Creating Borders and Frames

Pre-requisites for this tutorial

For this tutorial you must know how to select and extract images and have a fairly good idea how to use layers and identify their positions in the layers palette.

We will start off by using an edited background (BG) and a flower extract to create this OOB. See images 1 and 2

 Image 01 Tutorial 02 Image 02 Tutorial 02

Images 1 and 2: Flower on white background and Blurred background

Step 1: Basic Layers

Open a new transparent file about 2100 pixels wide and 1500 high ( I just open a preset new file 5”x7” resolution 300 pixels/inch)

Copy and paste images 1 and 2 and paste them as new layers into the new file. Or use two similar images from your own photos.

Image 03 Tutorial 02

Image 3: Positioning images as layers in new transparent file

Click on each of these layers and drag the corner handles to position the layers as shown in Image 3. Leave enough room around them to add borders—resize by dragging handles if necessary. Make sure that you have the cut out copy of Image 2 as the top layer.

Click in the layers palette to duplicate the blurred BG layer and lock it

Note: Since Image 2 is a jpeg file with a white background you will have to click on the white with the magic wand and then invert the selection to copy only the extracted flower.

You should now have 4 layers:

1.    Layer with extracted flower (top)

2.    Copy of blurred layer—locked

3.    Blurred BG layer

4.    Transparent empty layer

Step 2: Defining Frame positions

Left: Image 4

It is handy to use guides where one wants to add borders or frames. You get the guides by dragging them from the top and left side of the workspace when you have rulers visible. To make rulers visible click on View at the top menu  and select “rulers”. Then also from the view drop down menu select “snap to guides”

I added guidelines in image 4 to indicate where I will place borders. You can place them to your own preference and it is handy to keep the rulers in place while you work on the image. If they get in your way you can take them out by clicking on the ruler next to the guide — the cursor will change shape—and then just drag them out of the image or go to view on the top menu—”change grid, guide and snap properties”—select “guides” and hit “delete” OK if you want to delete them all at the same time.

IMPORTANT: Duplicate this window and save the file as a PSP file with layers naming it "Tut 2 main file" or something that you will recognise  and remember. We are first going to look at different ways to manipulate layers and different ways of using fills and effects for borders and will thereafter continue with this image to finish the OOB

Alternative way to add borders and frames

An alternative way to create rectangles and other shapes is to use the paint brush.

Left: Image 5

You first have to select the paint brush and define its settings. The paint brush is in the tools palette—with my workspace setup I have the tools palette on the left hand side of the screen/workspace. When you click on the brush tool a sub menu for presets show up at the top of the workspace. Click on the down arrow on presets and select a brush tip and click OK (See image 7). The size of the brush tip is indicated next to where you click at the top to define the brush tip.

When using the paint brush you can paint free hand  but in this instance we want to paint straight lines—so we have to confine the movement of the paint brush. To do that you use the shift key. Click where you want the shape to start and move from there to the next point while holding down the shift key and continue in this manner till you reached the starting point again. While holding down the shift key the brush will paint a straight line (using the foreground colour on the materials palette) between two different points.

Left:  Image 6

Now you should be ready to paint the border on your work image. Select a foreground colour for the border if you have not done so already and select a thickness for the brush. I used red with a 5 pixel wide square brush for the inner border and 10 pixels for the outer border.

Create a new layer under the layer containing the cut out flower and hide the flower layer. Now create your rectangle by clicking and holding down the shift key. 

If you want to start another rectangle you have to let go of the shift key first and hit it again after you made the first click. Not doing this will result in getting just a number of dots in stead of a line.

It is better to create different objects - in this case more than one border—on different layers. Therefore I created another layer before I did the second rectangle. For purposes of the tutorial I used red as foreground colour to make the rectangles show up better underneath the guides and on the layers palette. If you use white or another light colour it may not be well  visible on transparent layers. To remember where they are on the layers I named them  inner and outer border respectively. If you now open the layer with the cut out flower you will see that at least the inner border already shows up under the flower. Your image should now be similar to Image 6.  The guidelines may obscure some of your thin lines. In Image 6  it hides the thin inner border.

