Give your collage a finished look with digital frames.
This collage was designed for the Rockford Fire Department and uses the colors from their uniforms and jackets to give a cohesive look to the collection of pictures. Instructions for placement of pictures and using precise methods was detailed in the previous lesson. This lesson will focus on the process for putting a frame around the image.
Reuseable Frame – We will create a frame to insert a picture, then you can save this image as a framed image and/or move it to another page to create new projects. To do the project below you need to be in the Edit/Fix mode of PSE. This means you need to select a photo first. Open the photo you want to insert into the frame we will be making, into the Full Edit mode. Once you are in the Edit/Fix mode then you can create this template. It doesn’t matter if your image is larger or smaller than the template you want to create as we can make adjustments after we pull this image into the frame template.
- First we need to create a size for this template >New >Blank File. In the pop up window set the size of the frame for width and height, 300 resolution pixels; using the drop down menu, pick Transparent for the background >OK
- Now we will put a frame around this template. Note the foreground color in the squares on the lower left as this will be the color of the frame. You can change the color later, if needed or change it now before you make the frame. >Select >All (Ctrl A or Command A on the Mac)
- >Edit >Stroke Selection; width 40 pixels location inside, opacity 100%, >OK This makes a border inside the transparency, the foreground color.
- Add definition with a small grey line. >Select >Deselect, Tool: Magic Wand. Placing the Magic Wand on the image inside the framed space, click the tool. This will select the transparency and puts the “marching ants” around the inside edge.
- >Select >Stroke selection; width 5 pixels, color – click on this, in the new window select a light grey, >OK, Opacity 50% (opacity can be set to any number. If you want a solid stroke – repeat #5, but put the Opacity on 100%. Stroke #’s can also be adjusted), >OK, >Select >Deselect
Above is your formula for making a frame and adding some definition to the frame. To generalize the idea: take steps 4 and 5 and make a larger “frame” leaving the opacity at 100% and you can create a frame within a frame making an original frame or creating a mat for the image to be framed. There are so many possibilities!
Now, we need to move a picture into the frame made…
- First there needs to be a layer UNDER the layer we have been working on. CTRL key held (or Command on the Mac) click on the icon at the lower left of the Layers Palette – the icon for “New Layer”. This will put a layer 2 under the layer used to create the frame. Make sure you have this layer selected when you move the picture into the frame.
- Put the frame and the picture selected side by side. To do this: On the very top row find the box with grey squares in it. When you put your cursor there, the pop up window says Arrange. Pick an arrangement. I like side by side or one above the other. Click on the arrangement you want.
- Above each image is the image/file name. The one highlighted is the one selected. Make sure the photo is highlighted/selected. Click on the move tool. Now click on the picture and drag this image to the frame. Once there (you’ll see a small box) release the click and you’ll see dots around the image.
- ***Troubleshoot – sometimes when you are moving images around and particularly when making a collage the image needs some additional minor adjustments to see it. >Layer >Arrange >(Pick an option here to bring it forward or send it behind).***
- Go back to the Arrange button used in #2 and select the single square. This gives you the frame with the image you just moved into it.
- You may need to make some adjustments to the screen so that you can see all of the image. On the keyboard use the Ctrl – (this “-” key is to the right of the number zero). Ctrl – makes the image smaller and Ctrl + makes it larger. You can use the tool with the magnifying glass to decrease/increase size, but this keyboard short cut is a good one to memorize, in my opinion. Hold the Ctrl button and tap on the – key until you see the dots and anchor points that go all the way around the image placed there.
- Put the cursor on the anchor (square) on one of the corners. HOLD the Shift key while you click and drag to adjust the image. Holding the Shift key retains the proportions of the image. If there is a large difference in the size of the original image into the frame, do #8 below BEFORE you make any adjustments to get the best resolution out the the image moved. It’s really a smart idea to do with nearly every image.
- Once you have the image moved into the fame and before you make any adjustments you can preserve the pixels by turning the picture into a Smart Object. >Filter >Smart Object. If you make something smaller and then want to make it bigger later, the computer has already thrown away some pixels to make the image smaller and it won’t look as good. When you change the object to a smart object the pixels are retained.
- To make any other adjustments – you always have the option of using >Image>Transform >(pick an option)
Additional information – Once you have the picture in the frame and you want to move this framed image into a collage, there are a few extra steps. You need to flatten the image before moving >Layer >Flatten Image. Now you can move it. When you return to the frame, use the History Palette and undo the Flatten Image to reuse the frame and repeat the process.
To save this as a reuseable template –
1. Be sure you have deleted any images so it is blank and you can see the transparency layer.
2. Delete the extra layer that was placed below the original layer (and yes, you will have to create this layer again when you use the frame again).
3. >File >Save As Name your file and select the PNG file format.