How to Smooth Edges in Photoshop – A Step by Step Guide

Smooth Edges Photoshop plays a vital role in Photoshop editing services. You will see a dramatic change in the image after smoothing edges. By the way, if you are looking for how to smooth edges in Photoshop?

I will share a complete guideline to get a sharp & smooth edge in any complex background. The smooth edge is an integral part of making composite photos, product images, or magazine photos. I will also share secret tips to avoid jagged edges.

Background Removing is an essential technique that needs to remove distracting background unwanted objects. Besides, it makes the image appealing. There are lots of different techniques to cut out images using Photoshop CC 2020 Tools & Toolbar. Depending on the background complexity, you need to apply different Photoshop editing techniques. 

Unfortunately, a single method is unable to give the best performance. So, apply a 2-3 technique at a time to make the selection efficient. While cutting images, you must face problems with edges. Moreover, cut-out images contain ragged edges in limbs or hair or legs area.

What is Smooth Edge? Why We Need it and What Tools are The Best 

While you cut out images from the background, it is highly essential to make the cutting edges smooth. But unprofessional clipping services cut your important outer edges inaccurately. Thus, your subject contains jagged edges that can distract the audience. 

Smooth Edges Photoshop

When you fix all the rough & jagged edges from a cutout & low-quality image called smooth edges. Soften the middle pixel between the border & background. As a result, you will get a smooth edge.

In this digital age, E-commerce businesses, digital photography, advertisements, and magazines all depend on the web. They need a high-quality product photo or portrait image without any jagged edges. Here the perfect image is the key to their business success. In this competitive business field, it is impossible to win the race with low-quality images.

When you capture photos with a low-quality camera, it can result in a rough edge. Moreover, while you cut out the distracting background to make the image appealing, it can also make jagged edges. Unfortunately, rough edges give you low-quality photos.

So,  refine the imperfect edges to make it smooth & appealing. It is highly essential for the betterment of your business. Covid -19 pandemic makes the online marketplace more competitive. You can’t skip edges if you want to reach your goal.

Photoshop is the best software among all other tools to fix rough edges. It allows flexibility, depth controlling & proper selection to make the edge smooth as well as smooth skin.  

Here we use the below tools to do smooth edges on photoshop.

  • Refine Edge brush
  • Burn Tool
  • Dodge tool
  • Gaussian Blur
  • Level

Why Smooth Edges are Essential

Photoshop is the leading photo editing tool. This giant software comes with magical retouching tools to make your digital photograph attractive. It allows dozens of features to solve your image problems. 

Moreover, while you do cut out images or capture photos with low-quality cameras that produce jagged edges. Hence, your image looks ugly & the photo becomes a wastage. Photoshop allows you to smooth jagged edges & makes your photo appealing. However, it will make your image more natural & appealing.

How to Get Smooth Edges Photoshop

To make your cutout perfect, I bring an effective channel pull technique with dodging & burning & edge Refining. We will use a powerful dodge & burn process to create a mask. You will be glad to know that this channel pull technique will be applicable to all Photoshop.

Make Selection

Firstly, select the subject from the image. From the left toolbar, choose the Quick Selection tool & select the subject.

How to Smooth Edges in Photoshop

Select Channels Panel

Now look at the bottom right side & click on the channel. Then you will find a new window that shows the color contrasting percentage of your images.

Select Channels Panel

Now select the channel that contains the most contrast color. For our sample images, it is blue & we choose the blue channel.

How to get Smooth Edges

Create a new Channel

Now keep the mouse pointer on the Blue channel & drag it to the new channel icon from the bottom of photoshop. It displays a “+” icon. It helps to make a new copy channel to develop our tricks.

Create a new Channel

Contract Selection

Then From the top Options bar, Click on Select-Modify- Contract, then enter 12-16pixels.

Finally, click on, Ok.

Contract Selection

As a result, your selection will bump inside the photo.

Smooth Edges in Photoshop

Fill Selection

Choose black colors to fill the selection. From the Toolbar, you can directly select the Foreground color or to do a quick selection you can enter D to change the color.  For filling the foreground color enter Alt/Option Delete.

Smooth Edges

Expand Selection

From the option bar, click on Select-Modify- set expand by 20-35pixel based on your image resolution.

Expand Selection

Inverse Selection

Now it’s time to reverse the selection. It’s a simple task. Just follow the command below.

  • Enter Cmd/Ctrl+ Shift+I 
Inverse Selection for Smooth Edges

Are you surprised to see the amazing inverse selection? It helps to make your cutout image more accurate.

Replace Fill Color

Change the fill color to white. Simply press Ctrl/Cmd + Delete. It will change the foreground color.

Then deselect the inverse selection. Follow the command below.

  • Ctrl/Cmd+ D

See the below results, and how it works.

Change the Foreground Color

Now you are done with the cutout but zoom in on the photo & crucially watch the edges. Still, it contains a thin edge that needs to be fixed.

Watching The Edges

Follow the approach to make it sharp & smooth.

How to Detect Edges

To make smooth edges, at first, discover the rugged edges. If your picture contains undulations & hair or fur edge, including lights from the background, then you can apply edge detection to find out the rough edge.

In your Edge Detection window, you will find the Radius slider & Smart Radius checkbox. To control your output, initially, you should set a low value. Then gradually raise it. Besides, you should keep the smart Radius unchecked.

How to Detect Edges

If you are not satisfied with the detection results, then you need to increase the Radius pixel. Again check the work edges, and whether it can detect all the triggered edges. In the case of hair, I guess a 5-pixel can give perfect edge detection. So, based on your image complexity, this value can vary.

