By nature, photos are rectangular—that’s just reality. Of course, we don’t have to leave them that way, and thanks to Photoshop, there are some pretty simple ways to give your photos some interesting edge treatments. In this article, we’ll look at just a few of the many possibilities that are available.
Using Layer Masks
In the first example, we’ll use a Layer Mask to produce an unusual edge that is very editable.
- Open the photo, double-click the Background layer and name the layer anything other than Background. This will unlock the layer so that you can add a layer mask.
- Hold down Command (Windows: Control) and click the New Layer icon to add a new layer below the current layer. Fill this layer with white, using Edit>Fill.
- Using the Rectangular Marquee tool, click and drag to make a selection that’s slightly smaller that the overall photo. You’ll want to select most of the photo, just leaving a quarter-inch or so that’s unselected.
- Make sure the photo layer (the ex-Background layer) is active and click on the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette to add a Layer Mask to the layer. The area of the photo that wasn’t selected will be masked, allowing the bottom white layer to show through.
- The Layer Mask should automatically be selected (indicated by the border around the mask thumbnail in the Layers palette). If not, click the mask thumbnail. From the Filter menu choose Brush Strokes>Spatter. Experiment with the settings in the filter to get the look you want (the filter preview should show only the black and white mask, not the photo itself).
- If you want, you can add another filter to the effect. In this case, we
clicked on the New Effect Layer button and added a Sprayed Strokes layer on top
of the Spatter filter.
Now our photo has a much more interesting edge than the traditional rectangular look and it’s very simple to edit or remove. If you want to change the look of the edge, just click on the layer mask thumbnail and apply more filters (just make sure that you only use filters that distort the existing pixels rather than those that introduce any new pixel information). If you decide to return back to the original rectangular edge, just delete the layer mask.