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I'm often asked how to add a simple key line around the edge or near the edge of my image. And I think the most flexible way to do this would be using just the Rectangle Shape tool. So I'll go ahead and load it up with No Fill by clicking on the swatch here and then choosing None. And then on the stroke we'll fill this either with black or maybe a color from our image. I'll choose black for now. And, let's make this just a two point stroke. That might be a little thick but I want to make sure that you can see it in the video.
And then I'm going to position my cursor up here in the upper left. And just click and drag down to the lower right and as soon as I release my mouse we can see that I've created that key line. But, it's got rounded corners by default and I want to take that off. So over here in my Properties panel. If your Properties panel isn't showing go to the Window menu and then select Properties. But I can click and drag to the left on this little rounded corner icon, and because they're all linked, when I click and drag to the left with my scrubby slider, they will all be changed to zero pixels.
So now I have a nice square key line. We'll, let's go ahead and add a second one. I'll position my cursor just a little bit more inside of the image. And drag out to the lower right. And this time when I release the cursor, I'm actually going to change the color of the stroke. So I will click on the stroke swatch icon. And then I want to select a color in my image, so I need to click on the color swatch here. Once I have the color picker, I can position my cursor in the image area in order to select a color.
Click OK. Now we can see that, that second key line has that color applied to it. Tap Enter or Return in order to dismiss that dialogue. And then I'll come back over here to the Properties panel. Click and drag to the left in order to set all of the radius back to zero pixels. Now that's fine, but what I would really also like to do, is somehow I would like to make sure that this area out here is faded back so I can see 100% of the photograph in the center. But outside these two key lines I want to fade back that image. And I know that realistically these aren't really key lines. Key lines should be very, very thin, but again I just want to make sure that we can see them.
So, what I'll do is on the rectangle two layer I'm going to position my cursor right on top of the thumbnail for the rectangle two layer and I'll hold down the Cmd key. And you can see when I hold down the Cmd key or the Ctrl key on Windows, the icon changes to the hand with what looks like the Rectangular Marquee tool and sure enough if I click now in that thumbnail I'm actually loading the contents of that layer as a selection. So although we can only see the key line, remember this is actually a full rectangle layer. I just haven't given that rectangle a fill.
So if I go down to the background layer, and target it on the Layers panel, and then click to add a layer mask, Photoshop will automatically convert that background into a layer, and add a mask to reveal the area that was selected, but hide the area outside. Well we're almost there, we just have one last thing to do. Because I do want to see a little bit of my image out here, I'm going to use the Properties panel with the layer mask targeted. And I'm going to move the density slider over to the left, you can see as I move it over, we're slowly revealing the photograph below.
Because what I'm doing is I'm telling Photoshop that I don't want my layer mask to be pure black. In this case I only want it to be 20%, and in fact we Option or Alt click on the mask, we can see that mask outside is no longer black, but it's only 20% grey. So therefore it is showing the photograph all the way out to the frame, just at a reduced opacity. So there you have it. A way to use the Shape tools in order to create key lines around your image, as well as add a special effect.
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