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Blurring a selection with Feather

From: Photoshop CS3 Channels and Masks: The Essentials

Video: Blurring a selection with Feather

even blur the edges of the selection using the Feather function. Now when you're using any selection tool except for the Quick Selection tool, you will see a feather option up here in the Options bar, that will be your first option in the Options bar in fact. That is a static control, meaning that it affects the next selection outline that you draw. I don't recommend you use it. I recommend you leave this feather value set to zero at all times, because there is a better way to feather a selection outline using the Feather command, and it's just as accurate. Unlike antialiasing you can apply feathering after drawing a selection.

Blurring a selection with Feather

even blur the edges of the selection using the Feather function. Now when you're using any selection tool except for the Quick Selection tool, you will see a feather option up here in the Options bar, that will be your first option in the Options bar in fact. That is a static control, meaning that it affects the next selection outline that you draw. I don't recommend you use it. I recommend you leave this feather value set to zero at all times, because there is a better way to feather a selection outline using the Feather command, and it's just as accurate. Unlike antialiasing you can apply feathering after drawing a selection.

All right, so I'm once again working in the original version of The big eye.jpg file, that's found inside the 03_select_essentials folder. I'm going to switch over to the Elliptical Marquee tool, I'm going to draw a fairly large selection around the entire pupil inside of the iris so that I can create something that vaguely resembles a dilated pupil, as you'll see, is very vague. We're just doing this for illustrative purposes, we're not trying to create an actual good looking effect. Then I'm going to go up to the Select menu, I'm going to choose modify, and I'm going to choose Feather. Now this is one of two ways you can apply feathering inside of Photoshop CS3. You can either do it from the Feather command, or you can do it from the Refined Edge command. The Refine Edge command turns out to be a little more accurate in that you can preview the effect before you apply it. I'll be showing you Refine Edge along with its various options inside of the next chapter, but for now I want you to go to the old style function, Modify, Feather. You've got a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Alt+D here on the PC, on the Mac Cmd+Option+D by default brings up the dock at the bottom of the screen or the right hand side of the screen or what have you. You're going to have to change that if you want to take advantage of Cmd+Option+D for feathering inside of Photoshop, you're going to have to change Apple's default keyboard shortcuts using the system preferences.

I'm going to go ahead and choose the command manually however and I'm going to change that feather radius value to something along the lines of 24 pixels let's say, nothing special about that value and what this is saying is go ahead and blur the selection outline 24 pixels out and 24 pixels in, so big old blur. Now that's a little bit of an exaggeration. I'll be telling you why it's an exaggeration shortly, but for now just go and enter 24, click ok, and then press the D key to ensure that your foreground color is black and press Alt+ Backspace or Option+Delete in order to fill the selection with black, like so. Now I'm going to click off the selection in order to deselect it and you can see if we zoom in there, that we do have a blurry selection outline, a blurry mass of black going on, so a very softly transitions from Black in the center of this pupil area to lighter colors inside of the iris. All right, now, so you get a sense of how you can blur a selection there and you can blur it after the fact as I say, but using that Feather command. Now can you use feathering to somehow simulate the effects of antialiasing. I get that question a lot and the answer is unfortunately no, because they are two totally different operations. I'm going to go and zoom in on this pupil a little bit and I'm going to, still armed with the Elliptical Marquee tool here, I'm going to turn off the antialias checkbox, I'm going to draw a selection, a circular selection right there, then I'm going to press Ctrl+Alt+D, Cmd+Option+D if you get it to work on the Mac, to bring up the feather selection dialog box and I'm going to change this value to something very small like 0.4 pixels, just a fraction of a pixel here and I'm going to click OK in order to accept that result, then I'm going to press the Backspace key, or the Delete key on the Mac in order to fill the selection with white and I'll click off of it to deselect it. Now I'm going to zoom in a little bit so they can see we no longer have super jagged transitions the way we would normally if antialias were turned off. Instead we have a soften version of those jagged edges, but they're not smooth, we still can see the jagged transitions there. Compare that to, if I were to turn antialias on for the Elliptical Marquee tool and draw a new ellipse like so, and then press Backspace or Delete to fill that with white, click off of it to deselect it, that is a truly smooth outline right there as a function of antialiasing compared with this jagged soft outline. That's the function of turning antialias off and applying just a smidgen of feathering.

