This tutorial will teach you to easily complement your images with a predefined frame using Photoshop’s Actions palette.

You will be able to automatically create the frames like these:


A lot of presentations put out there on the web or used in desktop publishing are ornamented with an outline of some sort. Sooner or later, you will want a departure from the same old boring frames that consist of a simple outline. While a more eye-catching frame is simple to do in practice, it can become a time consuming task with every single image. To save time and expedite these presentations, you could do worse than using recordable actions to streamline the process.

Open up the image you wish to process.


Bring up the actions palette by pressing Shift + F9. The purpose of creating actions is to simply record a manual process and then save it for later use.


Create a fresh set of frames by clicking the little folder icon at the bottom of the palette. Once done, click the little paper icon right next to it to create the action. A dialogue box will open up prompting you to begin recording the process. You may, at any time, stop recording the process for a given reason by simply clicking the square “stop” icon at the left end of the bottom of the palette, and, likewise, resume recording by clicking the “record” button right next to it.

Now, create a new layer and name it “frame” as part of the ongoing recording process. This is a good idea if you don’t want to tarnish the image permanently. It will also be recorded as such.


Note that your actions up to this point have been recorded, as can be seen below. If you feel that you’ve made a mistake, you may delete any number of these actions at any given time.


Select the Rectangular marquee tool. This we will be using to create the path along which the frame will travel.


Draw a border around the image until the rectangle cannot be enlarged further.


Putting the marching ants aside for a moment, press F5 to open up the brush palette. As we are aiming for something a little more unconventional, the vast inventory of Photoshop brushes will make for the perfect ingredient. Here we will be using the famed grass brush. However, many of these brushes will make for interesting effects.


At this point, it’s worth making a few adjustments to the brush preset itself. As the grass is calibrated to mostly print upright, raising the Angle Jitter will probably be a good idea since the pattern will be wrought every which way around the frame.


Now that the brush pattern is ready, we can select the pen tool to construct our workpath. Once selected, make sure the marquee we drew earlier is selected. Right-click and choose Make Work Path. While the marquee can be stroked as well, a workpath is infinitely more advantageous due to being able to use most of Photoshop’s tools.


Once you have created the work path, with the pen tool still selected, right-click the image and select Stroke Path. A dialogue box will open up allowing you to choose the brush tool. Once selected, it will only apply the brush that was in use before the path was created. Hence our earlier calibration of the brush.


Once we click OK, the brush pattern is instantly drawn along the workpath. You can repeat the stroke to get a more dense effect.


Or use another brush entirely. Just don’t forget to set the brush BEFORE applying it to the workpath.


You may now stop recording the action by clicking the “stop” button at the bottom of the actions palette. To apply the effect to another image, simple go to File > Automate > Batch.


Once the Batch window comes up, check to see if the actions you just created are selected. It should be Set 1 Action 1 by default. Considering that the file you’d like to apply the frame to is currently open, select “Opened Files” as the source. Click OK to apply the frame.