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Easily remove unwanted halos around your selections

Added on Thursday 27th of January 2005 12:36 am EST


Adobe Photoshop 7/CS

Operating Systems:

Macintosh, Microsoft Windows


Cut and paste is as easy as can be when you’re working in the world of office applications. However, to successfully select, cut, and paste just the portion of a graphic you want to use—and then make it look as if it belongs in its new home—is a different matter entirely. Fortunately, smoothing the edge of a selection after you paste it into its new location, and thus ridding your selection of the dreaded halo effect, as illustrated in Figure A, can be surprisingly quick and easy with Photoshop’s Layer Matting options.



Figure A:

Even the most carefully selected graphic can bring along an unwanted halo.


Clean up your selection’s edges

To help you understand how a halo develops around a selection, we begin by explaining anti-aliasing. Then, we’ll step out the simple procedure for applying the Defringe matting option. Next, we’ll explain how to adjust the Defringe Width setting and finally, we’ll introduce you to the Remove Black Matte and Remove White Matte options.


Anti-alias: the good and the bad

Anti-aliasing helps smooth the changes between the pixels in your selection and the pixels immediately outside your selection by softening sharp color differences into a more gradual transition. This helps you avoid jagged edges on selections. When anti-aliasing is involved, however, some unwanted colors usually make it into the fringes of your selection. This fringe shows up as a light, dark, or colored halo, as shown in Figure A.


Eliminate a halo with the Defringe matte command

You could try all day long to perfect your selection to avoid these unwanted pixels, but often it’s easier to get rid of them by using the Layer Matting option. To do so, simply follow these four steps:


1.  Make your selection as you normally would and press [command]C ([Ctrl]C in Windows) to make a copy of it.

2.  Open the image on which you want to paste your selection (if it’s different from the original image), and press [command]V ([Ctrl]V in Windows) to paste your selection on an automatically created new layer.

3.  With the new layer containing your pasted graphic selected in the Layers palette, choose Layer > Matting > Defringe from the Photoshop menu bar to launch the Defringe dialog box, as shown in Figure B.

4.  Leave the default width at 1 pixel and click OK.



Note: You need to paste your selection on its own layer, since the Layer Matting options only work on entire layers (as opposed to working on selections within a layer).



Figure B:

Try to eliminate your...


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