I’m going to show you how to create an artistic blur effect in Photoshop that can turn any ordinary street scene into a picture that is worth hanging on a wall to decorate a home or office. We will create two color filters that will allow you to choose the final filter on your photo to give it a different tone and feel, or simply to match the hues of your room.
Below is an example of the results that you should achieve by the end of this tutorial.
Before – Original
After – Style 1
After – Style 2
After – Style 3
Tools that will be used
The tools that we will be using in this tutorial are:
- Layer Adjustment – Exposure
- Layer Adjustment – Color Fills
- Duplicate Layer Mask – Motion Blur Filter
OK, let’s get started.
I’ve put a copy of the image I will be using in this tutorial here so you can follow exactly what I am doing. Feel free to use your own image if you have one at hand. My suggestion is that your image should contain something in the center of the photo that you would like to give full attention to (as can be seen in the example in the before/after image). Also, the effect will probably look better on something that is moving such as a bike, car, train or even a person walking.
Step 1 – Create Color Filters for Multiple Effects
- Open your image in Photoshop and click on the “Create new Fill or Adjustment Layer Icon”
- Now select “Solid Color”
- Now select a bright pink color (I used the color # f14ec5)
- Change the blending mode of the layer to “Screen” and the Fill to 30%
Your image should now have a pink-like film over the top of it. We now want to minimize or subtract some of the pink film from around the center of the image (our focus point) and the best way to do this using a blending effect is by using the Brush Tool.
- Select the Brush tool
- Set the color to Black
- Set the brush hardness to 0%
- Set the Opacity to 50%
- Finally, set the size of the brush so that the top and bottom of the circle almost touch the top and bottom of the image (as shown below) and click the mouse button twice over the central object.
Your image should now look something similar to the one above.
Explanation: What we’re doing here is creating a brush that is solid in the center but fades out towards the perimeter. This will allow us to dab the paintbrush on the layer mask to subtract the Color Fill on the object using a gradient/fading effect.
- We are now going to create our second fill color, so repeat steps 1-3 but this time using a bright orange color (I used the color #dc8120)
- Change the blending mode of the layer to “Color Dodge” and the Opacity to 30%
- Now repeat steps 5-9 again, but only click the mouse button once (in step 9) instead of twice for applying the Brush Tool as we don’t want to subtract as much of the orange colour away as we did with the pink. Your image should now be similar to the one shown below.
- click on the “Create new Fill or Adjustment Layer Icon”
- Select “Exposure”
- Move the exposure level up to around +1.20
You can play around with this setting if you like (moving it up and down) to apply more or less of the exposure effect.
- Now repeat steps 5-9 again but click the mouse button only once again (in step 9) instead of twice. Your image should now look something like this:
Step 2 – Applying the Blur Effect
Our last step is to apply the blur effect. To do this we are going to duplicate the original layer and make a layer mask out of it so that it acts more like an “adjustment layer”. The reason we need to use the duplicate layer method is because Photoshop does not allow you to apply “filters” using “adjustment layers”.
- Click on your original layer:
- Now duplicate the layer by pressing CTRL + J
- Now click on the duplicated layer:
- Now click on “Filter” then “Blur” then “Motion Blur”:
- Now set your angle to 0 and adjust the “distance” up until your image is blurred and looks similar to the image below.
The distance settings for the image in this tutorial were set as shown below.
- Now click on you duplicated layer again.
- Click on the “add layer mask” tool:
- Select the new layer mask:
Now select your Brush Tool and we’re going to use the same settings as we used for the Color Fills but with a different size. So your settings should be:
Hardness – %30Color – BlackOpacity – %50
- Adjust the size of your brush so it is similar to the size shown below (enough to generously cover the width of your central object).
- Now hold the mouse button down and draw over your object once. When you’re finished, release the mouse. Note: Do not click the mouse more than once or it will subtract too much.
- Now hold the mouse down a second time and draw over your object again to subtract more of the blur. This should now be enough and your image should look similar to the one below.
Changing the Finishing Effect
With the Color Fill that we created at the beginning, we can now change tone and feel of the photo by adjusting some of our settings. The settings can try adjusting are:
- Hide your pink Colour Fill layer by clicking on the “eye” icon as shown below.
Your image should now look like this:
- Change the blend mode of the Orange color fill layer to “Multiply” as shown below.
Your image should now look like this:
Now you have three different tones of the image to choose from, according to the mood and color-tone you prefer.
Hope you found this tutorial useful, if you have any further questions feel free to contact me at www.vividesigning.com