With Thanksgiving right around the corner (how did that happen?!), a lot of us are starting to think about our Holiday greeting cards.
Have you considered making your own?
A personalized greeting card, complete with images of you and your close family and friends can add an especially personal touch to the holiday season. And the good news is that Photoshop Elements makes it really easy.
Let's look at how it's done.
Open the Organizer and select the images that you want to include on your greeting card:
To select multiples images that are right next to each other in the Organizer's Media Browser, click on the first image and then hold down the Shift key and click on the last image. This will select the first and last images and all the others in between.
To select multiple images that don't show together in the Media Browser, click on one of these images and then hold down the Ctrl key on a PC or the Command key on a Mac and click on the additional photos. Each of these photos will be selected.
You will be able to tell which photos you have selected because they will show with a blue border around them and, if you are using Elements version 13, a blue-boxed check mark on the lower right corner.
In the screen shot below, you can see that I have selected three photos for my greeting card. Two of these photos are wider than they are tall, so they are in the landscape format. The third is taller than it is wide, so it's in the portrait format.
Now, go to the Create menu by clicking on the button at the top of the interface. From there, choose Greeting Card.
The Photoshop Elements Editor workspace will launch and the Greeting Card dialog will open.
The first thing that you will need to decide on is the size and layout for your card.
You can see the size and layout options shown in the box displayed along the left side of the Greeting Card dialog box.
Here, you will see that you have a number of different sizes to choose from. You also have a choice of card orientation. You can create a card that in the portrait orientation—again, that means that the card is taller than it is wide—or you can create a card that is landscape—the card is wider than it is tall. Finally, you can decide between a flat card, which is basically a postcard, or the more traditional folded card.
If you will be printing your card locally on your home computer, you can choose any of the size/layout options shown on this panel.
You can also have your cards commercially printed using Adobe's third-party partner, Shutterfly. However, if you decide to use the Shutterfly service, your choice of size/layout options are limited to the four alternatives listed under the Shutterfly label:
In this example, I'll be making a 7.00 x 5.00 inches (Folded, Landscape) card.
With the size and layout selected, you need to decide on a theme for the card. The available themes are displayed in the center column of the Greeting Card dialog box. As you scroll through and click on each, a preview of the theme as it would look as a greeting card shows in the area to the right
In fitting with the season, I'll be using the Christmas theme for the card that I'm creating.
By the way, you may notice that many of the themes show with a blue marker in the corner:
This blue marker indicates that you haven't yet used that particular theme and, so, the assets for it have not yet been downloaded into the program. In that case, the processing time when creating the card will be a bit longer since Elements will need to download the theme files.
Finally, if you look towards the bottom of the dialog box, you will see a check box labeled Autofill With Selected Images.
This option tells Elements to automatically fill the available spaces on the card with the images selected in the Organizer.
I usually uncheck this box when creating a greeting card. While this functionality can be a big timesaver when creating projects that involve more photos—photo books and the calendars, for example—I don't find it to be as handy when working on a greeting card with only 2 or 3 photos.
That said, I am going to leave the box checked in this example so that you can see how easily the automatically inserted pictures can be changed.
With the card size, layout and theme selected, click the OK button and the Elements Editor will process the card.
If the theme assets have not yet been downloaded, that will happen first and once that's done, Elements will assemble the greeting card, placing the selected images into the available spaces.
Once the process is complete, the first draft of the greeting card opens in the Greeting Card workspace.
The Greeting Card workspace is a modified version of the Elements Editor. When the card first opens here, you will be in the Basic mode of the workspace. You can move into the Advanced mode by clicking on the Advanced button located at the top left.
For the example we are working on here, we have everything we need in the Basic mode and, so, that's where we'll stay.
You'll notice a shortened toolbar on the left and an area on the right where you can access three panels via the buttons along the bottom right of the workspace. These panels—Pages, Layouts and Graphics—can be used to customize and edit your greeting card.
The Pages panel gives you access to the different pages in your project. So if you are creating a flat card, there will the only be one page for you to view. If you are creating a folded card, you will be able to navigate between multiple pages using the Pages panel.
By the way, you can also navigate through the pages of your card using the arrows at the top of the interface.
To change the layout, find one you like in the Layout panel and then double click on the new layout or drag the new layout onto the top of your card.
To add a new graphic to your card, navigate to the page where you want it to appear and then double-click on the graphic or drag it onto the card from the Graphics panel. Then you can reposition and resize it using the Move tool, found in the toolbar on the left.
