How to make a mirrored canvas in Photoshop Elements
If you're getting ready to print your image on canvas and need to create a canvas in Photoshop with mirrored edges to gallery wrap stretcher bars, its not as difficult as it may sound. You can even do it in Photoshop Elements. This tutorial offers a step-by-step picture tutorial of how to make a canvas in Photoshop using Photoshop Elements 12, but will work with your regular Photoshop product too.
A gallery canvas wrap is a canvas print that has the image wrapped around the whole of the stretcher bar, so that the sides are covered by the image and no white space is evident. Some software like Fujifilms ESP, does this automatically for you, however if you don't have ESP then you're most likely going to be using Photoshop. Firstly, you may be lucky enough to have enough spare image on your photograph to wrap all the way around the outside of the frame, leaving the "showing/face" part of the image in tact, and having enough canvas to staple over the back of the stretcher frame. However, most people want to see the whole of their image displayed on the wall and not lose any around the sides and rear of the canvas. This is where mirrored imaging becomes very useful. Mirrored images take a sample of the edge of an image and and use this on the sides and rear of the canvas. With this effect you do not lose any part of the image and the sides seem to merge with the image itself.
Lets have a look at the image itself, the resolution of the image and the wrap width. This is important in determining the size of image that you want It's good practice here to check the depth and width of your stretcher bars to see how much wrap you need to give it. As a general rule of thumb two inches all the way around the frame is usually ample for most stretcher bars, but check your bar height and width just to check, as we will need these sizes later on when we come to look at the canvas size.
The image size is the size of the "face" of the canvas. Forget the edges and the rear, this is the part of the image that you'll see on the front of the canvas. In this example we are going to be making a mirrored canvas that is 10 inches by 12 inches. Firstly we need to look at the resolution of the image. For further details on image resolution and what it means see our buyers guide to image resolution blog. Generally 150ppi (pixels per inch) should be OK, but you may want to go as low as 100 and as big as 300. Generally the fabric and the weave of the canvas itself will hide some of the finer details of the image, however we like to use 254ppi. Basically this is 10 pixels per mm, so in some cases you may want some make some fine adjustments, this way 5 pixels is half a mm.
Remove the tick mark from the "Resample Image" box and change the resolution to your desired pixels per inch.
Next, on the same menu we need to actually put in the physical size of the image face. As this canvas wrap is going to be a 10" x 12" we need to ensure that the width and the height of the document size is appropriate for the finished canvas frame. Firstly, if it's not already set, change the drop down boxes on the height and width to say "Inches", as that's what we're working with. With the example on the image, where we talk about resolution, it shows that for a 10x12 the image at 245ppi is too small (12.85 x 9.638), so we want to make it slightly bigger. The width is too wide and the height is too small, so we need to change the height to what we need it to be for the final image.
Tick "Resample Image" again and change the height to your desired inches. In our case 10. You'll see that its now increased the size of the width too, so we need to crop this out next to make the image what we need it to be for our finished canvas.
Cropping the image for your canvas.
Return to the main page of Photoshop Elements, by clicking OK on Image Size screen. The next stage is to crop the image to the size of our example of 10" x 12". Locate the cropping tool from the tool box and start to crop the image.
You'll notice on the picture opposite that the cropping tool has only covered a partial part of the image. This is a crop of 12 Inches x 10 Inches. To make this happen, in the boxes underneath the image, you'll notice one that reads, maybe "No Restriction" (depends on your setup). Change this drop down to "Custom" and then type in your width and height of your image. Actually type "12 INCHES", so that Photoshop knows that you are working in Inches and no other size.
Drag the cropping tool across the image now and you'll have something similar to the picture opposite. Next you need to centre your image to cover a portion of the photo that looks desirable as your front facing picture on the canvas. Use the up and down arrows on your keyboard to get the image into place and then click on the large green tick to crop.
Your image should now be set to 10" x 12" and ready for to create the wrap around canvas size and then the mirrored edges.
Creating the canvas wrap around
To create the "wrap" for the canvas we need to know how much canvas is needed to wrap around the outside and rear of the stretcher bars. As mentioned previously you should now have the sizes of your stretcher bars to hand so that we can create the canvas. First though we need to unlock the layer we're working with so that the "Canvas Size" can be made. Locate your layers pallet and double click on the "Background" layer, this will create a new unlocked layer most likely called "Layer 0". Click OK to save this layer. This will now allow us to create a canvas layer for the canvas. Next click on image, resize, canvas size or use the keyboard shortcut Alt+Ctrl+C to open up the canvas size menu.
