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Old Apr 27, 2008, 2:58 PM   #18
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Chicago Suburb, IL, USA
Posts: 2,770

Hi Ian Mc,

I was stunned by #1! Really a great capture. Timing, exposure, DOF just right on!

I also noted the comments about the BG -- This is not that hard to take care of if your PSE version is one with layers.

Make a duplicate layer, apply Gaussian Blur at a relatively low level, then erase the effect from the bird, being very careful at the edges. Apply another Gaussian Blur at a higher level, until the BG is blurred to your taste, and touch up the edges again if needed. The reason for the two step process is that a heavy blur is first applied, the edges of the bird will blur into the background and cause a dark halo around the bird's outline. By doing it two steps, you shouldn't get the halo. A couple of tips for erasing the bird, first, do the edges at a relatively low opacity, going over the area as much as needed, then lower the opacity of the sharp layer to 0, switch back to the blurred layer and erase the area inside the edges with the opacity of the erase brush turned way up -- this speeds things up considerably.

I also softened the left wing a little, as well as the tail feathers, to give a little better transition from the sharp areas to the BG to prevent that "blue screen look".

I took the liberty to give this a try on your image, and really. . . Holy 3D!!! I think the image is worth the effort! (of course, if you object in any way to my playing, I'll delete the pic from the post -- just say the word)

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