So it’s finally upon us, day 12 of our 12 Days of Handmade Christmas. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the ride and had a go at one or two of our crafts along the way.
So, while it might seem a little late in the day to be thinking about Christmas cards, Sam’s folks have long had a tradition of exchanging handmade Christmas cards on Christmas Eve (so look away now family ** spoiler alert!). Over the last few years we’ve made pop up cards, cards with Fimo decoration and sewn on cards to name but a few.
So, this year we decided, as we had already spent a lot of time playing with scissors and glue, to try something a little more digital and use a basic bit of Photoshop to create a homemade greeting. Our original inspiration came from Pinterest (as ever):
We liked the idea of having pictures in pictures in pictures but rather than just sporting a festive hat we thought it would look pretty cool to make the cards a bit of a Christmas explosion and have each picture set in a suitably decorated room. As we were going to have to crack open Photoshop to composite the pictures within pictures later we decided to digitally switch the backgrounds too.
So how did we do it?
1) Get Shooting – We started out by setting up our camera on a tripod in front of the most plain light wall we had in the apartment. This made life lots easier in Photoshop later when we wanted to switch out the background (Photoshop has a pretty neat tool for selecting similar regions which works best when there is a clear difference between the subject and the background).
In the finished image we wanted to look like we were holding a picture so we grabbed a large picture frame to hold in shot and then we were good to go. We took a few shots of just me, a few of just Sam, and used the timer to take a few of us both together.
2) Grab some backgrounds – We wanted to find some Christmassy backdrops for our pictures, and luckily there are some great images out there on the web which are free to use for personal use. Just make sure you aren’t going to upset any photographers before using the images.
3) Scrub out the backdrop – From our many, many photos we picked those we liked and then set work removing the background from each. This is surprisingly easy using the Magic Wand tool in Photoshop. This will allow you to select areas that look similar without having to trace it out yourself. I selected all of the background and then used the eraser tool to turn all of this space transparent.
4) Switch the background – Once we had all the backgrounds cleared out of our photos, it was time to cut and paste ourselves into our Christmassy backdrops. This really is as simple as it sounds, just copying the image of us into the background picture files and re-sizing to fit. I did a little bit of colour tweaking to make us look like we belonged in the room we now appeared but this wasn’t really necessary.
5) Picture in Picture – Finally it was time to create the illusion that we hadn’t just been holding a picture frame this whole time. We took each new composite image of us holding the frame with a Christmas background and pasted it on top of another and re-sized to fit the shape and size of the picture frame in the image. For the innermost picture rather than another picture of us, we used an image of the person receiving each card (we even managed to find one of Sam’s little brother dressed up like a Christmas tree awwww). As a finishing touch we added a Christmas greeting using the text tool.
6) Print – Once the images were complete all that was left to do was print them onto Christmas cards. We opted to use an online printing service for this as I have a troubled history with printers (paper jams, ink runs out, laptops switch off mid print), but if you have a less stressful time with your home printer that’s a great option too.
So there you have it, craft number 12 done and dusted. We hope you have enjoyed them all, we certainly have had a whole month of fun making them and really really appreciate all you guys stopping by to look and share with us.