Photoshop Tutorials

Tutorial 15: Creating Focus with Radial Blur
What you'll start with: What you'll end up with:

Film photographers can do all kinds of wonderful things with filters and other kinds of hardware.  Thanks to Photoshop, digital photographers can achieve much better results during post-processing and have the advantage of being able to apply more than one effect to their images.  In this tutorial you'll learn how a simple radial blur around your main subject can help center the focus of the image.

1. Load your image into a new document.  If the layer is locked, double click on it in the Layers window once and then click OK in the input box that pops up.  Select the marquee tool and make sure its feather is set to 10px.  You now need to select your main subject.  Do this by either using the magnetic lasso tool and tracing around it or the pen tool and drawing around it.  The latter will give better results but will likely take longer.  Once you have the object selected, go to Select, Modify, Contract and enter the value 3 and press OK.  Now, press 'Ctrl+I' to inverse the selection and then 'Ctrl+J' to copy the background to a new layer.

2. With the new layer selected, go to Filter, Blur, Radial Blur.  Set the amount to 20, the method to Zoom and the quality to Good.  Then press OK.  Your background will now have a radial blur effect with a slight bleed into your main subject.

3. Finally, press 'Ctrl+J' to duplicate the now blurred background to a new layer and set its mode to Overlay.  The finished picture will look like this: