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Learn how to use selections and layer masks in Photoshop to create composite images and apply targeted adjustments. After covering the key concepts behind selections and exploring Photoshop's selection tools, Tim Grey delves into a variety of advanced techniques that will help you make accurate selections, create seamless composite images, and apply adjustments that do exactly what you want them to do.
A photograph of course has a clearly defined boundary. The edge of the image itself, but sometimes I like to have that boundary fade off a little bit by adding a fade effect to my image. And actually what that means is not that I'm fading the image per say. But that I'm adding a border, generally, a white border that sort of fades from the edge inward. Let's take a look at a technique for producing that type of effect. I'll start off by creating a selection that defines the area that I want that faded edge to appear. I'll select the rectangular Marquee tool from the toolbox in this case, and then I'll just create a selection of the center of the image.
Going near the edge of the photo. And then once I've created that selection I'll invert it by choosing Select > Inverse from the menu. So now I have a selection of that outer area, essentially a border around the photo. I'll then add a new empty image layer by clicking the Create New Layer button, the blank sheet of paper icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. And then I'll add a Layer mask based on the current selection, to this layer. I can do that just by clicking the Add Layer Mask button, the circle inside of a square icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.
And so now, I have a Layer mask, which ensures that this layer is only visible around that outer edge. Of course, that's revealing nothing, because there's nothing on this layer yet, but I can fix that by filling this layer with white. So I'll click on the thumbnail for this layer, and then choose Edit > Fill from the menu. Set my Use pop-up up to white, and then click OK, and now I have that white border. Well this is part of the effect that I'm looking for but I also want to have that white border fade in, so that the effect is that the photo just fades out toward the edges. So I'll click on the layer mask in order to activate it, so that I'm modifying the layer mask, not the pixel layer.
And that will reveal the Masks options on the Properties panel and you'll see we have a Feather option. I'll go ahead and drag that feather slider over toward the right and you'll notice that I'm now feathering or blurring the Layer mask. So that I get that faded edge effect for my image, so I can adjust to taste, I think right about there looks to be pretty good. And there you have it. I've simply added a white layer but then utilized a Layer mask with a bit of feathering to produce a faded edge affect for the photo.
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