How to Feather a Selection in Photoshop CS5

There is a lot you can do with a selection in Adobe Photoshop CS5. We have detailed ways to change the shape of the selection in the past, but you can actually modify your selection no matter what the shape is. One way to do this is by feathering a selection in Photoshop CS5. This will add an interesting effect to the outline of the selection shape, which will be transferred if you choose to cut the selection from your image, or if you choose to fill or stroke the selection. The size of the selection feathering is adjustable, and you can create some fun effects by using and becoming comfortable with this tool. Once you have learned how to feather a selection in Photoshop CS5, you should have an idea of what situations can benefit from its’ use.


Using the Feather Modifier on a Photoshop CS5 Selection


There are many different tools and utilities in Photoshop CS5, and even seasoned veterans of the program may encounter things that they have never touched before. Often times this can be due to their own needs differing from the results that can be produced with that tool, but other times it might simply be due to not knowing that the tool exists. Selection modifiers in Photoshop CS5 are very helpful in certain situations, so learning how to use them, and simply knowing that they are there, is a good way to improve your use of the program.


Step 1: Open the image to which you want to apply the feather modifier to a selection.

Step 2: Click the selection tool that you want to use from the toolbox at the left side of the window, then create a selection in your image. If your image contains multiple layers, be sure that you are making the selection on the correct layer.

Step 3: Click Select at the top of the window, click Modify, then click Feather. Note that you can also press Shift + F6 on your keyboard to open the Feather window.

how to feather a selection in photoshop cs5


Step 4: Choose the desired radius for your feathered selection, then click the OK button. Note that the shape of your selection will change slightly to account for the feather.

set feather radius


Step 5: Choose to fill the selection, or press Ctrl + X to remove the selection from the image. The result will allow you to see what the feather modifier can do to your image. The picture below gives an idea of what this tool is for. I have used the Fill tool to fill the selection with white, but the feather effect has adjusted how the effect is applied to the selection.

sample of feathering effect


You can then press Ctrl + Z on your keyboard to undo the action if you were just experimenting to see what feathering would do to your selection.

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