Today I’ve got for you a practical tutorial about creating a ready to print cool season’s greetings card in Photoshop. We will use the brushes, texture and blending combinations to the visual image, then we will setup a new document in InDesign to make the card ready to print file which you can use for your next approaching holidays. The only necessary skills to get through this tutorial are the basic knowledge of how to use the most common tools in Photoshop and InDesign.
Let’s get started!
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Let’s see what you will be creating in this tutorial. You may click on the image to see the full scale version.
Program: Adobe Photoshop CS4+
Estimated Completion Time: 2 – 3 Hours
The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial.
As it is said in the title this tutorial aims to be a guide for creating the card from scratch to print. This means that, we will cover several important subjects both in Photoshop and InDesign. For example: document settings, dimensions, color mode, bleed and margins.
The article is composed of two parts: this first one is about creating the greetings card visual, using Adobe Photoshop. The second part is about importing the design created with Photoshop into InDesign to finish the product, adding the text elements, applying to the two folded card mock-up and actually print it.
Let’s start by creating a new file (File > New) with a dimension of 15,6×10,6 cm, color method CMYK and 300 ppi resolution.
The final size of what we are going to create till the end will be a two folded card 15×10 cm size. The 0.6 cm is useful as bleedings in the print file preparation.
Select Edit > Preferences > Units & Rulers. Set the rulers units in centimeters.
Enlarge the image and moving the cursor from the left rule toward the center of the layout create a guideline positioned horizontally on 0.3 cm and again on 15.3 cm. Then do the same vertically on 0.3 cm and 10.3 cm.
The graphic elements, except for the background, have to stay inside the area delimited by the guidelines.
It’s now time to load the first of our brushes, the set called Beyond the Mist, to create our bunch of trees.Select the Brush Tool and go to open the Brush Presets Picker.
Select Load Brushes and load the brush from the folder where you have previously saved it from the provided link. The new brushes will be added to the list.
Choose the brush number 4 and set the diameter to 1800px
Create a new layer from the Layers Panel and call it “Trees”.
Leave the color as default (black for the foreground color and white as background color), move your cursor until the center of the layout and click to brush. This is what you should get.
Now select the Move Tool and drag the Trees level near the left edge
Create another layer and call it “trees 2”
Select again the Brush Tool and, opening the Brush Presets Picker, choose the Beyond the Mist brush number 8. Set the diameter to 700px.
Go to the layout and double click the brush to draw the new trees set on the new layer “trees 2”. To get a stronger effect double click or, as alternative, duplicate the level and merge down (Ctrl+E for Win, Options+E for Mac).
Let’s go to give to the card a cold winter look by adding blue color.
Open the Adjustment Panel and create a new Hue/Saturation adjustment level. Check the colorize box firstly, than adjust the hue and saturation value as shown. This is how your layout should looks like now.
Now to make the trees looking more interesting let’s add a little more of mist.
Create a new layer and call it “mist”. Go to the Filter menu and select Filter > Render > Clouds
Select Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the values as shown in the picture below.
At this point you have to apply to the “mist” level a Blending mode Overlay.
Here below how your greetings card should look like.
We already have something of interesting now but everything is still looking a little dull. We have to add details which are able to enrich the weak background. To do that we can use a grainy texture, adding delicate lines and, why not, snowflakes shadows.
Download this Stained Concrete Texture from Bittbox
Import it into your layout and resize it a little so that it looks like as shown below.
Rename the layer as “texture”. Drag the layer just before the background one.
Duplicate this texture layer and change the Blending mode to Color Doge.
Open the Adjustment Panel and create a new Hue/Saturation adjustment level. Check the colorize box firstly, than adjust the hue and saturation value as shown.
It’s now time to load the brushes called Snowflakes-Brushes.
Select the Brush Tool and go to open the Brush Presets Picker as we already did for the Mist brush.
Select Load brushes and load the brush from the folder where you have previously saved it from the provided link.
Choose the brush called snowflake13. Open the Brush Options Panel and change values in the various options as shown below.
Create a new layer from the Layers Panel and call it “Snowflakes”. Leave the color as default (black foreground color and white background color), move your cursor painting the top part of the layout. Set the Opacity level to 50%.
Change now your brush and choose that called snowflake10. Again open the Brush Options Panel and change values as previously you did. Create a new layer and call it “Snowflakes 2”. Move your cursor painting the top part of the layoutSet the blending of the level as Color Dodge.
This is what you should get.
Let’s add a little of light now.
Select the Pen Tool and create a path as shown below.
