Sign In | Subscribe

Enter your Sign on user name and password.

Forgot password?
  • Follow us on:
Start learning today, and be successful in your academic & professional career. Start Today!
Loading video...
This is a quick preview of the lesson. For full access, please Log In or Sign up.
For more information, please see full course syllabus of Adobe Photoshop CS6
  • Discussion

  • Download Lecture Slides

  • Table of Contents

  • Transcription

  • Related Services

Start Learning Now

Our free lessons will get you started (Adobe Flash® required).
Get immediate access to our entire library.

Sign up for

Membership Overview

  • Unlimited access to our entire library of courses.
  • Search and jump to exactly what you want to learn.
  • *Ask questions and get answers from the community and our teachers!
  • Practice questions with step-by-step solutions.
  • Download lesson files for programming and software training practice.
  • Track your course viewing progress.
  • Download lecture slides for taking notes.
  • Learn at your own pace... anytime, anywhere!

Photo Frame Effect

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lesson Overview 0:08
  • Preparing Your Image 0:44
    • Gradient Overlay & Blend Mode
    • Layer Mask & Curves Adjustment
    • Merging Effects
  • Creating The 3D Frame 17:00
    • Step 1: Canvas Size
    • Step 2: Inner Shadow
    • Step 3: Sign The Image
  • Lesson Summary 20:49

Transcription: Photo Frame Effect

Hi everybody, welcome back to's Adobe Photoshop CS6 course.0000

Mike Brown here with you again.0005

In this lesson, I'm going to show you a couple of cool tricks and show you how to use that seeing digitally that I have talked about to take an average image and, not only make it look a lot better, but do something very, very cool with it.0008

We're going to create a photo frame effect, but first we're going to prepare the image, and we're going to use a gradient overlay, and I'm going to talk a little bit about blend modes again, and then we're going to merge our effects--I'm going to show you how to do it and why we do it, and then we're going to create the 3D frame for the photo effect, OK?0023

Let's get started.0045

So here's a shot that I took when I was heading up the coast scouting for some backgrounds for my automotive work...and this is one of those situations where you've got a really nice place here--this is a really nice scene, but the light is very, very flat, it's right straight behind us, it's like noon...0046

The sunset obviously would be to the left and if it could hang around for another 3/4/5 hours, the light would get really good, but we were on a schedule, we had places to go and we had to make it in a specific amount of time, so I had to take it just as it was and so here is the shot.0066

So we're going to take this and see what we can some minor/major improvement without having to work too hard, show you a couple of new tricks to do it, and then we're going to finish this off by mounting our image, and putting in a recessed frame.0083

Alright, let's get with it.0100

OK, we're going to change the screen view with the letter F so I can move my image over, I'm going to get the Layers panel up and move it out.0102

We've got a single background layer so what's the first thing we do?0110

You got it; duplicate that background.0114

The Layer dropdown menu, or the little dropdown menu in the panel, or what is the shortcut?0117

Command on a Mac, Control on a PC, the letter J, now we've got our working layer.0123

So, based on what we've talked about before in terms of seeing digitally, let's look at the image and see--obviously, we can't do a heck of a lot--we could with the light but hey, we're just going to play with it real quick here.0129

First thing I notice is the sky is OK, but it could use some pop...the beach is kind of nice, but it's very flat; we could stand a little contrast in it and certainly some color enhancement, and this rock face over here seems to be a little dark--I'd like to open that up.0142

Other than that, not going to mess with it too much.0161

Now, we could make a selection for the sky, go in with adjustment layers, pop those, do that, we've done that before.0164

Do the same thing with the sand, obviously that's no problem--I'm just going to show you a different way to play with this, just for fun.0173

Alright, we're going to go to the Effects dropdown menu, that could be also under Layer, Layer Styles, there's gradient overlay there, there's all those styles, but they're right down here under the Effects, we're going to do a gradient overlay...and it comes in black and white, and you go "wow, what are you doing with this?"0181

Well we're going to take and we're going to blend it with the image, and it comes in initially as a black and white gradient which we can change.0202

