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Fading out an image horizontally

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I am somewhat of a "power user" with Paint.net (10+ years, lots of plugins, lots of layers) ... so feel free to throw at me some complexity.


If you have a photo that is cut off at the edges, what is the most efficient way to "fade out" this image into a larger, solid-color expanded canvas?


For example, if you have a person in an image who is holding their arms out, but the photo crops out their hands at the wrist ... how can you make this look presentable if you have to double the canvas size horizontally onto a solid white background?    I'm thinking of a smooth fade without artifacts.


I've tried this with a variety of layering techniques and plugin effects (blurs, etc) and I can't get a seamless transition from photo to solid color.



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12 minutes ago, dipstick said:

Use a gradient in "Transparency" mode.


I've tried that approach, including additional transparent layers, but I can't either get rid of the seam or make it fade over enough distance so that it isn't obvious.


In my example of a photo cropped at the wrists with arms outstretched, I would like to keep the subject in full focus but fade out the edges in a way that makes it seamless.   I even tried blurs like the zoom blur, overlayed at various transparencies to try to "pull" the edge of the photo out into the expanded canvas, but it always ends up either too drastic or with a hard seam line where the blur meets the photo.


I write code for a living, don't edit photos ... but I must be missing something obvious.


Edit: I attached an example I just got from Google Images ... I need to make the cut on these sorts of things less obvious. 


At least in my current cases the background matches the expanded canvas background.



Edited by EternalNY1
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I did get there.  I apologize for my poor description, but essentially I need to center an image like that but on a 4x horizontal canvas, while keeping the majority of the subject in focus.


It looks better if the edges are stretched (into infinity and beyond?)  instead of just a rapid fade-out.  I tried applying stretch filters + transparency ... just to try to get hints of color from the edges to pull further out before they dissipate.


Thank you for the assistance though ... that's the route I will go if I can't get it more "artistic" or whatever you would call it.

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12 minutes ago, Red ochre said:

Not really sure of the effect you're trying for... but Pyrochild's Trail might be worth a try?


Yep, that's the closest I've gotten actually, but I can't get it without the seams even with a blur effect (either on that layer or on another layer with varying opacity).


It's not a big deal and it's hard to explain, but unfortunately I have run into this situation more than once ... I basically want some sort of "dissipate" filter where it would slowly alpha the colors out over distance, yet not make it look overly stretched.


Edit: I've done far better than this attached image, it's just showing the defaults with the Trail plugin.  I'll probably just have to go with a close-in fade.






Edited by EternalNY1
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Thanks everyone, I appreciate the feedback.  I'm going to grab those plugins (which I somehow apparently missed).


Eli - That example is actually very close to what I need, if I can put those on layers and blend out the seams ... that's where I was going with "dissapate", not sure how else to explain it.

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