PI5 Mother's Day Card

Mother's Day Card printed outMother's Day is right around the corner. You don't need a greeting card program to make your mom an extra special, personalized card for her special day. You can create and print her card right in PI 5.0 once you've learned a few tricks about resolution and page layout.

I thought it would be fun to make a card with a picture of my mom as a beautiful young mother. She was 22 in this photo, and I'm the very serious baby in her arms. If you don't have a similar baby picture, use any picture of you and your mom that you like. 

The original picture had faded, yellowed and turned blotchy with time. If you're using an old photo for your card, the first step is to scan it into your computer at a high resolution to restore as much detail as possible. I scanned mine in at 600 dpi and saved it as a BMP. If your knowledge about scanning and resolution is a bit shaky, you owe it to yourself to check out an excellent resource, Wayne Fulton's A Few Scanning Tips.

When I opened the scanned image up in the work space, it was huge (2768 X 2016 pixels).  For printing on a card, the image will have to be much smaller, so I selected Format, Dimensions. When the Dimensions box opens, resize the image by selecting "User defined." Make sure that "Keep aspect ratio is selected," and that Pixels is selected from the Unit dropdown list. Enter a value of 450 for width and the height of the image will be adjusted proportionally. 

format dimensions

Choose View, Zoom and Zoom in to 200% to take a good close look at your image. There were lots of little spots on the image, and I wanted to get rid of the worst ones on the faces and in the lighter areas. Select the Remove Scratch Retouch Tool. In the Attributes toolbar, select Remove Scratch 3 from the Presets list. Carefully rub in small back and forth motions over scratches to remove them. Be careful not to overdo it, or the image will look blurry. 

Before finishing up the image, you may need to edit the contrast a little. I clicked on the Quick Color Control's Brightness & Contrast plus (+) sign 1X to bring up the contrast. 

edit brightness and contrast

Now for the fun part. Choose View, Toolbars & Panels, Quick Command Panel. From the Task tab, select the Monochrome task from the dropdown list. 

Quick Command Panel/Monochrome effect

This little gem of a task will automatically give any photo a golden and sepia- tinted antique look. To see if you like the look of this preset task, copy your image into the Clipboard and choose Edit, Paste, As a New Image. Right click and Merge All. Now, while the new copy of the image is active, click the Play button in the Quick Command Panel. Within seconds your image will become a monochrome sepia tint.

I found that for this image, the Monochrome task defaults were a bit too orange, as you can see below.

too orange

But not to worry, like everything else in PI, you can custom edit almost anything! Close out the duplicate image to which you've just applied the Monochrome task. Click on the blue title bar of the original image to make it active.

In the Quick Command Panel, deselect "Use preset properties" for the last Hue & Saturation command. This will cause the task to stop playing at that point so that you can edit Hue & Saturation.

deselect use preset properties

Click the Play button and when the task pauses at the Hue & Saturation dialog box, you can edit the Hue (color) and Saturation (depth of color) by using the slider bars or entering values directly into their respective boxes. Try a variety of looks by clicking the Preview button. For example, you might like a soft blue instead of the default of a golden sepia.

edit hue and saturation values

I kind of like the sepia tone, but I edited it just a teeny bit. I lowered the Hue value to -3, taking the edge off the orange and making it a bit more brown. Then I edited the Saturation to -5 make the color less intense and clicked OK. 

final edited Hue & Saturation values

The half size version of the image shown below shows the results of the Hue & Saturation values applied during the task.

50% size, tinted image

Before assembling the image with the card, I decided to add an Edge Frame. Many of the Edge Frames take a "bite" out of the image, and my mom's head is kind of close to the top of this image. So before adding a frame, I did my favorite trick for overcoming this situation. 

Choose Edit, Expand. When the Expand box opens, first enter 0, then click on the lock. This unlocks the feature which expands on all four sides of the image equally. Now enter a value of 10 for Top, white canvas, and click OK. Doing so adds 10 pixels of space at the top, giving you a little margin of safety for the Edge Frame. 

Expand on top only 

Now choose Web, Frame Designer to open the dialog box. Select Edge Frame from the Style dropdown list. I didn't want a color on the Edge frame because I like the raggedy edge plain. To get this effect, deselect "Photo Edge." Select an Edge Frame and click OK.

apply Edge Frame

Now the image for the front of the card is finished. Leave this image open in the work space. The next step is to set up the card page layout. You'll be using an 8-1/2 X 11 inch, standard sheet of paper, which will be folded into quarters to make the card.

Choose File, New. When the New dialog box opens, make a new True Color image. For the size, choose Letter, 8.5 X 11 Inches, from the Standard dropdown list. Change the Resolution to 120 Pixels/Inch.

A higher resolution is needed because the card will be printed. Of course you can edit the Resolution to suit your tastes if you are experienced with fooling around with resolution.

new 8-1/2 X 11 image

Keep in mind that editing the Resolution will not change the size of your image on your monitor, so you won't see any difference on screen. However, changing to a higher resolution will pack the pixels in the image closer together, making a smaller printed image with better detail. So picking the right Resolution for a particular image is important. I've found that although my printer will print at 300 dpi, 120 dpi is high enough to yield a pretty good printed card.

