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Affinity Suite - Creating An Image Frame

by Uwe Heimburger

Use Case

Sometimes we create images where some or a lot of space can be white near the borders. In these cases images might not look as pleasant on a white background as supposed. If we don't like that, we can draw a clear border. So the image is seperated from the background.


But how can we do this? How can we add a border or frame to the image? There's Software that we can use to do this task.

The image should be a JPG file in highest quality, TIFF or PNG file. Because JPG is a lossy format an additional JPG creation step will degrade image quality. TIFF and PNG usually are lossless. If Metadata is an important feature I'd suggest using TIFF or JPG.

Framing we can implement using Affinity Photo or Affinity Designer.

For the task Affinity Designer looks like the more flexible tool. I'll show different solutions where both Software is used. If we want to preserve the image's metadata, we need to open the image file the following way.

Right click on the image and select "Open with ... > Affinity Photo / Affinity Designer" from the context menu. The image is shown within an Affinity File Container and a Layer Representation of the image in the Layers Tool.

Another option would be to create a new Affinity File Container from scratch. We then have to choose a template or specify the size and configure the document container as we like. Using the menu item "File > Place ...." we can open and place the image within the fresh Affinity File Container. This way the image metadata will not be part of the file. So when exporting the document with image, the images metadata is not contained in the exported file. To fix this we by example could use Exiftool.

Affinity Photo

An easy solution is using Affinity Photo to create a background with expanded dimensions and the image centered. The visible background area will appear as frame with the color of the background layer.

We open our image in Affinity Photo using context sensitive menu item "Open with ...".

Affinity Photo uses a Canvas as Document size. This canvas can be expanded to get room for the frame.

  1. Select menu item "Document > Resize Canvas ..."
  2. Choose center anchor, decouple width and height (chain icon) and add, by example 5 pixels for each side of the image.
  3. Now create a new Fill Layer using menu item "Layer > New Fill Layer".
  4. Within the Layers Tool move the new Fill Layer below the Image Layer (official Background Layer).
  5. Select the Fill Layer and using the Color Tool change its color according your perception.
  6. For minimal quality loss export the file in JPG 100%. If we like we can name the file by adding a postfix "_AD5B" for "Affinity Designer 5 Pixels Border" ... just an example. The filename then shows that it's an image created using a border.

Affinity Designer

We open our image in Affinity Designer using context sensitive menu item "Open with ...".

In contradiction to Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer doesn't use a Canvas to size the Affinity Image Document.

To get room for the frame, we therefore have to size the Document itself.

  1. Select menu item "Document > Document Setup ..."
  2. Select Type: Photo
  3. In Tab Dimensions
    • in Tab Anchor to Page choose Center Anchor
    • decouple width and height (chain icon) and add, by example 5 pixels for each side of the image. This has the same effect as "Resize Canvas" in Affinity Photo.

Now we have created room for a frame of 5px width and can apply different methods to get our frame. The following chapters will show some.

Simple Background Frame

  1. Add a new Layer and in the Layers Tool move it below the Image (Background Layer). This is not a Fill Layer.
  2. Select the layer, change color by the color sliders or when working in grayscale mode the slider to 80% and draw a rectangle from the upper left to the lower right corner. We now see the colored Rectangle as sublayer of the created Layer. The Image in the viewer area now looks the same as with Affinity Photo.
  3. Export the file in JPG 100%. For the name add B5 for Border 5 pixels if you want to see if an image is created using a border.

Transparent Overlay Frame

For this one we change between Fill and Border in the Color Tool.

  1. Create a new Layer above the Image Layer
  2. Within this Layer draw a Rectangle with the following properties ...
    • Fill - Opacity: 100%
    • Border:
      • Gray: 50% (or whatever color you like for the frame)
      • Stroke: 0.5 px (for the frame), Inner Alignment

The image is shown with white boarder and a thin stroke. This looks very elegant and fits works well for the image shown.

Advanced Frame using FX Layer

Using Affinity Designer we can easily create more complicated frames. For this create a new FX Layer below the Image Layer. The following Dialog let you configure this layer.

The Fx Layer is Sub-Layer of a regular layer and can be configured using the FX Layer Dialog.

If we select Bevel like on mats in the FX Layer Dialog creates a look for the frame like light coming from one side.

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