From knitting clubs to craft stalls at the now obligatory farmers’ markets, it seems the home-made present has never been so popular. But forget the ropey talc holders of yesteryear. At the click of a mouse you can produce professional-looking calendars, T-shirts, fridge magnets and other personalised items.
To show just what can be achieved, we’ve got a couple of projects to fire up your imagination. Using Adobe’s Photoshop Elements 6.0, we’ll create some classic Pop Art prints from some decent but basic photos.
1. Open your chosen image in Photoshop Elements. Select Edit, Full Edit from the tabbed menu at the top right. For a Warhol-style print, we want a square image. Select the Crop tool from the toolbox, hold down Shift and drag the mouse diagonally across your image, from top to bottom.
2. Adjust the area to be cropped using the arrows on the corners of the crop box, then press Enter. Now select Image, Resize, Image Size. Make sure the Resample Image option isn’t ticked at this point. Change the resolution to 300 pixels/inch. Now you can tick Resample Image and change the height to 10cm.
3. Select Enhance, Convert to Black and White. Press ok when the alert dialog box pops up. Select Enhance, ‘Adjust lighting levels’. To reduce the background clarity, slowly drag the white and black triangles towards the middle of the histogram until the image’s background has disappeared.
4. Now we’ll use a filter to make your image look like a screen print. Select Filter, Artistic, Cutout and adjust the sliders to adjust the effect. You can always undo (Ctrl, Z) the step if necessary. Duplicate your file by hitting File, Duplicate, then save it with a new name. Repeat this process twice to produce four identical images.
5. Select one image and click on the arrow in the Layers palette. Select New Layer and hit ok. Double-click the colour box at the bottom of the toolbar and select a new colour. Choose Edit, Fill Layer, then hit ok. Change the selection in the Layers drop-down menu from Normal to Screen. Finally, select Layer, Flatten, then Save.
6. Repeat step five for all copies, choosing a different colour each time. Create a new canvas from File, New, New Blank File (enter the measurements 20x20cm at 300 pixels/inch and select ok). Now simply drag each of the four pictures on to your new canvas with the Move tool, flatten the layer and hit Save.