Matt Thommes

My personal web log about technology, music, software, life, and more. Written since 2002/03.

Fast rounded corners in Photoshop

I have worked in Photoshop for years, and creating “rounded corners” is one task that I’ve always found myself “struggling to remember,” when the time comes to actually apply the effect. There is no “built–in” filter or option that will automatically do this. You have to manually apply the effect. Fortunately, with a few basic instructions, creating rounded corners will no longer take all afternoon. The process I am going to show you is just one that I discovered recently. By no means is this the only way to accomplish the effect.

Note: The screenshots and process were accomplished with Photoshop CS. I am not sure if the same options are available with earlier versions of Photoshop.

Sample image

Let’s take a look at the sample image below, of Cameron and Kaiser: Cameron and Kaiser, with boxed corners This is a nice photo, sure. It looks good. But immediately noticed are those sharp, boxy corners. The image appears raw and untouched. With powerful tools such as Photoshop, there is no reason this image can’t be enhanced. By simply adding curved corners, this image will immediately become more warm and appealing.

The process

Within Photoshop, take a look at the Layers palette. The photo should be on it’s own layer, and we’re going to create another layer right on top of that. Create another layer on top of the photo layer On this layer, we are going to draw a rectangle, with the rounded rectangle tool. The rounded rectangle tool Draw the rectangle on the new layer you created. Draw the rectangle It doesn’t matter what the fill color is right now. Just try to center the rounded rectangle as best you can. Essentially, whatever falls inside this rectangle will be included in the picture. Now, go back to the Layers palette, and select the layer that you just drew the rounded rectangle on. Double click on that layer. The Layer Style palette should open up. The Layer Style palette In the Advanced Blending area, slide the Fill Opacity percentage down to 0%. Slide the Fill Opacity percentage down to 0 Back in the Layers palette, click on the Paths tab. In the Layers palette, select the Paths tab With the current Path selected, click on the little arrow button, in the upper right corner of the Layers palette, and select “Make Selection…” from the select list. Make Selection... In the “Make Selection” option box, make sure Feather Radius is set to 0 pixels, and Anti–aliased IS checked. Make Selection option box Hit OK. You should get a nice, smooth selection of the rounded rectangle that you created.

Almost done

Now, with the selection still pending action, go to Edit, Copy Merged. Create a new document, and leave the dimensions alone (they should reflect the copy you just made). In the new document, go to Edit, Paste. There you go! Finished! The image should now have nice, smooth corners, instead of the sharp, boxy ones it had before. Also, for a more detailed explanation, check out my article at Pain in the Tech!
  • 10 September 2004
  • 3