FAQ for AC's Big Frames for High-Resolution Images



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Can I use these actions on web-sized photos?
How can I make sure that my framed photo is a particular size, such as 8 x 10?
How can I make the frames and mats wider or narrower?
My mats and backgrounds are slightly larger at the bottom than at the top. How can I make them symmetrical?
Will these actions work on photos I've upsized for making really large prints?
I recently loaded an update. When I run an action, why do I see an error message saying that one of the other actions is not currently available?
Why do I see this error: "The command "duplicate" is not currently available?"
Why do I see this error: "The command "set" is not currently available?"
Why don't I see textures when I run textured frame or mat actions?
How can I get a preview of what frame or mat an action will produce?
How can I remove a frame or mat and try another?
Will these actions work with Photoshop CS?
Will these actions work with Photoshop Elements?
The action is behaving strangely, and none of these questions and answers help. What now?



Can I use these actions on web-sized photos?

The frames will be too large for web-sized images, and in the case of very small images, the Big Frame actions will generate error messages. You can, however, run a "Big" action on a high-resolution image and then resize the framed image for the web. We recommend that you do most of the sharpening of the image before adding the frame, although you can do a small amount of sharpening after framing and resizing.

Bear in mind, though, it takes Photoshop longer to frame a large image than a small image. If you want to frame images that are already web-sized, check out AC's Flexible Frames.

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How can I make sure that my framed photo is a particular size, such as 8 x 10?

  1. The Easiest Way

    We now have available a set of actions that is specifically designed to help you mat and frame images to exact sizes for printing: EZPrint Mats and Frames.

  2. The Easy Way

    1. Crop your processed, unframed image to the correct size: for example, 8 x 10.
    2. Add your mat and/or frame.
    3. Resize your image to be close to 8 x 10. Your image won't be in an exact 8 x 10 ratio: it might be 8 x 9.774 or 8.185 x 10. This may be close enough, depending on your situation. If you need it to be exactly 8 x 10, you can uncheck the "Constrain Proportions" box in your "Image Size" window when you resize, and then set the width and height to exactly 8 x 10. This will alter the proportions of your image slightly, but may not be noticeable, depending on the image.
  3. The Exact Way, Method 1

    If you want to mat an image to a particular size, we have two mat actions that will let you do that easily:
    • ChiseledU-CropMat
    • ChiseledU-CropMatTextured

    Mat Only

    To use one of these actions, size your image as you like, of course making it smaller than you want the final, matted image to be. When you run the U-Crop actions, they will stop for you to input the size you want your matted image to be.

    Mat and Frame

    If you want to both mat *and* frame your image, and you need to control both the size of the unmatted image and the matted, framed image:
    1. Size the image the way you want it. Write down the dimensions of the image.
    2. Temporarily frame the unmatted image with the frame you intend to use.
    3. Now write down the new dimensions of the image. The difference between the old size and the new size is the width and height of the frame itself. This tells you how much smaller your mat should be than the final matted and framed image.
    4. Now remove the frame.
    5. Mat the image using ChiseledU-CropMat or ChiseledU-CropMatTextured, making it the size you want the framed, matted image to be, minus the size that will be taken up by the frame (calculated in step 3 above).
    6. Add the frame.
    Example:
    1. I start with an image that is 16 inches x 24 inches, which I want to be be 24 x 30 when matted and framed.
    2. I add the Medium Classic Frame (MedClassicFrame). You can use any frame, but your resulting numbers will be different, of course.
    3. The new dimensions are 16.447 inches by 24.447 inches. This means that the frame added .447 inches in width and .447 inches in height. My matted image will need to be 24 - .447 inches by 30 - .447 inches, or 23.553 by 29.553 to allow room for the frame.
    4. I remove the frame.
    5. I run ChiseledU-CropMatTextured, specifying a size of 23.553 x 29.553.
    6. I add the Medium Classic Frame again. The new size is 24.007 x 30.007 (PS isn't exact with the decimals. You may prefer to work in pixels rather than inches).


  4. The Exact Way, Method 2

    If you want to mat an image to a particular size using one of the mats other than the ChiseledU-CropMatTextured, ChiseledU-CropMatTextured, or EZPrint Mats and frames, and you need the matted, framed image to be an exact size, such as 8 x 10, and you don't want to distort it at all, there is math involved. However, we have a calculator and step by step instructions to help you.

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How can I make the frames and mats wider or narrower?

To make the actions run without your intervention, we created several standard widths, but if you want to change them, you can.

To do that, scroll down near the bottom of the action set, where it says "Changing Sizes." Below that are several actions that start with the word "Expand." These actions are called by the various frame and mat actions to control the size.

If you open up one of the Expand.... actions by clicking the little arrow to the left of the action name, you will see that it contains one or more "Expand" steps. An expansion action opened to show the Expand steps inside


The Expand steps have been precorded to make the mats and frames that use them a certain width. In the screenshot above, which shows the expansion action used by all "wide" mats, you can see two Expand steps, each of which expands every "wide" mat by 60 pixels, for a total of 120 pixels. Why two Expand steps? Well, Photoshop limits expansions to a maximum of 100 pixels, so to get 120 pixels, we needed to use two steps.

