Smoothing Out the Rough: Conquering Jagged Edges in Photoshop Elements

Jagged edges in your photos can be an eyesore, distracting from the beauty of your image. But fear not, aspiring photo editors! Photoshop Elements offers a toolbox of techniques to smoothen those rough edges and achieve a polished, professional look. Let's delve into the methods you can use to tame those unruly pixels:

Understanding the Culprits:

Before tackling the problem, let's identify the common causes of jagged edges:

  • Low image resolution: When you zoom in on a low-resolution image, the individual pixels become visible, creating a sawtooth effect.
  • Sharpness tools overuse: Over-sharpening an image can enhance edges to the point of becoming harsh and unnatural.
  • Selection imperfections: When using tools like the Lasso or Magic Wand, you might end up with selections with uneven borders.

Smoothing Strategies:

Now, let's explore your options for creating smoother edges:

Global Adjustments:

  • Gaussian Blur: This filter applies a gentle blur to the entire image, softening both jagged edges and details. Experiment with the blur radius for the desired effect.
  • Smart Blur: An intelligent blur that preserves edges while softening areas with high color contrast, effectively targeting the jagged edges.

Selective Smoothing:

  • Feathering: When making a selection, enable the "Feather" option to gradually blend the selection edges with the surrounding pixels, creating a smoother transition.
  • Refine Edge Tool: This powerful tool allows you to refine a selection after it's made. Adjust the "Smooth" slider to soften the edges selectively.
  • Clone Stamp Tool: Sample a smooth area of your image and use it to paint over the jagged edges, effectively replacing them with smooth pixels.

Advanced Techniques:

  • Frequency Separation: This advanced technique separates the image into its high-frequency (details) and low-frequency (colors and tones) components. You can then blur the high-frequency layer selectively to smooth edges without affecting colors.
  • Plugin Power: Explore third-party plugins specifically designed for edge smoothing, offering more advanced features and control.


  • Subtlety is key: Start with minimal adjustments and gradually increase until you achieve the desired smoothness without losing detail.
  • Sharpen wisely: Sharpening can enhance details after smoothing, but use it cautiously to avoid creating new jagged edges.
  • Practice makes perfect: Experiment with different techniques and settings to find what works best for your specific image and desired outcome.

Embrace the Smoothness:

By mastering these techniques, you'll be equipped to tackle jagged edges with confidence, transforming your photos into polished masterpieces. Remember, smoothness is not about erasing all detail, but about achieving a natural and pleasing balance. So, grab your virtual toolkit, embrace the smoothing power of Photoshop Elements, and watch your images shine!