Nature Notes

December 6, 2012

Photoshop Tutorial- Creating a Background Blur

Filed under: Photoshop Tutorial,Processing Tips — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am

The following photoshop procedure will allow you to create a realistic motion blur on any portion of the image.

The Before Image

1.Use your favorite selection tools and select that portion of the image which will not have motion blur. In our example, we carefully select the hawk.
2. Deselect {SELECT > DESELECT or CNTR-D}
3. Duplicate layer { LAYER > DUPLICATE LAYER > OK}
4. Clone away a portion of the subject all around its edges. You don’t need to be too neat as the rest of the process will obscure it. This is necessary to ensure that portions of the subject don’t bleed into the background when the motion blur is applied.

Image with Cloned edges

5. Apply a motion blur {FILTER > BLUR > MOTION BLUR} I used a setting of 0′ angle and 34 pixels in length for this 600 pixel width example.

Image with Motion Blur applied

6. Reselect {SELECT > RESELECT}

7. Clear the selection and allow the subject from the background to show through {EDIT > CLEAR}

8. Deselct and flatten the image {SELECT > DESELECT} { LAYER > FLATTEN IMAGE}

9. Touch up the transition area between the subject and the blurred background with a pass of the blur tool to reduce the sharpness of the transition. I use about a 5 pixel diameter tool.

Final Image

Index to Photoshop Tutorials.

This tutorial is a part of the Photoshop Workflow Series


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  1. amazing adobe photoshop tutor, get more dramatic photos, nice photography journal~

    Comment by ayahya — December 6, 2012 @ 7:08 am

  2. […] tools and select that portion of the image which will not have motion blur. In our example, Subscription ARNnetSign up for our ARN newsletters! The premier provider of daily news to […]

    Pingback by tools for transition — December 6, 2012 @ 8:32 am

  3. Nice photography, love the photos due you have a website?

    Comment by Linda Perry — December 6, 2012 @ 10:09 am

  4. Nice tutorial, Harold. Will be using your method for some of my shots soon. Thanks.

    Comment by Mark Neal — December 6, 2012 @ 11:51 am

  5. Very Cool! Thanks Harold!

    Comment by Dwayne Murphy — December 6, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

  6. Never considered doing this, but it looks fantastic, so will give it a try!

    Comment by Jacqueline Deely — December 6, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

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