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  • Subject isolation

    I have an old (1940's) B&W photo that I am restoring that is out of focus. I have sharpened it as much as possible without showing. I know that If I can isolate the subject from the background, then blur the background, the subject will "appear" to be sharper. The problem is, that when I isolate the subject and blur the background, the subject has a "halow" around them, or looks pasted on.

    I cannot replace the background (customer wants it to remain) what is the best way to do this?? I am looking for more ideas! I have done this before, but this photo is causing me problems. Some other perspective may help.



  • #2
    Hi Paul....

    This was from " Adobe help"....

    "To decrease a fringe on a selection:

    1 Choose Layer > Matting > Defringe.

    2 Enter a value in the Width text box for the distance to search for replacement pixels. In most cases, a distance of 1 or 2 pixels is enough.

    3 Click OK.

    To remove a matte from a selection:

    Choose Layer > Matting > Remove Black Matte or Layer > Matting > Remove White Matte.

    1 Adjust the view as needed:

    To magnify an area, select the zoom tool () in the dialog box, and click in the preview image. To zoom out, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) as you click.
    To view a different area, select the hand tool in the dialog box, and drag in the preview image.

    Or maybe this might help you.....

    Last edited by GOLDCOIN; 11-30-2002, 06:29 PM.


    • #3

      I know exactly what you're talking about because I've run into the same problem. If you duplicate the background like Chuck suggested, then blur, the blur causes part of the subject to extend out from the edge of the non-blurred subject. Defringing won't help, because the halo isn't caused by extracting the subject to another layer - it's caused by the blurring.

      I've tried doing a very careful selection around the subject, then inverting so that only the background is blurred and none of the pixels from the edge of the subject get in the way, but it's tedious work (and a lot of trial and error.)

      What you might want to try is:

      1. Duplicate the background layer.
      2. Select the subject
      3. Copy to a new layer (you'll have subject, bg copy and bg layers)
      4. On the background copy layer, clone the background of the picture over the edges of the subject (you don't care what it looks like since you've already copied the subject to its own layer)
      5. Blur the background copy layer. You may need to play with this a bit to find out how much of the background you need to clone over the edges. The idea is to get the bg color tones into the "bleed over area" that occurs from blurring so you don't get that halo.

      Hope this helps. Let me know if it doesn't make sense. And if anyone else has an easier way, I'd love to know too!!



      • #4
        I found the fix!!

        Don't know why I didn't think of this before.

        I selected the subject and placed them on another layer, then I blured the background, them I (here is the fix) did a transform resize on the subject to make it slightly larger then the glow the blur caused and that took care of the glow!

        Thought that was worth sharing with everyone, thatns for the ideas.



        • #5
          I know this isn't what you asked about, but just in case it helps, here is a utility for refocusing images. I have had some degree of success using it, as long as I went to the trouble of measuring the degree of defocus first (this is explained in the instructions).


          • #6
            If I am getting the problem, you are trying to make everything happen on the same layer. What Photoshop (or Elements) does is look at all the image information on the layer you are blurring...even what isn't selected. That's why you are getting a halo.

            I believe if you do the following it will fix the problem:

            1. Make the selection of the subject (should be tight and accurate).
            2. Copy the subject to a new layer (Copy>Paste works fine). Name the layer Subject.
            3. Copy the background to a new layer (Activate the Background, invert the selection, then Copy>Paste). Name the layer New Background. Be sure the background falls below the Subject layer in the stack.
            4. Blur the New Background layer.

            This isolates the subject and the background from one another so you can make changes to each without worrying about the other. The problem with other solutions here (e.g., resizing) is that the resizing will interpolate and compromise the subject somewhat...If it isn't absolutely necessary, I would avoid that because it leads to blurring of parts of the image you'd prefer to keep sharp.

            This also offers the opportunity to make additional adjustments, and play some blending tricks with the New Background layer's opacity. Separating elements in an image is a focus (...ahem...) in my new book The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements 2.

            Hope that helps!

            Richard Lynch
            [email protected]


            • #7
              Nice segue Richard!!


              • #8
                If you remove the subject, then paste it, here's a tutorial of a technique that seems to work pretty well for me.



                • #9
                  Thanks Richard! I don't know why I could figure out copying the subject to a new layer, but not the background. Duh!! Your technique will save me many headaches.



                  • #10
                    Thanks Richard,

                    I hadn't thought about copying both to a new layer. As far as the resizing of the image and losing detail, the image I am working with is 559MB, I don't think I am going to lose much if any information with this one! However, I do have lots of images that this should be done too and appreciate your idea.

                    Thank you again,



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