Creating an OOB


What are OOB’s?

OOB stands for Out Of Border which means that the image has a border or frame and that part of the image appears as if it goes out of (or in some instances into) the frame.

To achieve this one works in layers and arrange layers in such a way that some layers cover up parts of layers underneath them. It is therefore important to pay attention to the way layers are arranged when creating the OOB.

This tutorial will be done in Corel Paint Shop Pro  Photo X2 but the same guidelines can be followed albeit using different terminology in Photoshop or GIMP.


Note: You can click on all images to view a larger resolution in a separate window

Step 1: Selecting an image

Images that has parts that can extend over a border like flower petals or part of an animal or other image works well for creating an OOB.
For this tutorial I will be using image 1. The parts that will extend beyond the border is indicated in Image 2 (see the yellow box)

image 1 Click to view a larger version.
Image 1: Original image

Image 2 Click to view a larger version.

Image 2: Showing parts that will extend beyond the borders

Step 2: Opening the image and selecting the canvas

Open the image in your editing software and select a canvas that is larger than the image. This leaves room for adding borders add frames without having to adjust the size of the canvas while working on the image.
Open a new file—size A4 horizontal and select transparent to get a raster layer.
Paste the original photo (Image 1) into this file.
Note: Keep the layers palette open while you work on the image. Name the layers to make it easier to keep track of their position. I named the second layer background 1
Tip: I always lock the background layer to have the initial information available should something go wrong and I need it again later on. So therefore I duplicated the background layer —This shows up in the layer palette above the locked background layer. Your workspace should now look like that in Image 3. Save your work as a layered image after each step!

Image 3

Image 3: Placing the image on the canvas

Image 3 shows: (a) Copy of background; (b) Background 1 with padlock; (c) Raster 1 = empty transparent layer.

Step 3: Extracting the image

The first step is to cut out the main part of the image.
Click on the
copy of the background layer to make sure you work on this layer.
Use the
lasso selection tool (or any other selection tool that you prefer to select the parts of the flower as indicated in Image 4.  and carefully select all around the outside edge  of the flower.

Image 4

Image 4: Selecting to extract the image

After selecting the image invert the selection and cut out the background. You should then have an extract of the flower and leaves as indicated in image 5. You will notice that I did not select the blue object at the bottom of the image and some black parts are still left in the image— not to worry about that now...

Image 5

Image 5: Extracted image on transparent layer

Note: You have to hide the copy of the background layer to see the effect of your cutting otherwise it will be hidden by the black part of the background copy layer. Click on the eye in the layer palette to hide a layer—see red circle in image 5.

Step 4: Adding borders and frames

A few notes on borders and frames...
There are many possibilities of adding borders and frames. I usually start with a plain stroke layer created with the preset shape tool. This will create a new vector layer.

If the original image has a background with more detail you can keep it as part of the border or inner background. Duplicate the background layer once more and blur it somewhat or add an effect to create a contrast that will enhance the main image. You can also keep the background as it is and just lower the opacity. Whatever effect you decide upon for the background must appear as a layer below the extracted image.

For this tutorial I will start with a thin border to define the areas of the main image that should extend beyond the border. Select a colour that matches one of the main colours in the image. It is useful to write down the particulars of the colour you selected (or add it to the name of the layer where you added the colour)

For this particular image I will start off with a complete black background.
Click on raster 1—the bottom layer in the layers palette and fill with black.

Click on the preset shape tool and select “rectangle”. Then create a rectangle over the part of the image that you want to have inside the border. A vector layer will show up in the layers palette.

Note: Do NOT confuse the rectangular select tool with the rectangular preset shape!!

The rectangular preset shape is an OBJECT (like others - e.g. stars, call outs etc) in the preset shape drop down box used for creating rectangles with various types of fills or empty rectangular boxes. If you use the rectangular select tool that you will find in the toolbar it will only provide a rectangular guide that you can fill and will NOT give you a rectangular shape that you can fill and define borders for.

Click on the
+ sign on the vector layer to open up the layer and click on the rectangle that appears to open up a drop down box. See image 6.


