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PhotoFrame Pro (3.1) Plug-In review

A Photoshop plugin for applying frames and edge effects to your images

You've got an image you want to show, and decide that you want to put a frame around it, or a fancy edge effect, but what style and what colour?

Well, the latest version of PhotoFrame Pro comes with over 4000 different types, with various effects and options...

Making Frame effects for your photos

The Apple Mac version of the plugin is covered here, but the PC windows version works the same

What's in the software?

The PhotoFrame Pro plugin from OnOne Software is one of those plugins that's almost an entire application in itself.

It just happens to 'exist' within Photoshop or whatever application it's running under. It supports 16 bit images and CS3.

Move your mouse over the image to see an effect of the PhotoFrame plug-in.

frame and matte applied to an image with photoframe pro

In the shot below, you can see how the plug-in first opens up. You can disable the splash screen, which includes links to useful help and on-line tutorials (worth a quick run through).

opening photoframe Pro

We'll leave the question 'Why use PhotoFrame Pro' until later... :-)

The vast collection of frames is available at the left hand side. Fortunately these are grouped into different styles and you can save sets of favourites.

photoframe pro working area

The film stock frame below was selected and adjusted in size to fit the image.

flim edge effect

Early morning snow, Wyoming

It was during this process that I realized that you might need to make your image canvas size bigger before applying the frame, since the frame can chop off some of your image. You can scale (and rotate) the frame but it's worth thinking of the effect you want before opening the plug-inuse of photoshop layers. An ability to change the canvas size on the fly would be an excellent addition to the software.

If you are not sure what effect you want then there is a 'random selection' button and a grid facility that allows you to compare several different options.

When you apply the frame, it can be applied directly to the image, or saved as one or more layers.

You can work with all the usual layer effects, and alter the layer contents for additional changes if you wish.

The frame at the top of the page is actually a cream matte board and a metal frame. You can stack several effects in this manner (up to 32).

Using layers gives more flexibility in editing your images later. You can however have some edge effects applied as a layer mask if you choose to work that way.

sets of effectsThere are lots of very similar styles available (4643 in this case) so a degree of experimentation is worthwhile.choosing a frame

Selected frame

You can also make use of an 'instant' frame generator, which allows all sorts of basic geometric shapes (and borders/edges) to be applied to the edge of an image

Andy - rock starConclusions

I get quite a few plug-ins to look at at Northlight and one of my criteria for deciding whether to write about them is 'Would I use it?'

My first trial with PhotoFrame just made me think how incredibly 'naff' it looked - why would anyone in their right mind, with even a modicum of taste want to do this to their images? :-)

Take for example, this image of my friend Andy...

Yes, they are stars :-)

There are a whole host of very tacky looking effects, and the temptation to ignore the plugin is an easy one.

However a second look convinced me that there are some real artistic and creative uses for some of the effects.

print from damaged glass plateConverting the Wyoming picture to black and white and applying one of the Emulsion effects gives the feel of a print made from an old damaged glass plate negative. I'm still not sure why I'd want to do this but it looks quite interesting...

The realistic mattes and frames could, with some care, be used to give an idea of how images in a gallery might look framed.

I can also imagine it being of use for some portrait and wedding work for example - but since I do neither, you'll have to have a look at the examples shown at OnOne.

There are extra packs of frames and effects available

The film edges look good...

  • A Personal note - I've always thought the idea of printing film edges to show how you used the whole frame was pretty lame in film work. Am I supposed to give the photographer some extra kudos for being able to use the whole frame - have they not learned about the creative wonders of careful cropping ;-) :-)

There are additional effects you can download as well (free ones and purchased sets)

The image of the cat in the basket is from using the 'instant film' free download.

At $160, it isn't cheap, but there is a 30 day free trial - so why not see what you can do?

Upgrade Version - $70 - Owners of PhotoFrame 1.x and 2.x are both eligible for the upgrade price. Also, owners of the Photoshop Plug-In Suite from onOne Software are also eligible for the upgrade pricing.

  • We were looking at the version of PhotoFrame Pro that came in Plug-in Suite 3 and hope to have some our thoughts on the other plugins in the near future

If you are interested we have a collection of info and tips on framing of prints (real physical frames that is...)

Summary

Easy to use with a wide range of available effects. Has the capacity to produce genuinely interesting enhancements to an image or make it look truly awful - the choice is yours ;-)

System Requirements (Current Version: 3.1)

Windows

Mac OS X

The views in this article represent those of Keith Cooper.
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