layer.
2. Go to File – Place and highlight the month you want to insert from the downloaded Printrunner PDF file and click OK. (Must do this from within Photoshop; I could not get the Bridge to open the PDF files into Photoshop.) Hold SHIFT to constrain size and adjust to fit the bottom opening of template, making sure the corner lines are hidden. The file comes in as a Smart Object. Click Enter. (To go back and readjust, just highlight the layer and Free Transform or CTRL+T.)
3. Highlight Curves Adjustment layer, go to File – Place, and select the image you want to be on the top of your calendar. Hold SHIFT to constrain size and adjust to fit the top opening of template. The image also comes in as a Smart Object.
4. The final step is to change the color of the template, probably back to white, by double clicking on the left icon in the Color Fill 2 layer. This brings up the color picker and you can choose your color.
5. Save your calendar for the month you made and reuse the original downloaded template file for the next month. If you do not want the Smart Objects, just right click on the layers with the Smart Objects and select Rasterize Layer from menu.
This simplifies the process from what I had presented in my 12/26/10 blog. I hope you will like it……Digital Lady Syd
Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Create Calendar Photoshop Templates
Colorful Blown Out Look Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw Preset
UPDATE: I was able to create a PSD file for download to do what I listed below. Please refer to my next post called “Free Calendar Template” from 12/30/10 for steps to use. Hope you enjoy the template.
This takes a minute to figure out, but once you do, it is really easy to make a calendar for each month of the year. To begin with, you need to download the free PSD templates from Printrunner. Just go down a ways and you find calendar templates. Choose the first 11″ x 8 1/2″ one. This is a very basic calendar but it perfect to bring into Photoshop and use to make your own template. Here is an example of the January 2011 calendar I made. (The newer 2013 monthly calendar looks slightly different from the one below.) Ed Weaver of RED Photographic also provides 2013 Calendar.zip monthly files at his site.
You need to create your first month to use as the template to line up all your other months and photos. Here are the basic steps I followed to create this first page. At the end are instruction on how to create the rest of the year’s calendars.
1. In Photoshop create a New Document 8 1/2″ by 11″ at 300 resolution so it can be printed.
2. Duplicate the background layer (CTRL + J).
3. Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool, create a selection. I used a Fixed Ratio of Width 6 and Height 4 in the Options Bar. Create a box where you want the calendar to appear.
4. On top layer, click layer mask icon at bottom of Layers Panel. A white mask is created where your selection was placed in the above step.
5. Highlight layer mask and CTRL + I to invert the mask so that the black is where the calendar PDF will go.
6. Go to File – Place and select the January 2011 calendar.
7. Add a Curves Adjustment Layer to make the numbers darker in the calendar portion. I put Points at Input 165/Output 90 and Input 225/Output 169.
8. I did a composite of these three layers (background, Jan. calendar layer, and Curves Adj Layer) by doing a CMD + ALT + SHIFT + E and name it “Composite.”
6. Duplicate the Layer (CTRL + J)
7. Using the Rectangular Marquee Too, create a selection. I again used a Fixed Ratio of Width 6 and Height 4 in the Options Bar. Adjust where you want images to appear over your calendar.
8. Click the Layer Mask – a white mask is created where your selection was placed in the above step.
9. Highlight mask and CTRL + I to invert the mask so that the black is where your image will show through.
10. Add a Stroke Layer Style to this mask by clicking on Fx at bottom of layers palette and selecting Stroke. Use 4 Pixels for Size, Inside Position and 72% opacity.
11. Now go to File – Place – and explore to photo you want to insert.
12. Image comes in as a Smart Object. Move this layer under the Layer Mask layer. Use the Move Tool to adjust image in window. Use CTRL + T to adjust your image and be sure to constrain the image holding SHIFT + ALT to keep your proportions.
13. Save image as January Calendar.
You now have a basic template to use for the next 11 months (or you can download the one referred to above).
To change the date part of the image:
1. Go to this file and delete the Jan 2011 layer and the Composite layer you created in Step 8 above.
2. Turn off top layer.
3. Highlight the Background Layer.
4. Go to File – Place – Feb 2011 file.
5. Highlight Curves layer and do a Composite layer (CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + E).
6. Drag down the layer mask and layer style from inactive layer on top.
7. Delete top layer.
8. Highlight Curves Layer and go to File – Place – File for February calendar. Adjust image in box. Use CTRL + T to adjust your image and be sure to constrain the image holding SHIFT + ALT to keep your proportions.
9. Save as February Calendar.
This is really not as hard as it sounds. I am thinking about how this can be put in an action and it would be much easier. I will add to this blog if I can figure this out in the next few days. Oh yes, I might add I learned to use Smart Objects as templates from Matt Kloskowski’s Killer Photoshop Tips called “Creating Reuseable Templates” and Scott Kelby’s book “7-Point System for Adobe Photoshop CS3” Bonus Segment on Showing Your Work Using Templates.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial – calendars really are fun to make!…..Digital Lady Syd
Digital Lady Syd’s Related Blogs:
Free Calendar Template
Colorful Blown Out Look Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw Preset
As promised, I am presenting a few more ideas on how to make really nice Christmas Cards. I found a box of Heavyweight Textured Half-Fold Cards from Avery (No. 3378) that are perfect for a bit of vintage look and print out very nicely. Amazon carries it here. I make cards all year using this stock of paper and my own pictures. People respond very nicely to the look. Just a couple of card tips that I learned from Lesa Snider: She starts with a 5 x7 inch document at a resolution of 250 ppi to begin her images – this works nicely with the above cards. Also be sure to keep your text and any other important parts of the image at least 1/4″ away from the documents edge so you will not accidentally cut them out when printing. Check out her link for three nice short tutorials on holiday greeting cards.
