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Sometimes you don't have to create a dramatic affect to produce an interesting and creative result. In this lesson, I'm going to show you a very simple Edge Fade Effect where the image gradually fades away at the edges, rather than having a crisp edge. I'll accomplish this by adding a white border to the image that includes a soft edge through the use of a layer mask. So my first step will be to add a new image layer. I'll go ahead and Click on the Create New Layer button. And then I will fill this layer with white. I'll do that by choosing Edit > Fill from the menu, and then setting the use pop up to white. Making sure my blend mode is set to normal and the opacity at 100%. And then I'll Click OK.
I'll create a layer mask and I'm going to use a selection as the basis of that layer mask. So I'll choose the Rectangular Marquee tool from the toolbox, and then Click and Drag within the image, to define the selection that I'd like to create. I'm obviously creating a selection of the interior portion of the image. And that's the opposite of the selection I actually need. What I want is to select the area that will actually be visible. So that's the opposite of my current selection. I can simply invert the selection, then by choosing Select > Inverse from the menu.
So now I've selected the outer border of the image. That's the area that I actually want to have visible as a frame for my photographic image. And so I'm going to add a layer mask to my white layer. And that will cause only the selected area to be visible. So with my selection active and making sure that the new layer I created is actually active on the Layers panel. I'll click on the Create Layer Mask button, the circle inside of a square icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. When I do so, a layer mask is added to the white layer that I created, so that only the area that had been selected is actually visible. That creates a border around the image, but that border has a crisp edge and therefore I've really not accomplished much other than adding a white space around the image.
But I can soften up that border simply by blurring my layer mask. I'll accomplish that by applying Feathering. So, I'll go to my Masks panel, and then I will increase the value for feather on the Masks panel. As you can see, that softens up the edge of my layer mask and therefore creates a transition effect in the image. I can increase this to a larger value if I'd like, to create a more subtle transition. Of course, I'll need to take into account the size of the available area. For example, if I wanted to create a very large fading transition, I would have needed to have my selection come into the image just a little bit more.
In this case, I don't want a huge transition, I just want a subtle little blending upon the edge of the image, so somewhere around there looks to be a pretty good effect. As you can see, the process of creating a faded edge effect is really quite simple. There are a few steps involved, but none are particularly complicated. The result is a subtle and elegant edge for your photo.
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