Now, the blend modes--remember, let me just move this up so we can look at them all...there are really one, two, three, four groups that you're ever going to use in blends.0210

The first one, all of them, and it's real easy to figure out what they do--if you forget, the first one tells you; they darken things.0224

If I go to darken here, anything that is darker than neutral gray gets darker, anything that's lighter gets lighter and so therefore the sky got a little lighter, because--it didn't do much to the sky because that's white, everything down here got darker...0232

And not neutral gray, darker than the overlaying image.0250

If we go to the lighten group, what do you think it does?0254

It lightens so it's going to take that sky, because it's white, and it's going to lighten it--didn't do much to the sand, but if we go down to the third group, the overlay through hard mix, these are all contrast blends.0257

The three that you'll most often use; overlay is the middle one, soft light is the least, hard light is the most--these three, and these do the same thing but more harshly, so we'll try overlay, and look what happened.0271

We got lighter gray, darker here.0290

I think this is where we want to go, the mid-tones are fine, and you're going "what are you talking about?"0294

Well, remember how we deal with gradients?0300

This is black and this is white, we're going to change that--click on that, we have our gradient editor.0302

We're going to take the color stops--remember those are on the bottom, right now it's black--when we have our eye dropper we're just going to select a color off of the sand, and now it looks like the sand.0307

Let's go a little darker...there we go, a nice--darkened the sand already, and we're going to take the color stop for the sky, and pull color from the sky.0319

Now we have a gradient that goes from sand to sky, and it's OK, but I think we could add more color.0330

Let's hit the color stop for the sand--notice we've got color, let's move it up and make it a little richer--look at that, with that blend mode in there of overlay, the sand looks pretty good, not bad at all.0339

The sky, we can stand to pop that so let's go to the color stop on the sky, hit the color there, and do the same thing--let's darken the blue a little bit and richen it up, and there we go--sky's all richened up.0353

So we got the sand right and the sky right but the in between area is kind of screwed up.0366

Now, there are several ways to fix that--you could modify the gradient to only go between here and here, but we're going to make this easy; we're just going to go ahead and take OK, let's try a couple of other blend modes.0373

Let's try hard light to see what happens, I don't like that, it kind of flattened that out...soft light...not bad but not quite enough so overlay has the pop that we wanted.0383

Alright, we'll click OK, and now you see we have an effect attached to our layer.0395

Turn it off, turn it on, you can see the sand and the sky are distinctly improved, but the central area is not, so we're going to put a layer mask on here to mask out the central area; Layer, layer mask, reveal all, there's our white mask, nothing happened.0402

Remember, we're just going to paint on the mask with a brush, we've got a brush, and we're going to be painting on the mask...there we go...let's get the brush size up just a little bit.0420

Normal mode, 100% opacity, painting in black, now we're going to be painting all of the mid-tone area--not mid-tone area but the land mass and the ocean, there's nothing on there.0435

Remember the trick that I told you in one of the lessons; to make your layer masks become a translucent overlay so you can see what you're doing while you're doing it, hit the backslash key next to your bracket keys.0446

I hit it, nothing just happened...I hit it again, except you can see that the eyes (look over here in the Layers panel where my cursor is) the eyes gray out.0461

We've got black as the foreground, red, now we paint and low and behold, there it is, so what we're going to do is just trace around the outside of the bluff...and we'll do it roughly, don't worry about it.0474

Remember, everything is quick and efficient--the idea to make this work well and do it easily and quickly--we'll go right (I'm going to hold the Shift key down and go right) straight across the horizon, come over here and we're going to go right down and the only way to really do this stuff well is with this Wacom tablet--I've talked about it before...0490

There's another way I can do that; if I click at this end of the ocean, hold the Shift key and click down here, watch, it just snaps a straight line right between the two, and I can just modify the edge a little bit so we've got that, actually we've got it outlined already.0514

