thinking outside the box
Photo Editing Guide Part 3 - The Enhance Options
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Sharpen / Blur

Drag the slider to the left to blur the image and to the right to sharpen it. It’s easy to over-sharpen images so care needs to be taken. Images that are scaled down greatly (so they are higher resolution on screen) can accept more sharpening than ones displayed at normal screen resolution. Tip: the status line at the bottom of the window shows the image resolution. If you want greater blur than -100 (the limit of the slider) you can adjust the numeric value directly and enter much larger negative values. Blur can be useful for adding depth-of-field effects to backgrounds, or blurring sensitive areas of screen grabs. Use the Region Painter tool to paint over an area of a photo, then select the Blur control. You can capture a screen image using the built-in Screen Capture feature (Utilities menu)


This button, on the right end of the Photo Enhance InfoBar, allows you to toggle between a ‘before’ and ‘after’ view of any changes you make using these tools. Press it once to see the original image, with all your current enhance values removed, press it again to restore your changes.

Brightness Levels Dialog

This provides many advanced features, including: A histogram of brightness, updating in real-time as you make changes to any Enhance Tool value, showing the before and after his- tograms An adjustable brightness curve control allowing detailed brightness mapping Ability to set the input and output black and white points. White balance control Gamma brightness control All on combined RGB values or on individual R, G or B values only. The Levels Dialog is described in more detail in a Brightness Levels and Color Balance tutorial. Color Select The final control on the right of the Photo Enhance InfoBar is the Color Select mode control. Normally, when you select a photo and apply any enhance value described above, it changes the whole photo. But if you select this control, then click on a color in the photo - it will only change the color selected. (When you first click or drag a color-select control point around you will see a checkerboard pattern showing what is selected.) Now if you use any Enhance control it affects only those selected colors in the image. So this is a really quick and easy way to adjust only certain colors in an image. If you want to restrict the color select to a given area of an image (say you wanted to change the blue of the sky, but not other blue items in the photo), you can use the Region Painter Tool or Mask Painter Tool, before selecting colors. Tips: When in Color-select mode, each subsequent click will add an additional color-select control point, so you can easily select a range of shades. Just click and hold (or drag) a control point to show the checkerboard pattern that indicates which parts are selected. You can right click on a color-select point to see more options, and there is an additional drop-down control on the tool icon when it’s selected to provide further adjustment controls. See a more detailed description the Changing Colors in Photos. This is the third part of a series of guides to editing photos in Xara. 1. Beginner’s Guide to Photo Editing in Xara The basics of opening photos, zooming, sizing photos, and saving. 2. Summary of the Photo Tools A summary of the tools on the Photo Tool fly-out menu. 3. Photo Enhance options An overview of the ‘workhorse’ range of Enhance options. 4. Changing colors in photos How to select and enhance or adjust specific colors. 5. A real-world example Combining many of the techniques described above, to transform a poor photo. In addition there are more detailed guides covering other photo tools: The Shadow and Highlight controls Intelligent Photo Rescaling and Zooming Erasing Backgrounds and Combining Photos Brightness Levels and Color Balance Panoramic Photos For more tutorials by Xara and third parties, check out our Resource index, which offers a searchable and browsable list of movies and tutorials created by Xara and third parties. Try it! If you would like to try out these photo tools and you don’t already own Xara Photo & Graphic Designer or Xara Designer Pro, you can down- load the trial version from our website and try it now.
In Color-select mode, I have clicked in three different places on the Orange to make sure the selection includes the darker and lighter shades of orange.  I then just used the Hue Enhance control described above to change the selected orange to be the new pink color.