How to create a fuzzy-edged picture frame

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This article is part of the HOWTOs series.
Installation Usage PDF issues Imposition Other
Fuzzy frame example.png
This article uses these graphical conventions
Tutorial template icon window.pngWindow 〉〉 Tab/Panel in Window


This tutorial will show you how to create a fuzzy-edged picture frame.

Specific techniques used in this tutorial

  • Creating a new colour.
  • Adding an image and resizing/adjusting.
  • Resizing a shape.
  • Creating a radial gradient.
  • Altering the opacity and shade of a fill.
If you're going to use this technique in a PDF you need to export as PDF 1.4 or better to get the transparency effect.


  • Open a new Scribus document.

First you'll need your image. Whatever image you use I'd recommend that the subject(s) is (are) near the centre of the image to get the best results. Also it will help if the background is a light colour, or preferably white.

If you're following the tutorial you can download the image used from here. (The smallest resolution will be fine.)

Next you'll need a colour for your frame. Any colour will do - as long as it suits the image - but if you're following along you'll need to create a new colour, we'll call it "Shocking Pink".

To do this:

  • Choose menu EditColors…
  • Press the New button.
  • Change the name to "Shocking Pink" (without the quotes).
  • Select "CMYK" from the "Color Model" drop-down list.
  • With the sliders or the input fields to change "C" to 2%, "M" to 90%, "Y" to 20%, and "K" to 2%.
  • OK the Edit Color dialog.
  • OK the Colors dialog.

You also need a "White" colour but you've probably already got one from whatever default palette you have. (If you haven't, what sort of palette are you using that hasn't got a white in it?!?)

You're now ready to create your fuzzy frame.

If you later go back to change the colour you may see that some values have changed. The reason for this is outside the scope of this tutorial but for most intents and purposes you need not worry about it, no-one will notice the difference.

The Image

Figure 1
  • Create an image frame that is approximately the same shape as a passport photo in the centre of your document canvas. Size isn't really important but make its width around half the page width so you can see the effect nicely.

If your chosen image was landscape in aspect then make the image frame landscape instead of portrait.

  • Right-click the image and choose Get Image… from the menu.
  • Select your image and OK the dialog.
  • Right-click the image frame and choose Adjust Image to Frame from the menu.
  • Right-click the image frame and choose Adjust Frame to Image from the menu (it's a different menu item from the last step).

You should now have something like figure 1 but you need to lose some of the image that you don't want. This is just for the tutorial image; if you're using your own image you'll need to make your own choices.

Figure 2
  • Go to Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Image
  • Click the "Free Scaling" radio button (just under Page Number).
  • Drag the bottom of the image frame up so its just under the girl's arm, making jeans disappear (as in figure 2).

That's probably enough for the image editing for now. You can always come back and change things later if you're not happy with it.

The Frame

  • Select the image frame and choose menu ItemMultiple Duplicate
  • Accept the defaults and OK the dialog.
You used Multiple Duplicate to make sure the new duplicate is placed directly over the original.
  • Select the duplicated image (you always select the top one).
  • Choose menu ItemConvert ToPolygon
  • Double-click the polygon - again it will be the top one - to open the Tutorial template icon window.pngNodes Editor
Figure 3
  • Enter 60pt in the third input field down from the grid of icons. (The exact size will depend on how large your original image frame was; you may need to experiment.)
  • Press the Tab key to make sure the value has been entered (because of a current bug).
  • Press the "Enlarge the Size" icon to the far left of the text field you entered the value into.
  • Press the End Editing button to exit the Nodes Editor.

You should now have something like figure 3.

The Fill

Figure 4
  • With the larger polygon selected go to Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Colours
  • Make sure Fill is selected by pressing the Fill icon.
  • Select your fill colour; for this tutorial select "Shocking Pink".

The image has disappeared behind the polygon but that's okay because of what you do next.

  • Choose a "Radial Gradient" from the drop-down list below the Fill icon.
  • Drag the left-hand gradient stop - the small triangle - to the 50% position.
  • Select "White" from your list of colours.

You should now have a white circle in the middle of your polygon, like figure 4.

The Fuzz

Figure 5
  • Under the list of colours in Colors in "Transparency Settings" set the Opacity to 0%.

Some of your image should have come back.

Now you need to make more alterations to the radial gradient fill.

Figure 6
  • Click on the gradient fill bar to create a new gradient stop and drag it to the 60% position.
  • Make sure the colour has been set to "White".
  • Set the Opacity to 30%.
  • Create another gradient stop at position 70%.
  • Set it to the colour of "Shocking Pink".
  • Set its Opacity to 50%.
  • To the right of the Fill icon set the Shade to 50%.
  • Drag the right-hand gradient stop the the 80% position.

You should now have a gradient bar something like figure 5.

If the "fuzzy border" goes up to the edge of the frame - as it does in figure 6 - you might want to slightly change the gradient stops by dragging them all to the left by around 10/15% or so (keeping them the same distance apart).

Once you've got the "fuzzy border" to the correct size you can move the whole frame to centre the subject properly if necessary.


And that's it done.

If you want the transition between white and your fill colour to be smoother then you'll need to add more gradient stops between the existing ones, altering the Opacity and Shade settings to suit.

The example at the top of this article was created with this technique, then adding some text on circular paths with a skewed rectangle behind. Try it for yourself. (I've no idea who the people in the picture are or what their names are, I just made it all up.)