AC's Photoshop PopOut Actions Instructions

How the Actions Work

The PopOut actions are not as "automatic" as some actions we sell, because you will need to tell the action what areas to frame and what areas you want to PopOut. The actions will stop to let you do that.

The instructions below will let you know what is involved.

Before You Start the PopOut Action

First, crop your photo to the appropriate size. Normally, you won't want it to extend much beyond the areas that you want to "Pop Out." This photo shows a fairly tight cropping.

Photo after initial cropping

Uhe Photoshop Color Picker or Eyedropper Tool to select a color for your mat

Selecting the Color for your Frame

Use the Photoshop color picker or the Eye Dropper Tool to set the foreground color to the color you want to use for your frame. You might find it advantageous to choose a color of approximately the same brightness as the background behind the areas you want to Pop Out -- selection errors won't be as obvious that way :) In my example, the flowers are light, but the background is fairly dark, so I chose a dark green color.

Selecting the area that will remain inside the Frame

First, use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to select the area of the photo that you want to remain inside the frame.

Make sure that the "Feather" property of the Rectangular Marquee Tool is set to 0.

After selection with the Rectangular Marquee Tool

If you would like an oval or circle instead, you can use the Elliptical Marquee Tool. If you are using version 1.09 or earlier, be sure to UNcheck the Anti-aliased checkbox, or there will be an unwanted fine line across the edge of your PopOut.

Running the StartPopOut Action

In the Actions window, select the StartPopOut action and run it. The action will create a copy of your file, and will place a semi-transparent frame around the area you selected.

When the action ends, it will ask you to click "Stop" and select the areas that you want to Pop Out by erasing the frame in those areas.

Erasing the Areas that will Pop Out

You will see the framed area at partial opacity, so you can see the image underneath. Use the Eraser Tool to erase the frame from the areas that you want to Pop Out. Here you see the beginning of this erasing.

Note: make sure that you are using the ordinary Eraser Tool. Do NOT use the Background Eraser Tool or the Magic Eraser Tool.

If you erase too much, use the Brush Tool to "repaint" the frame.

If necessary, zoom in closely, because you want to be very accurate.

I recommend that you use hard brushes and erasers at 100% opacity and 100% Flow.

Erasing areas that you want to Pop Out

While You're Erasing

As you are erasing the frame on your image, you will see changes in the Frame layer in the Layers Palette. The mask (the white rectangle on the right) will show black areas corresponding to the areas you have erased on your image.

If the black areas don't appear, click the white rectangle to select it before you start erasing the frame on your image. Also, be sure that your Background Color (in the Toolbox) is black, and the Foreground Color is white.

Black spots on mask when erasing

After Erasing

In this example, we have erased the frame in 3 areas that we want to Pop Out.

Running the Next Action

After you have the areas selected, run PopOutStep2.
After erasing areas that you want to Pop Out

Cropping the Frame

At the end of the action, you will be asked to click "Stop" and to crop your frame to the proper size.

If you don't like the color of the frame, you can select a new color and use the Paint Bucket Tool to change it.
Here's what it looks like after you complete the crop. After the crop

Finishing Your Frame

After you have the frame cropped the way you want it, run one of the FinishPopOut actions:
  • FinishPopOutWebsized -- a plain frame for websized images

  • FinishPopOutWebsizedTextured -- a textured mat for websized images

  • FinishPopOutHighRes -- a plain frame for high-resolution images (the bevels are larger)

  • FinishPopOutHighResTextured -- a textured mat for high-resolution images (the bevels are larger and the texture is coarser)
Finished with textured mat

The Subtle PopOut

The Subtle PopOut makes just a thin line inside your image, and you "erase" portions of the line in much the same way as you erase the frame in the regular PopOuts.
Subtle PopOut

In versions 1.10 and later, the SubtlePopOut action will stop for you to indicate how wide, in pixels, the line will be. The default value will probably work well for websized images, but for high-resolution images, you'll probably want a larger value.

If you get tired of seeing the instructional message, you can open up the SubtlePopOut action and uncheck the "Stop."

If you always want to use the default size, you can open up the SubtlePopOut action, uncheck the "Stop," and also click the rectangle to the left of the "Contract" step, so it won't ask for your input anymore. However, don't UNCHECK the Contract step, or your action won't run properly.
Turning off line width instructions

After You're Done

After creating a PopOut, you can optionally place an outer frame around it using any frame actions you have. If you intend to do this, you might find that it improves the appearance if you crop off the outer beveled edge of the matte before framing.