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How to Create an Online Photo Frame Using Photoshop

You can do so many cool things with Photoshop it’s difficult to know where to begin. In this article we show you how to create an online photo frame using Photoshop. One which you can use across websites and apps, whether surrounding your avatar or in the header of your blog.

Step 1: Set Up Your File

How to Make Online Photo Frame Photoshop Set Up File

Before we start this tutorial, you’ll need to know the basics of the Custom Shape Tool. To do so, check out our article detailing how to use the Custom Shape Tool in Photoshop

How to Use the Custom Shape Tool in Adobe Photoshop

How to Use the Custom Shape Tool in Adobe Photoshop

Our step-by-step guide to using the Custom Shape Tool in Adobe Photoshop, a versatile tool that’s often overlooked.
Read More


Next, open up Photoshop to set up your document. For this tutorial, let’s say the picture frame you’re creating is a social media avatar. Avatars are usually equal dimensions on all sides, regardless of whether they are circle-shaped or square.

With this in mind, set your document size to at least 1000×1000 pixels, although you can go larger. These dimensions will act as a guide for your picture frame.

Step 2: Set Up Your Custom Shape Tool

How to Make Online Photo Frame Photoshop Set Up Custom Shape Tool

After your file is set up, create a new layer in your Layers panel—this is where your frame will go.

Next, make sure your Custom Shape Tool is active. Then check the colors for your Custom Shape in the Fill and Stroke sections.

At the moment I currently have the default color palette active. I don’t want to use those colors on my picture frame, however, so I’m going to switch them out.

How to Make Digital Photo Frame Photoshop Pick New Color Palette

To switch these colors, go to your Swatches panel. Click on the icon for the dropdown menu. Choose a pre-built palette from Adobe’s list of options.

You can also load a custom color palette if you’ve already created one. If you haven’t made one before, check out our tutorial explaining how to create a custom color palette in Photoshop.

How to Make Digital Photo Frame Photoshop Fill and Stroke

Now that the new palette is loaded, go back to your Fill and Stroke options for your Custom Shape Tool. Choose the colors that you want to use.

How to Make Virtual Photo Frame Photoshop Choose Shape

After that, go to your Shape dropdown menu and pick the design that will be best suited for your picture.

For this tutorial, scroll down until you find the hollow circle and square shapes. Pick the hollow circle to use as your picture frame, seen here in red.

While Adobe does have a lot of pre-build frames, they’re a bit too fancy for our purpose. This circle should do the trick.

Step 3: Draw Your Shape

How to Make Virtual Photo Frame Photoshop Draw Shape

After you’ve picked your shape, click and drag your cursor across the page to create it.

If you’ve accidentally drawn your image off the page—like I have—don’t worry. You can either use the Path Selection Tool or the Move Tool to center your frame. It’s been highlighted here in red.

Step 4: Apply a Layer Style

How to Make Online Photo Frame Photoshop Layer Style

Once you have your frame centered, you might want to apply an effect to it, to make it look more “3D”.

To do this, go to your Layer panel and double-click on the layer that contains your shape. A box will pop up that says Layer Style.

Under Blending Options, you’ll see Bevel & Emboss. Click on this option to activate it, and make sure the checkbox next to the name is filled.

How to Make Online Photo Frame Photoshop Layer Style Structure

Once that checkmark is active, you’ll see that your photo frame has taken on a more 3D quality.

Under the Structure section, you can choose what type of bevel to apply to your shape, the depth of the bevel, the size, and how much you want to soften its edges.

How to Make Photo Frame Photoshop Layer Style Shading

Under Shading, you’ll be able to change how your highlights look. You can change the angle that the light hits the object, and how the light interacts with the object, too.

Once you have all your settings fixed to your satisfaction, click OK.

Step 5: Rasterize Your Layer

How to Make Digital Photo Frame Photoshop Magic Wand Warning

After you finish your bevel, you’ll want to select your frame to create a “frame selection”. This will allow you to call up the “shape” at a later date and easily apply a color fill in the shape of that selection—just in a different layer.

Think of it like a shortcut to editing.

When you select your Magic Wand Tool, make sure your image is currently set to 16 Bits. You’ll get a warning from Photoshop if it’s not.

If it isn’t, click on Image > Mode > 16 Bits. Because you’re working in different layers, Photoshop will ask you if you want to merge these layers when you reduce your document depth.

Click Don’t Merge. You still want these layers separate.

How to Make Digital Photo Frame Photoshop Rasterize Layer Style

After you change the depth of your image, you’ll still need to “rasterize” your layer in order to use your Magic Wand. This means you’re converting a vector graphic into a pixel-based one.

To rasterize your layer, right-click on the layer that contains your photo frame, and choose Rasterize Layer Style.

