2 Christmas Designs Photoshop Tutorial

Christmas is once again fast approaching, so today we bring you a couple of tutorials to make these cute seasonal designs in Photoshop using free brushes and Photoshop’s built in tools. Both tutorials are similar and should give you a good basis to make your own unique images for cards or greetings on your site. If you like the images but don’t want to work through the tutorials, skip to the end of this article where you can download the jpgs.

2 Christmas Designs Photoshop Tutorial

Resources:

Santa Brushes from PS Brushes

Christmas Tree Brushes from DeviantArt

Winter Santa

Step 1

Open a new document using the settings shown below:

New Document Settings

Step 2

Fill the background with light blue #DFF8F2.

Create a new layer and fill it with blue #91D9DD.

Select the Pen Tool and create a simple selection with a curved line as shown below:

Curved Selection

Hit the Delete key to remove the selected part.

Your canvas should now look like this:

Sky and Snow

Step 3

Set the foreground colour to green #3BA52A.

Select the 2nd Christmas tree from the brushes set (780), and reduce the size to 715px.

On a new layer click once on the right side of the image as shown below:

First Tree

Make sure the tree layer is still active, select the Magic Wand tool and click anywhere on the image outside of the tree.

Select>Inverse, Select > Modify > Contract – set to 3px and click OK.

Create a new layer under the tree layer in the layers palette.

Set foreground colour to green #3BA52A and select the Paint Bucket tool and fill the selection.

Zoom well into the image and using the Eraser tool, erase any dark green that is outside of the light green edges.

Step 4

Merge the 2 tree layers together and rename the layer ‘tree’.

Duplicate the tree layer and move the copy to the left side of the image.

Use the Transform tool to reduce the size of the new tree:

Second Tree

Step 5

Create a new layer and make black the foreground colour.

Select the 4th brush from the Santa set and reduce the size to 911px.

Click on the canvas once – name this layer ‘Santa’.

Select the Magic Wand tool and click anywhere outside the Santa image.

Select>Inverse, Select > Modify > Contract – set to 3px and click OK.

Create a new layer under the Santa layer in the layers palette – name this layer ‘white fill’.

Set foreground colour to white and select the Paint Bucket tool and fill the selection.

Zoom well into the image and using the Eraser tool, erase any white that is outside of the black edges. Make sure to erase the gaps that should be empty that are caught inside the lines:

Erase Gaps

Step 6

Create a new layer above the Santa layer and set the blending mode to Overlay – name this layer ‘beard’.

Set the foreground colour to white and paint with a hard round brush over Santa’s beard. Don’t worry about going over the black lines as they won’t be affected in Overlay mode.

Step 7

Create a new layer at the top of the layers palette and set the blending mode to Overlay – name this layer ‘suit’.

Set the foreground colour to red #ED1F1F.

Paint with a hard round brush over Santa’s jacket, trousers and hat.

For all these painting layers you should be well zoomed in to the image to make sure you get no leaks outside of the black outline.

This is how it should be looking now:

Santa 1

Step 8

Create a new layer at the top of the layers palette and set the blending mode to Color – name this layer ‘face’.

Set the foreground colour to flesh #F5D79E.

Paint with a hard round brush over Santa’s face.

Reduce the opacity of this layer to 90%.

Step 9

Create a new layer at the top of the layers palette and set the blending mode to Soft Light – name this layer ‘buttons’.

Set the foreground colour to black.

Paint with a hard round brush over the buttons.

Step 10

Create a new layer between the ‘Santa’ layer and the ‘white fill’ layer – name this layer ‘buckle’.

Set the foreground colour to gold #F3B00F.

Paint with a hard round brush over the buckle.

Your image should now be looking like this:

Santa 2

Step 11

Click on the ‘buttons’ layer, hold down the Shift key and click on the ‘white fill’ layer to select all the Santa-related layers.

Ctrl+G to create a group.

Duplicate the group. Make the original group active, right click and click on Merge Group.

Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation – move the Lightness slider all the way to the left (-100) – this makes the image completely black (although you can’t see it at the moment as it is behind the coloured santa).

Ctrl+T to activate the Transform tool. Right click and select Skew. Drag the top to the left.

Right click again and select Free Transform – drag the top down.

Keep manipulating the image using Skew and Free Transform until it looks like this:

Shadow

Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur – set the amount to 16px.

Reduce the opacity of this layer to around 5%.

Step 12

Create a new layer under the shadow layer.

With foreground colour set to black, use the Line tool at 3px and create some lines behind the skates.

Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur – set the amount to 3.6px.

Reduce the opacity of this layer to 34%.

Step 13

Create a new layer at the top of the layers palette and name it ‘snow1’.

Select a soft round brush at size 7px.

Apply the follow setting in the brush panel:

Brush Settings

Apply plenty of small snow drops on the sky part of the image, including over the trees, but not on Santa.

Small Snow

Step 14

Create a new layer at the top of the layers palette and name it ‘snow2’

Select a soft round brush at size 27px.

