Create Out Of The Box Pictures With Photoshop Elements

I use Adobe Photoshop Elements often, not only for resizing,cropping or enhancing my photos, but I also have a lot of fun with it. Photoshop Elements is a much less expensive version of Photoshop and with a little effort I can achieve some similar results.

In this tutorial I'd like to show you how I make an out of the box picture. These are also sometimes referred to as out of bounds photos.

I'll start with my photo of King Neptune.

And make the King appear to pop out of a photo.

Out Of The Box Picture
Out Of The Box Picture

You can make your children, pets or anything else you like pop out of your photo but I would suggest that on your first attempt you choose something with a simple shape.

I'm using Adobe Photoshop Elements for Mac but I've been told that the screens for Photoshop Elements for Windows are similar so I believe you'll be able use my screen shots as a guide.

Step One

With the photo you've chosen to alter on the screen, choose File from the toolbar on top and duplicate your photo. Now close the original. Now choose Layer and then Duplicate. You will now have two things showing in the layer palette on the bottom right of your screen - background and background copy.

Step Two

Now you'll make the frame. At the top of the layer palette on the bottom right of your screen your should see an icon that says New Layer or Make New Layer. Click that and you should now see something called Layer 1 on the top of the stack.

As you can see, Layer 1 is now highlighted in the Layer palette so it is the layer that is active.

Choose the marquee tool from the left side of the screen. Use the tool to make a box around an area of the photo that you don't want to pop out. This will be what is seen on the inside of your frame. Now choose Edit from the top of the screen and select Stroke Outlne. In the Stroke Outline selection you'll see a box that probably says 1 pixel. Change that 1 to 15. Now click on the color area of that box and choose white.

Go back to the top toolbar and choose Select, then Deselect. Now you have a frame.

From the top toolbar choose Image and click on Perspective. Now you'll decide how you want your image to appear leaving the box. It doesn't have to come out of the top of the box. You might want it to exit at the sides or the bottom. This is probably the most difficult part of this process the first time you try. Just play around with the perspective until you find something you like, then confirm it with the check mark offered.

Step Three

Now you'll create a background. It's usually best to choose a light colored one. In my example I've chosen one similar to the background in my original photo but you can choose whatever you think will look best. Don't be overly concerned with your choice at this point because you will have an opportunity to change it later.

In your palette area click on the layer called Background to highlight it and make it active. (Be sure it is the background layer, not background copy.) Now find that little icon in the palette area that says New Layer and click it to create Layer 2. Go to the toolbar at the top of the screen and choose Edit, then Fill Layer and choose color from the drop box. Click on it to choose your color.

With Layer 2 still highlighted in the palette box, click on the New Layer icon to create Layer 3.

Now click on Layer 1 to highlight it and choose the magic wand tool from the tools on the left of the screen. At the top of the screen below the toolbar you should see an area that I've highlighted in red in the photo below that will allow you to set the Tolerance to 0. Make sure the box marked Contiguous is checked and be sure the Use All Layers box is unchecked.

Click the magic wand on the photo anywhere outside of the white frame and you'll see those little black ants dancing around the edges. Now from the top toolbar choose Select and then Inverse.

Click on Layer 3  in the palette box to highlight it. From the top toolbar choose Edit, then Fill Selection. Choose the color black to fill. Now you'll see a black shape on Layer 3. Choose Select from the top, then Deselect.

Put your cursor on Layer 3 in the palette area and drag it up to the New Layer icon. This will duplicate it and you'll see Layer 3 Copy above Layer 3.

Click on Background Copy in the palette area to highlight it then go to the top toolbar and choose Layer, then Group With Previous. Now on your main screen you should just see the background and the white frame with portions you want inside the box. You'll reveal the out of the box portion next.


Step 4

Now it's time to reveal the out of the box portion of your photo.

In the palette area, double click on the layer named Background. A box will come up that will allow you to rename it Layer 5. It is important to rename it because you are going to copy it and you already have a layer named background copy. Now with your cursor on your newly named Layer 5, drag it to the New Layer icon to duplicate it creating Layer 5 copy. Put your cursor on Layer 5 copy and drag it to the top of the layers stack. Now on your main screen you will see your original unaltered photo.

Click on Layer 1 to highlight it. Click the New Layer icon to create Layer 7 above it.

Click on Layer 5 copy to highlight it. Choose Layer from the top toolbar, then Group With Previous. Now on your main screen you will just see the background and the part of of the photo in the white frame.

Make sure that your foreground color is set to black and your background color is set to white.

Click on Layer 7 to highlight it.