Step 6: Make a Selection

How to Make Virtual Photo Frame Photoshop Select Inverse

Next, go back to your Magic Wand Tool and select the empty space on the inside and outside of your picture frame.

When those two areas are selected, right-click on the empty space, and choose Select Inverse. Photoshop will select the shape of your frame instead.

This might seem like a convoluted step, but there’s a good reason to do the selection in this order.

If you try to click on your 3D frame directly, Photoshop will only select the colors with the exact same value and hue—not the whole thing.

With Select Inverse, you now have a clean selection of your frame.

How to Make Virtual Photo Frame Photoshop Save Selection

To save this selection for further use, go to your menu bar at the top of your workspace. Click Select > Save Selection.

Give your selection a meaningful name, then click OK.

Step 7: Adjust the Color

How to Make Online Photo Frame Photoshop Add Color

Now that you’ve created your online photo frame, you might want to adjust the color of it.

To adjust the color, go to your Layers panel, and create a new layer on top of the layer that holds your picture frame. Then click Select > Load Selection.

From the Channel dropdown list, choose the selection that you made of your picture frame.

Once the selection is active, go over to your Paint Bucket or Gradient tool, and apply some color to that layer. It will stay within the confines of that selection.

How to Make Online Photo Frame Photoshop Apply Layer Style

After you have your color down, you’ll want it to interact with the picture frame beneath it.

To do this, click on the Blending Mode dropdown menu in your Layers panel. Choose an effect.

As you can see, this effect brightens my frame while also picking up the light and dark hues of the 3D bevel beneath.

Step 8: Add Your Picture

How to Make Digital Photo Frame Photoshop Add Your Picture

After you’re done with the picture frame, you’ll probably want to place a picture inside it. To demonstrate this part, I’ve used a headshot of myself.

How to Make Digital Photo Frame Photoshop Drag Picture

To bring this headshot into your frame, select the Move tool, then click and drag your headshot to the file tab for your picture frame along the top. I’ve highlighted the tab in red.

Once you drag the headshot to the tab, Photoshop will bring the headshot into your picture frame workspace.

Release the file. Photoshop will automatically place the headshot in a new layer in your Layers panel.

Once this headshot is in a new layer, move that headshot layer beneath your picture frame layer. The frame needs to be visible on top.

If needed, adjust the headshot to better fit your frame by going Edit > Free Transform. Drag the anchor points inward to make it smaller.

How to Make Virtual Photo Frame Photoshop Select Picture

Next, go to your picture frame layer. Activate your Magic Wand tool, then select the space around the outside of your frame.

How to Make Virtual Photo Frame Photoshop Cut Picture

Once the area outside of your frame is selected, go back to your headshot layer. Go to the menu at the top of your screen, then click Edit > Cut.

This will quickly remove the rest of your picture outside of your frame, creating that “picture-like” effect.

Step 9: Save Your File for the Web

How to Make Online Photo Frame Photoshop Check Transparency

Now that your headshot is inserted and your picture frame is done, you’re ready to save.

Before you save, make sure the background layer in your file is turned off. Your picture frame is round and there will be some transparency around it. If you keep this background layer on, this transparency won’t take affect.

How to Make Online Photo Frame Photoshop Save for Web

After your background is turned off, go to File > Export > Save for Web (Legacy). Save your file as a PNG. And there you have it. You’re done.

Customizing Your Online Presence

Now that you know how to create a digital photo frame you can use it to customize your online presence, giving you a consistent look across various sites and apps.

However, don’t stop your Photoshop education there. We recommend learning how to create a custom gradient using Photoshop

How to Create a Custom Gradient Using Photoshop CC

How to Create a Custom Gradient Using Photoshop CC

In this article, we’ll walk you through how to create a custom gradient using Photoshop CC in four simple steps.
Read More


Explore more about: Adobe Photoshop, Design, Photo Sharing, Photoshop Tutorial.

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How to Use Your Google Home Hub as a Digital Photo Frame

Google Home Hub displaying a city at night.
Josh Hendrickson

The Google Home Hub is exceptional for controlling smarthomes, checking weather and news, and setting alarms or timers. But, if you don’t have the Ambient Display set to show your photos, you’re missing out on one of its best features.

Google Home Hub Is More Than a Voice Assistant

You probably use voice commands quite a bit with your Google Home Hub, but that’s neglecting the main feature that separates the Hub from other Google Home devices—the display. The Home Hub’s display can show you the weather, play news with video, offer step by step recipe instructions, control your smart lights, and even play YouTube videos. But one of the Home Hub’s best features, ambient display mode, only appears when you’re not using the hub.

With the Home Hub, Google introduced the “Ambient EQ” light sensor, and this allows the device to change its brightness and color temperature to work best with the current environment. Essentially, the Hub should look good no matter what room you put it in. It’s hard to overstate just how well this works, but you will almost swear you’re looking at a printed photo instead of a screen.

