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Tip Library

Speed Up Editng With Function Keys
When there's too much to clone
Create a Mask with a Channel

Straightening Horizons
Cloning Layers
Realtime Feathering
Dodge/Burn Layer
Controlling Shadows/Highlights
When Cloning Isn't Enough

Realtime Feathering

Creating good selections in your digital images is a critical step in producing a fine art print. One of the great advantages of digital printing is the ability to make very precise and selective corrections to the image. In order for these changes to be well integrated into the image it is almost always necessary to feather the edges of the selection so that the transition between the area you are changing and the surrounding areas is seamless and invisible.

The challenge is to use the correct amount of feathering. The nature of the transitional area, from soft to hard, will determine the proper amount of feathering to add. The simple way to feather a selection is, once the selection is active, to choose Select-> Feather. This dialogue box lets you select the number of pixels to feather. Unfortunately you don't see the effect of the feathering until you hit OK and wait for the feathering to occur (it might take some time on a large file!). If you are wrong then you must repeat this process until you stumble upon the degree of feathering that works. We hate trial-and-error methods!

Try this. Once your selection has been made, enter Quick Mask mode. The simplest way to do this is to hit "q" on the keyboard. You will see that the selected area remains clear, while the rest of the image becomes an opaque color. Enlarge the view on screen until you have a good close picture of the edge of the mask. Now open Filter->Blur->Gaussian Blur.

The edges of the selection will soften, which represents the actual feathering of the selection that will occur. Now you can dial in just how much feathering is needed to create the proper transition between adjacent areas.

While in Quick Mask mode you can also further refine the mask by painting the edges with different opacity black or white paintbrushes.

By hitting "q" again, you will exit Quick Mask mode with your selection still active. Now you can, for example, open an adjustment layer to adjust the selected area.