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Fixing Chromatic Aberrations (That Colored-Edge Fringe)

Chromatic aberration is a fancy name for that thin line of colored fringe that sometimes appears around the edges of objects in photos. Sometimes the fringe is red, sometimes green, sometimes purple, blue, etc., but all the time it’s bad, so we might as well get rid of it. Luckily, Camera Raw has a built-in fix that does a pretty good job.

Step One

Open the photo that has signs of chromatic aberrations (colored-edge fringe). If chromatic aberrations are going to appear, they’re usually right along an edge in the image that has lots of contrast (like between the black edges of this tire, and the pavement behind it). If the aberrations are bad enough, you’ll be able to see them right off the bat, but if you just suspect they might be there, you’ll have to zoom in for a closer look (by the way, if you’re using a quality camera with quality lenses, you might have to look far and wide before coming across a photo suffering from this problem).

Step Two

Press Z to get the Zoom tool in the Camera Raw window and zoom in on an area where you think (or see) the fringe might be fairly obvious. In the example shown here, I zoomed directly in on the back tire and sure enough, it has a purplish fringe running along the edge. To remove this fringe, click on the Lens Corrections icon (it’s the sixth icon from the left at the top of the Panel area) to bring up the Chromatic Aberration sliders.

Step Three

There are only two sliders and you just drag toward the color you want to fix (they’re labeled—the top one fixes red or cyan fringe; the bottom fixes blue or yellow fringe). But before you begin dragging sliders, you may want to click on the Detail icon (the third icon from the left at the top of the Panel area) and lower the Sharpening Amount to 0%, because sharpening can also cause color fringes to appear (and you want to make sure you’re curing the right problem).

Step Four

Since the fringe in this particular case is purple, we may have to move more than one slider. Start by moving the bottom Chromatic Aberration slider to the left (toward blue), which reduces the blue part of the purple fringe (just make sure you don’t drag so far toward blue that you create a yellow fringe. Hey, I’m just sayin’). There’s still a little color fringe, so try the Red/Cyan slider—moving it a little toward cyan seems to do the trick.

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