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As much as I generally aim to capture images that are tack sharp. Every now and then, I like to add a blur effect to a photo, and when I do, I contemplate some various creative possibilities for that effect. Let's take a look at how we can mix a couple of different blurs to create a very dynamic look for a photo. I'll go ahead and create a copy of my background image layer to start with. So I'll drag the thumbnail for that background layer to the Create New Layer button, the blank sheet of paper icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. That creates a background copy layer so that I can work separate from the original pixel values not having to worry about doing permanent damage. Next, I'll choose Filter > Blur followed by Iris Blur from the menu. And this Iris blur is one of the new blur filters in Photoshop CS6 and it gives us a rather interesting possibility here.
We're able to apply a blur just to the outside portion of the image with the central portion appearing sharp. We can adjust the overall size and transition as well was the intesity of the effect. We can start off adjusting the Blur slider over on the right side on the Blur tools panel. And that will give us a strength adjustment. We can also though use the control in the center. We have a bulls eye in the center that allows us to move the position of the blur effect. Which in this case really means, moving the position of the portion of the image that should remain sharp.
And then we can use this outer circle to adjust the strength of the blur effect. The more white you see on the circle, the stronger the effect. I'll go ahead and apply a moderately strong effect here. But then, we can also rotate and resize the overall effect. You'll see that we have handles around the outside of the outer circle, or ellipse, in this case. We can click and drag, in order to enlarge the size of that ellipse, and also, drag left to right, to rotate the ellipse, if we'd like to. I'll keep the ellipse, here, moderately sized and keep it with a vertical orientation.
I can also adjust the width of the overall effect using the handles on the left and right. The small circles that you'll find inside the outer ellipse determine the transition zone. So we can click on any of those circles and drag inward in order to reduce the size of the area that will remain sharp. And drag outward in order to enlarge that area. We're essentially adjusting the position of the transition within the image. So I'll go ahead and fine tune my settings. I'll reposition the effect perhaps. Maybe squeeze it in just a little bit more so we have a little more blurring along those edges.
But what's really happening here essentially is focusing the viewer on the center portion of the image. That's looking pretty good so I'll go ahead and put the OK button on the options bar. And that will apply that filter effect to the image. But now I'm going to add a additional little touch. I'll go to the Filter menu once again and choose Blur but this time I'm going to choose Radio Blur. That will bring up a Radio Blur dialog where we have a few options but no preview of the effect. This is an older filter in Photoshop and it simply does not include a preview in the context of the image itself. We just have a sense of how the effect will apply to the image based on this quasi-preview at the bottom right of the dialog.
If I increase the amount slider for example, you'll see that this radial blur is effectively spinning the image to create the blur effect. We can specify whether we want to Spin, which is what we have set right now, or Zoom which is another option. In this case I'm going to stick with Spin though. We can also choose the quality between draft, good, and best, and my suggestion is to always leave this option set to best. I'll then reduce the amount. In this case I'm just looking for a little bit of a jitter in the image. I'm not trying to create a complete spinning effect but just want to give a little bit of a sense of motion in the image.
Just to create something a little more dramatic. So I'll go ahead and set that amount to five and then click OK. If I'm not happy with the result I could always undo by choosing Edit > Step Backward from the menu and then apply that effect again with different settings. But in this case I'm happy with the result. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+ Z on Windows or Cmd+Z on Macintosh to take a step backwards. So you can see the image before that radial blur, and then I'll press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z again to add the radial blur effect back. So now you can see, we have a little bit of this out of focus, jittery, sort of, effect that adds a bit of a dynamic sense to the image.
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