How to feather edges in photoshop

Updated April 17, 2017

The feathering effect available in Adobe Photoshop allows you to select the edges of an image and soften them with a hazy, blending-to-white effect. Feathering creates an elegant look for a photo. Magazine layouts and other publications use this tool to create their final effects. One of the best things about this effect is the ease with which you can apply it, providing an elegant veneer to an everyday image. In Photoshop, feathering works with a variety of tools.

Open Photoshop and the image to feather by pressing "Ctrl-O."

Select either the Lasso or Marquee tool. Set the value for feathering in the options bar, ranging from 0 to 250 pixels.

Feather an item you've selected. Use "Select," "Modify," and then "Feather." Set the pixel value for the feathering effect, and then select the "OK" button.

Use the Layers panel to select the layer that contains the mask to edit. Use the Masks panel to define whether you are feathering a pixel mask or vector mask by selecting the appropriate button.

Use the Feather slider to feather the edges of the mask; the slider allows you to increase or decrease the blurring at the edges. The more blurring you include, the softer the edge and its transition. As you feather the edge, notice that the feather effect occurs from the edges and extends out using the range of pixels defined by the setting of the slider.


This feathering technique can also be used to feather the inside of a photo or background image for white space in the middle on which to place text or other images.

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About the Author

Leonor Crossley has been a graphic designer and writer since 1995, with entertainment and other articles written for "Max Magazine" in Jacksonville, NC, and various websites. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, cum laude, from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania.