For 2012 Free Templates, see my new blog Where To Get Those Free Valentine Templates. I just can’t seem to quit doing Valentines – I guess because they are a lot of fun to do and the colors are pretty. I am going to start off with some more great templates from Florabella. The more I follow this site, the more impressed I am by her work and all the free offers she has for us “Photoshop fanatics.” These are all Valentine templates from her Facebook page and include card fronts, backs and bookmarks. I picked one to try but there are so many variations you can do with these, it should keep anyone playing for quite a while. So this time, I am going to give a big “Thank You” to Florabella!
I tried to give this image a high contrast look in Lightroom before bringing it into the template in Photoshop. Besides cropping and cleaning up the background, I used CP Dragan 5 in Lightroom to give the final look. This preset can be downloaded at Adobe Labs for free. I used a similar font I already had loaded since I did not have the one referenced on the layer when the template is opened up in Photoshop and it is a pretty common one. Basically all you do is bring your picture in as a layer below the layer labeled “Place Photo Below”, then do a little Free Transforming (CTRL+T) or cropping to fit in the template. She includes instructions with her download for further information on how to make it into an actual card.
This next image came from a set of Valentine cards at MCP Actions that can be downloaded free from their Facebook page. They are offering very simple cards for use as Valentines – especially if you need something easy for your little ones school parties. They are very simple to use and are great for that quick turn around. On the one I used, I did very little to except transform (CTRL+T) the picture to fit the opening. It must then be clipped to the layer below by ALT+clicking on the line between the layers – it will attach the top layer to the layer underneath (or go to Layer – Create Clipping Mask). I used the fonts they provided and added their names on the Child’s Name text layer. Done. There are also instructions downloaded with these templates.
Finally I decided to try a large tutorial on Valentines that used many different Custom Shapes. The tutorial I followed is called “Valentine’s day hearts” at Adobe Tutorials. This was by no means the easiest tutorial I have used but I do believe I have a pretty good understanding of the Custom Shapes Tool now! I liked the tutorial because you can change some of the steps to fit the way you want to put it together while still getting a good idea of how it will look. I feel like it was an accomplishment to finish this one but it really was not that hard in retrospect – just a lot of layers. It helped to name and group similar layers to keep organized.
The main hearts are provided by Photoshop. All the listed brushes, shapes and fonts (except the Cosmi font which might be free if you can find it somewhere – it is a very old font) are free downloads from the internet that I used to create my image. The top purple joined hearts are custom shapes from Graphicxtras (no longer available). Several very nice heart custom shapes are from My Valentine Shapes at Brusheezy. The various little white hearts in the background are from a set called McBad – Valentine. The white floral brushes behind the large valentines are provided by a link on the second page in the tutorial. I really like several of these brushes and plan to use them in other designs. For the lacy Valentine, I used a Valentine brush from Anithene and added a gradient overlay layer style. Finally I used my favorite Valentine font – McSweetie Hearts from dafont.com. My Digital Lady Syd font is No. 31 from Cosmi. Both of these fonts I used in the previous blog. The last item added was the cupid, which I copied the layer twice to make it stand out more, and is from Cupid Brushes and is another beautiful set of Valentine brushes.
If you need any help with making these valentines, leave me a comment. Hope you enjoy making your Valentines – it is a great way to learn how to use Photoshop!…..Digital Lady Syd
Just got my desktop computer back but it is not up and running. Chore for tomorrow. Today I wanted to share with you a really cool Valentine tutorial that showed up this week on the internet. It is called “How to create elegant Valentine’s Day card with ornamental heart in Photoshop CS5” at Adobe Tutorials. Not only do they give a really nice step-by-step process but they also provide the PSD file to help you out. The brush download is a very nice addition to have. Just follow their link. As I got halfway through the tutorial, I found I created a pretty nice card already that an image would look nice in. Attached is the base image and then one with a young couple added. I used the brushes from the tutorial for the background effect.
