Software & Apps Design How to Use Photoshop Frames Take your editing to the next level with Adobe's frame tool by Alexander Fox Writer Alexander Fox is a former Lifewire writer who loves translating tech for consumers. His work appears in AppleGazette, MakeTechEasier, and SpyreStudios. our editorial process Twitter Alexander Fox Updated on October 17, 2020 Design Graphic Design Photoshop Animation & Video 3D Design Tweet Share Email Frames in Photoshop CC are specialized masks used for holding other images. Frames can be drawn or created from shapes. Once you know how to make a frame in Photoshop, it can hold an image from your local hard drive or an Adobe Stock search. Getty Images / Yifan Li / EyeEm Photoshop Frames vs. Smart Objects Photoshop pros may know the same thing can be accomplished with layer masks and Smart Objects. Frames accomplish essentially the same goal but with a slightly more flexible system. For example, images in Frames can be moved around and transformed within the frame by default. Frames also make changing images and setting placeholders easier. Layer masks still work, of course, but the Frame tool gets the job done a little faster. How to Make a Frame Using the Frame Tool Open a new or existing Photoshop file. Select the Frame tool in the toolbar on the left of the screen or press the K key. Choose a rectangular or elliptical frame from the tools options at the top. By default, the rectangular option is selected. Drag the frame across the canvas to set the size of the inserted image. In the Properties pane, use the menu under Inset Image to select the image you want to place in the frame. You can choose to insert an image from your computer, either as an embedded file or linked file. and search for an image in the Adobe Stock database. You can also drag and drop an image from your computer to the frame. If a linked image is moved or deleted from your computer, the link breaks and the file is no longer accessible. When you insert an embedded image, Photoshop saves a copy of the image within the document holding the image. This increases the file size but ensures the embedded image is always connected to the file. To resize or reposition the image in the frame, double-click the image on the canvas (or select the thumbnail of the image, not the frame, in the Layers panel). Choose the Move tool and use the handles on the image to adjust the image. To apply a border to the image, select the Stroke section of the Properties pane. Choose a color, thickness and position for the stroke. Click off the object to see the result. How to Create Photoshop Frames From Shapes Frames can also be created in the shape of any selection you can make with the shape tools. With a Photoshop file open, Select the Shape tool in the toolbar or press the U key. Frames cannot be applied to normal selections or to paths. If you want to convert a selection or a path to a shape layer, right-click the selection or path, select Define Custom Shape and then use the Custom Shape tool to draw that shape on top of your selection exactly. Set the fill and stroke to none. Then draw a shape using any of the Shape options in the place you want the contents of the frame to appear. Position or resize the shape by dragging on it until it is the size and place you want. Select the layer containing the shape in the Layer pane and choose Convert to Frame from the Layer menu. Give the frame a name or select OK to confirm the default. Drag and drop an image onto the frame or use Inset Image in the Properties pane to locate the image. Move or resize the image as necessary to complete the effect. By default, the image is scaled to fit the frame. The image is inserted as a Smart Object, and it can be scaled non-destructively with the Free Transform tool. Other Ways to Insert Images Into Frames You can add images to a Frame in a few additional ways. Drag/Drop asset: Drag an asset from Adobe Stock or the Libraries pane to the frame within the Canvas. By default, Photoshop places a dragged image as an embedded Smart Object. To place the image as a linked Smart Object, hold down the Option/Alt key while dragging.Drag/Drop from Computer: Drag an image from your computer's local storage onto the workspace with the frame selected. This places the dragged image in the frame as an embedded Smart Object. To insert the dragged image as a linked Smart Object, hold down Option/Alt while dragging.Using File > Place: With a frame chosen, select File > Place Linked or File > Place Embedded and then select an image using the file picker. The selected image is placed within the frame and automatically scaled to fit the confines of the box.Drag Pixel Layer: Drag a pixel layer into an empty frame. The layer is converted to a Smart Object and placed in the frame. Frames can also be left empty as placeholders. Create a frame over an empty layer, and the frame remains empty. Content can be added to the frame using any of the methods above when the asset is chosen and approved.