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Blurring a selection outline with Feather

From: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals

Video: Blurring a selection outline with Feather

Alright gang, we have a selected moon, as you can see here. I'm going to go ahead and Zoom in on the moon by pressing Ctrl+Plus a couple of times, or Command+Plus on the Mac. And then I'll scoot the moon over a little bit, so that we can see its edge. Now notice that I've selected a few pixels inward on the moon, because I really didn't want to get any of the black background. Now, I want to show you what the selection looks like, the so-called marching ants here. This animated dotted line doesn't really do a good job of elaborating this selection, so we can't tell what the edge looks like.

Blurring a selection outline with Feather

Alright gang, we have a selected moon, as you can see here. I'm going to go ahead and Zoom in on the moon by pressing Ctrl+Plus a couple of times, or Command+Plus on the Mac. And then I'll scoot the moon over a little bit, so that we can see its edge. Now notice that I've selected a few pixels inward on the moon, because I really didn't want to get any of the black background. Now, I want to show you what the selection looks like, the so-called marching ants here. This animated dotted line doesn't really do a good job of elaborating this selection, so we can't tell what the edge looks like.

We just know it's at this location. But how hard or soft is it? How crisp is that selection? It turns out to be awfully darn crisp. Let me show you. The best way to get a sense of what it looks like is to switch over to the Move tool. You can do that by pressing the V key. If you've been following along with me, you'll see these Transform Controls. We don't want that. So go ahead and turn off Show Transform Controls. You also want to hide the selection outline. You do that by pressing Ctrl+H, or Command+H on the Mac, for hide.

You can also go to the View menu by the way, and turn off the Extras command. Now, the selection is still there, it's just hidden from view, which gives you an opportunity to see exactly what it is you've selected. I want you, using the Move tool, to drag that moon up and to the left just a little bit, or up to the right. I don't care where you drag it, but just move it against the black background, so you can see that edge. I am going to Zoom in a little more, so that you can see that we have a crisp edge that has a little bit of what's known as anti-aliasing.

So a little bit of softening. What anti-aliasing is, is it's Photoshop's way of rendering a circular arc using a bunch of square pixels. So it somehow has to rectify this circle versus square. It does so using a series of translucent pixels right there on the edge of the selection. But it's a line of pixels about one pixel wide. So it is a very crisp edge. If you go back to the Sky with guide. jpg image, you're going to see that things inside this image are not quite that crisp.

So the moon isn't going to look at home against this background, if it has nothing more than that anti-aliased edge; it needs a little bit of extra softening. Here is how we are going to apply it. First of all, you have got to know what you've done. I'm back here in the Full moon.jpg image. I'm going to Zoom out here. Notice that we have this moon that I can just drag around wherever I want, but notice there are no layers in the Layers palette; there's just the Background layer. So we have a flat image, in which the background and the moon are independent of each other.

What in the world is going on there? Well, we have what's known as a floating selection. It's very precarious. At any moment we could accidentally drop this selection and it would be fused with the rest of the image and we would lose the left side of the moon, and we would have this big gaping hole in the center. Floating selections can be kind of fun, because you can affect them using the Fade command under the Edit menu. So if you press Ctrl+Shift+F or Command+Shift+F on the Mac, then you can reduce the Opacity value. Notice that allows you to see through the floating selection to the image in the background.

However, I'll tell you what, you don't want to play around with them too much, because they are so fragile. So Cancel out. Instead, I'm going to go ahead and put it back where it was. Now, I've moved the moon around a couple of times here, so the safest thing to do is go to the History palette and click on the last operation before Move. So that would be Nudge Outline in my case. That goes ahead and restores the selection to its original location. You can now hide the History panel if you like. You could also press Ctrl+H, or Command+H on the Mac, in order to view the selection outline, just to make sure that it's still there. Alright.