Increase the Radius Pixel

Use Refine Edges Brush Tool

In case your image contains hair or fur, this type of edge is challenging to make smooth. I use a different techniques, but none can satisfy me with the result. After doing the various experiments, I find Refined Edge Brush is a useful tool to smooth the intricate hairy edges.

This tool will magically smooth any flyaway hair, fur, or fix fuzzy hair edges. From the left toolbar, click on brush & select the 2nd Refine edge brush.

Select the 2nd Refine Edge Brush

You already mark the critical or rough edges. Zoom in the photo to get a better view of your rough edge. You can change the refine brush tool size by pressing an open or close bracket. It is better to start with a small size brush.

Now take the mouse pointer over the fur edges. Then begin painting with your mouse on a little hair area. It will make that hair area smoother within a moment.

View Rough Edges

Gradually move the mouse pointer & drag it on the rough edge to fix it. It will change the whole craggy, sloppy, or rough edges to new smooth, clear & sharp edges. The perfection of the hair edges must impress you.

See the below images where we apply refine brush edge. Even you can examine it with a 400% zoom-in mode. But you won’t find any extra light or craggy hair.

Improve Rough Edges

This technique gives the best result in the case of hair, fur, or other complex issues that exist in the subject. I am sure you won’t get this type of perfect smooth edges in any other method.

Use the Burn Tool

From the left toolbar, select Burn Tool & check the top Options bar. Change the Range drop-down to Shadows & Exposure to 15%.

Select Burn Tool

Press Alt & zoom in on the photo to view the rough edges clearly. Then start painting with your mouse over the jagged edge. Then notice the changes it makes. It smooths the edges amazingly. You just watch the below images to feel the differences.

Smooths the Edges

Use Dodge Tool

After smoother with the burn tool, apply Dodging.

From the toolbar now choose Burn Tool. Zoom in the images. Now find out the dark edge. Then change it to highlights & drag over that edge to lighten it. You need to do painting gradually with the burn tool to make the edges softer & natural.

Smooth Edges Using Photoshop

While you are fixing hair edges, you can apply both Burn & Dodge tools to get the best output.

Suppose you are not happy yet with the edges & want to make it more smooth. Then follow the below two techniques. But if you have already fixed your edge issues, then you can skip it.

Apply Gaussian Blur

You can also apply the Gaussian blur to fix jagged edges.  Follow the command.

  • Choose Filter- Blur- Gaussian blur.

It will smooth your jagged edges within a moment. If your image contains a more bumpy edge, then select a high blur radius. You can change the radius slider to increase or decrease it. Check the visual display to select the right radius to get the best improvements.

Use Level

Level adjustments are an effective method to convert your rough edges into smooth ones. Follow the command below to make the level adjustments.

  • Choose Image- Adjustments – Levels.

Now you can see a new window that displays three sliding arrows. Here the right arrow will help you make your image white, the left one will make the image thin & the middle arrow helps generate a combination of both.

You can also check the output in the visual display. Gradually slide the arrow & check the edges to determine the ideal level to get a smooth edge.

Lead Selection

Now it’s time to lead the selection. Follow the below command.

  • Press Cmd/Ctrl + Click on the Channel. Thus, it will select the white areas on the images.
Who needs smooth edges

Now from the channel panel, select RGB. As a result, you will get the main channel back.

Photoshop Smooth Edges


Now you need to do masking. Follow the below command to create a new layer mask.

  • Hold Down Alt/Option & press on the new layer mask button from the right bottom side.

See the below images. You are making clean & nice cutout images with smooth edges in Photoshop.

Cutout Images With Smooth Edges

FAQs on Smooth Edges Photoshop

Is there a smooth tool in photoshop?

Photoshop is the leading tool to do photo editing. It has multiple smooth tools to fix your rugged edge. It is handy & flexible to make smooth edges accurately.
You can apply a smooth brush tool, burn tool, dodge tool, Gaussian blur, etc.  You can use 2-3 tools combined to generate the best result.

How do I smooth the edges of text in Photoshop?

Generally, low-resolution images face text fuzziness. Follow the below steps to smooth the text edges.

# First, click on your Text & press Ctrl+ T. And, you will get a Character display pop-up.
# In this window, you will find anti-aliasing options to make the edges smooth. From the drop-down, select the smooth edge option.

How do you fade edges in photoshop?

It is simple to fade edges using photoshop. You can follow the following steps.

1. Apply any preferable selection method to make a selection near your desired edge.
2. Now from the top options bar, click Select- Modify-Feather.
3. Now you will get a new window & place 25 in the Feather Radius field & then select Ok.
4. Then select Image- Adjustments – Curves. Select the center point of the curve & attach the anchor point. Then move it to fade your edges.

What is the best tool to do smooth edges?

Adobe Photoshop is the best tool to make smooth edges. Because it allows depth controlling & hand-drawn path, that helps to fix rough edges accurately. Moreover, the various handy smooth tools make the task simple to fix rough edges & make the image appealing.

Who needs smooth edges?

Smooth edges are an urgent need for the online marketer. Simultaneously in this digital age, maximum people need a smooth edge to grow their business. Photographers, e-commerce owners, advertisers, magazines, and celebrities are robustly required a smooth edge. It helps them to attract their target audience. Soft edge makes eye-grabbing images that can help you to achieve traffic on your sites.

Final Verdict on Smooth Edges Photoshop

I hope this article will solve your selection struggle. Now you will easily make smooth edges on Photoshop. Follow all the steps to get a sharp edge without a jaggier & ragged edge.

Making smooth edges & cutting out images with perfection is time-consuming work. That needs dedication & attention. If you have no time, it’s better to take an image masking or clipping path expert help. 

If your cut-out image contains rugged edges, that can make a bad impression on viewers & clients. So, it’s essential to smooth the edge to attract the audience.

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