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How to Feather in Photoshop


In this walkthrough, we've outlined how to feather in Photoshop, so you can soften an image around the edges. This is a useful technique when creating a collage, or when you'd like an image to blend seamlessly into the background. 

How to Feather in Photoshop
First, load your current Photoshop project and decide which image needs feathering. Select the Rectangular Marquee (or Elliptical Marquee) from the Tools panel, and draw a marquee around the section you'd like to keep. You can also use the Pen tool to draw a more precise path.  

Then, go to "Select" > "Modify" > "Feather" (or right-click on the selection and choose "Feather"). A Feather Selection dialog box will appear, allowing you to set the Feather Radius, which determines the edge's softness. Unfortunately, there's no preview window to see how the feathering affects your image, so you'll need to apply it first. If the effect needs adjusting, you'll need to undo it with Ctrl/Command+Z.

Instead, we recommend applying a layer mask first, so that you have more control over the feather effect. With your image area selected, click the "Add Mask" button at the bottom of the Layers panel. This will isolate your selection from the remaining layer, but it won't delete anything. 

Finally, drag your image onto the background layer. Once you've created a layer mask, it's easy to adjust the mask size so that more or less of your image is hidden from view. If you click on the mask thumbnail in the Layers panel (located next to your image), it will hide the mask so the full image dimensions are displayed. 

To apply a feather effect to your mask, simply click on the Masks tab (above the Layers tab) and adjust the Feather slider. This is a much smarter solution than the basic Feather command, because you can tweak the setting at any time. If you select the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers panel, you can also resize the mask at any point in the creative process. 

Using the Warp Tool
For even more control over your layer mask, select the mask and then choose the Warp tool (located on the top right side of the control panel). This allow you to warp the mask dimensions, so that the feathering has a more complex shape than the average rectangle or ellipse. Just drag on the various anchor and direction points to warp the mask exactly how you want it. 
 
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