Christmas card in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will create a fictional fairytale character – Deer girl. Here you will learn how, combining different images together, changing color and lighting, using brushes and patterns, create a glamorous Christmas retro card.

Required resources:
First, download all the resources you need to complete this lesson. All images can be prepared and placed in a separate psd-file.

Materials for the lesson:

Step 1 – Making a symmetrical face

I will start work with a layer with a girl. As you can see, the right side of her face is covered by a strand of hair. Therefore, I decided to use for work only the left side, duplicating and turning it over.

By the way, not every person can do this trick. After all, the human face is asymmetrical, and, often, as a result of such manipulation, you can get a funny portrait, like here.

To begin with, we will work on the left side of our face that we need so that it looks perfect. Using the tool Finger (Smudge Tool) diameter 3 px, and the intensity of pressing 90%, remove the tip of the hair strands:

Translator comment: dFor this purpose you can also use the Clone Stamp and Healing Brush tools.

Remove the right side of the face and separate the left side from the background using tools Lasso(Lasso) or Pen(Pen). We will only work with this area.
Open the filter Plastics (Liquify) and make the eyes bigger with a tool Bloating (Bloa). Use the tool Shrinkage (Pucker) to hide teeth:

Translator’s comment: If you are not familiar enough with the Liquify filter, this article will help you.

After the result of the manipulations will satisfy you, click OK.

Then we need to hide the hair girl’s ear. I use the tool for this Finger(Smudge Tool) and Brush (Brush Tool). This will require drawing skills and a graphics tablet.

Translator’s comment: if you are not the owner of the tablet and do not know how to draw, you can clone and move a hair area that you think is appropriate (in this case, do not forget to deform it in the right direction with the help of Free Transformation (Transform [Ctrl + T])and feather the borders with Eraser). Also a good result can be achieved using the Clone Stamp tool.

Now duplicate the layer with the left side of the face and align both sides together. To do this correctly, use Transformation (Transform [Ctrl + T]) and apply the settings shown below. Set the location of the control point and put the value on the horizontal scale of -100%.

Use tools Finger(Smudge tool), Stamp (Clone Stamp) and Healing Brush(Healing Brush) to fix minor problems like repetitive elements, etc.

Step 2 – Starting to turn a girl into a deer

It is time to add to the girl the elements of a fairytale character.
Move the image with deer ears to the new layer. Remove them with tools. Lasso (Lasso) or Pen(Pen).

With help Transformations (Transform [Ctrl + T]) resize and place them over the girl as shown below. Use Color balance (Color Balance) with the settings that you see on the screen to match the color of the underlying layer.

Now we need to make the deer ears look believable. To do this, put on top of their hair and shadows.

Create a new layer above all the other layers, give it a name (it is important to give a name to each layer so that you can easily find them in the process).
Take the tool Finger(Smudge Tool), 2px, 90% intensity and start “pulling” hair. Do not forget to enable the option Sample of all layers (Sample All Layers).

Create another layer and name it Shadows. Change its blending mode to Soft light (Soft light) and round soft Brush(Brush Tool) gray just draw a shadow.

Step 3 – Draw the Hair

This stage will take the most time from the lesson. For example, it took me about an hour to draw hair for this guide. Graphics tablet will greatly facilitate the task.

At first Finger(Smudge Tool) size of 9px and intensity of pressing 90-100% draw the desired shape of hair.

Then, using the same tool, reduce the size of the brush to 2 px and begin a more thorough study of the hair, “pulling” them in shape. Use also tools. Clarifier(Dodge) and Dimmer(Burn) where it is necessary to achieve the most realistic result.

You can wash Eraser(Eraser Tool) failed or unwanted elements that are inevitable if you are new to digital painting like me.

Stage 4 -We add horns

Place the image with the horns in the working paper. Separate them from the background in a convenient way for you. Resize them with Transformations (Transform [Ctrl + T]) and place the Deer Girl over the head. Use the option Brightness and Contrast (Brightness and Contrast) with the following settings:

To make the horns look realistic, put hair and shadows on top, just like in the second stage with ears.

five stage – Christmas decorations

Christmas tree balls hanging on the horns add a festive postcard. I decided to draw vector balls from scratch.
Draw a simple circle shape and apply the following layer styles to it:

Now we will add a base for suspension on the top of the ball. Draw a vector shape tool Rounded Rectangle(Rounded Rectangle Tool) and place it below the ball layer. Apply layer styles Gradient overlay (Gradient Overlay) and Inner shadow (Inner Shadow) with these settings:

Translator’s comment: When drawing Christmas balls, these lessons can also help you –
Lesson 1
Lesson 2

If desired, you can decorate the balls with stripes or snowflakes.

Now duplicate the ball 2 times and change each color by changing the settings in the layer style. Color overlay (Color Overlay).

ATTENTION! If you want to change the scale of the layer to which the style is applied, you need to change the size of the layer style too. To do this, select the layer, select the menu Layer (Layer)> Layer style (Layer Style)> Scale effects (Scale Effects). Enter the percentage of the scale manually or using the slider.
You can also convert a layer to a smart object and then change it without worries.

