Colorful frame creation in Photoshop

How to create frames and borders using Photoshop gradients tutorial. A variety of methods can be used with CC 2018 2017 2015 2014 CS6 etc

Create frames using Photoshop gradients

How to create frames using Photoshop gradients tutorial
  1. Open image and select the rectangular marquee tool and select inner part of the image and then select menu and invert

  2. Select Photoshop gradient tool and apply to the inverted area / image frame

  3. Copy and paste the frame gradient region

  4. Layer menu and layer style and drop shadow to finish the create of the frame and then flatten

Video tutorial on the subject by (youtube)


There are many different ways to use the presets to create super interesting border and edge effects. Literally millions of edges can be created by using the tools in different combinations or using selections etc


32,000 Gradients GRD format


transparency colorThe colorful presets are perfect for creating borders and frames in all versions of PS and also PS Elements. The actual approach can be as varied as the features in the application.


The approach to creating the design on the right was by using the gradient tool and using a preset set with transparency and using it with linear mode. The key thing is to go to the editor for the preset and set a strong color (orange, blue etc) on the left side of the tool editor and have 100% opacity and then set the vast majority of the rest of the preset to opacity 0% (the right stop). Once you have done this, use the tool and apply the color around the edge (left, top etc in sequence) and change the color for the main 100% opacity stop to blue, green, yellow etc as you go around the edge. Depending how much of the preset you have set to 0% will be reflected in the end result of the colorful edge. If you have only a thin sliver of color in the preset then you will only have a thin sliver of color appear. If you want to have it parallel to the edges then hold down the shift key as you apply the preset to the image.


shapesExample showing how to use transparency presets to create the border is on the right. You don't need to use the presets directly but you can use the result of the preset added to a single layer and then duplicated over and over around the edge of an image. You can control the distribution of the edge so you can add as many or as few as you wish.


You can apply multiple presets over and over (either the effect itself or the effect applied to a single layer which can then be duplicated over and over - you can also make even more wonderful effects with it if the preset layer is then converted into a smart object and layer effects or filters are applied to the designs. The generated layer does not have to be round, it can be any type of layer and the easiest way to generate the layer is to use a selection and fill that with the gradient colors and then copy and paste to generate the layer. You can also use type as a great source for selections and filled layers by using the horizontal type mask tool or the vertical type mask tool and then using that with filled colors to create the layer to be used to fill the edge.



frame wheel designs

frame strokes


Open image. Go to the ellipse tool. Set to shape option. Set fill to a gradient. Set style to radial. Apply circle (hold shift). Alt / option and duplicate the circle around image. Change sizes of shape layer etc. Apply all the way around image. Flatten


vignetteYou can use the preset's transparency to create amazing edge effects such as vignettes. You are not limited to just a black vignette as the gradients can be set to any color (and you can also combine it with opacity and blending modes to add the vignette in many additional ways with the underlying image)


Go to the tool and click the editor to display the stops. Set the color of the first stop on the left (0% location) to black and set the opacity stop to 0%. Remove all the other stops other than far right (100% location) and set it it to black (or any color) and set the opacity stop to 100%. Change the opacity midpoint to sharpen or blur the vignette. Go to the tool and apply from the center using the radial type.


All kinds of amazing frames can be created by using shapes and also combining the shapes with gradients. As shapes can be in any form, you are not just limited to linear frames but all kinds of weird and beautiful artwork such as perhaps Celtic designs or embellishment designs and more. shapesGo to the GRD tool in toolbar. Click on the editor and then create some colors in the center of the bar so you have a black in 40% and yellow at 50% and black at 60% and the rest of the bar empty. Go to the opacity area and set opacity at 100% in the central part and set the edges to 0%


Create a basic rectangle shape layer (or use a more elaborate custom shape for the core of this design but the linear artwork is great as an example design as on the right) along the side of one edge and fill with the created preset (via top bar) and use linear type. Set the angle correctly so the line runs parallel to the edge. Duplicate that edge and place on opposite side. Duplicate and drag to the one of the other edges and change the angle for the line again to run parallel. Duplicate and drag to the last edge.


graduated color design arrowYou don't have to create just a single line or object around the edge of the image, you can duplicate the lines or duplicate the custom shapes and create rows and columns of the same (or different designs and again filled with different or the same gradients). You can perhaps apply the lines as above but add to the line as well such as adding circles filled with the same colors to create a sort of pulsed light around the edge of the artwork. As you can also select all the items around the edge and add them into a single or multiple smart objects via the layer menu convert into smart object, you can also add effects to the design such as gaussian blurs or halftone dots and then use that around the edge of the image. Using smart objects has the added advantage of the ability to add adjustment layers to the artworks and the color adjustments can change the frame colors in seconds via a simple change of hue / saturation color adjustment or exposure or vibrance or any of the other tools included in the adjustments menu. You can then edit the properties of the objects via the layers panel


