Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Adding a radial zoom blur, part of Photoshop: Creative Blurring.
In this chapter, we will be doing two small projects where we'll look at how we can add some energy to our photographs, working with different types of movement blurs. We'll begin with this photograph here that I captured a few weeks ago at my friend's wedding. Here is everyone on the dance floor having a lot of fun. And I captured this image with an on-camera flash which froze most of the motion, except I used a slow shutter speed. This technique is called shutter drag. What it does is it adds a bit of energy or it shows you some movement in the frame. You can see that with these light streaks in this area here.
What I want to do is add even more movement and more energy to this photograph. So to do that, we'll begin by converting our background layer to a Smart Object layer. We'll then apply a filter, then we'll look at how we can mask in the filter effect so that we can get our desired result. Alright, well it all begins by working with our layer. Let's convert the background layer to a Smart Object layer. You can do either by right-clicking or Ctrl+Clicking on the layer. And then in the Contextual pop-up menu, choose Convert to Smart Object. Or, you can also navigate to the Filter pull-down menu here and choose Convert for Smart Filters.
Either method, it does the same exact thing. So, either right-click or Ctrl+Click on the layer, or just choose Filter > Convert for Smart Filters. Alright, well here I'll click on that menu item. This will open up the dialogue which basically says, To enable re-editable smart filters, in other words to give us some extra flexibility which we'll need with this technique, this layer will be converted into a smart object. Perfect, that's what we want to have happen, so here just click OK. This will then give our layer a new icon indicating that it's a Smart Object layer.
You notice that it now has a default name of Layer 0. I'll go ahead and double-click that, so that we can then rename that. And I'm just going to name this one Wedding. Alright, next step is to choose a filter that we want to apply. You can do that by navigating to your Filter pull down menu, then go to Blur. And then next from the Blur pull down menu, let's select Radial Blur. Again, that's Filter > Blur > Radial Blur. This will open up our Radial Blur dialog. Now I've always thought of this dialog as a little bit retro or old school.
It's kind of awkward and hard to use. It takes a lot of guesswork because here we have a square, although we're working on a rectangle image, a rectangular image. And we can see that we have a Blur Method spin, which we can sort of move around the center of that spin, or we can choose Zoom. And we have different quality settings, Draft, Good, and Best. And as we make these changes we're not really seeing how this is going to affect the image. There's no live preview here. Because of that, I find it really helpful to work with a Smart Object layer, so we can change whatever we're doing after the fact.
So just to begin, let's try something out. Let's choose Zoom, let's take our Quality up to Best, and then just choose, I don't know a high amount. We'll go up to 60 or something like that. And then change the Center Point to somewhere in the image. Here I'm going to try to put it on maybe this little kid over here. So I'm just sort of guessing. And then next we'll click OK. Now the guessing is really difficult like I said, because that icon is a square, and here we have a rectangle. I didn't get it centered where I wanted it. So to change this, because we have a Smart Object layer, all that we need to do is to double-click the filter name.
That reopens the dialog. Here I'm just going to move this over to the right a little bit, then click OK. This will then render out the effect, and we'll see how that's now closer to this guy right here. Now currently this isn't where I want this to be, I'm just sort of illustrating how we can start to move things around. Alright well let's double-click this to reopen our dialog. What I really want to do is have this centered on the bride. So I'm going to bring it over to maybe about here, again I'm just guessing. I also want a much lower amount, so I'll drop this down, maybe, maybe to 20 or 22.
Here I'll click OK, and we can see how that's now giving us this effect, it's focusing on the bride. She's the area that's most in focus and then it becomes, blurrier out to the edges. I didn't quite get it, so again, double-click, reopen that, shift it over to a little bit too high. I'm going to drop down to about 15, and then click OK. So with this technique there's going to be a lot of back and forth that's why it is just essential that you begin by converting your layer to a Smart Object layer. Well now that we have this here we can start to see how this is adding some fun energy to the image, but there's almost too much blur.
If we click on the Eye icon, you can see here's the before, and then here's the after. I think we've lost too much detail in the photograph. So, next what we'll take a look at is how we can customize this a bit further, and we'll do that in the next movie.
- Adding movement and energy to photos
- Creating illustrations
- Enhancing portraits
- Building a book cover with typography and blur
- Improving color
- Crafting an ethereal look
So grab your copy of Photoshop CC and get started taking your imagery to a new creative level.