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As photographers we're generally focused on trying to make sure that all of our images are sharp. And yet in some cases, you may want to apply a bit of a blur to certain images or just certain areas of an image. The new field blur filter in Photoshop CS6 makes it very easy to apply a realistic blur effect with a bit more control than you might realize at first. Let's take a look at how it works. I'm going to start off by creating a copy of my background image layer. So, I'll drag the Background Image layer thumbnail, down to the Create New Layer button, the blank sheet of paper icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. That will create a background copy so that I can blur that layer without worrying about the original Background Image layer. I'll then choose Filter > Blur > Field Blur.
This will bring up the Blur tools panel as well as the Blur Effects panel, and you'll notice that the field blur adjustment is quite simple. We can simply adjust the degree of blur. Whether it's a strong blur or a relatively subtle blur. We can also adjust the Boca effects if we want to include that in our blur. But for the time being, we'll just focus on the field blur itself. I'll increase the amount of blur being applied to the image. In this case, my thought is that I'd like to use this American flag as the backdrop for another project.
And so, I want to fade it back just a little bit I want it to not be quite so prominent in the foreground. And of course, that's a relatively straightforward adjustment. I'll go ahead and apply a little bit more blur. But what if we decide that we'd like to have the blur effect in certain areas of the photo more than others? For example, I like the blur effect in the stripes but maybe I want the stars to not be quite so blurred so that they have a little bit more of a sense of being actual stars. We're able to actually adjust the blur effect, Forefield Blur, using this control that appears at the center of the image.
For example, the circle around the outside allows me to adjust the degree of blur. So, this is in lieu of the slider on the Blur tools panel. But I can also change the position of the blur. I'll go ahead and point to the button in the center, and then drag this down to toward the bottom right. Now initially, nothing changes in the image because I'm using a single point to define the blur for the image. However, I can also click on another portion of the image in order to add an additional control point. I'll go ahead and reduce the blur for that area and increase the blur for the original area so that we can get a better sense of exactly what's going on here. By adjusting the degree of blur as well as the position for each of the control points, we can fine tune the final effect.
I'll go ahead and adjust the position here for example, and move this control point so that we're getting most of the stars to be relatively sharp. I'll then fine tune the actual blur effect. I do want a little bit of a blur for the stars, but not too much. I want to give them a bit of an ethereal glow without getting distorted too much. Right about there looks to be pretty good. And then, I'll click on the other control button. I don't want quite as much blur here. Perhaps, right around there looks to be pretty good. So now, I've adjusted the image with two control points in this case. I could certainly add additional control points.
But the point being is that we're able to fine tune our blurring effect by controlling where in the image the blur is going to focus its effect. And to what extent it will affect that area of the photo I'm pretty happy with the result here. I'll go ahead and click OK in order to apply that blur, and then turning off my Background Copy layer and turning it back on. You can get a sense of the effect we've applied with a stronger blur for the stripes at the bottom-right corner of the image. For example, and less of a blur effect for the stars at the top-left.
So, a very realistic blur effect that we were able to exercise quite a bit of control over.
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