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Monday, October 11, 2010

Quick tip: to blur background to make an object sharp on a photograph

If you want the eye to 'home in' on an object on an image by blurring the background, try this tip in Photoshop. There are other ways too, (ie. pathing etc.) but I find this quick and easy:

1. Open your image in Photoshop
2. In the layers palette click the arrow in the circle top right of the layers box and from the drop down menu select 'duplicate image'. Click 'OK' for background copy on the window that comes up.
3. In the 'Filter' drop down menu along the top of your screen drag down to 'Blur' then from that drop down menu choose 'Gaussian blur'.
4. Set the radius pixels by sliding the scaler to the 'blurriness' that you want the background. You can zoom in or out of the picture by clicking on the + or - buttons to see more of your image. Then click OK.
5. Back in the layers palette click on the 'opacity' arrow and drag the slider down a bit so you can see the sharper image through the blurred image.
6. Now, in the tools palette, click the 'eraser' button. Make sure the 'mode' along the top is 'brush' then click on the 'Brush preset picker' icon with a number under it.
7. Set the diameter of the brush to one that you can use for the detail that you need on the image. Whether it's smaller for detailed images that you want picked out, or a larger brush for blending out slowly. Also, set the hardness of the brush to what you need - 100% hard for detailed images picked out, 0% for blurring out gradually.
8. Back on your image, gently rub out the part of the image that you want sharp - you can set the opacity of the brush lower and gradually build it up by going over it a few times if you want to be more accurate.
9. Finally, when you're happy with your rubbing out, reset the opacity of the layer back to 100%. Back in the circle top right of the layers box, from the drop down menu select 'flatten image' and resave. Viola!!!

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