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How to Create an Outstanding ‘Out of Frame’ Horse Scene

How to Create an Outstanding ‘Out of Frame’ Horse Scene

In this tutorial I will show you how to make a horse reach out of a frame with some simple, but cool techniques. Besides of the techniques you will learn how to combine colors to make the scene even more dramatic.

Final Image

As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:

Step 1

Open up this picture in photoshop Frame Photo

Select the “Pen Tool (P)” and mark around it like on the picture below. It will help you if you’re holding down the left mouse-click when you’re on the wheels. This makes it more rounded.

When you have marked it all, right click on it and click on “make selection…” and press ok with the settings you see below:

When selected, press “ctrl+c” to copy and “ctrl+v” to paste it. Name the new layer “Frame” and delete the “Background layer” After this we still have some red spots inside the cogwheels. You can erase them by also using the “Pen Tool (P)”, select it with the same settings and delete.

Step 2

Now you’re going to do almost the same here. As you can see on the picture below, we’re going to erase the scene inside the frame, so we can design it just as we like. With the Pen Tool (P) you’re going to select the area inside. But mark around the cogwheels, because we want to keep them. When selected as on the picture below, click delete.

Once again we have some spots inside the cogwheels we need to erase. Do it in the same way as on step 1. As you can see on the picture there is two places I have erased the inner cogwheel because we don’t have all of it and therefore it’s better without.

Step 3

I think that the frame has a lot of grain, which will be prettier if we reduce them a little bit. So go to Filter>Noise>Reduce Noise… and use these settings.

Look if you can see the difference:

Step 4

Create a new document with these settings:

Now we need a black background for this document, so set the foreground color to #000000. Pick up the “Paint Bucket Tool” (G) and click on the document.

Step 5

Now go back to our old document and drag the “frame” to our new document by holding down the mouse button. As you can see on the picture below, the frame is too big. So hold down “ctrl+t” to transform the frame.

Before we get started with the fun part, we need to flip the frame horizontal, so go to edit>transform>flip horizontal… Now we have the highlight to the right, where the horse also will be jumping out from.

Step 6

Open up this picture in Photoshop and drag it into our document. Name this layer “horse”

Set the layer’s opacity down to 50 % so we can see where to transform it to. Hold down “ctrl+t” to transform it into around the same settings as I used:

When you’re finished transforming it you can set the layer’s opacity up to 100% again.

Step 7

Now we’re going to cut the horse out, so we can erase other parts of the horse. So you need to use the “Pencil Tool (P)” again, and mark the house. Take your time. It’s better that you cut it out in the exact same shape than thinking of being finish as quick as possible. When you’re finish marking the horse, right click on it and click on “make selection” and use the settings as you see below on picture 2. After that, hold down “ctrl+c” to copy and “ctrl+v” to paste it. Name the new layer “horse outside”.

Step 8

Go down to the “horse” layer, and create a layer mask.

Hold down the ctrl key while clicking on the thumbnail of the “frame” layer, so we have that selected. (Remember, you still need to be on the layer mask on the “horse” layer)

Now with your foreground color set to black hold down “shift+f5” to fill the layer mask with black, click “ok”, and hold down “ctrl+d” to deselect. Now it should look like picture 2 below.

Still on the layer mask, select a black brush and paint the outgoing scene of the “horse” layer. It will afterwards look like this:

Step 9

I think that I have made my document too small, but don’t worry, it’s easy to fix. Go to image>canvas size (“Alt+Ctrl+C”) and use the settings you see below:

Now it should be a little bigger:

Step 10

Select the “frame” layer, the “horse” layer and the “horse outside” layer at the same time, hold down “ctrl+t” to transform it a little bigger. In order to maintain image quality you should always work with Smart Objects when possible. The settings of the transformation shall be like on the picture below:

Step 11

Now we’re going to give the horse some highlights. Start by creating a new layer upon the “horse outside” layer. Name the new layer “horse highlights” Set the blending mode to overlay and the opacity down to 85 % like on the picture below.

Hold down the “ctrl” key and click on the thumbnail on the “horse outside” layer, but still be on the “horse highlights” layer. With the color set to #fffcd9, you’re going to paint around the places as you see below.

Step 12

Now we’re going to add some drop shadows to the “horse outside” layer. Go to Layer>Layer Style>Drop shadows and enter in these settings:

Step 13

I’m not satisfied about the look of the frame yet. Go down to the frame, right click and click on “duplicate layer”, so we got another frame layer. On the new layer (“frame copy”) set the “blending mode” to “multiply” and the “opacity” down to 70%. It should look like this:

Now do the exact same thing to the horse layer with the exact same settings, so it’s going to look like this

Step 14

Now we’re going to add a little dept to the “frame copy” layer. Go to Layer>Layer Style>Bevel and Emboss and enter the settings you see below:

Step 15

Now we’re also going to add a little dept to the “horse” layer. Select the burn tool with “Midtones” in the “Range” and an “Exposure” on 50 %. Burn these places.