All right, one more thing, I want to tell you about the galcian transition that's associated with the feathered outline. I'm going to turn antialias back on as it is, I'm going to draw a new selection outline, a bigger one here, like so, down here in the lower left region of this strange pupil effect, I'm going to feather it, by pressing Ctrl+Alt+D, Cmd+Option+ D on the Mac and I'm going to change this feather value do let's see once again 24 pixels and I'll press the Enter or Return key in order to accept that effect, then I'll press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac in order to fill the selection with white and let's go ahead and zoom in here. Now as I was saying, we are approximately blurring the selection outline 24 pixels out and 24 pixels in by virtue of the fact that I enter 24 for the feather radius value, but not exactly. We have what's known as a galcian transition in effect here and what that means is that at first, the blur runs very, very slowly right at the beginning of the blur on the outside edge and the inside edge of the blur goes very slowly, then it goes very quickly through the middle region of the blend and then it smooths out and it goes very slowly at the last edge of the blend here, the outer edge of the blend both outside the selection outline and inside the selection and that ensures that we don't see a sharp edge around our blur and I know that sounds just crazy, that somehow we would see a sharp edge but if we performed a linear blur in which every single bit of this blur got the same amount of weight then we would actually see the physical edge of that blur, where it started and where it stopped and that would defeat the purpose of the blur in the first place, so as a result, the blur gets sort of pushed out a little bit and a 24 pixel blur ends up turning into about a 25, 26, 27 pixel blur. You should just be aware of that, if you're trying to blur within a very specific space. Anyway that is how blurring works, how selection blurring works inside of Photoshop using the Feather option. In the next chapter we're going to take a look at how each and every one of the selection tools work and how you work with them for maximum effect.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS3 Channels and Masks: The Essentials
Photoshop CS3 Channels and Masks: The Essentials

