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Creating Rounded Edges in Photoshop
Aken
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 129

Web designer, crappy photographer, motorcycle rider, drum banger, air guitar rockin' dude from the cheese state =)

Wisconsin, USA
by Aken Aken is offline 25 Jan 2007

Hey everyone! I'm digging the new Articles section of VB.org, so I figured I'd contribute a little tutorial that I learned years ago and use in almost every website design.

Creating Rounded Edges in Photoshop!



Note: This process has worked in both Photoshop 6.0 and Photoshop CS (my current version seen in this article). I see no reason why it shouldn't work in CS2. If anyone runs into any problems using other version, please speak up!


Preface

So you've got your document open in Photoshop, and you're ready to make some rounded edges. Great! If you're not this far, well then that's a problem Create a new file (Ctrl + N)

Step 1: Get a fresh layer.

In your Layers window, click the Creat New Layer button (indicated by the red arrow). Feel free to rename it to whatever you'd like. Make sure you select it when you are done, which is indicated by the layer turning blue w/ white text as pictured.



Step 2: Make a block of white.

Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool, click and drag the cursor to create a square or rectangle. Whatever shape you create is what will end up with rounded corners, so it's easiest to make this shape accurate to it's final size. (A great way to do this is by using your Guides!)



Once you've got your selection, go to Edit > Fill. Change the Use drop-down menu to White, make sure the Mode is set to Normal, and Opacity is set to 100%. (You can ignore the Preserve Transparency checkbox.) Hit Ok!



Step 3: Cut!

With the white box still selected, Cut it out! (Edit > Cut, or Ctrl + X). This effectively copies the white box to your clipboard, then deletes it off the layer.

Step 4: Paste to Channels.

On your Layers window, select the Channels tab near the top. You will see four layers - RGB, Red, Green, and Blue. Select the New Channels button on the bottom to create a new one. It will automatically default to Alpha 1 and be selected. The background will be black, don't worry about it, it's a good thing!



Paste (Ctrl + V) your white box. It will show up in the middle of the channel and will still be selected. Hit Ctrl + D to deselect it.



Step 5: Blurrr!

Here's where the fun begins! Make sure your Alpha 1 layer is still selected, and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Change the Radius to 9.0 Pixels. Hit Ok! Your white layer should now look like this:



You can see that it's getting closer to curved edges!

Step 6: Levels change.

This step is what changes our curved edges from a wierd blurry looking thing to a nice even white.

Open your Levels box by hitting Ctrl + L, or using Image > Adjustments > Levels. I know it looks a little complicated, but don't worry, it's easy

Change the top three Input Levels boxes to the follow, from left to right: 121, 1.00, 136. You should not have to change the Output Levels, but they should read 0, 255. Hit Ok!



Hey, look - we've got some rounded edges!



Step 7: Back to Layers.

Now that we've got our rounded edges, we need to get them back to our normal layers. Hold Control on your keyboard and left-click your Alpha 1 channel. This will automatically select your white box. Copy it, then push the Delete Channel button on the bottom, shown below.



Now, click back to your Layers tab, make sure your new layer is still selected (AKA blue!), and hit Paste. Bingo! One white box with rounded edges!



Step 8: Cleanup + tips and tricks.

If you've got a keen eye, you'll probably notice that the edges of your box aren't a nice plain white. Often times you don't even want the box to stay white anyway, so that's not a big deal. The easiest and most efficient way to change the color of the box is to Double-Click the layer in your Layers window, which will bring up a box of Styles. Use the Color Overlay section and change it to whatever color you choose.

You can also use this Styles box to add other effects to your box, such as drop shadows, gradients, patterns, and more.

If you're interested in smaller rounded edges, for a banner or button or whatever, you can change the size of the Gaussian Blur in Step 5 - 4.0 is about half the size of the final result.

Thanks for reading, and of course if you have any questions or feedback, don't hesitate to post up! I'd like to hear if someone else has a different technique as well.





Last edited by Princeton; 26 Jan 2007 at 16:18..
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  #2  
Old 26 Jan 2007, 16:19
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Princeton Princeton is offline
 
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Real name: Joe Velez
Great tips

thanks for sharing
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  #3  
Old 28 Jan 2007, 15:49
WildRover WildRover is offline
 
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Top post!
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  #4  
Old 29 Jan 2007, 07:45
HPIA HPIA is offline
 
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We need more good tutorials on making borders...

Thanks!
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  #5  
Old 29 Jan 2007, 19:39
unenergizer unenergizer is offline
 
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Real name: Andrew Brown
I dont understand why you would want to make a shape that way. It would be much easier to use your rectangular marquee tool, then making a box. Then going to Select > Modify > Smooth. Then choose how many pixels you want the box rounded off to. Very simple.
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  #6  
Old 29 Jan 2007, 20:58
bigdog829 bigdog829 is offline
 
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Or just use the pen tool & select the rounded rectangle
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  #7  
Old 29 Jan 2007, 21:38
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Aken Aken is offline
 
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Real name: Eric
Well first of all, after you've done this technique a few times and get it memorized, it's very fast and easy to do, even over and over.

This technique also introduces added extras such as filters and channels - things that a lot of new designers aren't going to have a clue what they do, or if they even exist. And while I realize that this tutorial doesn't really explain what gaussian blur or channels can also be used for, it's an introduction to them none-the-less.

And more importantly, you can use this exact method to create curves not entirely devoted to just a rectangle or square, for instance:



Try doing that smoothly and quickly with your pen tool

I'm aware of other methods to creating just a simple rounded edge on a rectangle, and that's great if it's all you need. But if you're like me, you like learning new and interesting techniques. I think this opens a lot beyond a simple box.
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  #8  
Old 30 Jan 2007, 06:28
unenergizer unenergizer is offline
 
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I wasn't complaining. I was wondering why you would use steps making it more complex than it has to be. I understand what you were trying to get across now. Great tutorial. Im sure it will help plenty.
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  #9  
Old 30 Jan 2007, 06:44
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Aken Aken is offline
 
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Didn't think you were complaining - I understand why you'd be curious. Now you know!
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  #10  
Old 13 Feb 2007, 12:44
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gusfune gusfune is offline
 
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Or you can just make a selection using the Rounded Circle shape... Will save some time...
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  #11  
Old 14 Feb 2007, 07:33
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Aken Aken is offline
 
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Real name: Eric
If you're referring to using the Rounded Rectangle shape tool, I've already explained the benefits of using this technique over it.

If you're ferring to using the Elyptical Marquee tool, I have no idea how that would help.

Feel free to explain!
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  #12  
Old 18 Mar 2007, 19:35
giovannicosta giovannicosta is offline
 
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Fantastic, thankyou
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  #13  
Old 10 Jun 2007, 16:16
Ohiosweetheart Ohiosweetheart is offline
 
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Real name: Peggy
I wish someone would write a tutorial for this for Paint Shop Pro.
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  #14  
Old 12 Jun 2007, 13:15
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Triky Triky is offline
 
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Thank you, Aken.
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  #15  
Old 15 Jun 2007, 16:26
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Triky Triky is offline
 
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Hey, Aken. Now I need to know how to save it for a web site. If I click on Save for Web it save the enire box.. and I need the top-left corner, the top-right corner, the left line, the right line, the bottom line, etc, etc. Wich is the best way for do this?
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