How to use the FRAME EFFECT in Corel Photo-Paint (versions 9+).

by David Mutch, © January, 2003

Part A: Introduction.

The Frame Effect was first added to Corel Photo-Paint in version 9 when the previous 3rd party effect of similar function, AutoFX Photo Graphic Edges was dropped. For those of you still using version 8, this tutorial will not tell you how to use the AutoFX product, but you can still obtain the latest release of the product and new 'edges' from

The FRAME Effect is a great way to add an interesting and artistic frame or 'edge' to your images. The Corel Frame effect is not as rich and complex as Photo Graphic Edges, but with a little knowhow you can certainly use it to great effect to spice up your photos.

A warning is in order however. Frame works slightly differently between different versions of Photo-Paint but in version 10 it is partially broken.

In version 9 it works perfectly. The bug in version 10 makes using multiple frames simultaneously very difficult. However this can be overcome, as explained later in this tutorial.

Also, in both versions 10 and 11, the centre alignment indicator for the frame is not displayed either constantly or consistently, as it was in version 9. The user needs to guess where the current centre point is in relation to the rest of the photo. Baring these minor problems though, Frame is great to use.

Different versions of Corel Photo-Paint may have different frame effect files available from the program's installation. Version 9 only displays about 5 files that were installed while version 11 displays 17.

However Corel has provided dozens of additional frames on the program CD-ROMS. Here are the locations of the files on both your Hard Disk Drive and on the application CD-ROMS from Corel Draw Suite (HDD locations are as per a Windows 2000 installation):


HDD location
Suite CDROM location
9  C :\Program Files\Corel\Graphics9\Custom\Frames CD#3:\Frames
10  C:\Program Files\Corel\Graphics10\Custom\Frames CD#3:\Frames
11  C:\Program Files\Corel\Corel Graphics 11\Custom Data\Frames CD#3:\Frames *

* Although the CDROM location for the Frames folder of version 11 seems like it's the same as previously, keep in mind that the photos and objects for version 11 are now on CDs # 4 and 5, not 3!. So don't try and find them on the same CDROM as your photos and objects in version 11.

The CDROMs contain 77 frame files in 5 different categories! If you wish to you can copy the contents of these CDROM folders to the location on your HDD for easy use, or use them directly from the CDROM. There are some really superb frame files on the CDROMS - definitely worth a hard look. We will have a look at some of these more elaborate and wonderful frames later.

OK, Lets have a look at the Frame effect in more detail.

Part A. Getting Started: The Frame effect applied to a single background object.

When you open a standard JPEG, TIFF, non-animated GIF, PNG, WI, or JPEG2000 image in Photo-Paint, the image comprises a single object or layer - the background. Many other image file formats open this way also, but most CPT and PSD files do not as they are special formats and may contain multiple objects.


1. Starting Image.

Open your favourite, single object/layer photo in Photo-Paint (File > Open).

JPEGs, WIs, TIFFs, JPEG2000s and 24-bit PNG images are all suitable.

For the exercise here I have chose image number 840029.WI from the Photos/Historic folder of Corel Draw Suite version 9, CD#3.

The image opens as the background object with no other objects present.


2. The Frame Effect dialogue box

This dialogue box is unchanged through versions 9, 10 and 11, the latest version of Photo-Paint at the time of writing this.

Open it using the menu: Effects > Creative > Frame.

There are two tabs.

In the Select Tab you can open, delete, select and render invisible specific frames to use with your photo. Selection is made simply by choosing a specific frame with your mouse. You can use multiple frames simultaneously, which we will examine in part B of this tutorial. You open additional frames by choosing the open file icon to the right of each filename text entry line. You can exchange one frame for another by clicking on the ... icon to the right of the filename. You can delete a selected frame by clicking on the delete icon below and to the right of the list. The sequence of the frames in the list is important to the result. Frames can be reordered by dragging and dropping them up or down in the list, although you may have to click between them to update the display of the preview image.


Under the Modify Tab, you can modify the appearance and properties of the currently selected frame in many ways.

   - change the colour,
   - change the opacity
   - change the blur and feather
   - the blending mode
   - change the horizontal and vertical scale
   - change the rotation
   - flip the frame either vertically or horizontally
   - change or realign the centring of the frame against the photo.

Beneath the variable tabbed area of the dialogue box is a constantly displayed section which displays the name of the currently selected frame file and a Presets drop down list which you can add to or delete presets from.

The control buttons below this are self explanatory.

By default, the Frame dialogue usually loads a single preset frame called Square_1.cpt. Note the use of the CPT extension for the frame file type!

This means that these files are Photo-Paint files and that we can even create our own as well we do later in this tutorial.

The default frame and settings give us the result shown in Fig 3.

Fig 3.


3. Modifications.

Select the Modify Tab if you haven't already done so.

Reposition the dialogue box to one side of your screen so you see the live preview of changes to your image as you modify Frame properties.

Try changing the Colour using the drop down list. You can even use the eye dropper to select a colour from within your photo.

Now adjust the Opacity slider - a lower setting allows the image to show through the frame.

The Blur and Feather slider usually needs to be treated fairly gently as even small adjustments can make rather large differences to the feathering of the edge of the frame. Try a setting of 3 or 4 first. OK, now try 50. Do you think you just discovered a new way to create a vignette?

The Blend property has three possible settings: Normal, Add and Multiply. Even with an opacity setting of 100%, the blend mode allows you to merge the frame with the photo in different ways. Have a look at the effect of each blend mode and try adjusting the opacity of the frame at the same time. The result will also depend on the colour you have chosen for your frame. Try an Add blend at 100% opacity with a black frame colour and then using a white frame colour. What does the Multiply mode do under these circumstances? (Should be the exact opposite!)

The Scale parameters allow us to make the frame larger or smaller against the photo. I prefer smaller frame edges myself so I often increase the scale values so that the edges of the frame are close to the edges of the photo.

The Rotate parameter does exactly what it says. It is often better not to rotate square or rectangular frames but rotating circular or oval or odd-shaped frames can be really fun.

I find the Align control very handy. In some cases, and the default situation is one, the placement of the frame against the image seems to be a little out. As I mentioned earlier, this is one of the differences between using the Frame effect in different versions of Photo-Paint. In version 9 the center point is constantly displayed. You always know exactly where it is. In versions 10 and 11 the crosshair defining the centre point of the frame flashes up briefly when using either the Align control or the Re-center control. In my opinion, neither of these is done correctly in versions 10 or 11, but it was fine in version 9.

The two Flip controls allow you to flip the entire frame in either direction.

When you have made the adjustments you like and wish to save them for later use, you can save the settings as a preset by clicking the + button and typing in a new name for the preset. To delete a preset, just select it first from the list then press the '-' button and confirm your decision.

There is one more additional, undocumented control - the 'hand' reposition control. You may have noticed that when no align or eye dropper is selected from the Frame effect dialogue and if you have moved the mouse cursor over the photo itself, a small hand cursor appears. You can use this to reposition the entire photo and frame together to the limits of the frame file. We will look at the actual frame file itself later and it may become more apparent then how/why you can do this.

OK, now that you know all about modifying your Frame parameters, try creating something cool and then we will move onto the next stage - using multiple frames. (Fig 4)


Fig 4.


Now that you have mastered using the Frame Effect now proceed to Part B, using Multiple Frames on a single object background image.


Fun With Photos #2
Intro Simple Borders Frame Effects Multi Photo Picture Frames
Series Intro


Polaroids Intro, Single Frame, background object Multi frame, background object Frames with floating objects Create your own Frame Photo Displays Basic Picture Frame Enhanced Picture Frame

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