Valentine Card Tutorial

This in-depth, step-by-step tutorial is for the Valentine Alternative assignment, and will be giving an example of how to create a personalized Valentine card. Here is an example that I will be showing you how to make:

Example Baymax Card

but the steps used to create this card can be used in a variety of different ways to suit your own purpose.


Step 1: Download GIMP, an open source image editor

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Step 2: Once you have GIMP open, go to File > New, and it will open up this box. These are the default dimensions, and what I’ve used for my card

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Step 3: Go to Google and find an image that you would like to use for your card. Presumably you won’t be using these cards for any monetary value, but still be careful!

I’m making a Baymax card, from Big Hero 6, so [this] is the image I used. Copy the image and paste it into GIMP.

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Step 4: Depending on the image you find, it may be too big or too small for your liking. Use the scale tool.

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Warning: When using the scale tool, be sure to click this little chain link, to keep your dimensions the same so that the image doesn’t become warped in some way.

Just drag the image, or use the arrow keys, to adjust the size.

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Step 5: The image is the size you want now. Notice that there is a floating layer, however? This is your image right now. Click the “New Layer” button so that the picture is on its own layer. Then, click on the background layer and hit the trash can in the bottom right.

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Step 6: Use this tool to select your Subject

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Click your Subject and drag the tool until you’ve selected as much as you can without selecting the entire image (it’s finicky sometimes)

(If your Subject has multiple different colors, or is difficult to select, try using the free-hand selection tool, shown below)

Notice there are still spots that aren’t selected?

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Select this second option. This ensures that whatever you select is added to what you selected before, instead of replacing it. Repeat what you did before until you’ve selected as much as you can.

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Sometimes there are areas that are difficult to select. When this is the case use the free select tool. Remember to click the “Add to current selection” mode!

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Draw around the area you’re having trouble with to select it.

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Step 7: Once your subject is completely selected, go to Select > Invert. This will change the selection from your subject to everything BUT your subject.

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Step 8: Use the eraser tool across the entire image. Or, you can hit the “Delete” key on your keyboard. You should then have your subject on a checkered background, which indicates transparency

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Step 9: To create a background for your character, click new layer, and then the down arrow key so that this layer is behind the Subject’s layer

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Then, click the bucket tool, and the black box at the bottom. You can now select the color you want to have as the background

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Warning: Sometimes, artifacts are left over, or there’s a bit of an outline that you didn’t notice before. To get rid of the artifacts, simply use the eraser tool and be careful.

To get rid of the outline

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Right-click the subject’s layer and go to Alpha to Selection. This should then select your subject.

Then go to Select > Invert, and then Select > Grow. Typically, I only increase the selection by 1.

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Step 10: Depending on the image, you may need to adjust the Subject’s color, brightness, contrast, etc. The first thing I do is go to Colors > Hue-Saturation and move the sliders around until it looks good.

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I then went to Colors > Brightness-Contrast and adjusted it very slightly

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Step 11: To add a special touch to the Subject’s image, I used the smudge tool, adjusted the size and brush type, and pushed the lollipop around until it resembled a heart.

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Step 12: To create the border, I created a new layer, and then used the rectangle select. Then I used Select > Invert, and filled in the area with white

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To create a border that wasn’t so harsh, I adjusted the opacity of the layer.

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Step 13: To create the text, create a new layer and use the text tool and create a box anywhere on the image. Type in the box, adjust the size of the font, the font type, etc. To whatever you wish.

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Once the text is how you like it, select the text layer (it should now be separated from the new layer you created), right-click, and hit Merge Down.

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For the outline, right click the text layer, hit Alpha to Selection, and then go to Select > Grow. The size of this is subjective, but I typically enlarge it by 2.

Create a new layer and move it beneath the original text layer. Now select a color and just fill in the area. You should have an outline around it.

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Step 14: Now you can Right-click the bottom layer and hit Flatten Image. All the layers should merge into one. Then just go to File > Export and you have your Valentine card!

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