Christmas Family Tree: FastStone & Adobe

by JL Beeken on 12-14-2007

Let’s say it’s about the middle of December and you haven’t been paying any attention to the fact that Christmas is coming. But you’re starting to think maybe you should. Except it’s cold outside, your car’s buried under two feet of snow, you’re broke and, frankly, you’d rather look up census records than shop anyway. What you really need about now is something to save you from yourself.

Make A Christmas Family Tree

Step 1. Make a list of all the people in your immediate family. Depending on your age, start with your parents or your grandparents. Or yourself. What we’re going to do is make a family tree, so pick the starting couple according to how many descendants you think will fit on one monitor-size tree.

Step 2. Find a graphic of a tree. If you use Legacy, just copy one out of the Legacy/TreeImages folder. Or look up ‘Tree’ in Google Images. As long as you don’t post your creation online or in any other publication you can probably get away with using a copyrighted one. Gather together individual photos of each person on your list. If you don’t have such things, crop the best you can find out of group photos. Save all these together in one folder.

Step 3. Download and install FastStone Viewer if you don’t already have it. It’s free, it’s 4 MB and it’s fine. This project can also be done in a different manner with Adobe Elements, or some such, if you have a photo editor.

In FastStone Viewer, click on the tree and then Create/Wallpaper Anywhere. Drag the edges of the tree to make it fill the screen.

FastStone Image Viewer, Wallpaper Anywhere

FastStone Image Viewer, Wallpaper Anywhere

And then add the other pictures. And frame-masks if you like.

FastStone Image Viewer, Wallpaper Anywhere

It’s self-explanatory, but if not, follow the instructions for making a collage in Photo Collage. There’s no forward/backward buttons here for moving layers so once you’ve got your people aligned do not click on the tree as it will bring it forward and your people will be hidden behind. You can get them out, it’s just a nuisance thing. If you like, you can then take your creation into the Draw Board and add text.

FastStone Image Viewer

If you want your photos all lined up nicely it’s better to use something like Adobe Elements where there’s a grid. Here, just start with a new blank file the size you want, and then drag and drop the other pictures onto it, resizing them as you go. There’s also different options here for frames and filters.

Adobe Photoshop Elements

Adobe Photoshop Elements

If you have time to look around for some clip art, you can add bells and tinsel and gingerbread Santa Clauses. Adobe Elements has a few bits or you can Google “free Christmas clip art”. Try to get into this. The census records will still be there when you get back.

Or if you like, you can spherize your relatives and use them for tree ornaments. Note: I did not say should.

christmas-family-tree_5

If there’s still time you can print your creation and stick a stamp on it. If not, don’t we love email.

There, saved by the bell.

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