If you want to change the width of all "wide" mats in the future, you can re-record the Expand steps inside the expansion action named "ExpandWideMatte." To re-record an "Expand" step:
  1. Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to select a small part of an image. Any part of any image will do: we're not making any changes to the image during the re-recording. We're only selecting part of an image to avoid receiving an error message when we re-record the Expand step.

  2. Click one of the "Expand" steps, and choose "Record Again" from the Actions Window menu.

  3. When the Expand dialog opens, input the width you want to use in the future, and click "OK."

    Photoshop limits each Expand step to a max of 100 pixels, so if you want to create mats wider than 100 pixels, you will need to use two or more expand steps. If there are already more than one, you can re-record all of them to get the total width you need.

    In this example, we have re-recorded both Expand steps, setting the value of each to 100 pixels.

    From now on, any time we run a "wide" mat action, it will create a mat 200 pixels wide.
    After recording


    If you need even more width, you can duplicate Expand steps. To do this, click one to highlight it, and then choose "Duplicate" from the Actions window menu.





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My mats and backgrounds are slightly larger at the bottom than at the top. How can I make them symmetrical?

Some actions make mats and backgrounds slightly larger at the bottom than at the top, for aesthetic reasons and to allow room for titles. However, if you want all sides to be the same size, you can set up the actions to do that.
  1. In Photoshop, open the action set and scroll down near the bottom, where it says "*** Add Bottom Space ***."


  2. Just below that line, you will see three actions that add different amounts of bottom space.

    Click the checkmark to the left of each of the three actions. This will remove the checkmarks, and will essentially "turn off" those actions. From now on whenever you create a mat or frame, the bottom will be the same size as the other sides.

    By the way, you can ignore Photoshop's warning about the step being undoable.
    Unchecking the actions that add bottom space.


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Will these actions work on photos I've upsized for making really large prints?

The frame actions are designed for the size of image produced by the camera. If you plan to upsize the photo to a larger size for printing, frame it first. That way, the frame will get upsized, too.

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I recently loaded an update. When I run an action, why do I see an error message saying that one of the other actions is not currently available?

If you have more than one version of the same frame action set visible in the Photoshop actions window, Photoshop can get confused when it tries to find an action. Deleting the older version of the action set from the Actions window should solve the problem.

Another possible cause is that you have renamed the action set. Returning the set to its original name will fix this.

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Why do I see this error: "The command 'duplicate' is not currently available?"

Your image mode is probably not compatible with the actions. Examples of incompatible modes are indexed color and multi-channel. Convert your image to one of the other modes, such as RGB, CMYK, Lab, or Grayscale before running the actions.

Also, if you are using Photoshop 6 or 7, make sure your image is in 8-bit mode. 16-bit mode is fine for Photoshop CS.

Prior to version 08.03, the actions changed images to RGB and 8-bit automatically. To allow Photoshop CS users to keep their images in 16-bit mode, and to allow more flexibility for everyone, the actions no longer make these changes.

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Why do I see this error: "The command 'set' is not currently available?"

Your image mode is probably not compatible with the actions. Examples of incompatible modes are indexed color and multi-channel. Convert your image to one of the other modes, such as RGB, CMYK, Lab, or Grayscale before running the actions.

Also, if you are using Photoshop 6 or 7, make sure your image is in 8-bit mode. 16-bit mode is fine for Photoshop CS.

Prior to version 08.03, the actions changed images to RGB and 8-bit automatically. To allow Photoshop CS users to keep their images in 16-bit mode, and to allow more flexibility for everyone, the actions no longer make these changes.

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Why don't I see textures when I run textured frame or mat actions?

You probably didn't load the style file that was included in the ZIP file.

To load a style file, go to your Styles Window in Photoshop. If you don't see the Styles Window, you can make it visible from the Photoshop "Window" menu. In the Styles Window, click the little arrow in the upper-right corner, and select "Load Styles." Browse to the location where you extracted the files, and load "ACBigStyles.asl."

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How can I get a preview of what frame or mat an action will produce?

We don't have unique examples of every separate action, but you can see sample images showing most frames and mats, either separately or in combination on our frame action webpage, and more individual actions here.

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How can I remove a frame or mat and try another?

Before a combo, frame, or mat action is run, a snapshot is added to the History window. To return to a previous state, you can go to your History window and click one of those snapshots.

If you've run more than one action of the same type (two frame actions, for example) on an image, the history snapshots will take you back to the state before the last one. If you need to go back farther, your best bet may be to select "Revert" from the Photoshop File menu. This will reload the image from disk, undoing all the changes you made since you opened it. This is one reason why it's always a good idea to save your file before adding frames :)

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Will these actions work with Photoshop CS?

Yes, these actions work with Photoshop CS, as well as Photoshop 6 and 7.

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Will these actions work with Photoshop Elements?

No, these actions will not work with Photoshop Elements. We do have frame actions especially designed for Photoshop Elements.

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The action is behaving strangely, and none of these questions and answers help. What now?

Some suggestions:
  1. Restart Photoshop

    People have reported that sometimes, especially right after loading a new action, Photoshop behaves strangely, and that after closing Photoshop and restarting it, the problems go away.

  2. Contact Us

    If you need more help, contact us at shutterfreaks@shutterfreaks.com.
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