This year I decided to use the following image as the tree for my cards. I got the idea from a tutorial at Adobe Tutorials, one of the 80 tutorials gathered by Photoshop Roadmap. There were so many ideas to choose from in this group – I could have made many different looks and had a great time creating them all! Photoshop Roadmap always has a really great variety of tutorials they upload all the time so bookmark this one if you can.
For the next image I just wanted to try out some of the great free vector images and holiday brushes that I downloaded. Once again the people from Photoshop Roadmap took the time to pull 30 Delightful Christmas Photoshop Brushes, Patterns and Vectors together for our use. I did not even get through a portion of it but I believe if you have a certain look you want, you should be able to find it here. On the image below, I used the Christmas Vectors Package from Obsidian Dawn for the tree – you can download both brushes and images. Obsidian Dawn is another great resource, especially for any Photoshop presets. In this case I used the image for the base tree and then I used the brushes for the deer, bird and star at the top. Also, for this image I used a gradient from the Wow 7 Gradients set from Jack Davis. They were on the CD of a little gem of a book called “Adobe Photoshop 7 One-Click Wow!‘ that I have used over and over. They may still be available in the How to Wow books currently being sold. I put a final touch on this image using Matt Kloskowski’s Vintage preset in Lightroom. If you have not visited his blog, it is probably the best on Lightroom on the Internet. He has created several hundred presets that are free to download and use. I also used an OnOne (see website link in sidebar of my Tidbits Blog) PhotoFrame for the vintage look border.
I just found a good article on 8 Tips for Printing Inkjet Greeting Cards from Red River Paper that may help with your cards. Well I believe this should be enough resources to make some really pretty Christmas Cards. I hope everyone has a great time with them – I know I did!
Recently two very generous plug in suppliers have released free Holiday templates to download for making cards. I decided to try one template out from each group to see how I liked them and to show what kind of looks you can get with them.
UPDATE: (11/19/11) Currently these two suppliers do not have their templates for download. Please check out my new Free Christmas Card Templates-Part 2 blog for a new template that is now available. Also see my Digital Lady Syd’s Free Christmas Card Template blog to download one to use with Photoshop and Elements. Hopefully the ones below will be available again soon for this new holiday season!…..Digital Lady Syd
Photoshop Templates from OnOne Software
The first groups of free templates come from one of my favorite Photoshop plug-in groups, OnOne Software (click link for template information). There are 12 templates, 9 are holiday templates, and are set up as Photoshop PSD files for anyone using Photoshop or Elements – no plug-in required. They come with several colors, textures, and holiday elements to choose from and openings for square, vertical and horizontal images. This makes it very easy to paste in your image and adjust using a clipping layer. They are constantly adding and changing their templates so check it out often. I also added a free BittBox Texture called BB Grunge Ice Texture in the green card (all the textures in this group are beautiful).
The Florabella Collection provides beautiful actions to give your images different looks. They are providing for a limited time a free download (no longer available) from their Facebook page for the Merry and Bright Holiday Cards templates – 5 psd files in all. You can hook into the Facebook page from the link above and just click on the Free tab. These templates have a totally different look from the onOne templates above.
I hope to bring some regular Photoshop holiday card tutorials next week. In the meantime enjoy these templates. They are a lot of fun to try!…..Digital Lady Syd
Since it is the season to be jolly, I thought I would just post a few things I did last year for the holidays last season.
For this image, I first applied a Photoshop Filter I bought called Topaz Adjust (see sidebar for website in my Tidbits Blog) using the Spicify preset, then added a Hue/Sat Adjustment Layer to take out the gold tones in the background. Painted in the mask to keep the true color of the bulbs gold. Then went back into Topaz Adjust and applied the HDR Pop preset twice with modifications to my taste. Once again I masked out the some of the bulb to give a nice contrasty effect. I added Ash Texture 3 (these textures are no longer available but see my more recent blog “Adding a Texture for Flair!” for other texture sites) for more contrast to the background. Next a Curves Adjustment Layer for more contrast (do you see a theme here?) and finally a top layer set to Overlay where I painted with a soft brush around the edges of the ornaments to help them stand out more. This is a technique that I learned from John Paul Caponigro from training he presented at Kelby Training, but he has some great information on his own website. He teaches some very different techniques that I really like.
I should also add that Topaz Adjust is one of the most popular Photoshop filters and is fairly inexpensive. It gives some great looks, especially if you want a little more edginess to your images. It even gives a very good faux HDR look (which is what I was trying to get here). One thing about using these filters with so many settings is to try applying them more than once with different presets or different layer opacities or blend modes. It can give a totally different look with a just a little effort.
This next image is one I did from a tutorial by Darrell Heath on NAPP’s website called “Season’s Greetings Backdrop.” It was a lot of fun to do and it was all done in Photoshop CS4.
Well, maybe this gave you a few inspirations and some things to try out for the holiday season. I did not want this to sound like an advertisement for the above items and groups, but I really do use these resources a lot in my work. I hope to be back with some new techniques later this month…..Digital Lady Syd