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A selective blur can really help focus your attention on a particular subject, and remove some of the distracting elements from a photo. For example here, I would like to focus your attention on the horse and rider and perhaps downplay just a little bit the texture of the waves. And I'm going to use a blur to achieve that effect. Specifically using the new Iris Blur in Photoshop CS6. I'll start off by creating a copy of my background image layer, by dragging the thumbnail for the background image layer, down to the create new layer button. The blank sheet of paper icon at the bottom of the layers panel.
I'll then go to the filter menu and choose Blur followed by Iris Blur. Now you'll notice that we have a control in the center of the image now, and this allows us to control the behavior of the blur that we're applying. Over on the blur's tools panel you'll see that we have a degree of Blur. But we can also adjust the blur slider, using the circular control in the middle of the set of controls here, directly on the image. I'll start off with a strong blur, just so that we can get a better sense of the other adjustments here. Now of course the blur is currently focused on the center of the image. If I want to focus it on the horse, then I can click in the center to drag this control over to the horse itself.
I can then fine tune the overall size and rotation and angle of this blur circle, of this ellipse that is defining which area of the image will be blurred. I'll go ahead and fine tune the left and right edges, as well as the top and bottom. Essentially, in circling the horse and rider here, trying to make sure we have a good overall definition of this area. I might, for example, spread out the edge of the blur itself. The edge of the are that's going to left as a sharp portion of the image, and then drag that transition in just a little bit.
So, I can continue fine tuning the area that will be blurred, versus the area that won't be blurred, and of course continue fine tuning the blur effect. I'll get the controls positioned just right, and then we can fine tune. I actually don't need too strong a blur effect, in fact too strong of an effect in this case, might look a little bit odd. I'm not really trying to create an especially creative interpretation of the photo, I just want this natural blending so that your eye naturally moves toward the area that is sharp. I'll reduce that blur just a little bit more, You can see that the effect is actually quite strong out toward the edges.
I'll turn off the Preview, and then turn it back on again. And you can see that while it's not a tremendous blur, it is having a reasonably strong effect on that texture in the waves. I'll go ahead and fine tune that in just a little bit. Okay, that looks to be a pretty good effect. And once again, toggling the Preview checkbox off and then on, we can get a better sense of the overall final effect, that looks to be pretty good. I can also, if I'd like, save the mask for this blur as a channel, in other words, as a saved selection. I'm also going to turn on the High Quality checkbox just to make sure that I get the best results overall.
But otherwise I think we're in good shape here. I'll go ahead and click the OK button in order to apply that blur. Now again, I applied it on a separate layer, so I can turn the visibility of that background copy layer off, and then on, to get a better sense of that overall effect. And now that the controls are gone, you get a better idea of that transition. So, we have a nice smooth transition from the areas that were left in focus to the areas that were blurred.
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