I am currently working with a photo that is placed in an InDesign document.I currently have a directional feather applied to the image but the edges are still visible. I would like to feather the edge so that the background color smoothly transitions into the photograph. When I open the image up in Photoshop, I select the entire photo, and then select Refine Edge and then choose a non-zero Radius for edge detection and a non-zero value for Feathering, but when I apply it nothing happens. Is this the wrong way to go about the task I am trying to accomplish?

Here you can see the boundary of the photo against the fill of the bckgd which I would like to remove:

Here you can see the boundary of the photo against the fill of the bckgd which I would like to remove

  • 3
    Could you provide some sample/screenshot?
    – thebodzio
    May 7, 2014 at 21:18

3 Answers 3


You don't show your FX panel settings, but you probably have left "Noise" at 0. Any gradient effect like this can be improved by adding 2% to 3% of noise, which will help to break up the hard edge.

Based on what I see, though, it's probable that you need to apply the effect over too short a distance to achieve full transparency at the edges. If so, the answer is to mask the image Photoshop.

A layer mask is a way to hide or reveal different parts of an image layer in Photoshop, and this is a basic bit of technique you need to know.

  • From the Layer menu, choose Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All. Notice that in the Layers Panel the mask has the outline indicating that's what you are going to affect when you paint.

  • Select the brush tool and set it to 0% hardness, 100% opacity, 100% flow and a diameter of about twice the amount of feather you're looking for.

  • Press D to set your foreground and background colors to their defaults (black is the foreground color).

  • Press the Caps Lock key to change the cursor to a "+" sign. (This doesn't change the way the brush works, it just helps you be more precise.)

  • Click the cursor on one corner of the image.

  • Shift-click on the next corner. This paints a dead straight line from your first position to this one.

  • Continue to Shift-click each corner in turn, moving in the same direction, clockwise or counter-clockwise, that you started in.

All four edges of your image are now feathered evenly to transparency at the outside edge.

Now you can change the opacity of the brush to about 20% (press the 2 key), adjust the size, and paint to the mask to fine tune it. Paint with white to reveal parts of your image, with black to hide them. Where the mask is completely black the image layer is transparent; where it is grey, the image will be partially visible, and so on.


enter image description hererefine edge is going to refine the edge of the selection, it will not make any changes to the way the image is displaying.

You may want to turn a selection that you make into a mask and feather the mask creating a feathered transparent border on your image. you can then use the mask properties and refine the mask.

Black hides, white reveals and gray will transition between the two

  • which layer do I make the mask on, the image layer above the background fill color?
    – Thalatta
    May 7, 2014 at 21:49
  • 2
    the mask will hide pixels on the layer that it is on. so if you want the image to blend with the background then you would put the mask on the image layer. May 8, 2014 at 15:13

What I always do (if the image is full screen) is

  • 1) fill entire area on new layer
  • 2) move it down & right 2 pixels
  • 3) select all, move selection up & left one pixel

You now have a 1px offset. Contract the selection if you want a larger fade, inverse selection, and feather away.

Example: enter image description here

  • I am little confused about a few things. when you write "fill" you mean Edit->Fill with my desired background color? Also, if that is true, when I select inverse and have the Photo layer selected, it just selects the slivers of background and therefore doesn't actually feather the image. Forgive my foolishness but I don't understand.
    – Thalatta
    May 7, 2014 at 20:54
  • similarly what am I moving down, the newly created layer or the image? Wouldn't it make more sense to move the latter?
    – Thalatta
    May 7, 2014 at 20:56
  • What I'm referring to is creating a "guide block" with a new layer. Fill it (i.e., paint bucket), do the steps above, and you can use it as a guide to select out your area. You can drop opacity on it to see how it fits on your image. Once you have your selection, you can inverse the selection, feather (alt+F6), and just gradually delete more by hitting delete multiple times and/or expanding the feather/contracting the selection. #Photoshop7.0
    – kcdwayne
    May 8, 2014 at 22:57

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