Framing 101 for ProShow Producer

The quick-and-dirty way to frame a photo is to add an outline. It’s nothing to write home about.

A less quick-and-dirty way is to duplicate the photo, zoom the underneath photo a little larger, set its contrast at 0%, and Colorize it. There’s more versatility in size and position with this method.

The least quick way is more elegant and uses masks to create a frame with interior shading for a realistic sense of depth. The magic is in Transparency Inverted masks.

A step-by-step example:

The Photo

Original Photo

Creating the Frame

1. Add the photo to a slide and set as “Fit to safe zone” to allow space for the frame around it.

2. Duplicate the photo 4 times for a total of 5 layers.

3. Set layer 1 to a Transparency Inverted mask.

4. Select layer 2, set Zoom to 103%.

5. In the Adjustments tab, set layer 2’s Contrast to 0% and Colorize it.

Showing only layers 1 and 2, here’s the result…

Frame Bare

6. Select layer 3 and Zoom it to 101%.

7. Turn layer 3 into a Transparency Inverted mask.

8. In the Adjustments tab, add a Vignette with a size of 7 to layer 3.

9. Select layer 4, and in the Adjustments tab, set the White Point to 0%, turning it black.

10. Set layer 4’s opacity to about 55%, turning it into a shadow.

Showing layers 1 through 4…


And with layer 5, the photo layer, included…

Frame & Photo

If you follow the instructions, you can gain an understanding of how inverted masks operate. However, if it’s just too much fussing around and you prefer getting on with life, download the free Framing 101 slide style from The Frame Locker to keep handy for whenever you need a nicely framed photo.

Turn a Background into a Frame

This is a question I’ve been asked a number of times, and I’ve hesitated to post the answer here because the instructions are for Photoshop, not Elements, which it seems more of you use. Quite often, however, Photoshop instructions are easily translated by Elements users, and so in hopes this is true for these instructions, here’s how to turn a background into a full-screen frame behind which you can display your photos:

1.  Open the background image in Photoshop along with a photo typical of what you’ll be using with the frame.

2.  Turn the background into a layer (double-click it in the layers palette).

3.  Drag the photo on top of the background, positioning the photo where you’ll want the opening in the frame to be. If the photo is too large, press Ctrl+T, and then while holding down Shift+Alt, drag one of the corner handles toward or away from the center to resize the image. Accept your changes.

4.  Using the rectangular marquee, select the area for the opening, using the photo as your guide and keeping the marquee within the bounds of the photo.

5.  In the layers palette, select your background image and press delete to create the “hole.”

6.  Deselect, and in the layers palette, shift your photo layer to beneath the background image so you can see how it will look as you’re creating the frame.

7.  Duplicate the background layer using Ctrl+J. (You’ll see later why this might be necessary.)

8.  Double-click the top layer (the copy of the background) to bring up the layer style dialogue.

9.  Click “Bevel and Emboss.”

10. Use “Inner Bevel,” changing the Size (try 29 px) and Soften (try 8 px). Click OK.

11. Select the photo layer and double-click it to bring up the style dialogue.

12. Select “Inner Shadow.”

13. Set the distance to 0, choke to about 42, and size to about 38. Then click OK. (This creates a vignette around the photo to give it depth.)

14. In the layers palette, right-click the line that says “Inner Shadow” and choose “Create Layer.”

15. The second layer will have an arrow symbol pointing down to your photo layer. Right-click that second layer and choose “Release Clipping Mask.”

16. Delete the photo layer. If you want to keep the beveling on the perimeter of your background image, go to Layer > Merge Visible, and Save As.


16. If you want to eliminate the outside bevel (this is why you made a copy of the background layer), draw a rectangular marquee around the photo frame area, making sure the marquee is outside all the shadowing and highlighting.

17. Go to Select > Inverse.

18. In the layers palette, right-click the top layer and select “Convert to Smart Object.” Right-click again, this time choosing “Rasterize Layer.”

19. Press delete.

20. Merge the 3 layers into one layer and use Save As.


Take the time to explore all the options in layer styles. The frame design given in the above instructions is used only as an example.

Published in: on August 1, 2011 at 4:46 pm  Comments Off on Turn a Background into a Frame  
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Create a ProShow Producer Mask for an Oval Frame

Some of the older Frame Locker products that include oval frames have no matching oval masks for easy fitting of photos. Here are the instructions I always give customers and that you might find handy for any oval frame, whether it comes from The Locker or anywhere else. The instructions are long, but the process takes no time at all. Do it just once, and you’ll never have to use these instructions again.

