I have a white screen area 142x113 px in Photoshop.

I select half of this area and tried SelectModifySmooth but it does not work the way I expected. I tried decreasing the selection's width and now the Smooth command works, but not very well.

I have 3 questions:

  1. Why smooth does not work in the first condition?
  2. What are the best ways for creating smooth edges (rounded corners) of a selection?
  3. What are the best ways for creating smooth edges (rounded corners) of a Layer?

7 Answers 7


I don't know why Photoshop has never had a "rounded rectangle" selection tool. Seems like it ought to, doesn't it? But it doesn't. So, to answer your questions:

  1. "Smooth" is designed to even out rough edges. It doesn't do effective job of rounding corners because that's not what it's for.

  2. To create a selection with rounded corners, you have to start with a path and turn it into a selection: Use the rounded rectangle Shape tool in "Path" mode (it's the middle icon, the one with the pen, between the Shape Layer and Fill Pixels icons) to create a path with the rounding you want, then press Ctl - Enter (Windows) or Cmd - Return (Mac OS) to turn the path into a selection.

To mask a layer, just move the selection to where you want it then click the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. That will create a layer mask based on your selection.

  • I feel you know what you are doing but it's completely unclear for newbies. I can't find anything you mentioned.
    – mimic
    Aug 14, 2021 at 0:14

I love to cheat selections using Quick Mask.

For this example, I would make the selection with a rectangle, then go to Quick Mask and make sure Mask is Selected Areas.

Use the eraser to remove the square edges of your rectangle, and then the paint brush or pencil etc. with a big round brush to make your rounded corner.

  • Oooh... sneaky! :-) Jun 5, 2011 at 19:39
  • yep. I use Quick Mask for any selection which can't be drawn in one mouse-swipe. It's really productive once you get used to using it that way. Jun 5, 2011 at 21:52
  • 1
    Interesting. When it comes to masking, I use Quickmask when I want to soften a selection with visual feedback (Gaussian Blur, gradient tool, that kind of thing), but my first hit is almost always either Channels, with Calculations, Levels and Burn/Dodge as backup tools, or Color Range (the new masks panel makes that incredibly easy, and gives instant, full-resolution feedback). There are so many ways to mask in PS... :-) Jun 5, 2011 at 22:37

If you use the rectangle tool to make your selection then modify> smooth> change pixel size to round edges.


In CS 3 and above, at least.

Select the Rectangle Tool (shortcut key "U").

Select the Rounded Rectangle icon from the Options at the top of your workspace. Or (shortcut key "Shift + U").

Choose a Radius from the Options at the top of your workspace.

(Hint: pull out guides if you want to quickly control the size of your rounded rectangle.)

Draw your Rounded Rectangle.

(Hint: Make sure to select white for the color fill from the Options at the top of your workspace. This specifies a white color fill for the rectangle. Select "No Color" for the stroke.)

See a demo in this youtube.com video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hh_Mv7Zg1kY


try this one: Select > Modify > Feather it worked for me.

  • This is exactly what I needed, not sure why it's down voted. Jul 20, 2017 at 18:12
  • Though this produces a rounded selection, it also feathers the selection itself, i.e. you can't manipulate the image right up to the edge.
    – qorinthian
    Jun 21, 2023 at 16:08

So here's how I do a rectangular 'Stroke Line' shape with curved corners for the face of my website...

In Elements 11 I select the 'Rounded Rectangle Tool'. In the 'Tool Options' There is a little box which says 'Radius'. I make it 30px. I create the rectangle to fit the size/space/area I require. I Simplify the 'Shape Layer in the layers panel' (Ctrl and Left Click to create the outer, marching ants). I click on 'Select'>'Modify'>'Contract' I did 5 pixels. Click OK. The marching ants move in 5 pixels all around. I Select the 'Magic Eraser Tool' and click anywhere inside the area to be removed. Now I have a perfect 'Stroke-like Outer Line Shape'. Using the 'Move Tool' I can move it around to get it in the correct spot. I can even change the colour. The result is a solid (non-feathered) line to help create the design I want.

  • Is Elements sufficiently close to Photoshop that it will work the same way?
    – Jongware
    Dec 17, 2017 at 15:11

you cannot make rounded rectangle crop using marquee in photoshop. its not possible.

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