I then worked some more on the Valentine and came up with the one below. I used several other resources including: Flowers in lower left is a free brush from Chelshire-Angel. Many nice brushes in this grouping. Hearts on the lower right are a free download from GraphicXtras sampler shapes (no longer available). The background is the Worn Love Texture from Coffeeshop Valentines that I used in the previous blog. The beautiful texture in the middle of the heart is a free one from Victorian Dreams Texture Pack.
Make a lacy edge around the Valentine using No. 13 brush at size 201 pixels from the tutorial download (Florar_and_Enchanting_II_by_Coby17.abr). I ran down the left side of the image with just the stem part of the brush. Then I duplicated it and CTRL+T and flipped horizontally to line up on the right side. Do the same for the top and bottom edges, group all four layers, and name the group Edges. Next I created the heart using the Shape Tool from the referenced tutorial. I created a New Layer and added a Layer Mask which will have the heart design in it. I filled the heart is with pink. Next move the Shape Layer above this layer, set Fill to 0% and add a Layer style using a white Drop Shadow, an Inner Glow with a Ring-Double contour, and a Dark Purple 24 pixel Stroke. Then I brought the Victorian texture in over the regular heart layer and clipped it to the heart layer so only the middle was filled up with texture. I used texture 8 which is blue so I changed the Blend Mode of the texture to Pin Light that brought out the pink color instead. The font for “Be” and “My” is free and is called MC Sweetie Heart from dafont. The word “Valentine” uses Cosmi Font 31, a font package I bought many years ago but has some great fonts – the only reference I could find on Cosmi was from Amazon. The cupid was the small b key and is also a font downloaded for free from dafont called Gabriel’s Angels. I put white drop shadows on the text layers for Valentine and the Cupid to lighten and emphasize them a little more.
That pretty much sums up how I put this one together. I really liked the final results. The original tutorial uses shapes very creatively and is also a lot of fun to do if you want to play around some. I hope these Valentines gave your creative side a shove. Have fun and experiment!…..Digital Lady Syd
Since my computer is at the shop this week, I have had to go with something a little simpler on my laptop. I found a really interesting tutorial which is a short, easy, non-talking video. It is called “Placing Images in Text” as posted on 1/12/11 at Picturesocial.com. I will list the simple instructions as follows:
1. Open image to use in text layer.
2. Unlock the Background layer. (Drag lock to trash can.)
3. Create a New Layer underneath Background Layer by ALT clicking the New Layer icon and fill with whatever color you would like to use.
4. Highlight top layer and select Text Tool.
5. Click on image and enter text with the font you want to use – can adjust size of text later. Click Check to finalize text.
6. Select the Move Tool and move the text where you would like it.
7. Can CTRL+T to adjust the text size. Click check to finalize text again.
8. Drag Background layer above Text layer.
9. Go to Layer – Create Clipping Mask or ALT+click between the two layers.
10. On Text layer, create Layer Style – double click on layer to open. Select Drop Shadow and set to 100% Opacity. Play around with the other sliders and contours until you like what you see. I also added a stroke to my images here.
These are the basic steps.
For the above, I used the original image converted to a Smart Object as the background. I used the Topaz Simplify plug-in set to Sketch Hardpencil. I created a new preset to the plug-in to get the look I wanted by adding Contrast, Details Strength, Details Boost, Details Feature Boost, and making the Edge Type Mono Line. I reduced the opacity of the layer to 49%. I used a free font called Freshman from dafont. I also used Textures by Ash No. 26 (these textures are no longer available but see my more recent blog “Adding a Texture for Flair!” for other texture sites) just above the Background layer at 65% opacity to add warmth to the image.