Keeping the same settings as in the previous step, apply some larger snow drops all over the image.

Double click on the layer to bring up the Blending Options and apply the following Drop Shadow settings:

Drop Shadow Settings

And we’re done!

Here is the final result:

Winter Santa

Summer Santa

Step 1

Open a new document using the settings shown below:

New Document Settings

Step 2

Fill the background with yellow #F8DF66.

Filter > Noise > Add Noise – use the following settings:

Noise Settings

Step 3

Create a new layer and fill it with blue #1984CF – name this layer ‘sea’.

Add a layer mask to this layer by clicking on the third icon in from the left at the bottom of the layers palette.

Make sure black is the foreground colour, and using a soft round brush, create a wavy edge about half way down the canvas and paint everything out below it:

Sea Layer

Step 4

Create a new layer and fil it with lighter blue #48BCD9 – name this layer ‘sky’.

Add a layer mask to this layer, and with black as the foreground colour and using a soft round brush, hold down the Shift key to paint out a straight line about half way down the sea blue. Paint out everything below this line:

Sky Layer

Step 5

Create a new layer between the background and the ‘sea’ layer – name this layer ‘foam’.

Using a soft round brush, and with white as the foreground colour, paint a line following the curve of the sea, overlaying the sand of the foreground.

Filter > Noise > Add Noise – using the same settings as previously, change the amount to 21.

Foam Layer

Step 6

Create a new layer at the top of the layers palette – name this layer ‘clouds’.

Make the foreground colour white, and select a hard round brush at about 120px.

Click once on the left side of the sky.

Use the [ and ] keys to increase and decrease the brush size, and add another, bigger circle overlaying the first one, then another, smaller one overlaying that one:

Cloud

On the same layer, create another cloud on the right side of the sky.

Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur – set the Radius to 9px.

Clouds 2

Step 7

Create a new layer at the top of the layers palette – name this layer ‘santa’.

Make black the foreground colour, and select the 6th brush from the Santa set (Santa and Rudolph with sunglasses).

Set the size to 1050px and click once on the canvas.

Step 8

Create a new layer below the ‘santa’ layer – name this layer ‘white fill’.

Make white the foreground colour and select the Magic Wand tool.

Make the ‘santa’ layer active and click anywhere outside of the image.

Select > Inverse

Select > Modify > Contract – set to 3px and click OK.

Make the ‘white fill’ layer active and use the Paint Bucket tool to fill the selection.

Zoom in well and clean up any white that is outside of the black outline.

Step 9

Now comes the colouring part – I will just give you the layer name, what you should be colouring, the colour used and the blending mode of the layer. It is done in exactly the same way as we did for the Winter Santa. If you didn’t follow through that tutorial, see Step 7 of that tutorial for the instructions.

Layers above ‘santa’ layer:

  • ‘suit’ – red #FD2929 – Overlay – hat, jacket, trousers and Rudolph’s hat
  • ‘beard’ – white – Overlay – fur on hat, sleeves and jacket and beard
  • ‘buckle’ – gold #C0A539 – Normal – belt buckle. You have to stay within the lines on this one as it is done in Normal mode so will colour the black if you go over.
  • ‘face’ – orange #F9D567 – Color – face – lower the layer opacity to 50%
  • ‘rudolph’ – brown #A1731B – Overlay – all of Rudolph except his antlers.

Layers between the ‘santa’ layer and the ‘white fill’ layer

  • ‘antlers’ – light brown #DFC38C – Normal – Rudolph’s antlers
  • ‘glasses’ – gold #FFD200 – Normal – strip above sunglasses of both characters
  • ‘nose’ – red #EE1313 – Normal – Rudolph’s nose

Group all the layers relating to Santa and Rudolph and name the group ‘santa’

This is how it should end up looking:

Summer Santa Colouring

Step 10

Create a new layer under the santa group and set the foreground colour to black.

Select a soft round brush at around 40px.

Draw some simple footprints and hoof prints leading from each side to Santa and Rudolph:

Footprints

Step 11

Lower the opacity to 75% and the fill to 22%.

Apply the following Bevel and Emboss settings:

Bevel and Emboss Settings

Step 12

Create a new layer above the previous one.

Using the same method, but this time with a hard round brush, draw around Santa’s foot and Rudolph’s hooves to create indents.

Make the previous layer active, right click and select ‘Copy Layer Style’.

Make this step’s layer active again, right click and select ‘Paste Layer Style’.

And we’re done.

Summer Santa

Hopefully you have enjoyed these tutorials. Please let me know if you encountered any problems. Positive feedback is also always welcome.

If you didn’t wish to complete the tutorials, but you would like the images, they are available as 1300px x 1600px jpgs.

Carol

I love using and learning Photoshop, and I also enjoy creating resources to share with the world. I am at my happiest when I have free time to further explore all that Photoshop has to offer and learn more about its powerful built-in tools. I hope people enjoy either using or learning from my free resources, and welcome any hints and tips - and of course, if you would like to offer a free resource on this site, please don't hesitate to contact me (top right of the page).

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