Page 13 - February 2015
P. 13

different cards by way of example.                 with a transparent background – depicted as a
   Robins are a favourite subject for Christ-      white/grey check – the image is saved as a .png
                                                   file. This will preserve the transparent proper-
mas cards, so imagine my delight when one          ties whereas the more commonly used .jpg file
of these friendly birds appeared in view and       always gives a white background. (See figure
stayed more or less still for a whole three        2). Next, I find another photograph that will
minutes. I was on the coastal path at Little       provide a suitable Christmassy background, in
Dartmouth in South Devon and my Nikon              this case mahonia berries, and I open Microsoft
D80 hung around my neck ready for action.          Publisher, the software that I use for all card
I held the button down and sixty frames later,     production. With the mahonia image sized at
getting closer and closer, I knew I must have      145 x 145 mm, which suits the 152 x 152 mm
at least one usable shot. In fact, I selected      envelopes available, I drop the robin on a trans-
six and then decided upon two, and one of          parent background and size it appropriately
these original photographs is shown here.          as a top layer, ensuring the bird’s feet are on a
(See figure 1). It is 3872 x 2592 pixels, good     suitable branch! The card is ready for printing
enough for decent reproduction at Christmas        and I use heavy 300 gsm board 150 x 320 mm,
card size. The only drawback is that the back-     cutting six pieces out from a SRA2 sheet.
ground is rubbish, totally unsuitable for a card.  Very economical! (See figure 3).
What to do?
                                                      My second Christmas card example is the
   The image is dragged into Photoshop—            one of Nantes Cathedral that I sent out to
in my case, Essentials version 11 – which is       friends last year. It is a tri-fold card, duplex laser
quite adequate for my needs. I crop the image      printed with a nativity scene inside. The images
around the subject and then painstakingly

6

eradicate the out-of-focus leaves and twigs.       were all gathered whilst on a day visit to the
For this I use the Background Eraser tool,         city of Nantes. The west end of the cathedral
which has an icon of a rubber with a pair of       is impressive but its height and breadth are a
scissors. Having carefully surrounded my robin     challenge for even professional photographers.

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