Deke’s Techniques 104: Creating a Vanity Frame

As I recorded this one, I worried it might be received as a bit lame. As in “Making a frame? Around an image? In Photoshop? With a drop shadow? Are you serious? WTF?”

But, on balance, in retrospect and stuff, it’s actually a solid technique. Watch it if you dare. Meanwhile, here’s the official description from

In this week’s free movie, Deke shows you how to create a perfectly spaced frame around a graphic inside your Photoshop file. Now, at first blush, this seems rather simple, especially for those of you who have mastered adding drop shadows. But the real key to this effect is a rather ingenious use of Photoshop’s ability to contract a selection uniformly in order to create the boundaries of the frame. No measuring or calculations necessary.

Once you’ve created the frame layer this way, it’s then a relatively simple matter of applying the right layer effects to sell the overall perception. In this case, Deke applies nuanced measures of the aforementioned Drop Shadow, plus the Color Overlay, Bevel and Emboss, and Outer Glow effects. The result is an organic frame that’s integrated into your image, using a technique that has plenty of room for personal customization. In fact, I played with the technique myself this week, using a text layer as my “graphic” and thus creating a birthday card for a certain application who’s about to turn 25. (See next week’s technique for more information there.

Happy 25th Birthday Adobe Illustrator

For members of, there’s an exclusive movie this week in which Deke shows you how to frame a photographic image, making sure the boundaries of the frame are exactly those of the original file.

And, of course, stay tuned next week for another free technique which features own birthday homage to Adobe Illustrator.

Hell yeah. Illustrator 25? Next week is going to be a blast!

Next entry:Deke’s Techniques 106: Drawing a Highly Graphic Explosion

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  • an idea for an upcoming technique of yours

    Sorry, I didn’t know where to post, I took the liberty to do it here since I got the idea while watching your current show at The frame tutorial is excellent and very informative.

    And here is my idea for a new tut of yours.

    Take a photo of a glass or bottle and add a logo (like “Martini” from your Martini’s hour show), then for the second part try to compose the same logo when it is on the side opposed to you (so that for read “initraM”).