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Photoshop offers around a hundred filters. Of those, 14 are devoted to the task of blurring images. In contrast, there are just five sharpening filters, so almost three times as many devoted to the task of blurring your photos, which is crazy, right? Sure, it makes sense to sharpen in post, but blur? Why? And get this: three of the Blur filters are new to CS6. We haven't seen a new sharpen filter in years. Well, here's the reason. As upside-down as it sounds, blur focuses your attention.
Take this image for example. Low angle, decent composition. Highlights are pretty blown, so that's not so good. But the biggest problem: flat, flat, flat focus. What are we supposed to look at? The Wall Street Bull? Those little people on the left? Or is the real subject of the photograph the trashcan? Compare it to this. I've made a lot of changes, but mostly it's the focus. The animal's ribs remain sharp, as do its shoulders and its face. He exudes power, menace, maybe even a hint of Wall Street greed.
But whatever the subtext, this thing doesn't like you that much, and it's coming at you. I created this effect using the new Blur Gallery in CS6, which includes those three filters I alluded a moment ago, which are Field Blur, Iris Blur and Tilt-Shift. They are not compatible with Smart Objects, which is unfortunate, but otherwise they're amazing. Here, let me show you exactly how they work.
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