Be My Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day.  It's just a couple days away.  As a history lover, I’d love to go into the weird history of Valentinus, why he is a saint, and how in the world we got to the present Hallmark holiday.  It is a strange tale.  Instead, let’s get into an easy and quick Photoshop project you can do. I'm starting my arts and crafts project with a silk rose, a piece of ribbon, and the ubiquitous candy hearts.  I piled them all together on a nice piece of material for a background.  You can spend some time arranging them into a pleasing presentation.   I, obviously, need to go to design school as I look at the mess I made.  But that's OK, that isn't what today's project is about.

photo of valentine rose and candyThose little candy hearts with notes are our target.  Just like candy corn at Thanksgiving, those things are everywhere.  Unfortunately, their messages are so generic that people seldom read them.  With a pixel manipulation program, you can put some targeted messages on them.  Look for some hearts that are blank or where the messages are very faint.  Those hearts will become the canvas for your messages.

valentines day candy heartsI created a text layer and put all my phrases into this layer, leaving space between the phrases for ease of handling in the next steps.  Plan out your phrases- you don't have unlimited space on those little hearts.  Notice that the letters are all caps, in Arial bold font.  With the Color Picker, at the top of the text menu, I matched the color with the other hearts.

photoshop projectImmediately, you can see the text is too sharp, so we need to do a little more work.  I rasterize this layer, converting the text into pixels, Layer, Rasterize, Type.  I added some blur - Filter, Blur, Gaussian Blur.  Every photo will be different, so you'll have to judge how much you add; I added 2 pixels worth.  This is a good start, but it's still a little smooth, so I added some noise to add some more imperfections to the phrase.  Filter, Noise, Add Noise, Gaussian.  Next, select the first word of your phrase with a selection tool, and save it to a separate layer; repeat with the second word.  Position the words properly and merge the two layers.  You get something like this.

photoshop projectPlace the phrase over your chosen heart and use Edit, Free Transform to properly position it.  You may want to reduce the opacity of this layer to allow some of the color from the heart to bleed through a little.

photoshop project, candy heartJust repeat all the steps until all your phrases are placed.  Then, go to work on any other post-processing work you may want.  You can get really complex in customizing these candies to your heart's content.  (Pun intended.)  I cropped the photo; smoothed out some wrinkles in the material; and made a few other adjustments.

final photo, valentine cardI know it seems like a lot of work, but the total time was only about 20 minutes, and you get a personalized photo you can use for your card.  Since we don't give St. Valentine's Day gifts or candy in our house, the extra effort from my arts and crafts project will be appreciated.  I hope....  ;-)