How to Create Blur Edges in Photoshop

By Allen Bethea

Blurred edges are one way you can draw the attention of viewers to the subject of your photos. With Photoshop CC, you can surround your photos with a blurred border by using the Gaussian Blur filter, decreasing layer opacity, applying the Blur Tool or by experimenting with the Median Noise filter. The information in this article applies to Photoshop CC 14.2.1 and may vary slightly or significantly with other versions of Photoshop.

Gaussian Blur

The Gaussian filter works by applying a translucent screen over the edge of your photo that allows a blurred view of the objects beneath to show through. Select the "Rectangular" Marquee tool and then create a rectangular, selected area within your picture that includes the areas you don't want to blur. When you inverse the selected area, you will see a frame-like border around your picture. Use the Gaussian Blur tool located in the Filter menu to make the selected area less distinct. By adjusting the size of the blur radius, you can vary the amount of haze in the border.

Opacity Tool

The blur effect possible with Photoshop's Opacity tool resembles a border made of wax paper strips. Cut the selected border area from the photo by pressing "Ctrl-X." Create a new layer with a transparent background, select it and then press "Ctrl-V" to paste the edges into the layer. Lower the new layer's opacity level and then flatten the image. Your photo will be surrounded by an opaque border that obscures the view of the objects beneath.

Blur Tool

The Blur Tool is a brute-force method of blurring the edges of you photos. You can apply this effect directly to your photo or on edges placed in a separate layer. Select the "Blur Tool" and then increase the size of its brush to 100px so you can cover more ground per stroke. Apply the Blur tool across the borders, then flatten your image.

Median Filter

The Median noise filter reduces the contrast in colors between adjoining objects in a photo. Applied carefully, the Median noise filter can produce a blurred-edge effect. Adjust the amount of blur by decreasing the radius property of the filter. For instance, a radius of three blurs the edge, but the objects within it may still be discernible.