Framed Background recipe

Inspired by Lime’s contest-winning entry, I wanted to figure out how to create an illustration where the figure and its items would break the bounds of a frame surrounding the background elements. I am sure you all can think of twenty easier ways to do it than this one, but it’s what I came up with. If nothing else, maybe it will spur you to create your own method and share it with the rest of us! Here’s what the final result looks like:

First, create your character and background however you like. When you’re done, here’s how to make the frame effect.


Essentially this technique uses five iterations of the basic square element in Background-Shapes (the very first item in the set):

Place one of the squares and set all three colors to white. Scale it so that it makes a tall, skinny border along the left. Using the Layers panel, move it so it’s below all the figure elements, but above all the other background elements. Repeat this placement, coloring, and relevant scaling three more times to create narrow frames for the other three sides, as you see here:

Once you have the four frame edges positioned how you like, place a fifth square. Change its line color to black, and the other two colors to 0% Alpha using the slider above the color selection boxes. Scale it so it matches up to the inside edges of the blank space left inside the four white frame borders, the part where the background shows through. Getting it positioned exactly is hard, I recommend using the Positioning arrows set to 1 pixel at a time. For the scaling, manually enter the numbers and use the little arrows to the right of the manual scale box to enter it exactly:

This gives you the black outline for the interior of the frame. You can repeat the same technique if you want an outer frame edge as well, though I didn’t bother this particular time.

That’s it! Hope you found that at least somewhat helpful — I don’t have Hammerknight’s facility with making actual recipe cards, so this in-line HTML format will have to do.

5 Responses to Framed Background recipe

  1. Nick Hentschel

    Thanks; good idea.

    You know, I need to assemble something like this: a while back, you asked me to assemble some instructions for the sunset that i added to one of my drawings. But is there a recipe for making recipes?

    Anybody…?

  2. I would have done it by masking each piece of the background to a background-shape rectangle, with a thick black border on it. But that’d be harder than doing it this way and would probably glitch me out every time I tried to do it.

  3. @Fizza, Jeff: Hmmm interesting. My instinct would be to mask as well… I suppose this would be easier on the program though(less chance of a crash). In the end, great tip.

  4. Me, Myself & I

    This method works well if your background frame has square lines. If it has rounded lines masking elements to the frame (as Fyzza and Worf commented)works better.

  5. Kaylin88100

    MMI has a point – this “frame” method doesn’t work if you want a different shape, like a circle or oval.