Although there is a FREE Rounded Corner Action available on this blog, it is designed for use with Photoshop CS. For those of you using Photoshop Elements 7, try this tutorial to produce your own rounded corners! Like so many things, once you’ve done it a couple of times you will see how easy it is! Have fun!
Open photo. Notice it is on the only layer and it is called ‘Background’. See illustration below.
Right click on the ‘Background’ layer. Choose ‘Duplicate Layer’ and click OK. Now you have a copy of the original photo in a layer above the original and it is called ‘Background copy’. See illustration below.
Select the rounded rectangle tool, set the radius to achieve the amount of roundness you desire. I set mine to .25 in this example. Then draw a rectangle inside your document. The rectangle will automatically be created on its own layer, called Shape 1. See illustration below.
Now you should have some kind of colored-in rectangle showing above your photo layer. After selecting the Shape 1 layer, use the Move tool to place the shape where you think you’d like it to clip your photo. You can lower the opacity so you can see to position it better. See illustration below.
You can also adjust the size of the Shape 1 by pulling on the square boxes on each side. See illustration below.
Once you are happy, be sure to click the green arrow at the bottom right corner of the bounding box, if you have made adjustments to the size, AND be sure to raise the opacity back up to 100% (if you had lowered it). Click on the Eye icon to the left of the ‘Background’ layer (first layer/your original photo) to hide the original photo. Also notice that the Shape 1 layer in the layer palette is dark, meaning it is already selected. See illustration below.
Click in the Shape 1 layer in the layer palette and drag it down below the ‘Background copy’ layer. The Shape 1 layer will now be between the two copies of your photo. See illustration below.
Notice (in illustration ABOVE) that the Shape 1 layer is highlighted/darker, meaning it is selected. We don’t want that. So, click on the ‘Background copy’ layer to highlight it. See illustration below.
With the Background copy layer highlighted, on your keyboard hold down Ctrl and G at the same time to clip the Background copy photo over the Shape 1 layer.
As you see in the illustration below, the photo now appears to have rounded corners. Notice that the Background copy layer is slightly indented with a small arrow pointing downward to the Shape 1 layer. This is indicating that the top layer has been clipped to the layer beneath it. The background behind the two layers is transparent because we have hidden the original photo earlier by clicking on the Eye icon to its right.
Now, for the final step in creating the rounded corners photo, notice above we are still on the ‘Background copy’ layer. Stay there! Now hold Shift-Ctrl-E to merge the Shape 1 layer and the Background copy layer together. See illustration below.
You should have the photo with rounded corners on its own layer now and your original photo should remain hidden as the Background layer.
Be sure to save the new file with a different name from the original photo. You can now drag the rounded photo into other layered files to become part of your layouts, etc.
Note: You can now delete the Background layer if you wish. To do so, you must rename the layer. Do this by doubleclicking on the Background layer. When the dialogue box opens, click OK to accept the ‘Layer 0′ name. Now you can drag the layer to the trash. This will leave your rounded corner photo alone in its own file.
Please note that the rounded corner photo must be saved as a PNG or a layered file to preserve the transparent background qualities. If you do save it as a JPG, the photo will still have rounded corners but you will now have a fused solid background behind the photo. See illustration below.
Finally, be aware that the the radius chosen in Step 3 will appear more or less rounded depending on whether your photo is 72 ppi or 300 ppi, so be sure your photo is sized to your project before you apply the rounded corners!