Friday, January 11, 2013

Windows into Picture Frames

Windows are not just for looking outside anymore. When used as picture frames, salvage and store-bought windows are large enough to accommodate poster-size photo or art prints, or a series of single prints. You can keep the glass in, or there may not be any to begin with. Below are examples of how window frames can be used for framing photo prints:

Lighthouse scene in an antique window frame over a patio glass door

Nautical theme, above, including a beach scene in a round antique window frame, with a salvage corner cabinet painted white with turquoise glass accents

Romantic photo in small-paned window frame

Black and white engagement photo in a distressed white window frame 

Six color family photos in a salvage window frame

Sand pattern photos in a window frame that has retained its glass

Above, my son and daughter in law's wedding in Washington, D.C. framed by a old window I found in the dairy barn. Below, I've included the Photoshop tutorial for the soft-focus effect in this photograph:

Open photo in Photoshop and crop to the desired size.

Add a Curves adjustment layer (click the little half-black, half-white circle at the bottom of the layers palette) and move up the left side of the diagonal line until you get a soft effect (takes out color)

You can add brightness or highlights by adding another point toward the top right corner. Click OK.

Add a Color Balance adjustment layer and adjust the sliders until you are satisfied with the colors.

The final product, a nice soft romantic effect.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Black & White & Sepia Photoshop Effects

The picture above, of a San Francisco city block, has been framed using discarded planking from the back of a large mirror. I printed out tiled 8 1/2" x 11" sheets of typing paper, cut off the margins and taped them together, to see how the picture would look in a large size (in case I wanted to order an engineering print--see the January 4th blog post on Large Pictures on the Cheap). I like the sepia effect enough that I will probably not order the black-and-white-only engineering prints in favor of a color sepia poster-size print.

Below are instructions on how to convert an image from color to black and white in Photoshop using a channel mixer adjustment layer, so you can see how your picture will look printed out. Optionally you can add color back in for a sepia effect.

Convert  Color to Black and White with Sepia

Converting your picture to black and white can give you an idea of how it would look, printed and taped to the size of the frame, in case you do decide to order an engineering print.

1) Open a color photo, crop and add the color adjustments you want. 

2) On the layers palette, click the Adjustment Layer icon (the half-black, half-white circle) and choose Channel Mixer. Adjustment layers are useful because you make non-destructive changes on a separate layer.

3) Click the "Monochrome" box and then begin playing with the sliders, including the Constant, Red, Green and Blue. When you have the look you want, click OK. For a black and white engineering print, skip to #6 below to resize the image dimensions.  Remember that since engineering prints are not high-resolution, professional-quality prints, a lower print resolution, especially with black and white, may be sufficient.

4) To add in sepia tones, create a new Color Balance adjustment layer.

5) For this sepia tone, I have added in mostly red, some green, and yellow.

6) Now go to Image/Image Size, or right-click the blue bar along the top of your image and go to Image Size. Unclick "Resample Image" and input the width and height you will need for your picture. 

 7) When the picture is the size you want, save in (jpeg) image format, and also save in PDF format. PDF allows you to print to the edges, and also makes it easy to tile multi-page prints.

8) With your picture saved in PDF format, you can print using "Tile Large Pages" under Page Scaling in Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader.  With all margins cut off and pages taped together, you can get an idea of how a printed poster-sized picture would look. You can then use your saved image format to order a print or poster online.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Large Pictures on the Cheap

A number of blogs have posted DIY large pictures, framed and mounted without frames, using black and white large-size engineering prints that can be ordered through Staples. Since even discount online photo prints can cost from $20 on up, not including frames, engineering prints are proving to be an inexpensive way to cover a large wall space. To order, check out the Staples Engineering Prints website.

Before you start ordering engineering prints, you may want to read  "What you should know about Engineer Prints" from Interiors by Kenz.  Engineering prints come only in black and white and are printed on thin paper, so they shouldn't be considered permanent decor. That being said, they can be used creatively, as in the following examples:

The East Coast Creative Blog started out by giving DIY instructions for a family photo inside a frame cut from Luan plywood:

If you want to go without the frame altogether, below is an engineering print mounted on insulation board, from Bower Power:

and black and white travel scenery from Our Next Great Adventure:

Pet photos from the East Central Illinois News-Gazette:

Series photos from Luxe Chandelier:

Looks like fun!