STEPS: Creating a Downright Angelic Halo

1. Follow Steps 1 through 3 of the preceding instructions. You end up with a version of the selected image on an independent layer and a matching selection outline applied to the background image. (See, I told you this was like creating a drop shadow.)

2. Expand the selection outline. Unlike a drop shadow, which is offset slightly from an image, a halo fringes the perimeter of an image pretty evenly. You need to expand the selection outline beyond the edges of the image so you can see the halo clearly. To do this, choose Select ^ Modify ^ Expand. An "Expand By" option box greets you. Generally speaking, you want the expansion to match the size of your feathering so that the softening occurs outward.

Therefore, I entered 7. (The maximum permissible value is 16; if you want to expand more than 16 pixels, you must apply the command twice.)

3. Choose Select ^ Feather and enter the same value you entered in the Expand By option box. Again, you decide this value by dividing the resolution of your image by 20 (or thereabouts).

4. Send the selection to a new layer. Press Ctrl+J.

5. Fill the halo with white. Assuming the background color is white, press Ctrl+Shift+Backspace.

That's it. Figure 12-19 shows an enlightened looking dolphin set against a halo effect. I also drew a conventional halo above its head, added some sparklies, and even changed my finned friend's eye using the eyeball brush shape included in the Assorted Brushes document. I mean, if this aquatic mammal isn't bound for glory, I don't know who is.

White Halo Effect
Figure 12-19: Few dolphins reach this level of spiritual awareness, even if you do set them apart from their backgrounds using the halo effect.

Tip Incidentally, you needn't create a white halo any more than you must create a black drop shadow. In Step 5, set the background color to something other than white. jF Then select the Screen option from the blend mode pop up menu in the Layers palette (Shift+Alt+S), thus mixing the colors and lightening them at the same time. If you don't like the effect, select a different background color and press Ctrl+Shift+Backspace again. With the halo on a separate layer, you can do just about anything to it without running the risk of harming the underlying original.

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