Pro Edges pg 5: Production Graphics with Wendy Peck at | WebReference

Pro Edges pg 5: Production Graphics with Wendy Peck at


Pro Edges 5: Fade Away



Fading photos can add great motion and direction to your page. Since there is no hard edge the eye tends to wander. If a fading photo is placed beside important text, you have a natural flow. Fading photos can also be used to minimize the visual impact of unimportant photo details, allowing more viewing space for text.

Fading the edges of a photo is unpredictable at best. One may take you five minutes with the next taking forever. Choosing your photo is important. You need room to allow the color to blend from the page color to transparent. It also helps when the colors on the fading edge of the photo are similar to the background color.

If you are only fading on one edge, make sure you have an anchor on the two sides that contact the faded edge. Here I have used lines to contain the non-faded edges of the photo.

To create a faded edge in PhotoShop, you can use the gradient fill. Make sure you are working on a new layer. Change your foreground color to the color of the page you will be fading into. In the Gradient Menu, choose Foreground to Transparent. Click and drag from the edge of the photo that will fade to the page. I have found my best results with several passes of this method, each on a new layer. Most times we want a soft, circular boundary, and I have found that by laying down repeat gradient fills, at different angles, I can reach what I am looking for.

You may have to touchup the image. I will often use the airbrush at low pressure to round off linear gradients. In this photo, I had to darken the hair where the gradient fill had spread too far.


In some cases, especially if you have plenty of background room on the photo, you may be able to accomplish the same result with a white fill (assuming white page background). Working on a new layer, chose white as your foreground color. Use your lasso tool to create an irregular border for the best results. Choose Select>Feather. The amount you feather will depend on the size of your photo and the distance you wish the item to fade through. For this small shot, I used 25. If you are not satisfied with the appearance after the fill, try repeating it.

Occasionally, you will have to fill a small rectangle with white at the fading edge to ensure that there will be no lines. Select a small area and again, choose Select>Feather to blend the solid rectangle into the original fill.

If you like this look, it is worth spending time to become familiar with both techniques. So much is dependent on the photo that no hard and fast rules are possible Once you know your way around though, it is a quick and easy way to add real life and power to your pages.



Images provided courtesy of EyeWire.

Images © Eyewire and and may not be reproduced in any way without prior written notice.

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Pro Edges Tutorial Index

Pro Edges Start
What's in a Line?
Why Frame?
PhotoShop Frames
Fade Away PhotoShop
Quick PhotoShop 3D Frame
CorelDraw Frames
CorelDraw Ragged Edges
Flash with an Edge
Photo Resources

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Created: Feb. 4, 2000
Revised: Feb. 4, 2000