Create an RSS Christmas Stocking in Photoshop
Let’s design a nice RSS Christmas stocking, complete with stitches and fur, to use on our website with hopes of filling it with many subscribers.
Author: Andrea Austoni
Freelance icon designer and illustrator from Milan, Italy, currently living in Krakow, Poland.
He runs Cute Little Factory, his portfolio and blog dedicated to Photoshop and Illustrator tutorials and icon, vector and wallpaper freebies.
- Program: Adobe Photoshop
- Version: CS2 or later
- Difficulty: Intermediate
Set up a new blank document. Choose a nice strong orange and create the main shape of the stocking using the Pen Tool. Adjust the path until you’re satisfied then rasterize the vector shape.
Let’s add a basic velour texture using filters. First use Add Noise from Filter > Noise (2a). Then add a Radial Blur from Filter > Blur making sure to lock the transparency of the layer so we won’t blur the contour of the stocking (2b). Finally add a subtle Gaussian Blur (2c).
Duplicate the layer (Cmd+J) and go to Filter > Artistic > Dry Brush. Set up the filter as in image 3a in order to obtain a splotched texture all over the stocking (3b). Lock the transparency of this layer too and use Gaussian Blur to smooth the texture (3c).
Let’s increase the contrast. Go to Image > Adjustments > Shadow/Highlights and use the settings in image 4a. The texture is too dark (4b) so let’s bring up the orange with Levels (Cmd+L) (4c, 4d). Finally set the layer to Multiply and reduce the opacity to 35%. Hit Cmd+E to merge down the layer (4e).
Adding thickness now. Select the Dodge Tool (O) and set it up as in image 5a. Hit F5 to open the Brushes window and select a soft round brush (5b). Paint the spots marked in image 5c, that’s where the light (coming from the top) hits the stocking.
Add in the shadows with the Burn Tool (O) set up correctly (6a). Paint the spots marked in image 6b. Finally refine with subtler paint strokes to balance the color variation (6c).
Add an Inner Glow layer style to simulate ambient lighting (7a). With a thin dark brush paint some tapered strokes where the stocking wrinkles at the ankle. Do this on a new layer (7b). The result is a nice soft stocking with a realistic orange velour texture (7c).
Now we need to add stitches to the stocking. In another document create a black rounded rectangle (8a). Cmd+click the layer to select it then go to Edit > Define Brush Preset and name it Stitch (8b). Back to our document select the new brush. Choose a small enough diameter and set the spacing to 550%. Now the preview shows us a line of stitches (8c). In the Shape Dynamics pane set Angle Jitter to Direction so the stitches will align with the paths we’ll paint later (8d).
The stitch brush is set up so set the foreground color to white. Draw a path all around the stocking leaving some distace from the edge (9a). In the Paths palette name the path (9b). Now create a new layer, right-click on the path in the Paths palette and choose Stroke Path. Make sure the Brush is selected (9c) and click OK. Now we have stitches running along the edge of the stocking (9d). Just add a Drop Shadow to the stitches to make them more visible (9e, 9f).
Using the Lasso Tool (L) select the toe and heel areas and hit Cmd+J to copy them to a new layer (10a). Se the new layer to Screen to brighten the color (10b).
Grab the official RSS icon from Feed Icons and import it into your document (11a). Rotate it, place it on the leg of the stocking and set it to Overlay mode to give it a light orange color (11b).
Cmd+click the RSS symbol then go to Select > Modify > Contract and contract the selection by 5px (12a). Create a path from the selection (12b) and stroke it with the stitch brush. Copy and paste the Drop Shadow style from the previous stitches to both the RSS icon and its stitches. You might need to reduce the shadow’s opacity depending on your image (12c).
At this point things start to get furry. Draw a white fluffy path on top of the stocking (13a). Use Burn to darken the left and bottom sides of the fur (13b) and maybe colorize it to light blue using Hue/Saturation (Cmd+U) (13c).
Finally select the Smudge Tool and set up its brush as in image 14a. The Size Jitter is set to fade so all the strokes will taper to a point. Paint from the fur outwards making a first pass with the brush set to 5px (14b) and a second one with the brush set to 2px for refinement (14c).
Finally add a drop shadow to the fur (15a). Right click on the fx icon in the Layers palette and choose Create Layer. Now Cmd+click the main stocking layer and apply the resulting selection as mask to the shadow layer. The stocking is finished (15b).
I hope this tutorial was fun and useful. Please be sure to subscribe. We have many more exciting tutorials on the way!