How To Make Greeting Cards

Find out how to create greeting cards and customize your fonts for the upcoming holidays.
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Making your own holiday greeting cards is easy using Toon Boom Studio, find out how to create greeting cards and customize your fonts for the upcoming holidays. Once you have decided to make a card you need to:

  • Create a scene using TBS templates
  • Personalize messages using the text tool
  • Customize the text to give it a unique look
  • Animate the text
  • Publish your card

Creating the scene

You should decide what sort of scene you want to show in your greeting card. You can use the templates supplied in the Toon Boom Studio v3.5 library. This is an easy way to create such a scene as there are many templates to choose from and you will soon find how quick and easy it is to develop a scene just right for the occasion.

Creating the message

When you have built your scene, you need to have a message to write in your card. You can write the message directly inside the card using Toon Boom Studio’s Text tool. What's more, if after the text is written you decide to change it's look or font all you need to do is to open the Text tab in the Properties window and make the adjustments you want. Remember, you can always install additional system fonts and use them inside Toon Boom Studio.

Customizing fonts

   

If you want to add an extra-special touch to your holiday greeting card you can customize the font. To customize a font you will need to transform it into vector drawing. You do this using the Tools>Break Text Apart function. This must be done twice, to first break the text in single letters and then to break the letters into a vector drawing. Converting your text to a drawing is a great way to customize and animate the font. Once the text has been converted you can start the customization.

In our example, the first step was to add a special winter touch to the letters by placing snowcaps on them. It’s amazing how easy this is done using the Brush tool with a white color and then drawing in the element containing the text. Do not activate Draw On Top Layer when painting over it, if you don’t have this switched off you will erase the font below your drawing. Once the snowcap is created you will need to copy and paste it twice this will create two images, one of the shapes will be the snowcap and the other will be the outline of the snowcap. By default Toon Boom Studio moves the shape that you copy multiple times by 10 pixels down and 10 pixels right, this allows you to see all of the copies you have made. Move the second pasted shape to its original position, select one of the shapes, change its color to the color of the letter and then enlarge the shape to make the outline. You can either scale the shape with the Select tool or use the contour editor to stretch the lines and points so it makes a nice edge around the snow. Remember, you can always push back or pull up a shape using the Send to Back or Bring to Front function in Tool>Arrange. Once all of the letters are edited you can flatten the letters so everything is merged.

At this point you should animate the edited text. It is possible to get some really nice effects by separating the letters into different elements. There are a couple of things that needs to be taken in consideration when doing so. The first thing you will need to do is to create enough drawing elements so that you can drop the letters into the elements one-by-one. Once you have placed the letters in the elements you need position your pivot point by using the Scale tool. After this you can start animating, use the Scale tool to resize the letters so that they seem to appear in the distance.

   

Remember, that you can always use the function editor to reduce or increase the size of elements; this is especially useful if you can’t make the letters small enough using the Scale tool. When you are satisfied with the animation of the first letter, you can copy that animation to another letter. In this case, since we only used scaling we will only copy the scaling part of our animation. To do this, first copy the keyframes on the element you have animated after selecting them all. Then go on your second letter and browse to the Edit menu to get the Paste Special function. This displays a window where you can choose what you want to copy from the original element. You need to uncheck everything except the Create/Delete Scale Key Frame option. After setting the parameters you can simply select the new element where you are going to place the animation and use the Paste Special Again function. You will notice that the pivot point is not in the correct position for the elements you have pasted the animation onto, so you will need to change the scale pivot point for all letters. Changing the pivot point produces a more consistent result in the animation. You can add a final touch by changing the timing and adding some other effect or transformation and you will be ready to export.

If you want to send the card by e-mail the best format would be SWF, this allows the card to be displayed right in the e-mail so the person receiving the email can see it as soon as the email is opened.

Downloads: Sample Material (ZIP)