Techie Tip of the Week: Photoshop – Making Soft, Feathered Vignettes

Have a portrait or a photograph of a person or object you want to emphasize without overdoing it? Adding a soft, feathered edge or a soft-focus to the photo can be the difference between a flat, boring photo, and one that evokes warmth and interest.

Feathered Edge Vignettes

Example of a feathered edge technique using a photo of a VW Beetle

Feathered Edge Example

To add a feathered edge to a photo in Photoshop:

  1. Open the photograph in Photoshop.
  2. Select the Elliptical Marquee Tool.
  3. In the Elliptical Marquee Tool’s properties, change Feather to about 5% of the overall width (e.g., for a 500 pixel-wide image, choose 30px).
  4. Click and drag an oval of “marching ants” surrounding the object you are emphasizing.
  5. To select everything except that object, right-click (on a Mac, control-click) inside the oval, and choose Select Inverse.
  6. On your keyboard, press the Delete key (not the Backspace key).

Note that the edges around the selected region have become soft (feathered)!

Want to learn more great Photoshop tips? Come take our class Photoshop 101 on February 18, 2011.

For more information on the class, watch the course preview video , or visit http://techtraining.stanford.edu/.

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