So now if I hit the backslash key it goes away, Option on a Mac, Alt on a PC and now click your layer mask, and there it is, there's our outline, let's just make the brush a little bigger and just fill it in...very, very easy--we got the outer edge, now we just fill in the mask...and this is going to really be nice.0533

I like this little technique...that backslash key is really the key so that you can actually see with the overlay what's going on while you're painting on the layer mask.0557

I went over a little bit, no problem, just go ahead; Option or Alt, click it again, and backslash key and we can see where mistakes were made--hit your X or the little arrows and we're going to have white as the foreground, take this, and I'm going to go click, Shift click and get a straight line that runs--Shift, click, Shift click, got that cleaned up.0574

Just go lightly around the edges, I got up into the sky a little bit, backslash key and there it is!0597

We're going to turn the layer mask off or on, your Shift key and click the mask; off, on, off and on--you see up in the land mass and down in the water...I see one spot that we need to do.0604

Right in here's a little dark, we need to paint that in black, so we're on the mask, have the brush, just paint over that and see how that lightened that water back up?0620

Watch; Command+Z, and now we've got it looking pretty decent.0629

What I think I would like to do is pull up this dark rock area, so I'm going to add a curves adjustment layer, close up the curves, don't need to do anything yet, and what I want to do is just paint the rock--I want the rock area to be the active area in the mask, but watch this.0635

It's easier to paint over what you want to work with, so I'm going to take the black foreground, hit my backslash key and go ahead and paint the area (oops, I got the wrong one, I got white, black) paint the area that I want to have as a selection--you're going "what are you doing, you're doing this wrong?"0655

I'm doing it backwards, watch what happens; so I'll paint the dark rock, any of the dark rock that I'd like to lighten up a little bit, let's just go on up into here...0677

I like to be able to see it rather than do the other part of it if you will, and then get it back to there, that looks pretty good--we can even pick up a little bit down in that area, alright that looks pretty good.0689

Backslash key, and notice the mask--Option or Alt click, there it is--oops, I've got just a little fix-up to do right there.0702

Now, Option or Alt click the mask again, I want the reverse, we can do this two ways to reverse that mask; double click the mask, there's your Masks panel, and there's the invert, and notice the mask turned black--or, you don't even really need to do that; just highlight the mask--there's the frame, go Command on a Mac, Control on a PC and the letter I; Command or Control+I, and it inverts the mask.0711

Now let's pull up our curves layer, and let's just open up the dark rock, there you go...just like that.0739

OK, and let's turn it on and off and see what we did; off, on, looks fairly decent--let's just put an overall curves layer to snap this whole thing on top; curves, and put a point in the middle and snap it just a tiny bit, just to gem that color up...there we go.0749

And so in very short order, using a gradient overlay, painting a couple of masks and a couple of curve layers, we went from there, looks a lot better, now we got a decent image.0772

OK, now, I'm going to show you a trick here...I'm trying to figure out exactly how I want to explain this to you.0786

The first thing I want you to do, I'll do it and then we'll explain why.0795

Highlight the layer that has all of the effects on it, we're going to duplicate that layer; Command or Control+J, or of course Layer, duplicate, you can do the same thing.0798

Turn it off, and the reason I'm doing that is I want to retain the effects and the layer just in case you look at this photo and you go "I'd really like to modify it", because what I'm going to do with the original layer here, is we're going to merge the effects into the layer just to consolidate it--basically flatten the effects into the layer, and I'll show you at the end why we're doing that.0808

And the way we have to do that, is to merge that layer with a layer below it, so we're going to highlight the background again and once more Command or Control+J, duplicate the original.0834

It could be a blank layer, same thing...we'll just leave it right here.0845

Now, Command or Control on a PC click and we have them both highlighted, go up to the dropdown menu to merge layers, that merges your active, highlighted layers, and there it is.0850

OK, now you can see that it's merged into a regular layer with no effects at all, and we're going to title that so we remember it...Effects Merged we know it's there.0863

Now, if we ever decide that we don't like what we have, turn this off, turn this on, start over and do the same process.0881

