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Chapter 6. Fixing and Retouching Photos > Enhancing Image Detail

Enhancing Image Detail

Whereas the Unsharp Mask command works best on entire images or large portions of images, a couple of tools are better suited for making sharpening and focus adjustments in smaller, more specific areas of an image. Not surprisingly, the Blur tool softens the focus in an image by reducing the detail, and the Sharpen tool helps bring areas into focus. Both tools can be further fine-tuned using controls on the options bar. You use both the Blur and Sharpen tools by dragging a resizable brush through the area that you want to affect. Since the brushes offer you precise control over where the blur or sharpness is applied, the tools are ideal for subtle, special effects. For instance, you can create a sense of depth by blurring selected background areas while keeping foreground subjects in focus, or enhance the focus of a specific foreground subject so that it better stands out from others.

To blur a specific area or object:

Select the Blur tool from the toolbox, or press R (Figure 6.40).

Figure 6.40. The Blur tool.

On the options bar, select a brush size using the Brush Size slider.

If you want, you can also select a blend mode and enter a Strength percentage. The higher the percentage, the more the affected area is blurred.

Move the brush pointer to the area of your image that you want to blur; then hold down the mouse button and drag through the area (Figure 6.41).

Figure 6.41. Drag the brush through the area you want to blur. You can resize the brush as you work on larger and smaller areas.

As you drag, the area is blurred.



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