Home > Uncategorized > How To Add A Digital Mat To Your Images

How To Add A Digital Mat To Your Images

I’m using CS5 for this, I’m not sure if this can all be done in Photoshop Elements, but most of it is doable. So you can follow along as well. This is a sample of what a Digital Mat can look like. After you’ve learned this fun trick, you’ll be able to do this to your images too.

First, Duplicate your image. Give it a new name with a Save As.

Now, decide how large of a mat that you’d like. I added 4” of extra white mat around this image to begin with, by adding more Canvas — Image>Canvas Size…

In the next window I typed “4” in each window, chose White as the background color and hit OK.

You now have an image with 4” of extra canvas around it; 2” on each side.

Now, make your Foreground Color White by hitting the “D” key for your Default colors, then “X” to swap them.

Turn on the Rulers if you don’t already have them; View>Rulers (Cmd/Ctr R)

Choose your Rectangular Tool. Drag/Draw a rectangle across your image. I started 1/2” from each edge. If you’ve messed up, don’t worry, we’ll fix it next. For now, just drag out a large rectangle across your image.

You’ll notice that your image is now covered by this large white rectangle. Go to the top of your Layers Panel and turn “Fill” down to 0%.  Make sure you haven’t used the Opacity slider, we want that at 100%, otherwise these next steps won’t work. The rectangle seems to have now disappeared. Don’t worry, the fun part’s coming up next.

I know, you’re probably wondering why I had you choose the Default Colors a couple steps ago, when you’re going to Fade the Fill anyway — I dunno, it’s just a habit of mine whenever I’m doing something that’s going to involves the Foreground/Background Color Swatches, to make them Black & White, so, while running this thru my head, again by habit, I’ve included it, and hopefully you learned a few new tricks.

Now, this is where the Elements Users may have to hunt to find these features, sorry. I’ll see if I can add an Addendum in a future post once I get Elements 10 so I can teach it too. But for those on CS – CS5, do this:

At the bottom of your Layers Panel is the Layers Style button, labeled “fx”, Click on it.

In this Layers Style window, first select Stroke. Set size to 15, Position>Center, Blend>Normal, Opacity 100%, Fill Type>Color and Color Black. You should now have a nice sharp black line around your rectangle surrounding your image.

At this point, if you need to resize and/or reposition your rectangle, Select your Move Tool (V key), and grab each edge, while watching it’s indicator on the Ruler, move the edges. I’ve got mine at 1/2″ on each side, except the bottom where I went with 1″ for a “weighted bottom” look.

Next, Select Bevel and Emboss. Choose Style>Inner Bevel, Technique>Chisel Hard, Depth: 110%, Direction: Up, Size: 15, Soften: 1. Leave all Shading setting as is, except Turn On “Use Global Light” and set Angle to 130°

Now these are just great starting settings, you can adjust the recipe to your liking later.

How we looking so far? You’re probably only noticing slight changes in the line, but here’s the next step that’ll make it nicer.

Select Inner Shadow. Now, set Blend Mode>Multiply, Opacity to 95%, Angle should be at 130° still since Use Global Light is selected (I know, screen capture shows something different). Distance: 14, Choke: 5, Size: 49. Leave Quality settings at defaults for now.

There you have it. Now, go back and tweak each setting as needed for flavour and your’e done.

Now, I’ve been asked about making this an Action — Sure, that can be done too. If you know how to do Actions, start a new one (if not, subscribe to my blog(s) and I’ll have a post on that soon), and repeat the process l’ve shown you here, without any deviation. When you’re done, hit the Stop button. Now, each time you play this action, you’ll be presented with a new Rectangle Layer with these Layer Styles included. Then, it’s just a matter of going in and tweaking the size of the rectangle and the setting in the Styles to your taste.

For an extra added bonus, Copy this “mat layer” to a new layer, Choose your Move Tool, resize while holding down the Shift and Option/Alt keys (so that the layer will resize>constrain proportions >resize from center) and now you’ve got a double mat. I’ve used this double mat trick often, but it didn’t seem to work on this image, so I just threw that layer away.

Thanks again for visiting. Subscribe to this blog, look along the side panel to find my other Photography related blogs that you can follow too. And if you’re on Facebook (which I’m actually still a bit new at doing), go to Tony Locke Photography and “Like” that page so you can keep learning more.

Tony D. Locke, MM

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