How to Create the Out of Bounds Effect in Photoshop

German Shepard jumping out of a television screen demonstrating the out of bounds effect of photoshop

Lifewire / Bruce King 

What to Know

  • Select Layers > Duplicate Layer, then hide original layer > Create new layer > select "flat" area.
  • Right-click > Stroke (8px) > Deselect, select Edit > Free Transform > right-click > Perspective > adjust.
  • Erase frame over subject > Quick Mask frame + subject > select Layer > Layer Mask > Hide Selection.

This article explains how to use Adobe Photoshop CS6 (though it should also work in other recent versions) to make it look like part of an image is emerging from its frame ("out of bounds"). To follow along, right click on the below link to save the practice file to your computer, then continue on through each of the steps.

Download: ST_PS-OOB_practice_file.png
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Open Practice File

Opening Practice File

Lifewire / Bruce King

To open the practice file, choose File > Open, then navigate to the practice file and click Open. Then choose File > Save, name the file "out_of_bounds" and choose Photoshop for the format, then click Save.

The practice file that we'll be using is perfect for creating an out of bounds effect because it has a background area that can be removed, and it also indicates motion. Removing some of the background will cause the dog to pop-out of the frame, and a photo that captures motion gives a reason for the subject or object to exit the frame. A photo of a bouncing ball, a runner, cyclist, birds in flight, and a speeding car are just a few examples of what suggests motion.

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Duplicate Layer

Duplicate Layer in Photoshop

Lifewire / Bruce King

With the image of the dog open, click on the small menu icon in the upper right corner of the Layers panel, or right-click on the layer, and choose Duplicate Layer, then click OK. Next, hide the original layer, by clicking on its eye icon.

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Create a Rectangle

Create a Rectangle in photoshop

Lifewire / Bruce King

In the Layers panel, click on the Create New Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel, then click on the Rectangle Marquee Tool in the Tools panel. Click and drag to create a rectangle around the backside of the dog and most of everything to the left.

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Add a Stroke

Adding a Stroke in photoshop

Lifewire / Bruce King

Right-click on the canvas and choose Stroke, then choose 8 px for the width and keep black for the stroke color. If black isn't indicated, you can click on the color box to open the Color Picker and type 0, 0, and 0 in the RGB values fields. Or, if you want a different color you can type in different values. When done, click OK to leave the Color Picker, then OK again to set the stroke options. Next, right-click and choose Deselect, or simply click away from the rectangle to deselect.

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Change Perspective

Changing Perspective in photoshop

Lifewire / Bruce King

Choose Edit > Free Transform, or press Control or Command+T, then right-click and choose Perspective. Click on the bounding box handle (white square) in the upper right corner and drag downward to make the left side of the rectangle smaller, then press Return.

If you don't like where the frame is placed for this effect and want to move it you can use the Move tool to click on the stroke and drag the rectangle to where you think is best.

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Transform Rectangle

Transforming a Rectangle in photoshop

Lifewire / Bruce King

To size down the rectangle as to not be as wide as it is, press Control or Command+T, click on the left side handle and move it inward, then press Return.

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Erase Frame

Erasing the Frame in photoshop

Lifewire / Bruce King

Now, you'll need to erase part of the frame. To do so, choose the Zoom tool from the Tools panel and click a few times on the area that you want to erase, then choose the Eraser tool and carefully erase where the frame covers the dog. You can press the right or left brackets to adjust the size of the eraser as needed. When done, choose View > Zoom Out.

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Create a Mask

Creating a Mask in photoshop

Lifewire / Bruce King

In the Tools panel click on the Edit in Quick Mask Mode button. Then choose the Paint Brush tool, make sure the Foreground color in the Tools panel is set to black, and begin painting. You'll want to paint over all the areas that you want to keep, which is the dog and inside the frame. As you paint these areas will become red.

When necessary, zoom in with the Zoom tool. You can click on the small arrow in the Options bar that opens the Brush Preset Picker to change your brush if you want or change its size. You can also change the brush size in the same way that you changed the size of the eraser tool; by pressing the right or left brackets.

If you make a mistake by accidentally painting where you didn't want to, press ​X to make the foreground color white and paint where you want to erase. Press X again to return the foreground color to black and continue working.

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Mask the Frame

Masking the Frame in photoshop

Lifewire / Bruce King

To mask the frame itself, switch from the Brush tool to the Straight Line tool, which can be found by clicking on the small arrow next to the Rectangle tool. In the Options bar change the weight of the line to 10 px. Click and drag to create a line that covers one side of the frame, then do the same with the remaining sides.

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Leave Quick Mask Mode

Leave Quick Mask Mode in photoshop

Lifewire / Bruce King

Once everything that you want to keep is red in color, click the Edit in Quick Mask Mode button. The area that you want to hide is now selected.

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Hide Area

Hiding Area in photoshop

Lifewire / Bruce King

Now all you have to do is choose Layer > Layer Mask > Hide Selection, and you're done! You now have a photo with an out of bounds effect.

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