Now select a brush of size of 19px with 100% hardness. Select White as your foreground color. Select the pen tool again. The path you drew before should still be there. Create a new layer and call it “light 1”. Right click and select “stroke path” tool. Select Brush from drop down menu and turn on “simulate pressure” checkbox.
Change the blending mode of the level in Soft light and you will get stroke like this :
Create some more lights in new level by calling it “light 2”, selecting the pen tool and following the previous step to create the waves. Arrange them as shown in the image and choose a brush size of 5px with 70% hardness. Change the blending mode of the level in Soft light.
It is now time for adding the text!
As a matter of fact adding text in Photoshop is not the best thing to do. Indesign manage text field much better than Photoshop because it has been specifically developed as DTP software.
We will make an exception in this case for two reasons. The first is that we are going to add just the title to the card and not a long text. In addition we are going to modify a little bit the basic font just to make it more interesting, blending it better with the general layout.
Set the Jane Austen font, selecting font size 30 and writing in two different level “Season’s” and “Greetings”. I’ve colored the two words with a color picked up from the layout #374b6c.
Double click one of the text layers to open up the Layer Styles window. Add a Drop Shadow effect, reducing the distance to zero, but increasing spread and size to extend the effect beyond the edges of the type. Then set the blend mode to Color Burn.
Right click this layer and select Copy Layer Style, then paste the layer style onto the other text layer.
Load the watercolor brush set select the Brush Tool and go to open the Brush Presets Picker again.
Go to Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All and add a Layer Mask to the text level, then use the watercolor brush set to rough up the type. Change brush and try which one looks better to get the right effect, use a low opacity to change tone, and rotate the angle from within the Brush options box to reveal the text as in a texture.
Change brushes and in a new level add some spot to simulate water splotches. This is your image
Apply all the same step to the other text level and this is the final image you get.
Let’s get it started to create a new document in Adobe InDesign. Open InDesign and go to File > New > Document. First set the Number of Pages to 1.ChooseCustom from the Page Size dropdown menu and insert manually the greetings card size as width 15 cm and height 20 cm, selecting the Portrait orientation.
Set 5 mm as margins on all the fields (click on the chain icon). This is a security margin which you should respect to be sure that none of the most important elements of your design will be cut off.
Click on the More Options button to show all the options. Another set of options will be shown below. Set the Bleed value to 3 mm to all the fields.
These last options may vary depending of your printer shop requirements. I’ve indicated these values which, in my experience, are the most commons.
Now it’s time to import the design element.
To do that you may go to File > Place, browse your file system until you find the folder where you have previously saved the seasons greetings.psd file, select it and click on Open. Now the cursor will include a miniature of the imported image.
Click somewhere inside the layout page to place it into the design. If you remember the first steps in the first part of this tutorial we already set up the PSD file with a width which matcheswith this new document one. So, if you did everything good the only thing you need to do is place it matching the bottom and left borders of the design with the page borders.
As alternative way to do the same you can directly open the folder where the file is and drag and drop the file inside the document.
Let’s add the credits now. Select the Jane Austen font, set the font size to 12 and paragraph to centered.
Align the credit text box to the center by selecting the option Align to Page from the drop down menu. Choose a color which matches with the layout palette using the Color Picker Tool and picking up a color, for example, from the tree shapes.
We also have to remember that this side of the card will be folded. In order to have the credits written in the right direction we have to rotate the credit box upside down. Select the Rotate Tool and rotate it to 180°.
InDesign allow us to see a more accurate version of what will print and how. To see that select View > Overprint Preview and you will get an high resolution preview of the job.
We are to the final steps. We want to prepare our document for printing so we need to export a well done PDF document.
Select Adobe PDF presets and High Quality Print. Choose name and folder for the file and click Save to go ahead to the InDesign print settings dialog.
Under General option tab, in the Options area select Visible & Printable Layers from the dropdown menu.
Under Marks and Bleeds, Check the Following marks: Crop Marks, Registration Marks and Color Bars. Then check the Use Document Bleed Settings.
If you are going to print the document by yourself with your printer just check the Crop Marks option and the Bleeds one. These are very important in order to cut the card properly avoiding ugly blank borders.
Leave the other options as they are and click on Export button to end the saving procedure.
You will finally have your ready to print file as below.
Happy Holidays and Marry Christmas!
I created this tutorial to show you how easy to design Season’s Greetings Card, and to show you that a few basic knowledge in Photoshop and InDesign can make a lot if placed in a well thought idea. I hope that you can all create better designs using the little things I shared with you here.