You don’t need a separate card creator program to make professional looking gift and greetings cards. You can do it with Photoshop and I’m going to show you how.
Aim: In this tutorial, we are going to create a shadow effect that makes a textured piece of paper look as though it is floating above the background and slightly bent, thus producing a realistic, three-dimensional look. At the end of this tutorial you will have created your very own 3D gift card, as shown below.
Primary tools used:
- Drawing Tool (to draw the card and the shadow behind the card)
- Gradient Tool (to apply color to the card)
- Texturize Filter (to apply texture to the paper)
- Blur Filter (to create the shadow effect)
- Warp (to bend the shadow and create the 3D effect)
OK, let’s get started.
Step 1 – Drawing the Card
Firstly open Photoshop and create a new document with the following settings:
Now you should have a plain white background to begin drawing on.
Select the Rectangle Tool, as shown below.
As you can see in the image below, my default drawing tool is the Ellipse Tool. To select the Rectangle Tool I need to bring the full menu out to the right. To do this, you can hold down the left mouse button on the default tool and the menu will appear.
Before we draw the rectangle shape on our white page, we need to select the Fill color for our rectangle.
The Fill color for our rectangle is going to be a Gradient Fill, to make it look a little more realistic. Selecting a solid Fill color for our rectangle will make it look amateurish…and we don’t want that! J
Click on the “Fill” icon at the top of the screen (as shown in the image below).
Then click on the “Gradient Icon” (the grey fading icon pointed out with the arrow).
Notice the Stroke color is set to no color (a white box with a red line through it). Make sure you set the Stroke to the same setting.
The other settings that are important to configure on this screen are:
- Gradient Type – Linear
- Degrees – 90 (This will make the gradient be applied from the bottom, up)
Next, to set the colors for the Gradient Tool, you can double click on the two color pallets at the bottom of the gradient bar, as shown below.
The first pallet (to the left) should be configured with Hex Color Code #988856 (see below).
The second pallet (to the right) should be configured with Hex Color Code #D2C5AD (see below).
You can choose different colors if you like, but if this is your first time using these tools I would advise you stick to the colors selected in this tutorial.
OK, now draw your rectangle with similar dimensions as the one below.
We now have our basic gift card!
Step 2 – Applying Texture to the Card
Now that we have our card, we will to apply a grainy texture effect to it. There are many templates, filters, and shapes available on the internet for applying these types of effects, however in this tutorial we will use one of Photoshop’s built-in effects so you don’t need to download any additional files.
The first step is to click on the “Filter” menu item at the top of the screen and then click on “Filter Gallery”.
You’ll get a notification saying the layer must be “rasterized” before you can continue. Click OK.
There are two main types of objects when editing graphics, Vector objects and Rasterized objects. Vector objects are basically just shapes and can be scaled to any size without losing quality. A Rasterized object is formed of pixels, which means that the larger you make the object, the more pixelated it becomes. Photoshop filters, effects and transformations cannot be done on Vector objects, they need to be done on a Rasterized object. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rasterisation 
You’ll now see a list of effects options as shown below. Click on “Texture” and then “Texturizer”.
Set the same settings as shown above.
- Scaling – 115%
- Relief – 4
- Light – Top
Click “OK” and you should now have an image similar to the one shown below.
We now have a nice 2D greeting card!
In Part 2 of the tutorial  we will be applying the 3D effect by creating a custom made shadow box behind the gift card.