So, when you’re not working with the Google Home Hub (which is probably most of the time), why not have it display your photos? Think of those digital photo frames from a decade ago—only, in this case, the final product isn’t terrible.

If you have more than one Home Hub, you can even have them show the same set of photos without adding them one at a time to each device—your photos just need to be stored in Google Photos. You can even choose which people and pets show up on your Hub.

Upload Your Pictures to Google Photos

To view your photos on your Home Hub, you’ll need to upload them to Google Photos. If you just want to see some beautiful art, however, you can skip straight to turning on Ambient Mode on your Google Home Hub.

If you haven’t already, you’ll want to start by uploading your pictures to Google Photos. It’s possible that all the photos you care about are already there, especially if you use an Android phone to take your pictures. But if you haven’t, start by going to Google Photos and logging in with your Google Account. Then upload any images you want to display on your Hubs. You can do this from the Google Photos iPhone and Android app as well, but if you already have all your photos on a computer, then you can load up everything at once from the browser.

Once you do have your photos uploaded, click on the search bar at the top of the screen (to the left of the Upload button). You’ll see a row of faces—click on them and label those faces to group your photos by people. This is useful later if you want your Google Home Hub to display specific people (like family members or pets).

Take time to identify the people in more than one picture—especially children who may have photos at different stages in life. Initially, Google may not recognize a person at age four and then at age six as the same person, but if you label each with the same name, it will offer to merge the pictures. Keep doing this and, eventually, Google will learn and accurately display children as they grow even when you haven’t identified specific photos. Impressively, we’ve also seen Google recognize a person with an obscured face based on the outfits they are wearing. Google calls this feature Live Albums, and it isn’t limited to the Google Home Hub. You can share these albums with family and friends using the Google Photos app, too.

Unfortunately, Face Grouping isn’t available in the UK, Illinois, or Texas.

Activate Ambient Mode on Your Google Home Hub

Google Home App showing Living Room display header with 'Showing ambient' text

You will set ambient mode on each Google Home Hub you have. First, open the Google Home app on your phone, scroll to your Google Home device, and tap its icon just above the words “Play Music.” In this example, we’re using a Hub named Kitchen Display.

Google Home App with box around Kitchen Display option (a named Google Home Hub)

If you have a Personalize Ambient option in the lower left-hand corner, tap that. Otherwise, tap the more options menu (which looks like three vertical dots), and then “Ambient mode settings.”

On the next screen, you’ll choose what to display when your Google Home Hub is in Ambient Mode—Google Photos, Art Gallery, Fullscreen clock, or Experimental. Google Photos will pull photos from your Google Photos albums; Art Gallery will show Google chosen images such as fine art, NASA generated images, pictures of cities, and so on. The fullscreen clock is just what it sounds like; you’ll always see a clockface. Experimental will pull images from your linked Facebook or Flickr accounts (given that this is experimental, that may change).

In this example, we’ll choose Google Photos to view our personal photos.

Ambient Mode settings with call out around Google Photos, Art Gallery, etc. options

If you have existing albums, you can choose them. Alternatively, you can try Recent Highlights which will rely on Google’s algorithms to surface interesting photos you’ve taken recently. Unfortunately, A.I. can learn things, but it doesn’t understand them, so this can lead to odd results, like a collage of carpet swatches being featured.

For this example, we’ll tap “Select Family & Friends” and choose four people to highlight. Once you’ve chosen the people you want to feature, Google creates a new album named Family & Friends, which you can use on other Google Home Hubs. Tap the back arrow in the upper left-hand corner to leave this screen once you’ve made your choice.

Unfortunately, since it relies on Face Grouping, the Family & Friends album feature is not available in the UK, Illinois, or Texas.

Google Photos settings with call out around Select Family and friends option

Now that we’re back in the Ambient Mode settings scroll down to find more settings options. Here you can turn on and off Weather, Time, and Personal Photo Data. The first two, Weather and Time, are self-explanatory. Personal Photo Data adds marking to the display that explains what album the photo came from and who it belongs to (if you’re sharing your Google Photos).

If you set “Personal photo curation” to “Live albums only,” Google will try to weed out any blurry or badly exposed photos. If you leave the setting on “All albums,” then all photos will be shown, good and bad. Below those options, you’ll find the slideshow speed. We recommend setting this to one minute, but choose whatever feels best to you. Select the options you prefer and tap the back arrow in the upper left corner.

Ambient mode additional settings with call outs around weather and other options

You’re done! You’ll need to repeat these steps for any other Google Home Hubs you have. If you want to use the same list of people you chose above, then choose the Friends & Family album instead of the “Select family & friends” option. Go take a look at your handiwork and marvel how good your pictures look on this display. When you turn off the lights in the room, your Home Hub will dim automatically and change to displaying the time instead.

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