How to Frame a Photo with Quick Mask in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

Sometimes, you may want to use Photoshop CS6 to add a decorative border or edge to your image. Maybe you’re creating a postcard or greeting card, and the standard rectangular shape image just doesn’t provide enough pizzazz. Although adding a border or edge might look difficult, it is a snap with the Quick Mask command. Just follow these steps:

  1. Using any selection tool, create a selection on your image.

    To get a basic border, select a rectangle and then choose Select → Inverse to turn the selection inside out.

  2. Click the Edit in Quick Mask Mode button in the Tools panel.

    A color overlay covers and protects the area outside the selection.

    Your selected area is open for you to edit as you so desire.

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/yuliang11 Image #4312905]
    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/yuliang11 Image #4312905
  3. Grab the Brush tool, choose the Heavy Stipple brush, and set the brush diameter to 168 pixels.

    You can find the Heavy Stipple brush in the Wet Media Brushes library of the Brushes panel.

  4. Paint around the edges of the mask with black to add to the masked area.

  5. Adjust the Flow setting to 35% to get a semitransparent area and then click a few more times.

    You can also paint with gray to get the same effect.

  6. Again, adjust your brush diameter (this time to 80 pixels) and add a few random clicks here and there.

  7. Switch your color to white and repeat the steps, clicking around the image and also in the interior of the mask.

    Because white adds to the selected area, your image starts to show through.

    You can also apply a filter or adjustment (Image→Adjustment) to the Quick Mask.

  8. Click the Edit in Standard Mode button to exit the Quick Mask mode.

    The overlay disappears, leaving you with a selection outline.

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/yuliang11 Image #4312905]
    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/yuliang11 Image #4312905

    The selection outline correlates with the unmasked or selected areas of the Quick Mask. If you had a feathered mask, such as mine, the selection outline runs halfway between the selected and unselected areas of the mask, creating a soft transition.

  9. Your selection is ready and waiting for your next command.

    In this example, the selection was deleted, thereby filling the hole with the background color of white and leaving a stippled image. Note that because the brush was feathered and also varied in the Flow settings, some of the image is also feathered and semitransparent.

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/yuliang11 Image #4312905]
    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/yuliang11 Image #4312905