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A fun way to learn some intricate features of Pixlr. In this tutorial you'll be introduced to layers and some of the fun quick things you can do with them! 

This tutorial is for a Happy Halloween Notecard but the instructions will work great when you try to make your own Christmas greeting cards.

First Step - right click on the pumpkin photo below. Do a "Save As" and save it to your choice of file on your computer.

Step 1: Go to Pixlr.

Next Step - got to Pixlr!

From the introduction screen choose Open Pixlr editor (Advanced).

Step 2: Step 2 - Open Photo From Computer.

You're going to open the photo we downloaded to your computer in the intro.

OPEN IMAGE FROM COMPUTER is your choice from the menu.

Open the pumpkin image.

Step 3: Welcome to the Pixlr Format.

Check out the photo on this step for an introduction to the Pixlr art board sections.

Step 4: Let's Get Editing!

First we need to duplicate the background layer. We will do our editing on the new layer.

Hover your mouse over the Background Layer. Right-click your mouse.

This will bring a drop down menu. Right now we want to choose the top choice Duplicate Layer.

The next step will show what your screen should look like now.

Step 5: Fun on the New Layer.

The first picture below shows how your Pixlr table should look now.


Step 6: Whoops - Remember to Save!

Sorry to remember this in the middle of a tutorial - but it just dawned on me - I HAVEN'T SAVED YET!

When you're working on pieces such as this get into the habit of saving frequently. You just never know when the internet will go down - crash - or gremlins run across your keyboard.

You must have a user account to save your picture to Pixlr. When you're working on layers, you must save the file as a Pixlr file. So therefore it would be in your best interest to save to Pixlr. This also allows you to open the file later - while you're sitting in an office waiting to hear your name called - on your iPad.

First click on File on the Menu Bar (the menu at the top of the screen).
This will bring up a drop down menu.
Choose Save.

The second photo shows the next screen that will show.

You can save the photo file on your own computer or any other number of places. I saved it as a PXDfile in the Pixlr Library.

Click the OK when you are finished completing the file information.


Step 7: Make a Mask for the Layer.

Back to working on the file. You have the pumpkin outlined using the Lasso Tool.

Now you will click on the icon to make a layer mask.

This layer now only has the pumpkin visible. But the Background layer still shows so you cannot see the pumpkin by itself. So that we can see what we need to "clean up" off the pumpkin that the Lasso didn't catch - we are going to make the layer below the mask layer invisible for a while.

Double-click the "padlock" icon on the first layer (Background). It will change to a little box with the check mark in it like the Background copy layer.

When you "unlock" the padlock the Background layer will become Layer 0.

Step 8: Pumpkin, Pumpkin Where Are You?

The "Background" layer will now have its name changed to Layer 0. You do not need to do anything. This change will occur automatically when you unlock the padlock icon.

Now you will have a small box with a check mark in it. Click on the check mark to blank it out. This will make the Layer 0 invisible.


Step 9: The Background Is Gone.

Unchecking the box on a layer makes that layer invisible.

Unchecking the box on Layer 0 has now made it that we can see the background around the pumpkin image that we need to remove.

Step 10: Apply Layer Mask

Hover the mouse over the Background Copy layer. Right click will bring up a drop down menu.

Click on Apply layer mask.


Step 11: Mask Is Applied - Pumpkin Alone.

This screenshot shows the Background copy layer mask is applied.

The Layer 0 is unchecked and therefore invisible.

We can now see what background needs to be taken off the pumpkin.

Step 12: Erase the Background From the Pumpkin.

Using the Eraser Tool erase the background that is still visible around the pumpkin.

Step 13: Oops - the Cat Jumped on My Lap and I Erased Half the Pumpkin.

Made a mistake? Don't worry. To "undo" the last action - just do CTRL + Z

Made more mistakes than one? That's what's wonderful about the History panel. Just click back up as many history steps as you need.

Pixlr allows for mistakes.

