There are many creative examples of out of bounds effect, but there are also lots of bad examples, where either the effect or the chosen photo just doesn’t make justice. In this tutorial you can learn how to choose a good photo for a successful out of bounds design and also how to apply the effect completely non-destructively using Vector Masks, Custom Brushes and Layer Styles in Adobe Photoshop. Let’s get started!
First of all you will need to find a photo, which has the potential to work as an out of bounds design. What you need to look for is perspective and movement. The best examples are all breaking out of frames in 45 degrees, not full frontal or sideways. I chose this jeep because it is in a perfect angle plus it has a beautiful splash around it, which can add the additional interest to the overall design.
As mentioned in the introduction we are going to use only non-destructive techniques. This way of working is very important in all design scenarios as you will always need to make changes and amends. All the destructive effects will have to be completely recreated while non-destructive effects can be very quickly and easily changed at any point.
For the frame used in this effect we are going to have a dedicated layer, with which we can always control the shape of the frame at any point. To achieve this we have to first of all duplicate the original layer (Command/Control-J) and also double click on the Background layer’s name to turn it into a normal layer. You can turn off the visibility of one of these layers.
We are going to use the Pen tool set to Path mode from the Options bar (top left). Also make sure that the Path Operations is set to Combine Shapes. Draw a rectangle around the car, select the path with the Path Selection tool and then choose the Mask icon from the bottom of the Layers panel while holding down Command/Control. This will turn the selected path into a Vector mask for the selected layer. This is what you should see:
Usually white or black background works well or sometimes even a different photograph, but this time I will create gradient background. We have to create a new empty layer and put it at the bottom of the layer structure. We can fill it with black colour (press D and then Alt/Option-Backspace) and then double click on the layer in the Layers panel and add the following Layer style effect:
We are going to use the duplicate layer of the jeep to add another mask for the out of bounds part. To create the mask for this image the best is the Pen tool again. Make sure it is still set to Path mode and Combine Shapes. Now it is time to very carefully draw a path along the edges of the jeep, but don’t worry you have to only do it for the part, which comes out of the frame. And also don’t worry about the mud splashes, we will deal with that later.
You can use the same technique for the front of the car as we used for the frame: turn the path into a Vector Mask. If you do it this way, you can make amends to the anchor points easily but it will be a bit complicated to redraw some parts (especially the part between the 2 front wheels). A pixel mask is much easier to make changes on, so in this case we will use that. Turning a Vector mask into a pixel mask is very easy: right-click on the mask icon in the Layers panel and choose Rasterize Vector Mask.
The other way to create a pixel mask from a path is to press Command/Control-Enter when the path is ready and then click on the Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. This will create a pixel mask from the path much faster.
Now that we separated the front and the back of the car we can select the layer with the frame Vector Mask and assign the following Layer style to it by double-clicking on the layer:
Make sure that the layer with the frame is below the “out of bounds” version to achieve the effect we are looking for:
To be able to add the dirt splats to the composition we can create a custom brush. I used the following brush tip shape:
If you want you can save this as a brush by opening it up in Photoshop, choose Edit > Select All and then Edit > Define Brush Preset. Once you have it saved as custom brush tip shape you can add the following settings in the Brush panel:
Now that the brush is ready, you can select the pixel mask of the front part of the car and set the color to white (which will show details of the original image) and draw with the brush tool over the part where the dirt splash was. It should look like this:
With a little bit of extra work, you can also add a reflection by duplicating the layer with the front of the car and Flip it Vertically (Edit > Transform) and then mask it out and reduce its opacity.
As you can see I also organized and named my layers accordingly to make it easier if I have to make any changes in the future.
Well done for your hard work and hopefully this tutorial will help you to create your own cool out of bounds designs :)
Photo: © Martin Perhiniak