A couple years back I wrote a fun tutorial:  Blur + Focus Frame Effect Tutorial. It’s one I pull out every couple of LADs (Layout-a-Day) just because I love it. The original tutorial is in Photoshop. This twist on that same tutorial is in Elements. I’ll be going a little fast over some of the details, please revisit the original tutorial if you feel lost.

The original tutorial helps you create everything from “scratch”. Here we are jumping in on the old template (available for free on the original tutorial). You can follow along with the next steps in Adobe Elements or you can skip to the bottom, download the new template and just pop in your photo.

This template lets you choose a favorite photo and focus on just a special part of that photo. The focus is accomplished by adding a frame and applying a Black & White Gradient Map to the majority of the photo. Leaving the special focus in brilliant color to draw the eye. Ready?

Open both the new template (available in full-size, 300dpi, or web-size) and the photo you want to use.

  • Click on Photo Bin in the bottom menu to see both files
  • Select the New Template as the file visible in your workspace

With the New Template selected, drag your photo from the Photo Bin into the template.

  • Make sure you selected the Background Layer before dragging.
  • This places your photo just above the Background Layer.

The frame is not going to be in the right place for everyone. I’ve linked (see the chain link icon in the Layer Panel) all the frame parts so they move as one.

  • Click on any Frame Layer
  • Use the Move Tool to center it over your focus

  • Right Click on your Photo Layer to create a Duplicate Layer

  • Drag your Duplicate Layer to the top of your Layers Panel
  • Do NOT MOVE the photo at all

  • Right Click and Create a clipping mask of your duplicate photo layer
  • Click the “eye” next to the existing Adjustment Mask to turn it off
  • Then return to your original Photo Layer

  • Again, make sure you are on your Original Photo Layer
  • Click on the Create new fill or adjustment layer in the top bar of your Layers Panel
  • Choose Gradient Map

Don’t freak out if weird colors appear! The default Gradient Map is a blend of your fore & background colors. We can easily fix this.

  • Click on the Gradient bar in the Gradient Map
  • More choices pop up
  • Choose Black & White

Tada! Magic! Your Original Photo Layer is now black & white. You can play with the gradient to change the depth of black, or the highlights of white. Or leave as is!

You can always revisit the new Adjustment Mask Layer to play with your black & whites. You can even turn on the old Adjustment Mask and add some lightening, or change colors.

I’ve updated the old Template and added the Gradient Map layer to it for you. All you need to do is slide in your photo. Twice. Just click to download & enjoy.