• Using Frames to Enhance Backgrounds in Photoshop and PSE

    This week’s tip is the first in a new series on adding pizzazz to background papers in Photoshop and Elements. Quick and easy, this technique combines two images with blending modes.

    Begin by opening a digital background and a frame embellishment in Photoshop or Elements.
    Use the Move tool to drag the frame onto the background document. If you’d like the frame to be centered on the page, hold the Shift key as you click/drag it onto the background.

    Next, blend the frame into the background by selecting the frame layer in the Layers Panel. Select a blending mode from the drop-down menu at the top of the Layers Panel.
    The Blend Modes control how the colors in your images interact with each other. By default, it is set to Normal which simply leaves each pixel the original color with no blending.

    The Blend Mode menu is divided into six sections:
    1. Basic Modes: retain the original color information. Dissolve Mode randomly replaces the colors in the frame and paper layers.
    2. Darken Modes: look at the color information and burn or combine the colors in a way that darkens the image
    3. Lighten Modes: look at the color information and blend the colors in a way that lightens the image
    4. Contrast Modes: darken and lighten the image, boosting the contrast
    5. Comparative Modes: compare the two images looking for areas that are the same
    6. Composite Modes: effect the color or luminosity of the images

    Choose a blending mode that blends the frame nicely into the background.

    Tweak the blended background to find a pleasing effect. Here are two suggestions:
    • Select the frame and duplicate it by pressing Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) for a more dramatic result.
    • You can also adjust the opacity of the frame layer to your liking. Click on the Opacity slider and move it to the left or right.

    Using blending modes, your frame will become a part of the background paper, matching the color and style.