34 Replies Latest reply: Jan 31, 2012 3:17 PM by micahdeb1981 RSS

    How blur/soften edges of photo?

    SkipII Community Member

      I am trying to soften the hard edges of a photo, ideally where they soften out to a transparent edge.

       

      I have gone through the whole list of effects and can't find anything. The Help menu, of course, is silent.

       

      Is there a way to do this?

        • 1. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
          Mark Sand Community Member

          http://www.pixentral.com/show.php?picture=11qD3LFUYF7OjGc9l1STI3G0bSA68I1

           

          1. Duplicate the Background layer and turn off the visibility of the Background layer.

          2. On the duplicate layer, draw your border with the Rectangular Marquee tool.

          3. Invert and feather the selection. In my example I used 20 px, but it will depend on the dimensions of your pic.

          4. <Delete> the selection.

           

          Note that you can omit the duplicate layer if you rename the Background layer to anything else and work on that.

          • 2. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
            SkipII Community Member

            How do I duplicate background layer? I have the graphic up on a new 

            file, but not sure what to do than Layer>Duplicate -- but not sure if 

            that is what you mean by "duplicate background."

             

            "Invert and feather selection"  Did i have to select something? Do you 

            mean the picture or the border?

             

            "Delete the section?" Isn't the selection the picture itself?

             

            This is why I get confused...sorry.

            • 3. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
              SkipII Community Member

              I only see "duplicate layer" under Layer, so not sure how to 

              "duplicate the background layer." As well, how do I "turn off the 

              visibility of the background layer."

              • 4. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                SkipII Community Member

                I can't seem to get "Invert" to show up as an option on any later I 

                click.

                • 5. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                  Mark Sand Community Member

                  I'll go into more detail.  These instructions and screen shot are for PC and PSE version 2, so things may be a bit different in your version or if you have a Mac.

                   

                  To duplicate the Background layer:

                  From the Menu bar: Layer > Duplicate Layer, or you can right-click the layer in the Layers Palette and select "Duplicate Layer".

                   

                  To turn of visibility of the Background layer, click the eye icon in the Layers Palette to toggle it off.

                   

                  Choose the Rectangular Marquee tool and draw the border within the picture, as in this screnshot:

                  http://www.pixentral.com/show.php?picture=130Ja1UO5688FJPIEZzDRvFholdR1

                  This actually selects the portion of the picture inside the border, not the border itself. To select just the border you need to invert the selection. From the Menu bar: Select > Inverse (or Shift-Ctrl-I).

                   

                  Now you need to feather the selection to get the softened edges and transparency. From the Menu bar: Select > Feather.

                   

                  Now <Delete> (or Edit > Delete, or Ctrl-X). This creates the soft-to-transparent (checkered background) border on the duplicate layer.

                   

                  If you are going to import the picture into a graphic application or web page where you need the transparent border, you must save the picture in a format that supports transparency. File types PSD, TIFF, PNG,  PNG-24, GIF, EPS support transparency.  JPG, BMP do not. For a web page you probably want GIF.

                   


                  • 6. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                    SkipII Community Member

                    Mark,

                     

                    I followed your instruction exactly, but Select>Inverse was not an 

                    option. It is subdued as if not allowed.

                     

                    When I draw the rectangular border, it colored the center the 

                    foreground color. Is that the problem?

                    • 7. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                      SkipII Community Member

                      Mark,

                       

                      Sorry, I had used the rectangle icon, not the rectangle marquee tool. 

                      Got that right now, but...

                       

                      But even after I did that, I still could not get your effect.

                       

                      I did what you said about clicking on the eye, but it did not change 

                      the image in the file window, if it was supposed to do that.

                       

                       

                      1. I drew the rectangle, inverted the selection (although nohting 

                      obvious happened with the image.)

                       

                      2. Feathered the selection (not sure what selection given above, but 

                      nothing happened when I did it. It looks exactly the same)

                       

                      3. When I tried to delete it, again nothing happened.

                       

                       

                      I probably am doing something wrong with layers?

                       

                      Paul

                      • 8. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                        Mark Sand Community Member

                        Paul,

                        After you did the delete of the inverted/feathered selection, did your duplicate layer in the Layers Palette look like the one in my example, i.e., have the transparent border?  All I can think of at this point is that the Background layer is still visible. If that is the case, then the Background layer will show through the transparency and the next result is you see no change even though you did make changes. Make sure you toggle off the visibility eye in the Background layer, not the duplicate layer. If that is not your problem it would help if you took a screen shot of the the file and Layers Palette and upload it to www.pixentral.com.

