Photoshop Tutorial: Adding Focus With A Blur

There’s a great advertisement on TV at the moment for Sky, where they show a couple of scenes from movies – Pirates of the Caribbean – and sports – some football team wearing red – and the action is slowed down almost to the point of being stopped and the person in the foreground is sharp while the people or objects in the background are out of focus. It’s a very effective way to focus attention. In this VERY short Photoshop tutorial, I’m going to show you how to focus attention on part of an image by adding depth. It’s really easy to do.

1. Open up a picture, preferably an image that captures movement.
I’m using an image from a Formula 1 race courtesy of the Formula 1 WordPress blog.

2. Using a selection tool, (I used the magnetic lasso and tidied up a bit with the quick mask) and select the foreground object – in the case the first formula 1 car.

If you are using this image, don’t forget to cut out the area at the back of the car where you can see the track.

3. Add about 10 pixels of feathering around the selection. Now we need to invert the selection. Hit Alt-Control-D (windows) or Option-Command-D to open up the feather dialog box.

4. Inverse the selection by hitting Shift-Control-I (windows) or Shift-Command-I (mac) and then apply the Blur (Filter>Blur>Gaussian).

The idea here is that objects farther away appear blurry and out of focus, while the objects nearer to the viewer are sharp. At this stage you can decide how fuzzy you want the background and other objects to be. To lightly blur, type in a low number, for mega blurriness, type in a high number.

With a radius of 9 pixels, my final image looks like this;

There is nearly always more than one way to do things in photoshop. This is one quick and easy method.

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  1. Pingback: Jason D. Moore Photography » Blog Archive » P&P Weekly: #96 - Part Two

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