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Darkening edges of a photo from Rob Near.

In the "wet darkroom" I have slightly darkened the outer edges of the print, about the last 1/2 inch. This, I feels helps to keep your eye from running off the edge of the print. How can I achieve this in Photoshop CS? I read about this in one of the Digital magazines but forgot the answer before I got a chance to write it down I would like to add a layer to gradually darken the edge starting from nil to a choice of density of gray within the outer 1/2 inch of the print, evenly around the edge. Using a linear graduation I have been unable to get it to apply evenly on all sides. ========== There are a variety of ways you could do this, such as the dodging and burning method I like so much in Photoshop. However, since you want to have an effect that is even around the edges, here's the method I'd recommend:

  1. Use the Elliptical Marquee tool to create a selection that encompasses most of your image, with the outside of the selection representing the area you want to darken. You could also use the Rectangular Marquee tool if you really wanted to have an even "border" around the edge (though a very soft one), but I prefer the Elliptical Marquee tool for this.
  2. Invert this selection by choosing (Select )( Inverse) from the menu, so you now have the area you want to darken selected.
  3. Create a new Levels adjustment layer, which will automatically be masked based on your selection, so it only affects the outer edge of the image. Darken the image by sliding the middle slider under the histogram display to the right. Don't worry about the harsh edge between what is darkened and what isn't, just darken to the extent you think is appropriate (you can revise it later). Click OK when you've created your adjustment.
  4. (Select)( Filter) (Blur )( Gaussian Blur) from the menu. Using the image as your reference, adjust the Radius setting to create a very soft transition for your darkening adjustment. There's a good chance you'll use a very high value of around 100 pixels here.
  5. After smoothing out the transition with the blur, double-click on your Levels adjustment layer and fine-tune the darkening effect to taste. The above information was copied from Tim Grey's Digital Darkroom Questions e-mail list dated April 18, 2005

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