I am going to demonstrate here how to display your works simulating a gallery frame. It will enhance your images the same way framing enhances a painting or a photograph.
This technique has been around for quite sometime and does not need the latest version of Photoshop to do it.
Step One: Opening the Image to Be Framed
Open the image to be framed (Image 01). If the picture is intented for the Web, it does not have to be hi-rez (1024 x 768 pixels).
Step Two: Creating the Wall
First, you will create the wall on which to hang your digital picture frame.
1. To do this, you have to first separate the image from the background.
a. First make sure that the background color is white.
b. Select the image by pressing Command/Control+A.
c. Press Shift+Command/Control+J. This will create a separate background from the image (Image 02).
2. Go to Image > Canvas Size (Image 03). In the Canvas dialog box (Image 04), make sure that the setting for the Width and the Height is in inches. Check Relative. In this example, I added 5 inches all around the image which will serve the wall (Image 05).
If the framed images are intended to be exhibited on your Website, change the color of the wall to the color of the Web page containing your photo gallery.
Step Three: Creating the Frame
Now, you will create the gallery frame.
1. Create a new layer below the image. While the image is selected, press Command/Control as you click on the the Create new layer button at the bottom of the Layers palette. This will create a new layer immediately under the image layer rather than on top.
2. Command/Control+click on the image layer to load the hidden selection.
3. While the selection is active, go to Select>Transform Selection (Image 06).
4. In the Options bar, change the percentage of the Width and the Height to about 130% (Image 07).
5. Fill the new layer with white. If the background color is white, press Command/Control+Delete/Backspace. You will not see any changes but, if you look at the Layers palette, you will see that the middle layer is now filled with white (Image 08).
6. The next step is to stroke the edges of the middle layer. While the middle layer is active, click the Add a layer style button at the bottom of the Layers palette. In the drop down menu, choose Stroke (Image 09).
In the Layer Style dialog box (Image 10), change the default color to black, choose Inside as the Position and change the Size to suit your taste. In this example, I used 35 pixels for the size of the Stroke (frame). See Image 11.
7. At this point, the frame looks flat. We have to add shadows to create an illusion of depth. The first shadow we will add is the inner shadow to create a distance between the frame (the stroke) and the photograph.
As in No. 6, click the Add a layer style button at the bottom of the Layers palette and choose Inner Shadow from the drop-down menu.
In the Layer Style dialog box (Image 12), manually drag the shadow from the stroke to create an impressiob of distance between the frame and the image. In this example, I also reduced the Opacity slightly.
8. To complete the illusion, you will now create a drop shadow to separate the frame from the "wall". With the middle layer still active, click again on the Add layer style button at the bottom of the Layers palette, and this time choose Drop Shadow from the drop-down menu.
In the Layers Style dialog box (Image 13), reduce the Opacity just enough to give a hint of a shadow. In this example, I used 50%. I also increased the size to around 7 pixels.
With the drop shadow, you have now completed the frame. As a final touch, you will simulate a matte.
Step Four: Simulating a Matte
1. Create another layer below the image layer. With the middle layer still active, click on the Create a new layer button at the bottom of the Layers palette. A new layer now appears between the image layer and the layer containing the frame.
2. As in No. 3 of Step Three, Command/Control click on the image layer (Layer 1) to load the hidden selection. Then go to Select>Transform Selection. In the Options bar, choose 105 % for both the Width and the Height.
3. Fill the selection with white. See Image 14.
4. Click on the Add a layer style button at the bottom of the Layers palette and choose Inner Glow from the drop-down menu (Image 15).
In the Layer Style dialog box (Image 16), change the default color to black, change the Blending Mode from Screen to Normal and reduce the opacity so the outline will appear light gray. In this example, I used 25 pixels for the Opacity.
That's all there is to it!
Don't forget to check out my Photoshop Newbie video Tutorials and learn how to master the basics of Photoshop in just 2 hours!
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