I love Christmastime, and unless you are a commie bastard, chances are you love Christmastime, too. All the decorated houses glowing at night, Nat King Cole singing about chestnuts roasting on an open fire, gathering my nieces and nephews around the fireplace to tell them stories of Santa Claus dying in a tragic chimney accident. There are so many wonderful Christmas traditions to take part in, but one of the traditions I look forward to most is giving and receiving Christmas cards.
‘Tis the season for giving, so I thought that I would share with you a little insider’s scoop into how I put this year’s Christmas card together. Perhaps it will motivate you to create your very own Christmas card this year, or perhaps it will just provide further evidence into what a raving lunatic I am. In either case, I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday.
For this year’s Christmas card, I thought that it would be humorous to mimic those delightful photos you see online of screaming children sitting on Santa’s lap. The first step was to take several photos of myself, and choose the best one to superimpose onto a background image in Photoshop.
I donned some glorious Christmas outfits, used Visine drops to create some fake tears, and turned my living room into a makeshift photo studio. If you are a religious person, I would suggest that you pray the following prayer: Abba, Father. Dear, Yahweh. Please do not let the neighbors come over to borrow a cup of sugar while I’m wearing this ridiculous turtleneck and taking photos of myself crying in my own apartment, and please, Heavenly Father, do not let the FedEx guy come to the front door to deliver a package and see me like this, either. All these things I ask in your precious and holy name. Amen.
Now that I had the original photo of myself to work with, I needed to select a proper background image. I opened the photo of myself in Photoshop, did a quick selection, cut myself from the original background, and superimposed myself onto a few different background images that I found on the interwebs. Don’t worry about matching the lighting and making a perfect selection just yet. These are just a few roughs to get a sense of which images will work best together.
The final steps include blending the photos together, adjusting the lighting and shadows, fixing the color and saturation, creating a border, ect. I won’t bore you with all the finite details, because it can be a rather tedious process. But for those of you wanting to learn Photoshop a little better, go to the upper, left hand corner of the tools section, select the “Magic Wand” tool, right click your mouse, and shout “Abracadabra, kalamazoo!” This is the Photoshop method that I tend to use the most, much to the chagrin of my college graphic design professor.
The Christmas card is almost complete. All it needs now is a holiday greeting and a few final touches. I settled on a really simple greeting – Happy Holidays! – but you can come up with your own greeting, like, “Merry Christmas, you fudge packing, dingleberries!,” or you could always use a more traditional saying, like, “Seasons Greetings.” Whatever.
Since my Christmas card theme is all about happiness and joy, I decided to really emphasize this by including some of those photos of screaming children sitting on Santa’s lap as the last and final step. If you do a Google search, you will find that there is an abundance of hysterical, sobbing kids to choose from, but I dwindled it down to just a few of my favorites.
I believe this concludes the Photoshop tutorial. I hope that you found it helpful and inspiring. Now go make your own Christmas card and spread some cheer this holiday season. Good luck!