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Creating Interesting Transparent Edges Effect In Photoshop

Written by: Oliver Krautscheid - Published: Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Ever wanted to create some cool stuff in Photoshop? Here’s a quick tutorial that shows you how to create some fancy transparent edges that can be smooth, rough, liquid, whatever you feel like. Two examples:
Transparent Edges Effects

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Image: Rift – Planes of Telara

1. StepOpen Photoshop
2. Step Open an interesting wallpaper like the one below from Rift. You can download our Rift Windows 7 theme if you want this particular wallpaper by the way.

3. StepUse the Lasso tool (L) to create a random selection around the main object of the wallpaper
Creating Photoshop Selection

4. StepPress Shift + F and enter a Feather Radius of 15 pixels (you can play around with this for the perfect result)

5. Step Double-click on Background layer to unlock it:
Unlock Background Layer in Photoshop

6. StepNow, while the selection is still active in the background click on Add layer mask:
Add Layer Mask in Photoshop

7. Step You should have something like this now:
Transparent Edges in photoshop

8. Step Select the vector mask and right-click on it. Click on “Refine mask”:
Refine mask in Photoshop

9. Step Change the radius until you have some interesting edges, a good value might be around 70 – 90 for large images.
Refine mask radius, feather, smooth, contrast+

10. Step Play around with Smooth for smooth edges, with Feather for some shiny effects, with contrast for some rough edges. You’ll love this, that’s why I like Photoshop so much – simple ways to create cool effects.

End result could look like this:
Interesting Liquid Edges in Photoshop

Or this:
Rough Edges Photoshop

Would you like more Photoshop tutorials?

If you have any questions, feel free to post them below.

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Written by: Oliver Krautscheid
Oliver is the founder and lead editor of this site. He is interested in finding new ways to break Windows, find common errors and help others to fix them. Aside from that, he loves to fully customize systems with Rainmeter and Dreamscene, find out more about ancient civilizations like the Chachapoya, sharpen his digital photography skills and create software with a small group of selected developers. If you would like to connect with him to discuss anything, send him a mail!

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4 Responses to Creating Interesting Transparent Edges Effect In Photoshop

  1. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Anthony said:

    That produces a pretty interesting result. You could use this for a paint splatter or something similar. The only thing I don’t like is how both of the images leave a blurry “smudge” at the bottom.

  2. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    The smudge is the result of image clipping. If you increase the canvas size of the image there will be no smudge at all.

    Hope this helps …

  3. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Mathan said:

    But no refine mask option in photoshop 7… Wat to do bro???

  4. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    christos said:

    I cant find the option refine mask in photoshop CS3 . Can you help me?

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