Photoshop Tutorial : Stroking a selection and blurring to bring focus

A quick and easy way to focus attention to part of an image using Photoshop is to make a selection, stroke that selection, then blur outside the selection.

The stroke command can be applied to a whole image or if you use one of the selection tools, you can actually stroke the selection. And you can make multiple selections and stroke each one to get some cool results. Here’s a simple example;

1. Open an image

Use one of the selection tools to and draw out a selection around the area that you want to bring focus to. Here I’ve just used a rectangular marquee.

Choose Edit > Stroke. The stroke dialog box opens.

I want a fairly thin stroke – 4 pixels thick, coloured white and set to stroke the inside of the selection.

Click Ok and the stroke is added and importantly the selection is still there too.

5. Now inverse the selection by hitting Ctrl + Shift + I (windows) or Cmd + Shift + I (mac).

6. Choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and change the radius slider until you have a strong blur on the outside.

Finally deselect everything – Ctrl + D or Cmd + D and that’s it. I just added a little bit of text to finish up with a small drop shadow to lift it slightly off the page.


  1. Ciaran says:

    hey jen, great tutorial there I can think of loads places to use it, great stuff as always. Thanks 🙂

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