It was only a minute ago

Sorry folks, this post if for me. My daughter is growing up, and it is bittersweet to watch. So I am working out my feelings with a post using pictures of her when she was just a sweet little toddler. I’ll give some Photoshop tips along the way, so maybe you can use those to work on your own precious memories!

Upon looking at this photo, I decided that I wanted to  blur and de-saturate the background. The first thing I did was click on the photo layer and choose (right mouse button click) “Convert to Smart Object”. This will allow filters to be applied in such a way that they are able to be modified at a future date. So I can always go backkepp and tweak the blur if I want to.

I used the quick selection tool to select the greens in the background and then used the quick mask tool to refine the selection around the hair. Then I chose the filter Gaussian Blur, which will be applied as a smart filter (because we did the step above), and it is also smart enough to create a mask to only blur the portion that I have selected.

Using Selection tool in Photoshop

Selection to use for masking
You can see the photo as a smart object (circled in red), and the mask created for the smart filter blur (circled in blue) in the photo below…
Photoshop Smart Filter
Using blur with smart object

Let’s take a side trip here. Adjustment layers let you do things to layers in Photoshop without directly applying the adjustment ot the photo itself. So you can get rid of the adjustment, without disturbing your photo if you decide you don;t like it. Every time you create an adjustment layer, it creates a mask. Masks are black and white. If the mask is all white, any adjustment you have made using adjustment layers will be visible and will apply to all the layers beneath it. If you have trouble with masks, and can’t remember how they work, the standard “White reveals, black conceals” rhyme that all the Photoshop folks use, might help you. For me I could never remember the correct way, until I started thinking as if the mask were made out of paper. black paper will cover up anything beneath it. So in this case, black will hide the effect of the adjustment. So then I could remember that black conceals. The other way I thought about it was white knights are the good guys, so the white mask will help or allow the adjustment to do it’s magic. The black knight will try to thwart the good magic of the adjustment, and so will hide it. Use whatever means makes sense to you to remember how layer masks work, because once you figure it out, you will see how powerful they are.

So now I have a blur filter with a mask for my selection. I clicked on the masks and then used right mouse button-> “Load selection from mask” to select the background again. Then I chose to create an adjustment layer of “Hue-Saturation” and moved the Saturation setting down to get rid of some of the color in the background. Once again, my selection was used to create the proper mask, so that the adjustment was only applied to the background.

You can see the adjustment layer to de-saturate, with the mask circled in red in the picture below…

De- saturate In Photoshop

Adjustment Layer- Desaturate

The final thing i did was add a soft white border around the edge of the photo. To do that I used a color fill adjustment layer, and chose the color white. Then I clicked on the mask, which was all white, and which will reveal the adjustment to all the layers below. So everything is now white. But I used the lasso tool to create an organic rectangular selection around the mask and then used the paint bucket to fill with black. That black hides the adjustment so that everything beneath that part will not be filled with white. So, you can now see the image below in that portion. The white border had a really sharp edge, so I chose Window->Properties to see the properties of the mask itself. Here I could feather the mask so that the edges of the white border were much softer. And viola!

In the picture below you can see the color fill adjustment layer on the left, circled in red. Then on the right, you can see the properties panel for feathering the mask so that the white border has a softer edge…

Smart filter vignette In Photoshop

Vignette with color adjustment layer


Here was a different look, where I used the white color fill adjustment layer, and then used a grunge brush as my eraser and erased on the mask. I used the eraser, but it wasn’t at full strength so that I could go  keep erasing, and build up the look gradually. It wasn’t what I wanted for this photo, but it might be cool for an antique look.

White Grunge in Photoshop

Grunge look using erase on Color fill


Here is the final result…


Blurred Vignette Frame in Photoshop

Final adjusted photo


Another photo in the series…


Blurred Vignette Frame in Photoshop

Another adjusted photo


My final thoughts…


Soft Painting in Photoshop from photo

Another adjusted photo- more filters
Thanks for letting me share my feelings with you ;). Maybe you can try it on you own photos. Enjoy!

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