OK, where do here, I will dot...I have a mistake.0889

Apparently, I actually painted on my image, so here's where your background comes into play...there we go...we're just going to do something here--OK, watch this.0896

Here's how you correct this mistake; this is an example of why you keep your original layer.0912

We're going to take our Rubber Stamp tool, take a fairly decent sized brush, Option, and I'm going to click (let's zoom it up so we can see what we're doing here) I'm going to click on a spot that I can remember--see this little bright...0917

I'm going to with my...right there, on that rock is what I'm going to do.0936

Option, click--that's where I'm going to set the point on the background, original's set right there, highlight the merged layer, and click and paint there--it's off just slightly but now I can go in and paint right over that rock wall, and what I did is I cloned the original wall up onto the layer above it and corrected our problem.0942

There was where it was, there it is, we have the problem all corrected, OK?0972

Alright, so there is our corrected layer, there is a way to--see, that's what the value of a duplicated background layer.0977

OK, turn it on, we're ready to go.0985

Now, we're going to make our photo frame now (let's go back to the original photo frame title) we're going to add a layer at the top here, make this red so we can check off what we've talked about already, and what we did is we talked about the gradient overlay, we discussed the blending modes, and right now we're merging the effects and I'm still going to tell you more as to why.0988

OK, so let's go back to our image, they're merged.1016

Now it's time to create the photo frame itself.1020

We're going to go up and, basically if you've taken an image before and matted it, you're going to end up with matte board, and the image on it.1024

We're going to do that virtually; Image, Canvas Size--remember, Canvas Size increases the amount of canvas, we're going to spread it four inches; two inches on each side, total of four vertically and four horizontally, so we'll change this to 23, change that to 16, click OK, and it's up and if you do this correctly with art, you always leave a little extra space at the bottom.1033

So we're going to go Image, Canvas Size a second time, lock the top so we can spread the bottom, and let's add...maybe four tenths of an inch, that would be 17.4...17.2, and we'll click OK and notice that the bottom got a little bit longer, so now we have our matted picture.1058

It looks OK, but it isn't really super dramatic yet, now's where we go to town.1085

We're going to take the merged effects layer now, this is our finished layer, and we're going to go back to the Effects menu, and we're going to put in inner shadow on this particular layer, and the way we do that is we're just going to increase the size and look what happens immediately, is that amazing?1091

We now have it 3D like it's mounted in a frame, separated from the matte board above us--choke it just a little bit, add a little darkness on the edge, that looks pretty good...size down a hair, choke it up just a little more--yes, that looks just fine.1113

OK, we'll turn that effect off, it's flat, on it's now three-dimensional and look at the difference that that makes in your image just by itself, amazing.1132

Now, let me show you why I did the merged effects; we'll turn on this layer which is the one that still has the effects and the mask--it's because of the mask we had to merge things in.1143

Let me show you what happens if we add the inner shadow onto--oops, I'm on the wrong one, up here where we have the gradient overlay, if we add the inner shadow, watch what happens.1156

As we come in, it follows the mask, it follows all of the edges so we don't get just the image itself, it's dealing with the layer mask, so this is the reason we had to merge them together so that we could get just the shadowing around the edge.1172

Now the final touch, of course, is to just sign the image, or sign the mounted piece.1180

We're going to go Michael OK, I'm in Helvetica...enter it, I want to make it my favorite type, is Cosmos, and we'll make it light italic, let's make it like 36 point.1196

That's good enough, and let's put an artificial bold on it, that helps a little bit, OK, and let's change the color down to some darker brown, darker red, that's OK, and move it up into position.1220

Take that off and we'll zoom it up just a little, and so now we've taken that image and three-dimensionally if you will mounted it in a frame, and it looks just great.1237

We went from...actually let's go back to the beginning.1249

We went from there...all with just very simple things that we've done, and let's go back and take a look at our title, and that talks about now creating the 3D frame.1253

I'll just let it go unblock, no problem, and there you have...quickly, modifying an image, and creating a 3D photo frame in Photoshop CS6.1274