                        • 9. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                          Mark Sand Community Member

                          Paul,

                          Another  thing to try. I had mentioned that you can make your changes directly on the original picture layer (Background) rather than making a duplicate layer. However you must first rename the Background to anything else.  Then do the select/invert/feather/delete and see if that works.

                           

                          The reason for renaming is that when you delete something from the layer named "Background" the deleted stuff is not transparent but filled in with the  color defined in the current background color swatch at the bottom of the toolbar.

                          • 10. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                            SkipII Community Member

                            THis is all pretty new (and confusing ) to me, but give me a few 

                            minutes to go through it carefully an d I'll let you know how it goes.

                             

                            Thanks for your patience.

                            • 11. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                              SkipII Community Member

                              By the way, is there a way to resize the FSE window? It fills up the 

                              whole screen and does not allow me to resize so I can have your note 

                              next to it as I work.

                              • 12. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                SkipII Community Member

                                I get ant scrawls after feather, but they are not consistently around 

                                the photo, just in parts. It also does not do anything when i try to 

                                delete.

                                • 13. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                  SkipII Community Member

                                  I do not understand layers. I am desperate for a tutorial or reference 

                                  to help explain it.

                                   

                                  However...I did exactly as you said. Whether some layer is visible or 

                                  not i really can't say until I better understand what a layer is.

                                   

                                  I did click on the eye to the left of the background layer you had me 

                                  create. That is all I know. It did not appear to change anything.

                                  • 14. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                    SkipII Community Member

                                    Mark,

                                     

                                    If I select the original layer (not the background one I created) and 

                                    then hit delete, at least something happens. but...what happens is I 

                                    get a blurred edge around the photo in the color of the background 

                                    color in the color palette. It is not transparent.

                                     

                                    What layer is supposed to be selected when I do the delete?

                                     

                                    I understood is was supposed to be the background layer copy, not the 

                                    original.

                                    • 15. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                      SkipII Community Member

                                      Not sure if you are still hanging in with me on this.

                                       

                                      By trial and error (and I'm not sure what I did), I kept clicking back 

                                      and forth on the eye on the two layers and finally got something that 

                                      looked in the file window like your sample.

                                      However, when I saved it for the web -- GIF with transparency checked 

                                      -- it saved it with a white blurred border, not transparent.

                                      • 16. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                        SkipII Community Member

                                        I did your shorter method making the changes just on the original 

                                        picture layer (yes, I renamed it). It worked fine (easier than the 

                                        other way), but when I again saved it for web as a GIF with 

                                        transparency checked, there was the white background again, not the 

                                        transparency. I sent

                                        • 17. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                          Mark Sand Community Member

                                          Paul,

                                          To resize the PSE window, click the Restore Down icon at the top right corner. This should shrink the PSE window somewhat. Then you can drag any corner handle to resize it.

                                           

                                          I have an idea of why you are seeing no changes using the duplicate layer method. Maybe you are turning off the visibility of the Background layer late in the game. You should turn off its visibility immediately after you create the duplicate layer. Like I said in my previous post, if the Background layer is visible it will show through any transparency in the duplicate layer and the net effect is no change.

                                           

                                          You said making the changes on the renamed Background layer worked, but when you saved it a gif the transparency turned to white.  I don't know how this could happen.  Again, it would help if you can upload to www.pixentral.com a screen shot of the picture and Layers Palette after you have made all your changes.  Also, a screenshot using the duplicate layer method if you still have problems with that.

                                           

                                          There should be a layers tutorial somewhere in your PSE Help. Which version are you using?  A Google search of "photoshop layers tutorial" or similar will turn up a wealth of info.

                                           

                                          Here's one way to visualize layers:

                                          Remember your old biology textbook? There was a page showing a blank outline of the human body. On top of that page was a mylar sheet showing the skeletal system. On top of that another mylar with the muscular system.  Another with the cirulatory sytem, another with some organs, etc. Equating this to PSE, the bottom page (body outline) is the Background layer, and the mylars are the layers above it. The transparent portions of  the mylars are equivalent to the transparent portions of the PSE layers. So the result of what you are seeing is a combination of all, viewed from the top layer in the stack to the bottom layer. Removing a mylar is equivalent to turning off a layer's visibility. Rearranging the mylars is equivilant to rearranging the order of the PSE layers.

                                          • 18. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                            SkipII Community Member

                                            Mrk,

                                             

                                            As always, thank you for your help.

