Freestyle Mats and Frames Instructions for Photoshop 6 and later

Creating a Mat
Double Mats
Framing your Matted Image
Creating a Freestyle Frame
Creating a Frame the same Shape as your Mat Cutout
Creating a true transparent background
Creating a Collage


Using the Actions

Creating a Mat

  1. Set the background color to the color you want to use for the mat.


  2. Use the Elliptical Marquee Tool or the Rectangular Marquee Tool to select the area that you want to show through the mat cutout. You may select more than one area.

    BE SURE that "Feather" is set to 0, and for the Elliptical Marquee Tool, it's a good idea to check "Anti-alias."
    Selecting the mat cutout


  3. Run one of the mat actions, choosing either the web version or high-resolution version, depending on the size of your image. The action will stop to let you adjust the texture of your mat, if you want.


  4. Matted Image

    When you are finished with the mat, you can crop it to your liking, and use it as it is, or you can frame it.
    After matting


Double Mats

The actions with "Dbl" in the name will create a small inner mat and a larger outer mat.

As before, select the area of the image that you want to show through the mat cutout. Because of the way we have to do things to prevent Photoshop from "flattening" oval cutouts, the mat will encroach a bit on the space you select. So... if you will be using a double mat, make your selection a bit larger than you expect.

Select your colors:
  • Background Color -- used for the outer mat (as always)
  • Foreground Color -- used for the inner mat
Selected
Finished and cropped Finished double mat, cropped


Framing your matted image

If you want, you can frame your image:
  • If you want to specify the shape of your frame, use one of the "FreeStyleFrame" actions.
  • If you want your frame to be the same shape as your mat, use one of the "FrameFreestyleMat" actions (see instructions below).
  • If you want a simple rectangular frame, use one of the "Rectangular Frame" actions.
  • You can use AC's Flexible Frames, AC's Big Frames, or any other framing action.


Creating a Freestyle Frame

These actions will create a frame shaped just the way you want it. They will work on *any* image, even those not matted.

Before starting the FreeStyleFrame action, select the Foreground Color that you want to use for the frame.

If you will be creating a non-rectangular frame on a web-sized image, set the Background Color to the color you want outside the frame, usually the same color as the web page you'll be showing it on.

Select the colors before running the action

Before starting the action, use the Rectangular Marquee Tool or the Elliptical Marquee Tool to specify the general shape and position of the inner edge of the frame you want to create.

Here I decided that I would like an elliptical frame. I won't worry too much about the actual shape and position of the ellipse, because I know I can adjust it later.
Selecting the shape and position of the frame

The action will stop to let you indicate the inner edge of the frame. You might look at this as specifying how much of the image you want to show.

To do that, drag the handles (little boxes) out from the center. When you have them where you want them, double-click your image to complete the transformation.

In this case, I decided to "skew" the frame a bit, so I held down the Control key while I dragged the middle handles on the top and bottom.
Specifying the inner edge

The action will stop again to let you indicate the outer edge of the frame. You might look at this as specifying the width of the frame.

To do that, drag the handles (little boxes) out from the center. When you have them where you want them, double-click your image to complete the transformation.

The action will stop to let you adjust the layer styles of your frame, also.
Specifying the outer edge of the frame
Your framed image.

Notice that the background outside the frame is the same color as the Photoshop Background Color for web images, and white for HiRez images. If you want to change the color outside the frame, select your Background color in the Photoshop Toolbox, and run the "ChangeBackgroundColor" action.
After the action finishes
How the image looks on a web page. The final product, on a web page


Creating a Frame the same Shape as your Mat Cutout

These actions will create a frame that is approximately the same shape as your mat cutout. They will work only on images that have been matted with the Freestyle mat actions, and which have all mat layers intact.

The FrameFreestyleMat actions should be used only on mats with single cutouts, unless you like really strange frames.

Before starting the FrameFreestyleMat action, select the Foreground Color that you want to use for the frame.

Leave the Background Color the same color as the mat, because we may need to extend the size of the mat.

The action will stop to let you indicate the inner edge of the frame. You might look at this as specifying how much of the mat you want to show.

To do that, drag the handles (little boxes) out from the center. When you have them where you want them, double-click your image to complete the transformation.
Specifying the inner edge of the frame

The action will stop again to let you indicate the outer edge of the frame. You might look at this as specifying the width of the frame.

To do that, drag the handles (little boxes) out from the center. When you have them where you want them, double-click your image to complete the transformation.

The action will stop to let you adjust the layer styles of your frame, also.
Specifying the outer edge of the frame
Your framed image. I have cropped this close to the frame.

Notice that the background outside the frame is the same color as the mat background for web images, and white for HiRez images.
After framing and cropping
If you want to display the image on a web page, you may want the background to be the same color as the background of the web page. To do that, first set the Background Color in Photoshop to the same color as the web page. Then run the "ChangeBackgroundColor" action. After changing the background color to match the web page

Creating a Skewed Frame with the FrameFreestyleMat actions

There are other ways you can use the FrameFreestyleMat actions. Again, they will work only on images that have been matted with the Freestyle mat actions, and which have all mat layers intact.

Before starting the frame action, select the Foreground Color that you want to use for the frame.

Leave the Background Color the same color as the mat, because we may need to extend the size of the mat.

When the action stops to let you indicate the inner and outer edges of the frame, you can hold down the Control key when you drag the handles, and that lets you drag them out of square. Skewing the Frame

The Skewed Frame, after changing the Background Color. After Skewed Framing, and changing the background color


Creating a true tranparent background

If you want a true transparent background for an image with a non-rectangular frame, you can run the TransparentBG action.

This action works only on images that have been framed with a FrameFreestyleMat or FreestyleFrame action, and that have all layers and channels intact.

This will flatten your image, so save a copy first.

When you're done, save the image as a PNG file, to preserve the transparency.

Creating a Collage

  1. If you would like to combine several different photos to share the same mat, the actions will help you do that.

    First open all the images that you want to combine, and edit and size them the way you want them. If any of the images have multiple layers, flatten them. If you do, it's probably best to do a "Save As," so you have a flattened copy without losing your original, multilayered version.

  2. Run the "StartCollage" action. It will create an empty image named "Collage" for you to use for your collage.


  3. Now, select the Move Tool, and for each image that you want to include in your collage, click near the middle and drag it onto the "Collage" image. Position it wherever you want it to appear.

    Using the Move Tool to drag images to the collage



  4. If you need to rearrange images later, open the Layers window, click the layer that the image is on, and then use the Move Tool to reposition it.

    Rearranging Images Later



  5. When you have your images positioned, you can either select them manually using the Rectangular or Elliptical Marquee Tool, or you can do it automatically by running the "SelectCollage" action.

    Here's what our collage looks like after running "SelectCollage."

    After running the SelectCollage action



  6. You can alter the selection manually, if you want, using the Rectangular or Elliptical Marquee Tool.

    Here we decided to change the selection around the upper-right image to an oval.

    After changing one selection to an oval



  7. The next step is to run one of the Freestyle Mat actions, and then crop the image to your liking. Here is our finished collage, after running the "FreestyleMatWebTextured" action.

    You can optionally frame the matted collage with any frame action you have.

    After running the FreestyleMatWebTextured action