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Photoshop Tip #2: border keyline / stroke

Okay, this may be super obvious for some people, but in case it’s not, here’s a neat tip. When I do borders or keylines, I usually like to make the layer on the very top.

The easy way to make a keyline is to draw a box with the rectangle tool, make sure it’s a shape layer, this makes editing it later easy. Right click the layer you just created, select Blending Options, then select Stroke. This should be pretty easy. I usually stroke on the inside; the default is outside but this will not give you sharp corners.

Okay, now you have your keyline; go back to the Layers window go to the Fill slider and bring it down to 0%. Opacity and Fill are very similar with one important difference. Opacity affects the entire layer, while Fill only affects the fill of the layer. This means our Blending Options will remain unaffected.

So why not just create a box with stroke and put it on the bottom layer? Well this works for some layouts, but what if you want patterns or shapes that overlap the box, but do not overlap the keyline as shown in the image below. This is where this technique comes in handy. The only real downside is when you use the Direct Selection Tool you end up selecting your top layer, so you may need to turn this layer on and off.

Photoshop example

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