Adobe® Photoshop® Elements Tutorial

Digital Rounded Corner

By Jenny Binder

Heritage Photo

Week of July 21, 2008

When I completely converted to digital scrapbooking and sold my paper-scrapbooking supplies, my corner rounder was one of the few things I kept. Why? Because rounded corners are classy. They never go out of style. And they can soften the look of an otherwise “boxy” layout. Have you ever tried to round corners digitally? The first time I tried it, well, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. It involved 4 carefully placed circles, inverse selections, and the eraser tool…talk about doing something the hard way! Don’t worry, though, there’s a MUCH easier way to round corners. Here’s how.

So we’re all on the same page…

To keep the instructions simple, we’re going to round the corners of a photo, but you can apply this technique to paper pieces as well. Also, these instructions assume your photo has been moved from its original file onto your scrapbook page.

Step 1) Prepare

  • In the Layers palette, make the photo layer active by clicking on it.

  • Choose the Rounded Rectangle Tool in the Tool bar to the left. This tool can be a little hard to find because it is nested with several others, including the Line Tool and the Custom Shape Tool.

  • In the Options bar above, type “.5 in” in the Radius field. This will give the corners a radius of half an inch. If I’m working with a particularly small photo, sometimes I’ll reduce this value to .4 or even .3. Play around with this setting to see what you prefer.

Scrapper's Guide

Step 2) Create a Rounded Rectangle

  • Click and drag a Rounded Rectangle right on top of your photo, making it the size and shape you want your photo to end up. Press the space bar to reposition as you drag if you need to. Be sure the rectangle is smaller than the photo, and does not extend past the photo’s edge on any side. Once you release the mouse, you’ll have a rounded rectangle on top of your photo, and Elements will put this new rounded rectangle on a layer of its own in the Layers palette.

  • Click the Simplify button in the Options bar above.

Rounded Rectangle

Step 3) Rearrange layers

This may look funny with your rounded rectangle on top of your photo, but I wanted you to see what your shape looks like before we move it under the photo. In the Layers palette, click and drag the rounded rectangle layer just under the photo layer.

Scrapper's Guide

Step 4) Group and Merge

  • Now we’re going to group the photo layer with the rounded rectangle layer. Press the Alt key (Mac: Opt key) and click between these two layers to group them together.

  • Merge the two layers together by making sure the photo layer is the active layer in the Layers palette and then press Ctr E (Mac: Cmd E).

Now your photo has beautiful rounded corners in a snap! (And believe me, much easier than using 4 carefully placed circles, an inverse selection, and the eraser tool!)
Share your hard work with us! Post your layouts with rounded corners in the July Tip of the Week Gallery.


Tutorial by Jenny Binder,
Page by Jenny Binder, all paper and elements from the July 2008 Scrapper’s Guide Premier Kit, English Garden by Jenny Binder.

Heritage Photo


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