By way of preparation, you should already be comfortable using Layers and know how to Install Photoshop Brushes and how to Rotate them since a good deal of the heavy lifting in this lesson will be done with layers and multiple brushes.
**Special Thanks to Jillian Clark at 100LayerCake.com for permission to base this tutorial on her content!
Lets jump right in and open a new document in Photoshop. For my illustration (and since this needs to be web-size), I’ll be using a 540×360 canvas at 72ppi. Obviously if you are creating an invitation for print, you’ll want to use a resolution of 150-300ppi and size your file accordingly (and adjust your brush and style sizes accordingly throughout the tutorial).
I’m also going to load a few brush sets into my Brushes palette right away so they’re ready to be used. If you’re following along at home, you’ll need to download Grunge Borders , Flowers n’ Swirls, Heavy Grunge and Manuscripts. All of which are free Photoshop Brushes available over at Brusheezy.
(*note: If you have any issues downloading the brushes, I have packaged them all in the lesson file .zip at the end of the lesson.)
First we’re going to use a rough-edged brush at a low opacity to create some texture.
Press the B key to switch to the Brush tool and from the Brush Picker choose the Chalk 60 Pixels brush (which is one of Photoshop’s default brushes). Set your foreground color to #decb3a by clicking on the swatch in the Tools palette and entering the hex code at the bottom of the Color Picker.
With our brush setup and color chosen, create a new layer called Yellow in your Layers palette, set your brush Opacity to 20% in the Brush Options bar at the top of Photoshop and paint roughly over the canvas as shown below.
(*note: When using an odd color like this that I may want to refer to later, I’ll copy the hex code into the Layer name.)
Repeat this process of clicking and painting over the canvas several more times. Switch brush directions and keep it random to create a "painted" look that will give us some texture and depth in the background of our invite. Work the color until you’re happy with the result. Let your creativity be your guide, but remember that we’ve got to put text over this background AND we’ll distress it a bit before then, so some semblance of consistency is a good idea.
Add a Layer Mask to this Yellow layer by clicking the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette. Turn your Brush Opacity back up to 100% in the Brush Options bar at the top of Photoshop, and then switch to one of the Grunge Border brushes you downloaded at the start of the lesson.
Using one of the long narrow Grunge Border brushes, paint onto the Layer Mask to create raw edges all the way around the invitation (this is where knowing how to Rotate Brushes is going to come in handy).
Now lets drop the Brush Opacity down to 20% and intrude a little further into the edges to add to the effect. Play around until the edges "feel" right. Remember that you can switch to painting with white on the Layer Mask if you feel you’ve taken away too much from the edges.
Create a new layer above the Yellow layer called Grunge. Switch your brush color to white and pick the gru7 brush that is part of the Heavy Grunge brush set. Make sure you’re painting with 100% Opacity, position the brush over the canvas and click once to add the grunge. Lower the Layer Fill to 50% opacity in the Layers palette to blend the grunge into the background.
Next we’re going to bring in some visual interest with a photo. Here’s where you can get creative, but try to pick an image that’s complimentary but not distracting (try to avoid pictures of people). I chose this nice shot from a friends wedding I shot last year. My photo is larger that the canvas, which will give me some nice adjustment room once we get it masked into place.
(*note: I’ve included a .jpg version of my larger photo in the file download at the end of the lesson.)
We can copy the mask we’ve already created on the Yellow layer to the Photo layer by simply holding down the Option (PC: Alt) key and clicking-and-dragging the mask from one layer to the other.
Click on the lock icon between the Layer Thumbnail and the Layer Mask on the Photo layer. This will allow you to move the photo independent of the mask, which will allow us to move our photo and adjust it’s position without screwing up the mask.
Position your photo how you think you’ll want it in the left 1/3 of the invitation and then using those Grunge Borders brushes on the Layer Mask, mask the photo into place.
I want to put a little old manuscript writing over the photo and blend it for more depth, so lets create a new layer at the top of the Layers stack called Manuscript. Switch back to the Brush tool, make sure you’re foreground color is set to White and the Brush opacity is at 100% then pick one of the brushes from the Manuscript set that you loaded at the beginning of the lesson. Position the brush over the photo and click once.
It might take a few tries to get the manuscript onto your photo but just use Command-Z (PC: Ctrl-Z) to undo if you need to try again.
Change the layer’s Blend Mode to Overlay in the Layers palette and then create a clipping mask to the Photo layer by simply pressing Command-Option-G (PC: Ctrl-Alt-G).
(*note: You can also create a Clipping Mask by right-clicking on the Manuscript layer and choosing Create Clipping Mask from the menu.)
Things are shaping up nicely, but I’d like to add one more element before we move on to the text of the invitation.
Create a new layer at the top of the Layer Stack called Deco Strip. Keep the Brush tool active with White as the foreground color and the Opacity at 100%. Choose the IndianBlockPrint14 brush from the Indian Block Print brush set, rotate and size the brush so it’s positioned vertically across the photo/background seam and click. (You can obviously use any brush or combination of brushes here to make your own unique Deco Strip… so experiment a little if you’ve got the urge.)
You could use another Layer Mask here to add a little distressing/grunge to the Deco Strip, but I think I like mine as bold as it is.
(*note: On a larger canvas, you may need to stamp a few of these vertically to span the distance.)
I’ll leave the text up to you. But since I’m sure I’ll be asked, the fonts used here are Champagne, Belphebe and BlairMdITC. Feel free to add another swirl or two if you’re so inclined… just be careful not to go overboard, because as they say… Too many swirls can ruin the party.
Thanks for reading, and ladies, I hope you enjoyed yourselves.
Lesson Files + Additional Resources
Download the free .PSD file and other lesson files Right Here.