                                             

                                            I did turn off visibility immediately after creating the duplicate 

                                            layer. I don't know what anything should "look like" after that step, 

                                            other than the eye icon goes away. When you say "if the Background 

                                            layer is visible" -- what does that mean in terms of what I should be 

                                            seeing in the working window? When I click the eye icon, nothing 

                                            changes in the working window.

                                             

                                            I did upload the two screen shots last night of what it looks like 

                                            when I save it as a GIF. Is there some other way to show you what I am 

                                            doing?

                                             

                                            There are no more tutorials (at least not video) on the PSE6 site. 

                                            They are marked as unavailable.

                                             

                                            I do understand the concept of layers, but i do not understand how 

                                            that translates to what is actually happening in PSE. I need to spend 

                                            more time with some resource that explains it better than PSE does it 

                                            self.

                                             

                                            Hope this note gives you further insight into what I am facing.

                                            • 19. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                              SkipII Community Member

                                              re: resizing window.

                                               

                                              The only options on the top right are:

                                               

                                              Cascade windows

                                              Automatically Tile

                                              Maximize.

                                              • 20. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                                Mark Sand Community Member

                                                You need to let us know the url of the uploaded pictures. I assume you used pixentral.  When you upload the pic, copy its url and paste it in your next message.

                                                • 21. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                                  Mark Sand Community Member

                                                  SkipII wrote:

                                                   

                                                  re: resizing window.

                                                   

                                                  The only options on the top right are:

                                                   

                                                  Cascade windows

                                                  Automatically Tile

                                                  Maximize.

                                                   

                                                  I was referring to the Restore Down icon at the very top blue bar. On my PC (Windows XP), this bar has the title "Adobe Photoshop Elements" and there are 3 icons on the right edge of the bar. They are Minimize, Restore Down, and Close. These are the same on all Windows XP applications, not just PSE.

                                                  • 22. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                                    SkipII Community Member

                                                    Sorry, you mean the url of the site where i downloaded.

                                                     

                                                    Sorry...

                                                     

                                                    http://www.pixentral.com/show.php?picture=1yczbf0CIDmgybBDMh8LTVrTEAB8m

                                                    • 23. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                                      SkipII Community Member

                                                      Mark,

                                                       

                                                      I just kept messaging around with it and got the softened edge to go 

                                                      transparent by clicking "Interlace" on the "save for Web" page.

                                                      • 24. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                                        Mark Sand Community Member

                                                        Paul,

                                                        What are you demonstrating in the picture you posted in message 22?  It doesn't appear to have anything to do with the discussion.

                                                         

                                                        Are you sure it was the Interlaced box that worked?  I tried the Save for Web option, saving as a gif, and I got a white background with Interlaced both checked and unchecked. I don't think interlaced has anything to do with transparency. Here is the definition from my PSE Help: Check Interlaced to create an image that displays as low-resolution versions in a browser while the full image file is downloading. Interlacing can make downloading time seem shorter and assures viewers that downloading is in progress.

                                                        I noticed that my Wave for Web Matte option has the default value of "White".  When I changed this to "none" I did get the transparency.

                                                         

                                                        You can also save the file via File > Save As.  Select the gif option from the Format list and then check the transparency box  and set Matte to "None".

                                                         

                                                        Did you ever get the duplicate layer method to work?

                                                        • 25. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                                          SkipII Community Member

                                                          Mark,

                                                           

                                                          Thanks for your continuing help.

                                                           

                                                          I am attaching a screen shot that might yield some clues, but first, 

                                                          here is my exact process, as well as the alternative methods:

                                                           

                                                          1. Created new background layer and turned off the visibility on the 

                                                          old layer.

                                                           

                                                          2. Used rectangle tool and drew box around area of photo I want to show.

                                                           

                                                          3. Layer>Inverse

                                                           

                                                          4. Layer>Feather. I have tried different ranges for this. I try to go 

                                                          as large as I can before i get the warning about 50% pixels not 

                                                          selected.

                                                           

                                                          5. Delete. Note now the ant crawls that remain over part of the 

                                                          picture. Not sure what they mean.

                                                           

                                                          6. Save for Web. Yes, you are right, it is not "interlace." I had 

                                                          clicked that and thought it was the answer since the graphic started 

                                                          to look right. But i had also clicked PNG-24, which as it turns out 

                                                          does work -- kind of. It is the ONLY option on the list that gives me 

                                                          the transparency (Yes, I tried GIF with transparency checked and it 

                                                          still comes out with a white border. I also tried your more recent GIF 

                                                          w/ no matte and it was weird. I am attaching that screen shot as well, 

                                                          but notice the left-over ant crawls from earlier seem to be having 

                                                          some influence on that.)

