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Chapter 6. Compositing > Sharpening and blurring

Sharpening and blurring

The Blur tool decreases contrast between pixels, and is used to soften edges between shapes. The Sharpen tool increases contrast between pixels, and is used to delineate edges between shapes. Neither tool can be used on an image in Bitmap or Indexed Color mode.

To sharpen or blur edges:

1.
Choose the Blur tool or the Sharpen tool (R or Shift-R). Each tool keeps its own options bar settings.

2.
On the Sharpen or Blur tool options bar :


The options bar for the Blur tool


Click the Brush picker arrowhead, then click a hard-edged or soft-edged brush.

and

Choose a blending Mode. Normal sharpens/blurs pixels of any shade or color. Darken sharpens/blurs only pixels that are darker than the Foreground color. Lighten sharpens/blurs only pixels that are lighter than the Foreground color. Hue or Color mode will cause a slight buildup of complementary colors. Saturation mode will cause a buildup of existing colors. Luminosity mode will intensify the existing luminosity. (The blending modes are described on pages 32–35.) You’ll see a greater distinction between modes with the Sharpen tool than with the Blur tool.

Choose a Strength percentage. Try a low setting at first (oh, say, around 30%).

3.
Optional: Check Use All Layers on the options bar to pick up pixels from other visible layers under the pointer to place onto the active layer (see the sidebar).

4.
Drag across an area in the image window to sharpen or blur pixels . To intensify the effect, stroke again.


The original image



After using the Sharpen tool on the strawberry in the center to bring it into sharper focus, and the Blur tool on the rest of the image to make it recede



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