What is a Template?

A photo template is a multi-layered PSD file and a set of specifications on how layers should be arranged. Below you can see an exemplary diagram showing the structure of a simple template:

You can see examples of templates at funny.pho.to and in mobile apps made by Pho.to (Photo Lab for iOS, Photo Lab for Android). Templates allow users to edit their photos (let’s call them "user photos" or "photos" from now on) easily, in a single click or tap.

Apply templates to different photos (with faces a bit turned, different skin colors, different quality (e.g. overexposed or underexposed)), to see how multi-purposed your templates should be.

Templates can be very different: collages and photomontages of all kinds, simple and complicated frames, filters, textures, face in hole effects with automatic face recognition, etc. Learn more about template types below.

Template types


User photos are inserted into frame templates using the predetermined coordinates of the corner points of a quadrangular area:

Frame templates include:

Frame templates often have versions for inserting portrait, landscape or square photos.

You are welcome to download a sample frame template here to have a look at its structure.

Frame templates can be used together with stickers — all you need to do is add the ‘Rasterization’ filter in your project.

Facial templates

A face from a user photo is inserted into a facial template using the coordinates of key facial points. Usually these are the pupils and mouth corners.

Examples of facial templates:

Facial templates can be used together with stickers — all you need to do is add the ‘Rasterization’ filter in your project.

Sticker templates

Stickers, also called sprites, are images applied to a face found in a user photo. A sticker adapts itself to the face using the marker points found on it; its size is also scaled to fit the size of the face. That is why stickers (e.g. different types of headwear or flags makeup) can adapt themselves to all kinds of faces found in user photos. The original photo is not cropped when processed with a sticker template.

Examples of sticker templates:

Stickers can also be used inside frames and facial templates: to do so, add the ‘Rasterization’ filter there.

Figure templates

Figure templates detect a figure in a user photo and allow you to manipulate it separately from the rest of the photo, or together with it. Learn more about their peculiarities and possibilities here.

Animated templates

These templates let you create animated versions of other types of templates.

Filter templates

These templates add effects to photos by means of filters.

At the moment, the Template Creator supports frame templates with a quadrangular user photo region, facial templates, sticker templates, figure templates, filter templates and animations. The template type described below is going to be included in the next versions of the Template Creator.

‘Smart’ templates that adapt themselves to the size of a user photo

User photos never get cropped when processed with this type of templates. Instead, the graphic layer is stretched or compressed to adapt itself to the size and proportions of a source photo. So, creating this type of template makes sense when graphics deformation will not spoil the effect.

Sometimes templates may have several user photo regions for several photos (2, 3 and even more). Here are examples of templates that can house several user photos:

In some templates the number of user photo regions is more than the number of user photos uploaded into the template - in that case user photos will be duplicated:

Templates development

To master the process of templates development, thoroughly study all the sections below (and here are some tips before you start):

Requirements to templates and their formatting and composition

Template Creator

Monitor calibration

Development of different template types

Frames development

Facial templates development

Stickers development

Figure templates development

Filter templates development

Animated templates development

Graphical features

Blending modes


Distortion mode

Figure detection

Useful info

Video lessons

Common information