Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Mask of Choice.  I have tons on my website
Tube of choice.  I am using an old retired Bonus Tube from Anna Marine
Alien Skin Eye Candy 7 (but I think older versions will also work)
Snow animation.  I am using 518 from RebelDezignsAnimation-Package-172
New Brington

Please do not use any of the licensed supplies without purchasing them first.

First off, unzip all supplies.

Open the mask you would like to use.  You don’t have to use the one I have chosen.

Select > All
Edit > Copy
Select > Edit in Quick Mask Mode
Edit > Paste
Select > Edit in Quick Mask Mode (uncheck)
Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection
Layer > Layer Mask > Apply
Layer > Matting > Remove Black Matte
Right click the layer thumbnail in the layers panel
Select Pixels
Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection
Layer > Layer Mask > Apply
Save this as a .psd on your desktop (or wherever you want)

Open a new canvas.  I always use 800×800 pixels.  Be sure your resolution is 72 Pixels/Inch.

I usually add a color fill layer to the tag so it is easily changed should I use it on a different color website.  Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color…
White usually works with most websites.

You can drag and drop items straight from your file browser into the canvas.

Browse to the mask that you just saved in your computer’s file browser.  Drag it onto your tag.

Don’t forget to set the Transformation by double clicking the layer on the canvas, or clicking the checkbox at the top of the window. 

Next, choose the paper you would like to use on your mask.

Drag the paper onto the canvas above the mask.

In your layers panel, right click on the paper layer and choose Create Clipping Mask.

Now, time for the elements!

Instead of telling you exactly where to put what and what size to use, I am just going to show you a animated image of what I did.

As you can see, it is pretty random.  I just place the items where I think they might work.

Now, back to the frame element layer.  We need to add a fill to the picture frame.

Highlight the layer UNDER the frame in your layers panel.  Now drop the paper you would like to use onto the canvas.

Grab your selection wand from the tools panel.  If you can’t find it, check out the basics page for a better understanding of the tools layout.

The wand options should look like this at the top of your window:


Click on the center portion of the frame.
In the upper menu of Photoshop, click on Selection > Modify > Expand…
Expand your selection by 2px.
Now highlight your paper layer.  Go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection.

Now you have a fill to your frame.

We definitely want to add some shadows to our elements.  Without shadowing, the tag will just look flat. The secret to a good tag, is a good shadow effect.

Right click a layer (topmost works fine) and choose “Blending Options.”
I add a drop shadow and an outer glow.  It enhances the effect a bit.


Now after you have hit OK, right click the layer again and choose “Copy Layer Style.”
Highlight all of your layers (click the top one, then shift + click the bottom one) and right click again.  This time, choose “Paste Layer Style.”

It makes a HUGE difference to add shadows:

Now that we have all of that done, time to add the next details.  Tube and text.  Fun!

Drag and drop your tube onto the canvas. Resize and adjust it to your liking.  Always make sure you constrain your proportions while resizing.  Hold the Shift key while you drag the corners.

Place the tube directly above the frame layer.
Layer > Layer mask > Reveal All

CTRL/CMD + click on your frame layer’s thumbnail in the layers panel.  This will select the pixels of the frame. 

Now click on the mask of your tube layer in the layers panel.

Use your eraser tool and erase the bottom portion of the tube in your tag.

Apply the same shadow as before, but with one minor difference in detail:

This will ensure that the drop shadow of your tube doesn’t float above the frame.

Create a new layer above the tube layer.  Use your paintbrush and paint a small area at the bottom of your tube.

Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur: 10 pixels. OK.

Right click this layer in the layers panel and choose “Create Clipping Mask.”

You can use the move tool to position this shadow right where you want it.

This shadow makes a big difference in the perspective of your tag.

Don’t forget your copyright layer!

Grab your text tool and add the name you would like.  Position it just where you want it and add a layer style.  This is mine:

Let’s add some icicles we can later animate wink

Highlight the paper layer that is “inside” your frame.

Create a new layer.

Grab your Polygon Lasso tool and create a selection about like this:

Filter > Alien Skin > EyeCandy 7…

We want to make icicles, so choose that option from the Effect dropdown.

Use these settings (or whatever you like)

Add the same shadows that you did to all of the other layers.

That leave us with the non-animated version of the tag!  If you wold like to keep the JPG version, you can save here.  Simply File > Save As…  and choose the jpg option from the drop down box at the bottom of the dialog.

Ready to pull some hair out?  GREAT!

Keep your tag open.

Highlight the paper you clipped to the mask layer earlier.

File > Open… choose an animation that you’d like to use.  I am going to show you how to use the 25 frame animations that I have at CDO.

You will see that all 25 layers are open and unhidden in the layers panel.
Highlight all of the layers.  (Select the top layer and then Shift + select the bottom layer)
In the menu choose Layer > Group Layers

Now right click on your group in the layers panel and duplicate.  BUT DON’T HIT OK, YET!

In the duplicate dialog, choose your tag from the dropdown box.  If you haven’t saved by this point, you should see an “Untitled-1” option.  (but you definitely should have saved before now.  Remember, always save often.)

I usually name the group to reflect the animation I am using so I remember for the future.  I always save the PSD format of my tags in case I want to use them again.  I know… it is horrible.  I think I have something like 8 gigs of tags in my regular folder. And that isn’t even all of them… Oh wait, I think I got sidetracked.  Back to work!

