Tutorial – Rounded Color Blocked Image

I’m back with a new tutorial that a loyal reader asked me about a while back. I’m ALWAYS so excited to get questions from you because it helps me know what YOU want to know, so I can help! She wanted to know how I do the rounded corner color blocking technique that I use to display my images from my photography sessions, like the one from a recent newborn session:

Great question! I actually use an action that I bought from MCP Actions, which automates the process, however I’m here to show you a simple way to do this yourself using Photoshop, or Photoshop Elements. Are you ready? Let’s go!

1. Open an image in Photoshop that you want to add a color block to. Before we can go further, we have to change the image from a background, to it’s own layer. We’ve done this before in past tutorials, but here’s the how-to. Right click on your image in the image layer, and click on “Layer From Background”. This will change your background image into a layer that you can move around your layers palette.

2. Now that your image is it’s own layer, we need to create a second layer that we will add the color to. Simply click on Layer>New>Layer or just click on the little dog-eared icon at the bottom of your layers palette. It will create a blank layer on top of your image layer, like below:

3. We don’t want the color block to completely cover our image, so we will need to drag the new layer BELOW the image layer, like below:

4. This part might seem kinda weird, but we are going to select the crop tool from the tools palette, then at the top where it says “width” and “height” you will need to empty those boxes. This will give you free reign to create a canvas the size you want it to be.

5. Make sure you have the blank layer selected in your layer’s palette. Now drag your mouse from the upper left hand corner of your image to the lower right hand corner so the entire image is selected. DON’T click on the checkmark yet.

6. By clicking on one of the tiny boxes on the middle of one of the edges, you can pull the outline outwards, or downwards – whatever direction you want the color block to go, and make it as large as you want it to be. Click the checkmark when you’re happy with the size.

7. Now you will see a blank space wherever you dragged out the line in the previous step. You need to be sure you still have the “layer” layer selected in the layer’s palette, like below. See how it’s in blue?

8. Now is the fun part when we get to choose what color we want the color block to be. Click once on the foreground color square and when the box pops up, you can select any color you want. You can even choose a color right from your photo by clicking anywhere on your image to select a specific color from a piece of clothing, the background, whatever.

9.  When you’ve selected your color, choose the paint bucket tool and click once on the blank space, to fill it with your color.

10. Ooooh, doesn’t that look pretty? Nice. You could leave it like this and flatten if you like it with just the straight corners. However if you want to make rounded corners…keep reading on 🙂

11. Select the shape tool and at the top of the screen, choose the rounded corner tool. You can set the radius to whatever number you like – the larger the number, the more rounded the corner!

12. Drag your mouse from the upper left to the lower right corner to completely cover the image with the shape. If you want more rounded corners, just delete the shape, change the settings, and do this step again.

13. We don’t want the shape to cover our image, so we will click on the shape layer in the layers palette and drag it to the bottom of the layers palette.

14. To finish this up all we have to do is create a clipping mask so our image will adhere itself to the shape of the shape layer. Click once on the color block layer to highlight it in the layer’s palette, then click on Layer>Create Clipping Mask. This will create the rounded corners on the color block layer.

15. Repeat the step with the photo layer selected to create a clipping mask for that layer as well.

16. Flatten the image and save! You can add a watermark, save it for the web – whatever. Doesn’t it just look so smart? Love it. I hope this answered your question and I’d love to see your creations!


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