Selections are great way of adding color to the frame of any design. selectionCreate a selection using the rectangular marquee and leave some edge around the image. Select menu and inverse. Select the GRD tool and apply a radial or linear preset to the selection. You can apply the preset multiple times by setting the blending mode for the tool to difference You can, of course use any selection so it does not need to be a rectangular frame but by using tools such as color range or the tools such as elliptical marque tool or the quick selection tool or using features such as combining multiple selections, all kinds of selections can be generated and then filled with the colorful designs. You can also combine those generated colorful designs with effects as well and brushes. Select the elliptical marquee tool and create a selection in the center of the image and then use the selection menu and inverse and then fill that design with gradient tool applications such as linear, radial etc. Change the blending mode to darken or difference or exclusion etc and apply again and again until you have generated an amazing colorful background for your frame. Now go to the filter menu and apply any of the effects such as render and lens flare or filters in the filter gallery. You can also combine it with brush strokes such as using mixer brush found in the tools to smudge and blur all the generated colors.


painter generated paste special intoAnother way to use the selections is to use the edit menu and paste special and paste into. The key thing here is that you have something to paste into the selection and as you can paste anything, all kinds of colorful images can be created. Photoshop is pretty good when it comes to gradients but other applications such as SumoPaint and Painter and Clip Studio have a greater range of different graduated effects and they can be used to generate a design and then selected and then copied back into Photoshop by using the paste special. Say you have Painter, well start that application and then create a large new document (same size or greater than the original image you want to paste into) and go to the gradient tool and select the spiral option at the top of the application and select one of the express paint options (these then apply a painting effect to the color design with different levels of strength). You can then click the OK and then use the select all command and edit menu and copy. Go back to Photoshop and then go create a rectangular marquee selection and select inverse that and go to the edit menu and paste special and paste into. You will now have the design created in Painter in your frame. Using Painter in this example but the other applications such as Sumo Paint also come with a lovely selection of features to create unique colorful designs that can be used over and over in other projects.


layersYou can use the transparency in the preset (see the colorful edges and shapes for the preset). Gradients come with a mix of color stops and opacity stops. Where the opacity stop is less than 100% then you will see more or less of the underlying image (of course, you can also use blending modes and opacity for the entire preset but that is not the same, the result is very different). The key thing with the preset is that it has a 0% opacity stop at the left and right end. That preset can be quickly added to a new layer. An alternative to this is to just create a layer via the new layer command and fill with a gradient with no transparency and then just squeeze the design using the layer transformation and create a thin colorful line that can be used as an edge.


Create a new layer via the layer menu and then apply the GRD tool (with a preset filled with transparency or not and if not, squash it with the transformation tools) using a linear type to create a single line. Duplicate this colorful line around the document. The layers on each edge can now be distorted and warped in many ways using the filter menu and distort and wave (for example but there are other filters such as liquify).


gradient repeat edge around using multiple layers four different linesYou don't have to use just one layer per edge. You can quickly create a new layer (on top of the image) and fill with the transparent gradient and then use the duplicate command (found in the layers menu or just hold down the alt key) and repeat this multiple times (more than the four edges). The design can then be position around the edge of the image but instead of a single layer per edge, add more than one layer per edge. You can then shift the individual layers to create all kinds of complex and intricate designs. In the example on the right, a single new layer was created and filled with the preset with a couple of color stops in the center and opacity stops of 0% at the ends (most of the preset was then transparent). The layer was then duplicated four times to create multiple steps for one edge. The four layers were then selected and converted into a smart object and the smart object was then placed around each of the edges to create the frame. The great thing about the smart object approach is that the preset can be changed at any time and adjustments can be added to the smart object to re-color the artwork so an orange border can be turned into a green or blue one in seconds via the adjustments.


shadowSelections can be combined with layer effects to create your unique colorful frame. Haven't mentioned layer effects but they can be used to great effect as the layer effect gradient overlay can be edited at any point and 1000s of presets can be quickly applied to create a never ending stream of unique borders. With the latest version of layer effects you can also add multiple entries and multiple blending modes to the frame design to create even more unusual and beautiful artworks. You can also add multiple shadows


You can also create a selection using the rectangular marquee tool (leaving some edge) and then use the select menu and inverse. Edit menu and copy.


Layer menu and layer style and select a gradient overlay (or add multiple) and add a preset and using blending modes to mix them. You can also click the drop shadow option and add a shadow to your edge


multiple layer entries and different overlaysYou can also create more complex frames by using the same selection approach as above but duplicate the frame layers. Obviously of little use if you just add them on top of each other (unless using them with blending modes) but you can always transform and rotate and shift and scale the generated layer and by using a variety of layering methods, stunning artworks can be created for your original image. You can also change the color of the overlay as well as the shadow direction and add bevels (varying) to the layer. For example, create a layer using the inverse selection and copy and paste and go to the layer menu and layer style. Select an overlay. Hold down the alt key and duplicate that layer. Re-size and rotate the layer. Go to the layer styles and change the angle or type etc for that overlay (otherwise the result may be very similar for each layer). Repeat this as required.



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