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Posts tagged “Christmas card

Where to Find Those Cool Free Christmas Card Templates?

It is that time of year and everybody is looking for the cool Christmas Card templates so I am posting early this week. I have found a few sites that might help get you through the “I need to create a Christmas Card quick” panic or to make that special one for family or friends. Update: It is hard to keep links active as this blog was posted a couple years ago, but I have tried to keep it fairly current with a few corrections and additions.

Becky Higgins 2012 Holiday Cards (no longer available but check out steps in next paragraph on how to create it)
Becky Higgins website had 10 basic cards in PNG format and various sizes to add your photos into – please note that these templates are for personal use only. Above is an example using one of her beautiful templates. The image is a 1898 Christmas ad of Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railways ad that appeared in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine from The Old Design Shop site, a great website to find interesting vintage photos for free download. This template could be created fairly simply in Photoshop –  just fill the background layer with red (ALT+BACKSPACE), duplicate the layer and cut out the photo area using the Rectangular Marquee Tool press BACKSPACE. and remove selection (CTRL+D). Add a text layer (here is a link to some nice Christmas Brushes by annie 252). On a New Layer above, use a grunge brush with white (check out Obsidian Dawn’s Glitter II brush set).

Steps to add photo:
1.  Open PNG file up in Photoshop – you will see the checkered opening where your photo will go.
2. From Adobe Bridge drag you image into the PNG file and then drag it underneath the card template.
3. Use Free Transform (CTRL+T) to adjust you image to the opening.
4. In this case a Color Fill Adjustment Layer was clipped above the image to give a greenish tint to the black and white image.
That’s it! Pretty easy and beautiful results! You can always add another text layer and sign your name – I used the Beyond Wonderland font from dafont.com – check it out to find hundreds of really great free fonts.

Check out this short tutorial called How to Create a Beautiful Christmas Card with lots of free holiday references. They provide links to Christmas fonts that can be used for the holiday text also.
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MCP Actions
This card was actually created from a card furnished by the wonderful people from MCP Actions. These are very basic cards where you can substitute various elements to create a very unique card. In this case the birdesign-freebie1 front was used. To see how I did the flower image, see my Tidbits Blog Beautiful Christmas Flowers . After saving and finishing the image, it was brought into the card PSD file and placed above the background. It was adjusted to fit the opening. All the pattern layers were removed, guide layer, and the top text layer. The bottom text layer was changed to a font that I had on my computer – a free download font called SF Foxboro Script. I liked the sentiment for the card so all that was done was to add my name in a little larger font size. By double-clicking on the thumbnail, the layer style dialog was brought up – the Color Overlay style was chosen with a light beige color and a default Drop Shadow added. The turquoise bottom half had to go – so the background was changed to a color that was sampled from the flowers. The bottom half looked boring, so I found The Christmas Tree sheet music from Graphicsfairy. (This is an incredible vintage website.) To get rid of the yellow background and leave the sheet music, a Select -> Color Range was performed – once selected, backspace to remove the background so just the music remains on the layer. It was turned at a an angle, a Color Fill Adjustment Layer was changed to a white color, and Drop Shadow added with no changes. The opacity was set to 26% – adjusted last so it does not compete with the card text. To grunge up the bottom half a little more, French Kiss Glorious Grunge Edging Overlay was added and also turned at an angle, and a Solid Color Adjustment Layer set to a light pink to soften the music color. The last step was to apply a Curves Adjustment Layer on top. I could send this card out and be happy!
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Chasing Dreams PhotographyChasing Dreams Photography is a website I only found recently and she has two wonderful free Christmas Card templates using the chalkboard look that seems to be all the rage in textures right now. These can be downloaded (one of her 12 days of Christmas gifts) along with lots of other goodies at her Fan Page on Facebook, similar to the MCP Actions download above. It was very easy to place my image, and the fonts that are in the card templates are free downloads from dafont.com. The image is one I scanned on my old Epson Perfection scanner and had to do quite a bit of retouching. I actually used Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 plug-in on this photo to help enhance it. It printed up very nicely on a matte finish paper.
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Gavin Hoey just provided a very nice Christmas card template on his Gavtrain blog. Also Leslie Nicole at French Kiss Collections has a very wonderful vintage Christmas card available until the end of January 2013. Here is a link that links to several websites offering free holiday templates – check out Free Holiday Card Templates. (Wow- just realized one of my cards from last year is linked here!) Another place that has 4 nice photo templates is from DesktopPCWallpapers.com – check them out at this link. I hope everyone appreciates as much as I do these wonderful sites that are giving away their beautiful cards for free – it providses such quick and easy access to making beautiful cards. If it were not for these kind folks, it would take a lot more time and experimenting – thank you for sharing. Check out my Related Blogs below for more free resources to help add that original look to your cards. I hope these links will help you get a beautiful quick unique card out and take some pressure off so you can Enjoy the Holiday Season!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Free Christmas Card Templates-Part 2
Free Christmas Card Vectors and Brushes
Digital Lady Syd’s Free Christmas Card Template
Digital Lady Syd’s Free Christmas Card Template Using Photoshop Elements


