Create a Photorealistic Letter Envelope in Photoshop

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Photoshop is program of choice for web designers around the globe. Its popularity is well-deserved; it has amazing potential for creating lifelike imagery in minutes. Nowadays, designers are focusing on creating highly-detailed realistic items. Photoshop has a lot to offer in this realm — all you need to do is keep practicing and exploring it to attain outstanding results.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create a photorealistic letter envelope in Photoshop from scratch. You’ll learn to create both the front and backsides of the envelope. We are going to use different shape tools, filters, and various blending options to achieve the final result. So, let’s get started!

Resources:

Postage Photoshop Brushes by Redheadstock

Stripes

Final result:

letter envelope

Step 1: Build Your Canvas

Create a new document in Photoshop with an 800px width and a 1000px height.

letter envelope

Step 2: Design the Outline

First, we’ll make the front side of the envelope. Set #eaedeb as your foreground color and select the rounded rectangle tool with a 10px radius to draw a rectangle of the size that you want your envelope to be.

letter envelope

Step 3: Apply Layer Styles

Double-click on this layer to open the layer style window and apply the following settings.

letter envelope

letter envelope

letter envelope

Step 4: Duplicate Your Layer

To enhance the shadow effect, duplicate the rectangle; remove its effects by simply dragging them to the “Delete Layer” icon present at the bottom of the layers panel. Change its color to pure black and place it below the original rectangle layer. Now, drag this rectangle to the right and downward a bit.

letter envelope

Go to “Filter” > “Blur” > “Gaussian Blur.” Use a value of 4px here.

letter envelope

Now reduce the opacity of this layer to 40%.

letter envelope

Step 5: Build Envelope Borders

Next, we’ll form the envelope borders. I’ve made the desired pattern to save your time; you can download it from the resources. Open the file in Photoshop, select a thin stripe using rectangular marquee tool, and press Ctrl+ “C” to copy the selection.

letter envelope

Now press Ctrl + “V” to paste it onto a new layer at the top of the rest of the layers in your document.

letter envelope

To confine this stripe to the envelope, click on the stripe layer, and then press Ctrl + <click on the thumbnail of the rectangle layer> to make a selection around it. Now press the “Add layer mask” icon, which is present at the bottom of the layers panel.

letter envelope

Step 6: Stripes All Around

Duplicate the top border thrice, arrange it around the rest of the borders, and add layer masks to them. Use the free transform tool (Ctrl + “T”) to rotate the border 90 degrees.

letter envelope

Step 7: Make Address Lines

Next, we’ll make dotted lines at the bottom-left corner of the envelope. Set #a0a4a1 as your foreground color and select the hard round brush. Use the following settings in the brush panel and simply draw a line using the brush tool while holding the “Shift” key. Draw this line on a new layer and duplicate it twice to get three lines in total. Arrange them as shown below.

letter envelope

Step 8: The Stamp

To form a stamp base, draw a rectangle in pure white color and select the hard round brush with the same settings used in step 7. Apply this brush on a new layer around the borders in a way that inner halves of the circles are inside the rectangle. Once you are satisfied with the shape, merge these layers.

letter envelope

Use the following settings to add shadow to the stamp.

letter envelope

Step 9: Stamp Details

I’ve used the image from my cupcake tutorial. You can make a dotted frame using the same technique if you want. Add some text to finish the stamp. I’ve used “Bookman Old Style” as the font here.

letter envelope

Step 10: Add Ink Stamps

Load the stamp brushes in Photoshop and apply few of them on separate new layers in pure black. Arrange them as you like.

letter envelope

Step 11: Air Mail Stamp

Draw a small rectangle using the rounded rectangle tool with a 10px radius. Use color #2087b0 here.

letter envelope

Use the following values to add a slight shadow.

letter envelope

Step 12

Add some text inside the rectangle. I used the same font in white shade. You can add a simple plane vector to enhance the overall look. I’ve made the plane using the pen tool (Tool mode: Shape).

letter envelope

The front of the envelop is done, all with simple, easy techniques used to achieve a great result. Now, we’ll move ahead to create the backside.

Step 13: Start the Back

Collect all the layers forming the envelope’s front in a group. Duplicate this group, and delete all the layers in this group except the main rectangle, its shadow, and the striped borders.

letter envelope

Now, draw the shape as below using the pen tool (Tool mode: Shape) in color #eaedeb. I’ve drawn half of it, duplicated it, and flipped it horizontally to get the identical sides. To flip horizontally, go to “Edit” > “Transform” > “Flip Horizontal.”

letter envelope

Step 14: Add Layer Styles

Apply the following layer style settings on this new envelope flap.

letter envelope

letter envelope

letter envelope

Step 15: Form a Flap Shadow

Next, to form its shadow, duplicate this new shape layer, turn it black, and place it below the original layer. Now, go to “Edit” > “Transform” > “Warp.” Use this tool to create the shadow shape shown below.

letter envelope

Reduce the opacity of the shadow layer to 35%.

letter envelope

Step 16: Finish Your Envelope

Duplicate the shape layer, which we’ve created in step 13. Flip it vertically and arrange it as shown below.

letter envelope

Step 17: Add Shadow

Make its shadow in the same way as explained in step 15. Use the warp tool as shown below.

letter envelope
Once you are done, reduce the opacity of this layer to 20%.

letter envelope

Step 18: Bring Back the Stripes

Now drag the top and bottom border layers at top of rest of the layers.

letter envelope

Step 19: Add a Stamp

Apply an appropriate stamp brush on a new layer.

letter envelope

I want to break the stamp in two parts, as you can see paper is lifted a bit at that area. To achieve this, duplicate the stamp layer. Select a portion of the stamp using the lasso tool and go to “Edit” > “Clear.”

letter envelope

Now, click on the duplicated stamp layer and add a layer mask to confine it to the lower triangular shape.

letter envelope

Step 20: Remove Unwanted Shadow

Create a new layer at the top and apply a soft round brush tool with 20% opacity in pure white color as shown below.

letter envelope

letter envelope

That’s it guys. I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and learned something useful. I’ll be waiting for your feedback.

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  • Jayarajan J

    Simply fantastic

  • myabelle

    wow. that was very informative. lots of things to improve on my beginner skills in photoshop. thank you. and thanks for the striped paper too.

  • N

    This is awesome. Would love to know how to create the pattern in photoshop though.