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Create a Vintage Christmas Card in Photoshop

Tutorials Photo Manipulation 31795 Views December 21st, 2011

In this Photoshop tutorial I will transform a girl into a Reindeer Girl Character, add it some light and snow effects to create a vintage Christmas Card. It's true that there are so many Christmas Photoshop tutorials on the internet and they are growing with every Christmas that passes by. But I really hope you will like my tutorial just as well.

If you try this photo manipulation tutorial you will learn how to blend different images together by changing colors and lighting. We'll add gradient maps, some Photoshop Christmas brushes and Christmas patterns to give it a retro, yet glamorous look. You can further add a "Merry Christmas" text effect to complete the image!


Resources Needed for This Tutorial

First download all the resources and all the stock images that we need for this Christmas Photoshop tutorial. Open a new PSD file, copy and crop the folowing images: the Girl, the Reindeer Antlers and the Reindeer Ears, removing the background.

Create Symmetry in Photoshop

I will start with the Girl layer. Here we have the image already croped and ready to work with. As you can see on the right side, the hair covers part of the face; so I've decided to select the left side of the face, duplicate and flip it.

By the way, you can not do this trick with any face, symmetry doesn't work for everybody. This is a really beautiful girl with perfect face features. Try using other images and you will obtain really hilarious results, see these photoshop funny pics

But first I will fix this side of the face to look perfect. With the Smudge Tool, strenght 90%, remove this hair area.

Remove the right side of the face. We are going to work only with this area. Open the Filter, Liquify and make the eye bigger using the Bloat Tool. Use the Pucker Tool to hide the teeth.

Use the Smudge Tool to hide the ear. Use a small size brush and drag the hair wires to cover the ear area. It helps to use the Brush Tool and paint over that area. I must warn you that without a graphic tablet this step will be very hard to complete.

Duplicate this layer, Flip Horizontal and put the two face sides together. To do it right, use the Transform tool(CTRL+T) and do the settings shown in the image below. Set the Reference point location and set the horizontal scale to -100% .

Use the Smudge Tool and the Clone Stamp Tool to fix minor problems like skin color, duplicated elements, etc. The use of a graphic tablet is extremly useful for this step.

Reindeer Girl Transformation

It's time to start the transformation of the girl into a Reindeer character. First I will add some ears. Crop, resize and place them above the girl layer as shown. Change the Color Balance of this layer to match with the Girl layer.

We have to blend the ears with the rest of the image so that it looks realistic. For that we have to blend the ears with the hair and add shadows. Create another layer above all the other layers and call it Blend Hair. With the Smudge Tool, 2px, 90% opacity start dragging the hair wires. You must check Sample All Layers.

Create another layer and call it Shadow. Change its Blending Mode to Soft Light and with the Brush Tool simply paint the shadow. Use a Soft Round brush and dark tones of gry and black.

Painting Hair in Photoshop

To paint hair in Photoshop is hard without a graphic tablet and even if you have one it will take you a while to do it. For example it took me about 1 hour to paint the hair from this tutorial. Simply use the Smudge Tool, 9px size brush, opacity between 90 and 100% and sketch the desired shape for the hair.

Now comes the time consuming part. With the same tool, lower the size brush to 2px and start refining the hair wires. You can use the Burn and Dodge Tool to make lighten or darken hair wires where needed. Use the Eraser Tool to erase the unwanted aras that are inevitable if you are a beginner in digital hair painting like myself!

Part 1Part 2Part 3

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8 comment(s) for "Create a Vintage Christmas Card in Photoshop"

7:20 AM Thursday, December 22, 2011
Thank you! reply
Image Masking
1:23 PM Thursday, December 22, 2011
it was really nice Photoshop tutorial! I'll try soon :) reply
Tutorial Pulse
4:49 PM Monday, December 26, 2011
Wow this is really nice thanks. Love the idea of hanging ornaments on the antlers. You even made the text look like candy cane! reply
Kurumsal kimlik
2:35 PM Sunday, January 08, 2012
This is wonderful tutorial thank you. reply
1:33 AM Saturday, January 12, 2013
My tutorial was translated by the Russian forum and here is a resullt that I like made by Lily(= reply
1:17 AM Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Another cool result made by Elena reply
3:39 AM Saturday, January 11, 2014
Winter Holiday Reindeer Girl Photoshop manipulation made by reply
Andrei Oprinca
10:37 AM Wednesday, June 03, 2015
I like the idea and it's easy to follow. Nice details on he shadows. :) reply

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