Create a Christmas card in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I’ll give you some tips on how to create a colorful background with a Christmas tree and glossy balls Adobe Photoshop CS6. You will learn how to add Layer Style, draw Christmas decorations with the Ellipse Tool, apply Brush, use custom shapes, etc.

Materials for the lesson:

Let’s start by creating a new document (Ctrl + N) in Adobe Photoshop, 1000px by 1000px (RGB color mode) with a resolution of 72. Use the tool Fill(Paint Bucket Tool) (G) to fill the new background layer with # FEE686.

Next we need a textured pattern, you can download it from the archive, if you want, you can replace it with a similar own pattern. Open it in Adobe Photoshop and go Edit-> Define Pattern (Edit-> Define Pattern). Enter the name of the template in the dialog box.

Next, create a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + N) and set the Fill to 0% for this layer. Click on the icon Add layer style (Add a layer style) at the bottom of the layers panel and select Pattern overlay (Overlay Pattern). Press on Pattern (Pattern) and find your pattern created earlier in the list of patterns.

We get the following result.

Create a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + N) and select soft round Brush (Brush) white (set the Opacity to 40% in the options bar).

Use this brush to paint a white spot on the background.

Choose a tool Pen (Pen Tool) (P), set the drawing mode Figure (Shape Layers) in the settings panel and try to draw the next shape (element) it will be a tree.

We get the following result.

Click on the icon Add layer style (Add a layer style) at the bottom of the layers panel and select Gradient overlay (Gradient Overlay).

Click on the color bar to open Gradient editor (Gradient Editor) and set the colors as shown in the image below. Click OK to close the dialog box. Gradient editor (Gradient Editor).

We get the following result.

Make three copies (Ctrl + J) of the element made and select the command Free transform (Free Transform) (Ctrl + T) to make them smaller by going through one by one and get a Christmas tree, like in the picture below.

On the bottom element of the Christmas tree, we will draw a highlight, select the tool Pen (Pen Tool) (P), set the drawing mode Figure (Shape Layers) in the options bar and draw the following shape, as shown in the figure. The layer must be located under the next element of the tree.

Click on the icon Add layer style (Add a layer style) at the bottom of the layers panel and select Gradient Overlay.

Click on the color bar to open Gradient editor (Gradient Editor) and set the colors as shown in the image below. Click OK to close the Gradient Editor dialog box.

We get the following result.

Next, make three copies (Ctrl + J) of this element and select the command Free transform (Free Transform) (Ctrl + T), to reduce each subsequent instance, and arrange them in the same way as in the image below. The layers of the copy must be placed in the correct sequence between the elements of the Christmas tree.

Create a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + N) and draw a spot on it using a soft round Brush (Brush), it will be a shadow.

Brush (Brush) colors # 012F00.

Using the command Free transform (Free Transform) (Ctrl + T), stretch and compress the spot, as shown in the following image. The layer must be located under the layer containing the very first element of the Christmas tree.

We get the following result.

Create a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + N) and place it over the first element of the Christmas tree. Make sure that the layer is active, then hold down the Ctrl key and click on the layer containing the first element of the Christmas tree to make the next selection.

Choose soft round Brush (Brush) in black (set the Opacity to 30% in the options bar).

Use this brush to draw inside the selection, it will be a shadow.

Thus, we will draw a shadow for the other elements that make up the Christmas tree.

Now we need to draw a small circle of white using the tool Ellipse (Ellipse Tool) (U). Place the layer under the Christmas tree layers.

Set the Fill to 40% for the layer containing the circle.

Make two copies of the layer (Ctrl + J) containing the circle. Using the command Free transform (Free Transform) (Ctrl + T) resize the copies to get the same result as in the next image. The layers of the copy must be located under the elements of the Christmas tree.

Create a new layer and select soft round. Brush (Brush).

Use this Brush (Brush) to draw the main elements of the glow on the Christmas tree. Brush color # FFEA70 (Opacity of the brush – 50%). This layer will be located above the elements of the Christmas tree.

Set the Fill to 78% for this layer and change Blend mode (Blend Mode) on Hard mix (Hard Mix).

Click on the icon Create a new adjustment layer or fill layer (Create new fill or adjustment layer) at the bottom of the layers palette, and select Curves (Curves) to adjust the shape of the curve, as shown, to make some color adjustments.

We get the following result.

Choose a tool Arbitrary shape (Custom Shape Tool) (U) in the toolbar, and in the options bar, click on the icon Figure (Shape) to open the selection menu. Find the 5-point star (5 Point Star) at the bottom of the menu, and then double-click the shape thumbnail to select it.

Click and drag to draw a shape, as shown in the image below.

Click on the icon Add layer style (Add a layer style) at the bottom of the layers panel and select Stroke:

Add Gradient overlay (Gradient Overlay):

Click on the color bar to open Gradient editor (Gradient Editor) and set the colors as shown in the image below. Click OK to close the Gradient Editor dialog box.

We get the following result.

Now we have to make the next element of the star. Choose a tool Pen (Pen Tool) (P), set the drawing mode Figure (Shape Layers) in the options bar and draw the following shape, as shown in the figure.

Click on the icon Add layer style (Add a layer style) at the bottom of the layers panel and select Gradient Overlay:

Click on the color bar to open Gradient editor (Gradient Editor) and set the colors as shown in the image below. Click OK to close the Gradient Editor dialog box.

