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Photoshop tutorial: Adding zoom blur - basic


Photoshop tutorial: Adding zoom blur - basic - Photoshop's Radial Blur filter can be used to simulate zoom burst effect. Here we've added one to a stained glass window.

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Adobe Photoshop

  • Software used: Photoshop CS4
  • Time taken: 5 minutes.
  • Try this tutorial for yourself by clicking on the image to the left to download a high resolution image.
 Stainglass church window

A zoom burst is a technique where you adjust the focal length of a zoom lens during a longer exposure. The result is a set of blurry lines bursting out of the photo. If you have a camera without a zoom or one where it cannot be adjusted during exposure fear not, here's a guide to creating one digitally.

Step 1: Duplicate the background layer

Duplicate the layer by dragging the background layer icon over the New Layer icon. Or on the menu Layer>Duplicate Layer.

zoom blur - create new layer

Step 2: Add the Radial blur effect

Select the duplicate layer and go to Filter>Blur>Radial Blur. Set Blur Method to Zoom, Quality to Good and the amount to between 60 and 80 depending how streaky you want the zoom blur to be. Click on the blur centre and drag the centre point to roughly where you want the blur to come out from. With a zoom lens it's in the centre, here you can have it emphasise the important part of the image. We will adjust it so the centre is over the face in the stainglass image. Click OK.

zoom blur - add radial blur

Step 3: Reduce the opacity

Reduce the opacity by about 10% so the zoom isn't overpowering and the background layer can show through slightly.

zoom blur - reduce opacity

Stained glass windows are not the only subject ideal for this technique, try it on flowers, statues, portraits or vehicles.Bold, colourful subjects can be very effective.

You've read the article, now go take some fantastic images. You can then upload the pictures, plus any advice and suggestions you have into the dedicated Photo Month forum for everyone at ePHOTOzine to enjoy.

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