Step 16

Now we’re going to add some extra soil beneath the horse. So create a new layer upon “horse highlights”. Name it “soil”

Download this brush Debris Brush Set

Install the brush in Photoshop by select a random brush and load the brush this place:

Pick this color #22110a, and paint with the first brush, but adjust the size to around 5-600 px. After you have painted it, set the blending mode to “Multiply”

Step 17

Actually I think that we can make the horse look a little more outstanding. Right click on the “horse outside” layer and click on “Duplicate Layer…” And stay on the new “horse outside copy” layer

Go to Layer>Layer Style>Drop shadows to check the layer style off.

Now go to the old “horse outside” layer and blur this layer by going to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur and enter these settings:

Step 18

We can actually duplicate the “frame copy” layer one more time. Do that. On the new “frame copy 2”, set the blending mode to “overlay” and the opacity to 45 %.

Step 19

Now we’re going to make the scene a little more dramatic. Create a new layer right upon the “horse copy” layer (beneath the “horse outside” layer). Name it “clouds”.

On our new layer, select the “Rectangular Marquee Tool (M)” and select this place you see below:

Go to Select>Modify>Feather (“shift+f6”) and feather it with 30 pixels.

Now when have a black and white color in your color palette, go to Filter>Render>Clouds… Hold down ctrl+d to deselect.

Set the blending mode to “multiply” and the opacity to 70 %.

Create a layer mask, and pick up the “Gradient Tool (G)” With these settings:

Hold down shift drag the “Gradient tool” from left middle of the frame to about half way in the scene.

Now click on the “clouds” layer’s thumbnail, and go to edit>transform>distort and distort it like this:

Last, go to edit>transform>flip horizontal… The result will look like this.

Step 20

Now we’re going to make the reflection. This is a very easy technique. Make the “Background” layer invisible by clicking on the eye icon.
Now click “ctrl+a” to select all.

Go to edit>copy merged (“shift+ctrl+c”) and hold down “ctrl+v” to paste. Name the new copied layer “Reflection”.

Now go to edit>transform>flip vertical and drag it right under our original frame like this:

Now let’s make that “Background” layer visible again. But still be on our “Reflection” layer. Set the layer’s opacity to 30 %

Create a new layer upon the “reflection” layer, name it “reflection shadow”. Pick up the “Gradient tool (G)” with the same settings and before, and drag it from down to up like on the picture below:

Step 21

Create a layer upon all other layers. Name it “Blue”. Pick up this color #3f3e65. Pick up the “Paint Bucket tool” and fill the layer with this color. Set the blending mode to “overlay” and the opacity to 65 %

Create another layer upon the “Blue” layer. Name it “Brown”. Pick up this color #624b2b and fill the layer with this color. Set the blending mode to “color” and the opacity to 60 %

Download Source File for this Tutorial

About the Author:

is a 21 year old freelance designer studying as a multimediadesigner. His passion is photo manipulation. You can check some of his photos at his flickr page. His portfolio is coming soon.

Leave a comment


  1. Ostap says:

    Horse power!:)

  2. Syed says:


  3. Great effect and concept. I’ve tried other tutorials for out of frame scenes but this tutorial adds extra depth to the final image and is definitely better than other ones I’ve tried. Thanks!

  4. Vim says:

    Another great tutorial tom, nicely explained, with a nice learning curve, i think you should do a post focused on a particular photoshop tool for example, this tutorial used a lot of the pen tool. Cheers Tom

  5. Vim: Thanks a lot for some constructive critic. I’m glad that you like the techniques. But do you want the tutorials to be with a little lesser tools and a bigger focus and learning on these by that..?

  6. Vim says:

    Simon yes exactly that

  7. Tom says:

    Thanks for the great comments everyone.

    Vim: If you’re talking about tutorials focusing on learning the basic Photoshop tools we do have some popular tutorials already available:

  8. Laura says:

    So when i was doing the motion blur, I tried the suggested distance of 45, and to get the look as close to yours i actually had to use a distance of 145. I’m not sure if it was a little mistake, or if its just because i use photoshop 7… Also, for people using photoshop 7, if you can’t load the debris brushes provided, these brushes got the job done for me.

    Awesome tutorial, i learned a lot!

    • Tom says:

      Thanks for pointing that out Laura! I’m unsure about the blur distance, you’d have to bring that up with the author, but either way, I’m sure people will find your tip useful. I appreciate the brush link too.

  9. Don’t hang me up on anything, but I think it’s because photoshop 7 is a much elder version than Photoshop CS4 that I have used to this tutorial. And nearly every setting in photoshop has been updated since there… So it’s obviously not every single settings and step you can relate to in my turoials if you’re using Photoshop 7.

    But thanks a lot for taking it up, I was not aware of that. Have a good day, and take care..

  10. thanks…. keep up the good work

  11. Peter says:

    Thanks for a great walkthrough…It’s not bad when even a psd noob as me gets it right the first time!

  12. Kasper says:

    Nice result – I mainly use photoshop for webdesign but nice to learn som tricks.

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