Opening up this menu allows us to change the physical size of the canvas, which will include the wrap around along with the canvas needed for the rear of the stretcher bars for the staples to go into. As mentioned, as a rule of thumb, 4 inches will give you 2 inches all the way around your canvas. this should be ample, again however, check the height and width of your stretcher bar before committing to this size. Please also note that if you do also decide to also check the length of your stretcher bars, you'll find that they may be 3mm undersized. This is normal to allow for some of the wrap around on your completed frame.
Choose the width and the height of your canvas simply by changing the values in the "new size" menu. Here we have changed the values of the width from 12 inches to 16 inches and 10 inches to 14 inches (4 inches added) to give us enough wrap around on the canvas. Click OK and your current workspace should have a border surrounding the image. Its important that this border is transparent. Your image is now ready for you to create the mirrored edges for your canvas.
Create mirrored sides for a canvas in Photoshop
Creating a mirrored edge for your canvas can be a little tricky, however with a little practice it becomes quite simple. Firstly, it may be easier if you use guidelines for your image to see where the mirrors are going to be placed. This is not mandatory but can help with visualising where the mirrors are going to be placed.
Drag in from the ruler on the left of the screen and "snap" the guideline to the left of the image. Drag in from the left of the screen again and "snap" the guideline to the right of the image. Now, drag from the ruler at the top of the screen and "snap" to the top of the image and do the same to "snap" to the bottom. If the rulers are not actively available select - View - Rulers from the top menu. To remove the ruler guides select - View then deselect Guides from the drop down menu
Next we want to select the Rectangular Marquee Tool from the menu on the left. This tool will allow us to select the portion of the image that we need to create the mirror. Drag down the side of the image as shown. You need to ensure that your Marquee tool covers the image from top to bottom and that you choose enough image so that it can be placed in the space for the mirror. We will be using this "cut out", flipping it and placing it next to the image, so ensure you have enough of the image selected to cover the mirrored side for the wrap
When you are satisfied that you have enough of the image selected to create the left mirror of the canvas wrap then right click in the Marquee Tool box and select "layer via copy" this will create a layer in the layers palette of our cut out from the image. Now select the "Move tool" as shown below and you should be able to start moving your "cut out" to allow you to place it in the desired location.
You'll notice now that the "cut out" section matches the side of the image, but its not mirrored. We need the mirroring of the canvas so that we can effectively match up the side of the "cut out" to the side of the image. To flip the image select Image from the top menu, Rotate, then Flip Layer Horizontal. This will now flip your "cut out" over to make your mirror to allow it to match up with your image.
To match up your newly created mirrored edge to the image its best to use the arrow keys instead of the mouse. Its not essential, but using the arrow keys makes it easier to fine adjust the placement of the mirror. Zoom into your canvas and line up the mirror to the image
When lining up the mirror to the image its important that no white space is created on the image and that they meet without gaps. If gaps are evident then your canvas print will have the gaps on finished print. It may be advisable to go one or two pixels over the image to ensure that the gaps do not remain. Be careful though, the image needs to flow and look natural when matching up. Zoom in and visually check your image after you have finished. The instructions for completing the right hand side mirror are the same. Drag your Marquee tool, layer via copy, flip horizontally and then match to the right hand side of the image.
Creating the top and bottom mirror requires a separate action to ensure that you are not left with any corners that are white. If you were to immediately use the Marquee tool now on the image it will only select the central part of the image and not the newly created mirrored sides. To do this we need to create a new layer that merges the left and right mirror with the central image. To do this press CTRL + ALT + SHIFT all together then the letter "E". This will create a new layer from all of the other layers of your image
Now that all of the layers are merged we can now follow the same method using the Marquee Tool to select the top of the image. Because the layers are now together this will fill the corners of the canvas correctly, cover the white squares in the corners and mirror them as required. The difference with the top and bottom mirror is that you will need to flip the "cut outs" vertically instead of horizontally to create the mirror. Again use the arrow keys for positioning to make fine adjustments.
After completing the top and bottom mirrors, zoom in on all of the mirrored edges on your canvas to ensure that no white space is evident following your work, as the white space will transfer onto your finished image. When you are satisfied its time to create a new merged layer of your completed image. Again, press CTRL + ALT + SHIFT and the letter "E"
Completed mirrored edge canvas
You should now have a completed canvas ready to print. Be sure to save the image as a PSD so that you can go back and alter it in the future if required.
This tutorial is for guide purposes only. There may be a multitude of ways to complete the same effect in Photoshop and even in Photoshop Elements, however this simple guide should get you started on how to print a canvas with mirrored edges in Photoshop
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