Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Adding a vertical motion blur, part of Creative Blurring with Photoshop.
In the next few movies, we'll be doing another small project where we'll look at how we can add some energy to our photographs working with different movement blur filter effects which we have in Photoshop. Now this project will begin by converting our background layer to a smart object layer. Then we'll apply a filter effect and mask in the result. Then we'll also explore how we can stack up different filters, so we can blend these different blur filters together. All right, well let's begin by converting our background layer to a smart object layer.
You can do so by navigating over to the Layers panel and right-click or Ctrl+Click on the Background layer, then choose Convert to Smart Object. This will then give us a new icon here showing us this is a Smart Object Layer, which is helpful when it comes to adding filters because we can always re-edit those filters. Let's double-click the layer name to rename this. Here I'll rename it Jessica, which is the name of my good friend who is jamming on her mandolin over here. Then next we'll navigate to that Filter pull-down menu, and here we're going to go to Blur, and then we'll choose Motion Blur.
But we're going to use Motion Blur in a nontraditional way, as you'll see in just a second. Again, it's Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. This will open up our Motion Blur dialog. You can click and drag to pan this around. I also like to zoom out a little bit, so you can see more of the image here in the preview. The great thing about this particular dialog is as you make changes either to angle or distance, those changes will be updated here in this preview dialog and also on the image itself. So it's a lot easier to work with. Right, well, the way that you typically use this filter is you increase your distance and maybe change your angle a little bit.
So that you get what's called Panning Blur. It's kind of like the blur you would see if you were at a racetrack and you saw a race car zoom in front of you, and it kind of had these streaks showing that type of motion. Well rather than showing motion like this, where we kind of have it left to right, we're going to change the angle. Here, let's bring this all the way up to 90, just to have fun with this and to create a different type of blur. Then for the distance let's drop this down maybe somewhere, I don't know, around 100 or so, here maybe about 130 will be fine.
Here you can see it's now almost creating this blur top to bottom. Next, click OK to apply this to the image, it's applying it as a smart filter, ie we have flexibility here. So let's click into the built-in mask. Grab our Brush tool by pressing B, or by clicking on the Brush tool icon. Next, you want to choose black as the color that we'll paint with. So here we'll go ahead and select Black. And we want to do that because we're going to paint this effect away so we can see more of the subject.
Because right now, there's just too much blur everywhere. Up in the Options bar, we can change our brush settings. Make sure you remove all the hardness. Increase that brush size. You want to start with a really big brush. I'm going to bring mine up to 3 or 400. And for the Opacity, it's my own workflow preference to drop this down. You don't have to do that but I like to drop it below 50. Because in that way when you start to paint as you can see here, it's slowly bringing it back and then as you paint some more you can bring more and more of that original image in.
And so here I'm just going to go ahead and paint around the photograph a little bit, bringing in some more of the original photograph. If we paint with black it's concealing this effect, this Motion Blur effect. Now if you notice that there's an area or your edges are too distinct. You can always create more of a transition by dropping down the Opacity. Let's take this down, I don't know, close to 10% here and then just paint over those edges. And this can create a much more of a subtle transition area so you can't really tell.
It's not so noticeable where the effect starts and stops. Sometimes that's really helpful to create a bit more of a natural look. Now this image is a bit more photo-illustration than it is photo-realism. So, but still I want to have that smooth transition so it's, I don't know, just more of a cohesive look I think. All right, well to change the settings for this effect. Just double-click the word Motion Blur, or whatever filter you've applied. And here we can increase the distance if we want to go with something which is more, you know, kind of more abstract, something like that.
Or we can also drop it down lower as well. That being said, I think right around, I don't know, a little over 100 looks pretty cool. It's kind of fun to have that energy in the image. And here we'll go ahead and click OK. Now we've already seen before how we can start to do things like this. How we convert our layer to a smart object layer. Then how we add a filter, which comes in as a smart filter. And how we can work with the mask to conceal the filter effect from certain areas. As a reminder you can Shift+Click on your mask.
That temporarily disables it, and Shift-Click again and that will then bring it back. All right, well, so far so good. Stage one is complete. We're going to move on to stage two in this project. 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.