So since I need a little bit of softening, I'm going to go up to the Select menu, I'm going to choose Modify, and I'm going to choose this command right there, the Feather command. Feather blurs a selection outline. Notice that if you loaded Deke keys, you have a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Alt+D, Command+Option+D on the Mac. You may look at this and think, well, gee Deke, most of your keyboard shortcuts make sense. This one doesn't make any sense. All I did was reinstate an ancient keyboard shortcut that worked about three versions ago inside Photoshop that I happen to like quite a lot. So that's why I put it back in there.

Anyway, go ahead and choose the command. That brings up the Feather Selection dialog box. You can't preview the effects of what you're doing here; you just have to wing it. Notice right now my Feather Radius value is set to 2 pixels. That's what I want. What that means is I'm going to feather 2 pixels outward and 2 pixels inward. That is blur in both directions. Mas o menos two pixels. I say that because it's using this thing called a Gaussian algorithm. That means that it fades quite nicely, but it actually extends a little bit more than two pixels; it's closer to three.

But it's going to work out beautifully for us. Click OK. And we now have a feathered selection outline. Well, who would know? How in the world do we have any idea of whether we did this right or not, when we can't even see the effects, because the marching ants, bless them, don't do us any good where soft edges are concerned. They haven't moved one iota. So the edges just keep marching along at exactly the same location. Well, still armed with your Move tool I imagine, now I want you to go ahead and press Ctrl+H, Command+H once again, to hide that selection outline and again, drag the moon against the black background a little bit, and Zoom in.

And now you can see we have a softer edge with which to work. It's going to serve us better inside of the new background. Zoom back out, in my case, so that I can center this moon image here. Be sure that before you do anything else, you press Ctrl+Z, or Command+Z on the Mac, in order to put that moon away, so that you don't have that precarious floating selection. You may also want to press Ctrl+H or Command+ H on the Mac to unhide that selection outline. In the next exercise, I'm going to show you how to introduce the moon into its new background.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals
Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals

