December 23, 2023 : Digital Candy Cane Breakdown

I really liked how the candy canes turned out in this year’s Holiday card. It took a few steps to get to the end result so I figured I’d share the progression:

Digital Candy Cane Design in After Effects

I ended up using After Effects – technically, the base shapes were done in Illustrator when I was creating the card’s general layout, but this could have easily been done in AE as well. I’m sure Photoshop would have been just as capable, but I used a fair amount of mattes, masks, and blending modes; and I am more comfortable doing that in AE.

Originally, I was planning on going with a more illustrative look so I could have easily stopped at #3 or #4; but as I kept working through things, I liked the realistic look more and more. The shadows/highlights really helped achieve the look I wanted, but I think the unsung hero that really sold it was the noise layer.

posted by Pi Visuals at 12:34 am

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December 15, 2023 : Tis’ the Season – For Digital Candy Canes

Another year, another Holiday Card. For those keeping track, this is the seventh year I made one with/for the family. Here’s number 7:

Digital Candy Cane Design

Every time it seems like a rush job; but by keeping things simple, I feel it was pretty manageable this year. As always, there are a few things I would have liked to tweak a little more, but overall I’m pleased with the end result.

I’m a big fan of the candy canes, which were created in After Effects. In fact, the whole card was done in AE (with a splash of Illustrator) versus using Photoshop. This was mostly due to my comfort level with the software, as I’m sure it could have been done easily in PS. I plan on writing up a quick post describing the steps. It wasn’t too complicated but there were a series of layered effects, which gave a solid look.

posted by Pi Visuals at 12:04 am

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January 21, 2023 : Tis’ the Season – For An Overdue Post About A Holiday Card

I meant to crank out a quick post last month highlighting the most recent Holiday card, but I guess I never got around to it – which is weird since this Holiday season wasn’t particularly busy. Well, better late than never:

The theme for this last year’s card (number 6, by the way) was locked in pretty early. The same goes for the layout and photos. However, there was a lot of back and forth with the coloring and smaller design details. I’m used to tweaking things to death, but this one seemed more than usual. Either way, I was happy with the final product – and a few ideas were even brainstormed (and documented) for next year.

posted by Pi Visuals at 12:08 am



December 10, 2021 : Tis’ the Season – For A Simple, Yet Quaint Holiday Card

In addition to the normal Holiday hubbub, I also took on a side project. Even with things being so hectic, I still made time to create this year’s Holiday card:

This marks the fifth straight year of making the card, which I’m proud of. Although, I must say this year was light on design. In fact, I had a more detailed background in earlier versions but pulled it back to the more simplified one seen above.

That said, I still like the overall aesthetic and its message. I suppose the people in the photos aren’t bad either.

posted by Pi Visuals at 11:54 pm



December 11, 2020 : Tis’ the Season – For This Year’s Holiday Card

During the Me and Me wrap up, some time was allocated to this year’s Holiday card:

The lift was minimal, compared to previous years; but it was nice to hop into Photoshop… it’s been too long. Small projects like these serve as a good break.

posted by Pi Visuals at 11:42 am



December 24, 2017 : Holiday Card – Scrapped Versions

For the first time ever, I made a Holiday Card this year. Below is the final product:

Overall, I like how it came out. Much like what was discussed in my previous post, there were several major versions required to get to the above – even though this was a personal project. One of the earlier iterations had a Snowman. It was very simple, but I liked it’s feel and was disappointed with not being able to use it.

The ornament overlay works better with the mosaic look of the other photos, but I enjoy the cartoon look of the Snowman. It was made in Illustrator, and I intentionally excluded edges. I didn’t think they would mesh well over the photos. Ultimately, it was the right call to not have the Snowman, but perhaps I’ll think of a use for him in the future.

posted by Pi Visuals at 12:14 am

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