Get Yourself Framed; A Survey Of Edge Effects Software Page 2

First, open an image in PGE 7, then go to the Select Effect box at the upper left, click on the arrow and choose an effect category from the lists, here, Dual Frames from the Frames category (#8). A Controls Panel appears at the left below the Select Effect box, and an Effect Layers palette opens above. To browse through the available frames, click on the Selected Frame box at the top of the Controls Panel and a Catalog window opens (#9). Here you can scroll through the volumes of frames, then select one and click OK to apply it to the open image. You can’t, however, see the effect applied to your image within the catalog, as you can in the PhotoFrame 4.1 Library. In PGE 7, you must select an edge as an outline from the catalog first.

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Once you click OK for the selected edge outline, it is immediately applied to the open photo. Next, you can customize it in the Controls Panel to adjust border width and color, modify the inner and outer edges, change the opacity of the effect, and roughen the edges until you have precisely the look you want (#10). A number of excellent video tutorials show you how to do this online at www.autofx.com. A free trial download version is available with a limited sampling of the total content, as well as the complete color manual in PDF. PGE 7 works with Photoshop 7 and CS through CS4. You’ll need 4GB of free disc space to hold it all. For Windows, you need OS 2000, XP, or Vista. On the Mac: OS X, PPC, or Intel. PGE 7 is $249 from www.autofx.com.

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Graphic Authority’s Tools
Add a finishing touch or create a great composite with stylish contemporary frames, edge effects, vector art, album layouts, and more with any of 16 packages from Graphic Authority, such as Artistic Expressions (#11). These include brushes, edge treatments, backgrounds, and art elements to keep your work fresh and edgy. Unlike the other products covered here, the Graphic Authority Tools templates and elements are not plug-ins. The brushes are stored in your Brush palette while the backgrounds and templates are either PSD or JPEG files. With multiple layer files, you open them and drag and drop your image onto the layer stack or the open template (where it says “Your image here”), and the effects are fully customizable. Among the benefits of this approach is full editability as far as color, size, effects, and more, and no software upgrade fees in the future.

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For example, Graphic Authority’s Photo Edges & Frames is a two-DVD package that contains 150 custom edges, 104 brushes, and 60 composite frames for $119.95. For this package alone, there are 14 pages on the Graphic Authority website (www.graphicauthority.com) showing the custom edges applied to several portraits. Each package includes a booklet showing the templates or edges, as well as catalogs on disc. Video tutorials are included on the discs, too, and are also found on the website. Other packages include the Artist’s Palette; Seniors: Portraits & Sports; Sports Cards & Posters; Urban Youth; Wedding Albums 1 and 2; and Contemporary & Classic Charm. Wedding Album 1, for example, consists of three DVDs with 36 re-sizable drag-and-drop templates, 6 folded card templates, and complete album layouts, for $119.95. Graphic Authority’s products work with Photoshop CS to CS4 and Adobe Elements 5 and above, Mac and PC.

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Using the Artistic Expressions
two-DVD package, I selected a template from the printed catalog and opened it in Photoshop CS4 (#12). In the palette on the right, you can see the multiple layers of the template. Next, I opened the image I wanted to add, a portrait of Yonit, changed it from a background to a layer, then dragged the layer onto the Artistic Expressions template. In the template’s Layers palette, I moved my portrait layer under the “Your image here” layer and then deleted that layer. I selected my portrait layer and used CS4’s Transform tool to re-size my image to fit within the template, then saved and flattened it (#13).

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Graphic Authority’s Tools products require a knowledge of layers, which are the subject of an included tutorial. The multilayered composites allow for lots of variation by turning layers on and off or adding masks and changing Blend modes. This customizability comes at the price of familiarity with these processes. Customization within the other programs reviewed here is easier, but Graphic Authority has tons of professional studio photographer fans, as well as anyone who appreciates the contemporary style of their designs and is comfortable working with layers.

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