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Posts tagged “Vintage Effect

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


Creating That Vintage Texture Feel

These beautiful pink dahlias grow in my front yard. This image composition really fits the criteria for a good vintage feel. One of the major objectives is to have some nice negative space – or blank area – in your image to show off the textures. This image had a clean light gray background because they were shot in front of a white board on a shaded porch with lots of natural light before being planted. If they are planted already, try using a very wide open aperture setting so the background is blurred slightly, or have someone hold a white reflector behind them while shooting (and one over them if it is a really sunny day – overcast days are the best for photographing flowers). This image was shot at eye level using a 60 mm AF Micro Nikkor at F6.7. After uploading to Lightroom, the image was cropped and all the sliders in the Basic section were adjusted. In Photoshop bad spots on flowers were cloned out and then the following layers were added:  1) the new Color Lookup 1 Adjustment Layer using 3DLUT File set to FoggyNight preset (gives a more purplish flower color) at 89% opacity; a Gradient Fill Adjustment Layer (adds the pinkish bottom half) set to a deep brown red color (foreground color in Color Picker) to translucent gradient, Linear Style, 90 degree angle and Scale 149% with layer opacity set to 39%; Paul Grand’s terrific Scratches Texture set to Soft Light at 38% layer opacity and removing some cracks using a layer mask on texture; ShadowHouse Creations Old Photo 2 (click Large View and right click to select Save Image As) set to Soft Light at 100% (gives the beautiful old looking frame around image); ShadowHouse Creations Bokeh 2 (really lightens up the image) set to Soft Light at 62% opacity – painted out most of the bokeh on a layer mask; ShadowHouse Creations T2 (this is one of my favorite textures – old lace) set to Soft Light at 63% opacity; a Curves Adjustment Layer to add a little contrast back into the image; and finally a Levels Curve with black Output tab set to 8 to lighten the whole image only a little. This is really not as hard as it seems. The important thing is that you need find a few favorite textures and then try them out on various dark and light images to get a feel for how they look when set to different blending modes and opacities. I use Soft Light frequently for the textures but try out other blend modes to see what they will do. The textures used in the above image are some of my favorites.
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One of the reasons I am so inspired this week is that Sarah Gardner‘s Art Beyond the Lens book on using textures in your digital images finally was reprinted and came in the mail. She creates some beautiful textures on her website along with some beautiful images. Her book is a great read and very easy to follow. She demonstrates a few different techniques for adding textures and using some of Photoshop’s other tools to create beautiful effects! The above was my first attempt using some of her tips and I am pretty happy with it. These flowers are called Phloxy Lady Phlox and also grow in my front yard. Both textures are from free give-aways Sarah had going a few months ago, one is Beyond – Seagrain Dark set to Soft Light at 100% opacity and Artisan Ink set to Overlay at 42% opacity. She also posts interesting things on her Facebook page so follow her. The frame is my basic layer style using sampled colors from the image (see DLS Free Layer Style Frames blog).
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Here are some delicious chocolate covered strawberries from the Melting Pot Restaurant. For starters, this was a five image HDR processed using Nik’s HDR Efex Pro 2. Then in Photoshop lots of the same textures were added – Caleb Kimbrough’s Summer 5 texture set to Overlay at 34% opacity to get that beautiful golden Tuscan feel; Paul Grand’s Scratches Texture (link listed above) used twice to give it more interest (both set to Soft Light with 50% and 23% layer opacities – using layer masks to paint out different parts of image); and ShadowHouse Creations OldPhoto 6 set to Overlay at 100% opacity. Now here are a couple things you can do to get a really nice vintage feel. Next a Color Fill Adjustment Layer was added and the color I used was a deep red (49250f) – it was set to Soft Light at 80% opacity and the plate and chocolates were painted out with black in a layer mask. This created the marvelous deep brown in the upper background especially. I now realized I had some texture areas that were slightly bare looking so this time a New Layer was added on top. Using Gorjuss Grunge Again Brushes (unfortunately these are no longer available but any grunge type brush would do) with Brush 01 at 30% and sampling a darker brown color in the image for foreground color, the area in the upper right was filled in lightly. Another New Layer was created using Brush 08 at 30% and sampling a lighter brown color; and finally yet another New Layer was added using Scratch Heavy Brush (this is a mystery brush – not sure where I got it) at 30% and rotating it 90 degrees to paint in the top with a yellow-gold color sampled from the image. A few more strokes were added to the left to brighten the image a little more. If you find you have a hole or want a little different texture, go back to your brushes and see if you have something that will fill it in. In fact you can make your own textures with these brush effects.
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Here is another example of following Sarah Gardner steps from her book. I added three textures using Russel Brown’s Texture Panel (see my blog links below to find more information on this wonderful free panel) – ShadowHouse Creations T2 lacy texture (see download link above), Oil Painting-2 and Painted Clouds. Parts of the lacy texture were painted out to sharpen the mid-section flowers, which is the focus of the image. Something different I did and have not really seen before is to add a Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer set to Parchment at Scale 397%. Then the layer mask was filled with black and just the foreground flowers were painted with the pattern texture. Finally the layer opacity was set set to 35%. Since I wanted a little color in those areas, a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was added and linked to the Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer below by ATL+clicking between the two layers (a little box shows let you know it is working) so the changes in the Hue/Sat Adjustment Layer only occur on the layer below.  The Hue was set to +292, Saturation +34, Lightness +21 and Colorize was checked – this gives the light pink color to the grain in the foreground flowers only. That was it – used my layer style to frame the image (see DLS Free Layer Style Frames blog).  I believe this image portrays that soft Victorian look quite nicely.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Since this is such a long post, here is a summary of what I think is important about using textures.

