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Cutting the fringe – Selective Colour in Photoshop

I encountered a little problem the other day while creating something in Photoshop.. not my usual photography but pulling some low resolution text from a black background. Normally the route would be to create a selection and to use refine mask to remove any stray edges of the background. In this case the text was so small and with the compression on the original file, the refine edge option was not working for me, especially when you add in the complexity of the shape.

Below is an example of what I had to work with..


 my final image would be on a white background, so lets try the normal route first

cuttingthefringe2As you can see, selecting the black background and using refine edge did not create the best result when shown on a white background. I’m sure better could be achieved by taking the time, zooming in to the text and using the refine edge brush around each of the letters.. but who has time for that?

First steps first.. lets select the text from the black background.

Using the Magic Wand tool (W), set the tolerance to around 10 and uncheck the contiguous checkbox.. then select the black background


With the Background selected, create an inverted layer mask by holding down the Alt key and clicking the ‘add layer mask’ button at the bottom of the layer mask panel.


Adding a simple white background layer underneath the cut out layer shows our current text with accompanying black fringe.


So how to get rid of the horrible black fringe without losing the feel of the text and without spending ages refining the mask.

My solution was to use the Selective Colour Adjustment Layer



Selective colour allows you to change the colour or luminosity of a specific colour.

Select the cut out layer containing the text, and click the Selective Colour icon shown above..

This will create an adjustment layer and dialog box as shown below



As we want to change the black fringing, choose Black from the Colors dropdown selection.

Next reduce the amount of Black in the colour Black using the slider.. yes, that does make sense in a weird kind of way.

Watch what happens to the black fringing as you reduce the black slider..



Magic! well almost.. What we have actually done is made the black fringe into a white fringe.

I am almost happy with the fringing but there is a little grey fringing still showing..

So lets change the grey into a faded red so that the text fades off smoothly



and finally a before and after look at the text.. from black background to white without losing the smooth font



What ways can you find to use this technique? post them below along with your questions and comments




About Scot Baston (31 Articles)
Scot Baston is a Commercial & Wedding Photographer that lives on the south coast of Devon, that inspires much of his work. Whether it the technical or emotive sides, Photography is a passion that continues to challenge and inspire.

2 Comments on Cutting the fringe – Selective Colour in Photoshop

  1. Jacob Amidon // 29/01/2013 at 4:48 pm //

    That’s a great technique that I hadn’t thought of before. It works well with a single color, but how well will the technique hold up with a multicolored selection?

  2. Well done for finding a technique to do all that – but wouldnt it have been easier to find a similar font and type on to a black and white coloured layer? Less fun, I admit… 🙂

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