Tear my photos
April 24, 2007 6:45 AM   Subscribe

What's a decent piece of free/cheap software that can create a 'torn edge' effect on a photo?

I know I could just do it with Photoshop, but I'd really like to have the function as one button. Searching just turns up the usual shareware spam.
posted by reklaw to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Well, I'm sure both GIMP and photo shop can be programmed to do it with just one button.
posted by delmoi at 7:00 AM on April 24, 2007

You can buy Photoframe or download a free trial.

It might be easier and cheaper (in the long run) to do one of the tutorials and save it as an action.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:21 AM on April 24, 2007

How many photos are you intending to apply this effect to? Do you have Photoshop or GIMP? My response covers Photoshop but I'm pretty sure the GIMP can be coerced into similar behavior.

If it's just one, I'd bite the bullet and do it in Photoshop (assuming you have access) -- there's a realy wonderful "distressed edges" tutorial called Ripped and Torn Edges and Stuff. The good news: very little effort or artistic talent required after setting up the brush. Lots of instructions. I used this technique to produce a pile of weathered edges for a client in about 10 minutes.

If it's more than one but they're going to be of similar size and you have access to Photoshop, use the above technique to build one or more "ripped edges" masks, then paste them over the resized photos. This has the downside of having your borders look similar, but if you rotated/flipped the frame it might work out okay.

I know this doesn't directly answer your question, but I feel like the technique is simple (and fun) enough that it would work for you.
posted by Alterscape at 7:39 AM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

In Photoshop or Gimp, I would do one of: find a torn-edge image, rip some paper or cardboard to make a torn edge i liked then shoot or scan it; or try to sketch a torn edge using paintbrush and effects filters.

I'd then turn it into a mask, use a fade or an eraser to manipulate the transparency of the torn edge, and the end result is a mask layer that will produce a torn edge on any given layer.

A quick plug for Paint.net (http://getpaint.net/index2.html). It's free, easier to use than PS or the Gimp, but is capable of many of the same processes, including layers, resize, dodge & burn, effects. It's free.
posted by Artful Codger at 11:18 AM on April 24, 2007

2nd Artful Codger. For degraded and distressed images, nothing works as well as the real thing.

When I've wanted this effect, I've just torn some paper, scanned it, and then composited it with my image in photoshop.

After scanning, carefully cut out the torn edge image in your graphics software, and stick it in a layer above the photo. Then cut the photo to match the torn edge.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 11:34 AM on April 24, 2007

I use SnagIT which does exactly what you're after with a single click. Although not free, it's not horribly expensive at US$39.95 (it does lotsa other things as well). I believe you can even trial the full app for 30 days.
posted by ponystyle at 11:47 PM on April 24, 2007

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