Saturday, July 30, 2011

Help! How Do I Make My Image Full Bleed?

"I have an image I really want to use for a card, but the edges are going to get cut off when it's printed. What am I going to do?" Ever have this problem? I know I have. What can you do to extend the edges without losing any of your original design?

The solution lies in a handy little thing called the Clone Brush. Some programs call it the Stamp Tool. Whatever your photo editing program calls it, the concept is basically the same. To get an idea of how it works, there are many tutorials on the Internet. Here's a link to one I found on YouTube by: DigitalVisions.Org.

Practice with this tool to become comfortable using it. Fiddle with the hardness and size of your brush. Increase or decrease the opacity. This will come in handy to keep a seamless image.

"That's great for editing a photo," you say, "but how is that going help me extend the borders of my image?" Let's take a look at an example image we want to extend:

If we just stretch this image, the handle of the teacup and one of the flower petals will get cut off. So let's use our handy new tool: Choose a portion of your image to copy, then paste it on the edge of your canvas.

Take your time. Yes, it's a long process, but the results will be worth it. Decrease the size of your brush when working in tight spaces (i.e.: near the cup handle and the diagonal edge of the book.)

Exhausted yet? Don't stop now! Once you've got all of your edges covered, step back and look at your image to make sure all your lines are straight and flawless.

Now let's take a look at the final result:

Whew! Finally done . . . 
All that hard work--Just to have it lopped off at the printers!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Eye Surgery Greeting Cards - Why I Am Creating Them

Imagine sitting in the dim light. Your eyes well with tears as you struggle to thread a needle--something you used to do with ease. The craft that once brought you delight has now become a chore. This is the story my 86-year-old grandmother told me the other evening when I went to her house to help her put her eye drops in. I had never seen eye drops like that before--thick and white like glue. I watched as the liquid spread and clouded her beautiful blue eyes.

Most of us take our sight for granted. Not a day goes by that our eyes don’t get a workout--to work, to play, to capture moments in time to file away as memories. Every day I get my camera out to preserve the beauty I see around me so that I can share it with others.

My grandmother had eyes surgery a while ago. It was supposed to take two weeks to heal, but instead it has been two months of weekly doctor's visits and she is still recovering. Watching her deal with this, among other eye surgeries, is what has inspired me to start creating eye surgery recovery cards. A kind word at the right time may not take the trial away, but it’s comforting to know that someone cares . . .

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Guest Blog by: Rosanne of Red Rose Digital Art

 When I first started creating cards at Greeting Card Universe a few months ago, one of the first Artists I noticed was Rosanne of Red Rose Digital Art. Her lovely signature rose caught my attention immediately and I have been a fan of her work since then. You can just imagine my delight when she accepted my invitation to do a guest post on my blog. 

Thank You, Rosanne!
The floor is all yours:

It’s a great image but is it a great greeting card?

First of all, a big thank you to Tracie Kaska of Photography TK Designs for the opportunity to contribute to her blog today. Tracie is a fine photographer and I am really enjoying the results of her 365-day photography challenge!

So, on with today’s post.

One of the most satisfying things you can do with an image is to share it with others. Sure, you can post it on the internet for others to see, but one of the best ways you can share an image is as a greeting card. I do this all the time. I make custom greeting cards from my photographic images for friends and family but, like Tracie, I also design greeting cards as a freelance artist with Greeting Card Universe.
You’d think that it would be easy to make a good photographic greeting card but it’s not just about dropping a random pretty image on to a sheet of paper and printing it out. There are a few things to think about and a few technical details to work out and then you’ll be ready to rumble.

1. Who am I designing this greeting card for?

Is it for your grandmother? Is it for your nephew? Is it for a complete stranger to purchase and then send to a close friend? These are things that need to be thought about. After all, your grandmother might be partial to flowers, your nephew may love sports and the complete stranger may well love animals! When I set out to design a greeting card, I always think about the occasion and person the card will be for and then review my image portfolio carefully prior to making my final selection.