I tried to create something a little different with the image above. In this case I started with a Nebulae Grunge Texture – Nebulae 1. There are some really pretty textures here and they are all free to download. Thank you Caleb. Used a Selective Color Adjustment Layer to get correct color. I also added another texture called CG Splatter Homogenous 3 to add a little red color to the image and set layer to Soft Light Blend Mode. I used the basic Myriad Pro for my font. The layer I clipped to the text is from CoffeeShop Valentine textures. Another wonderful site! Did a Vibrance Adjustment Layer to adjust the color for this texture. Then added a white Stroke to lettering and a Drop Shadow in the Text Layer Style. I did a composite layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top to do final framing with a basic layer style – set vignetting to pink and a gray stroke around the image.
These were totally fun to create and very easy. There is a lot of room to experiment. If you have a chance, try it!…..Digital Lady Syd
I wanted to write about this last month, but being that it was so crazy with Christmas coming so soon after the December 21st eclipse, I did not have time to post about it. This was my first try at shooting an eclipse. Here is the image that I took:
This image was taken near Daytona Beach, Florida from my backyard. The weather was cool outside and the atmosphere very clear. If you look at the diagram from Mr. Eclipse, it was taken just slightly past mid-eclipse time (3:17 AM). To start with, there is no way to photograph an eclipse without a tripod – and a remote cord is also very helpful. I used an AF-S Nikkor 70-300 mm 1:4.5-5.6 G lens set to aperture priority mode at F/5.6, 300mm focal length, and ISO 1600, with a resulting shutter speed of 2.0 sec. Digital Photography School ran an article that I used for a starting place. I believe some cameras can use the recommended settings using ISO 100 and F/11 or smaller but I could not get my Nikon D300 camera to take an image anywhere near these settings. Therefore, I was left with a little trial and error to figure out what would work. I tried several different F stops and ISO settings, but my camera would not take the shot with less than what I used, especially as the eclipse got closer to total. I was able to go out and take a few shots, and then download them into the computer to see what results were working best for me. That is how I determined that F/5.6 and ISO 1600 worked the best. My post- processing in Lightroom involved adding just a little HSL Luminance color enhancement with the oranges and a small amount of Clarity. Also, thank goodness for Lightroom’s improved Noise Reduction panel and Luminance slider where I could clean up a lot of the noise created by using ISO 1600. In Photoshop I only used a small Curves adjustment layer for contrast and the text.
I liked my results even though I saw posted many other images using bigger and better cameras and lenses. I believe that half the fun is just trying something new that you have never done before. It was also interesting to see what the limits of your camera really are in unusual circumstances.
Below is an image taken at 2:31 AM – the moon is still pretty bright having just started eclipsing and Orion is low in the west sky. This was taken with my AF-S Nikkor 10-24 mm 1:3.4-4.5G ED wide angle lens set to aperture mode F/4.8 at 18 mm focal length, 4 sec exposure, and ISO 1600.
I am linking to some fabulous photos of the eclipse from the National Geographic website. Here is a link to the Bad Astronomer’s blog from 12/19/10 which has a good explanation of what actually happens during an eclipse. He links to Sky and Telescope’s excellent minute by minute description of what happened during this eclipse. I am adding another post by the Bad Astronomer blog of 12/30/10 which shows a really nice lunar image with the International Space Station leaving a shadow on the surface of the Moon as it passed by earlier in the same evening. Today’s blog had a similar image with the Solar Eclipse from earlier today in Oman. The Bad Astronomer tweeted that many people thought the ISS looks like a Star Wars TIE Fighter.
For some interesting trivia on this particular eclipse I have quoted the NASA website: “This lunar eclipse falls on the date of the northern winter solstice. How rare is that? Total lunar eclipses in northern winter are fairly common. There have been three of them in the past ten years alone. A lunar eclipse smack-dab on the date of the solstice, however, is unusual. Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory inspected a list of eclipses going back 2000 years. “Since Year 1, I can only find one previous instance of an eclipse matching the same calendar date as the solstice, and that is 1638 DEC 21,” says Chester. “Fortunately we won’t have to wait 372 years for the next one…that will be on 2094 DEC 21.” That is a pretty cool statistic!…..Digital Lady Syd