Some Free Christmas Overlays to Spice Up Your Christmas Cards

It is that time of year again and everybody is busy trying to get their cards ready to send out. Last year I gave out a pretty nice PSD template that is very flexible for creating any kind of card you want with an appropriate opening for those kid shots that are so popular. (See Digital Lady Syd’s Free Christmas Card Template.) Recently I have been working with overlays and I have created a few for you (see download link below) that can be used both on your images and/or as an inside card message. (Note: these could have been made as JPG files but I like to create PNG files where their is transparency involved – you do not have to remove any white or black backgrounds since it is just the object itself in the file.)

These beautiful Alstroemeria flowers were taken at the local grocery store using my point-and-shoot Kodak camera. They were processed first with OnOne (see sidebar for website link on my Tidbits Blog) Perfect Effects using two filters stacked: Rice Paper Light Texture topped by Hollywood Glow at 50% opacity. French Kiss’s Artiste Joyeuse Texture (this is not a free texture but they are so nice that I bought this collection) was placed on top and set to 94% opacity.  The flowers were painted back in on a white layer mask using a 30% opacity black brush – just gradually built up the effect so the edges are not as visible as the center area. To create the red and green effect from a very beige and pink texture, a Selective Color Adjustment Layer was placed on top and clipped to the texture layer (CTRL+click between the two layers in the Layers Panel). The Colors Neutrals, Reds and Yellows were adjusted to get the Christmas colors. My Merry Christmas Overlay was placed in the right upper corner and can be downloaded for free below. To change the color of the overlay to green, a Color Fill Adjustment Layer (Layers -> New Fill Layer -> Solid Color and check the Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask box to clip the layer to the overlay layer) was added. A Drop Shadow Layer Style (click 2nd icon at bottom of Layer Panel and set color to White, Opacity to 63%, turn off Global Light, Distance of 6, Spread 36,and a Size of 7) was created to make the letters stand out better. To get the red text, the Overlay layer was duplicated and a layer mask was added – just remove anything you want left in the original color by painting it out with a black brush in the mask. Then add a new Color Fill Adjustment Layer with the new color clipped to the duplicate layer and you get a second color in the overlay! The Drop Shadow Layer Style color was changed to a light pink at 27% opacity, distance of 0, spread of 32 and Size of 141. A brown 3 pixel Stroke was also added. The last step was to add a layer with snow – my very favorite snow brush is Snow Drops by Frostbow painted at 500 pixels in white. That is all that was done. Not a real difficult process and the textures, overlay and brush combine really nicely to give a great holiday look!
…..Here is another holiday overlay that you can add to your cards. This time these miniature white mums were first processed in Lightroom, before cleaning up the background and flowers in Photoshop. Then French Kiss Expressions Watercolor Texture Verve (very inexpensive but lovely  watercolor set – perfect for trying out textures without too much cost) was added and set to 77% opacity. By filling a layer mask with black and painting back the background using a 30% opacity white brush, you can a create soft edge look to your flowers. To get the pretty soft green coloration in the texture (this was originally a yellow and light brown texture), two adjustments layers were clipped on top: a Selective Color Adjustment Layer was added and changes made to the Colors Reds, Yellows, Whites and Grays; and a Color Balance Adjustment Layer to add a touch more color. Next my Holiday Greeting PNG Overlay was added (see download link below) and a Color Fill in Green was clipped to add the color to the overlay. My vertical text was the Orial font with a Stroke Layer Style using a green stroke color and an Inner Shadow using a dark brown color at size 7 px. That’s it!
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The bottom texture overlay is one of my favorites from Shadowhouse Creations called MO8-2012-5 and the beautiful Rockinghorse Santa png overlay is also from him. The Merry Christmas brush is from Obsidian Dawn’s Christmas Vectors Brush Set with a red Inner Glow layer style. Next my Snow 2 Overlay (download below) was added at 68% opacity. I love the vintage feel of this image.
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I want to recognize the wonderful sites used to create these overlays and give you their resource links so you can make some of your own. See my blog How to Create Personal Overlays for Your Images for steps on how to create your own overlays and for steps on how to add these already created overlays to your images.

  • Snow1 and Snow2 Overlays: The Snow Overlay was created using the instructions from the December 2012 Photoshop User Magazine article by Bert Monroy (this guy is incredible!) called Let It Snow. Pretty simple to follow except I had to add more Gaussian Blur to get the effect I wanted.