Effects for borders and lines

Once you created the borders and positioned them you can start adding effects and playing around with different positions for the various layers.

A few preliminary notes...

When selecting colours it is always better to select colours from the original image. Once you clicked on a particular part of the image to select a colour you can make this colour darker or lighter. In this manner you will assure that the colours match the image better.

Also note that you can create any colour and texture combination from the materials palette. Create a small new file and play around with different colours and textures on that to see what you can get. You can also combine patterns with gradients.

You can also fill lines and borders with patterns. You can select patterns from the software or create your own or use some obtained from the Internet or other images. The materials palette is your main source of images that can be used as patterns or swatches. See Image 7 (on the right) for a view of the opened materials palette in PSP X2

 Left:  Image 8

In PSP all the files that are open on your desktop will show up as patterns when you open “patterns” in the materials palette. See image 8. I have 4 files from  my own PC—some saved from the Internet and self made or adapted from images obtained  elsewhere. I also take pics of things like grass, pebbles, leaves, sand, paving etc and make up small swatches from that for use when making borders or backgrounds or whatever. Image 8 shows a few of these as desktop files—see those surrounded by a red border. As indicated also you will see these files show up as patterns when the patterns drop down list of the materials palette is open. If you do not see them right away remember to move the slider on the materials palette to the top to show them. They are usually listed before the patterns from PSP. Notice that you can also just select a colour or gradient and add a pattern from the materials palette—(right hand side of materials window). OK with all these possibilities you can go to town creating your own effects or just use what’s available in PSP. I prefer making my own!


Left: Image 9

Before commencing with the creation of the flower OOB let’s just practice with a few effects.

Create a  new file with a number of new empty raster layers. Now add colours, gradients and patterns at random to each of your layers. By hiding and displaying different combinations of layers you can now see what effects will be possible. Have fun! Also remember to change the opacity of layers with the slider at the top of the layers palette and play around moving the different layers. Remember nothing much will show up if you have two layers on top of each other that are not opaque e.g. a pattern layer above a colour fill layer, but you can get interesting effects by changing the opacity or arrangement of the layers. If you find something that you really like duplicate the window and merge the layers involved to create your swatch. Or just open another small file and copy and paste the combination of the layers that you like into the new file, then merge, name it and save as jpg. It is useful to add the colour ID and the name of the pattern or gradient to the file name.

On the left of Image 9 you can see some of the combinations that I made. I named the layers with the names of the patterns , gradients or colour details.


Back to the OOB!!

Now open the file that you saved after defining the frame positions in step 2





Image 4 - guidelines

By using the guides we are now going to add frames/borders and manipulate them by using layers to get certain effects.

Note: I am again going to use the preset shape tool rather than the paintbrush to add the borders. You are however welcome to use the instructions for the paintbrush if you are more comfortable with that option. For me the preset shape tool is more accurate in giving nice straight continuous lines.

Note: The workspace and where to find the preset shape tool...

Click on the preset shape tool in the tools toolbar. Select "view toolbars" if this tool is not visible and make sure that "tools" is selected to make the toolbar show up on the left hand side of  your workspace. If you still do not see the icon for the preset shape tool go to "view" menu again and select "Customize" right at the bottom of the drop down menu. This should open up a menu as indicated in Image 11 where you click on tools and with the slider on the right hand side scroll down till the preset shape tool is visible. Then click on the preset shape tool and hold down the left mouse button while you drag the icon to the toolbar on the left side of the workspace. It should then stay in the toolbar if  you save the workspace when exiting PSP. In this manner you can also drag icons for other tools that you use often to get them readily available on the tools toolbar. See Image 10.

Image 11

Image 10 - Using the preset shape tool

To create the borders click on the preset shape tool and select the rectangle. Create an inner border using the guides in Image 4. Then click on the plus (+) on the vector layer showing up in the layers palette to open the rectangle shape that you have just drawn and select a colour and thickness for the inner border. (See tut 1 for more detail about using the preset shape tool). Then convert this vector layer to a raster layer.

In a similar manner you can now draw an outside border - again using the same steps as above.

