This is a technique that makes a plain flat image come to life by giving it a 3D type effect. In this tutorial the author will explain the various processes needed to convert Photograph 1 into Photograph 2


Photo 2

In this tutorial, I have used Photoshop. The technique can be done similarly in most photo software that supports Layers and Masks

Before creating an OOB, choose suitable subject and resize it to a suitable size to display on monitor or printer

Step 1 - Setting the image up.
Convert original to a layer & name it ‘Original’
Make a duplicate of Original layer
Add 5 transparent layers and name them
* Picture Frame – this is the pseudo photo frame
* Picture frame Shadow – the shadow of the pseudo photo frame
* Test View White – used to judge progress but otherwise not used in final image
* Test View Black – used to judge progress but otherwise not used in final image
* OOB Background – the general background of the final OOB image.
You should now have 7 layers.

Fig 1

Step 2 - Arranging the layers.
Re arrange the layers (top to bottom)
Picture Frame
Original Copy
Picture Frame Shadow
OOB Background
Test view Black
Test View White

Fig 2

Step 3 - Setting the layers.
Use paint bucket to give a white fill to Test View White layer
Use paint bucket to give a black fill to Test View black layer
Leave the OOB Background layer transparent for the time being.
Now add a layer mask to Picture Frame and Original Copy layers
Make the Original layer invisible (You may never need this layer)

Fig 3

Step 4 - Creating the Pseudo Picture Frame.
1 - Select the Transparent Picture Frame (Not the Picture Frame Mask)
2 – Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to draw the outline of your picture frame.

Fig 4

3 - Edit>stroke. Select 15 pixels, inside and white colour, blending normal at 100% opacity. Then click OK.
4 - Select --> Transformation Selection. (Ctrl+T).

Fig 5

5 - Place mouse inside the selection area and single Right Click and choose Perspective. Then use the grab points to alter the shape of the pseudo picture frame to suit the image and effect.

Fig 6

6 - when you are happy with the desired shape of the Picture Frame, press Enter to accept the transformation.
7 - Select --> Deselect(Ctrl+D) to deselect the Picture Frame.

Fig 7

Step 6 - Masking Out the background.
1 - Select the MASK of the Original Copy layer
2 - Select the paint brush in the tools pallet. Set it at about 13 pixels with 95% hardness. Ensure that Black is chosen in the colour pallet in the Tool set.
Note: If you haven’t used masks before, the technique is easy and non destructive. Basically you use a Black brush to paint transparency and White brush to restore the image if you make a mistake or need to do some fine tweaking… Before we remove all the unwanted background, it is wise to test that you have selected the mask properly. Step 3 below will do this test. If the test fails, start over from step 1 of this section.
3 - With the black paint brush, paint over a small portion of the background. It will appear black. However if you make the Test View Black layer invisible, the masked area will appear white. If that is so, reselect the MASK of the Original Copy layer.

Fig 8

4 - Zoom in to the portion of the image you want to have outside the frame 200~300% and start to black paint out the background. You will probably need to alter the brush size from time to time, especially to get into tight corners etc. If you make a mistake and paint over a bit that you didn’t intend to, just change the brush colour to white & paint it back again. The more time you spend being carefull in painting out, the better the result. Fig 9
shows the part process at 300% with the Test View Black layer switched off.

Fig 9

5 - Zoom out to normal size and carefully use the black paintbrush to paint around the picture frame.

Fig 10

6 - Now select a larger brush and black paint the rest of the unwanted background.

Fig 11

At this stage, you can toggle the visibility of the black & whiteTest View layers to confirm all is well.

Step 7 - Masking the Pseudo Frame.
1 - Zoom in to 200~300%
2 – Select the MASK on the Picture Frame layer
3 - Select Black colour. Paint over the portion of the pseudo picture frame where it obscures the part of the image that protrudes out of the picture frame.

Fig 12

4 – At this stage you can crop the image to the finished aspect ratio.

Fig 13

Step 8 - Adding a slight shadow to two sides of the Picture Frame.
1 set the Test View Black & whitelayers to invisible.
2- Select thePicture Frame Shadow layer
3 – Select black colour and a paintbrush of about 13 pixels hardness = 100%
4 – Draw a line of black at the left and bottom of the picture frame.

Fig 14

(To draw a nice neat straight line, click on the start point, then move the cursor to the finishing point and press & hold shift, then click)

5 – Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set radius at 6 pixels. Don’t worry at this stage if the shadow looks too heavy. Just accept it for the moment.

Fig 15

Step 9 - Creating a Pseudo Background.
It is important to have a neutral background so that the picture frame stands out.
1 – Select the OOB Background layer
2 – Select the Gradient Tool (It could be hiding under the paint bucket tool). With the gradient tool selected, select a neutral gradient and drag a gradient onto the background.
3 – Set the Test View Black layer back to visible

Fig 16

Step 10 - Adjust Picture Frame Shadow.
1 – select the Picture Frame Shadow layer
2 – in the layers pallet, select the opacity and set it to about 30~40%

Fig 17

Final steps.
1 - Save the image in a format that will preserve the layers. (For future reference) I use Photoshop’s native format *.psd
2 – Layer > Flatten Image. (You will be asked ‘Discard Hidden layers’ - press OK)
3 – Save as a *.jpg


Article Copyright 2009 - DonaldG &