Photoshop tutorial – Create simple photo borders/frames (Part 3)

This is Part 3 of the Photoshop tutorial series on how to create simple photo borders or frames. View previous tutorials: Part 1 and Part 2, if you’re interested.

Here’s presenting another very simple and quick way to spice up your digital photos or images, by using Photoshop CS2 to add borders.

Let’s begin:


Step 1. In Photoshop, open the image that you want to use – press Ctrl+O (or go to File > Open) and browse to choose and open your image. For this tutorial, a 800 x 600 pixels image of Tradescantia spathacea ‘Hawaiian Dwarf’, captured from our garden was chosen.
(A gentle reminder: don’t ever work on your original image, get a copy done instead. And, you may want to reduce your image size beforehand to the recommended image size for web publishing which is 800 x 600 pixels or vice versa).

Step 2. Now, choose either a Rectangular Marquee Tool or an Elliptical Marquee Tool from the top left of the toolbar (if it is unseen, click and hold down the icon until a fly-out appears and choose your tool), and drag to draw a selection border over the area of your image that you want to keep. You can either do a free-hand drawing by first setting Style to Normal at the top options bar, or set Style to Fixed Size.

Step 2: Framing with Quick Mask+FilterHere, the Rectangular Marquee Tool was used and I’ve opted for Fixed Size and set Width: 760px and Height: 560px. Next, click inside the top left of image to place the prefixed rectangular selection border. You can then reposition the selection by clicking anywhere inside it and drag, and/or use the keyboard arrow keys to nudge slightly if necessary. To undo, press Ctrl+Z or click inside it to deselect and start all over again.

Step 3: Framing with Quick Mask+FilterStep 3. Next, press Q or click on the Quick Mask Mode icon at the lower end of Toolbar to apply a quick mask.

Step 4. Then, apply some filters to the area that you have quickmasked. Go to Filter > Brush Strokes > Sprayed Strokes, and a dialog window appears for your selection. For this simple example, I’ve set the following:

  • Stroke Length: 12
  • Spray Radius: 15
  • Stroke Direction: Right Diagonal

Before you click OK to accept and exit window, do try out the numerous filter effects available in Photoshop CS2, you’ll be spoilt for choices! It’s really user-friendly. The preview on the left of window will assist you as you play around with your selections, and at the right bottom there are 2 buttons: clicking on the New effect layer icon will present further choices of a specific selection, and the Delete icon to remove the unwanted.

Click OK to accept a single selection, and repeat if desired. Applying a combination of Filters, one after another, a few more times with the Quick Mask still on, will result in cool, arty and funky frames. Be creative, you have a lot of options.

Steps 4 to 6: Framing with Quick Mask+FilterStep 5. Press Q to return to Standard Mode. You’ll notice a dotted line encircling the selected area.

Step 6. Now, invert your selection – press the shortcut keyboard keys Ctrl+Shift+I or go to Select > Inverse and you’ll find another set of dotted line outlining your image. The area between the two sets of dotted lines will then form the filtered frame.

Step 7: Framing with Quick Mask+FilterStep 7. Now, to color the frame – use the Eyedropper Tool from the toolbar to choose the color from the image itself or click on the Set foreground color box to open up the Color Picker palette for other colors.
Then, press Alt+Backspace on keyboard to paint in the foreground color.

In this example, I’ve painted it white. Painting white or black is easy. Look at the two color boxes at the Toolbar – just pressing D on your keyboard will reset the default foreground color to black and background color to white. To paint the foreground color, press Alt+Backspace, or press Ctrl+Backspace to paint the background color.

Step 8. To end, press Ctrl+D to deselect (remove the dotted lines) or go to Edit > Deselect.

The final result: A framed image of Tradescantia spathacea 'Hawaiian Dwarf'Voila! Here’s the final result. Clicking on the image will link to its larger version. I like the overall angled and sprayed effect created by the Brush Stroke filter here, giving the photo frame a painterly look. Especially lovely too when set against a white border and placed on the website’s white background, giving a look of infinity!

There are great possibilities in Photoshop, just let your creative instincts surface!

Framing with Quick Mask+Filter+StrokePresenting a different outlook here –
Enhanced with Stroke: A double border can be added to the same image above, using the Stroke command as seen in the right image.

To do this:

  1. undo the Deselect that was done in Step 8 above, by pressing Ctrl+Z or click on the action before Deselect in the History Palette.
  2. go to Edit > Stroke and make your choices when its dialog box appears. Here, the following were set: Width – 3 px, Color – #040001, Location – Center, Blending mode – Normal, and Opacity – 100%.
  3. And, to finish off, press Ctrl+D to deselect.

Cool, huh? The added stroke effect gives the image an attractive burnt-edge look, don’t you think so? :D

A framed image of Croton cultivars, enclosed in a rounded rectangular borderRounded rectangle frame:
I’m excited to share this here as I’ve discovered recently that it can be done with the Filter options too. Hehe…it was worthwhile playing around in the Filter gallery. Click on image, if you’d like to see it large. Anyway, this isn’t the only means to accomplish smooth rounded corners for your image.

Simple process, chiefly basing on steps taken in creating a photo border, using a quick mask and filter as detailed above:

Step 1. Follow Steps 1. to 3. from the top. The only difference being an image of our Garden Crotons was selected here and the Fixed Size of this Rectangular Marquee border was set to 780 x 580 pixels for a narrower margin.

Step 2. Here too, apply filter (though a different one now) to the area that has been quickmasked. Go to Filter > Artistic > Palette Knife, and a dialog window appears for your selection. For this simple example, I’ve set the following:

  • Stroke Size: 50
  • Stroke Detail: 1
  • Softness: 3

Click OK to accept and exit window.
(Note: You can even get a similarly rounded rectangle by selecting Paint Daubs instead of Palette Knife in the Artistic section of the Filter gallery, and move the sliders to test the results.)

Step 3. As Steps 5. to 8. above, with the exception of border color to be changed to #abf907, a vibrant green.

The completed photo looks fabulous, I think, with appealing rounded corners and wonderfully framed with a brilliant contrasting border. What say you? ;)

Hope these processes have enriched you in more ways than none!

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