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Extensis PhotoFrame 2.5

Border and edge effects for Adobe Photoshop By Dave Nagel
Frame and border creation tools are nothing new for graphic designers. They come in all varieties, from edge effects to mattes to simple overlays of photographically produced frames. Many of these are easy enough to produce yourself, assuming you have a lot of time on your hands and don't need to produce them very often. But for those who need high-quality borders and want to save some time, a plugin package like Extensis PhotoFrame 2.5 is the way to go.

Now, I've reviewed plenty of plugin packages for producing edge and frame effects. I've even made some of these effects for Photoshop myself. But PhotoFrame goes way beyond simple borders and edges with the kind of power, flexibility and creative control I've come to expect from Extensis. In short, it's the best edge effects package I've seen, and I've seen plenty.


Basic borders
PhotoFrame 2.5 is a plugin for Adobe Photoshop, ImageReady and Photoshop Elements. It includes about 2,000 preset frame and border effects in the form of grayscale files, along with texture and bump maps, which you can apply to any layer in a Photoshop image, or even apply to a new layer for border overlays, distress effects, and the like.



The main interface, seen above, provides a variety of tools for manipulating a border. You can move, scale and rotate frames directly within this interface and also load and save presets.

The preset borders vary in style widely and include some 146 main categories, from Acid Burns to Zooms and everything in between, including such oddities as Ropes, Plasma Bubbles and Marshmellow Cream to the more practical (and attractive) Foils, Emulsions and Torched effects. There's no way I'm going to go through and list all 146 categories, so you'll have to trust me when I proclaim that there's something in this collection for just about every occasion. (And, if you don't trust me, you can always take a look at the complete frame gallery on Extensis' Web site at http://www.extensis.com/support/5e.html. The example file alone is larger than 11 MB.) Here's a small sample of six different basic frame effects from PhotoFrame, representing about 0.3 percent of the total collection.



So, all right, 2,000 preset frames is a pretty large collection to work from. But is that all this software can do? Just apply grayscale images as borders to your Photoshop document? No indeed. The border files themselves are just a starting point, albeit a pretty good one, given the sheer bulk of presets available. The power of this software comes in when you start working with the individual tools designed to manipulate the edge effects with color textures, bevels, bump maps and other parameters.


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