Postage Stamp

READ very carefully. Use TWO computers. One with Photoshop open and the other with this webpage open so you can read the dirtections as you complete the Postage Stamp. Again, READ carefully! Read and read again. Do not skip ONE word!!

Need a picture? Use this one.


Open the photo you want to turn into a stamp and using the crop tool create an image that is 2.5" x 3" at 72 dpi. You might also want to make sure your rulers are set to inches. You will find this setting on the options bar once you click on the crop tool. Once you make the crop selection, double click the mouse to crop the picture.


Press Command-A to put a selection around the entire photo. and press Shift-Command-J to cut that photo off the background layer and copy it onto its own seprarate layer.


You'll need to add some white space around your stamp so you'll have room to create the stamp edge, so go under the Image menu and choose Canvas Size. In the dialog box, turn on the Relative checkbox, and for both width and height enter 2 inches. Set the Canvas Extension Color pop-up menu to White and click OK.


Now go to the Layers palette, hold the Command key and click on the Create a New Layer icon to create a new blank layer directly beneath your photo layer. Press the letter "M" to switch to the Rectangular Marquee tool and draw a rectangle selection that is about a half-inch larger that your photo like shown in the picture below. Press the letter "D" then "X" to set your Foreground color to white, and fill this large rectangle selection with white by pressing Option-Delete. Now you can deselect by pressing Command-D.


You won't be able to see the white rectangle you just created, because, after all, it's on a white background, but this will help - choose Drop Shadow from the Add a Layer Style pop-up menu at the bottom of the layers palette. When the dialog appears, increase the Size setting to around 16 so the shadow peeks out around all sides of the white rectangle. Center your shadow on the box by changing the Angle to 71 and the Distance to 3. Click OK to apply the shadow.


Next, your going to knock holes out of your white border. Press the letter "E" to switch to the Eraser tool, and in the Options Bar make sure the pop-up menu is set to Brush. Then, click on to the icon next to the word "Brush" in the Options Bar to bring up the Brush Picker. When it appears, choose 19 pixel, hard-edged brush.


Go under the Window menu and choose Brushes to bring up the Brushes palette. In the list of controls on the left side of the palette, click on the words "Brush Tip Shape" to bring up those options. Near the very bottom of the palette is the Spacing slider. Make sure the Spacing checkbox is turned on and increase the slider to 190%. (If the holes in your stamp edges start to run into each other, you can come back here later and try a higher number)


Go to the Layers palette, hold the Command key and click on the white rectangle layer to put a selection around just that white rectangle box. Now that your selection is in place, press the letter "P" to select the Pen tool from the Toolbox, and go under the Window menu and choose Paths. From the Paths palette's flyout menu, choose Make Work Path. When the Make Work Path dialog appears, just click OK and your selection will be replaced with a path.


Go back to the Paths palette, and you'll see the path that you just created, by default it is named 'Work Path". Click on that path in the palette, and from the palatte's flyout menu choose Stroke Path.


Here is where Photoshop kicks in and does the work. When the Stroke Path dialog appears (shown here), choose Eraser from the Tool pop-up menu and turn off the Simulate Pressure checkbox.


When you click OK, the Eraser tool will trace around that rectangle path on the edge of your white box, knocking outlittle half-circles (half of that 19-pixel brush). It's half circle because the Eraser erases half inside the path where the white box is visible and half outside the path (which is not visible). Speaking of visibility, at this point you'll see the thin black path around your stamp, so hide that from view - go to the Paths palette and click just below the Work Path to deselect it.

The reason there's a gap between the eraser strokes (instead of being one continuous stroke as usual) is because of that spacing you added back in Step Seven in the Brushes palette. If these little half-circles are touching each other, all you have to do is press Command-Z to undo the Stroke Path. Now press the letter "e" to get the Eraser tool again. Go back to the Brushes palette, increase the amount in the Spacing slider and try Steps Nine through Eleven again. Finally, add text with the Type tool (in the sample Minion Regular and Helvetica Condensed) were used to complete the effect. Use the Character Palette to make your text come to life. (The Character Palette is located in the options bar at the top of the screen)


Crop out the "extra" white space when finished. Use the recangular marquee tool and draw a selection around the picture and then choose "Image --> Crop". Be sure to leave in the drop shadow.