1.  Textures definitely add that old time look to an image if used properly. Flowers really benefit from this type of look. If you check out some of my blogs below, there are some landscape images using textures that turned out really nice.

2.  The Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer can add a vintage feel to your images – they look like a texture when added to an image and by using the Scale slider, very different effects can be created. (See image 4 information.)

3.  The new Color Lookup Adjustment Layer in CS6 also gives you another way to add texture and color to get the vintage feel. (See image 1 information.)

4.  Create a New Layer and use unique brushes – there are many grunge brushes and scratch brushes available for download on the internet. Sometimes it is necessary to create a texture using brushes to fit the needs of your image. And don’t forget you can change the settings to make the brush stroke in a different direction or to stretch out the spacing. (See image 3 information.)

5.  Use a Gradient Fill Adjustment Layer to give some color variation and then paint out in a layer mask areas you do not want affected. Be sure to try different blend modes. (See image 1 information.)

6.  Use a Color Adjustment Layer to add a bold color and then reduce the opacity of the layer. Again, be sure to try different blend modes. (See image 3 information.)

7.  Use Russell Brown’s texture panel to try out texture looks really fast – this is a really great tool (see download information in blog links below).  The Flypaper Textures that are loaded with the panel create some wonderful results. I also keep a folder of my favorite textures on my Desktop so I can access them really fast when using this panel. (See image 1 information.)

It usually takes several attempts to get the effect you want. All these images took several hours to get the look I liked. If one techniques does not work, try a different one. Check out some of my blogs below to find more ways to create the vintage feel in Photoshop. …..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How to Create Unique Watercolor Background Texture
How to Create Unique Textured Backgrounds
Russell Brown’s Paper Texture Panel – A Real Winner!
Orchids with Russell Brown’s Paper Textures Panel
Russell Brown Texture Panel Landscape Image
Tips for Flower Textures
Using Color Efex Pro and Texture for a Warm Hawaiian Landscape Effect
Create a Winter Scene with Photoshop Brushes and Textures
Adding a Texture for Flair!
The Soft, Dreamy Look
Soft-Look Flowers Using Textures