140 video lessons · 32890 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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  1. 17m 33s
    1. Welcome
      2m 47s
    2. Setting a few key preferences
      3m 42s
    3. Loading the dekeKeys shortcuts
      3m 43s
    4. Loading color settings into Photoshop
      3m 52s
    5. Synchronizing color settings across CS3
      3m 29s
  2. 1h 17m
    1. Channels are everything
      1m 35s
    2. The Channels palette
      6m 30s
    3. Channels in color
      3m 57s
    4. RGB color
      4m 43s
    5. Single-channel grayscale
      5m 56s
    6. Lab color
      8m 56s
    7. CMYK plates
      7m 8s
    8. Introducing multichannel
      4m 40s
    9. RGB to multichannel to CMYK (and back)
      6m 26s
    10. CMYK to multichannel to RGB
      3m 57s
    11. Duotones, tritones, and quadtones
      6m 1s
    12. Editing a quadtone
      3m 49s
    13. Separating a composite quadtone
      6m 13s
    14. 16-bit advantages
      7m 36s
  3. 1h 13m
    1. The non-color-bearing channel
      51s
    2. The alpha channel
      3m 35s
    3. The anatomy of a mask
      5m 19s
    4. Making an alpha channel
      4m 28s
    5. Using the new channel icons
      5m 18s
    6. Saving an image with an alpha channel
      4m 38s
    7. Loading an alpha channel
      4m 6s
    8. Putting a mask into play
      3m 14s
    9. Using additional masks
      3m 12s
    10. Loading a mask from one image into another
      5m 22s
    11. Viewing a mask as a rubylith overlay
      4m 13s
    12. Changing a mask's overlay color
      4m 21s
    13. Modifying a mask
      6m 33s
    14. Combining masks
      4m 12s
    15. Blending image elements
      4m 55s
    16. The lossless translation
      6m 49s
    17. The goodness of masks
      1m 56s
  4. 56m 42s
    1. The selections is key, your understanding is core
      1m 29s
    2. The marquee tools
      5m 12s
    3. The lasso tools
      4m 38s
    4. The automation tools
      3m 59s
    5. Modifying a selection outline
      3m 59s
    6. Moving and cloning selected pixels
      3m 28s
    7. The floating selection
      4m 23s
    8. Promoting a floater to a layer
      3m 29s
    9. Nudging and aligning
      6m 49s
    10. The Anti-alias check box
      3m 59s
    11. How antialiasing works
      5m 6s
    12. Partially selecting pixels
      3m 43s
    13. Blurring a selection with Feather
      6m 28s
  5. 1h 27m
    1. Magic, quick, and magnetic
      1m 44s
    2. The Magic Wand revealed
      5m 46s
    3. Contiguous and Sample All Layers
      4m 24s
    4. Changing the sample size
      5m 40s
    5. Selecting with the Wand
      4m 26s
    6. The Wand's fake antialiasing
      3m 11s
    7. Dragging, dropping, and registering
      4m 41s
    8. Perfecting your composition
      6m 46s
    9. Meet the Quick Selection tool
      6m 0s
    10. Using the Quick Selection tool
      6m 48s
    11. Meet the Magnetic Lasso tool
      6m 30s
    12. Using the Magnetic Lasso tool
      5m 51s
    13. The new Refine Edge command
      6m 49s
    14. The five Refine Edge slider bars
      6m 55s
    15. Testing a refined selection outline
      5m 18s
    16. QS + ML + RE = success
      7m 4s
  6. 56m 59s
    1. I'm trapped! Marching ants on the loose!
      1m 45s
    2. Add, subtract, and intersect
      3m 46s
    3. Single-tool calculations
      6m 59s
    4. Networking selection tools
      8m 57s
    5. The Polygonal Lasso trick
      7m 13s
    6. Finessing your selection outline
      6m 37s
    7. Transforming and warping a selection outline
      5m 21s
    8. Pasting an image inside a selection
      6m 21s
    9. Shading and intersecting
      6m 10s
    10. Combining a selection with a mask
      3m 50s
  7. 1h 20m
    1. The best selection tool is a command
      1m 27s
    2. Meet the Color Range command
      8m 18s
    3. Working in the Color Range dialog box
      4m 50s
    4. Primary colors and luminance ranges
      5m 50s
    5. Sample all visible layers all the time
      2m 53s
    6. Using the Color Range command
      5m 11s
    7. Smoothing away auto-sharpened edges
      6m 5s
    8. Remaking corners with the Magnetic Lasso
      4m 57s
    9. Now for something a bit more complicated
      4m 53s
    10. Meet the Quick Mask mode
      3m 56s
    11. Editing in the Quick Mask mode
      2m 44s
    12. Quick Mask and Quick Selection
      7m 6s
    13. Making fine-tuned adjustments
      7m 48s
    14. Hand-painting refinements
      7m 35s
    15. Pasting an image in back of a selection
      3m 19s
    16. Neutralizing a color cast
      3m 15s
  8. 1h 15m
    1. Extraction erases pixels for good (or ill)
      1m 21s
    2. Meet the Magic Eraser tool
      4m 21s
    3. The Magic Eraser in action
      5m 0s
    4. Using the Background Eraser
      9m 16s
    5. The Background Eraser's shameful secret
      6m 16s
    6. The power of partial extractions
      5m 47s
    7. Why the Extract command erases pixels
      4m 21s
    8. Masking a tiger (or another colorful animal)
      8m 50s
    9. Using the Extract command
      7m 44s
    10. Smoothing edges with Textured Image
      4m 17s
    11. Extracting with an alpha channel
      6m 1s
    12. Shading an extracted image
      6m 47s
    13. Cleaning up the rough edges
      4m 59s
  9. 1h 51m
    1. It's time to select some hair
      1m 12s
    2. Trompe l'oeil with hair
      3m 48s
    3. Choosing a base channel
      7m 3s
    4. Levels or Curves
      8m 1s
    5. Overlay painting pt. 1: The highlights
      8m 2s
    6. Overlay painting pt. 2: The shadows
      3m 57s
    7. Cleaning up with the Lasso
      6m 5s
    8. Re-aliasing a selection outline
      8m 26s
    9. Fixing the rough patches
      9m 44s
    10. Testing your mask
      7m 52s
    11. Creating a detailed silhouette
      4m 38s
    12. Adding an underlighting effect
      7m 14s
    13. Previewing the blended composition
      2m 55s
    14. Blending hair and sky
      7m 11s
    15. Select menu equivalents
      5m 59s
    16. Toasting the edges
      7m 51s
    17. Further toasting with Inner Glow
      8m 12s
    18. Setting the image in a $3000 frame
      3m 26s
  10. 1h 52m
    1. The world of parametric editing
      1m 9s
    2. Bringing in a scanned logo
      8m 53s
    3. The power of Multiply
      6m 27s
    4. Resizing a Smart Object
      7m 25s
    5. Invert and Screen
      7m 39s
    6. Coloring the logo
      8m 29s
    7. The amazing Difference logo
      9m 24s
    8. The 25 standard CS3 blend modes
      6m 53s
    9. Cycling from one blend mode to the next
      5m 26s
    10. Lighten, Darken, and their composite offspring
      7m 37s
    11. Screen, Multiply, Dodge, and Burn
      7m 28s
    12. Why Multiply darkens (blend mode math)
      5m 5s
    13. The seven contrast modes
      8m 34s
    14. The two inversion modes
      7m 26s
    15. Unearthing JPEG details with the Difference blend mode
      4m 53s
    16. The four HSL modes
      5m 21s
    17. Combining the effects of two blend modes
      4m 27s
  11. 1m 38s
    1. Bye for now!
      1m 38s

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