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» Tutorial 1 - Optimizing / Resizing / Converting formats (Beginner)
» Tutorial 2 - Layer blending and cutting out shapes (Beginner)
» Tutorial 3 - Cut outs - object blending - photo blurring (Intermediate)

The Outsider's Featured Tutorials are selected from a variety of sources included the best tutorials from the impressive archive on The Xara Xone (created by Gary Priester), Guest Tutorials submitted by Xara enthusiasts and new material created by Xara.

Cut outs - object blending - photo blurring

We start with a photo of a lounging leopard, and a photo of a countryside view.

Lets combine them, using the techniques described in the previous tutorial.

This photo has some subtle effects that you might not notice at first. The background has been blurred to give the effect of extreme depth of field. More than that it's been given a graduated blur, as you might see from this example

where things lower down the photo are less blurred than those higher up (further in the distance). This uses the 'object blending' technique described in tutorial 2. To re-create this effect:

  1. Double click on your original photo to go into the Xara Picture Editor

  2. Click the Enhance icon and adjust the blur and give it a large blur, this example uses a value of
    Also the saturation is reduced and brightness slightly increased to give it the 'distance' look.

    Click the 'check' symbol to OK this change and return this processed image to Xara Xtreme.

  3. Now create a copy of this image on top, by pressing Ctrl-K (clone).

  4. Double click this version, and in XPE give it a medium blur, in this case 300. Return this to Xtreme.

  5. In the transparency tool, drag upwards. This will give a graduated blend of the less blurred version over the more blurred version.

    In this example the transparency graduation goes left to right to demonstrate the effect. In this case the blurred version is on top of the original un-blurred version and a left to right transparency graduation applied

Now we cut out the leopard, as described above in tutorial 2. This shows part of the line drawn around the leopard.

Then it's just a matter of placing the cut-out leopard on top of the blurred background photos to create the final effect.


There is one final tip. If you zoom in closely to the edge of the animal, no matter how accurate your line, there is a rather obvious sharp and rather un-realistic transition between the animal and the background.

But the Feather tool comes to the rescue, just as it would be used in PhotoShop, to feather the edge of the animal so it blends in with the background. So all you need to do is select the animal, and then using the feather control on the top bar, adjust the value to have a small value such as 2pix, or less. Compare the resultant images below, with the un-feathered ones above.

The feather tool is a great way of not just blending the edges, but of hiding inaccuracies in your line drawing. So now you have a realistic alternative foreground to your photo.