Extensis Lets Users Gain an Edge in Photos

Effect using Extensis PhotoFrame 2.5
Admit it. If you’re like most newspaper designers, you’re shy about jazzing up the look of your photos. This week I was laying out a 12-page special feature. It was important to me that the look and feel of the design capture the reader’s attention in a big way, so I prepared the layout myself. Admittedly, I was tempted to stick to the basics: standard columns, no-frill photos. I left the columns alone. But at the last minute I decided to create textured edges on each of the photos - and the results were great.
A few months ago I reviewed a Photoshop plug-in called Splat!, by Alien Skin Software. Splat! continues to be my favorite plug-in for creating torn edge effects with photos. While working on this project, I decided to try the latest version of Extensis PhotoFrame, 2.5, which arrived in the mail last week.
PhotoFrame has always been a solid product for designers who want to interactively build their own custom image frames and edges. One of the best things about PhotoFrame is its ability for non-artistic types to create images that demand attention.

We’ve discussed plug-ins, those programs that work inside other programs to give them added capabilities, several times in this column. PhotoFrame is a plug-in that works with Photoshop 4 or later. Version 2.5 runs natively in OS X and in other versions of the Mac operating system. It also works on Windows 95 or later. PhotoFrame is easy to use. It’s as simple as opening a photo in Photoshop and selecting “PhotoFrame” from the Filters menu. The filter comes on a CD, along with more than 2000 frames and edges. In addition, users can experiment with edge effects, colors, blend modes, shadows, textures, bevels and more to create the desired effect for a photo.

An additional feature is the ability to create custom image frames and edge effects with the Instant Frame and Instant Edge features. Edge effects are included with allow users to create edges in the shape of waves, triangles, saw blades and more. Once the desired effect has been created, you can adjust the frame with a multitude of special effects.

If you are working on a realty or auto ad, which means you have a folder full of images that are similar sizes, you can apply the same frame effect by using PhotoFrame in conjunction with a batch action that will apply the last frame effect to each photo in the folder.

The price of PhotoFrame 2.5 is not cheap. At $199 (US) / (CAN) / (AUS), PhotoFrame is pricier than most framing plug-ins. But, using PhotoFrame along with Alien Skin’s Splat!, the time saved created unique special effects that dazzle the eye may be well worth the cost to your newspaper. For more information about PhotoFrame, go to http://www.extensis.com/photoframe/ .
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