What a wonderful forum. Thank you for your help in advance! I own a Funeral Home and we prepare memorial folders for families. I have accomplished extracting the picture of the individual from a background. I prepare an oval cutout layer that is filled with an appropriate gradient. I can get the extracted picture in the oval layer. Now I would like to soften the edges of the oval. I have used the blending options and created the bevel and other effects, but would like to know a method of creating a soft edge on the oval with out hand painting smudge and blur around the whole oval. I hope this description is sufficient.
There are a few ways to do this. Here is just one.
1. Select the oval layer by control+clicking (in Windows) or apple key+clicking (on a Mac) the layer. You should have the "marching ants" lines around the oval.
2. From the "Select" menu select Modify-->Contract. Try 10 pixels.
3. From the "Select" menu again, choose Inverse.
4. Once more from "Select", choose Feather. Set the amount for 10 pixels.
5. Finally, delete your selection by hitting delete key or Edit-->Clear.
If you know ahead of time you want a soft-edged oval, use the oval Marquee tool... add a few pixels of feather in the tool settings. Make the oval the size and shape you need (maybe a little bigger to compensate for feathered edge). Then invert the selection and delete. Instant soft edge!