How to Feather a Selection in Photoshop CS5: A Step-by-Step Guide

Feathering a selection in Photoshop CS5 is a simple way to soften the edges of your selection and make it blend better with the rest of your image. It gives a more natural and smooth transition, which can be particularly useful in photo editing and graphic design. In just a few clicks, you can feather your selection and take your image to the next level.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Feather a Selection in Photoshop CS5

Before we dive into the steps, let’s understand what we are aiming to achieve. Feathering creates a gradual blend between the selection and its surrounding pixels. This effect can be used to create a soft-focus look or to merge two images seamlessly.

Step 1: Make a Selection

Use any selection tool to create the desired selection on your image.

Creating a precise selection is the first step in the feathering process. You can use tools like the Lasso, Marquee, or Quick Selection tools to select the area you want to feather.

Step 2: Open the Feather Dialog Box

Go to ‘Select’ in the menu bar, and then click on ‘Modify,’ followed by ‘Feather…’

The Feather dialog box is where you can set the radius for how much you want to soften the edges of your selection. A higher value will result in a more significant feathering effect.

Step 3: Enter Feather Radius

Type in the desired value for the Feather Radius and click ‘OK.’

The feather radius determines the scope of the feathering effect. A radius between 1 to 250 pixels can be set, depending on how soft or subtle you want the feather to be.

Step 4: Deselect or Apply Changes

Press ‘Ctrl+D’ to deselect if you just want to view the feathered selection or apply any further changes to it.

After feathering, you can either proceed to make adjustments to your image within the feathered area or deselect to finalize the feathering effect.

After completing these steps, you’ll notice a soft transition on the edges of your selection. This effect adds a professional touch to your images by avoiding harsh edges and making elements appear more integrated into the scene.

Tips: How to Feather a Selection in Photoshop CS5

  • Use a feather radius that complements the resolution of your image. Higher resolution images may require a larger feather radius.
  • If you’re not satisfied with the first attempt, you can undo the feathering (Ctrl+Z) and try again with a different radius.
  • Feathering works best on smooth, rounded selections. For more complex shapes, you may need to refine the selection edges further.
  • Always zoom in to check the feathering effect closely. This will help you see if the transition is as smooth as you need it to be.
  • Remember that feathering is permanent once you deselect. Make sure you’re happy with the effect before moving on.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is feathering in Photoshop?

Feathering in Photoshop is the process of softening the edges of a selection. It creates a gradual transition between the selection and the surrounding pixels.

Can I feather part of a selection?

Yes, you can feather part of a selection by first isolating the area with any selection tool and then applying the feather effect to it.

Is feathering destructive to my image?

Feathering itself is non-destructive as long as you haven’t deselected or applied changes. It’s always advisable to work on a separate layer to preserve the original image.

Can I adjust the feather after applying it?

Once you’ve deselected, you cannot adjust the feather. It’s best to experiment with different radii before finalizing your selection.

Does feathering work on all image formats?

Feathering works on most image formats that support layers and transparency, such as PSD, TIFF, and PNG.


  1. Make a selection using a selection tool.
  2. Open the Feather Dialog Box from the Select menu.
  3. Enter the desired Feather Radius.
  4. Deselect or apply changes to the feathered selection.


Mastering the art of feathering a selection in Photoshop CS5 can elevate the quality of your edits and designs significantly. It’s an essential skill that helps in achieving a more polished and professional look. By following the steps outlined above, you can easily feather any selection and create smooth transitions in your images.

Additionally, always remember to experiment with different feather radius values to find the perfect fit for your project. And don’t forget to zoom in to check the details! Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced Photoshop user, feathering is a technique that can come in handy in various editing scenarios.

So, next time you’re working on an image that requires a soft-edge effect or seamless blending, give feathering a try. You might be surprised at how much of a difference it can make. Keep practicing, and soon enough, you’ll be feathering selections in Photoshop CS5 like a pro!

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