A really fun effect is the pop out effect. When you see a frame that can’t contain the photo, where its bursting out or oozing out of the frame it captures the imagination. I guess its a kind of augmented reality that adds so much visual punch, it’s impossible to ignore. My buddy Avi Muchnik who used to run Worth 1000, used to have a contest category, “Out of Bounds” and this is where this effect got its name. I’m going to show you exactly how to create an out of bounds effect in Photoshop right now. I’m using Photoshop CC, but you can adapt this tutorial to work in any version.
The kinds of photos that lend themselves to that are things like sports images and action images. The shadows are a key element is making something look like it off the surface. In fact I have created a Photoshop tutorial on making cast shadows here.
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The photo I used is this Kayaking photo from Adobe Stock. you can find it here
The very first thing we need to do is cut out the subject of the photo.
I’m using some new features in Photoshop CC here. If you are on an earlier version of Photoshop, use this technique to cut it out instead.
Choose the Quick Selection tool: Click on Select Subject
You will now see your subject selected. Use the quick selection brush to fine tune the selection. (If the auto option doesn’t work, then use the quick selection tool like normal, by painting the selection)
Do some touch ups on the selection by clicking select and Mask from the top tool bar
Increase the Transparency slider, so you can preview the cutout
Here is a trick I do, to get a cleaner edge selection.
Click on “Show Edge”
Move the Radius slider until you just start to see an outline
Change the output settings to “New Layer with Layer Mask”
Create a new layer and make sure its between the cut out and the background. This is where our frame will go
Grab the rectangle shape tool
Make sure you choose Pixels as the option in the top right
Drag the rectangle to make a nice frame shape around the kayaker (This is white because that’s the current foreground color, color really doesn’t matter)
Now its time to give some shape to the rectangle, lets make it look like its bursting to hold back the image as it bursts through (Dramatic enough sounding?)
Press Ctrl/Cmd+T for free transform
Right click and choose warp
You will now see lines and points on the shape. You can drag on the points, or lines to reshape the box
We are going for a “sail” like shape
I mostly got this shape by dragging the corners and the handles that appear when reshaping the corners
This is what you will see in the layers panel
Unlock the background first, by clicking the padlock
Move the Rectangle layer to the bottom of the layer stack
Click on the layer thumbnail and drag to the bottom of the layer stack.
The key here, is to fit the contents of the layer, inside the frame shape we have made. Then the cut out subject will overlap (ahh, so that’s how it works!)
To do this, hover your pointer over the line between 2 layers and hold down the Alt/Option key
When you see an arrow appear, click to apply
Now the photo above will be clipped to the shape of the rectangle. That’s how clipping group works.
Looking good for the initial cut out. Now we need to give the frame a little character and then really make it pop with the shadow.
Let’s add an outline to the frame.
Keep the clipped image layer selected.
Choose Edit>Stroke I chose 25px for mine. A good idea is to choose Inside for the location since anything outside the clipping bounds wont show.
And the outline around the frame
Let’s fill in the background to give us something to look at
Create a new layer at the bottom
Choose a color for the foreground
An a similar, but slightly different color for the background
Grab the gradient tool
Choose foreground to background | Linear | Normal | Opacity at 100%
Drag with the gradient tool to create your background gradient.
Let’s add a shadow to really lift it off the page. I made an in-depth tutorial on cast shadows in Photoshop
We are going to create a shadow around the box first. Choose the Rectangle layer
Click on fx and choose Drop Shadow from the menu
Here are the settings I used for the drop shadow
And here is the result. The frame is now floating above the page. We need to add the shadow to the subject to complete our effect.
If we apply a layer style shadow to our subject, it will make a shadow all the way around the shape,so we will need an extra step.
Add the drop shadow to the Subject layer
The problem is that the shadow shows all the way around and looks weird at the bottom of the boat and where the water spray is.
Here is a cool trick to fix the shadow
Convert the shadow to a layer. Right click on the word effects
Click Create Layer
You will see that the drop shadow is now its own layer
Add a Layer mask to the shadow layer
Choose a soft, black brush (B) and paint away the shadow from the areas that you don’t want it to show
And here is the final result!
Wasn’t that fun? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for checking out this tutorial.
Great to see you here at the CAFE and I look forward to “seeing” you again on my next tutorial.
Don’t forget to browse my hundreds of free Photoshop tutorials, you might be surprised by the quality and amount of our free content
BTW, If you liked this tut, you will love my premium training video, Sky City Project: Compositing in Photoshop
As you can see, Layer blending modes play a big part in this kind of thing. Grab your free PDF ebook right now. We were going to sell this for $9.99, but figured we would give it away instead and see what happens 🙂
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