Using the paint bucket inside a selection

So far, I've come up with two astounding generalizations: The paint bucket tool is mostly useless, and you can fill anything with the Backspace key. Well, just to prove you shouldn't believe everything I say — some might even suggest you dismiss everything I say — the following steps explain an effect you can create only with the paint bucket tool. Doubtless, it's the only such example you'll ever discover using Photoshop — after all, the paint bucket is mostly useless and you can fill anything with the Backspace key — but I'm man enough to eat my rules this once.

The following steps explain how to create an antique photographic frame effect, such as the one shown in Figure 6-6.

STEPS: Creating an Antique Framing Effect

1. Use the rectangular marquee tool to select the portion of the image you want to frame. Make certain the image extends at least 20 pixels outside the boundaries of the selection outline; and be sure to use a photo — this effect won't look right against a plain white background.

2. Choose Select^ Feather (Ctrl+Alt+D). Then specify a Radius value somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 to 12 pixels. I've found these values work for nearly any resolution of image. (If you enter too high a value, the color you'll add in a moment with the paint bucket will run out into the image.)

3. Choose Select ^ Inverse (Ctrl+Shift+I). This exchanges the selected and deselected portions of the image.

4. Press D to make certain the background color is white. Then press Ctrl+Backspace to fill the selected area with the background color.

5. Select the paint bucket tool. If the Options bar isn't visible, press Enter to display it. Then enter 20 or 30 in the Tolerance option box and turn on the Anti-aliased check box. (You can also experiment with turning off this last option.)

6. Click inside the feathered selection to fill it with black. The result is an image fading into white and then into black, like the edges of a worn slide or photograph, as shown in Figure 6-6.

Figure 6-6: I created this antique frame effect by filling a feathered selection with the paint bucket tool.

Figure 6-7 shows a variation on this effect that you can produce using the Dissolve brush mode. Rather than setting the Tolerance value to 20, raise it to around 60. Then select the Dissolve option from the Mode pop-up menu on the Options bar. When you click inside the feathered selection with the paint bucket tool, you create a frame of random pixels, as illustrated in the figure.

Figure 6-7: Select Dissolve from the Mode pop-up menu on the Options bar to achieve a speckled frame effect.
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