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Feathering A Pen Tool Selection

Participant ,
Mar 02, 2023 Mar 02, 2023

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I use the pen tool quite a lot and am looking for a faster way to feather the selections it makes.

I usually right click and use that menu, but was wondering if it can be done quicker.

(I know using command + enter (on the mac) will make a selection, but this has no feathering.)

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Community Expert , Mar 03, 2023 Mar 03, 2023

Hi @ommadawn13 you could assign a keyboard shortcut to this as long as it doesn't conflict with an existing one. Check edit>keyboard shortcuts to resolve.

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Community Expert ,
Mar 02, 2023 Mar 02, 2023

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How about Select>Modify>Feather. I prefer to use the magic wand, or quick selection tool, then feather, then mask....

and if you use select and mask in options menu   you also have refine edge tool which could feather edge and smooth and feather under global refinements.

Screenshot 2023-03-02 at 10.09.19 PM.png

hope that helps!
Mark

headTrix, Inc. | Adobe Certified Training & Consulting
Consulting | Design | Development | Training

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Community Expert ,
Mar 02, 2023 Mar 02, 2023

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You'll have to convert the path into a selection first anyway, that step can't be bypassed.

 

I would suggest cmd/ctrl + enter first, then cmd/ctrl + alt + R to bring up the Select and Mask workspace (or any other convenient shortcut you want to remap it to).

 

It's just as fast and you have direct visual feedback, and you can output directly to a layer mask (or selection). All settings in the Select and Mask workspace are sticky and remain next time you open.

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Community Expert ,
Mar 02, 2023 Mar 02, 2023

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Do you usually convert your path selections to masks? If that’s how you work, you can simply adjust the Feather option in the Properties panel when a mask is selected. This is nondestructive feathering, so you can change it at any time. What’s shown below is the simplest possible scenario where it isn’t even necessary to convert the path to a selection because the path itself becomes a vector mask. If you use path selections this way, then not only can you edit the Feather value at any time in the Properties panel, you can also edit the vector mask path at any time. If you don’t like vector masks and prefer layer (pixel) masks, that’s OK, the Properties panel offers the nondestructive Feather option for both kinds of masks.

 

Photoshop feather vector mask.gif

 

But, if you actually do use selections as pure selections and not vector or layer masks, then my suggestion doesn’t help. You can still feather the selections using Select > Modify > Feather or Select > Select and Mask (or their keyboard shortcuts) as already suggested. But unlike the Properties panel, both of those methods require going into a dialog box, and they are not adjustable afterwards.

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Community Expert ,
Mar 03, 2023 Mar 03, 2023

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That's another nugget of information I never considered before: you can directly feather a vector mask. And re-editable at that. Why didn't I know that? 😉

 

Yes, that seems like the most efficient way to do it.

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Participant ,
Mar 03, 2023 Mar 03, 2023

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Good suggestions, but an option in the pen tool itself shold be available.

Like in the marquee tool: enter an amount, hit the keystroke, which would apply it.

It's there in the right-click menu; is it that hard to have it as one of the tools options?

 

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Community Expert ,
Mar 03, 2023 Mar 03, 2023

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@ommadawn13 feathering a pen tool path is contrarian. Paths are meant by design to be accurate and precise.

You could record a very simple action to convert path to selection, open select>Modify>feather then allow you to enter a value.

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Community Expert ,
Mar 03, 2023 Mar 03, 2023

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quote

Good suggestions, but an option in the pen tool itself shold be available.

Like in the marquee tool: enter an amount, hit the keystroke, which would apply it.

By @ommadawn13

 

One way to understand why Feather is technically not available is that you are using the Pen tool as a way to get to a selection (which is a great technique), but a path is not yet a selection, so the Feather option can’t be available yet.

 

Feather is available for all marquee selection tools because after you use one, there really is a real selection there to feather. But the Pen tool is not specifically a selection tool, it’s a vector path creation tool. A pure path is not yet set up to act on a layer’s pixels. A selection is only one of the potential things a pure path could turn into, and until it specifically becomes a selection it cannot be feathered.

 

The Feather option is available in the Properties panel for vector masks because as a mask, it’s being rendered on the fly to act on its layer’s pixels (a mask is basically the same as a selection), so that’s why you can interactively use Feather on a path that way.

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Participant ,
Mar 03, 2023 Mar 03, 2023

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Thanks - I made an action to perform this (although my mac won't let me get away with using just one key.)

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Community Expert ,
Mar 03, 2023 Mar 03, 2023

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Hi @ommadawn13 you could assign a keyboard shortcut to this as long as it doesn't conflict with an existing one. Check edit>keyboard shortcuts to resolve.

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Community Expert ,
Mar 03, 2023 Mar 03, 2023

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Thanks - I made an action to perform this (although my mac won't let me get away with using just one key.)

By @ommadawn13

 

If you’re doing this with the Actions panel shortcut option, then yes, it has certain limitations as far as which key combinations you can use. For example, I don’t think the Actions panel lets you use single-key shortcuts and might require a function key.

 

But that isn’t specifially a Mac limitation. Another shortcut application, with fewer limitations, might let you invoke a command in a specific application using a single key. But that would be separate software. Or, writing a Photoshop script might give you more flexibility with action shortcuts,

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