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Photoshop Tutorial: Autumn Abstracts

See how a little bit of blur can create an autumn shot that's a little more arty but still recognisable.

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Autumn Woods

The rich colours of Autumn give you the perfect opportunity to produce some shots which are much more abstract. You can create these types of shot in-camera but by creating the effect in your editing software you can remove / edit it until you're happy with the look. You can also boost the autumn shades by brightening, saturating and adjusting the levels of your shots.

Open And Duplicate

Open your image up in Photoshop and duplicate your layer.

Add Blur

Go to filter>Blur>Motion Blur and a new window will open. Make sure your angle is set to 90 degrees so the blur goers straight down to match the orientation of the trees and change the distance to add / remove blur. The more you drag the slider to the right the more blur will be applied to your shot. Try to use just enough blur to give your image an abstract feel without making it so blurry, people don't know what you took a photo of. We used a distance of 204 pixels but this figure won't be right for every image so experiment.

Add motion blur

We now have an abstract take on an every day autumn landscape but it's looking a little dull so we are going to brighten it up and boost the colours slightly.

Give The Colours A Boost

There are various ways to do this but one of the easiest is by creating a Brightness / Contrast adjustment layer. Click on the black & white circle in the layers palette and select Brightness / Contrast. When the new window opens you'll see two sliders which let you adjust the brightness and contrast of the shot. Have a play around with the adjustment then close the window once you're happy. If you want to give the autumn shades a further boost, try adjusting the colour balance so the shot sways more towards red and yellow tones.

Brightness / Contrast adjustment

Before Crop:

Try Cropping

If you look towards the top and bottom of the shot you'll notice a section of blur that's more prominent than the rest of the shot. You may like this and if you do, your image is complete but if you want to remove it so the blur is more even through the entire shot, select the crop tool and select the part of the image you want to keep. When you let go of your mouse button you'll have a line of marching ants around your selection and the part of the image you want to remove will be shaded out. You apply the crop by either right-clicking on the image and selecting crop or you can simply hit the enter key on your keyboard.

Crop Tool

After Crop:

This technique can also be applied to shots taken during the other seasons and it works particularly well in spring when there's bluebells around. Why not try and visit the same spot during each season and combine all four shots together in one piece for your wall?

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