How to Make Photographic Edges with Paint Shop Pro

Paint Shop Pro, especially the later versions, have several ways for users to create various photographic edges for their pictures. Below are details on how to create photographic edges using a mask layer.

Step 1 - Set The Canvas Size

This is a step you may or may not have to deal with, depending on the size of your image. If you want some additional room to work with and don't want to cut out anything from what is already on the photo, you'll need to expand your canvas size. This is useful if your picture has already been cropped way down.

First, set your background color to white (or whatever color you want the excess space to be). Then select Enlarge Canvas from the Image drop down menu. Make sure the check mark is in the center, so that it enlarges equally in all directions, then adjust the height and width. How much you enlarge it will depend on the current size of your picture. Play around with the enlarge settings, and if you need more or less, undo the canvas size adjustment and do it again with a different number.


Step 2 - Setting Up Your Mask

You will need to create a mask layer. This layer will essentially render certain areas underneath it invisible.
Start by selecting from the top Masks, then New and then Empty. Nothing will appear to change, because the mask you just created is invisible. To get something you can work with, first choose Masks and then Edit, which will make the entire mask visible (and in this case, will appear as a solid black rectangle over the whole image). Then, select View and Through Mask. This will make the mask semi-opaque, so you can see your original image but it will appear darker.


Step 3 - Drawing On Your Mask

This is where you can have fun with your photographic edges. The way a mask works is that everywhere that is black on your mask will end up being transparent, and everything that is white on your mask will cover up what is underneath (or "mask" over top of it). Everything on your mask that is in levels of gray will be in levels of transparency.

Choose a large Paint Brush size and select a texture of your choice. Anything will do, and you can paint over it several times with multiple textures such as Paper Texture, Lunar or Mist. Choose white as your foreground (as mentioned, white will have a masking effect) and paint around the edges of your photo. Use a large brush at first, then switch to something smaller for the outer most edges.


Step 4 - Reset Your Mask

To make the black or dark areas of your mask invisible again, go to the Masks drop down menu and select Edit again. If the center of your image is darker than you want it, make sure your Mask layer is still selected and open the Brightness and Contrast controls. Turn your Brightness all the way to 100 (this will turn the "black" areas of your mask completely transparent) and leave the Contrast at 0.

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