Your image should now look similar to Image 11 (If you still have the guides in place they may obscure some thin lines of your borders) Keep the guides in place a little longer

Image 11 - Inner and outer borders

I used the following settings for the borders:

Inner border: Width 5 colour R 250; G 230; B 190

Outer border: Width = 10; R 125; G155; B 30

Now we will work on the  backgrounds. With your guidelines in place duplicate the blurred background layer twice and name the new layers "inner bg" and "outer bg". Then hide both these layers.

Use the rectangle selection tool (NOT the preset shape) and select along the border of the inner rectangle

Now click on the "copy of the blurred background" layer in the layers palette and hit the scissors to cut out the inner part of the background.

Your image should now look like Image 12

Image 12 - cut out inner background

Now you can select a fill for the inner background. Since I may later on decide not to use this fill I will create it on a separate layer. I chose a gradient fill made from the two border line  colours to which I added a leaf texture. Create a new layer, select the inner part of the background and fill with the leaf gradient. You image will now look lime Image 13

Image 13 - Inner background with leaf gradient fill

Left: Image 14 transparent outer border

Now we can work on the outer background in a similar manner - Image 14 shows the detail how to add a transparent chisel effect to the outer border

Select the outer border with the rectangle select tool. Create a NEW transparent layer to work on and select chisel from the effects menu. I chose a setting of 70, transparent. (Make sure "transparent" is checked and not solid colour)

A narrow transparent  line will show up on the outside of the outer border.  You can now move the slider on the layers palette to adjust the transparency to your liking. I brought it down to 70. (From the main menu click layers-properties-general and set opacity to 70 if you find it difficult to adjust the settings with the slider) This border layer must be above the copy of the blurred background.

You can now remove the guides to make  the filled border lines show up.

Click on the copy of the blurred background and in a similar manner adjust the opacity to your liking - I just wanted a slight blur and therefore I set it to 90

Now the outer border looks strange with only a small margin in the left side top and bottom and a wide margin on the right. See image 15 below

To correct this we will use the outer background layer that has been hidden till now.

Unhiding the background layer shows up an interesting effect on the inner background showing the leaf pattern included with the gradient layer. I decided that I liked this and want to keep it therefore I cannot remove the inner background layer. So I will duplicate it and delete the inner background presently in the layers palette. See Image 16.This is why it often better to hide layers in case one should need them in stead of deleting them right away. We will manipulate the duplicated background layer to correct the uneven sides of the image as seen in Image 15.

Left: Image 16 - Moving inner background duplicate layer and deleting outer bg.

Move the inner background duplicate layer that you created to sit under the transparent chiselled layer and position it to extend equally on all sides. Use the corner handles to adjust the size accordingly.

Now this layer will again hide the effect that we had in Image 16. So after positioning the layer you have to cut out the inner part to make the inner background show up. Select around the inner border line and cut out on the new inner background layer. Then you image should display the inner background with the leaf pattern (unhide the inner background layer that you duplicated) and the outer background will surround the main image equally on all sides as shown in Image 17. The outer background will however cover up the blurred background. So you have to select around the outer border of the blurred background and cut out on the outer background to show up the blurred background.

You now have a  new outer background that you can work with. You can even replace it with a totally  different background if you wish for instance to fill it with black or another gradient.

Image 17

To see the effects of what you did so far more clearly hide and unhide the various layers to see the effect of each layer. If you are happy with the results you can now delete the bottom two layers if you like - I just keep them hidden till the very end.

All we need now is to Crop the image to remove the excess outside the outer border. In some versions of PSP you first have to merge the layers before you can crop.

So duplicate the window and merge all layers. Then you will be better able to see the results of your work and decide whether you are happy with it. If not you can just delete the duplicate image and go back to the one with the layers to make adjustments.

I will again show what variations you can consider for the outer border in three images below. First one according to the instructions in this tutorial, then one with a black outer border and another with a gold gradient outer border. See what you can come up with!


You can also still add another small bevelled layer right at the outside border  if you wish. Once you merged the layers it is easy to just ad a border in the width and colour that you want - or fill it with a pattern etc. Just click on Image - add borders and select a width and colour for the border from the drop down list.


Please feel free to e-mail me if you need more assistance and remember to show me your work!