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11 October 2013

Question from the Audience – Sharpening a Selection

A Learning Experience


A reader asked me if it were possible to use the grain extract / grain merge sharpening technique on a selection. Taking the question literally and having never tried that before, I immediately opened GIMP and started experimenting. Let's go through the process of sharpening only the face of this African gray parrot and see what we learn.

African gray parrot
African gray parrot

03 October 2013

A Non-Destructive, Adjustable Method for Cutting Out an Image

The Black and White of Masking


In a previous tutorial I described a way to cut out irregular images using the Free Select tool. I used to use that technique frequently, but it's very time consuming, causes a lot of work for the left-mouse-button finger, and leaves a sharp edge unless either you remember to feather the selection before deleting the cutout area or you use the Blur or Smudge tool to soften the edge. It's also destructive to the image and, if you make a mistake, it's painful to fix it.

I have since switched over to using masks. Not only is a mask quicker and easier to use, it doesn't affect the original image, so recovering from mistakes is simple, and if you use a soft brush you automatically get blurred edges. You want blurred edges so that the cutout image blends smoothly into whatever it's in front of.

This tutorial describes how to create the following image using a mask to cut out the background.


Spectacled Owl with No Background
Let me give you my two hoots' worth.