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Masks as Frames
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Masks as Frames
Created by: Prof

In this tutorial, we will explore a very simple and quick technique using the masks that came with PSP 8 as frames along with effects to enhance images and photographs.
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This tutorial uses the last illustration of the Airbrush Painting tutorial. If you haven't done this tutorial yet and don't wish to do it at this time, you can download the image with the download file on the left.

The Objective(s)

After creating an image one may wish to enhance it by adding frames and/or other effects. In this tutorial I will show you a very quick and easy way to use the masks which came with PSP 8 for enhancements.

The Technique

Usually, one uses a mask on a photograph to create additional looks to it. However, if we have created an image such as the one in the Airbrush tutorial we need to use a different technique since that image ultimately when saved would have merged all the layers and saved it as a JPEG file. Also, if using photographs, they too are usually JPEG files.

Thus, in this technique I create a top layer and make it a solid color. I begin with black as the main photo background is white.

Then I apply a mask. At times I will also change the top color to something else for a different effect.

Some Considerations

  • Masks are accessed by going to Layers || Load/Save Masks || Load Mask from Disk.
  • In the Load Mask from Disk dialog, you are able to select from many masks. Often experimenting by using masks one finds new and innovative ways to use them either as frames or effects.
  • Also, for the mask to maintain the main picture, use these values:
    – Source Luminance
    – Fit to Layer
    – Invert transparency
    – Hide all mask
  • There are times when there is a mask you would like to use but it may be too much on the edges. To reduce the edging or frame area use: Effects || Distortion Effects || Punch with a value at or close to 100%. Repeat this action if needed and adjust the value as needed.

Let's Do It!

Step 1:

Choose the photograph or photographs to be used. In this tutorial I am using the photo collage created with the Airbrush tutorial (link given above).

New Raster Layer   Materials Palette - Materials Box  Materials Solid Color Option   Flood Fill Tool

Step 2:

Create a new raster layer. Set your Foreground Material to a solid color of your choice (I am using Black). Activate your Flood Fill tool and flood-fill the new top layer with your color.


Step 3: Choose a Mask

One will want to experiment at this point with masks considered in order to find one that will produce the desired effect.

Go to Layers || Load/Save Masks || Load Mask from Disk:
– Source Luminance = checked
– Fit to Layer = checked
– Invert transparency = checked
– Hide all mask = checked

If this is not what is expected, use Edit || Undo (Ctrl+Z) to undo the action. Repeat the above with a new mask until one is found you like. (I am using Mask 006.)

If the frame area is too large, as I found, go to Effects || Distortion Effects || Punch with a value of 100%. Repeat if necessary. (I used Punch just once.)

When having the mask frame wanted, before setting it to a layer, you can change the background:


Step 4: Changing the Background

Before setting the mask as a layer, now is the time to change the background color to something else if wanted. If satisfied, then just set the mask to a layer (step 5).

In the Layer palette, the mask layer has the title 'Group - Raster 1'. Then within that group there are the 'Mask - Raster 1' layer and the 'Raster 1' layer. This set is above the main image ('Background' layer). The 'Raster 1' layer is the black solid-color layer.

Select (highlight) the 'Raster 1' (solid black) layer in your Layer palette. Then apply whatever effects wanted. One could change the color to another, could add texture, patterns, gradients, sculptures and other effects to this layer. These effects may be applied just once or a variety of effects may be used one after the other. Once the desired effect is achieved, just set the mask to a layer (step 5).

I used two effects on the photo: First, I used Effects || Texture Effects || Sculpture, reset to default, with the "van Gogh dark" pattern. Then I used Effects || 3D Effects || Inner Bevel with these settings:
– Bevel = bevel #6
– Width = 31
– Smoothness = 0
– Depth = 5
– Ambience = 0
– Shininess = 80
– Color = white
– Angle = 137
– Intensity = 50
– Elevation = 20

Step 5: Set the Mask

In the Layer palette, highlight the 'Mask - Raster 1' layer, right-click on it and choose "Delete" from the pop-up menu. Click on "Yes" in the following dialog to merge the mask with the layer below it.

Then highlight the 'Group - Raster 1' layer, right-click on it and choose "Ungroup Layers".

You can even now work on your frame which is stored in the 'Raster 1' layer. For the image on the left, I now used Adjust || Negative Image for a final change of effect.

Your image is now ready for saving. You can also export the frame ('Raster 1' layer) as a picture frame for later use: Just copy the 'Raster 1' layer (Edit || Copy or Ctrl+C) and paste as a new image (Edit || Paste || Paste As New Image or Ctrl+V), then go to File || Export || Picture Frame, type in a name for your frame and click on Save.

Enjoy this technique for creating frames from masks. It is not only quick and easy, it is a lot of fun and allows one to create a multitude of frames and effects.

– Prof –