Out-of-Frame: A How-To

The past several posts have illustrated images that I call out-of-frame (OOF). Today we have a How-To so that you can make your own. Tomorrow a variation on the theme.

How is OOF done? Open up any image editor capable of doing layers (any flavor of Photoshop will do) and follow along.


Step #1 – Select an image that might lend itself to having part of the image OOF. As shown in the previous post’s examples, the portion that extends over the frame can be a single side, two sides – or even all four sides. Depending on what the image might support, it’s your choice (but note – many images do not lend themselves to OOF at all).

This formation of geese will do.


Step #2 – Place a white rectangle on a layer above your original image. This rectangle later will form one of the four sides of your frame (or the photo’s mat if you prefer). Size the overlay to cover what ever you want to extend beyond the frame.


Step #3 – Erase the white where it covers the parts of the original image that you want to appear out of the frame.


Step #4 – Add additional framing (matting). Note that this added portion does not cover the original image. It simply adds a mat around the remaining edges. I’m showing this in two steps (4 & 5) because I find it’s easier this way when using PS’s Re-size Canvas option, but it can be done in a single step if you want.


Step #5 – Complete the “matting”.


Step #6 – Add color and/or texture to give a realistic photo-mat appearance. Also, add a simulated mat “bevel”. These “realism” touches can be as simple or sophisticated as you like (for example, directional shadow lighting on certain sides of the bevel and in the texture).


Step #7 – For a final touch of realism, add shadows appropriate to the OOF element. If you’ve added shadows in your mat texture and bevel from the previous step then you’ll want to ensure that the light direction for these step #7 shadows match.

And that’s it – you’re done.


Background – I developed OOF 10 years ago when I competed and needed an occasional entry for a category called “altered image” (otherwise known as Photoshop-ed).

  • I preferred showing my work more or less as it came from the camera rather than how it looked after undergoing some “artistic filtering” that I wasn’t very good at to begin with. Thus was born OOF.
  • Competition-wise it was a huge success in that I entered one of these on eight separate occasions and each got a ribbon of some sort. I was amused by the number of judges who actually got up from their chair, walked up to within a foot of the print (this was a print competition where OOF is more effective – deceptive – than a projected image), and ran their finger over it.

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