PS 11 - How to create multiple borders with layer style

04 March, 2013

The other day i was wondering, is there any way to create more than one border to an image. Most of us know Stroke in Layer Style can create a border. But what if you need more than one border.

So i started tweaking the values in the other options. And i could able to create up to 6 borders with only layer style.

Title 11.jpg

I have a three images here (fig 1.0) with different borders, the first is pretty simple, the second has color and the third one is same as the second but with transparency to give it a glass look.

(fig 1.0)

Let's start from basic, because many of us know the stroke option but not everyone. If you are familiar with with stroke, you can skip these and go to (fig 4.0) for creating the second border.

Right now my image is smaller than the document size, but you can also apply this to your whole canvas. So instead of applying the effects directly on the image, lets convert this to Smart Object.

(fig 2.0)

Select Stroke from the layer style or double-click the layer and select stroke from the layer style window.

(fig 2.1)

Iam not going to explain all the options here, because this tutorial is not for Layer style, it's about how to create borders.
Later we will cover more in-depth about Layer style in the Photoshop Essentials >> Photoshop CS6 Essentials

Size: How much thickness you want?
Position: Inside(else you will get a rounded corner)
Fill Type: Color (you can also apply Gradient or Pattern)

Position: Outside - will place the stroke outside the image, and the corners will be rounded.
Position: Center - will start from the edge of the picture, increasing the size will expands both inside and outside evenly. The stroke which goes outside the image will again have rounded corners. If thats what you are looking for then goahead select this option.

(fig 2.2)

Now that it has applied to Smart Object (fig 2.3 - 1), you can reduce the size of the image inside the smart object, will adjust the border according to the image (fig 2.3 - 2).

If you scale the image, the outline still be clear. Notice the image pixelation is only on the image and not on the stroke (fig 2.3 - 3).

(fig 2.3)

Bevel & Emboss, Inner shadow, Inner glow, Outer glow and Drop shadow can also produce stroke with little tweak. All we need is to control the blur, which creates all those glows and shadows.

(fig 3.0)

Not many of us, including me never bother to look at this slider called Choke. Sometimes i pretend it doesn't exist, and beside the title says Inner shadow and all i want was inner shadow, for editing just focus only on angle, distance, and size.

But what i did not realize was, the shadow can also be solid.

(fig 4.0)

Select Inner shadow.

Inner Shadow
Blend Mode: Set it to Normal, because we do not want to blend colors
Color: Change to whatever you want
Opacity: 100%, we want solid color
Distance: distance is to control the direction of the light. Set this to 0px.
Choke: Set it to 100%, anything below 100 will leave a blurry effects which we do not want for solid stroke
Size: Thickness of the stroke

(fig 4.1)

By looking at this (fig 4.2), nobody is going to say you have a blue inner shadow.

(fig 4.2)

you can do the same for Inner glow

Inner Glow
Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 50%, to create a transparent effect
Color: Solid color, do not apply gradient
Technique: Precise (doesn't matter with the choke set to 100%)
Source: Select Edge. Center will fill the screen
Choke: 100%
Size: Make it above 10px. Check (fig 5.0) for better understanding
Range: Is to control the distance of the glow from start to end.

Technique: If the Choke is less than 100% and setting the technique to 'Softer' will give you rounded corners and 'Precise' will give you sharp corners
Gradient: Gradient require two colors for blending, and setting the choke to 100% will remove the blending between colors and display two solid flat colors. Currently we are in 'Inner Glow', so these flat two colors will fill the screen. Applying gradient for 'Stroke' (Layer style > Stroke) option will work.

(fig 4.3)

Very important thing to keep it mind that the order of all the options in the layer style (Bevel & Emboss, Stroke, Inner shadow...) is same as how you stack the layers in the layers palette.

What that mean is, if you apply Inner shadow and Stroke together with 20px. You do not see the inner shadow which is right under the stroke, you have to increase the size to more than 20px to see the inner shadow.

(fig 5.0)

Some variations.

(fig 6.0)

This one is a little bit tricky (fig 7.0). Whenever you apply layer effects to the main content layer, the effects will cover a small portion of the image to create a border.

If you want the border to be really big, like the one below. Create a new layer which is bigger than the image and apply the layer style to it.

(fig 7.0)

Here's the comparison between two different style borders.

(fig 8.0)

This was completely random, never thought it will work but it did. Stroke created from Bevel & Emboss.

It is a little differ from the rest. Because it works with shading, highlight and shadow and making those two to sync together need a little more tweak.

(fig 9.0)

Here's what you do,

Bevel & Emboss
Style: Select Inner Bevel, others will give different result
Technique: Chisel Hard or Chisel Soft will work, but not Smooth
Depth: Set it to maximum - 1000%, it controls the strength of the shading
Size: Thickness of the stroke
Soften: Set it to 0. Anything above 0 will leave a blurry edge
Altitude: Set to 90°, this will place the light right above the object which leaves only shadow and no highlight (doesn't make sense, but that is how it work)
Gloss Contour: This is for metallic look and feel. Since we only need flat color, this has to be adjusted manually
Shadow Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%, unless you want transparency

(fig 10.0)

After so much of work, why not save the settings.

Open the Style palette from the windows menu (you can also save style directly from the layer style window), click the new style button and name your style and save it.

(fig 11.0)

One click, and you get your beautiful borders on any image with any size.

(fig 12.0)

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