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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Making A Mother's Day Card

There are many print on demand sites (POD) where you can have your own greeting cards printed, and there's nothing like sending a special card to a special someone. Many POD sites allow you to order one or two cards at a time, rather than having to order large quantities.
Some of the places to get your cards uploaded and printed are Zazzle (okay cards), Redbubble (the best quality I've found, though the cards are an odd size), ImageKind (okay cards, not my first choice), CafePress (haven't ordered their cards), Moo.com, and Greeting Card Universe (usually my first choice for good quality affordable cards). There may be others, but these are the ones I've either tried or researched.

Today, I'm going to run you through making and uploading a card on Greeting Card Universe. You'll need to sign up for a free account when you are ready to upload your first card.

GCU's standard card size is 2100 pixels by 1500 pixels. They do have a template you can download, but you don't really need one. Just keep a couple of things in mind - the print may cut off a little bit at the edges, so if you use borders and text, be sure to keep them 1/4" from the edge of the card design or make your borders wide enough that if any is cut off, it isn't going to affect the overall design.

Open the image you want to use for your card, and do any processing to the actual image. I've decided to use a picture of the Forsythia in my back yard while it was in bloom. Since it flowers in early spring (sometimes while there is still snow) it's a good choice for a Mother's Day card.

Once my processing is done, I'll need to resize and crop my image to fit the 2100 X 1500 pixel size for GCU. This card is a vertical design, so the width is 1500 pixels and the height is 2100 pixels. I've decided I'll add a border of yellow, just a little lighter than the yellow of the flowers.

There are any number of ways you can do this - if you don't want to use a drop shadow, you can simply increase the canvas size by the number of pixels you want for the border. Select image, then canvas size. Choose your colour, increase the current pixel size shown in the canvas size area by 100 pixels on both the width and height and it will give you 50 pixels top and bottom (a total of 100) and 50 pixels on the left and right side, creating a frame around the outside of the image. Now you have to resize your image to 2100 X 1500 because after adding this type of border your image is going to be 2200 X 1600.

I tend to use a new layer, fill it with the colour I want using the bucket tool, and then select the colour. With the colour selection active, I use the "select" option from the menu, then choose modify, and then contract. I contract the selection by the number of pixels I want left (in other words, the outside edge,) so I'd contract it by 50 pixels. Then I choose the "cut" or delete option (right click, delete). This cuts away the center section of the colour, leaving you with an even border all the way around.

Now that I have my border edges, I'll need to decide if I want to leave them plain, add a drop shadow, or any other designs using some special photoshop brush. Now that my basic design is completed, I need to add the text. For this card, I'll simply put "Happy Mother's Day to My Wife". Now that I have my finished design, all that's left to do is upload it to Greeting card Universe.

For those applying for new accounts, your first card upload is always accepted. After that, cards wait in a queue to be reviewed before being put into your gallery. If you aren't intending to sell the cards online, you can opt to have them placed in your private gallery, where you can order them yourself. There is no review for private gallery cards.

Go here and sign up for a free account at GCU. You'll have options that you can use to setup a card shop if you want to sell them online. For now, we're just going to upload this new card. You can play with your shop settings later on if you want to create a sales gallery.

On your administrative page you'll see a list something like this one:

Go down the list and select "Create a Card". You'll be taken to a page like this where you can upload your image to create your first card. Click the browse button and select your newly created card front from your computer and click the "upload images" button. Your uploaded card design will appear below the upload box, in Section 3. To create the finished card, click the card or the select option.

On this page you'll add a card title, keywords to help your card be found in a search, select a category, choose options for matte or glossy finish, and put in any notes you want listed with the card. You will also be required to click the box to agree that you own the rights to the image, or that you have obtained the rights to use it for your card. Once you've selected everything, click the next button at the bottom, which will take you to the page where you can add your inside text. Click the link that says "click here to edit inside text, and you'll get a text box to add your text, select the colour of the text, and choose a font.

When you've finished adding a verse, choosing colours and font, click save and you'll see a preview of how it will look inside the card. Click next and you'll see your card in the manage cards section. The first one should appear in your "shop front" pretty quickly. Others you upload afterward will show as pending until the card is reviewed.

This is my completed card which I've just uploaded to my GCU account. Once they've reviewed my card and deemed it as appropriate (in the right category, etc.) it will appear in my shop front, ready for others to purchase.

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