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Photo in a Christmas Ball

 by Gem Sahagun


This interesting effect is great to use with cards, scrapbook layouts, craft projects with photos, etc - and it's so easy to do! 

Photo "in" a Christmas Ball


  • a ball image (I used Christmas Ball - red2 from Calico Christmas)
    ... and if you need a "practice ball" check the link at the bottom of the page - enjoy!
  • favorite digital photo
  • graphics software that supports layers (I use Adobe Photoshop)


1. Open a new file in your graphics program in the size you prefer. (I used the same dimensions as the ball graphic - 3.5" x 5" with a resolution of 300 ppi).

2. Open the Christmas Ball graphic, remove the white background, and copy into the new file. Close the ball file.

3. Open the photo file, and copy into the new file. Close the photo file.

4. On the new file, you now have two layers: the photo is on top and the ball image is under it. Resize the photo until it "fits" inside the ball. Do not worry about the edges of the photo showing, this will be hidden in the next step.

5. Rearrange the two layers so that the photo is underneath the ball.

6. Make the ball layer the active layer, then select the eraser tool. Use an eraser with fuzzy edges and set the diameter to about less than a third of the ball (I set mine to 465). Erase the middle of the ball - you should now see the photo "peeking" through. Go over the erased part, making it bigger or smaller, according to your preference.

7. For additional effects, you can make a "window" reflection: make a new layer, with the rectangular marquee tool, select an area about 1/2" by 3/4" and fill with white. Select an area in the middle, about 1/8" by 3/4" and cut. Select a 1/2" by 1/8" area running crosswise in the middle of the rectangle and cut. You should now have a "cross". Run the spherize filter (Filter > Distort > Spherize) to make it curve as if it was on the surface of a ball. Move the window reflection over the ball where it looks "right". Lower the opacity to about 90%.
Note: If you don't have the filter mentioned above, you may e-mail me and I'll send you the window reflection image.

8. You may layer on the image of boughs for a more aesthetic effect (erase part of the bough where the wire hanger goes, so that it looks like it's hanging from the bough).

9. Yay! Enjoy showing off your work!

Need a "practice ball"?

Just right click on the image to download, then save in your disk! This is a freebie and it may be used for either personal or commercial use. However, no digital sharing please! You may direct friends and family to this website if you want them to take advantage of this freebie. Thank you!

Free Christmas Ball Image

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