Quick and Easy Out of Bounds

with 26 Comments

Nannette Dalton picThe out of bounds (OOB) look on a layout is so fun. It creates an optical illusion of a 3D effect that makes the subject of the picture look like it is coming out of the bounds of a photo.

When I made this layout, Winning and Losing, I wanted to use the OOB technique to add to the story I was trying to tell through my layout and to give it a feeling of whimsy.

I had always used the selection tool to do this effect, but that just seemed like way too much work for all the OOB I wanted to do. I think I found an easier way to do it, and I am excited to share it with you today. I can't wait to see what you do with it!

By the way, if this tutorial seems familiar, it is because it is the exact same technique that I used for the Sewing Buttons on String tutorial. I am now turning it to a new use for a different effect.


Step One: Prepare Your Workspace

  • Create a new document (File > New > Blank File).
    Photoshop: Choose File > New.
  • Open a frame (File > Open).
  • Get the Move tool.
  • Click on the frame and drag it onto your document.
  • With the frame layer active in the Layers panel, press Ctrl (Mac: Cmd) and click on the Create a New Layer icon. This should create a new layer below the frame layer.
  • Get the Rectangular Marquee tool. In the Tool Options, click on the New Selection icon, make sure Feather is set to 0, and Aspect (Mode) to Normal.
  • Click and drag a square a little bigger than your frame opening.

  • Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the default of black and white.
  • Press Alt Backspace (Mac: Opt Delete) to fill the selection with black.
  • Press Ctr D (Mac: Cmd D) to deselect.

Step Two: Add Your Picture and Clip to Filled Selection

  • Open a photo.
  • Get the Move tool.
  • Click on your photo and drag it onto your document. It should be below the frame layer and above the filled selection layer in the Layers panel.

  • Click on the photo and drag it into position under the frame.

  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask. Earlier versions of Elements might say Group With Previous.

Step Three: Duplicate the Picture Layer

  • In the Layers panel, make sure the photo layer is the active layer.
  • Press Ctr J (Mac: Cmd J) to duplicate the photo layer.
  • In the Layers panel, drag the duplicate photo layer above the frame.

Step Four: Add a Layer Mask

Note: If your version of Photoshop Elements doesn't have a layer mask, here’s a link where you can download a layer mask you can install, along with a video and written instructions on how to install it: http://www.digitalscrapper.com/downloads/layer-mask-workaround.zip

  • In the Layers panel, make sure the duplicated photo layer is still the active layer.
  • In the Layers panel, Alt click (Mac: Opt click) on the Add a Layer Mask icon.

A black layer mask should have appeared to the right of the duplicated photo thumbnail (see image below) and your duplicated photo should have disappeared from your document.

Step Five: Reveal the OOB Part of the Picture

  • In the Layers panel, the Layer Mask of the duplicated picture layer should be active. You know it is active when it has a blue outline around it, as in the image above. Just to be sure, click on the Layer Mask. This is very critical to the success of this tutorial.
    (Photoshop and Previous versions of Elements: The mask outline is white.)
  • You should have a white as the Foreground Color Chip. If not, Press the letter X to switch the Color Chips. Remember this: White reveals – Black conceals.
  • Get the Brush tool.
  • In the Tool Options, open the Brush Picker and choose Soft Round 65 px brush. Opacity should be 100% and Mode should say Normal.
    (Photoshop: Flow should be 100%.)
  • Using the Right and Left Bracket keys, adjust your brush size to a size that feels right for your photo.
  • Using your brush, stoke over the part of the photo that should be on top of the frame to reveal it. See below.

  • If you make a mistake and reveal more than you like, just switch your Foreground Color Chip to black (press x) and paint over anything that you want to hide.

Note: You may want to include the natural shadow that is on your picture. Each picture is different, however, and so this may or may not work with your picture.

That is one way to create a quick and easy out of bounds effect with your photo!

Show us your layouts using this technique and post them in the Digi Scrap Tutorial Gallery.

