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Creating blur in Photoshop

Stewart McCarthy shows us how he creates his zoom blur flower heads.

|  Adobe Photoshop
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Tutorial by Stewart McCarthy (bfgstew).

Software used: Photoshop CS4
Time taken: 20 minutes

Step 1: Create a background

Create a new file then select the Fill Tool and click on the foreground colour to select a background colour for your image.

Duplicate layer


Step 2: Colour the background

Fill your new layer with the desired colour, then using the Elliptical Marquee Tool, draw a circle.


Step 3: Colour the circle

Pick a slightly lighter colour than your previous selection and fill the inside of the circle with it.

And repeat this process of drawing a circle and filling it in until you have a file that looks like this:

Step 4: Add blur

Next we want to add blur to the image. Go to Filters>Blur>Radial Blur select zoom, change the amount to 100% and hit OK.

This will blur the circles of colour nicely; you can repeat this process until you get a nice, smooth transition of colours that looks like this:

Step 5: Open your flower image

Minimise this file and open the flower image you wish to use. Once open, use the Lasso Tool and make a rough selection around the flower.

Then drag the selection onto the first file like so:

Now close the flower file as it is no longer needed.

Step 6: Layer Mask

You now have two images in the layers palette. On the layer which has the flower image on it click on the add layer mask button at the bottom of the layers palette.

Step 7: Position the flower

We now need to position and orientate our flower. To do this select Edit>Transform>Scale. We can now reduce the size of the flower head, remember it will get much larger whan the zoom blur is added so we need to make room for it.

Step 8: Rotate the flower

Accept the changes by clicking on the tick then go to Edit>Transform>Rotate to move the flower into a more pleasing position. Again, click on the tick to accept the changes.

Once you are happy with the size and position you need to fill in the Mask Layer. Select the Brush Tool and go around the petals to remove the background. Don’t worry about going really carefully, you can if you want, but the zoom blur fades it out anyway. Also, if there are gaps between the petals don’t worry about them either we can clone them out next, so you should end up with something like this:

Then flatten the layers by going to Layers>Flatten Image. Now we can clone in the gaps to remove any of the background that was left from the previous image.

Step 9: Add zoom blur

Now we have cloned in the gaps we can now start adding the zoom blur filter. To start, select the Lasso Tool and make a rough selection around the central part of the flower, then  go to Select>Inverse. Once this is done, go to Filter>Blur>Radial Blur, change the blur method to zoom, adjust to amount to 100% and then align the cross hairs of the zoom to the centre of the flower. This is the tricky bit but it pays to get this right. When you think you are right, select OK and wait for the zoom blur effect to happen. If you are not happy, select Edit>Undo and reposition the crosshairs until you are happy.

As the effect is not yet smooth enough go to Edit>Undo. Then go to Filter>Blur>Zoom Blur. Adjust the scale to 20% and click OK. This will hardly have an effect, but when that is complete, repeat this, increasing the value by 20% each time up to 100%, you should end up with a nice smooth zoom effect.

Step 10: To finish

Now to finish off, deselect the marching ants, select the clone tool and carefully remove any shadow/blur marks from the centre.

Then check the sharpness of the centre and adjust accoringly. Adjust the image size to 1000 x1000 and add a stroke border of 5 pixels then upload to ePz and enjoy your efforts.

Final Image:

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12 Aug 2012 2:08PM
Thank you. Just got the CS6 suite and a new Canon SX40 HS. Excited to try out this technique. Will keep you posted.


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