Photoshop Elements
Photoshop Elements Newsletter

Subscribe to Newsletter

Subscribe now...

Read Back-Issues

Photoshop Elements RSS Feed

What's RSS?

Get Free Photoshop Elements RSS Feed

RSS Text Link

Photoshop Elements Articles

Photo Restoration

Cheap Printer Ink

Brushes Series

Borders Series

Red Eye Series

Sepia Series

The Basics

Photoshop Tips

Batch Processing

Free Photoshop Brushes

Download Free Photoshop Brushes


Jagged Border

Giving your picture some depth...

This tutorial is part of a series of tutorials on Photoshop Borders.

Some photos just naturally lend themselves to a little 'journey'. Often photos taken outside are great for this, as they have elements which expand out of the field of view.

Click to View Video Tutorial

The problem is, flat edges at the side of a rectangular image can really ruin this effect. They just take away the mystery and depth from the picture. Take a look at what I mean. Study this image for a minute or two:

Jagged Border Example 1

You see what I mean about the mystery? You feel enticed to look further into the scene.

Now take a look at the image without that border:

Jagged Border Example 2

See how the image has lost its depth? It looks a lot more plain and average with flat rectangular edges.

So let's go through how to make your own jagged borders. There are several ways to do this, but I will show you one of my favorites, and the one I used in the example above:

The Steps

1. Open a file - Pull up the photo or picture that you want to give a jagged border.

2. Create a new layer - Always add borders on a new layer so they can be easily changed or removed later on.

3. Select the brush tool - Pick the brush tool from the toolbar, and select a normal default brush. You'll want a hard edged brush, that's reasonably big. Obviously the size depends on your image and how thick you want the border, but we're probably talking 300-500 pixels.

4. Draw a vertical black brush line down the middle of the new layer, extending most of the way down the image. This should look something like the image below:

Jagged Border Example 3

5. Once you've done this, we want to apply the Wind filter to the line. Select 'Filter - Stylize - Wind' from the menu, and look at the dialog box that appears.

6. Pick 'From the Right' for the direction, and then pick either 'Wind', 'Blast' or 'Stagger' depending on how jagged you want your border to be. I find 'Blast' often works best, but this is down to personal preference, and you should try out all three to see which you like best.

7. Once you've applied the 'Wind' filter, we have one more filter to apply. The 'Motion Blur' filter. Pick 'Filter - Blur - Motion Blur' from the menu, and look at the dialog box that appears.

8. Again, these settings are down to personal preference, and you can achieve a lot of variation with these jagged borders. The Distance should be set according the size of your original brush. I find 10-20 works well, but larger values can give nice effects. Try out an angle of -35 and see what you think of that, then adjust according to preference.

9. You should now have the makings of a jagged border. You can delete the left hand side if you like, giving you something looking a little like this:

Jagged Border Example 4

10. Use the Move tool to drag the layer to the left hand side of the image until it is plush with the edge. Now you can duplicate the layer to copy your border. Using the duplicated layers, rotate them, reposition them, and generally cover all the edges of the image with your new border! It's a good idea to merge the border layers once you're done, just to be tidy.

A Summary

Was that a lot of information? Let me sum it up for you in a sentence.

Draw a thick line, use 'Wind', 'Motion Blur', and then copy the border around the edge of your image. This is shown in the summary image below:

Jagged Border Example 5

The Shortcut

Are you feeling lazy? There is one other way to do this. Steal mine!

If you like you can view and download a High Quality Jagged Border, and just copy that into your documents.

You could even open it up and pick 'Edit - Define Brush' to make the border into an easy to use brush!

Want to read more Photoshop Border tutorials? Visit the Main Page.

Kind Regards

Robert Redwood Robert Redwood - Bio
Your FREE guide to Photoshop Elements!
Get your free newsletter here!

A page about creating a Jagged Border

Photoshop Elements