Creating a Basic Mat

Creating the Basic Competition Mat in Photoshop

Process your image(s) to the degree you deem necessary. Do this at its native size and preferably as much in RAW format as possible. If you need to process in Photoshop then do so as a TIFF or PSD and in the ProPhoto RGB color space.

Your final submission image should have a mat and a stroke (or “key” line). The reason for doing this is control. What follows is a standard recipe for creating this. You may vary it according to your taste.


Recipe (PC Version):

1. Using either Lightroom or Photoshop, reduce the size of your image to 16 inches on the long side at 200 ppi and the Adobe RGB (1998) color space.

2. Now in Photoshop, go to “Canvas Size” and add 1.33 inches of black to the vertical and horizontal dimensions. (use the calculator if you need to)

3. Then create a duplicate layer (which will activate the fx option).

4. Right Click in the background and change it to black.

5. Click on “fx” to activate a pulldown menu and click on “Stroke”.

6. In the Stroke box, make the size 3 pixels, position inside and blending mode normal. Make sure the preview box is checked.

7. Click in Color box and an eyedropper will appear. Pick a color that helps the viewer to look where you want them to look. This usually a color or shade found in the subject of the image.

8. Make sure the stroke color is not too bright. It should be subliminal and not as important as the image.

9. Click OK to create the stroke.

10. Right Click on the background and return the color to a medium gray.

11. Flatten the image.

12. Go back to “Canvas Size” and add 2.67 inches of black to both the horizontal and vertical dimensions.

(Or you can simply add 4 inches to the original image size after reducing it)

13. Save the image in the correct format and naming convention.

Your image is finished and ready to be submitted online!

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