Step 14: Make Two Pumpkin Layers.

Hover the mouse over the Background Copy Layer. Right-click.

A drop down menu will appear. Choose Duplicate Layer.

You now have two pumpkin layers.

Step 15: Run With Two Pumpkins

You now have two layers of pumpkins. Make sure the top layer is "active." (Is highlighted blue)

Save the attached "pumpkin face" to your computer. Open this file on Pixlr.


Step 16: Make a Happy Pumpkin Face.

While having the Pumpkin Face file active (the blue highlight is on that layer) select Edit from the Menu Bar.

A drop down menu will appear.

Choose Select all from the drop down menu. This will frame the entire Pumpkin Face image screen with dotted lines.

Select the Edit menu from the Menu Bar again.

This time select Copy from the drop down menu.

Step 17: Close the Pumpkin Face Image.

Now click on the Pumpkin image to make it the "Active" image. (Blue highlight on layer)

Click on Edit in the Menu bar. Choose Paste from the drop down menu.

Now the pumpkin face is a layer on the pumpkin file.

You can now close the Pumpkin Face file to get it off the work space. Just click the X in the upper right hand corner of the Pumpkin Face file frame. It will ask if you want to save the file but you've already got the file on your computer. Click no.

Step 18: Delete the White Background

Select the Wand from the Tools Box. Uncheck the box next to "Contiguous"

Click (with the wand) anywhere on the white background of the Pumpkin Face layer. Dotted lines should surround all the black areas of the image thus encompassing the white.

Choose Edit from the Menu bar. Choose Clear from the drop down menu.

This will clear all white areas in the Pumpkin Face.

Step 19: Manipulating the Pumpkin Face.

With the wand still chosen - click anywhere in the background to deselect all.

Choose the Marquee Tool from the Tools Box. Hover the cursor over the Pumpkin Face. Right Click.

A drop down menu will appear. Choose Free Transform from that menu.

Step 20: Pumpkin Face to Fit

After selecting Free Transform a box will appear around the Pumpkin Face. The box will have "handles" on each of the corners and in the center of each side. You can use these handles to make the image wider, higher - using the handles on the corner and dragging the frame inwards enables you to size the image's width and height at the same time.

When you finish sizing the Pumpkin Face, click anywhere outside of the Marquee Frame.

A conversation box will appear asking if you wish to apply the changes. If you are happy with the adjustments you just made, answer Yes. Otherwise click no and resume modifying the image.



Step 21: Let's Sculpt the Pumpkin!

Choose the Wand from the Tools Box.

Click the wand on any of the black areas. This will encompass all black areas with the marquee dots showing that all black areas are "selected."


Step 22: No Muss, No Fuss Sculpting.

Now make the Pumpkin layer active (highlighted in blue). This is because you want to delete the face from the pumpkin.

Now choose Edit from the Menu bar.

From the drop down menu, choose Clear.

This will delete all black areas from the pumpkin.

Step 23: Looking Good.

First - uncheck the "visibility" box on the Pumpkin Face layer.
  • This will make the black face no longer visible.
Second - make the first layer (which is currently not visible) the active layer. Make sure the blue highlight is on this layer.
Third - Click the New Layer Icon.
  • This will make a new layer directly above the first layer.

Step 24: Sharpening It Up.

While this new layer is active (highlighted blue), choose the Drawing Tool from the Tools Box.

Choose the Circle shape on the options bar. Then choose the Fill Shape color box (which currently is black).

Step 25: Choose Your Eye Color.

The Fill Color window pops up with 4 Tabs - HSL, RGB, WEB, IMG.

Choose the IMG tab.
  • This will show multiple color shades pulled from your image.
  • Any color you choose from here will be complementary to your image.
I chose one of the darker shades because I want the eyes to appear hollow - like a carved pumpkin.

Once you chose your color, you will "drag" a circle image across the openings in the pumpkin. The circle will be filled with whatever color you choose.

Step 26: It's Coming to Life!