Digi Scrap Tutorial: Quick and Easy Out of Bounds by Nannette Dalton
Layout Winning and Losing by Nannette Dalton
Kit: Count the Ways by Joanne Brisebois
Ribbon: At Home by Paislee
Press Arrow: Mission Possible by Michelle Shefveland
Scrap it Now Templates: 002 Bkgrd, and 15-001

Download this Digi Scrap Tutorial

26 Responses

  1. Mungo
    | Reply

    You make things so easy for us, thank you for another extremely helpful tutorial. I love the out of bounds effect.

  2. Lori
    | Reply

    Cool demonstration! Thank you for the recipe!

  3. OuisieKelly
    | Reply

    Thanks Nannette for all your wonderfulo tutorials. Can’t wait to try it.

  4. BobbieK
    | Reply

    I click on the link to save the tutorial and get an error message. It says Acrobat unable to open the page correctly. Contact the person who create the PDF to correct the error.

    • Nannette Dalton
      | Reply

      Bobbie,The PDF download is working for me, so try it again. Be sure to right click on the link and choose the Save option for your browser. If you continue to have trouble, let me know.

    • BobbieK
      | Reply

      Yes I know to do that. Get same error message.

      • Allison
        | Reply

        Hi BobbieK,

        I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble downloading the tutorial PDF. The best advice I can give you is to try switching to a different browser to make the download, as ScrappyBarb suggests in another comment here.

        Since the same error isn’t happening every time for everyone, there may just be something strange going on with your browser or computer right now. The other possibility to try is to quit and then reopen your browser, or even restart your computer. That often completely resolves strange repeat glitches and problems.

  5. BobbieK
    | Reply

    it’s page 1 that doesn’t download

  6. ScrappyBarb
    | Reply

    I had the same problem as BobbieK. I copied the link and opened it using Chrome instead of Internet Explorer!

  7. Rikki
    | Reply

    What a fun tutorial. Trying it out right now. I am not much of a fiddler when it comes to these things, but those out of bounds photos always look so great, so I must give it a go now.

  8. Lourdes Perales
    | Reply

    Very neat and easy- Thanks

  9. sally rinker
    | Reply

    I am having the same problem. The first page doesn’t want to download and causes an error in the entire PDF

  10. sally rinker
    | Reply

    the error message says to contact the person who created the PDF.

    • Nannette Dalton
      | Reply

      I am not sure what the problem is. I did not make the PDF, But I will try to find a solution to the problem.

  11. Bev
    | Reply

    downloaded for me …using PSE7 Now just have to figure out what to do with it..can it be put it into my program like an action or do I go after it each time I need it.

    • Bev
      | Reply

      It looks like I have to open it and drag it to my layers to use it …as I read the instructions…Thanks so much I’ll try it

    • Nannette Dalton
      | Reply

      Bev, The download is for you to be able to save it to your computer so that you can access the instructions whenever you need them.

  12. Barb
    | Reply

    Wonderful tutorial, Nann! awesome technique!

  13. Linda H-T
    | Reply

    I just LOVE this tut and the last one (stringing buttons) that make use of layer masks – the more practice you offer on this technique, the better for me! Your instructions are always clear and precise and very much appreciated!!

    • Nannette Dalton
      | Reply

      Linda, I agree with you the more I use masks the more I love them. Thank you for your kind words.

  14. Terry Gammon
    | Reply

    Such a fun tutorial! I can not wait to give it a try. You do a great job! Thanks Friend!

    • Nannette Dalton
      | Reply

      Terry, So fun to see you here. I really want to see what you do with this tutorial!

  15. char8182
    | Reply

    I like easy! thanks a bunch!

  16. Jo
    | Reply

    Love your tutorials! Thanks so much.

    • Nannette Dalton
      | Reply

      Nice to hear….Thanks Jo

  17. Carla Jo Peterson
    | Reply

    Thank you so much for the tutorial. It is very clear as to what I need to do.
    I also was unable to download it but I copied it to Word and so I have it anyway. Have a wonderful week-end.

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