How to smooth or soften edges in Adobe Photoshop.

Explore how you can smooth rough edges to help blend different elements into a single image.

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A selfie of a person. The selfie has been duplicated several times and the layers have been blended to create a unique design.


Why should you soften edges in Photoshop?

One of Photoshop’s most powerful features is the ability to cut out an element from an image using the Selection tool and a layer mask, and then add it into a different image. It’s a fundamental component of the photo editing process. And once you’ve combined elements from multiple images, you need to smooth out their jagged edges in order to make them look natural occupying the same space. But that’s not the only reason to smooth edges.
A close-up image of a person's face that has been retouched.

Fine-tune a photograph.

When you’re retouching a photo, use smoothing tools to help cover any imperfections.

Create a convincing composite image.

Adding something new to an existing image? Smooth out the edges of the new component to help it blend.

An image showing a child in the sky sitting on a swing attached to the clouds. The child on the swing is one layer, and the sky with clouds is a different layer.
A before and after image. The image on the left shows an abstract colored pattern with different textured elements. In the image on the right the textured elements have been smoothed out.

Tweak your graphic design.

Photoshop can help you smooth out textured elements to create a sleeker look for your graphic.

Hide your hard work.

If you’ve removed a section of your image, smooth over the edges to cover up evidence of the edit.

A before and after image. The image on the left is an aerial shot of two colorful umbrellas on the beach. In the image on the right, the umbrellas have been removed and evidence of the edits have been smoothed over.

How to smooth edges

  1. Anti-aliasing
  2. Feathering
  3. Blur tool
active tab

Using anti-aliasing

Anti-aliasing gently softens the opacity and color transition between edge pixels and background pixels, preserving the image’s clarity and detail. In plain English, this means that it blends the pixels along the edge of an image to make lines and borders look nice and smooth.

  • Choose it:
    In the toolbar, select the Lasso, Polygonal Lasso, Magnetic Lasso, Elliptical Marquee, or Magic Wand tool.
  • Check it:
    In the Options bar at the top of the screen, click the checkbox beside the Anti-aliasing option.
  • Select it:
    Select the sections of the image you want to smooth.
An example of the feathering feature being used on an image of a popsicle.

Using feathering

Another way to smooth the edges of your image is feathering. Feathering basically softens up the edges of your selection by gently fading between the pixels on the border and the pixels in the surrounding area. This blunts any sharp edges, but it also can cause some loss of detail at the feathered edge of the selection.

  • Drag it:
    Select the Marquee tool and drag your cursor around the object you want to feather.
  • Select it:
    Go to Select › Modify and then choose the Feather tool.
  • Feather it:
    Enter a number into the Feather Radius field. This number determines how many pixels away from the edge of your selection the Feather tool will go before it starts smoothing and blending. If you’re not sure, start between 20 and 30 and adjust as needed.

Using the Blur tool

For more experienced users, the Blur tool is an effective way to create a soft edge between two images.

  • Zoom it:
    Zoom in close to your image to inspect the harsh edges you want to smooth.
  • Resize it:
    Select the Blur tool from the toolbar and press ] or [ to adjust the size of the brush.
  • Strengthen it:
    Use the Strength drop-down menu at the top of the screen to select how intense you want the blurring to be. The higher the percentage, the more vivid the blur.
  • Blur it:
    Run the Blur tool over the edges you want to smooth.


Learn about other Photoshop functions.

Explore Photoshop tutorials to help you make the most out of every image.

Bring images together.

Put your edge-smoothing skills to the test by combining two images to make a composite.
Make a photo composite

Try easy enhancements.

Discover quick fixes that can help perfect your photos on the fly.
Transform photos fast

Frequently asked questions.

When should I smooth edges in Photoshop?
Smooth edges when cutting out subjects from the background to prevent jagged edges. Also soften edges when applying filters or transformations to prevent pixelation.
Should I smooth edges before or after other edits in Photoshop?
It is best to smooth edges towards the end of editing as transformations, warping, or filters can introduce new jagged edges that need smoothing.
What tools are used to smooth edges in Photoshop?
Smooth edges in Photoshop by using anti-aliasing, feathering, or the Blur tool.
How does smoothing edges affect image quality in Photoshop?
Minimal smoothing has little effect on quality. Heavy smoothing can soften details and cause blurring, so use restraint and mask where needed.