1. Add the frame to a blank slide.

2. In Effects > Motion Effects, press the plus sign and choose “Add Gradient.”

3. On the next screen and in Presets, choose Masks.

4. In Type, choose Radial.

6. Move the center black marker to the left so it covers the white marker:

Gradient Marker

7. Click OK, and then move the newly created gradient down to Layer 2.

8. In the Zoom controls and on the left side of the screen, unlock the x-y axis:

X-Y Axis

9. Reduce or increase the y-axis until the top and bottom of the white circle are just barely hidden beneath the frame:

Resize Y-Axis

10. Reduce the x-axis until the sides are just barely hidden beneath the frame.

11. Press the Copy icon and choose “Copy Start to End” to get this result:

Reduce X-Axis

12. Delete the frame (Layer 1), and click OK to close the Options screen.

13. Right-click the preview screen, choose “Capture Frame(s),” and on the next screen, choose a name for your new mask. Save it to the same folder where you have your frame.

14. To test your new mask, set it up so that Layer 1 is the frame, Layer 2 is the grayscale mask, and Layer 3 is your photo:

Mask Setup

Here’s my result:

Mask Result

NOTE: If you won’t be using the mask again anywhere else in the show, and you don’t expect to ever use the frame again, there’s no need to save the mask. Saving it simply gives you instant access to the mask for consistent results.

Published in: on May 6, 2011 at 11:13 am  Comments Off on Create a ProShow Producer Mask for an Oval Frame  
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Quick Frame Masks in Producer

In a perfect world, all frames would come with masks for easy photo fit, but this isn’t a perfect world. In view of that, here’s how to create your own masks inside Producer. If you like illustrations, you’ll find them below the following blabber.

Portrait Frames:

1. Add a Solid Color, choosing white, making sure it’s in the layer beneath the frame.

2. Reduce its size so the top and bottom of the white layer fit inside the frame, overlapping the edges slightly to supply a margin of error.

3. In Effects > Motion and on the left side of the screen, unlock the zoom x/y coordinates and then drag the sides of the white layer in until they fit inside the frame, again overlapping the edges slightly for that margin of error. Copy “Start to End.”

4. Using the proper layer order (1-frame, 2-white layer, 3-photo, turn the white layer into a mask.

Landscape Frames:

1. Add a Solid Color, making sure it’s in the layer the layer beneath the frame.

2. Reduce its size so the left and right sides of the white layer fit inside the frame, overlapping the edges slightly to supply a margin of error.

3. In the Effects > Motion screen, unlock the zoom x/y coordinates and then drag the top or bottom of the white layer in until it fits inside the frame, again overlapping the edges slightly for that margin of error.

4. Same as for portrait frame instructions.

Square Frames:

Use the instructions for either portrait or landscape frames since they will work equally well for a square shape.

Circle Frames:

1. Add a gradient layer using the “Masks” presets and choosing “Radial” as the type.

2. Click the second choice given in the row of examples.

3. In the Colors section of that screen, move the two center sliders in so they meet in the middle, creating a hard edge.

4. Click OK and then adjust the size of the gradient layer so the white circle doesn’t show beyond the outside of edge of the frame.

5. With the circle frame on top, then the gradient layer, and beneath that your photo, turn the gradient layer into a mask.

Oval Frames:

1 – 4. Use steps 1 through 4 as per circle frames.

5. In Effects > Motion and on the left side of the screen, unlock the zoom x/y coordinates and drag in the sides until they fit the oval frame. Copy “Start to End.”

6. Using the proper layer order (1-frame, 2-white oval, 3-photo), turn the white oval into a mask.

Reducing the height of white layer for portrait mask:

Reducing the width of white layer for a portrait mask:

Layer order with white set as a mask:

Published in: on July 22, 2010 at 6:11 pm  Comments (4)  

Perfect Photo Crop

The one thing that’s still missing in the ProShow crop screen is the ability to see other layers so you can crop to a specific shape. I run a commercial site loaded with frames of all kinds, I’ve been using Producer for a long time, and yet the simple answer to the problem didn’t occur to me until recently. Here’s how to do it:

  1. With the frame layer selected, go to Layers > Editing.
  2. Click the Crop button.
  3. Draw a bounding box so it fits the opening of the frame, allowing the crop lines to just slightly cover the solid part of the frame.
  4. Write down the numbers you see in the size boxes. Example: 1352 x 885
  5. Press the Cancel button.
  6. Open the photo in the crop screen.
  7. Type the numbers you noted in step #4.
  8. Shift the crop box so it encloses the part of the photo you want inside the frame.
  9. Press OK.
  10. The photo is now in the correct proportions, and all you need do now is zoom it so it’s the right size.

Don’t ask me why I didn’t think of this ages ago.

Published in: on May 31, 2010 at 3:38 pm  Comments Off on Perfect Photo Crop  
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