I love making little Artist Trading Cards, but often I want to use clip art or collage images that are too big to fit on them. Here is a simple guide to how to resize your digital clip art to fit your ATCs – or indeed any project you are making.
I am using Photoshop but you could do this in any graphics program that allows layers, such as GIMP (free!) , Adobe Photoshop Elements, CorelDraw, Serif PhotoPlus (free version available), Adobe Illustrator etc. Your software may look a little different to my screen shots, but the principles are just the same.
First I create a new document that is the size of my finished project. So in this case I create a blank document that is 3.5 inches tall and 2.5 inches wide. This is the standard size for an ATC (if you don’t know what ATCs are, see my article Introduction to Trading Cards). I set my new document to 200dpi as this will print nicely.
I have saved my ATC sized document so I can easily use it again in the future.
Now for the clip art. I want to use the cute little Frankie character from the Tin Teddy Frankie & Ezzie Clip Art set. I am going to make ATCs using the four standing images of him. There will be a tutorial for the ATC construction next week.
I opened the four images into Photoshop. I have all four open at once.
Then I dragged three of the images on to the fourth one. Frankie 2 is the widest, so I dragged the others on top of him. In Photoshop, and many other graphics programs, if you hold the shift key whilst you drag an image into another, it will end up perfectly centered in the new document.
Here is my pile of Frankies.
To make the next step as easy as possible, I resize the pile of images in two stages.
I opened the resize option. The resolution of these images is 200dpi, the same as my ATC document, so no change needed there. If it were different, then I would change this to match before doing anything else.
Now I change the dimensions to use inches, and set one of them so it will fit on the ATC. So my original Frankie images are 9.624 inches high and 5.554 inches across – far too big to fit on an ATC.
I will change the height to 3.5 inches. The width automatically adjusts to match. If your images are wider than they are long, change the width to fit. This is not the final re-sizing, it is just a short cut for later. Make sure that “Constrain proportions” is ticked before you resize, or else you will end up with a very strange shaped Frankie!
Next I clicked on the bottom Frankie layer, then held the shift key and clicked on the top Frankie layer – so all the Frankies were selected.
And I dragged them all into the blank ATC document that I made at the start.
Whilst they fit on the card (just) they are a bit too big for what I want. I will be adding other things to the ATC so do not want Frankie to cover so much area.
Make sure that you still have all four Frankies selected, then hold the shift key and carefully resize the Frankies until they are the size you will actually want them to be on the ATC.
Finally.. open a new document the same size as the paper you will be printing your Frankies on. I sometimes use 6″ x 4″ photo paper for when I only have a few things to print. But here I am going to use a sheet of A4 sized paper (A4 is very close to Letter size). Make sure the resolution is set to the same dpi as you have used for the ATC document and the clip art – in this case, 200dpi.
Drag the pile of freshly resized Frankies into the new A4 document.
Now just move the individual Frankies around so they all fit on your page. The picture below show just the upper part of the page (because the rest is just boring white).
Add anything else you wish to print at the same time…. and hit print!
Handy hint – I ALWAYS save my reduced pile of Frankies, and the finished document before I print it. Just in case. Or you may want them again another day and this saves having to reduce them all over again.
This technique takes a lot longer to explain here than it does to actually do it! And once you have done it once, the next time will be much faster.
There are other ways to reduce clip art to fit a specific project, but I usually use this technique as it is very easy to see exactly what I will get.
If you would like to know more about ATCs – Introduction To ATCs – What are Artist Trading Cards