Photoshop tutorial – Create Easy 3-D Box Picture Frames

There are so many ways to enhance our images. One of my favorite ways is to add a border or frame and it can be done in such creative ways. Absolutely exciting, challenging and rewarding as I experiment with the many ways available in Photoshop CS2. These last few days, while playing around with just a few of the Layer Styles, I was surprised to get some delightful results – one that displayed a lovely three-dimensional effect, almost like a box picture frame.

Cropped image (size - 800 x 600px) of Peaceful Dove before framing So, I’ve decided to note it down here lest I forget as well as to share this basic photo framing tutorial to anyone interested! In this tutorial, we’ll be solely applying some of the commonly used Layer Styles to create a 3-D photo frame or border. This is most applicable when you want to focus on the central subject/object within the image, and yet don’t want to crop the undesirable areas bordering it either so as to maintain the image size. The layer styles you apply will automatically overlap the unwanted areas and instantly create fanciful photo frames, changeable to your taste! Let’s begin the fun –

1. In Photoshop, open the image that you want to frame – Choose File > Open and browse to select your image.

2. You’ll need to duplicate the original image as it’s unwise to work on it. With the original image activated, choose Image > Duplicate (a duplicate window pops up, type a new file name as you wish) > OK. Close the original image and make very sure you’re now working with the duplicate. Check image size and if necessary crop with the Crop Tool (tap C) or reduce its size – go to Image > Image Size and key in the dimensions as you would want the completed image to be. To crop, drag the Crop Tool over the part of the image you want to keep to create a marquee. The marquee doesn’t have to be precise as you can adjust it later by dragging any side handle. To complete the crop, press Enter (or double-click inside the cropping marquee or click the Commit button in the options bar). To cancel the cropping operation, press Esc (or click the Cancel button in the options bar).

3. Now, to create a fancy border for your photo. To do this, you have first to unlock the Background layer to allow blending effects on your photo. In the Layers Palette which is at bottom right of screen, double click on the Background layer and rename it if you wish when a window pops up, then click OK. (Tip – If the Layers Palette is not visible, tap key F7 or go to Window > Layers).

4. To bring up the Layer Style window, go to Layer menu > Layer Style > Blending Options. (Alternatively, you can click the Add a layer style button found at the bottom of Layers Palette and make your selection). Check that Preview (on the right side of window) is selected to allow you to view simultaneously the effects of your choices on image itself. Click on the name of the various Layer Styles to select and bring up their options for you to choose. Play around with the various blending modes to learn and test to see what each does. Best way to learn is through trial and error! Have fun! And when you’re finally satisfied with the results, hit OK. Should you change your mind on any of the blending effects, double-click on the Photo layer in the Layers Palette to open the Layer Style window and make the desired changes.

5. In this example, I’ve applied the Inner Glow, Bevel and Emboss and ended with a Stroke. The following effects were chosen:-

Inner Glow: Blend Mode – Screen, Opacity – 100%, Noise – 0%, Color – White #ffffff, Technique – Precise, Source – Edge, Choke – 0%, Size – 80px, Contour – Linear, deselect Anti-aliased, Range – 1% and Jitters – 0%.

Bevel and Emboss: Style – Inner Bevel, Technique – Chisel Hard, Depth – 300%, Direction – Up, Size – 50px, Soften – 5px, Angle – 30 degrees, select Global Light, Altitude – 70 degrees, Gloss Contour – Linear, deselect Anti-aliased, Highlight Mode – Screen, Color – White #ffffff, Opacity – 60%, Shadow Mode – Multiply, Color #321d02, Opacity – 50%. Also, click the name Contour on the left side of window, and picked Contour – Linear, deselect Anti-aliased, Range – 50%. Please do try out the various contour styles available at the drop-down menu and play with the range glider to see their wonderful effects – you’d be astounded! Or you may want to customise your own style – click on the contour image to open the Contour Editor which will enable you to make variations, and don’t forget to save for future use.

Stroke: Size – 10px, Position – Inside, Blend Mode – Normal, Opacity – 100%, Color #947974.

6. Aha…I almost forgot to mention about saving all the blending effects done as a New Style for future use! No problem – just double-click on the Photo layer in Layers Palette and the Layer Style window will pop up. On the right side, select New Style… to create a new preset from the current settings. Give a name when prompted and see that both Include Layer Effects and Layer Blending Options are selected before hitting OK. Then, on the left side click on Styles to confirm that your new style had been added into the collection. This will definitely come in handy and save time when you want to frame another picture. Just choose from your collection of preset styles, the desired one and then move on to make some changes to suit the next photo you’re working on! You’d be amazed with all the resulting effects as you play around with them!

Hooray! This is the ultimate result! Simple yet delightful, don’t you think so? ;)

Completed 3-D Picture Frame of Peaceful Dove, as per photo framing tutorial

This next image is exactly as steps taken in the above photo framing tutorial with minute changes in the Layer Styles! The sizes of Stroke and Inner Glow have been reduced to 6px and 65px respectively. And, I just couldn’t resist in customizing a style at the Contour to bevel and gliding the range % to try out my creation!

3-D Photo Frame with descending steps, like box picture frame

Hope you have fun with this! I did without question! :)

View more of my Photoshop Tutorials

Updated on September 6, 2007 –
Here’s another photo to show the fabulous effects of creating a frame! It does look pretty with a 3-D border added, don’t you think so? And such fun to frame, effortless really when you practice more often! :D

A tiny spider adding pattern to the lovely orchid flower! Don't you think this picture frame is as lovely too?

Layer styles applied were as follows :-
1) Inner Glow: Blend Mode – Dissolve, Opacity – 100%, Noise – 0%, Color – White #ffffff, Technique – Softer, Source – Edge, Choke – 50%, Size – 60px, Contour – Linear, deselect Anti-aliased, Range – 25% and Jitters – 0%.
2) Stroke: Size – 15px, Position – Inside, Blend Mode – Normal, Opacity – 100%, Color – Black #050505.
3) Bevel and emboss: Style – Inner Bevel, Technique – Chisel Soft, Depth – 150%, Direction – Up, Size – 27px, Soften – 5px, Angle – 120 degrees, deselect Global Light, Altitude – 30 degrees, Gloss Contour – Rounded Steps, deselect Anti-aliased, Highlight Mode – Screen, Color – White #ffffff, Opacity – 100%, Shadow Mode – Multiply, Color – Black #050505, Opacity – 40%.

Last edited: 2008-06-20

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One Response to “Photoshop tutorial – Create Easy 3-D Box Picture Frames”

  1. Migraine Relief Says:

    we both have those traditional picture frames and digital picture frames at home. both are great for displaying family pictures .~:

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