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Picture Perfect cuts for Unique Shaped Frames in PSE

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Hi Everyone!!!   Mary-Lynne here with a new Tutorial.  It’s pretty easy to make a photo fit a rectangular or circle frame, but sometimes we want our photo in a special frame and that can be tedious to “cut” your photo to match.   In this tutorial, I’m using a heart shaped frame for my photo. I’m not familiar with programs other than PSE, but if you have questions, PM me and I’ll try to find the answer from our awesome group of ladies!   I’m also using Windows, but if you are an Apple user, I think if you substitute CMD for CNTL, the rest works in a similar manner.  Ok, let’s GO!!

  1. Open Photoshop Elements. Screen prints and instructions are for PSE 14, but it will work with any version.  You just may need to look around for the tools…some of them have moved over the years.    Next open a photo, an odd shaped frame and any paper.  This will also work for plain old square frames, but the rectangle selection tool is faster!  For this challenge I’m using Indigo’s Then and Now kit which is available in the Pixel Club.   If you don’t have this beautiful kit, grab the freebie heart here so you can follow along.   Any light colored paper will work for this tutorial.  I chose the Heart Frame since this is the month of love!
  2. Using the Move tool, drag and drop your photo onto the paper, then drag and drop the frame on top of the photo. If your photos are really large you probably need to resize them first so that they are somewhere in the ball park of what you want to frame.  Resize and rotate your photo and the frame to your satisfaction.  Now go ahead and close the photo and Heart files.   Your workspace should look something like this.fc 01
  3. Click on the Select Tool along the left side tool bar. My PSE currently shows the Magic Wand, but your PSE will show the last tool in the set that you used.  There are four tools in the set.  Look at the bottom of your screen to see these four tools.  If it isn’t already selected, click on the Magic Wand, the one that looks like Tinkerbelle’s wand!   Be sure you have the heart layer selected on your page.  The one with the dark blue background is the one currently selected.fc 02
  4. Now, make sure Contiguous is checked along that bottom tool bar and then, using the magic wand, click anywhere inside the frame.  You will see the “marching ants” walking around the inside of the frame.  If you also see ants walking around the edge of the paper, you probably don’t have Contiguous checked.  Press ESC to get rid of all the ants, check Contiguous and click inside the frame again.fc 03
  1. We now have a selection the perfect shape for the frame. It’s a good idea to make it a little larger, so the frame slightly overlaps the photo.  So press SELECT on the top menu.  That will bring up a drop down menu (which unfortunately doesn’t get picked up by the screen capture).  Select MODIFY then EXPAND.  Key in a number (I usually use 10-50 depending on the thickness of the frame.  Bigger allows more flexibility if you change your mind about the size, but if you go too big it will extend past the outside edge of the frame.  If you are using the freebie heart frame, 20 works perfectly.  If you are using the same heart I am, you can go 50.  If you are using something really small, like stitches for a frame, you may need to use 1-3.  Press OK.fc 04
  2. Now you have the marching ants in a shape that is slightly bigger than the frame opening. Switch to the photo layer, by clicking on it, and then press CNTL/J.   This is the copy layer command, but since you have an active selection, it only copies the selection.   You should see your heart shaped photo in a new layer.   The copy layer selection automatically turns off the selection (marching ants).  Next go to the full photo layer and turn off the visibility by clicking on the little eye.  You have a photo cut perfectly for the frame!  If you change your mind about how the photo fits the frame, delete the cut layer, turn the full photo layer visibility back on (re=click the eye) and go back up to step 3.fc 05
  1. If you are happy with your results, it’s a good idea to link the layers so the photo and frame don’t accidentally get separated. Holding down the CNTL key select each of the three layers to be linked and then click on the little paper clip inside any one of them.  You will see all three paper clips turn yellow, which means if you move one, you move them all.fc 06
  2. Now it’s time to finish up the page. Here’s my final layout using elements from Indigo’s Then and Now. Happy Valentines!!!fc 07


Can’t wait to see your wonderful layouts using this technique!!!

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