I am working on a map exported from GIS software. It is on a white background and has very sharp edges. When I try to automatically blur the edge it is not working well because it is curved a lot. I am doing it with 'refine edge' tool (there might be a better one?).

Best for me is to manually blur the edge on the whole image. It will take time but I am willing to do it. Problem is that I have more similar maps. All of them are the same spatially, just with different colors.

It will be great to be able to blur the edges on all of them together. Or maybe to make some kind of manually blurred mask which I would later apply on the other maps.

Is there such an option? Thanks a lot. enter image description here

  • I'm unclear.. do you have a mask or are the shapes all on a white background like your sample images? Refine mask wont' do much without a mask.. and you can feather and smooth edges for masks with much better results than you are showing here.. if there's a mask.
    – Scott
    Feb 6, 2020 at 13:47

1 Answer 1


One way to blur just the edge of something is to remove its background, duplicate it and blur the lower layer. That way you retain a sharp top layer and jus get the blurred edges. It may require some additional cleanup from the top layer, but with something like a map, maybe not. In most cases, this is pretty simple to do and also not incredibly helpful. Especially in this case, which is pretty extreme.

In this case, since the goal is to make the edge quality better, I would try the automatic image trace in Illustrator and use its edge. I mean... looking at the map I wonder if you could just use the vector image traced by AI and call it a day... but assuming you have to keep most of the raster map as it is, you could try this:

  • Trace the map leaving out the white background.
  • Use the high fidelity photo preset for the image trace.
  • Then back in PS, place that below the raster layer.
  • Place the raster layer in a clipping mask with the vector layer (Alt+click between the layers).

enter image description here

  • Hey, thanks for this idea. So far the image is bigger than my PC is able to handle and vectorize :) but I will try it on smaller pieces.
    – Radek
    Feb 7, 2020 at 8:44
  • @Radek, you can also do it all in PS too, but AI would've been slightly simpler and better. The simplified way to do this ins PS is to use select > modify > smooth..., then I fill that with blue color from the map and finally form the clipping mask with the original: Example gif. To make it better, you'd have to expand the original texture to the edges, but this probably would do as is... — You could also probably use Select > Select and mask... to make a more accurate selection, but that is a bit more advanced.
    – Joonas
    Feb 7, 2020 at 9:46

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