Image 6 (a) Drop down box for the preset shape tool and Image 6

In the drop down box that appears when you click on the + you can select the line style, thickness and other properties etc. that you would like for the vector object. (see image 7) You can even define a fill as well if you like but I usually just select a line colour from the main image.

Image 7

Image 7: Selecting the properties for the vector rectangle

In this instance I selected
yellow, (red=240; Green=255; blue=1) stroke width 10 with no fill. Make sure you also click visible and anti alias to get a nice clear line. The yellow box will show up on your main image. You will notice that it already looks as if the extracted flower pops over the frame since this yellow rectangle is below the extracted flower layer.

To make it easier to work with the vector layer you now have to convert it to a raster layer. Right Click on the vector layer to open up a box where you can convert the layer or select layers—convert to raster layer.

Step 5: Create the outer frame

 Now we are going to create the outer frame on another new layer.

Did you save your work? If not do so at once!!
Create a
new raster layer
With the rectangle selection tool select where you want the  outer frame to appear. (Leave a little bit of the black background as a border - in other words do not create the outer border right at the edges of your canvas -see Image 7)
Make sure you are on the new raster layer and
fill with colour and texture or pattern of your choice. I selected green with a leaves texture.
Your image should now look like the one in Image 8. At this stage a rather sick green but we will do something about it soon.

Image 8

Image 8 - Selecting and filing the outer frame

Now you can decide about the backgrounds for the various parts of the image. Here we have the inner background that I will revert to the original plain black but of course you can fill it with any colour, texture or pattern you wish. You will also notice that the yellow border that we added is now obscured by the green. So we have to move the layer to make it show up better. Just click on it and drag it above the green layer but still underneath the cut out flower.

To get the inner section back to just plain black again:
Zoom in and select all along the yellow border on the image with the
rectangular selection tool
Click on raster 3—(the green that we just filled) and hit the scissors to cut out the inner part.


Your image should now look like Image 9

Image 9 View of image with inner frame filled with black

Step 6: Alternative fills and effects

Just to illustrate a variation I will also fill the inner part with a gradient in stead of just having the plain black. Your software should have patterns and ways to create gradients. In PSP you can open two other images and fill them with colour just to be able to get these colours in your materials palette. For this one I will just use green and yellow. So allow me to deviate a little to show how we can create a gradient with colours from the original image.

Image 10

Image 10:  Settings for making gradients

In Image 10 you see the following:

On the far left I have two images/swatches of colour on new files filled with colours selected from the flower image. ( I just illustrate with swatches - You can just select colours from the original image as foreground and background colours)
I selected them respectively as
foreground and background colours.
If you then open the
materials palette and select gradient you will see a gradient using these colours as shown in the bottom middle of Image 10. (Click on the arrow next to the gradient box that shows up to reveal other gradients in the software programme)
Now you can play around with the settings on the gradient drop down box to manipulate them to your liking.

I just selected a 45 degree angle and the left type of gradient that will flow gradually from one side of the image to the other.
OK! Let’s get back to the OOB
Have you saved again??? If not do so right away!

Image 11

Image 11: Settings for adding a gradient and pattern to the image

Check your workspace to see that you have everything shown in Image 11 open. That is

Original image that we worked on so far

Small swatches of green and yellow  or these colours selected in the materials palette as foreground and  foreground colours) Then click on gradient in the materials palette and select the combination of foreground and background colours gradient

Layers palette:

Create a new layer and fill with the selected gradient if you do not yet have a raster layer 4 as shown on the right of image 11. Note that the black layer (raster 1) is hidden but you don’t need to hide it because the new gradient layer will cover it up in any case.

Now you are quite disappointed because the original image still has that sickly yellow green appearance that you hate! LOL Don’t worry you now have enough layers to play around with them to your heart’s delight. So allow me to show you a few more tricks ...

Playtime starts now!! You can get your creative juices flowing and try out a bunch of different things. I will just leave you with a few tips..

First and most important!!
It is always safer to duplicate the complete window before you start playing. In that manner your original that you worked so hard on to get the different layers will be safe—Just remember to save before you start playing!

