Rounded Corners for Photos

For whatever reason, we are all in ecstasy over rounded corners, be they of paper or of photographs. I admittedly possess several physical corner rounding punches and I use them (as I did for Days Made Strange). But I wanted to inkjet print some photos onto cardstock and I wanted the edges rounded as they printed. Photoshop doesn't actually have a button to click or a filter for this, but I found a set of instructions online. However, a few steps were missing for me. Here's my version (I'm using Photoshop CS3).  It goes pretty fast. (For actual, physical, corner rounding punches, see the best inexpensive one here, and a pricier, industrial strength one here.)
  1. Open the file of your photo by dragging it to Photoshop. Adjust to the size you desire by going to the Menu Bar and clicking Image < Image Size. For printing out, make sure it is 300ppi.
  2. Go to Menu Bar, click on Layer < New < Layer.
  3. On the Tools Palette select the rounded rectangle tool (with the other shapes and lines). Look at the little box at the top under the menu bar and set to Radius: 40 px or whatever corner roundness you prefer. Make and center the rounded rectangle over your photo. The color doesn't matter.
  4. On the Menu Bar go to Layer < Layer Style < Blending Options. Slide Advanced Blending, Fill Opacity to 0%.
  5. On Layers Palette, go to Paths. Click on the little lines above the right scroll bar there. Highlight "Make Selection." Make sure Feather Radius is set for 0 pixels and anti-aliased.
  6. Menu Bar, go to Edit < Copy Merged (this is important).
  7. Menu Bar, go to File < New. Create a new file from clipboard.
  8. Paste in. Rounded photo!
  9. Save as jpeg.
Here, the corners appear white since they are presented on the Blogger border, but on paper you won't notice any border; you'll just see the rounded corners. Try using one of the other shapes. For fun, I changed a photo of my neighbor cat into a portrait (made sepia in iPhoto) using the ellipse. Introducing Zoe, Her Royal Fluffiness…


Anonymous said…
I am a huge fan of much of your work! I am wondering how I could cut rounded cover corners for a large book that i am making. Do you have any suggestions?
Alisa said…
You can buy corner rounders for about $10 - the inexpensive kind are like punches. I like the one made by The Paper Studio (if you search for "the paper studio corner rounder" you'll see images and sources), but the plastic may crack after heavy use.

If you need to punch very heavy stock, heavy duty corner rounders are available from Talas for between $90-200.

Good luck!