****DOWNLOAD LINK FOR MY HOLIDAY OVERLAYS USED IN THIS BLOG****

I hope you enjoy the overlays. These are really fun to do. If you like the way an overlay looks in certain colors, follow Steps 5 and 6 in the Basic Section in my Overlay blog and save it down as a color version – creating an overlay in black and white just makes it easier to change the colors each time you use it. In the meantime you are welcome to use the ones I posted on my Deviant Art site – this is a good starting point. Now get busy and make some beautiful cards!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Digital Lady Syd’s Free Christmas Card Template
Digital Lady Syd’s Free Christmas Card Template Using Photoshop Elements
Free Christmas Card Vectors and Brushes
Some Holiday Cheer
How to Create Personal Overlays for Your Images


Happy Holidays from Digital Lady Syd!

Since the season is upon us, I have decided to present a few of my favorite holiday creations. For resource and technique details, see information listed at end.

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Image Details:
1. Used the tutorial “Christmas Night Magic scene with flying Santa”  for initial direction – very easy to follow and lots of fun to create; Snow images Frozen Landscape and a different Frozen Landscape from Stock.xchng; my own sky Belarusian sky image; Santa sleigh in Christmas Brushes by Fina; Snow Drops brush by Frostbo (my favorite brush for realistic falling snow); BB’s Fogs & Mists brush #3; and the Fonts are  Old Script and an old Cosmi Font I bought years ago called 41. The images were transformed and blended using a layer mask to get the look above. OnOne PhotoFrame Acid Brn Controlled 05 was applied – (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link).
2. Some of my favorite pictures have been made of these beautiful pink and white tulips I bought this year at the grocery store. This image uses three free textures all by Shadowhouse Creations – Aged and Distressed Vintage 1, Oil Painting 3, and Attic Treasures Creative Texture 7. All his textures are beautiful and he has great tutorials on how to combine the many textures. The first texture was added into a layer mask by opening up the texture in it own document, CTRL +A and CTRL+C to select and copy the texture; ALT+Click on the layer mask to make the layer white; and CTRL+V to place the image into the layer mask. The other two textures were added above and a layer was added with the Snow Drops brush by Frostbo.
3. I guess I was really into Santa sleighs this year??? Very simple image that started with the Bright Christmas Texture by Graphix1 where the color was changed into a darkish blue to appear like a night image using a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer; BB’s Fogs & Mists brush #12; my SJ-Cloud brushes; my SJ-Mountain brushes; Snow Drops brush by Frostbo; Santa sleigh in Christmas Brushes by Fina; Moon brush by Hawksmont; Font is Fantaisie Artistique (my favorite); the pattern used on Santa and it’s sleigh was added in the Pattern Overlay using Pattern 23 from Obsidian Dawn’s Grunge and Dirty Patterns; and Bevel and Emboss and Drop Shadow layer styles were added to the text layers. OnOne’s PhotoFrame Dave Cross 01 was added as a border (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link).
4. This image first appeared in my “Free Calendar Template for Use with Elements” blog. The image is the top of the Standard Life building in Jackson, Mississippi. The gradient used is from Gorgeous Gradients – PrimaveraII, and the snow is a very useful snow brush called Snow Drop by Frostbo. The lettering on the building is called Kingsthings Christmas font, the Flying Santa Sleigh is by Fina, the fog was created using Sampled Brush #3 and #12 from Brushes Fogs and Mists, the green Christmas Tree and Icicles are in Obsidian Dawn’s Holiday set, and the icy edges are an OnOne PhotoFrame Taufer Texture 08 frame ((see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link). I have to admit this image was a bit of a challenge but I really liked the final effect.

5. A tutorial called “Glossy Snow Globe Text Effect” was the inspiration for this image. I used the layer styles and brushes from the tutorial along with my SJ-Cloud brushes on a light to darker blue gradient for the background. OnOne PhotoFrame grunge 15 was applied. It is not hard to do, but it takes some time to create the brushes and styles.
6. This image was posted in my “Christmas Card from Digital Lady Syd!” blog which contains all the resources and information for this rather complicated card.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and takes time to enjoy the time with friends and family!…..Digital Lady Syd!


Free Christmas Card Vectors and Brushes

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 (in 2014 I am still using these layer styles – check out a free download from Jack’s Facebook Page and click on More-Jack’s Freebees – his Mini Sampler has some in it).   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.  This preset is for Lightroom 3 but it can be easily updated to work with Lightroom 5. In late 2014 Matt left KelbyOne (NAPP) so I am not sure his blog will be up for long. I also used an OnOne (see website link in sidebar of my Tidbits Blog) PhotoFrame for the vintage look border. Unfortunately the do not support PhotoFrame (which was one of my very favorite plug-ins) but have incorporated their frames and borders into OnOne Perfect Effects.

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!…..Digital Lady Syd


Some Holiday Cheer

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