Technique #18. Painting and Smudging Along a Path
This is another technique that involves creating a path and then painting along that path to create a border. The first part of this technique is the same as the previous one, so the first four steps will look suspiciously familiar if you've already tried that technique (except that I chose a different brush to begin with in Step Three). So, if you did, pick this one up at Step Five.
Press Command-J (PC: Control-J) to duplicate the Background layer. Then use the Image>Canvas Size command, or press Command-Option-C (PC: Control-Alt-C), to add 1 inch of canvas (with the Relative checkbox turned on) to both the width and height. Click on the Create a New Layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette to add a new layer on top of the copied Background layer. This is where you'll add the border.
Press-and-hold the Command key (PC: Control key) and click on the thumbnail of the copied Background layer (Layer 1, in my example) to create a selection. Then switch to the Paths palette (found nested behind the Layers palette by default) and from the flyout menu, choose Make Work Path. In the resulting dialog, enter a Tolerance of 0.5 pixels.
Choose the Brush tool (B) and, in the Options Bar, pick a brush shape from the Brush Picker, then set the brush opacity. In this example, I used a brush called Airbrush Dual Brush Soft Round 45 from the default set of brushes. (Remember, you can always tweak the brush settings in the Brushes palette.) Click on the Foreground color swatch at the bottom of the Toolbox, and from the resulting Color Picker, choose the color you want to use. I used black in this case.
Make sure the blank layer is active and then switch back to the Paths palette. Press-and-hold the Option key (PC: Alt key) and click on the Stroke Path with Brush icon (second from the left at the bottom of the Paths palette). In the Stroke Path dialog, choose Brush from the Tool pop-up menu, if it is not already selected, and turn on the Simulate Pressure checkbox. Click OK and the brush will paint along the path (on the active layer).
On the bottom right of the Paths palette, click on the Create New Path icon to create (guess what?) a new path. Choose the Pen tool (P), and in the Options Bar make sure that the Path icon (the second from the left) is active. With the Pen tool, make three points: click once on the left side of the image beside the existing border (1), then move up to the top-left corner and click again (2), then move over towards the top-right corner and click again (3), and then press Return (PC: Enter). Don't worry about trying to make straight lines and, of course, you can create any length of path that you want.
In the Layers palette, click on the Create a New Layer icon to create another new layer and, again, switch back to the Paths palette. With the new path active, press-and-hold the Option key (PC: Alt key) and click on the Stroke Path with Brush icon. In the Stroke Path dialog, choose Brush from the Tool pop-up menu, if it is not already selected, and turn on the Simulate Pressure checkbox. Click OK and the brush will paint along the path (on the active layer). You can also build on this technique by smudging the border. To do this, first choose the Smudge tool (R) and then enter the settings you want in the Options Bar. (Here you can see the settings I used in this example.) Activate one of the border layers, switch to the Paths palette, and make sure the path is also active. Press-and-hold the Option key (PC: Alt key) and click on the Stroke Path with Brush icon. In the Stroke Path dialog, choose Smudge from the Tool pop-up menu, if it is not already selected, turn on the Simulate Pressure checkbox, and click OK. Here's the result after applying the smudge along the path twice.
In this variation, I added a Gradient Overlay layer style to both border layers by clicking on the Add a Layer Style icon (at the bottom of the Layers palette) and including the settings shown here.
Variation 1: Gradient Overlay layer style
Here I held down the Command key (PC: Control key) and clicked on both border layers to activate them. Then I chose Merge Visible from the Layers palette's flyout menu to merge the two border layers. I then duplicated the result, filled the duplicated layer with a shade of orange, and changed the layer blend mode to Overlay. (Hint: To fill only the border with the Foreground color, press Option-Shift-Delete [PC: Alt-Shift-Backspace].)