Choose the brush tool from the tools on the left side of your screen. Begin to paint where you want the object to come out of the box and you'll begin to see the object revealed. Use the eraser tool to remove parts you don't want. If you erase too much just click back on the brush and paint some more. This part of the process with show you why it's best to choose a simple object for your first try.


Now that you revealed your out of the box subject and erased unnecessary background images you have the opportunity to change the background color if you don't like it. Just click on Layer 2 to highlight it, choose Edit from the top toolbar, then Fill Layer, and choose your new color. Otherwise, just move on to Step 5.

Step 5

Now you'll add some shadows around your white frame to give it some definition and enhance the illusion.

Click on Layer 3 to highlight it.

At the top of the layers palette near the New Layer icon you'll see a place to change the mode to multiply. Next go to the top of the screen toolbar and choose Filters, then Blur, then Gaussian Blur. Move the slider around to give a a little shadow to your white frame edges. If the shadows look too dark, look near where you change the mode to multiply and you'll see a place to change the opacity. Slide it around till you like what you see.

Step 6 (Optional)

You can use a brush to add shadows to the out of the box subject of your photo. You will determine whether this is needed or not. In my King Neptune photo I did not do this, but if you look at another one of my out of the box pictures below you'll see that where I've added the shadow to the leaf that's popping out it really adds to the illusion.

If you wish to paint in additional shadows, click on Layer 1 to highlight it. Click the new layer icon to create Layer 8. Now click on Layer 8 to highlight it. Use the brush tools to paint your shadows then click Filters on the top toolbar, the Blur then Gaussian Blur and adjust as you please.


Finish

If you think you'd like to make changes you can save it as a PSD file before saving as a JPG.

Now choose Layers at the top toolbar and Flatten Your Image. Save as a JPG .

You've done it. The first time though this process can feel confusing but once you've completed one of these, the reasons for the steps you've taken become clearer and it becomes easier and easier to create these images.

More by this Author


Comments 41 comments

habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Too cool! I'd like to learn more about photography!


Mystique1957 profile image

Mystique1957 6 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

Loved it! I am a recurrent user of Photoshop Elements! I have the version 6.0 with some extra plug-ins added, and I confess I learned the trial and error way. I combine other programs for retouching. I just brainstorm, hehehe! But this is good, Kay! Gonna get a bit more disciplined(Though I will lose the fun of doing crazy stuff, hahahaha)

Thumbs up!

Warmest regards and infinite eternal blessings,

Al


talitz2550 profile image

talitz2550 6 years ago from Thailand

Wowwww!!!! This is a cool instructional hub Kay. I love it. Thanks for sharing. More powers to you :)


Kay Creates profile image

Kay Creates 6 years ago from Ohio Author

Habee - Thank you for viewing. Photography is a fun hobby for me.

Mystique- Thank you. I'm the trial and error sort too and love to experiment.

talitz2500 - Thank you for the kind words and encouragement.


liswilliams profile image

liswilliams 6 years ago from South Africa

That is awesome! I got elements a while ago, but there is lots to learn


Kay Creates profile image

Kay Creates 6 years ago from Ohio Author

Thanks liswillams. I spent quite a bit of time with elements just experimenting and having fun. I have a lot to learn yet too.


Butterfly Lady profile image

Butterfly Lady 6 years ago from Broken Arrow, OK

Never ysed elements but your hub has got me curious now. Your article is precise and informative. Will come again


Kay Creates profile image

Kay Creates 6 years ago from Ohio Author

Thank you for visiting Butterfly Lady


2uesday profile image

2uesday 6 years ago from - on the web, I am 2uesday.

Good informative hub, I especially liked the leaf effect. Lots of possibilities -for creative photos using this technique. I do not have Photoshop but might experiment with my own. Thank you.


Kay Creates profile image

Kay Creates 6 years ago from Ohio Author

Thank you 2uesday. I have a lot of fun experimenting with my photos.


jtrader profile image

jtrader 6 years ago

Interesting use of the application. I actually liked the effect more with the fruit and leaf. I can imagine what this would look like with people running out of a box, for example.


Kay Creates profile image

Kay Creates 6 years ago from Ohio Author

Thank you jtrader. I've had a lot of fun with it.


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

I LOVE IT!!! Wow, I am bookmarking this one. I would like to learn more about photoshop and creating all this beautiful stuff!

Before I get carried away, let me announce that this hub has been nominated in the Arts & Crafts of the Hubnuggets! See for yourself: http://hubpages.com/hubnuggets10/hub/Nuggets-In-Sp...

Best of luck!


Kay Creates profile image

Kay Creates 6 years ago from Ohio Author

Thank you so much for your kind comment ripplemaker and for letting me know my hub has been nominated.


