Alienskin's new Splat! filter offers lots of possibilities, but we are going to focus on the Frame plugin.  We'll be using PSP 7.04, the Splat! plugin, and some frame and mat files for Splat! that you can download here.  You can download fully functional 30 day demo versions of both PSP 7.04 and Splat! at the links listed!  (The mat and frame downloads linked to here are rather large in size, so if you are using the demo version, you may want to wait to download those till you are certain you want to commit to the full version of Splat! Don't worry, Splat! comes with some frames and mats so feel free to work with only those if space or download time is a consideration.)

Let's begin by choosing an image to frame.  This actually takes a little more planning than you might think, because Splat! doesn't have a "frame outside" option.  So plan to lose part of your original image to the frame and matting you use.  If the entire image is important to retain, start by increasing the canvas size of the image.  

Open your image in PSP.  Go to Image/Canvas Size and enter the new dimensions that you would like your image to be.  This will add new canvas area to the width and height.  Make sure you check the "center image horizontally" and "center image vertically" boxes, if you want equal amounts added to each side.  In certain cases, you may wish to change the actual center of your finished picture, so this is a good way to add a bit more to one side of the canvas.  It's going to be covered up by the frame and mat from Splat! anyway so don't worry about the colour of the new canvas (it will use the background colour from your Colour Palette.)  You can also use Image/ Add Borders to increase the size of your image, without increasing the actual size of the original material.


A guideline to use to determine how big your mat and frame should be (it's only a guideline, larger or smaller may look better in any specific instance!) - take the number of pixels in height, PLUS the number of pixels in width of the image you want to frame, and then add 10 to 20 % of that as your mat/frame area. So, if you have an image that is 400x600 pixels, you may wish to add borders (or increase the canvas size) by 100-200 pixels PER SIDE.  (400 + 600 = 1000, 1000 x .10 = 100 OR 1000 x.20 = 200)

Here I've started with a 200x300 pixel photo, and added 100 pixels to each side of the canvas.

Image from an original baby by Phyllis and Charles Bradbury


Once you are satisifed with your image dimensions, go to Effects/Plugin Filters/Alienskin Splat! Demo (or you may be using the full version.)  

The Edit menu has options for Undo (CTRL z), Cut (CTRL x), Copy (CTRL c) and Paste (CTRL v) just like in PSP.  The Filter menu allows you to quickly move from one plugin to another in the Splat! suite.  The View menu lets you Zoom In, Out, or show Actual Pixel size, in the Preview Pane.  The Settings menu is where you will save, load and manage presets.  THe Help menu takes you to the Alienskin site.  (There's a great little manual shipped with the CD of Splat!)

Click on the Browse button to browse to the Frame folder within the Content folder of Splat! in your Plugins folder.  (Frame files can be stored in folders outside Splat! too, just browse to the folder you want to use!)  Frame files are .rfr format.


Splat ships with several frame folders, including Dover, Geometric, Mattes, Novelty and Wooden.  You can add your own folders, as you see I have done here.  Browse to a frame file you like.  You'll see a little preview in the bottom left corner of the Open dialog, this will help you make your choice!


Click on Open and your frame choice will be applied around the edges of your image in the Preview Pane.   Use the Frame Size slider to adjust the size of the frame around the image, and use the Margin Slider to align the outside edge of the frame.  A value of 0 will align the edge of the frame with the edge of the image.  Positive values move the frame in toward the center of the image, negative values move it over the outside edges of the image.   If you have a selection active inside your image, negative margin values will cause the frame to overlap the edges of the selection.


Here I've applied my sb_mat_hmpaper2 mat with a frame size of 100 and a margin setting of 55. You may need to change those settings for your own image, dependent on it's size.  I wanted to leave a little of the cream coloured border I added in the preparation of the image, so that becomes part of the frame effect.  Hit OK, and the mat is applied

Load Splat! again. This time I've chosen my sb_mat_pinksalt mat, with a frame size of 60 and a margin setting of 0.  The outer cream coloured borders are now completely covered, with the overlapping mats.  Click OK to apply this mat as well.

Load Splat! once again, and browse to a frame file.  I've used one of Joe Cilinceon's Gold Frames here, with a frame size of 80 and a margin setting of 0.  Voila, a framed and matted photo!



This image uses one of the Splat! mats that come with the plugin, with frame size of 100 and a margin setting of 0.   A Dover frame - Art Nouveau074 was then applied, with a frame size of 20 and a margin setting of 100.  Finally, the same Dover frame with a frame size of 40 and a margin setting of 0 was applied.  (Remember, these settings are dependent on the size of the graphic you are working with, you may need to modify them with the sliders or numeric entry boxes to achieve the same look on a different sized image.)

Image from an original photo by Ron Lacey

This image has a mat made with sb_mat_goldmulberry applied with a  frame size of 150 and a margin setting of 100.  One f Joe's frames, jc_moldwood2_2 was applied with a frame size of 90 and a margin setting of 50, and then reapplied with a frame size of 140 and a margin setting of 0.


Original image by Phyllis and Charles's little girl.

Enjoy Splat! and the frames and mats you find here.  If you like the results you get, drop me a line, at!



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