Learn How to Feather Edges in Photoshop

By Timothy Brauning on March 09, 2022

Feathering can be an essential part of any photo editing workflow, and it can be challenging to use in Photoshop without practice. If you don't use Feathering, the result will be a hard edge that looks unnatural and completely unrealistic.

In this article, you'll learn how to feather edges in Photoshop!

Table of Contents

Learn How to Feather Edges in Photoshop

What are feather edges in Photoshop?

Feathering is the process of making a selection's edges fade into transparency. It is instrumental when you want to place an object against a background that differs from the object itself. 

Photoshop has a wide variety of tools available for photo editing. Several allow you to soften the photo's edges, including the Feather tool.

Why should you use feathering in Photoshop?

There are many reasons to use Photoshop feather edges; among them is to make it appear as if a person or object was shot on a photo that has been “Photoshopped.”

When you have an undoctored photo, a photograph is taken with a subject in front of a seamless background. When you “Photoshop” or change a photo by adding a foreign object, the subject and background are separated. This separation results in a not-so-smooth edge that can be improved by using a feathered edge.

Another reason to learn to use feather edges in Photoshop might be to blur an edge. 

Blurring the edges of a photo is sometimes done to disguise something on the image or for artistic effects, such as creating an image that fades out.

Some people add a slight feathering around all their edges when they save it as a jpeg file because jpeg files compress data, which can cause pixelation around the edges of particular objects.

This is a useful tip in creating collages and detailed compositions. You can layer multiple images on top of each other to create an interesting graphic or poster. Feathered edges can help you blend your different images together with a more professional finish.

How to feather edges in Photoshop

You will need to learn how to use feather edges in Photoshop to give your photos or designs a smoother appearance!

Here is a step-by-step guide on knowing how to feather edges in Photoshop.

Step 1: Open the image

After you open Adobe Photoshop, the first thing to do is open the image you want to feather. We recommend using high-quality images.


how to feather edges in photoshop

photoshop feather edges

Step 2: Select the area of the image you want to feather

Photoshop offers various tools for selecting a portion of an image. We will use the most simple tool: the Elliptical Marquee Tool in the left corner of the screen. 

feather edges photoshop

Once you have selected the area you wish to feather, a dotted circle in the selected portion of your image will appear.

photoshop feathered edges

Step 3: Feather Your Selection

Now that you have selected the area you want to feather, we are going to see how the feathering process works.

Next, go to the Select menu and find the option that says Select and Mask, you can find this command also in the upper right part of the screen.

feather photoshop

Once you have clicked it, it will open a menu like this called Properties. 

feather in photoshop

Step 4. Feather and Shift Edge

Now go to the area that reads Feather to change the value of Feather, and you will be able to see the results in the frame. 

Remember that the higher the feather value, the more blurred the edges will be. When people ask me how to use feather edges in Photoshop, I usually suggest choosing a value between 40-60 pixels, however, this number will be highly dependent on what you will be doing with the image!

If you choose higher, your image will be all blurred out, and if you choose lower, your image will look just like a circle, which is exactly what we are trying to avoid!

photoshop feather

Note: Remember to keep the Shift Edge value at 0.

photoshop feather

Now click on OK to apply the changes to the selection.

Keep in mind that after you click OK, the Feather effect will disappear from the screen, but you will still be able to see the selection of the image.

photoshop feather

Step 4: Copy the Selected Portion to another Layer

Now you can copy the selection out of the main image. You can place it on another image or simply place it over a colored background.

Use Ctrl + C to copy the selection in Windows or Command + C in Mac, then create a new layer and use Ctrl + V to paste it in Windows or Command + V in Mac.

feather tool photoshop

Now make your first layer not visible, and there you have it.

You have officially learned how to use Photoshop feather edges, and your image is now feathered.

how to feather in photoshop


Step 5: Apply Final Changes

Once you have feathered the image, you can use it as you wish to create interesting designs. 

You also can change the background color or add a background image or a new layer underneath it, just like shown below.

feather tool photoshop

Go to Edit-🡪 Fill and then fill it with a color you prefer. 

how to feather a layer in photoshop


feather brush photoshophow to feather an image in photoshop

Hit OK, and there you go with your new Background!

feather selection photoshop

To sum up

One of the best parts of Adobe Photoshop is that there is always more than one way to achieve your desired result. 

Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and designers have come up with several solutions to solve any problem. 

When you are learning Photoshop, it’s best to understand the different ways of doing something so that you can adapt your knowledge to the particular situation you find yourself in.

Now that you have learned how to feather edges in Photoshop, keep practicing until you have mastered the skill!

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