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A (very) original greeting card !

edited on 4th January 2012

bijoux fantaisie


Like everyone, when arrives this period of the Year, I am confronted with the friendly "challenge" of the greeting cards.

I say "challenge", because of course, I am totally involved to do this in an original manner, otherwise they could be lost in the billion greeting sent by SMS this year in France.

Last year, I had concocted you an original theme based on fireworks. This year, I have been short in time (Christmas and 1st of January were Sundays), and I haven't been on vacation

So, I needed all my creativity to overcome this "challenge" !

As you have until the end of January to send your greeting, I detail you my method, quite easy as you will see.

Download series 20cents cubes  !

The more complicated has been to find the basic idea. The realization has been much easier.

A year closes, another opens, how to illustrate this ?

When telling this sentence in my head, theme #33 "Cubes in Cubes" from series 20cents cubes suddenly appears in my mind.
If you do not already have this series, just download it (you may need to register first if this is not already the case)

In this theme, the opening sequence will fold, building a cube.  Several sides are shown before the cube opens displaying the ending scene...

Create opening and ending sequences

You have already understood it, we will place 2011 on the opening image, and 2012 on the ending sequence. Let's see how to do this in less than a minute !

We will simply use the classical title  editor of Pinnacle Studio (here version 14). To open it, place your mouse on the title track of the timeline, and then right-click on your mouse to open the shortcut menu.

Select "go to classic titles editor". (translation may be approximative as I use the French version of Studio)

Open Pinnacle's classic title editor

Create opening sequence

Classical titles Editor is open, we will start by drawing a plain colored rectangle as background image for our title

you can see a toolbar below the drawing window of the title editor,
  • Click the small square (the 4th icon from the left, mark (1) in the above figure). Your cursor takes a squared form to indicate that the rectangle tool is selected.
  • Move your mouse at the top left of the drawing area and select from top left corner to bottom right. A plain rectangle is then displayed.
  • To select a color, click one of the proposed decorations of  texts (the "Aa", Mark (4) below). Your rectangle will take the color of the letters (and ignore shadows and background details). If the color of the font is a gradient, your rectangle will also resume this property
  • Once the color selected, select the text tool (the 2nd icon from the left, the one that shows a "T", reference (2) below), and draw the text box on the drawing window. Just compose 2011, and then adjust the font size (reference 3 below, 250 pixels is a good value, but do as you prefer)
  • Now click on OK, and your title is created.

Creating a title with Pinnacle Studio

Create ending sequence and an intermediate title

Simply repeat this same operation with other colors for the ending title 2012.
We will also create a third title that will be used to present your wishes. In my implementation, I have chosen to say Bonne Annèe (meaning Happy New Year). Be careful to the framing, because this intermediate title will be inserted on one of the sides of the square, and therefore the title will be trimmed into a square, letters must not be too left or right !

Happy New Year (in French)

Setting your montage theme

We will now set our montage theme  #033 Cubes in Cubes  on the timeline.

This will require these 3 operations :

(1) open the montage theme album using the lateral icon (or the Album/montage theme menu)
(2) select "20cents cubes" series that you have previously downloaded and installed from this site
(3) drag and drop the theme from the album to the timeline. Pay attention to locate the theme at the starting point of the timeline.

Using a montage theme in Pinnacle Studio

Put your media into drop zones

At this stage, you note the presence of our 3 titles on the  titles track. We will use them to fill some of the drop zones of the montage theme.

1) double click on the theme when on the timeline will open the themes parameters editor.
2) then drag title 2011 and drop it into opening drop zone (# 1), then repeat with title 2012 to the ending drop zone (# 5), and finally with title Bonne Année  (or Happy New Year) to the drop zones # 3 and # 4.

For drop zone # 2, I have put a photo of myself, but it is up to you to fill it with whatever you want !

Finally, delete the titles of the timeline, they don't have any usage any more.

Your greeting card begins to take shape...

Put your title into drop zones

Add a motion background.

Initially, my themes included a native ability to display motion backgrounds using the "Movie" parameter. These motion backgrounds are produced by who asked me not to offer them for download any longer, that I of course did. Nevertheless, it is still possible to get them for free on their web site where you will found more than 100 different high quality animated loops, all for free (beside premium content which could be of interest for some of you).

For my greeting card, I have choosed their animation #100 (see menu Free web ressources/Video background loops/Music loops on their site). It represents a disco ball .

Download this animation (or any other you may prefer) !

Then, move your montage theme from main to overlay track on the timeline, and insert your disco ball  animation on the main track. This animation lasts 20 seconds, while the theme duration is 22 sec. As a consequence, this will require to duplicate the animation which is loopable (with a CTRL C and CTRL V),  then cut the end of the duplicated sequence to get the same total duration as the montage theme has.

add a motion background

Create a sound track

The more complicated is of course to choose a soundtrack which match with your video. Personally, this year, my choice goes to Sinsemila with his song "Tout le bonheur du monde"  (All the happiness of the world) which here are the words

On vous souhaite tout le bonheur du monde
Et que quelqu'un vous tende la main
Que votre chemin évite les bombes
Qu'il mène vers de calmes jardins.

On vous souhaite tout le bonheur du monde
Pour aujourd'hui comme pour demain
Que votre soleil éclaircisse l'ombre
Qu'il brille d'amour au quotidien.

my translation looks like :

We wish you all the happiness of the world
And that someone will help you,
That your way avoids bombs
and leads you to quiet gardens.

We wish you all the happiness of the world
For today and tomorrow
That your Sun highlight shadow
And shines of love everyday.

Drag the song you choose on the music track, then select with care the instant of starting sequence and cut the part before. Place the remaining part at the beginning of the timeline, and cut all what exceed the end of the theme ...

add a sound track with Pinnacle Studio

Last details

To make it nicer, I added black fade at the beginning and end of the clip, including sound track to modulate the sound level at the beginning and end of clip.

To do this,.

(1) select album of transitions
(2) choose the transition 2D album
(3) drag and drop the black fade transition to the beginning and the end of main, overlay, and sound tracks.

Try to reproduce this easy tutorial and send your greeting cards by video !

a black fade video effect

I Wish you a happy new year 2012 !

bijoux fantaisie

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