We get the following result.

Make four copies of the last layer (Ctrl + J) and select the command Free transform (Free Transform) (Ctrl + T) to resize a copy by placing it in the same way shown in the following image. Change the direction of the gradient in the parameters Gradient overlay (Gradient Overlay): to get the same effect as in the picture below.

We get the following result.

Merge all star layers into a group (hold CTRL to select the required layers and hold the left mouse button while dragging the selected layers to the Create a new group icon at the bottom of the layers panel).

Make a copy of the new group (Ctrl + J) and rasterize it (select the group in the layers panel and press CTRL + E to Merge Down).

Using the command Free transform (Free Transform) (Ctrl + T), we will make a smaller rasterized layer containing stars and arrange it in the same way as shown below.

Click on the icon Add layer style (Add a layer style) at the bottom of the layers panel and select Outer Glow:

We get the following result.

Next we will draw Christmas balls to decorate our Christmas tree using the tool Ellipse (Ellipse Tool) (U) draw the next circle.

Click on the icon Add layer style (Add a layer style) at the bottom of the layers panel and select Inner Shadow:

Add Gradient overlay (Gradient Overlay):

Click on the color bar to open Gradient editor (Gradient Editor) and set the colors as shown in the image below. Click OK to close the Gradient Editor dialog box.

We get the following result.

Make a copy of the last made layer of the ball and select the command Free transform (Free Transform) (Ctrl + T) to enlarge the copy and place the layer under the layer with the first ball. Add on the copy layer, other settings Gradient overlay (Gradient Overlay):

Click on the color bar to open Gradient editor (Gradient Editor) and set the colors as shown in the image below. Click OK to close the Gradient Editor dialog box.

We get the following result.

Create a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + N) and select soft round Brush (Brush).

Use this brush to draw the shadows (just like we did with the shadow of the very first element on the Christmas tree). The shadow layer must be located under the ball layer. Paint brush color # 053403.

Make a copy of the newly made shadow layer (Ctrl + J) and select the command Free transform (Free Transform) (Ctrl + T) to place a copy exactly as shown in the image below. The copy layer should be placed under the layer containing the red ball.

Create a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + N) and select soft round Brush (Brush) to paint on the Christmas tree of the next zone, as shown. Brush color # FFE870 (Opacity (Opacity) – 10%). To make a reflection on the red ball, we hold down the CTRL key and click on the layer with the ball to create a selection, use a soft round Brush (Brush), paint the selection inside, as shown in the image below.

Next we have to make support for the decoration. This time we activate the tool. Rectangle (Rectangle Tool) (U) and draw a rectangle. The layer with this element should be located under the layer with the ball.

Click on the icon Add layer style (Add a layer style) at the bottom of the layers panel and select Gradient overlay (Gradient Overlay):

Click on the color bar to open the Gradient Editor and set the colors as shown in the image below. Click OK to close the dialog box. Gradient editor (Gradient Editor).

We get the following result.

Make a copy of the layer with the holder (Ctrl + J) and select the command Free transform (Free Transform) (Ctrl + T) to tilt the copy layer and place as in the picture. The copy layer must be located above the layer containing the red ball.

We get the following result.

Create a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + N) and select a soft round Brush.

Use this brush to draw a shadow under the star located at the top of the Christmas tree. Brush color is gray (Brush Opacity – 20%). Place the shadow layer under the star layers.

Next we use a set of custom shapes of decorative snowflakes. See how to load custom forms here.

Create a new file File-> New (File-> New) 1280px by 720px (RGB color mode) with a resolution of 72.

Choose a tool Arbitrary shape (Custom Shape Tool) (U) in the toolbar, click on the button in the options bar Figure (Shape) to open the selection menu.

Find the loaded Decorative Snowflake Shapes at the bottom of the menu, and then double-click on the shape thumbnail to select it. Click and drag to draw multiple shapes as shown. The figures are white (no background, the background for texture perception is shown here). Group all the snowflakes layers (hold CTRL to select the required layers and hold the left mouse button while dragging the selected layers to the Create a new group icon at the bottom of the layers panel).

Create a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + N) and using a different snowflake shape from the tool Arbitrary shape (Custom Shape Tool) (U) Draw the following pattern as shown using black. Group together all the layers of snowflakes.

Now we must rasterize each of the groups (select the group and press (CTRL + E) to Merge layers (Merge Down)). Select a layer with black snowflakes and apply a texture to the 3D surface, for this we go 3D-> New Grid from Layer-> Grid Set-> Sphere (3D-> New Mesh from Layer-> Mesh Preset-> Sphere).

Next we will move the 3D layer of the sphere in our main document. Place the 3D sphere layer over the gray ball in the layers panel.

Install Blend mode (Blend Mode) of this layer on Overlap (Overlay).

The same procedure should be performed with a white texture.

Install Blend mode (Blend Mode) of this layer on Hard mix (Hard Mix).

In the last step, we will draw a small thread for a small star using the tool Line (Line Tool) (U) (set 1 pixel in the options bar). Color # FFF8A8.

Install Fill (Fill) up to 40% for this layer.

Then, we will draw the shadow using the same black tool. The shadow layer will be located under the thread layer.

Set the Fill to 40% for this layer.

We get the following result.

Our colorful background is ready. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.

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