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Stand out from the pack with custom photo greeting cards

Added on Friday 9th of December 2011 09:19 am EST

by Renée Dustman
Adobe Photoshop CS/CS2/CS3/CS4/CS5
Operating Systems:
Macintosh, Microsoft Windows

Every year you say you're going to save some money and make the family or business greeting cards yourself, and every year you run out of time and spend a ridiculous amount of money to have someone else create them for you. Well, we aren't going to let you get away with that this year. You have everything you need—Photoshop, lots of digital images, and our guidance—so you have no excuse!

To send the very best this year, we'll show you how to:

  • Easily create decorative backgrounds for your card using your own photos.
  • Add your own graphics and text messages for a personal touch.
  • Save your cards in a format appropriate for your distribution method.

The holiday season is a perfect time to extend best wishes to your family, clients, and colleagues with custom photo cards, like the one shown in Figure A. Just choose or design a background, add a favorite photo and a personalized greeting and you have a truly unique greeting card filled with heartfelt sentiment only you can express.


Easy as 1-2-3
Creating photo cards really is as easy as 1-2-3. To demonstrate, we'll create the card shown in Figure A using stock photos—feel free to draw from your own stockpile of images, though. Let's begin by creating a new document.

To create a new document:

  1. Launch Photoshop and press [command]N ([Ctrl]N in Windows) to display the New dialog box.
  2. Name your file Greeting_Card and set the document size to 4 inches wide by 6 inches high, with a resolution of 100 ppi, in RGB color mode.
  3. Click OK.

Note: These settings are appropriate for emailing your cards. If you intend to print them, you may need to adjust the size to meet U.S.P.S standards and increase the resolution to meet printer specifications.

To design the background:

  1. Download our working files from the URL listed at the beginning of this article. (Images provided by PhotoSpin. Some images modified for educational purposes.)
  2. Choose File > Open in Photoshop, select the file background.jpg, and click Open.
  3. Choose Window > Arrange > Tile Vertically to see both open documents.
  4. Select the Move tool in the Tools panel and [shift]-drag the background image into your new document. (Pressing the [shift] key centers the image on the canvas).
  5. Close the background.jpg file and choose View > Fit On Screen in your Greeting_Card document to switch to Fit On Screen view.
  6. Select the Rectangular Marquee tool. Then, make sure the New Selection button is selected on the tool options bar and enter 15 px in the Feather text box.
  7. Drag your cursor to create a rectangular selection in the center of your new document, as shown in Figure B.
  8. Press [delete] to erase the selecti...