Do you want to know how it's done? Learn how to use Photoshop the easy way!
Here we are going to create a digital photo valentine using Photoshop. This is a nice way to create something for that special someone that you can print or send as an email for Valentines day.
Start off with a picture that you want to use for the background. We are going to put a heart around the subject of the picture, so choose your picture carefully. Some won't work as well as others. For this tutorial to work right, this image needs to be labeled "Background" in the layers palette. If it is not, select Layer/New/Background From Layer from the menu bar. Here is what I am starting with.
Next select the "Custom Shape" tool by pressing U. Photoshop comes with many preloaded custom shapes to choose from. At the top of the window you should see the word "shape" with some shape next to it. Use the drop down arrow and select the heart. If you do not see the heart shape, hit the arrow on the flyout box and select "Shapes".
Now go down to your picture and left click and drag across it until you get the size and shape of the heart that fits your picture best. If you don't get the size right the first time, go to Edit/Transform/Scale from the menu bar and resize it. The heart should automatically fill with whatever color you have in the foreground tile. For this tutorial the color of the heart does not matter. Reduce the opacity of the heart so you can see through it. This way you will be able to move it around and get it placed on your picture just right. When you have it where you want it, set the opacity back to 100%.
Create a new layer and drag it so that it is in between the heart layer and the background layer. Fill this layer with some valentine color like red or pink. You can also play around with gradients and clouds for this layer to create a nice effect.
Highlight the shape layer on top, and select Layer/Layer Style/Blending Options from the menu bar. Set the "Knockout" to deep, and the fill opacity to 0%.You may want to play with the opacity level depending on which color your heart is. It can create a nice filtered type of glow for your background picture if you set it at about 28%.
While you are in the "Blending Options" window, make the following settings:
If you need to relocate the heart with the picture in it, you will first need to temporarily change the background to a standard layer. You will not see the image when you do this because the knockout feature needs a background. Highlight the heart layer and link it to the bottom layer, and it will move the two together. Then change the bottom image layer back to a "Background" layer. Layer/New/Background From Layer.
Now all that is left for our valentine is to add some text. I am using the font Lucida Handwriting with a little bevel, drop shadow, and stroke from the "Blending Options" window. Play around with different fonts and settings until you find the right style for your picture. Here is what I ended up with. Have fun with your photoshop valentine!