Monthly Archives: December 2010

Adding foreground elements (7 of 7)

At this point, the image could be considered done, but something in the foreground would tie the scene together and add some depth. A rustic fence would be a nice touch. For this, we need some long, thin vector rectangles. You could use the Rectangle tool, but the Line tool set to a very high Weight might be a better way to go. Make a new Shape layer using PMS 418. Use your perspective lines as guides so that the fence looks correct. To make the vertical posts look round, hold down SHIFT and put some ovals on top with the Ellipse tool. You may need to select them and rotate them slightly. Add Layer Styles similar to what you have been using. The Highlight of the Bevel and Emboss should be in Color Dodge Mode. The Gradient Overlay should be using Multiply and a blue from the background to add more shadow the the right edge.  An Inner Shadow with the settings shown will show some rimlight on the right edge, reflected from the snow. Use this layer as a clipping mask for a new layer above it and paint in some details like the rough would grand and the edges of the boards. You can see how using vector shapes here is better than pixel-based shapes because the fence edges can extend past the canvas size. That way the Layer Styles won’t stop at the edge of the image.

Make a cord wrapping around the fence using the same steps that you used for the light cords on the barn. Copy the Layer Style from the barn cords and paste it on this layer. That way you get the effects and the blend options. Load the fence shapes as a selection for the layer mask. Add new layers for snow and paint it on the top areas of the fence using the same colors and technique as on the barn’s roof. For the Christmas lights wrapped around the fence, follow the same steps as on the barn’s lights. For contrast, I decided to make this lights a different color. The settings are the same as on the other lights, but the color and Outer Glow were changed to a warm yellow. I used the Path Selection tool (the black arrow) to position each vector circle precisely on the cord. When these details are in place, your holiday illustration is complete. Now your next Christmas card is all done.

Adding foreground elements (7 of 7)

At this point, the image could be considered done, but something in the foreground would tie the scene together and add some depth. A rustic fence would be a nice touch. For this, we need some long, thin vector rectangles. You could use the Rectangle tool, but the Line tool set to a very high Weight might be a better way to go. Make a new Shape layer using PMS 418. Use your perspective lines as guides so that the fence looks correct. To make the vertical posts look round, hold down SHIFT and put some ovals on top with the Ellipse tool. You may need to select them and rotate them slightly. Add Layer Styles similar to what you have been using. The Highlight of the Bevel and Emboss should be in Color Dodge Mode. The Gradient Overlay should be using Multiply and a blue from the background to add more shadow the the right edge.  An Inner Shadow with the settings shown will show some rimlight on the right edge, reflected from the snow. Use this layer as a clipping mask for a new layer above it and paint in some details like the rough would grand and the edges of the boards. You can see how using vector shapes here is better than pixel-based shapes because the fence edges can extend past the canvas size. That way the Layer Styles won’t stop at the edge of the image.

Make a cord wrapping around the fence using the same steps that you used for the light cords on the barn. Copy the Layer Style from the barn cords and paste it on this layer. That way you get the effects and the blend options. Load the fence shapes as a selection for the layer mask. Add new layers for snow and paint it on the top areas of the fence using the same colors and technique as on the barn’s roof. For the Christmas lights wrapped around the fence, follow the same steps as on the barn’s lights. For contrast, I decided to make this lights a different color. The settings are the same as on the other lights, but the color and Outer Glow were changed to a warm yellow. I used the Path Selection tool (the black arrow) to position each vector circle precisely on the cord. When these details are in place, your holiday illustration is complete. Now your next Christmas card is all done.

New Year, New (Knitting) Challenge

Santa gave me a fabulous book of knitting patterns: Pretty In Punk by Alyce Benevides and Jacquline Milles, and I have the yarn to knit myself a pair of “Love Bites” striped wrist warmers. The pattern is straightforward: narrow stripes with an fair isle heart written for knitting flat, then sewing a seam afterwards.  However I much prefer to knit everything in the round and avoid seams altogether! So time to learn a new knitting skill: joggless stripes.  Fortunately for me, Techknitter has provided some very good instructions on how to do this on her blog here . So this will be my project for the few days away over new year. Watch this space for photo of the finished articles!


Happy New Year: may your dreams become reality in 2011!

New Year, New (Knitting) Challenge

Santa gave me a fabulous book of knitting patterns: Pretty In Punk by Alyce Benevides and Jacquline Milles, and I have the yarn to knit myself a pair of “Love Bites” striped wrist warmers. The pattern is straightforward: narrow stripes with an fair isle heart written for knitting flat, then sewing a seam afterwards.  However I much prefer to knit everything in the round and avoid seams altogether! So time to learn a new knitting skill: joggless stripes.  Fortunately for me, Techknitter has provided some very good instructions on how to do this on her blog here . So this will be my project for the few days away over new year. Watch this space for photo of the finished articles!


Happy New Year: may your dreams become reality in 2011!

Putting on the Christmas lights (6 of 7)

To really make the barn stand out and give it the right holiday look, it needs to have some Christmas lights. Shape layers will really help out here. Start by making the lights’ cord with the Pen tool. Remember that Photoshop doesn’t like open paths, so you will need to close your shape. Set the Fill to 0% and give the shape a small, black stroke with Layer Styles. You can also give it a little Bevel and Emboss, with the Style set to Stroke Emboss. Make a layer mask to mask out the cord as it cuts in front of the barn. The selected area shown is the masked area. Here’s the important part: make sure you check Layer Mask Hides Effects so that the stroke disappears where you mask it off, instead of just updating to follow it. Now you have just a thin wire for the lights to hang on and you can change it if you want by simply editing the path with the Direct Selection tool. Make a new Shape layer with the Pen tool for the vertical cords at each corner.

For the light bulbs, use the Circle tool to make a new vector Shape layer. Hold down ALT(PC)/OPT(Mac) and use the Path Selection tool to drag a duplicate of the circle. Keep doing this until you have the number of lights you want. If you want different colored lights, you will need a different Shape layer for each color. The nice thing about doing this with vector shapes is that you can easily reposition them if needed. I started with blue lights. Use bright, fully saturated colors. For a luminous appearance, use an Outer Glow in Linear Dodge mode. give them an Inner Glow as shown. Set the Source to Center and make the color a bright yellow, almost white. This gives the actual bulbs a warm glow. Use the same Inner Glow settings for each color of light, but change the Outer Glow to a color that matches the light. You may also want to give the layer a drop shadow as shown to increase the glow’s intensity. The combination of Linear Dodge over Color Dodge will really make them look like they are glowing.

This looks good, but the bulbs would probably be casting a bit of light and reflecting on the barn. This can also be accomplished with Layer Styles. Duplicate the light layers and move them to the right and down a bit. Lower the layers’ Opacity to 70% and their Fill to 20%. Turn off all the Layer Styles except the Outer Glow. You will need to adjust the position of some of the glows so that they land in the right spot. Because they are still vector shapes, you can easily move them where you want with the Path Selection tool. You may also need to make a mask for this layer so that none of the reflections are floating out in the sky; that just wouldn’t do. Load a selection from the barn’s vector Shape layers.  The barn is now decorated and ready for the holidays.