You can feather (soften or blur the edges of) a selection in Photoshop Elements 11 by setting the Feather radius before you create your selection. A problem may arise with feathering before you make your selection, if later you want to modify your initial selection.

When you make a selection with a feather, the selection border adjusts to take into account the amount of the feather. So, the resulting marquee outline doesn’t resemble your precise mouse movement. As a result, modifying, adding, or subtracting from your original selection is difficult.

A much better way to feather a selection is to make your initial selection without a feather, as shown in the left image. Clean up your selection as necessary and then apply your feather by choosing Select→Feather. In the dialog box, enter a radius value from 0.2 to 250 pixels and click OK. The resulting selection appears in the image on the right.

[Credit: © Image #2054524]
Credit: © Image #2054524

The radius is how far out in all directions the feather extends. A radius of 8 means that the feather extends 8 pixels inward and outward from the selection outline. A large feather radius makes the image appear to fade out.

The Refine Edge command, which appears right after Feather on the Select menu, enables you to fine-tune selection edges by using various options.