Burnt Edge Effect with
Photoshop Elements

There are lots of ways to add a burnt edge to your photos with Photoshop Elements. I like this technique because you use an Adjustment Layer and a Layer Mask.

Doing it this way gives you many options for adjusting the effect. You can even save it as a Layered file and open it later to make adjustments.

Follow these easy steps to add a dramatic edge to your photos.


STEP 1
Open an Image you want to Add a Burnt Edge to

Photoshop Elements Tutorials - Burnt Edge Effect

STEP 2
Create a New Solid Color Fill Layer

To prepare for this step press the letter D on your keyboard. That will ensure that the Foreground and Background colors (represented by two overlapping squares at the bottom of the Toolbox) are set to their default colors of black and white.

Go to your Layers panel and click on the half gray/half white circle. From the drop down menu that appears choose Solid Color…

Photoshop Elements Tutorials - Burnt Edge Effect

A dialog box will appear prompting you to choose a color for the Solid Color Fill Layer. Since you already set your Foreground color to Black it will default to that so all you need to do is click OK.

A new Fill layer will appear in the Layers panel. It will be completely filled with black and it will have a Layer Mask (the white thumbnail to the right of the black thumbnail on your new Layer. We will take advantage of that Layer Mask.

Inside the Work area your photo will go completely black. Don't freak out. That's because you just added a black Layer over your Background Layer and it's hiding the Background.

A Digression Into How Layer Masks Work:
(If you already understand Layer Masks go to Step 3)

It's just like if you had your photo laying on a table and then you put a black piece of paper over it. You would no longer see the photo, just the black paper. But the photo is still there under the black layer.

And our Layer Mask will allow us to make a hole in the black Layer so we can see the photo below it.

With Layer Masks the mantra is "black conceals, white reveals". Now the important part to remember is that the conceals and reveals part refers to to concealing or revealing the Layer that it's a part of. It doesn't mean reveal or conceal the image below it.

Forgive me if I'm over-explaining this but I remember how hard it was for me to understand this at first. But once you do understand how it works it opens many more options to you in Photoshop Elements.

So with our black Layer, the white Layer Mask is revealing all of the black of its Layer. If we add some black to the Layer Mask it will conceal that part of the black Layer and we can see our photo show through from underneath.

Going back to our photo on table analogy, if you cut a hole out of the center of the black paper and laid it back over your photograph, you would see the photo show through where you cut the hole out. Our Layer Mask will allow us to cut a hole in our black Layer so we can see part of the photo underneath.

OK, there's a summary of how Layer Masks work, let's move on.

STEP 3
Make a Selection to Define the Burnt Edge Effect

Click on the eyeball icon to the left of the Color Fill layer in the Layers panel to hide it and show your photo from the Background layer.

Choose the Rectangular Marquee tool from the Toolbox. Drag a selection on your photo of about where you want your Burnt Edge to be.

Photoshop Elements Tutorials - Burnt Edge Effect

Click on your Layer Mask in the Layers palette to make sure it's the active Layer. To conceal the black of that area you need to fill it with black?! I know it sounds confusing, but remember your filling the Layer Mask with black at this point, not the Layer itself.

To fill it with black just press Alt-Backspace(Mac:Option-Delete). Now press Control-D (Mac:Cmd-D) to Deselect. See, you just made a hole in your Layer so you can see the photo show through it.

Photoshop Elements Tutorials - Burnt Edge Effect

STEP 4
Blur the Edge

Go up to the Filter menu and choose Blur>Gaussian Blur…

Drag the Radius Slider to the right in the Dialog box until you get the amount of Blur that you want. Click OK.

Photoshop Elements Tutorials - Burnt Edge Effect

If your happy with that you're done! If you want to try adjusting the effect read on.

STEP 5
Adjust the Layer Mask

Press Control-T (Mac:Cmd-T). That's the keyboard shortcut for Free Transform. A box will appear around your photo with eight handles on it.

Pull any of the handles in toward the center to make your edge wider. Play around with the handles for awhile to get a feel for how they work. If you want to escape at any time from the transform mode press the ESC key and it will go back to its original state.

Photoshop Elements Tutorials - Burnt Edge Effect

When you like how it looks click on the green check or press the Enter key to apply the Transform.

Here's a look at the before and after:

Photoshop Elements Tutorials - Burnt Edge Effect

That wraps up this Photoshop Elements tutorial on how to create a burnt edge. Click on the following link for lots more tutorials. Photoshop Elements Tutorials .

Until next time,
Rick


Go from Burnt Edge to Photoshop Elements-Homepage

Go from Burnt Edge to Photoshop Elements Tutorials page

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