In this tutorial I will explain you how to add multi colored image border in Adobe Photoshop. Now you have question: how many colors for multicolored border I can use? As many as you want but usually it works best with 2-3 colors, most of the time I am using only 2 colors.
So let’s go and complete our task and I will include as many screenshot as needed but you can also ask a question in comments section if you need any additional help.
Open and create blank new layer
First step is to open your image and create blank new layer above Background layer or above top layer in layers stack
Fill blank layer with any color
Fill blank layer with just any color. Do not pay attention to the color, since we will use Fill opacity option to remove color from layer. Go to Edit > Fill and choose Background Color.
Now you may wonder: why on blank new layer and why this way.
There are two main reasons, the first is because you may have composition where background is formed from two or more separate images or layers and the second is to show you usage of Fill opacity option.
Set Fill opacity to 0%
Select 100% in Fill text field and type 0 or use scrubby slider: navigate mouse over Fill letters, click and drag to the left until you see 0%.
Now what is reason for this action: fill then remove color! It sounds ridiculous! Reason behind this ridiculous action is because we will use Stroke effect to add multicolored border.
Layer effect can not be applied to blank layer.
“But it is blank with no color?” – I hear you say.
Its not in Photoshop eyes and removing fill make layer transparent but you can still see the Layer effects.
“Why we didn’t do the same thing with Opacity slider?”
Because Opacity affects layer content (color) but also layer effects what mean 0% Opacity will make invisible layer content but also layer effects.
Add Stroke effect
Now its time to add Stroke layer effect to layer you have previously created, filled and finally make transparent using Fill opacity.
Click fx at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose Stroke.
When Layer Style dialog opens, Stroke tab will be active with some options you can choose for this effect.
This is what you need to do:
Set Position to Inside using drop down list and increase Size to 20+ pixels.
From Fill Type drop-down list choose Gradient.
From Style drop-down list choose Shape Burst.
In order to everything work perfectly, you need to open Gradient Editor and to make some changes. Click on gradient rectangle to open Gradient Editor dialog. Choose for example Black to White gradient and move gradient stops close each to other. Click gradient stop on the left and drag it to inside then click left gradient stop and do the same.
Add more color stops and create custom gradient
You can play with gradient stops and move them around, while watching what effect it gives you on image. One thing that you can do is to click below gradient rectangle to add gradient stop color.
After adding stop color, select it then click Color rectangle at left bottom side to open Color Picker (Stop Color) and choose color.
Another way to add color stops to gradient is to duplicate existing. To duplicate existing color stops hold down Alt/Opt on your keyboard, click on color stop and drag to the left or to the right. Move all color stops to be close each to other. When you are done click OK button in top right corner to confirm changes and return to Layer Style dialog.
One of the things I am doing after creating custom gradient, for multicolored Stroke around image, is to use Reverse option to check how that works. Reverse will reverse gradient colors order and some times may give more interesting result.
Change or replace existing gradient
Now, what if you liked multicolored border but you want to change gradient colors. No problem, click again on Gradient rectangle to open gradient editor. Click on any gradient preset to have it as starting point. If there is one sufficient color stop, remove it from gradient: click on stop and drag it to the bottom.
As I mentioned this technique work best with 2-3 colors and if you want to have more then 2 colors then just duplicate color stops and move them close to each other as you can see example with 1st gradient we created in the step 6.
Pick colors from image
Ok, you’ve created brand new gradient, but you want to pick colors from image, instead of selecting colors in Color Picker (Stop Color).
It is very easy in fact. First select color stop then click Color rectangle to open Color Picker and navigate mouse over image. Mouse will become eyedropper icon and your task is to click on image to pick color beneath pipette.
When you pick color click OK in Color Picker (Stop Color) dialog to confirm and return to Gradient Editor dialog. To change color for next color stop select it first then repeat steps to choose color from image. Finally click OK couple of times to close all dialogs including Layer Style and return to Photoshop with new multicolored border around your image.
Change border even after reopening file
This step is required in case you change your mind before exporting image but also if you change your mind about border colors after saving layered image and reopening it.
To change gradient, Stroke Size, positions of color stops, easiest way is to double click on Stroke below layer what will open Layer Style dialog with Stroke tab active. Repeat steps 5 – 9 depend on what you want to change.