Chameleon Mats and Frames Instructions

Using the Actions

Note: These actions will flatten the layers in your image. If you want to keep a copy with layers intact, save a copy before running the actions.

Simple Background
Chiseled Mat
Chiseled Mat with U-Size Bevel
Frame
Choosing Colors
Adjusting Colors
Changing Styles Later
Asymmetric Mats
Undo


Simple Background

The Simple Background action creates a plain background. Before running it, use Photoshop's Color Picker to choose a Background Color.

The action will stop for you to specify the size you want for your background. For most versions of Photoshop, you just input the width of background you want into the "Width" and "Height" fields. If your version of Photoshop doesn't support "Relative" sizing, you'll need to specify the total size of your image plus the background.

Sizing your Mat

The action will stop a second time for you to adjust the Bevel and Emboss and Drop Shadow settings. These settings affect the appearance of the image relative to the background. Make sure "Preview" is checked, and adjust these settings to your liking, or just accept the defaults.


Chiseled Mat

This action will create a chiseled mat, with or without texture.

Before running this action, use Photoshop's Color Picker to choose a Foreground Color for the core ( a.k.a. inner bevel, or cut edge), and a Background Color for the main part of the mat.

The action will stop twice:
  1. The first stop is so you can specify the size of your mat. For most versions of Photoshop, you just input the width of mat you want into the "Width" and "Height" fields. If your version of Photoshop doesn't support "Relative" sizing, you'll need to specify the total size of your image plus the mat.

    Sizing your Mat

  2. The action will stop a second time for you to adjust the appearance of your mat.

    Make sure "Preview" is checked, and adjust the Bevel and Emboss and Texture settings to your liking, or just accept the defaults. The Size and Depth settings are the ones you'll be most likely to adjust, but you can adjust any or all of them.

    You may need to scroll your image to the side in order to see the mat.

    If you don't want any texture, uncheck "Bevel and Emboss."

    Adjusting Bevel and Emboss




Chiseled Mat with U-Size Bevel

This action is similar to the Chiseled Mat, but it allows you to specify the width of the inner bevel (the cut edge) of the mat.

Before running this action, use Photoshop's Color Picker to choose a Foreground Color for the core (a.k.a. inner bevel, or cut edge), and a Background Color for the main part of the mat.

The action will stop four times:
  1. For you to specify the size of the inner bevel (cut edge) of the mat. Remember this number: you'll be using it later.

  2. For you to specify the width of your mat. For most versions of Photoshop, you just input the width of mat you want into the "Width" and "Height" fields. If your version of Photoshop doesn't support "Relative" sizing, you'll need to specify the total size of your image plus the mat.

  3. For you to specify the "Size" of the beveling on the inner bevel. You should use the same number here that you used in Step 1.

    Bevel Size

  4. For you to adjust the appearance of your mat.

    Make sure "Preview" is checked, and adjust the Bevel and Emboss and Texture settings to your liking, or just accept the defaults. The Size and Depth settings are the ones you'll be most likely to adjust, but you can adjust any or all of them.

    You may need to scroll your image to the side in order to see the mat.

    Adjusting Bevel and Emboss



Frame

Before running the Frame action, use Photoshop's Color Picker to choose a Foreground Color.

The Frame action will stop for you to adjust the width of your frame, and again later for you to adjust the appearance of your frame. Make sure "Preview" is checked, and adjust the Bevel and Emboss and other settings to your liking.

Choosing Colors

Before running a mat, simple background, or frame action, us Photoshop's Color Picker to specify your colors:

Foreground Color
  • Frames
  • Mat Cores (the inner bevel, or cut edge)
  • Accent Line on Plain Border
Background Color
  • Mats
  • Simple Backgrounds
  • Plain Border


Adjusting Colors

After adding a mat, background, or frame, you can adjust the color in one of two ways:

Using a "Change" Action

Choose your new Foreground and Background colors, and run the appropriate "Change" action.


Using a "Tweak" Action

The "Tweak" actions stop to let you adjust the colors interactively, using the Hue/Saturation Dialog. To see the changes as you make them, be sure the "Preview" box is checked.

When tweaking very light- or dark-colored mats or frames, you may find that it's easiest to see "Hue" tweaks if you adjust the "Lightness," and sometimes the "Saturation," first. Once you have the right Hue, you can readjust the other settings to your liking.
Tweaking the Color of a Mat, Background, or Frame


Changing Styles Later



If you want to change the Style (Bevel, Drop Shadow, etc.) of your mat or frame later, find the layer you want to change In the Layers Palette, and double-click the word "Effects" or the specific effect you want to change. In the screenshot here, we are planning to edit the Bevel and Emboss of the Frame layer, so we double-click "Bevel and Emboss."

When the Layer Styles dialog appears, adjust the settings to your liking.
Adjusting the Bevel and Emboss of the Frame


If you save your image with all layers intact, you'll be able to change your colors and styles any time in the future.

Asymmetric Mats

It is possible to make asymmetric mats, with a little "fiddling." Here's how:

Let's suppose that you want to leave an area for text on the right side of your image.
When you specify the mat size, use a large number for the width, so the mat will be made very wide. Creating a very wide mat


When the Mat action finishes, it will look something like this. Image with very wide mat


Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to select the area where you want to put the text. Using the Rectangular Marquee


Use the Paint Bucket to create the background for your text. Using the Paint Bucket to Create the Background for your Text


Use the Text Tool to Add your Text Add your Text


Use the Crop Tool to crop off the extra mat. Crop your image


One "Gotcha": If you later change the mat color, you will need to reselect and repaint your background area for your text.



Undo

The Mat, Simple Background, and Frame actions create History snapshots, so after running them, you can go back to the "before" condition by clicking the snapshot in Photoshop's History window.