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Say I have a screenshot, and I wish to highlight a line or two of text. I could just hand-draw a crude red line around the area, but that's so Windows 3.1 ;-). What I would like to do is highlight the area by marking it, then having the surrounding area "fade out" by toning down all the colors. I'm sure I've seen the effect somewhere.
I suspect this has something to do with layers and channels, but I'm at a loss as to the terminology. I'd be so happy if anyone could give me any sort of pointers, e.g. a link to a tutorial, or even just the name / a concise way of describing what I want to do.
I usually work with GIMP (though not much beyond image resizing); if necessary I can get access to Photoshop.
What I want to do is select e.g. a square or oval area, then make everywhere outside of the selected area opaquer / less colorful.
(What I'm doing is illustrating which item to pick in a drop-down menu; so I have a screenshot of the menu, and want to "highlight" one or two items).
(Yes, I know it sounds obvious, but it's one of those things I've never done before. Must... find... some... time... to learn this all properly).