Geometric Overlay

with 10 Comments

Geometric Overlay
by Jenifer Juris

Add visual interest to your digital projects using a geometric overlay.

Step One: Open a Photo

  • Open a photo (File > Open) that you wish to use.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose File > Duplicate. (Photoshop: Choose Image > Duplicate.)
  • In the dialog box, click OK.
  • Close the original photo.

Step Two: Create a Selection

  • Get the Rectangular Marquee tool.
  • In the Tool Options, click on the New Selection icon. Set the Feather to 0 px and the Aspect to Normal. (Photoshop: Set the Style to Normal.)
  • On the document, while holding down the Shift key, click and drag from the top left corner to the very bottom of the photo. This should give you a square selection.

Note: If you’re using a square photo, the selection will cover the whole photo.


Step Three: Transform the Selection

  • In the Menu Bar, choose Select > Transform Selection.
  • In the Tool Options, set the Angle to 45˚. (Photoshop: Set the Rotation to 45˚.)
  • On the document, while holding down the Shift key, click and drag from inside the bounding box to whichever edge you wish to add an overlay to. (I’m moving mine to the right.) Move the bounding box until the diagonal lines of the bounding box meet up with the right top and bottom corners of the photo. If needed, use the Arrow keys to nudge it into place.
  • Click the check mark to commit the change.


Step Four: Add a Stroke

  • In the Layers panel, click on the Create a New Layer icon.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Edit > Stroke (Outline) Selection. (Photoshop: Choose Edit > Stroke.)
  • In the dialog box, set the Stroke to 7 px, the Location to Inside, and the Blending Mode to Normal. Uncheck Preserve Transparency.
  • Click on the Color Chip, choose a color from the dialog box, and click OK. I’m using Hex #: fabfc3.
  • Click OK to apply the stroke.
  • Press Ctrl D (Mac: Cmd D) to deselect.

Note: The size of your photo will determine how big your stroke will look. So, keep in mind you may need to use a different size stroke depending on the size of your photo.


Step Five: Duplicate the Stroke

  • Press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) a number of times. I duplicated mine 17 times.
  • In the Layers panel, click on the top most stroke layer to activate it.
  • Get the Move tool.
  • In the Tool Options, uncheck Auto-Select Layer.
  • On the document, while holding down the Shift key, click and drag the stroke shape to the edge of your photo. (See the screenshot below.)


  • In the Layers Panel, while holding down the Shift key, click on the bottom most stroke layer. All of the stroke layers should now be active.
  • In the Tool Options, click on the Distribute Horizontal Centers icon.


Step Six: Finishing Touches

At this point, consider doing the following:

  • Click on the Visibility icon of some of the stroke layers to hide them. This will add emphasis.
  • Consider adding a gradient behind your stroke layers to make your overlay more visible.
  • Add some text to finish off your project.

Here is what my photo looks like now that I’m done:


Photo: Stock Photo
Font: Lulo Clean

This simple and easy overlay can also be used in a scrapbook page as part of the background:


I hope you enjoyed this technique.

After posting your results online,
return here and include the link in the comments.

I can’t wait to see what you do with this!

Photo: Jodi Finley
Kit: This is my Fave by Tickled Pink Studio

Font: Girl Friday



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Jenifer JurisAuthor: Jenifer Juris | Contact Us
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10 Responses

  1. Bonnie
    | Reply

    Feel like an idiot here, everyone else followed so easy. I got lost on the triangle of the photo. Is there anywhere on the stroke outline that says to put the selection on the photo to get that stroke outline? I mean I always have to get a selection for the size, by control clicking on the layer square (if you follow that) then open new layer and do the stroke. Did I miss that, cuz I can’t get it to work without doing that.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Hi Bonnie! The step to create the selection is different. You can create a selection without ctrl clicking on a layer. The directions say to hold down the shift key and click drag from the very top left corner to the bottom of the photo (While using the rectangular marquee tool). This will give you a square shaped selection. It needs to be square in shape in order for the rest of the tutorial to work. Does this help or only make things more confusing?

  2. noreen
    | Reply

    Thank you for the tutorial. I can honestly say that htis is the first time I have been able to follow a tutorial to the end without getting to a point where I cannot do what is being asked! Your instructions are so clear and there wasn’t a hitch. Thanks again.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thx Noreen!! 🙂

  3. Sharron Lamb
    | Reply

    Fun tut, as usual, Jenifer! Just uploaded my first layout using this technique:

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Thanks – I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Your layout is so fun!! 🙂

  4. Dorrie
    | Reply

    I like your tutorial and this was my take on it. Hope you like it.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Dorrie, I’m so glad you enjoyed the tutorial! Your layout is wonderful! 🙂

  5. Donna
    | Reply

    I just love this tutorial, Jenifer! You have such a wonderful clean style and this is and example of that style. Can’t wait to try this!

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Thank you so much, Donna!! 🙂 I’m so glad you like it and I can’t wait to see what you do with it. 🙂

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