Making a frame appear three dimensional is a fairly involved, but really simple process, and the results are amazing! Start with a frame of your choice, or make your own frame. These directions are for a square frame, which can then be stretched to any size square or rectangle.
1. On the Shapes panel, choose "Create a rectangle" and create one of any color you desire. Right click on the rectangle and go to Properties. Unlock the aspect ratio and make the width and height both six inches. Apply.
NOTE: If you would prefer to 'eyeball' the opening area of your frame, skip steps 2 - 4.
2. Copy and paste this six inch square. Using the properties key, make this square 4.5 x 4.5 inches. Make it a contrasting color (black or white) by using the Color key on the Tools ribbon.
3. Select the smaller square; hold the shift key and select the larger square also. On the top row of the Alignment section of the Layout ribbon, click on the second button from the left and the second button from the right to align the small square exactly atop the larger square. The small square is the size that the opening of your frame will be, so if you would like it larger or smaller, now is the time to change it.
4. On the Tools ribbon, select 'Rectangle' and position the shaded area directly over the small square. You may need to "invert the shaded area" and be sure to click the "Make square" button. Choose "erase the shaded area". You now have a frame to work with.
To make the frame look three dimensional, we'll be adding several layers of lowlights and a layer of highlights. First, the outer layer of lowlights:
1. Copy the frame and paste it twice. Select both copies and make them a shade darker than the original frame, either by choosing a darker color or by altering the intensity and saturation of the original color. While both copies are selected, drag the corner handle to make both copies slightly larger than the original frame.
2. With both copies still selected, hold the shift key and select the original frame, too. Using the same alignment tools as in step 6 above, line the copies up with the original. Now go to the Elements panel and drag the original frame to the top of the list.
3. Select one of the copies (choose the one that is right under the original on the elements panel) and on the Tools ribbon, click on the drop-down box under Shadow. Set the depth and shadow at 2; set the direction at about 4 o'clock and the color a little darker than the frame.
4. Select the second copy. Apply the same shadow as before, except this time set the direction at about 10 o'clock.To keep from getting things confused, go to the Elements panel and Lock and Hide both of the dark lowlight copies.
Now for the inner lowlights:
5. Paste two copies of the original frame (it should still be on the clipboard) and make them the same color as the other copies. With both copies selected, drag the corners to make them slightly smaller than the original. Hold the shift key and select the original frame, too. Using the same alignment tools as in step 6 above, line the copies up with the original. Now go to the Elements panel and drag the original frame to the top of the list.
6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 above to apply shadows to the interior lowlights. Lock and hide these two copies.
For the highlight layer:
7. Paste one more copy of the original frame. Color it white. Using the alignment tool as above, align the white frame on top of the original frame.
8. Select only the white frame. On the Tools ribbon, select "More" and then "Edge Blur". Slide the slider all the way to the right side. This highlight layer will remain at the top of the Elements panel.
Now we're ready to combine all the elements:
Unhide and unlock the lowlights. Select all frame elements in this order: the four dark lowlights, one highlight, and the original frame. Use the alignment tools as above to line them all up. If you would like to apply a gradient, select ONLY the ORIGINAL frame. Apply gradient as desired. Now select all six frame elements together - white highlight on top, followed by original frame and then the four lowlight layers. GROUP together. Add image and resize as needed. Group image and frame.