ATC Tutorial 1 – Memories – Digital ATC

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This is page one of a free tutorial showing you how to make a digital ATC similar to “Memories,” the artist trading card shown below.


How the card started: I wanted to make a different card… something not quite so “ghost-y” as some of my other ATCs from mid-2005.

I was also thinking about some art by Disney artist & Imagineer, Eric Robison. His art reminds me of Dave McKean’s, but some of Robison’s Haunted Mansion art that was at inspired me as well.

So, I went to and looked at his newest photos. His Palace of Fine Arts photograph intrigued me immediately. At that point, I started writing this page, stream-of-consciousness, so that you can see the process.

photo of san francisco's palace of fine arts First, I reduced the image size and increased its resolution so that it’s five inches wide at 150 dpi. In all likelihood, this will be a horizontal card, not a vertical one.
Next, I altered the color using Hue/Saturation in Adobe Photoshop. I liked the building in blue and the trees in purple, but the sky wasn’t right… yet. same photo with altered color
new layer and pink + orange added to ATC I added a layer to the image, and used the airbrush tool to spray pink and orange onto that layer, randomly. Then, I used the eraser tool to tidy up the areas where I’d oversprayed too much of the palace. Since the layer was going to be made partially transparent, I didn’t have to be too precise with any of this.
I made that layer a 60% transparency, and adjusted the colors as I worked with Hue/Saturation, but I wasn’t thrilled with it. So, I sprayed some yellow onto that same layer and used Gaussian blur on that layer, and kept tweaking the balance of transparency and saturation until I like it. sunset-y layers added

However, that little spot of sky that you can see through the palace looked odd.

So, I…

  • created a new transparent layer for it
  • sprayed yellow onto it, and
  • adjusted the hue to make it a little cooler in color, so it wouldn’t leap forward quite so much.

At this point, I still didn’t have a theme for the ATC, but I liked how it was going. My next step was to adjust the water to reflect the sky.

Next page: ATC Tutorial 2 – Memories – Adding more layers

[Note: I  may earn a commission if you purchase something I’ve linked to.]

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