195 video lessons · 74120 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 39m 52s
    1. Welcome to Photoshop CS5 One-on-One
      1m 49s
    2. Making Photoshop your default image editor
      7m 43s
    3. Installing the DekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 10s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      7m 37s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 31s
    6. The color settings explained
      6m 54s
    7. Loading the CS5 color settings in Bridge
      3m 8s
  2. 53m 36s
    1. There is nothing you can't do
      2m 1s
    2. The power of Photoshop
      4m 43s
    3. Duplicating a layer
      4m 49s
    4. Liquifying an image
      4m 43s
    5. Adding a layer mask
      5m 54s
    6. Loading an alpha channel
      7m 42s
    7. Selecting with Color Range
      4m 10s
    8. Making a Hue/Saturation layer
      2m 53s
    9. Luminance blending
      7m 21s
    10. Mask density
      5m 9s
    11. Making a knockout layer
      4m 11s
  3. 51m 23s
    1. The best way to work
      41s
    2. Setting General preferences
      5m 33s
    3. Changing the pasteboard color
      5m 41s
    4. File handling, performance, and units
      7m 25s
    5. Touring the Photoshop interface
      11m 5s
    6. Creating and saving a workspace
      7m 21s
    7. Changing settings and updating the workspace
      6m 4s
    8. Resetting the preferences
      7m 33s
  4. 2h 46m
    1. The amazing Adobe Bridge
      1m 17s
    2. Making a new image
      5m 11s
    3. Opening an image
      7m 7s
    4. Opening and closing multiple images
      5m 24s
    5. Opening a problem image
      4m 23s
    6. Adding file information
      8m 37s
    7. Introducing Adobe Bridge
      7m 37s
    8. A whirlwind tour of Bridge
      7m 21s
    9. Adjusting the interface and thumbnails
      8m 18s
    10. Using the full-screen preview
      8m 5s
    11. Rotating images on their sides
      5m 38s
    12. Assigning star ratings and labels
      8m 40s
    13. Filtering thumbnails in the Contents panel
      9m 13s
    14. Moving, copying, and deleting files
      6m 34s
    15. Creating and assigning keywords
      6m 38s
    16. Searches and collections
      7m 3s
    17. Batch-exporting JPEG files
      8m 57s
    18. Batch-renaming
      7m 15s
    19. String substitution and regular expressions
      8m 50s
    20. Grouping images into stacks
      7m 21s
    21. Comparing images in Review mode
      5m 58s
    22. Playing images in a slideshow
      4m 49s
    23. Customizing and saving the workspace
      7m 17s
    24. Using Mini Bridge in Photoshop CS5
      8m 36s
  5. 1h 1m
    1. Learning to swim inside an image
      37s
    2. The tabbed-window interface
      5m 19s
    3. Arranging image windows
      4m 26s
    4. Common ways to zoom
      5m 31s
    5. New zoom tricks in Photoshop CS5
      4m 24s
    6. Hidden old-school zoom tricks
      4m 34s
    7. Scrolling and panning images
      4m 8s
    8. Viewing the image at print size
      6m 42s
    9. The Navigator and "bird's-eye" scrolling
      2m 56s
    10. Nudging the screen from the keyboard
      2m 39s
    11. Scroll wheel tricks
      3m 41s
    12. The Rotate View tool
      3m 36s
    13. Cycling between screen modes
      6m 17s
    14. Using the numerical zoom value
      6m 14s
  6. 1h 6m
    1. Imaging fundamentals
      58s
    2. What is image size?
      7m 45s
    3. The Image Size command
      6m 0s
    4. Selecting an interpolation option
      4m 56s
    5. Upsampling versus "real" pixels
      5m 22s
    6. The penalty of pixels
      5m 35s
    7. Print size and resolution
      7m 26s
    8. Downsampling for print
      6m 39s
    9. Downsampling for email
      7m 28s
    10. Options for upsampling
      8m 13s
    11. Better ways to make a big image
      6m 1s
  7. 44m 43s
    1. Frame wide, crop tight
      1m 2s
    2. Using the Crop tool
      8m 8s
    3. Fixing out-of-canvas wedges
      5m 31s
    4. Crop tool presets
      6m 53s
    5. Previewing the crop angle
      4m 24s
    6. The Crop command
      4m 47s
    7. Straightening with the Ruler tool
      4m 18s
    8. Cropping without clipping
      5m 1s
    9. Perspective cropping
      4m 39s
  8. 1h 41m
    1. Making drab colors look better
      1m 20s
    2. Brightness and contrast
      4m 10s
    3. Adjusting numerical values
      4m 26s
    4. Introducing adjustment layers
      5m 17s
    5. Editing adjustment layers
      2m 51s
    6. Saving adjustment layers
      4m 35s
    7. Adding a quick layer mask
      4m 23s
    8. Introducing the Histogram
      4m 34s
    9. Working with the Histogram panel
      6m 27s
    10. Using Color Balance
      7m 18s
    11. Introducing the Variations command
      4m 51s
    12. Luminance and saturation controls
      3m 54s
    13. Fading a static adjustment
      3m 21s
    14. How hue and saturation work
      4m 28s
