To start the tutorial please open Adobe Photoshop CS3 and click (File, New…) like the illustration shows.
Now you should name the project we are working on and set the width and height to something at or above 550×450. Please use a resolution over 90% otherwise the output will not look as smooth as it possibly could. Keep the background as white.
Now you can see our background layer and what we are going to work with. However, we will not be working on the background layer itself. We are going to create a new layer by selecting the icon on the bottom right corner of the screen that creates new layers.
Now you can see the new layer that we have created.
Now we are going to make the background not viewable so we can focus on Layer 1.
Now you can selected the Custom Shape Tool from the selection toolbar on the left side of the screen.
I have constructed an arrow with a black base so that it is easy to see the difference when you change the smoothness.
Now we are going to select the Vector Mask Thumbnail. You can do that by Control-Left Clicking on the thumbnail.
After you have selected the Vector Mask Thumbnail, we can go to the bottom of the right toolbar and select the Add Layer Mask button. This will add a layer mask to the object we have created.
Now we can select the Layer Mask Thumbnail so that we may single it out for changes. You then can select Control-D, to deselect the layer.
Now we can go to the top toolbar and select (Filter, Blur, and Gaussian Blur…). Select a ration of 4.0 pixels to make it an even blur.
Now you will see that the Layer Mask is blurred by the filter we have just implemented.
Now you can select the Layer Mask Thumbnail. You can do this by pressing Alt-Left Click to the layer mask available.
After selecting the thumbnail, select (Image, Adjustments, Levels…).
You will now see a graph with three pyramids on the edges from 0-255. The closer you bring the three triangles to the middle the smoother your object is going to look. This is where you are able to play around with how your object will look with the variances of the degrees. If you have something special in mind you can adjust this how you please. I brought my pyramids rather close to the middle. It seemed if I brought them too close the smoothness almost became too smooth to use for a picture.
Here you can see the selection I made and what it looks like on the screen.
Press “OK” and you will end up at this screen.
Now you should select the Layer Mask Thumbnail. Use a right-click to bring up a menu
The menu that you see when you right-click the Layer Mask Thumbnail will look like the illustration below. Please select the Add Layer Mask to Selection option.
You will see now that a dotted line is now around the object of the layer mask.
Now you will press Alt-Left Click on the Layer Mask Thumbnail to complete the implementation of the layer mask to the object.
Now you select Control-D to get rid of the dotted lines and deselect the Layer Mask Thumbnail.
Now you can make the background visible again and look how smoother it is on a white background after it has been smoothed.
This process to smooth the edges of objects is a great tool that anyone with a little patience can use to improve the look of their objects. It does not matter whether you are using it for pictures or for web content. I hope that this tutorial has taught you a few features that the Adobe Photoshop CS3 is capable of.
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