SilverGenes 6 years ago

This is a really fun idea - I'll definitely have to play with this now :-)


Kay Creates profile image

Kay Creates 6 years ago from Ohio Author

Thank you SilverGenes. I hope you have fun with it.


cosette 6 years ago

very cool. 3-D imagery is the hot new thing now. i will definitely have fun playing with this. very comprehensive, well written hub. good job!


Kay Creates profile image

Kay Creates 6 years ago from Ohio Author

Thank you for the nice comment cosette.


Rose Kolowinski profile image

Rose Kolowinski 6 years ago

This is a great hub with lots of good information. I've been considering buying Photoshop but it's so expensive. This sounds like a good version to buy. I know you do some great photo edits with it! So I'll have to come back here again after I get the program!


Kay Creates profile image

Kay Creates 6 years ago from Ohio Author

Thanks Rose. I think you'll have a lot of fun with Elements.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

This is flat out fascinating. Thank you for publishing such an interesting Hub.


Kay Creates profile image

Kay Creates 6 years ago from Ohio Author

Thank you for the nice comment James.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Good tutorial. I use Photoshop, but see that you can do most things with Elements that I do. Thanks for great hub and congrats on your nomination.


Kay Creates profile image

Kay Creates 6 years ago from Ohio Author

Thank you for reading and commenting elayne


mulberry1 profile image

mulberry1 6 years ago

This sounds like fun! I don't have any editing programs but you've explained/demonstrated this well enough it makes me believe I could learn it.


Kay Creates profile image

Kay Creates 6 years ago from Ohio Author

Thanks Mulberry. If I can do it, anyone can.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

What a fantastic hub. I love taking pictures but never knew I could do this with Photoshop. Congratulations on your nomination to hubnuggets.


Kay Creates profile image

Kay Creates 6 years ago from Ohio Author

Thank you for the nice comment Pamela


DustinsMom profile image

DustinsMom 6 years ago from USA

Great tutorial. Thanks for the information. I am learning about Photoshop. This really helps.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

In my spare time my goal is to be a better photographer. Your hubs provides an easy to follow process. Thanks.


MPG Narratives profile image

MPG Narratives 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Welcome to hubpages Kay. Love the tutorial and will try it sometime. Looking forward to more of your work.


Kay Creates profile image

Kay Creates 6 years ago from Ohio Author

Thank you all for the nice comments.


JHwebsites profile image

JHwebsites 6 years ago from UK

Excellent hub, I'm sure many hubbers will find it usefull and interesting. I have been playing with a free photo editor called PICKPERK, it's OK for croping, rotating and resizing images but your product rocks.

I've just joined a new digital photography blog with tips on the complex stuff and even the basics such as getting started, or how to choose a camera that is right for you if you are just starting out has launched.

Well I'm looking for many tips and learning from others that are good is less time consuming and could save you drom making expensive errors.

The free to join mingle group allows users to join in discussions and share tips and tricks on everything from editing and framing to shooting architecture.

It is still new and not many members yet but it looks the sort of place where others will join in and post good tips on how to find the best digital photography tips and products, easy ways to choose your video camera and with much more still to come, it's worth a look.

http://new-world-of-digital-photography.com/


Rockstarhobbo profile image

Rockstarhobbo 6 years ago

Hello ! I love using photoshop as well, but I am not as experience as you yet I must say, just know the basics of it only, hope to be able to learn more from you cheers!


zipo 6 years ago

nice if you got more ... yuppy


capalynn profile image

capalynn 6 years ago from Roseville, CA

Very insightful! You have some wonderful photos on all of you blogs and that is a pretty remarkable talent! Thanks for sharing. Will look forward to some more hubs.


photogirl 6 years ago

why isn't layer 4 becoming created?


Kay Creates profile image

Kay Creates 6 years ago from Ohio Author

Photo girl, a 4th layer was created but not named layer 4.


Sandyksk profile image

Sandyksk 6 years ago from Sanger

Thanks! I've done this in Photoshop, but would like to be able to share the process with others. I use Elements to keep track of all my photos, so this will be fun being able to share a PS trick with Elements users! Thank you very much...a 'useful' and 'voted-up' hub!


Robert Armitage 5 years ago

Hello

I have tried your method with Elements 9 but cannot get past step 3 were you say " click on the background copy and choose layer, then GROUP WITH PREVIOUS".

This option is not available in Elements 9, could you post a work around [ or tell me were I am going wrong

thanks


Kay Creates profile image

Kay Creates 5 years ago from Ohio Author

Hi Robert

I haven't tried this using elements 8 or 9 but I've been told that the command that replaces Group with previous is Create Clipping Mask. Hope this works for you.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working