Creating Cool Image Borders in Illustrator

Illustrator Paths and Photoshop
As you may know many Photoshop plugins use Illustrator paths (paths created in Illustrator) to generate cool image borders inside Photoshop, not only plugins but and most designers use Illustrator to create paths and shapes for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, in fact I believe that every Custom Shape which ships with Photoshop and Photoshop Elements is created in Illustrator. Personally I created several sets with Custom Shapes for Photoshop which you can download for free.

Using Illustrator to create image borders

So why not then create cool image borders inside Illustrator? If you have image or photo which is already adjusted in Photoshop go ahead and give it finishing touch inside Illustrator. Actually you can use linked image and open it in Photoshop at any time for further adjustments.

Create Clipping Mask
First thing first. Place image in Illustrator and check Link in Place dialog to have ability to open image in Photoshop for further adjustments.

Draw shape above image, then select both: shape and image and create clipping mask from Object > Clipping Mask > Make ( Ctrl + 7), you can use and Draw Inside Mode.

Add Stroke
Go to LAYERS panel and click to target Clipping Path by clicking circle on the right side of Clipping Mask,  then set Stroke color and width on APPEARNCE panel if you want to. Deselect Stroke on APPEARANCE panel (click empty space at bottom of panel).
Target Path

Change Clipping Path using Live Effects
To make image border cool and interesting use live effects from Effect menu. Click on image to make clipping mask active and ensure you have on APPEARANCE panel Group and below it Contents. Choose for example Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen. Turn on Preview in Roughen dialog and Play with available sliders. When you finish click OK button to confirm.
Roughen Effect dialog

Now you have Roughen on APPEARANCE panel below Group title. In order to see APPEARANCE panel click on image or path to select clipping mask. Click on Roughen to open dialog and change settings.
Edit Roughen effect

To see Stroke and its options, perhaps to change color or remove it, click on circle on the right side of Clipping Path on LAYERS palette to target path then change color, width or remove it from APPEARANCE panel.
Target path from layers palette

I will remove Roughen effect by dragging it at trash icon and stroke in the very same way to show you and some other interesting available options to create cool borders.
Delete effect

Edit Clipping Path
First click on image or clipping mask with selection tool to select it then go to Control panel below menus and click Edit Clipping Path.
Edit path from control panel

Now you can use Pen tools to edit and modify path. I will select Twirl tool from Tools panel for demonstrating purpose but you can select any other tool from this group. After selecting tool and its icon is visible adjust settings by double clicking it to display tool options. Again I will point that clipping path must be targeted either from Control panel or LAYERS palette as mentioned earlier and the rest is on you and your creativity.
Modify clipping path

By the way I used Envelope Distort from Object menu in combination with Effect > Stylize > Scribble to create effect for the first image on the top.


Illustrator Help / Clipping masks

Product used in this tutorial: Adobe Illustrator CS5
Tips 6090080253999670200

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