While the new card image is active, let's set up some guidelines for placing the image and text on the card. Choose File, Preferences. When the Preferences box opens, click on Guidelines & Grid. In the Grid section, set the Grid line to a solid line, black, with Horizontal and Vertical spacing of 1 Inch.

setting Grid preferences

Now choose View, Guidelines & Grid, and select Grid. The Grid you specified above will appear over the image. Since the paper you'll be printing on is 8-1/2 X 11 inches, you'll see that there are 8-1/2 squares across the image, and that it is 11 squares high, one square for each inch on the Grid.

To help you visualize how the card is set up, everything in the top half (the top 5-1/2 squares) will be positioned upside-down, so that when the printed paper is folded, the image will be facing the right way. Everything in the bottom half (the bottom 5-1/2 squares) will be positioned normally. It might help to think of the Grid as dividing the page up into 4 quadrants, each one 4-1/4 squares wide by 5-1/2 squares high, each representing a different part of the card.

4 quadrants to Grid

Click on the blue title bar of the card front image and hit Ctrl+C to copy it into the Clipboard. Click on the blue title bar for the new, larger card image, and hit Ctrl+V to paste the image into it. Notice how much smaller the card front image looks now because it's been pasted into a larger image with a higher Resolution. Choose Edit, Rotate & Flip, Flip Vertically to position the card front image. The direction the mom and baby are facing has changed because the image has been flipped. The direction doesn't matter to me, so I left it as is. Drag it so that it's centered within quadrant A, the card face. Leave a little space at the top of the image for some text.

flip vertically and position

Click on the Text tool. Click in the base image to open the Text Entry box. Type in Mom (or Mother) in the font and font size of your choice. I'm using Script MT Bold, size 128. I made the text 2D because 3D text really does not print very well. In the Attributes toolbar, I clicked in the Color box and chose Eyedropper to pick a medium, peachy-brown color from the image for the text. However, as you can see below, the text isn't facing the right direction.

add text to card front

To fix this, choose Edit, Rotate & Flip, Flip Horizontally. Then choose Edit, Rotate & Flip, Flip Vertically. Position the text so that it's centered over the image on the card front. Remember to stay inside the A quadrant!

 flip text horizontally and vertically.

With the Text tool selected, change to a smaller font size. I used size 40 on mine. Click on the Style button in the Attributes toolbar and choose Center to center the two lines of text. Click in the base image to open the Text Entry box again. This time type in:

Hope your Mother's Day 
(hit Ctrl+Enter for a carriage return) 
is as beautiful as you are

Click OK to close the dialog box. Drag the text into quadrant D and center it. Leave yourself some room to sign the card.

add text to inside of card

To jazz up the card a little, you could add some soft shapes to quadrant C, the inside front, or you could leave it blank so you can write a little note there. I used the Outline Drawing tool to make a series of hearts in various sizes and shades of the text color to decorate mine.

add hearts or other art to inside front

If you want to, add some "Made by" text to the back of the card, on quadrant B. I added "Made with love by Stephanie" and another Outline Drawing tool heart to my card. If you add text, remember to make it much smaller (I used Arial, font size 20), and then flip it Horizontally and Vertically, just as you did for the "Mom" text on the card front.

At this point, too, take a look at the proportions of the text to the images. I decided that the "Mom" text on the front of the card was too large, so I did it over again at a size of 100. I discovered that once you flip text, changing the font size doesn't do much good. The inside card text was a bit too large too, so I took the font size down to 36.

add text to card back

Now do yourself a giant favor and save the entire card as a UFO. That way if you print it and the colors of the text aren't right, things aren't centered or positioned correctly, etc. you can just go back and edit until it turns out the way you want it to. Remember that what you see on your monitor is RGB (red, green blue) color, but what comes out of your printer is CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) and the printed output might not look exactly the way it does on your monitor.

Now we've reached the Moment of Truth. It's time to right click and Merge All. Choose File, Print Preview to take a look at how the card will appear on the page. Make sure that none of the text or image extends over the red outline area. If it does, you can cheat a little by moving the entire page a hair or two, but don't try anything major. If something is seriously awry, go back, right click and Undo, move objects around, then try again.

Print Preview screen

If everything looks good and is lined up correctly, try a test print. By this I mean that before you print out the final copy, do a print in Draft mode, Grayscale, to make sure that when you print the final copy, everything is placed where it should be on the page. Print the page and fold it into quarters.

Take a good hard look at your card and if you're satisfied with it, go ahead and print it on card stock or some other kind of fancy paper, in full color, at the highest quality setting. This is a chance to use any expensive, heavy papers you may have bought for special projects. I used a creamy ivory, confetti-flecked heavy paper to enhance the peach, browns and beiges of my card. Just be sure to let the ink dry before you fold your card. After all your hard work, you wouldn't want to smear it.

Now you've got a beautiful, one-of-a-kind Mother's Day card for your mother that you know she's going to treasure! Most office stores sell card envelopes these days, or you can make your own envelope from a matching piece of paper. To add a nice finishing touch, write "Mom" on the envelope with gold ink and seal it with a gold sticker.

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