Any of the layers can be changed in some way. Lets take them one by one as shown in Image 12

Image 12

Image 12: A new position for the cut out flower

The cut out flower layer: Cut out more parts or move it around on the canvas to see in what position you like it best and decide how much of it you want to climb over the borders etc.
Hide layers below or above to see the effects.

Step 7: Fine tuning the image

What I did working on the copy of background layer:

Cut out more of the black between the stems and some of the leaves at the bottom and moved the image more to the right. (See the red circles and compare to the original)
Going to extremes—you can even select certain parts and colour them differently or add art effects or whatever takes your fancy. Like shown in image 13. (To colour  - on the top menu: click on Effects - Hue, saturation and lightness - colorise and start playing)

Image 13

Image 13: Colorising the flower

The yellow inner border line
On this line you can add bevels or textures or change the colour or even start off with a complete new border and delete the first one. Again just remember to play on a different copy of your image! Once you get the effect you like repeat it on the work image.

Image 14

Image 14: Variations of border lines

Image 14 shows 4 examples of border lines.
Orange: created a vector rectangle with 16 pixel width line, filled with orange, converted to raster layer, selected with magic wand and added an inner bevel  (Effects-3D effect-inner bevel)
2. same width border created as above. Converted to raster layer. Select with magic wand and filled with
orange + leaf texture
3. Same width border—just use black and convert to raster and then fill with a gold gradient at 45 degrees
4. Same as above—green + leaf texture and inner bevel added

In the same manner you can add effects to any of the layers. Adding a colour layer underneath one that is partly opaque can also add interesting effects. (Move the slider on the layers palette for the particular layer that you want to adjust the opacity)
The present image is not perfect and may not be to the preference of everyone but was merely done to show what can be achieved and to explain the various steps. Of course you need not add as many layers and the final effect will depend on the image and your personal preferences and objectives. The possibilities are without limit..
To end off I am just adding a few variations of what I played around with here—I added some coloured layers, increased the colour of the main image to get rid of the too green and blue hues —Just decreased blue and green and increased the red somewhat.) So look at the layers palette in image 15 and try some of your own and let me see it!

Image 15

Image 15: Various layers and possibilities to combine them

From bottom to top...
Raster 1: Black layer covering the complete canvas
Raster 2: “empty extra layer—I just created a few new layers to try out different fills—so this one can now be deleted.
Raster 5: Selection of inner part of image filled with orange
Raster 3: Outer part of border filled with green and leaf texture
Raster 6: Outer border filled with gold gradient
Raster 4: Layer filled with gradient from PSP
Yellow border: As is but you can add a bevel to it.
Original background—Can now be deleted since we did not need anything from it. You can use this as a fill too if you want to blur it, add texture to it or even a wave effect or whatever pleases you

Step 8: Finishing off

Now you can finish off your image.
Go back to the cut out layer, zoom in and make sure that you did a very neat job of the cut outs.
I usually save this work copy just in case I want to go back to it. Then I duplicate the window and select the layers that I want to use for my final artwork and delete the unnecessary ones.
Toggle layers to open and close them to see the effects.

The effects will also be somewhat different in some instances after the layers are merged. So what I do on a copy of the image is to merge the layers to see what I like and what not. Then just delete that and make adjustments as necessary on your work copy.

Merge all layers—add a final border or stroke or frame if necessary, resize and save as a jpeg.
If you have any problems following the instructions let me know so we can make improvements. This is as much a learning curve for me than it is for you. I would like to see the variations that you can come up with. So post them to me and let’s discuss!!


You can even go beyond this step and add borders or frames after merging the layers but we will end this tutorial here. Hope you learnt something useful!!

Info on the web:

Doing a search for “OOB tutorials” will also lead you to detailed instructions to create OOB’s. That may be an option if my instructions are hard to follow. Also—There are numerous examples of OOB’s on Flikr. Check them out—It is the best way to get ideas and learn!
Her is one link:


OK Now I will conclude by illustrating three images made up from various layers in  Image 15. Enjoy and try to do better then me!! See if you can figure out what I did in each instance!

Image 16

Image 17

Image 18