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It's that time of year—you know, with the flowers, and the eggs, and the cute baby animals. Spring! The sun comes back from its hiatus, heralding the barbecues and the short sleeves to come.
As spring is so photogenic, I thought it'd be a great time to touch on a few tools from the past, and some newer ones also. I will cover some extremely simple ways you can put some of that captivating spring photography to work as holiday cards. After all, Easter may be your jam. Also, Mother's Day is just around the corner. Or just let people know you're thinking about them... and that your photography is awesome.
To start, I select my image in Manage mode, and enter Edit mode.
To put the focus on a specific area and create a dream-like quality, I'm going to use the Tilt-Shift tool.
I open the image in Edit mode. In the Add group, I choose Tilt-Shift. The tool is automatically applied, but some tweaks are needed to get the look I'm going for.
I will see some guides on the image, which I move around in order to get the focus where I want. The spaces between the two boxes closest to the middle and the two boxes furthest to the outside are where the blur is transitioning from perfectly sharp to full blur. Complete blur occurs at the outside boxes. Confused? It's not the easiest thing to put in writing. Let's see if this diagram can't make sense of it.
I move the boxes to define where the effect will begin and end. If I need, I can hold down the Shift key while positioning the effect to lock to the nearest 45° angle, for straightness.
I dial it way back on the Brightness slider, as this image is already quite bright. The Saturation slider too. I want it to look dream-like, but not psychedelic. I find that if I lower the Amount slider, the blur transition seems less abrupt, and thereby looks more natural.
I'm happy with that, so I press Done. Some very slight exposure reduction in the Exposure tool and the cuteness is complete!
All right, let's try one that's a little more about the season. Spring is all about rebirth. So I'm going to make this photo state as much. Perhaps announcing that it's here will discourage any more winter-like weather. That's how it works, right? Right?!
Once again, I open the image in Edit mode. Then I choose the Border tool in the Add group, as I've decided to start from the outside and work my way in.
Inside the Borders tool, I can change the width of the border by dragging the Size slider.
I've decided I want a plain colored border, so I choose a color from the image. I can do this by simply clicking on it.
There's several additional settings I could choose from, but I'm pretty happy with that. I choose Done.
Next, I enter the Text tool, also in the Add group.
First I move the text where I want it to go so that I can begin to figure out what stylizations will look best. This is as simple as dragging it around on the image. I enter my text in the field, customize the font, size, and color, and remove the drop shadow by deselecting the Drop Shadow checkbox. Then, press Done.
Here's our finished product. Perhaps useful as a card or for advertising purposes.
And what if I want a seasonally-appropriate avatar for my social media accounts? That quandary is nothing a well-placed adorable animal can't solve. I submit for your approval, this chick, already opened in Edit mode.
In the Add group, I open the Vignette tool. My goal is to put the emphasis on this darling baby chicken. In the Vignette tool, I can customize the size and shape using the sliders. How much of the image is clear of the vignette? The Clear zone slider answers that. I can customize the color of the vignette using the Color Settings drop-down. Or I can choose a custom frame from the Frame drop-down. I've decided on Blur.
I can visualize exactly where the vignette is affecting by enabling the Show outline checkbox.
And there we go! Adorable chick avatar ready!
How about making a holiday card? Of course there's many ways to go about it. But if you have the right image, it could be as simple as making a space to write a thoughtfully crafted message.
After entering Edit mode, I add another layer to my image. The Add layer button is at the bottom of the Layers pane, below Adjustment Layers.
With the new layer selected, I hide layer 1 with the Hide Layer button.
In the Drawing and Selections toolbar, I double-click the Color Picker. The Color dialog will open, and then I choose white.
I then use the Fill tool, also in the Drawing and Selections toolbar, to fill the entire layer with white.
Then, from the same toolbar, I choose the Rectangular selection tool. I select a rectangular area over where I will eventually put the text.
Then I go to Layer | Mask | From Selection.
Then my selection is the mask.
Then, I unhide the bottom layer.
Then I can use the Opacity slider and Blend Mode drop-down menu on the Layers pane to customize the box I have revealed.
I can leave it as is, print it, and then add a hand written message.
Or, I can add text in the Text tool. To do this, I add a third layer with the Add Layer button mentioned above. And then add text to that new layer.
Simple, right? Happy spring!