There’s still a few hours left before Valentine’s Day so if you’ve been too, ahem, busy / cheap to get a card, why not use your Photoshop skills to make one. Here’s one idea for a card using a photograph, some paths and the dodge tool to write a message across the sky.

1. Open up your image. An image with lots of sky works really well. Thank you to Liberty for this lovely photograph which is available to download for free from Stockxchng..

2. Select the custom shape tool from the toolbox.

In the tool options bar at the top of the screen, choose the path icon and then click on the shape drop down box and choose a heart.

3. Click and drag out a heart on the image. Hold down Shift to constrain the proportions.

4. Now open the paths palette. Choose Window > Paths if it’s not already open. You will see a small thumbnail version of the heart in there.

The next thing we want to do is stroke the path but before we do that let’s set up the tool we’ll use to stroke it.

Rather than just use a white paint brush we can achieve a more sutble effect by using the Dodge tool to lighten the sky.

5. Select the Dodge tool from the tool box.

6. In the tool options bar at the top of the screen, click on the drop down brush menu and choose the Dual Airbrush size 45. This is a very soft brush which gives a nice effect. Set the Range to Midtones and the Exposure to about 25%.

7. Now go back to the Paths palette and click on the on the menu in the top right corner and choose Stroke Path.

8. The Stroke Path dialog box opens up. From there choose Dodge Tool and click OK.

A very light dodge is applied to the heart shaped path. The idea is that is should almost look like a cloud.

9. Click anywhere in the grey area of the Paths palette to hide the path.

10. Now add some text. I used a script font, to add I and you above and below the heart.


That looks quite nice, but I want it to look wispy and cloud-like.

11. Select the text on the “I” layer, then choose Layer > Type > Make Workpath.

Now we have a path around the letter I.

12. Select the skyimage layer in the layers palette, then repeat the steps 7 – 10 to stroke the path as before.

13. Repeat the steps for “you” to produce an image a little bit like this.

If this doesn’t work out for you, you still have time to nip out to the shops!