Preserving Memories, One Frame at a Time

April 13th, 2007

Vignetting Part 2

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Do you like the idea of the vignette but want more defined edges?

With Photoshop, there are always many ways to do the same thing. For vignettes with more definite edges, here is another approach.

I began with an elliptical marquee selection around the baby’s face. The elliptical marquee is hidden behind the rectangular marquee tool. For best results, begin in one corner and draw a diagonal across the picture.

Then go to Select, Inverse (Shift-Ctrl-I). This chooses the outer part of the photograph.

In the first example, I used the Gaussian blur filter. Go to Filter, Blur, Gaussian Blur. Use the preview and slider to get the effect you want. -In this case, I used a radius of 21px.

In the second, I filled the outer edges with black and blurred again. In the third, I filled it with white before blurring.

Since I didn’t use layers, I was careful to save each version with a separate file name leaving my original intact.

April 5th, 2007


Byron did a neat thing with one of his re-enactment photos that I just had to learn. I think it’s a great technique for photos I want for my scrapbooking. Technically, vignetting means that the corners or outside of the photo are darkened. I also like when the outside fades to white. Here’s how it can be done. I’ll use the same photo I’ve been working on the last two weeks.


This effect takes a few more steps, but can really enhance the proper picture. It begins, like the duotones, with a new layer filled with a solid color. This can be either black or white. (Try both to see which suits the photo better.) Then choose the rectangular marquee. Center the rectangle over your center of interest. In this case, the baby’s face was above the center of the picture, so the marquee was moved up.

Go to the Select menu and choose feather. The higher the number, the more oval the marquee will become. Now you still see only the solid colored layer with your selection. Hit backspace (delete on the Mac) to reveal the photo. Press Control-D to deselect. If the edges appear too dark, play with the opacity setting to get a shade you prefer.

March 30th, 2007

Color Correction Part 3 – Neutral Gray


Last week’s correction wasn’t bad, but it was still too pink. I hadn’t used the middle eyedropper. Neutral gray can be the hardest part of the photo to identify, yet it has the largest affect on color cast. Is there a trick to help find it? Yes! It is a variation on using threshold.

Open your photo and create a new layer. Go to the edit menu and choose fill. From the dialog box, choose 50% Gray. Now change the blend mode to Difference. Create a new adjustment layer and choose Threshold. Drag the slider left until the photo turns white. This time, the first areas to appear will be your midtones. The adjustment layers can now be dragged to the trashcan. Open your curves adjustment layer and use the center eyedropper on the area indicated.

This works most of the time, but some photos just don’t have a neutral color. Then it’s back to guesswork.

March 23rd, 2007

Color Correction Part 2 – Using Threshold

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Using Curves for color correction as I described it still took some guesswork. Exactly where is the darkest or lightest area? Do I just keep clicking until I find what works? Well, I’m sure you know, I found another way Photoshop takes away the guesswork. It’s called Threshold. This photo is 25 yrs. old and the color is pretty bad. I know the baby’s dress was pale green and Mom’s blouse a pale pink. Where do I find white?

At the bottom of the Layer palette is a circle half black and half white. This is the icon for “new fill or adjustment layer.” Click the circle and choose Threshold. Your photo will change and a dialog box will come up to look something like this.


Push the slider all the way to the left. Your picture will turn completely white. As you gradually slide to the right, the first area to show up will be your darkest part of the photo. Make a mental note of this area. Now do the reverse. Pushing the slider all the way to the right will turn your photo completely black. The first areas to show up are your lightest. For my photo here, it turned out to be the flash reflection an the top of baby’s shoulder.

Cancel Threshold and open a new curves layer. You can now find your black and white points with total confidence!

March 2nd, 2007

Autocrop and Straighten

I recently got interested in scrapbooking. (OK, I’m a little slow keeping up with craft fads.) One reason I hesitated was because the thought of cutting my pictures horrified me. But my photos in albums are fading or changing color as you saw in an earlier post. How can I save and preserve them? I could always scan them into Photoshop, restore them, then reprint. I could feel better cutting a re-print anyway. But the thought of all those scans is so intimidating.

Good news! There’s even a (lazy) way to let Photoshop help with this too! I can load my scanner with as many photos as I can fit at once. They don’t even need to be lined up. Hit scan and let Photoshop do the rest.


When you scan, they all appear in Photoshop as one document. Go to File, Automate, Crop and Straighten photos. Photoshop will locate edges, crop the photos and put each into its own file. You just need to re-name and save. You will still have tons of photos to retouch, but they are all saved on your computer until you are ready to make that beautiful scrapbook.

*Note: For greater safety, copy the files onto a CD. We’ve all had computer problems and you want your precious photos to be around for a long, long time.