Friday, November 7, 2008

Felt Sewn Letters

I thought I'd pass on the method I used to create the alpha for Thankful (kit). I was trying to get the look of sewn felt letters. Here are the steps I took:
1. Pick a fat font, block letter style. I used Fatslab. However, the font didn't have numbers! Can you believe that? So for the numbers, I chose Anja Eliane. Again, this font is fat. (please go here to get the supplies for this tutorial). Open a new transparent image 500x500 pixels, with a resolution of 300 dpi.

2. I have also included in the supplies the light and dark felt patterns I made from a tutorial. I don't remember where I found the tut now. Sorry. I used the light felt pattern. Open the felt pattern, pick your color for your letter. Colorize the felt by using the Manual Color Correction tool in PSP. NOTE: in newer versions of PSP, you will have to add this tool to the toolbar. I have PSP X2 but I don't know when Corel stopped including it in the toolbar. Right-click on your toolbar, click Customize. Click Adjust and find the Manual Color Correction and add it to your toolbar. For a detailed description of how to use the tool, see Shawna's tutorial here. Set your text to vector and the size to 300. You want a large letter here. I pulled out the text even more so the letters ended up being about 300 x 300 (this would make them about an inch in size for printing). Type out your first letter, using only the felt pattern for your background and the foreground set to null.

3. Pick a lighter cooler of your main color for your foreground. Turn off the background. Set your Pen Tool to a width of 2 and use the dash styled line (I included it in the supplies in case you don't have it.) Set the Pen Tool at Vector and start your "stitching" inside your letter about 1/8 from your outside edge. (see screen shot) NOTE: for a straight line, hold down the shift key and click to the next place for your line. Take your time and "stitch" carefully all around the outside edge of your letter. If you are happy with it, convert the vector layer to a raster layer.

4. Add a layer BELOW your stitching line. Now set your foreground color to a darker color than your letter. I tried black and it is too dark. It works better to use a darker hue of your color. Set your paintbrush to a size of 4. Click once right at the edge of a stitch. Go to Adjust, Blur, Gaussian Blur of 1. Then, go to Edit, Copy, Paste as a new selection on both sides of each stitch. (see screen shot below) I know this is time-consuming! That is why it took me 3 days to create the alpha! To save a little time, use the control key and the letter E to paste your blurred dot. This saves a lot of time, trust me. After you have put a dot on each side of your stitches, deselect. Turn down the opacity of this layer to 50%. Close all layers except your stitching and your "shadow", merge visible

5. Go to your letter layer, apply an Inner Bevel. Use the 2nd shape (looks like a wedge of pie), width = 9, Smoothness = 4, Depth =3, Ambience = -15 (that is a minus), Shininess = 0, Color = white, Angle = 315, Intensity = 58, and Elevation = 30 (see screen shot).

6. Duplicate the letter layer, turn OFF the copy of the layer, go the original letter layer, and using the move tool, slide the letter to the right just a bit. Go to Adjust, Brightness and Contrast with settings of Brightness = -18 (that is a minus) and Contrast = 12. Click OK. (see screen shot below) Turn your duplicate layer back on.

The edge of the original letter should be visible a bit.

7. Make sure you are now on the duplicate layer (which is on top of your original letter layer), grab the Lighten/Darken tool. Set the size at 14, hardness = 50, step = 25, density = 44. thickness = 100, rotation = 0, opacity = 31. (make sure the swap mouse buttons box is ticked). Run the mouse along the stitching until it is fairly dark (see sample). Right-click and run the mouse along the edge by the stitching. Now increase the size of your brush to about 32. Again, right-click and run the brush on the inside of the letter near the stitching. This gives the effect of stitching holding the letter together. Again, see the sample. When you are happy, turn off the bottom layer, merge visible, copy and paste as a new image, save your completed letter.

Please email me if you have any questions!