by Mike McNamee Published
Paint with white in the areas you wish to soften.
There are at least five variants of setting that we have found in the literature to hand:
Guy Gowan teaches an additional step. After completing step 9 (opposite), follow this recipe:
10. Click on the Background, then the red channel in the channel palette.
11. Click Image>Calculations then set up the dialog box as below:
12. Click Ok to accept and marching ants should appear.
13. Activate Group 1 in the Layers Palette and click the New Layer Mask icon at the bottom. Your palette now looks like that on the right.
14. Make a new layer group (2 by default) then push Group 1 into it.
Activate group 2, change the mode from 'pass through' to 'normal'. Now click the New Layer Mask icon.
15. Stop recording.
1. Painting on the layer mask of group 2 brings back the full sharpness where required. Adjust the opacity to suit the image.
2. The modified red channel, used as a mask substantially prevents the blurring affecting the eyes, eye lashes and eye detail. The composite contoured image shows the densities around the mask of the example image. Where the mask is at 255 the blurring takes place at full strength, progressively reducing as the mask becomes denser. In reality, of course, the mask is not in graded steps as shown, it is a continuous, smooth transition - this is the sophistication of the technique.
3. If using a simple overlay to strengthen the red channel mask is not sufficient, you may have to change the outcome from 'selection' to new Alpha Channel and then use the Levels on the mask to pinch the end points inwards by 10 RGB points or so.4. Guy Gowan recommends that the 2 and 4 pixel blur setting be used as starting guides (normal D-SLR resolution) but that the Darken layer should usually be blurred to half the value of the Lighten layer.
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