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Photo Edges with Masks
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Photo Edges with Masks
Created by:Doro Sensen

Masks are a nice way in Paint Shop Pro to display your photos with pretty and unique edges.

Fade-away Mask
Mask with Geometrical Effect
Mask with Texture

We will create three masks for three different kinds of edges: a fade-away mask as one way to achieve the fade-away effect that is so often asked for, one mask made with a geometrical effect, and one textured mask. However, there are countless possibilities to create unique masks for your photos just experiment and have fun!

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For this tutorial, you should have a photo ready, or you can download the photo that I have used (some of you will have met my canary Tweetje already in other tutorials).

Standard Toolbar - New (image) button

Fade-away Mask

Open a new image:
Width = 200
Height = 200
Background = black
Image type = 16.7 Million Colors


Tool Palette - Selection tool

Double-click on the Selection tool in your tool palette to open the "Select Area" dialog box:
Left = 20
Right = 180
Top = 20
Bottom = 180
Custom Size and Position = selected

You get a perfectly square selection in the center of your black image.

Go to Selections || Modify || Feather, enter 15 for "Number of Pixels", and click on OK. Your selection now appears much bigger and with rounded corners.


Tool Palette - Flood Fill tool

Click on the Flood-Fill tool in your tool palette:
Blend mode = Normal
Match mode = None
Tolerance = n/a
Opacity = 100
Sample merged = unchecked

Set your foreground style to Solid Color (click on the little arrow in your Foreground Style box and choose the little brush icon on the left). Now click right into your foreground style box and set your foreground colour to white. Your foreground texture should be set to None.

Now click only once into your selection. Your image should look like on the left. Deselect with Ctrl+D (Selections || Select None).

Go to Masks || New || From Image:
Source window = This Window
Source luminance = selected
Invert mask data = unchecked

Your image should now look like on the left. Now go to Masks || Save to Disk and save your mask as "Fade-away.msk" in the default mask folder or into another folder of your choice.

Now you have your mask available to apply to any picture.

Now just open your photo and duplicate it with Shift+D (Window || Duplicate). Go to Masks || Load from Disk, and select your Fade-away.msk which is now applied to your photo.

You'll notice that the photo shines through where your mask image was white. That's the whole trick with masks: White lets your picture shine through, black takes your picture away, and greys blend over.

You'll also notice another nice feature of masks (when loaded from disk): it doesn't matter that your photo has got other dimensions than your mask image, the mask fits perfectly into the photo.

You can now put a new layer behind the photo layer and fill it with the colour, texture or pattern of your webpage background to make the photo blend nicely into your background.


Standard Toolbar - Undo button

Mask with Geometrical Effect

Click on your mask image to make it the active image window again, and then click once on the Undo button so you've got your black-and-white image again, and let's make another mask!

Go to Effects || Geometric Effects || Spiky Halo:
Horizontal offset = 0
Vertical offset = 0
Radius = 24
Amplitude = 46
Frequency = 14

Let's make a mask from that image like before: Go to Masks || New || From Image:
Source window = This Window
Source luminance = selected
Invert mask data = unchecked

Your image should now look like on the left. Now go to Masks || Save to Disk and save your mask as "Spiky_Halo.msk".

Next step again like before: Open your photo and duplicate it with Shift+D (Window || Duplicate). Now go to Masks || Load from Disk, and select your Spiky_Halo.msk to apply it to your photo.

You'll notice that the halos have quite a "soft" edge. That's because we had feathered our selection in the beginning. If we hadn't done that, the effect would be quite different just try it out!

Last step would again be to put a layer of your website background behind the photo layer.

Standard Toolbar - New (image) button

Mask with Texture

Let's make one last mask with yet another effect! Begin again with a new image:
Width = 200
Height = 200
Background = black
Image type = 16.7 Million Colors

Tool Palette - Flood Fill tool

Click on the Flood-Fill tool in your tool palette. Change your foreground texture to "Texture" (click on the little arrow in the Foreground Texture box and choose the icon on the left), then click right into the Foreground Texture box and choose the "Twigs" texture from the drop-down box.

Now click once into your black image to fill it with the texture.

Since the center portion of our photo should be fully visible, we have to make the center white:


Tool Palette - Selection tool

Double-click on the Selection tool in your tool palette:
Left = 30
Right = 170
Top = 30
Bottom = 170
Custom Size and Position = selected

Then go to Selections || Modify || Feather and enter 10 for the "Number of Pixels", click on OK. The feathering of the selection will make the photo blend nicely into the textured edge.


Tool Palette - Flood Fill tool

Click on the Flood-Fill tool in your tool palette. Change your foreground texture back to None (click on the little arrow in your Foreground Texture box and choose the icon on the right). Then click once into the selection in the center to fill it with white.

To let the texture fade away into our background as well, we'll have to turn the outer edge of our image black, so make black your foreground colour now.

Go to Selections || Modify || Expand, type in 20 for the "Number of Pixels" and click on OK. Next, go to Selections || Invert.

Your Flood-Fill tool is still activated, so click once now into your selection at the image edge to fill it with black, then deselect with Ctrl+D (Selections || No Selection). Since the selection was still feathered, the textures now blend into the black edge.

Well, the last steps like before: Go to Masks || New || From Image:
Source window = This Window
Source luminance = selected
Invert mask data = unchecked

Your image should now look like the one on the left. Now go to Masks || Save to Disk and save your mask as "Twigs.msk".

Open your photo and duplicate it with Shift+D (Window || Duplicate). Now go to Masks || Load from Disk, and select your Twigs.msk to apply it to your photo. Now only put your website background on a layer behind the photo layer.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Now it's up to you to develop your very own, unique photo edges: just experiment with black-and-white images with different effects, filters, and settings, feathered or non-feathered selections the possibilities are really endless! You could even have a different edge for each of your holiday/vacation photos!!! :-))