After you have chosen your tag, hit ok.  You can close the animation file without saving.

Back to the tag.
Since you highlighted the proper layer, you don’t have to move it around on the layers panel.

Make sure you have the animation group folder highlighted in the layers panel.

Edit > Free Transform

Make sure the animation fills the entire tag.  If the animation is bigger than your tag, then shrink it down to fit.

Double click inside the bounding area (but not directly in the center) or click on the check mark at the top of your screen to apply the transformation.

Crtl/cmd + click on the thumbnail of your mask layer to select the pixels of the mask.
Or you can right click the thumbnail of the mask in the layers panel and choose “Select Pixels.”

Hghlight the animation group folder again.
Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection

Is your animation the same color as your tag?  Probably not, right… But not to worry!
At the top of your layers panel, there is a dropdown box for the blending mode.  Pass Through, Normal, Dissolve, Multiply, Etc.  Choose Luminosity from the bottom of that list.

Now it matches.  YAY!

Be sure your animations panel is open.  Window > Timeline

Now, you will need to click the “Create Frame Animation” button.

You will see that your first frame is already there.  But… ignore it!  We don’t need it.

On the right side of your animation panel, click the 4 horizontal lines.  Choose the option that says “Make Frames from Layers.”

Now, this made a mess of things, didn’t it?? LOL!  But no, not really.  You will see that it created a frame for every layer in your tag.  And that’s ok!

Click on the first frame in the animation panel.  At the bottom of the window, there is a trashcan icon.  That deletes the frame.  Delete all of the frames that aren’t part of the animation.  You should be left with 25 frames.

You will see that your tag only has one animation layer visible.  You want this!

In the animations panel, click on the first frame.  You MUST BE ON THE FIRST FRAME to do any kind of editing from here on out.  ALWAYS make sure you are on the first frame.  ALWAYS!  I can’t stress that enough.

Are you on the first frame of the animation yet?  Good.  Now we can continue.

In the Layers panel, unhide the background layer.

Unfortunately, most of the time, that only unhides the last layer for the first animation frame.  Just hide it again, and then unhide once more.  Photoshop has a strange sense of background layers.  It doesn’t play nice.  Thankfully, the bottom-most layer is the only one you have to click 3 times.  (I sure hope you got all of that.  It is hard to explain…)

Now, one by one, unhide all of the layers to your tag.  DON’T touch the animation layers, though!  Those are already spaced out the way they should be.  Leave those alone.

After you have unhidden all of your tag layers, you can click play at the bottom of the animation panel to check out your creation!

Ohhhh wait!  There’s MORE!

Highlight the icicle layer in your tag.

Open a new canvas the same size as your tag.

Set your colors in your tools panel to black and white.

Filter > Render > Fibers…

Edit > Transform > Rotate 90° Clockwise.

Image > Canvas Size…

Put whatever number here your tag size is.  Mine is 800 from top to bottom, so that’s what I am putting.

This should leave a big open area below your pattern.

Duplicate the layer and use your move tool to move this duplicate down to the bottom of the canvas.

Layer > Merge Visible

This leaves an awful line through the image.  Let’s get rid of that, shall we?

Grab your Spot Healing tool from the tools panel.  If you can’t find it, right click on the icon in the tools panel to find it.

Paint haphazardly over the line in your image.

No more ugly line!

Layer > Duplicate Layer…
Do the same thing you did when duplicating your animation.  Find your tag and hit OK.

Use your move tool to position this layer at the bottom edge of your tag.  This will leave half of the layer sticking out beyond the top of your tag.  That’s ok!

Highlight the last frame in your Animation Panel.  Duplicate it by hitting that little folded paper icon at the bottom of your animation panel.

This leaves us with 26 frames.

Use your move tool to move the pattern layer up to fit with the top edge of your tag.  You can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to get it lined up perfectly.

Highlight all of your animation frames in the panel.  (Highlight first frame > Shift + click the last frame)

Click on that little icon at the very top right of your animation panel.  It looks like 4 horizontal lines.
Choose “Tween…”

Set it exactly like this.  Pay attention to the check boxes.

Highlight the last frame in your animation and delete it.  We added and removed this frame so there wouldn’t be an awkward pause when the animation loops around.

Be sure you are back on your first frame.

Right click the pattern layer and choose “Create Clipping Mask.”
Set the blending mode to “Overlay” in the dropdown at the top of the layers panel.  Set the opacity to 20% in the box right next to it.

You can click play at the bottom of the animation panel to check out your wonderful animated tag!

If you make a booboo anywhere in the animation steps, you will have to click on those 4 horizontal lines and choose “Delete Animation” and… start over with all of the animation steps.  Once you do editing in the animation panel, clicking Undo will seriously mess with the animations panel, sometimes.  I wouldn’t suggest it.  It would be faster to start over than to try to fix that.  I won’t even hit undo after the animation process is started.  But don’t let that discourage you!  Learning always includes mistakes bigsmile

Oh, right!  Don’t forget to set your frame delay.  Highlight all of your animation frames in the panel and set the delay.

Now you will need to save your animation as a gif file.

In your animation dialog, use these settings:

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial!  Do you still have any hair left?  I don’t…