First - change the active layer to the Background Copy layer (blue highlight).

Next - right-click on that layer. A drop down menu of options will appear. 
  • Choose Layer styles from the drop down menu.

Step 27: Happy Pumpkin!

When you choose Layer Styles from the drop down box, you will have a list of options. For this project I chose the Drop Shadow option. 

Click ON the "Drop shadow" words to open the options box as shown. You can play with all the options for different looks. The settings that I chose are shown in the picture below.

You can use the Eraser tool from the Tools Box to "clean up" the Pumpkin Face. You can see that I erased various areas that just didn't quite cut out correctly.


Step 28: Have It Your Way Through Adjustments.

The rest of these instructions are to have your project look just like mine.

You can make your own choices on Adjustments and Filters.

Try on different looks. Remember if you don't like something - just click back up the History steps undoing what you do not like.

No fear - jump in and enjoy all the aspects of Pixlr. The best way to learn is to experiment.

Step 29: Placing a Filter

Choose Filter from the Menu Bar.

Choose Vignette from the drop down menu.

Vignette is an old time edging.

You can use any filters, any adjustments. Finish the picture up the way you want it to look.

The Filter Vignette has an options box. When this opens, use the slider to change the number. The larger the number - the larger the border.

Step 30: Want to Add Text?

Choose Text from the Tools Box.

Click on the image where you want the text to show.
  • An options box will appear.
  • Change the options to what you want (font, font size, color).
  • Begin typing in the options box.

Step 31:

To make the file capable of being open in any image editor, we must save the file as a JPEG.

First we must "flatten" all the layers to one layer.

Choose Layer from the Menu Bar.
  • Choose Flatten Image from the drop down.
All layers will merge into one layer.
Save the file as a JPEG.

Step 32: Make Your Pic Into a Note Card!

Create a new image. (File - New)

An options window will pop up.
  • Change the width and height to 2550 x 3300
  • This is the size of an 8-1/2 x 11 paper/card stock.
Then open your Pumpkin file.

Step 33: Resize the Pumpkin.

With the Pumpkin file opened, choose Image from the Menu bar.
  • From the drop down menu choose Image Size
In the Image Size options box, change the size to Width 1650 and Height 1275.
  • Make sure the Constrain proportions box is NOT checked.
Since the image sizes aren't constrained, the pumpkin will distort some.

Step 34: Set Up the Note Card.

Open Edit from the Menu bar.

Choose Select all from the drop down.

Open Edit from the Menu bar.

Choose Copy from the drop down.

Go to the new Untitled file screen.

Step 35: Paste the Pumpkin.

With the new Untitled layer active, choose Edit from the Menu bar, select Paste from the drop down menu.

Step 36: Get the Pumpkin in Position.

We now have the pumpkin photo on the 8-1/2 x 11 sheet (Untitled).

You can close the original Pumpkin file. If you wish, you can save it at the new adjusted size. Save it as a JPEG.

Right-click on the pumpkin image on Untitled. 

Choose Free transform from the drop down menu. This will make a frame around the pumpkin photo with transforming handles.

Step 37: Swing That Pumpkin Around.

Using the transform handles to turn the image around and move to the left-hand corner of the 8-1/2 x 11 sheet (Untitled).


Step 38: Here's the Cards!

Right-click on the Pumpkin Layer.

Choose Duplicate Layer from the drop down menu.

The duplicate will appear on top of the original. Use the Move Tool to bring the second image to the bottom left-hand corner.

Your file is now ready to print. You may have to adjust the placement of the images depending on the card stock you use. You will have to cut the cards apart using a paper cutter.

You can also use the image you make to send through a photo agency for them to print ready-made cards.
Cool festive card!
That's awesome! I think it would be great if you put a picture of the finished project first so people can see right away what you will be creating :)
Will do. I spent so much time on the instructions - I forgot the obvious! I'll print one off, take a pic, and put it on the front. Thanks for the suggestion.

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