2. What size is a greeting card?

The easy answer to this is 5 inches by 7 inches (portrait) or 7 inches by 5 inches (landscape) at a 300 pixel per inch when folded in half. This is one of the most popular sizes for greeting cards. There are other sizes available but these are the precise dimensions of greeting cards at Greeting Card Universe and we use a template of 2100 pixels by 1500 pixels in order to get it right every time. Create one of these in your favourite image editing program and use it every time you create a greeting card.

3. Is my chosen image “greeting card” ready?

When I started with digital photography, my camera produced “massive” four megapixel images. These are small by today’s standards but a four megapixel image prints exceptionally well on a US Letter or A4 page. This is more than twice the size that you need to make an excellent greeting card. Fast forward eight years and my camera produces almost 18 megapixel images – even more to deal with! So one of the first things you will face is “Do I reduce the size of my image?” or “Do I make a creative crop of my image and use just a section of it?”

Today’s example: A creative crop.

In this example, I’m really talking about a crop! When I was in New Zealand a few years ago, I saw something quite surreal – 32 different mailboxes all in a row on the edge of a small housing estate. I leaped out of my car and snapped off six images to capture them all so I could use them as the foundation for a panorama – the only way to do justice to them all. I’ll talk more about shooting for panoramas in another post soon.

“Thirty Two Mailboxes” – © Red Rose Digital Art - Rosanne E. Casu.

As fun as this image is, it just does not translate in its entirety to a greeting card. However, a small portion of it certainly did:

Open your 2100 pixel by 1500 pixel template as well as your starting image in your image editing program. I use Adobe Photoshop CS5 but this should work with Photoshop Elements and Paint Shop Pro as well. Bring your source image to the front and then choose Layer > Duplicate Layer …. Duplicate your image and choose your template document as the destination.

As you can see, the image is much too big but that can easily be fixed by resizing the image while constraining the dimensions until its length is identical to the length of the template.

Then reposition the image until you are pleased with the composition and choose Image > Trim … to trim away the parts of the image that you no longer require.

 Now it’s a cute picture but it’s still not quite ready to be a greeting card image yet.

When I looked at this image, I immediately thought of posting letters, saying hello and new neighbours. At that point, I thought that this image would be very appropriate for a “Welcome to the neighbourhood” greeting card which is precisely what I did with it. A cute “handwriting” font did the trick and I was done.

As you can see, a lovely image can be made into a great greeting card, but sometimes it just needs a little extra thought! Why not try and make a greeting card with the next image you really love?

If you enjoyed this post and the images presented here, please check out Rosanne’s main web site at, her on-line photo gallery directly at or her greeting cards at You can also find her on Facebook at Come and say “Hi”!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Card Category at Greeting Card Universe

Yesterday a request was made by customers who had just lost their grandfather.They wanted a card to say they missed their grandmother and were on their way to see her. They are hoping it arrives before they do to cheer her up because of the long drive they have to take to get there.

I was happy to be able to contribute two cards to this new category. I have been searching for the right theme for my Stop Sign photos I took earlier this year.

These are some of the other cards added to this new category that I thought fit the occasion well. One because this family has a long drive ahead of them, two because they just look like they would appeal to a grandmother, and the last because it seemed appropriate for a sad, yet joyous reuniting.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Critique Clinic: Makeover and Thank You

I submitted one of my cards to GCU's Critique Clinic on Friday. If you haven't checked out this wonderful provision, you should think about stopping by. I've received quality help from experienced artists and am so happy to feel myself grow in this industry because of their support.

Makeovers - Before & After:

Encouragement - Need A Hug? - Siamese Kitten Greeting Card

I want to send a big "Thank You" to the following artists:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Big "Thank You"

I'm so happy to finally be getting these pages set up. Working with HTML codes is something new to me, but with the help of a fellow Greeting Card Artist, I can now start setting things up the way I want them. "Thank you, Cindy, for taking the time to help me out. If I were to send you a 'Thank You' card, this would be the one!"
Thank You, Cindy!

Monday, July 4, 2011

365-Day Challenge

I finally got my 365-Day Challenge up and running. All photos have now been posted. I hope you enjoy following me on my journey as much as I've enjoyed doing it!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Welcome to Photography TK Designs

Thank you for stopping by! Check back often for updates on new releases and special projects.