Now place the balls in the image according to the manual (or at your own discretion) and resize them. For a blue ball, add a layer style. Casting a shadow (Drop Shadow). Otherwise, the image will not look real, because, as you know, objects cast a shadow on the surrounding solid objects.

Now add the threads to hang the balls on the horns. To do this, create a new layer. Take the tool Free feather (Pen) and draw a path.

Go to tool Brush(Brush Tool) and set the following brush settings: Diameter (Diameter) – 3px, Rigidity (Hardness) – 100%, Opacity (Opacity) – 100%, Pressure (Flow) – 100%, Colour (Color) – # 82695f.

Activate the tool again Free feather(Pen) and, by right-clicking, select the option Outline the contour (Stroke Path), mark the stroke tool (in this case it’s Brush(Brush Tool)). Click OK.

Translator’s comment: For a more realistic lace effect, you can assign a Layer Style Emboss (Bevel and Emboss) for this layer.

Repeat the process for all balls. Do not forget to add a shadow under the threads. To do this, simply duplicate the layers with them, set Brightness (Lightness) (in the menu Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation)) to -150 and lower the opacity of the layer. Excess (that goes beyond the horns) erase Eraser(Eraser).

Step 6 – Adding Christmas Patterns
Already in the process of writing a lesson, I decided to add another feature of Christmas – the characteristic patterns.

Duplicate the horns layer and assign this layer Styles (Layer Style) Color overlay (Color Overlay) and Pattern overlay (Pattern Overlay). See settings below.
For the imposition of the pattern will help you my patterns, which you can download here and download into your program. Then Eraser(Eraser Tool) just delete some areas, as if someone painted the horns with red and white stripes.

Step 7 – Winter Background

Place a winter landscape as a background.

Take the tool Blur(Blur Tool) size 2500 px with an intensity of 100% and click once on the center of the image. Thus, the background will not have accurate focus, will become blurred.

Add a new layer above the Winter Background, take a soft round brush of 35px, color # b1bfd6, and paint a mist over the mountain peaks. Use the tool in places. Clarifier(Dodge Tool) to create a cloud effect.

Create a new layer and fill it with black. Make sure the foreground color is black and the background color is white. Apply to this layer Filter (Filter)> Rendering (Render)> Clouds (Clouds). Set the blending mode for this layer – Overlap (Overlay).

Create a new layer and add the sun rays (under # 10) from my free set of brushes. Assign blend mode for this layer – Overlap (Overlay) and Opacity (Opacity) – 50%.

Step 8 – Add Stars

For a fabulous effect, add stars and highlights.
I propose to create brushes using a simple vector shape of a star from my set.

Translator’s comment: Download the forms and download them. How to install add-ons in Photoshop is well described in this tutorial. Creating a brush from a shape is not at all difficult. Open a new document 100×100 px. The background is white. Make sure the main color is black. If not, click [D]. Choose a star shape from the set from the author. In black, hold [shift] draw a star. Rasterize the layer. Then go to the Edit menu> Define Brush (Define Brush Preset) and save the brush under some name. Now you can delete the document. And the brush you created will appear in the brush menu with the most recent number.

Now open the panel Brush Settings (Brushes Pannel), [F5].
Set such parameters.

Fingerprint Interval (Spacing) – 175%. AT Form dynamics (Shape Dynamics) Size fluctuation (Sise Jitter) – 90% Minimum diameter (Minimum diametr) – 35%, tilt angle (Angle Jitter) – 20%. AT Other dynamics (Other Dynamics) Transparency fluctuation (Opacity Jitter) – 50%, Pressure swing (Flow Jitter) – 20%.

Translator’s comment: You can also download ready brushes of stars.

Set the foreground color to white. Use the brush we just created and add stars like in the picture.

Step 9 – Add Magic Lights

Add glitter and glare with my brush set.

Step 10 – Snow

Take Brush(Brush Tool) is small and draw snow on the horns. Use color # 9bc9ce. Using tools Dimmer and Clarifier (Burn / Dodge Tool) add light and shadow to make the snow look three-dimensional.

Step 11 – Use Gradients

To adjust the overall color tone of the entire image, add adjustment layer (New adjustment layer) with gradient (Gradient Map (Gradient Map)). See settings on the image.

Assign blend mode for this layer – Overlap (Overlay) with Opacity (Opacity) – 100%. Make sure the Christmas ball layer is above the adjustment layer.

To make a photo manipulation look like a vintage postcard, use this texture from this set of vintage papers. Change the blending mode of this layer to Soft light (Soft Light) with opacity (Opacity) 100%.

To add more contrast, create another layer above the rest and change the blending mode to Soft light (Soft Light) with opacity (Opacity) 100%.

Use a black soft transparent round brush to darken some areas. You can add more snow with my free brushes.
Add handwritten Christmas text.
It’s all. Hope you enjoyed it.

From the translator:
I sincerely congratulate all residents, friends and guests of the site. Photoshop master Happy New Year and Merry Christmas!
I wish you all good health and well-being!
I wish that all bad weather passed by!
Do not cease to dream, create, enjoy life, love!
Never stop on achieved!
Let all your undertakings always be successful!
I wish New Year’s miracles and gifts!

Author: psd-dude

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