    15. Rotating hues and adjusting saturation
      6m 4s
    16. Creating a quick and dirty sepia tone
      4m 42s
    17. Adjusting hues selectively
      5m 32s
    18. The Target Adjustment tool
      4m 24s
    19. Photoshop CS5 Target Adjustment enhancements
      53s
    20. Adjusting the color of clothing
      8m 44s
    21. Enhancing a low-saturation image
      4m 23s
    22. Refining saturation with Vibrance
      5m 1s
  9. 1h 57m
    1. Photoshop versus the real world
      1m 21s
    2. Meet the selection tools
      10m 26s
    3. Marking the center of an image
      4m 9s
    4. Drawing a geometric selection outline
      4m 45s
    5. Blurring a selection outline with Feather
      6m 8s
    6. Copy and paste versus drag and drop
      5m 31s
    7. Creating a graduated selection
      4m 29s
    8. Aligning one image with another
      4m 45s
    9. Accessing the Move tool on the fly
      3m 34s
    10. Invert and Match Colors
      5m 4s
    11. Matching colors selectively
      3m 52s
    12. Feathering and filling a selection
      5m 14s
    13. Dressing up a composition with effects
      5m 34s
    14. The incredible image rotation trick
      2m 18s
    15. The Magic Wand tool
      4m 12s
    16. Tolerance and other options
      7m 7s
    17. Grow, Similar, and Inverse
      5m 39s
    18. Quick selection and the Magnetic Lasso
      7m 27s
    19. Evaluating a selection in Quick Mask
      8m 52s
    20. Saving and loading selections
      6m 14s
    21. Placing an image with a layer mask
      3m 23s
    22. Eliminating edge fringing
      7m 43s
  10. 1h 58m
    1. Brushing to correct
      56s
    2. How brushing works
      4m 52s
    3. Working with spacing
      7m 32s
    4. Changing size and hardness
      7m 45s
    5. The heads-up Color Picker
      7m 17s
    6. Flipping a mirror image
      3m 33s
    7. Setting the source for the History brush
      3m 42s
    8. Brightening details with the Dodge tool
      7m 49s
    9. Darkening details with the Burn tool
      3m 5s
    10. The Sponge tool
      4m 29s
    11. Backing off edits
      8m 4s
    12. Patching eye bags
      8m 57s
    13. Evening out flesh tones
      7m 23s
    14. Smoothing away whiskers
      7m 41s
    15. Reducing shadow noise
      7m 0s
    16. How healing works
      4m 40s
    17. The enhanced Spot Healing brush
      4m 52s
    18. Using the better Healing brush
      4m 23s
    19. Introducing the Clone Source panel
      3m 49s
    20. Cloning from one layer to another
      5m 30s
    21. Working with multiple sources
      4m 44s
  11. 1h 23m
    1. The layered composition
      1m 0s
    2. Making a new background layer
      6m 58s
    3. Working with "big layers"
      6m 24s
    4. Move, Duplicate, and Scale
      4m 11s
    5. Transforming a copy and repeat
      5m 15s
    6. Stacking order and eyedropping a layer
      5m 15s
    7. Adjusting multiple layers at once
      4m 22s
    8. Switching between layers
      4m 56s
    9. Making a digital star field
      5m 9s
    10. Blend mode and clipping mask
      4m 50s
    11. Dragging and dropping from your desktop
      4m 38s
    12. Black + Lens Flare = glow
      6m 16s
    13. Locking transparency
      5m 42s
    14. Adding gradient layers
      8m 12s
    15. Stacking an adjustment layer
      4m 12s
    16. Adding shadow and stroke
      6m 9s
  12. 1h 17m
    1. Outputting from Photoshop and Bridge
      1m 32s
    2. Printing an RGB composite
      5m 31s
    3. Customizing the subjective print file
      3m 15s
    4. Gauging print size
      5m 35s
    5. Scale, position, and page orientation
      5m 6s
    6. Three important printing curiosities
      4m 41s
    7. Introducing the Output options
      5m 34s
    8. Establishing a bleed
      5m 52s
    9. Using the Color Management options
      7m 21s
    10. Generating a PDF contact sheet
      6m 18s
    11. Creating a contact sheet template
      6m 8s
    12. Saving and opening a PDF contact sheet
      4m 18s
    13. Introducing the Web Gallery
      7m 53s
    14. Exporting and editing an HTML site
      3m 58s
    15. The Airtight Photocard site
      4m 56s
  13. 1h 9m
    1. Rules of the web
      1m 1s
    2. Introducing web graphics
      6m 59s
    3. A first look at Save for Web
      5m 47s
    4. Scaling a layered image versus a flat one
      7m 30s
    5. Incremental downsampling
      3m 1s
    6. Adding text, bar, and stroke
      4m 24s
    7. Assigning copyright and metadata
      6m 21s
    8. Comparing GIF, JPEG, and PNG
      4m 59s
    9. Determining the perfect JPEG settings
      6m 31s
    10. Saving metadata
      3m 52s
    11. Working with an unprofiled RGB image
      4m 35s
    12. Downsampling graphic art
      4m 49s
    13. Saving a GIF graphic
      6m 1s
    14. Antiquated GIF versus the better PNG
      4m 6s
  14. 1m 37s
    1. Until next time
      1m 37s

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