How to create frames and borders using Photoshop gradients tutorial
They are perfect for creating borders and frames in all versions of Photoshop and also PS Elements. The actual approach can be as varied as the features in Adobe ® Photoshop ®.
You may find the 32,000 presets in Photoshop gradients of use and interest with PS and PS Elements
Many of the gradient presets on the graphicxtras site contain transparency which means the underlying background image can be seen, the rest of the image and the frame are blocked out. To use the gradient, setup the preset with transparency stops set to 0%. The transparency is set to the left side of the preset in the gradient editor. To display the editor, select the GRD tool and click the GRD panel. You can use two colors for the preset but you can also (as below) add in additional color such as black to the mix before the start of the transparency. To get a sharper and more intense edge to the artwork you can also use the stops and midpoints as well as the midpoints for the transparency. Instead of having the midpoint at the actual midpoint, you can set them a different location so say 80% and combine that with a set of intense blacks around at the same point of the start of the 100% opacity then you can create all kinds of very interesting edges as below
You can also create more inventive frames in Adobe ® Photoshop ® using multiple gradients (with transparency) by using the reflected (as well as the others) and this can be applied over and over in different directions to form a frame surrounding the point of interest. It does require the presets to have transparency on both sides of the GRD editor though. In the item below it is very similar to the one above but the preset is using the linear mode instead of radial and also instead of a single transparency point of 0% opacity, there are two on the right and left side of a 100% opacity central pink and yellow GRD color set. The linear preset was then added to the image moultiple times in the horizontal and the vertical to create a super colorful depth filled frame.
You don't have to use just transparency, you can use selections / masks to create even more interesting frames in Adobe ® Photoshop ® using the presets. Creating them is easy but sometimes it is hard to stop or know when to stop. Use the rectangular marque tool or elliptical tool to create a selection; you could also just use a free form selection. Once you have highlighted the area for the Photoshop frame then go to the select menu and use the inverse. You can now fill this region / area with GRD preset (you don't have to be limited to one). You can use the transparency of the preset but you can also just fill it with the solid color by turning off the preset's transparency. You can also use different blending modes to apply multiple presets. The one below uses the same GRD preset as above with the double transparency (0% opacity) and the preset is then added to the selection multiple times
Of course, you can extend this approach with additional selections, you don't need to keep at a single selection. You can remove the previous selection and then add a new selection or perhaps select the selection and copy and paste and use the frame as a layer and then add layer effects. You can also add into the mix additional presets as well as effects such as poster edges or blurring of the edge. The approach below used a combination of the above ideas but there are also many possible ways you can add the presets
You can find many additional tutorials such as how to load the Photoshop gradients and how to use the Photoshop gradients in different image modes and how to use the Photoshop gradients with transparency and how to use the Analog Efex Pro 2 (Nik software application / plugin)