                                                           

                                                          7. I did not have problems with most of  my other graphics going 

                                                          through this process to my website, but this one has been troublesome. 

                                                          The transparency does not seem to fade to 100% opacity. I can still 

                                                          see a grayish edge on it. I don't know why it is doing that. I am 

                                                          sending that screen shot as well.

                                                           

                                                          Skip

                                                          • 26. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                                            Mark Sand Community Member

                                                            Where are the screen shots?

                                                            • 27. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                                              SkipII Community Member

                                                              Sorry, I thought you could get them through the e-mail response.

                                                               

                                                               

                                                              This first one shows me in mid-stream with the process. Not the oddly 

                                                              shaped ant crawls around the picture. Also, I noted that the original 

                                                              background image (not the copy) is locked and does not unlock. Not 

                                                              sure if that is part of the problem or not.

                                                              http://www.pixentral.com/show.php?picture=1xQiQTJQvb9IK1h7BF7m1NSFubMk

                                                               

                                                               

                                                              This shot is what happens when I do your "no matte" method. Note that 

                                                              the weird any crawls have some effect on this. However, even still, 

                                                              there is not a good faded edge on the photo.

                                                              http://www.pixentral.com/show.php?picture=1zvxQgODqmf8PDPcdpUon1kLWnaZ0

                                                               

                                                               

                                                              This is what I get most of the time using the method I outlined 

                                                              earlier -- close to working but the edge does not fade fully to 

                                                              transparency -- it faces for a while but then the opacity returns as 

                                                              it nears the edge. As a result, I do not get the nice "fade to black" 

                                                              i am looking for when I put this photo on the black background of my 

                                                              website.

                                                              http://www.pixentral.com/show.php?picture=1UV0Rj2euq0ficRabYE4jTzvPTbIv11

                                                               

                                                              This last one is to prove I'm not totally nuts. These photos came out 

                                                              fine. Not every photo on the other pages is as good as these, but 

                                                              something is affecting the results for each photo, even though I have 

                                                              worked very hard to ensure I ma using the same steps each time.

                                                              http://www.pixentral.com/show.php?picture=1IGnga7oQ2rbryZ7EWr6AChTRfctb0

                                                               

                                                               

                                                              Hope this helps the diagnosis.

                                                               

                                                              Skip

                                                              • 28. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                                                Mark Sand Community Member

                                                                Skip,

                                                                How about uploading your picture to pixentral. I would like to give it a try and see why you are having the problems.

                                                                • 29. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                                                  SkipII Community Member

                                                                  Great, thanks. Very generous of you.

                                                                  Here it is.

                                                                  http://www.pixentral.com/show.php?picture=1JOki5ObV6ptOamDUWEEHz8BPkXvqq0

                                                                   

                                                                  I want to mention again that, while most photos were okay, some were 

                                                                  not. This is not the only photo that had the residual gray frame 

                                                                  around it (where the edges did not fade totally to 0% opacity), so I 

                                                                  must be doing something wrong in the method.

                                                                  • 30. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?Skip,
                                                                    Mark Sand Community Member

                                                                    Skip,

                                                                    In your last screenshot (Testimonials), are the 3 pictures ones you did using our methodologies (select-inverse-feather)?

                                                                    • 31. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                                                      SkipII Community Member

                                                                      Yes. Came out great.

                                                                      • 32. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                                                        SkipII Community Member

                                                                        Mark,

                                                                         

                                                                        Just to let you know, I'm ripping right along now, thanks to your 

                                                                        help. I just had to fiddle with PhotoShop (for Mac!) settings until I 

                                                                        got the hang of doing the transparency dissolves correct. All the 

                                                                        photos now look great.

                                                                         

                                                                        Skip

                                                                        • 33. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                                                          Mark Sand Community Member

                                                                          Skip,

                                                                          One more way you might try:

                                                                          1. Make the rectangular selection on the original Background layer.

                                                                          2. Do not invert the selection, but do feather it as before.

                                                                          3. Copy the selection to the clipboard (Edit > Copy).

                                                                          4. File > New from Clipboard.  This creates a new file with the transparency, but with reduced dimensions.

                                                                          • 34. Re: How blur/soften edges of photo?
                                                                            micahdeb1981 Community Member

                                                                            how do you soften borders for multiple pictures in single psd?