This is a guide to the blur tool in Photoshop, so make sure Photoshop is already open on your PC.
Photoshop’s Blur Tool can be useful in a variety of cases. You may want to prevent people from seeing any sort of identifying information about you or other people.
Blurring is also a great way to soften images and make your subject stand out from the rest of the image. In other words, you may want to create some depth of field in the image.
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What is the blur tool in Photoshop
The Blur tool is located in the toolbar on the left side of the Photoshop workspace window. To access it, look for the teardrop icon, which you’ll find grouped with the Sharpen Tool and the Smudge Tool. Photoshop groups these tools together because they are all designed to focus or blur images. (Blur Tool, Sharpen Tool, and Smudge Tool in Photoshop Toolbar)
To select one, press and hold the tool icon that already appears in the toolbar. A small drop-down menu will appear where you can find the rest of the tool’s options. The selected tool remains visible on the toolbar. Unlike most other tools, you can’t press a letter on your keyboard to select one of these three; you have to use the mouse.
As described above, the Blur tool blurs parts of an image. The cursor itself is a circle and you can make it smaller or larger by pressing the left or right square bracket key (pressing also resizes other tools). The longer you click and hold your mouse, or stylus if you have one, the more you increase the amount of blur with the Blur tool.
How to use the blur tool in Photoshop
The blur tool can really make your images pop. Let’s take a look at how to achieve your desired results.
- First, open an image that you want to edit in Photoshop.
- Then, in the Layers panel on the right side of the window, right-click on the Background Image layer.
- In the dialog box that appears, select Duplicate Layer. Click OK without changing the configuration options.
- If you want, you can create the same duplicated background under Layer >> Duplicate Layer in the top menu bar.
Note: Adding a duplicate background layer will allow you to make your edits without modifying the original file. There are some advantages to editing this way:
First, if you don’t like the changes you’re making, you can simply start over by creating a new, duplicate background layer.
Second, you can compare any changes to the original image by clicking the eye icon next to the duplicated layer. When you select the icon, the duplicated layer is “disabled”, so you can see the layer directly below it.
On the right side of the window, select the Blur tool. Again, it may not be visible. If not, hold down until the small pop-up window appears to display all three tool options.
Then use the Blur tool to blur the areas of the desired image. Click and move the mouse slightly to blur the image. Note that simply clicking and holding the mouse in place does nothing.
As with almost any tool in Photoshop, you can adjust the size and brush type of the Blur tool. To make these adjustments, click the Brush Preset picker at the top of the Photoshop window.
Different blur tool in Photoshop and there uses
Gaussian Blur is named after the German physicist and mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, who formulated an equation for the blurring of images used in graphics software today. This blur creates a nice, even effect.
Gaussian Blur is perfect for blurring specific points in an image and reducing digital noise. You can also use Gaussian Blur to smooth the skin. Given its wide range of uses, Gaussian blur is certainly one of the most popular blur effects. To apply this blur tool in Photoshop. Click Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and adjust the radius to add more or less blur to the image. Then click on “OK”.
As you can imagine, Motion Blur helps to create a sense of movement, speed, and action in an image. If you want to create a “speed track” effect, this is the blur effect to use. Motion Blur is perfect for anyone who wants to make cars look like they’re driving. You have no doubt seen that Motion Blur has been applied to car ads. To apply this blur tool in Photoshop. Click Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and adjust the angle to match the direction of your subject’s movement.
Radial Blur also creates a sense of movement but creates a zoom effect. In-camera photographers achieve this effect by quickly enlarging the subject when shooting at slow shutter speeds. Fortunately, you can recreate this effect in Photoshop with Radial Blur. You can also use this blur option to make the wheels of a car appear to be moving, for example. To apply this blur tool in Photoshop. Click Filter>Blur and select the Radial Blur option. When the Radial Blur dialog box appears, select the Spin or Zoom Blur blur method.
Medium Blur helps to adjust or remove a color cast in images. While Medium Blur is similar to Gaussian Blur, it creates a less diffused effect. This blur tool works by taking and averaging all the colors in an image or selection, resulting in fewer colors across the entire image. To apply this blur tool in Photoshop. Click Filter > Blur > Average.
As you saw in the example above, Field Blur is very useful for adding depth of field to an image, especially when isolating a subject. And by adding two or more pins, you can create multiple focus strips. Field Blur offers a lot of creative flexibility. To apply this blur tool in Photoshop. Click Filter > Blur Gallery > Blur Field.
The Lens Blur filter gives you more control over the location and depth of your blur than other blur tools. Not to be too technical, but it works a little differently than other blur filters in that it uses alpha channels, the color masks that set the color values in an image. The result is a more precise and focused blur. If you want to create a more specific blur, try the Lens Blur option.
Box Blur uses the average colors of adjacent pixels to create a blur effect. In other words, it takes a pixel and averages the pixels around it, hence the name. You can adjust the blur radius, which means you control how many pixels are included in the average of the colors.
Box Blur is a quick way to blur an image, but it doesn’t always look very realistic. If you want to create stylized special effects or completely blur someone’s face, this is a good option.
To apply this blur tool in Photoshop.
- Select the Blur tool.
- Choose a brush tip and options for blending and strength.
- Select Swatch All Layers to blur all visible layers, or clear this option to blur only the active layer.
- Drag over the area of the image you want to blur.
- Apply radial blur around a fixed focal point in an image.
You can also create a radial blur around a specific focal point by applying the Iris Blur tool in Photoshop. Select an area to focus on and control the amount and gradient of the blur.
- Go to Filter > Blur Gallery and select Blur Iris.
- Click on the pin in the center of the ring and place it in the focal point.
- Click and drag a few points to make the ellipse longer, or drag the outer line to resize the blur area.
- Click and drag the points within the blur preview ring to adjust the size of the blur transition area.
- Adjust the circular blur knob to control the amount of blur applied.
- When you’re done, press Enter or click OK at the top of the Blur Gallery window.
I hope you learned how to use the Blur tool to quickly blur images. With this article, you can get off to a good start in creating unique images that grab people’s attention.
However, keep in mind that, as with other Photoshop tools, using and perfecting the Blur Tool and blur filters takes some practice. So if you’re trying to blur images, play around a bit. This is the only way to get an idea of what the variety of blur options looks like.
And don’t forget that you can also zoom in to make the blur as accurate as possible. This is good practice when editing photos. I hope this helps! Check out these other tutorials to increase your Photoshop skills. And don’t forget to share.
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