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Focus Vignette Effect

This is another technique for focusing attention. This time, instead of using light (as we did in the first tutorial in this chapter), we’re focusing attention by blurring non-critical areas, and leaving the focal point sharp.

Step One.
Open the photo that you want to apply the focus vignette effect. Press Command-J (PC: Control-J) twice to make two duplicates of the Background layer in your Layers palette (as shown below).


Step Two.
Hide the top layer (Layer 1 copy) by clicking on the Eye icon next to it in the far-left column of the Layers palette. Then, click on the middle layer to make it active.

Step Three.
Go under the Filter menu, under Blur, and choose Gaussian Blur. When the dialog appears, increase the Radius to make it “good and blurry.” (That’s a technical term used by highly technical people, like myself.)

Step Four.
Go to the Layers palette and click on the top layer (Layer 1 copy) to make it active. Get the Elliptical Marquee tool from the Toolbox and draw an oval around the area you want to remain in focus.

Step Five.
To soften the edges of your selection, go under the Select menu and choose Feather. For Feather Radius, enter 50 pixels (or higher if you want a smoother transition) and click OK. Remember, a 5-megapixel photo requires more blur than a 3-megapixel photo to get the same effect. The higher the resolution of the photo, the higher you have to adjust your settings to get the same effect.

Step Six.
Click on the Layer Mask icon (second icon from the left at the bottom of the Layers palette) to activate the effect (much in the same way Parmesan cheese activates pasta).



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