Tutorial for Adobe® Photoshop®

St. Patrick's Day Clovers

Week of March 9, 2009

Sara HortonBy Sara Horton

Photoshop and PSE come loaded with an array of custom shapes that can be used in combination to create new shapes. By looking at the pre-loaded custom shapes creatively, you can design new and different shapes.  Follow along as we prepare for St. Patrick’s day by combining several shapes to create a clover page element.


Step 1) Create a clover leaf

Begin by opening a scrapbook page the size of your choice. Get the Custom Shape tool which shares a spot on the Tool Bar with the Rectangle, Ellipse, Polygon and Line tools. To locate the Custom Shape tool quickly, click and hold the location on the toolbar until the flyout menu appears. Select the Custom Shape Tool.

In the Options Bar, select the following settings: Shape layers, Heart shape, Create a new shape layer, green color and no style.

custom clovers

For the sample, I used the green from the second row of color options in the Swatches Palette.

If you don’t see the heart shape available from the Shape Picker in the Options Bar, click once on the right-facing arrow in the Shape Picker drop-down menu. This activates a fly-out menu. Select All to load all of the shapes that came loaded with Photoshop. Scroll to locate the heart shape. Click once on the heart shape to select it.

custom clovers

Next, hold the Shift key and drag out a green heart. Holding the Shift key maintains the shape proportions and avoids a distorted shape.

Step 2) Define the leaf edge

Add dimension to your clover leaf by using the Burn Tool to darken the rounded edges. Begin by selecting the shape layer. Choose Layer >Rasterize > Shape. Get the Burn Tool which shares a spot in the Tool Bar with the Sponge and Dodge tools. Choose a soft, round brush from the Brush Picker in the Options Bar. Choose Midtones for the Range and 50% for the Exposure.

custom clovers

Click and drag the cursor around the round edges of the heart. Use a scrubbing motion to create irregular shadowing around the edges and in the deep V of the heart. Be careful not to burn the lower, pointed section.

Step 3) Duplicate and arrange the leaves

Get the Move tool, then make two copies of the leaf by pressing Ctrl + J twice (Mac: Cmd + J.) Select the top layer to activate the bounding box. If the bounding box is not visible, toggle the Show Transform Controls option in the Options Bar.

Hover the cursor over one of the sides of the bounding box to locate the side handles. When the cursor changes to a curved arrow, click and drag downward to turn the leaf. After turning the leaf, drag it into position.

Click the checkmark in the options bar to confirm the position.

custom clovers

Repeat with the second layer, turning the leaf to the left.

Step 4) Create the stem

Create a stem by selecting the background layer. Get the Custom Shape tool. Using the same technique and settings as you used for the leaves, drag out a checkmark instead of a heart.

Rasterize the layer and use the Burn Tool to give dimension to the edges of the checkmark. Use the Move tool and the side handles to turn the checkmark.

custom clovers

To complete the stem, make it longer and thinner. Using the Move Tool, drag the side handle toward the center of the image to reduce the width. Drag the top handle upward to stretch the stem.

Finally, drag the stem into place behind the leaves.

Step 5) Add a highlight

The next step is to add a highlight to the top of the clover. Begin by selecting the top layer. Get the Type tool and select a font like Arial or Arial Rounded. Choose white for the text color. Click on the document and type a parenthesis. Confirm the text by clicking the checkmark in the options bar.

Finally, get the Move Tool, select the text layer and use the side handle to turn the parenthesis to line up with the curve of the leaf

custom clovers

Step 6) Merge the clover layer

The final step is to merge the clover layers, leaving it on a transparent background. Scroll to the bottom of the Layers palette. Click once on the Layer Visibility icon which looks like an eyeball on the left side of the background layer.
This hides the background, making it transparent.

Next, select the stem layer and scroll to the top of the Layers Palette.  Hold the Shift key as you click on the top layer.  This selects all of the clover layers.
Finally, select Layer > Merge Layers.

custom clovers

To preserve transparency, save the clover as a .png image.

custom clovers


Credits: Scrapbook page by Sara Horton
Font: Georgia
Lucky Gardener Kit by Katie Pertiet at Designer Digitals
Ali Edwards Layered Template No. 22 by Ali Edwards at Designer Digitals

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