This is the original photograph. We've done no processing so far.
Next we see the image after the Impressionist plugin has been applied. It's interesting in itself, but we don't have to stop here.
Click on the Fade icon on the tool bar, and you will bring up the Fade Opacity control. Here I have faded the Impressionist effect to 50%. You will notice that this bring back some of the detail of the original image.
Now I can apply another filter, effect, adjustment, or plugin. Any of these can be faded to blend back with the previous state of the image. This time I apply Virtual Painter Collage, another 8bf plugin.
The result is not what I had in mind. It is too strong. I call up the Fade Opacity control a second time. This time I fade the Virtual Painter effect to 60%. This allows 40% of the faded Impressionist effect to show through, which softens the image considerably.
I like the result, so I'll stop here. But I don't have to. I can restore the original image, if it was opened from a computer drive, by pressing F5 and then Enter. Now I can fade this image to bring back most of the final result. This will add back some of the orginal detail.
I even have the option of working on two instances of the image at the same time. I can apply several filters, with fades, to each image and then copy and paste one on top of the other and then fade the opacity to blend the two together. There are many possibilities. It's much like working with layers—but without the complication.
I can also simulate layer blend modes in the Fade dialog by selecting All, Darkest, or Lightest pixels. When I select All, as I have done in the example, I can fade all the pixels back to the previous state of the image—before I applied the latest effect or paste. When I select Darkest, the only pixels that will show are the ones darker than the pixels in the previous state of the image. I can fade these darker pixels now. When I select Lightest, the only pixels that will show are the ones lighter than the pixels in the previous state of the image. Now I can fade the lighter pixels. This is exactly equivalent to Normal, Darken (Minimum), and Lighten (Maximum) blend modes in editors that use layers. When applying artistic effects, it's always a good idea to try all three options. Read the selection below on Border Masks for another use of selecting Lightest pixels.
The Impressionist plugin can be downloaded at Trimoon's Blog. Virtual Painter is not free, but you can download a trial version at the Virtual Painter 5 website. all the Virtual Painter files must be installed directly in your plugin folder, not in a subfolder. Paint Engine is another free artistic plugin. It can be downloaded at the website of Fantastic Machines. You can get free filters at 8bf.net too.
It's easy to add an outside border in Image Analyzer. We begin by clicking on the Copy icon on the tool bar, or Copy on the Edit menu, or by pressing Ctrl(Ins). This will copy the image we want to frame so that we can use it later.
The next step is to click on the New icon at the far left of the Tool Bar, or press Ctrl(N), or click on New in the Edit menu. The image we want to frame is 400 by 400 pixels. Image Analyzer shows 400 by 400 when you first call it up. This happens whenever you have been working on an image and then click on the New icon. To add a border of 20 pixels all around, we need to change the size to 440 by 440 pixels. We set both the width amd the height to 440. We can accept the initial color that Image Analyzer suggests, or we may change the color. (The initial color is taken from our image.) To change the color, click on the Initial color. It will call up a Color dialog. You may change the color by clicking on the basic colors or on the color spectrum. I have simply lightened the initial color using the color bar on the far right of the dialog.
We are now going to paste the original image onto the new (border) image. Press Ctrl(+) to select the whole image. Next press Ctrl(-) 20 times to shrink the selection by 20 pixels on all sides. Now you can see where the border will be.
The last step is to press Ctrl (E) to paste your old image into the new one.
That's all there is to it! We've framed our image.
Here's how to add a border mask to your images. You can find hundreds of these masks on the Internet, and they are usually offered free of charge.
The first step is to open the image to which you want to apply the mask and Press Ctrl(+) to select the entire image. Your image will be surrounded by the selection marquee.
The next step is to open one of your border masks. I've chosen a vignette mask for this example. It's best if the mask and the original image are both horizontal (or vertical), but they don't have to be the same size. Be sure the outside edges of the mask are white and the center is black. If the outside edges are black, press Ctrl(I) to invert the colors. Now press Ctrl(Ins) or use the toolbar icon to Copy the mask. Go back now to your original image and click on the Paste to selection icon on the toolbar. The mask will now overlay the image.
Now call up the Fade dialog and select Lightest.
This will result in your image being surrounded by a white vignette.
If you don't want a pure white border, just use the slider to fade the opacity.
This is the final image with the opacity of the masked image set to 60%.
If you would like some masks to experiment with, you can enlarge and then copy and save the ones you like by clicking on the thumbnails below.
You can also make your own masks by painting the center of a white image black. Then apply a filter to the image. The filter will effect the edges between the black and white only.