If you want to replace a graphic that's already on your card, first select it by clicking on it with the Move tool. Then bring the new graphic in by double-clicking on it in the Graphics panel.
As you are working on your greeting card, remember that you can always undo your changes one step at a time by pressing Ctrl+Z on a PC or Command+Z on the Mac.
Now that we've looked at some of the tools available for customizing a greeting card, let's get to work on our sample card.
Here's how the front and center page look before any changes:
The first thing I'm going to do with my card is change the photos around. I want to use the portrait-oriented photo on the front page (it's currently placed in a frame on the inside of the card) and move the landscape photo that's currently on the front to the inside.
Let's do this one step at a time.
Then, to show the individual images that I'd selected in the Organizer, make sure that the drop down box at the top of the Photo Bin is set to Show Files selected in Organizer.
To replace the image, I'll find the one that I want to use in the photo bin and then just drag in onto the one that I am replacing. I'll see my cursor turn into a plus sign when the photo that I'm dragging is in the right spot.
Now I'll just release the mouse button to drop the photo and it will replace the image that was previously there.
To change the frame, I'll click on the Graphics button to open the Graphics panel. Then I'll scroll down in the panel to get to the Frame section.
To change the frame on a photo, select that photo using the Move tool and then double-click on the new frame from the Graphics panel. But in this case, I think I would rather have no frame on my photo. Luckily, there's an option for a frameless photo in the Graphics panel:
So to remove the frame from my photo, I'll select the photo and then double-click on the no-frame option from the Graphics panel.
I can drag the slider to the right to make the photo bigger or I can move it to the left to make it smaller.
I want it to be smaller, so I'll nudge the slider to the left a bit. Then, since I want to reposition the image within the frame, I'll click and drag inside the photo to move it around.
When I'm happy with the changes, I'll click on the green checkmark to confirm.
We can fix that by right-clicking on the photo and choosing Fit Frame to Photo from the menu.
Although I don't want to do this with my sample card, I could also rotate the photo. There are a couple of ways to do this.
Here's one way. Using the Move tool, click on the photo to select it. When you do this, you'll notice a little circular handle pop up below the photo. Click on that handle and drag to rotate the photo. Your cursor will change into a curved, two-headed arrow as you do this.
So I'm done working on my front-page image.
I'll use the same tools and procedures to fix up the images on the second page of my card. Here's what I get:
I'm happy with my greeting card photos.
At this point, I might want to change the background paper on my card. To do this, I would navigate to the front page, open the Graphics panel and double-click on any of the background papers found in the top section there. The new background would immediately appear behind my front-page photo.
But I'd like to keep the background fairly plain since I'm going to add text to it. So I'll undo that to get back to my original background.
I could also add in any of the graphic elements from the Graphics panel. To do this, I would navigate to the page where I would like the graphic to appear. Then I would double-click on the clipart in the Graphics panel and then move and resize it using the Move tool.
But again, I'd like to keep my card simple. So I'm going to undo that addition too.
Now all that's left to do is work on the text for my card.
To do that, first I will select the Text tool from the toolbar on the left. Then, I'll navigate to the first page, click where I went to insert text, and type, "joy and love".
I can use the options in the bar at the bottom of the interface to customize the look of this text. I'll change the font (to Charlemagne Std Bold and Lucida Handwriting Italic), the font size (to 72pt and 33pt), the color (to gold), and the text alignment (to center).
I would also like to add a small drop shadow to the text to make it stand out a bit. To do this, I'll select the text with the Move tool then right-click on the text box. A menu will appear. Select Edit Layer Style.
I'll set up a small, fairly subtle drop shadow.
Finally, I need to add text to the interior of my card.
I'll navigate to the last page of my card and zoom in on the text box there.
I'll select the Text tool and click and drag to select the first line of text. Then I'll type my message, enlarging the box as needed to show all of the text.
I'll do the same with the text in the second text box.
I'll click on the green checkmark when I'm done.
So that's it! We're done.
Here are the pages of my finished card:
While we're at it, you can (and probably should) save your greeting card when you are finished. To do this, choose File>Save from the top menu bar. The first time you save a card (or, after the first time, using the File>Save as command), you will be given the option to save it either in the Photo Project Format (PSE) or as a PDF. Saving as a PSE files allows you the option to re-edit the card at a later date from within the Elements Editor. On the other hand, saving the card as a PDF file will produce a file that is not editable but can be shared with anyone who doesn't have Photoshop Elements. Be warned, though. The PDF option creates a very large file.
Okay, so that's it for now. Check back for our next post where we'll talk about outputting your customized greeting card.
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